So what happened yesterday? Stocks got hammered. Oil dropped 4%. Metals held their ground, but that’s no big deal. They often do well when the other investments tank.
Well, the April unemployment numbers were dismal. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1%, but it was because a ton of people quit looking for work. It was so bad, even the Associated Press reported (normally a cheerleader for the economy) reported that the figures were horrible, instead of cheering “Unemployment fell!” The percentage of the working-age population not in the labor force fell last month to 63.6%, which is the lowest percentage in the past 31 years.
I don’t follow this stuff as closely as I used to. For the most part, we’ve seemed to have survived the crash I suspected was right around the corner. Most of my sources predicted that 2012 would be the year of crash and burn, and it simply hasn’t happened. I quit trusting Bernanke and the mainstream economists when they wholly failed to see the 2008 meltdown. I’ve lost a measure of trust in my regular sources now that they predicted a meltdown that didn’t occur (reminds me of the old saying, “Economists have predicted 11 of the past four recessions”). I still think the meltdown will occur, but I’m more inclined to think it’s coming for my grandchildren than me. We’ll see.
My overall advice: Be prepared either way.
Aside: Drudge features a link to Zero Hedge this morning. Has my favorite underground blog (Zero Hedge) gone mainstream? I realize many wouldn’t consider Drudge mainstream, but I think he’s merely a bit right of the mainstream. Heck, he has consistently supported Romney, which is a clear sign that he’s been co-opted by the establishment.
My most novel investment of the year? My garden. I’ve spent about $300 in capital improvements: mini-greenhouses, grow bags, bags of peat moss and potting soil, big containers, etc. I’ll probably spend another $100 or so. I figure that the average golfer spends over $1,000 annually, not including amortization of his golf clubs. In contrast, I’ve spent less than $250 a year since taking up this emergency-prep hobby that I’ve come to enjoy. I thought a little additional investment this year wouldn’t be a bad idea. If things go as planned, I’ll pull hundreds of dollars of produce out of the garden every year, and most of my investments these past two months will last many years.
This year’s crop: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, spinach, cucumbers, zucchini, beans, peas, turnips, watermelon, and various herbs (dill, oregano, red mustard, arugula, cilantro, chives). I also have my little fruit garden: currants, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries. We’ll see how it goes. Right now, everything looks great.
Oh yeah, I’m also growing pumpkins. I composted over a dozen pumpkins last year after Halloween. So far this year, 20 pumpkins have sprung out of the compost that I spread on my garden. Most of them have been transplanted to peat cups and are awaiting transfer to friends and family. A few have been uprooted. The rest have been allowed to stay in the garden, since they cropped up where I want them.
If you live around here and want a pumpkin seedling in an easy-to-plant peat cup, let me know. I have ten and only five are spoken for.
Best find of the year so far: Unz.org. It features an unbelievable array of periodicals and other reading material. Check it out. I’ve bookmarked it.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList