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We have a little over a year of experience and learning in our resilience in retirement and I thought an update would be in order. I know others here at PP are engaged in their own resilience in retirement experience and others still working are gathering information and vicarious experience toward their own retirement. So, there are readers here who will benefit from this update and the great comments it elicits.
Global warming: July 2019 was the hottest July on record here in NH but April 2020 was the coolest on record (and very wet). Already in May we had one day that hit 94 F and June was uncharacteristically warm. We were hoping days with high temperatures above 90 F would be rare, but we have been disappointed. However, this experience is one of our many reasons to be glad we chose NH and not something warmer.
In evaluating our first year here and why we chose NH, we have felt 100% vindicated that we chose wisely and properly (for us, anyway). Having travelled the state and nearby states, we have frequently said to each other, “This is nice, but where we are in Concord is perfect.” We’re grateful for that because I know that’s not always the experience people have when trying to pick a great place or in any other way improve their lives.
Among our reasons for picking NH was how rarely natural disasters strike here. Putting aside the issue of whether the Honey Badger Virus was developed in a lab or not, our experience with it has been less severe than in most other places. The virus was late getting here which gave us and “the authorities” plenty of time to consider our responses. Once it got here it wasn’t that bad (at least compared to nearby Massachusetts and New York). Even though there has been considerable public rebellion against masks (Live Free or Die, or Live Free then Die!) most of the deaths have been concentrated among those over 70 or living in nursing facilities as you would expect. That makes me optimistic if something more virulent comes along.
Among our other reasons for choosing NH were “political climate,” “war” and “low crime,” and on those categories we’ve been even more pleased. With many cities and towns across the country convulsed with riots and protests, NH has been pleasantly quiet and civilized. Retiring May 12, 2019 from the Philadelphia Police Department where the zeitgeist is as anti-police as it gets in America, I’ve been thrilled to be here far from the maddening crowds. In fact, police officers are almost rock stars here. There is a lot of respect and civility going in both directions between police and the public.
Social capital: When we moved here we didn’t know a soul and made it one of our main 1st year objectives to work hard on developing new social capital. We have done this mostly through our church and the YMCA where we used to work out before they closed for the Honey Badger. We have been warmly received everywhere and have developed a surprisingly deep and wide group of friends and acquaintances. When my wife had to have cancer surgery April 1, we were warmly supported and cared for even though we had only lived here 10 months at the time. We had lived in Philadelphia for 31 years and we both estimated that our support system there wouldn’t have been as good as what we have here already.
On June 28, 2019 we took delivery from Carvana on a used 2017 Chevy Volt to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our gasoline expenses, and give us some resilience in our transportation if prices go through the roof or something like gas rationing were to occur. We got this little car with 21,000 miles on it and learned the first owner had lived in California. For the last six months of 2019 we experimented with the car to see what its capabilities are and how to maximize its value to us. Remember the Volt’s battery always powers the front wheels and only when the battery is depleted does a little gas generator automatically start up to keep charging the battery so it can keep driving the wheels. Unlike other electric vehicles (because the Volt is really a hybrid), we don’t have any “range anxiety” with the Volt. We could drive back to California without stopping to recharge as long as we stopped to get gasoline to run the gas generator. When we got the car the dashboard computerized readout indicated that its lifetime miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) was only 30.1. When running on the gas generator after the batteries have been depleted the car gets 27-33 mpg so a lifetime 30.1 mpge tells me the first owner was doing a lot of driving on the gas generator and would’ve gotten better gas mileage out of a small, efficient gasoline-engine car with high gas mileage. The lifetime mpge now reads 51.0 mpge because we’ve been staying in the battery range. It was smart of that owner to sell the car. Since January 1 we have been trying very hard to drive only on the batteries by staying within their range on trips. (We have a pickup truck we use for trips beyond the Volt’s electric range.) Chevy advertised the Volt’s range on batteries as 53 miles but that is an average estimate. When you get into the car the dashboard tells you approximately how many battery driven miles you can expect at that moment. We found that number to be as low as 41 miles on a bitter cold February morning and as high as 73 miles on a pleasant summer morning with a temperature of 70 F. So since January 1 we have driven 2,398 miles and used only 5.5 gallons of gas for an actual 436 miles per gallon. I disregard the dashboard readout for mpge because it assumes we’re paying for gasoline for the generator and electricity for the battery but since our house is solar-powered we don’t really pay for the electricity. At this point, we have put 6,000 miles on the car ourselves and believe it’s a great niche part of our overall energy and transportation approach. Most of our local trips are in the Volt. For any long trips, driving in unplowed snow, or hauling we use the 4WD Chevy Colorado.
Home energy use: All of our appliances are electric, including the heat pump water heater, except our stove and emergency generator which both run on propane. We have a wood burning stove and Mitsubishi heat pump “splits” for heating our 1480 sq. ft. We experimented all winter with the heating since we’ve never had a PV solar array on our roof or ever used a wood burning stove or the Mitsubishi splits. I’ll save you a description of what we did and what our learning curve was like, but I will say that I estimate that next winter if we burn 1.5 cords of wood we will be able to get our electric bill for 12 months down to $0 (which includes charging the car). I look at wood heat as a form of renewable solar energy so I feel very good about that. A cord of cut and split firewood costs us $150 – $220 delivered and we have about 6 cords on our property in various stages of dryness. So that means we have 4 winters of heating the house just sitting here ready to use. Cutting and splitting our own wood is a future project. I estimate that if we don’t heat with wood our annual electric bill would be $800-1,000. Our Generac generator comes on automatically twice a month for 5 minutes as a test. We only lost power one time and that was a planned 15 minute outage we knew about in advance for the utility company to do some maintenance. As long as electricity stays anything near that reliable I’ll feel like a genius for hooking up to the grid instead of going off grid with expensive batteries. We used about 50 gallons of propane during the year of which I estimate about 45 gallons was for cooking and canning on the stove and 5+ gallons for testing and running the generator. I never had to sweep snow off the solar panels or off the 9-pitch roof. The snow just slid right off the panels within 1-3 hours once the sun came up, even if it was solidly overcast.
Gardens and landscaping: We started with an assumption that if we had to garden/farm enough food to feed ourselves during a food crisis in our retirement we wouldn’t make it. We figure our learning curve and advancing age would make that unrealistic. So we decided not to get enough land for food self-sufficiency and instead to garden on our .63 acre for supplementing our diet, fun, beauty and exercise. We hired a landscape architect who listened to our needs and dreams and came up with a fantastic plan for us to implement. We exhausted ourselves last year getting about 70% of our open space planted in three areas: raised bed vegetable beds, pollinator gardens, and wildflower meadows. In addition after we got here we added a land reclamation project at the back of our property that was overgrown with downed trees and 13 invasive species. Our hope for that is to beat back the invasives enough to be able to use that land (about 2,000 sq. ft.) for more fruit trees. We have no lawn and no lawnmower, by design. Everything that isn’t planted (paths mostly) is covered with wood chips which we get delivered from the city arborist for free. We have a rainwater recovery system to help with watering the gardens but we have found it only works IF IT RAINS!! We have two 330 gallon IBC totes that fill when we get 1/2” of rain. We use about 60% of each for one watering. We had 1/4” of rain in about 6 weeks in May-June and are using city water to keep everything alive until we start getting normal rainfall. All our landscaping is at most 12 months old and some as little as 2 months since planting so keeping everything adequately watered until the roots are well-established is critical. Next year I imagine we’ll require less watering even in drought conditions like we’re going through now. We built two cold frames for starting seeds, partially with recycled materials, but our first experience this spring was underwhelming. We’re licking our wounds and plotting about what to do differently next spring.
All things considered, we believe we’re off to a great start. We only hope we have a few more years of gardening experience and soil development before we actually need to rely on the garden produce for part of our essential calories and nutrients.
South side of our property planted last summer: vegetables, pollinator garden, wildflower meadows.
Stree tide (north) of our property planted late last fall or this spring. Edibles include corn, peas, pumpkins, blueberries, raspberries and elderberries.
Back of our property overlooking a 90′ steep drop down to the river. In the foreground is our fabulously successful beach grass experiment planted as plugs last fall. It has stopped the erosion and grows in sand where nothing else will. In the background is our land reclamation project (about 2000 sq. ft.). We’re hoping that the 13 invasive species will be killed by the darkness and smothering and give us a place for more fruit trees next summer.
We’re surprised our fruit trees are producing so fast. We’re going to have dozens of apples and peaches, even though we thinned them out. The birds and chipmunks got every single one of the cherries.
I have two hopes JAG. 1) The public is so enraged at the fiat dollar collapse that they violently refuse to accept the new digital fiat currency, which would force TPTB into the hated gold-backed currency (because that is their only other choice.) 2) Today’s bankers and other oligarchs are secretly protecting their wealth by accumulatin physical gold and silver. Since they will write the rules for the new system I assume they will incorporate loopholes that allow them to turn their gold and silver into new fortunes in the new system. If so, I’ll use the same loopholes to get rich right along with them.
I would opt out of the new digital currency system by refusing to accept it. I won’t sit peacefully by while I’m led into slavery. I’m not looking forward to the coming Collapse but I’m prepped with lead, gold and and silver. And when they come for me, they’ll get the lead first.
”Happy Hunger Games. And may the odds be ever in your favor,”
Mike Maloney’s book Guide To Investing in Gold and Silver.
The water is still rising. The threat remains.
July 23 (UPI) — A second round of mass flooding in several provinces across China is expected to increase the risk of natural disasters as torrential rains have affected 45 million people in the country and at least 142 people have died or gone missing, according to local authorities.
China’s ministry of water resources said at 8 p.m. Wednesday a key section of the Yangtze River and other areas had risen above flood level. The ministry also said 93 rivers have exceeded their flood limit levels and that they are monitoring the Three Gorges reservoir, located in the upstream part of the Yangtze River.
China’s ministry of emergency management said this week more than 4,500 people in Jiangxi, Anhui, Hubei and other provinces have been displaced due to floods, and at least 35,000 homes have collapsed, bringing direct damage close to $23 billion.
Chinese state media reports indicate Chinese leader Xi Jinping has yet to visit the disaster zones despite heavy rains since June. In the absence of more transparent information on the flooding, Chinese users of social media have begun uploading images of downpours sweeping up excavators and other large machinery at construction sites.
Last week, as floodwaters rose to high levels, human rights activist Jennifer Zeng uploaded a video showing a 700-year-old temple engulfed in water from the overflowing Yangtze River, Taiwan News reported.
The Guanyin Temple in Hubei Province survived the floods, according to the report.
According to Taiwan News, China may have experienced “displacement, seepage and deformation” of the Three Gorges Dam that spans the Yangtze River in Hubei province.
A Xinhua reporter stated on Friday three lower flood gates of the hydropower complex opened to let out “huge streams of water,” Taiwan News said.
Chinese residents downstream are suspecting more water from the dam have been released but authorities are not disclosing the developments, according to the report.
I say we align the incentives. If there are any payouts, they should come from the salaries or retirement funds of everyone who is making money off the vaccine. And we charge the principals with aggravated assault for causing significant health problems or even manslaughter for anyone who dies. And we ban them from working in medicine, research, and pharmaceuticals for life. The same goes for journalists and their employers if they publish glowing reports of the vaccine’s effectiveness or ignore harms. The same goes for all politicians who vote for fast-tracking the vaccines without following the usual safety and research protocols.
If those actions are insufficient to reform the system, then we’ll have to defund the pharmaceutical industry altogether. And the complicit MSM.
Whatever else is happening and no matter how we interpret the facts as we know them, based on the frantic actions in China it appears the professionals there are concerned about the integrity of Three Gorges and its ability to control this flood.
All told, more than 400 Yangtze tributary rivers have overflowed, with nearly 200 people dead and properties underwater.
Average rainfall is around 12% higher than last monsoon season. The economic damage from flooding is expected to reach 86.2 billion yuan ($12 billion), according to some government estimates made on Friday.
On Sunday, the AP reported from Beijing that authorities blasted down an entire dam in order to release surging waters behind it and let it run.
State broadcaster CCTV reported the dam on the Chuhe River in Anhui province was blown to bits with explosives early Sunday morning, after which the water level was expected to drop by 70 centimeters, or a little more than two feet.
Last week, the Three Gorges Dam opened three floodgates as the water level behind it rose more than 50 feet above the flood zone. Another flood crest is expected to arrive at the dam on Tuesday.
China’s military has been testing the strength of embankments and shoring them up with sandbags and rocks.
Over the weekend, firefighters and others finished filling in a 620-foot break on Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, that also caused widespread flooding into 15 villages, sinking grain crops in Jiangxi province under water.
As of late Sunday, the Huaihe River was overflowing as heavy rain is forecast in the region for the next three days, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management. From today to Wednesday, more strong rains will raise flood risks for rivers connecting to Three Gorges, though it seems that the heaviest or rains will end by mid-week, saving the world’s largest dam from further stress.
Floods are expected to pose a threat to parts of Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces this week, while heavy mountain rains will likely hit parts of Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, though this shouldn’t have any impact on the strength of Three Gorges.
The last thing China needs is for that dam to fail. Papering that over would be a bitter pill to swallow for Beijing.
Northern New England (self-defined) is having a potluck meetup at our house in Concord, NH on Saturday August 1 at 5:00 pm. We’ll be outside on the patio (except for trips to the restroom) for the whole time so this is “weather permitting.” We’ll eat about 6:00 pm so let me know what dish you’d like to bring. Send me a PM here or if you already have my email send it there.
For those who can’t attend in person, we’ll have another Zoom meeting at 7:00 pm. If you want in on the Zoom meeting send me your email and I’ll send you the electronic invitation.
As far as an agenda for the Zoom meeting, if you have suggestions for topics send them to me and I’ll get it organized.
Wow! I’ve never seen Alasdair MacLeod give dates for his predictions: dollar destroyed by the end of 2020 and a banking crisis starting as soon as a month from now (mid August). That’s ballsy. I’m as ready as I’m going to be for both a banking crisis and a dollar collapse, but I’d be curious to see why he “calculates” or guesses these time frames. Why can’t Federal Reserve and govt actions keep the charade going for 2 more years, or 5, or 10?
Way back when those videos were first starting to appear on the internet and here at PP, I remarked that as a police officer in a big east coast US city those kinds of collapses are part of daily life in a big city. I urged caution in interpreting them as Covid sufferers since they happen every day in big cities (like Wuhan – 11 million, Philadelphia – 1.5 million). Drugs, alcohol, heart attacks and strokes are the usual reasons. I haven’t seen anything since January trying to verify how often that was happening to people who had the Honey Badger virus, in the US or China (or anywhere else).
Karen, do you think if we get behind this plan that we could have a competent, rational, center government like Canada? 😂
I agree with JWhite. Let’s don’t talk about this political agenda unless it has something to offer about The Three E’s. Thanks for caring though.