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Our Long National Nightmare Has Been Wiped Clean

Living in Northern California means there’s a lot to hate to the south of me.

In Los Angeles Garcetti, the surprisingly still alive mayor, has announced the city’s going to be shut until August and that you can go to the beach but without a towel because ‘Wet sand, good. Hot sand bad.’

In the capitol of Sacramento, hundreds of CHP and other police protect Newsom, the presidential hopeful in the governor’s mansion, from the fateful day when caring citizens whose jobs and businesses he has destroyed haul him onto the lawn in front and floss him with a Sawzall.

Here, in Chico at the center of Rhode-Island-sized Butte County (220,000 population) we have 16 cases of the Chinese Flu with no deaths. As a result, we’re sort of cool to the whole FOREVER LOCKDOWN plans. It’s a sort of half-cool that still has the wearing of masks proliferating, lots gloved hands, confused shoppers actually waiting in line outside Trader (“Why spend less?”) Joes, and minding the One-Way signs in grocery aisles; the sort of half-cool that says, “Yes, needed or not, we’re doing the Chinese Flu Hustle.”

Throughout the last two-week-make-that-two-month “LEARN TO OBEY!” exercise I’ve been checking in on the grocery stores every day to see if the supply chain was holding. Yesterday I knew that for this niche in Northern California it was holding well when I discovered this:

And this was not during the “We Care Seniors Only Morning Hours” but at five in the afternoon when the store had been ravaged for a day. A glance at this made me anticipate the mountains of unused toilet paper rolls that will be going for pennies on the dollar at summer tag sales.

More important was when, curiosity aroused, I went to check the gaping black hole that has been ordinary flour for weeks. Surprise. Flour was back as well.

This is significant because flour has been absent for a long time. The “official” explanation was that “Americans are simply learning again to bake at home. ” This is just nonsense given the amount of stock flour supplied to the supermarkets in normal times. Drop a plague on America and you don’t have tens of millions of Americans suddenly turning out millions of loaves and pies and cakes and cookies to the extent that the supermarket cupboards are bare. I suspect that most of the flour supply chain was rerouted quietly to the commercial bakeries that push out hundreds of millions of bread loaves daily. After all, no toilet paper is something to joke about even while you are working that stack of paper picnic napkins down. Shelves empty of bread sends a very different message to a nation already afraid of the food supply failing. The message “No Bread” sends always translates in the first week of such a shortage to “Get your guns locked and loaded now.” In the second week, it means “Reload.”

I’m glad it hasn’t come to that. Especially since I lost my Washington weapons in the Paradise Fire of 2018 and have not been able to replace them as yet in the very anti-gun Gulag of California.

Yes, I’m glad it hasn’t come to that.

I’m hoping we’ll still be able to get toilet paper when it does. We’ll need it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • lpdbw May 19, 2020, 1:56 PM

    But is there yeast? We bought flour, because we actually do bake, but we forgot to get yeast.

    I’ve seen flour in the store, but no yeast.

    Our sourdough experiment was a failure. Fortunately, cookies don’t require yeast.

  • James ONeil May 19, 2020, 2:01 PM

    ” …lost my Washington weapons…”

    Of course you won’t replace them & the violin and cello cases in the corner? Why I find them ideal for storing old manuscripts, officer.

  • Rob De Witt May 19, 2020, 2:08 PM

    I suspect that most of the flour supply chain was rerouted quietly to the commercial bakeries that push out hundreds of millions of bread loaves daily.

    If that’s true, then why were the bread aisles in the same Venezuela-like condition throughout March and April? One of the payoffs for putting up with all the ongoing crap in California is the usual array of choice in the supermarkets, meaning I haven’t had to eat large-bakery conservative-loaded baked goods in decades. It’s coming back, but nobody seemed to have any answers to that question.

    For that matter, if some sort of panic caused hoarders to empty out the toilet-paper shelves, did that same panic empty the entire supply-chain at once? Too convenient for coincidence, I think.

  • James ONeil May 19, 2020, 2:09 PM

    lpdbw; Amazon sells yeast.

    You might also check your local homebrewing supplies shops, I’ve been told beer yeast makes fine bread though I prefer using mine to make fine beer.

  • Jewel May 19, 2020, 2:50 PM

    We had bread shortages, flour and yeast shortages. The bakery of the Big Ass Box where I once dispensed Type 2 Diabetes ran out of many baked goods. Since most of the products were frozen doughs and batters, I found it alarming. Everything in the store was 2 items per customer, including meat and medications. It seems to have improved but for the masks. I am told that employees are getting sick from wearing masks. One woman I talked to said some of the workers were getting light headed and often had to sit.

  • Gordon Scott May 19, 2020, 2:55 PM

    Good idea on the yeast, James. I use something a bit similar at CVS stores. They have not had thermometers in stock for weeks. When I hear them tell a customer this, I take the customer to the pregnancy section and point out the basal thermometers. More expensive, yes, and much more accurate also, but no customer has ever hesitated at the price. Ten bucks versus three, what’s it worth not having to stop somewhere else?

  • ghostsniper May 19, 2020, 2:55 PM

    LPDBW, I bought a POUND of SAF Red Instant Yeast for $11.99 here:

    Yes there was a shipping cost but the amount should last a long time.

    A couple good things have occurred around here because of this herd panic, mostly the ignition of fire under our asses on things we’ve been meaning to do. Things that make us a little more self sufficient and empowered.

    They say it takes 3 weeks of concentrated effort to create a good habit and break a bad habit. We’re doing both.

  • Vanderleun May 19, 2020, 4:03 PM

    Oh yes there was yeast. It had been gone for a while along with flour but is back now.

  • Mike Anderson May 19, 2020, 4:06 PM

    “…minding the One-Way signs in grocery aisles..”
    A sizeable proportion of San Antonians become Irish Democrats when confronted with those cute little pink one-way arrows in the grocery store aisles. While some just walk whatever direction they damn well please; I amuse my fellow shoppers by pointing my cart in the indicated direction, then moonwalk backwards against the arrow. I’ve even got my wife doing it. Bass ackwards resistance, I say.

  • Snakepit Kansas May 19, 2020, 4:37 PM

    At the local Sams and WalMartz in my AO of Wichita there has not been any yeast for a month. Meat selection is limited but you can still get seven pounds of chicken breast and a couple slabs of pork ribs, no problem. Nicer selections of beef are quite expensive. Sirloin near $10/lb. Rump ribbon, lunch meat and most everything else is readily available.

  • Jewel May 19, 2020, 5:08 PM

    I have noticed that chicken is just put in plain plastic bags. No foam boards. And a lot of different cuts aren’t yet available. I did notice that there is a huge upturn in business on the many farms here. You can buy beef, chicken, turkey, duck, pork, eggs, and all dairy products on any given farm here.

  • Gordon Scott May 19, 2020, 7:26 PM

    I have not seen higher prices for meat but I suspect there will be some. Several of the largest pork production plants are in or next door to Minnesota. They are shut down due to large outbreaks of the virus among workers. No one is dying, but they’re trying to tamp it down so production can resume.

    These plants take in thousands of hogs per day. The system is very carefully coordinated. When the plants can’t take them, farmers have no other place to go. They have to get those hogs out, because there’s a new bunch of piglets on the way. In many cases, the hogs just get buried.

    This has also happened to egg producers. One farmer and his wife got a call from the company that owns the chickens they feed. With the schools and other instutions shut down, there is far less demand for liquid eggs–the stuff that comes in cartons–and this farm’s egg production goes to that market. A group of men showed up and killed all the chickens, then hauled them away. Apparently one hen hid and survived.

    When this started people were asking: Can no one deal with these hogs? The answer is that no one can deal with all of them. There’s just too many. One could fill a frozen warehouse with the hanging carcasses very quickly. I asked the farmer from whom I usually buy my pork if he could do anything. He said he rents time on a production line, and has no way to deal with any excess beyond his own product.

    But at least one little meat market is doing something. Dave’s Meat Shop in tiny Foreston MN has geared up to process 90 hogs per week. One can order one or a few, and the price is $300 cut and wrapped. Hams and bacon are not cured, but I can deal with that myself. That price gets about 200 pounds of finished pork.

    I ordered two. I’ll donate one to a food shelf. Sometimes little things here and there can help, a little.

  • Gordon Scott May 19, 2020, 7:28 PM

    Oh, those big pork production plants? They’re owned by China, nowadays.

  • Christopher Leavitt May 19, 2020, 8:30 PM

    Tried to look up Dave’s in Foreston, and no joy. Couldn’t find it or any thing like it. Do you have a better address, e-mail or phone #. Chris

  • Casey Klahn May 19, 2020, 8:56 PM

    I’ve been mostly okay.

    Hoping that turkey will walk through the yard so I can fill that tag. Wild turkey has a large amount of meat. The freezer has only been gotten to 2 or 3 times for venison. tastes fine, even after many years frozen. Thankful the butcher went for the premium freezer paper, although I did pay the price for it when I had to.

    More on the hoof, if things get really bad.

    Don’t know what I’ll use to hunt with – maybe a sling shot or throwing arrows. Ahem.

    The worst of the grocery store problems were at first. Now, I read about further disruptions, but really have no idea what’s going on. I read the news, and usually believe the opposite of what I read. Like game hunting, you have to believe your senses and your intuition. If correct this season, use that knowledge next season.

    Seasons. If Biden isn’t really the dem candidate, then the dems are pissing away their valuable election season like a bladder-grieved sailor on shore leave. WTF are they thinking? My estimate is that they cannot stand long interrogation; they need to flash their candidate and his or her or it’s platform as quickly as possible. It’s very curious.

  • Annie Rose May 20, 2020, 3:41 AM

    Here in the gulag of Illinois, where a small business owner can be jailed for a year for trying to feed their family by opening up, we are still in hoarding mode. On very rare occasions, we can score a package of TP. Flour and yeast are still vacant from shelves. Hamburger went up by $3/lb last week. Meat is still limited to 1 pkg of each type and same for bread. Canned goods and whole/liquid eggs are scarce. My Ukrainian neighbors, who survived Chernobyl, told us of how they arrived in America years ago with their only rolls of TP safely stored in their carryon luggage, because they feared that there was no TP here just like in Ukraine. They were amazed to find long rows of stocked TP in every store they went into. We were incredulous at the time, trying to imagine what that would be like. Now we’re living it. We live in a community of immigrants from Eastern Europe. They are all putting in large gardens of vegetables, fruit bushes and fruit trees. At the garden nursery where one of my kids works, she sees the same. These people know survival and tyrannical government. We would do well to follow their example. My garden is planted, including containers on my patio.

  • Barry from Victoria May 20, 2020, 8:14 AM

    For a long time I could not get a good sourdough starter but a few months ago I finally succeeded. I believe the secret ingredient is buckwheat flour. Use equal parts of rye, whole wheat, unbleached AP, and a big tablespoon of buckwheat. Discard half and replenish every day until it starts to foam up fairly quickly. It will have a pleasantly sweet/sour odour. It works very well in the no knead recipe I adapted from the ‘net. Three cups of flour, one tsp of salt, water and a half cup of starter. Mix well into a gooey dough and let sit overnight. Remove onto a floured surface and slap it around a little until it forms into a nice ball. Put it back into the oiled bowl and let sit for an hour. Turn on the oven to 450 degrees with dutch oven inside for a half hour, remove the dutch oven and plop in the dough. Bake for half hour. Delicious.

  • Gordon Scott May 20, 2020, 10:13 AM
  • Teri Pittman May 20, 2020, 12:29 PM

    It’s dish soap now. Who knows why? The grocery store I use had beef again and some toilet paper. I think they are starting to get caught back up with resupplying toilet paper.

    I bought a food dehydrator. I’ll get a food saver next. I know how to do this stuff and I’d feel better with food stocks built back up.

  • Gordon Scott May 20, 2020, 4:26 PM

    One grocer asked me, “What the hell is up with pancake mix?” I pointed out that in that neighborhood the kids get breakfast at school. Whomever is watching the kids now has to make them breakfast.

  • ghostsniper May 21, 2020, 4:58 AM

    Commercial and residential toilet paper are diff.
    Until recently the production of both was about 50/50 then people got laid off and the percentage got heavily skewed to the residential. There is plenty of commercial paper and not enough residential. The paper companies can’t ramp up much cause the machines that do commercial paper are different then the residential. (Think of the large chrome commercial dispensers that mount sideways on the wall.)

    This of course has caused a shift in how the municipal sewage plants are working and the private systems that are connected to them. The commercial pipes are drying up and the residential pipes are clogging up. Basically, the shit has shifted. Location.

    The “traffic” through large, 12″ dia., commercial pipes has now been rerouted through smaller, 4″ dia., pipes and they do not accept the increase in flow well. Clogs are occurring. Believe it or not there is science behind the installation of waste pipes. 1/8″ per foot of slope has long been determined to be ideal for the keeping pipes clean and flowing. The percentage of solid to liquid waste ratio is such that the pipes normally self clean. The mornings are the worst time, when bowels are being evacuated with vigor there is not enough liquid waste being produced in that time period to keep the waste pipes flushed and the solids build up. Shit dams in pipes. The 1.8 gal/min toilets are not allowing the required amount of water to flow at one time to clear the solids. This is more true for the residences that have longer runs, say 75′ or more, from the “cleanout” to the main, or tank. So yeah, plumbers and sewer service companies are working over time.

    Those people that rifled their workplaces of the large commercial rolls are paying dearly for their crimes as that type of paper doesn’t respond well in a residential environment.

  • Gordon Scott May 21, 2020, 5:22 AM

    “Attention, citizen! Ve are here to search this house for contraband.”

    “But I don’t use any illegal drugs….”

    “No, no, citizen. This is much worse. Amazon has reported that you purchased a case of commercial toilet paper.”

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