Saturday, 25 June 2016

13:26 – Barbara has some friends up from Winston on a day trip. They plan to have a late lunch in Sparta and then walk around downtown.

It appears that one of our neighbors must have bought a new vehicle. We were sitting in the den after dinner yesterday when I happened to look out the front window as a horse-drawn buckboard drove up the road. That’s the first time I’ve seen that. It makes a change from the usual pickups, SUVs, and heavy trucks that roll up and down our road pretty much all day long.

Which reminded me of how dependent even rural Sparta is on shipments from outside the area. On an average day, I might see dozens of loaded tractor-trailers heading up US21 toward Sparta. Everything from UPS and FedEx trailers to beer and softdrink trailers to Lowe’s supermarket and Walgreens drugstore trailers. Because of the nature of rural living, people up here tend to maintain much deeper pantries than people in urban areas. Rather than keeping an average of three days’ food on hand, I’d guess people up here probably average ten times that much or more. Even so, the fragility of the transportation network and just-in-time inventory systems concerns me greatly. If those tractor trailers ever stopped arriving–and there are numerous interrelated dependencies in that system that might cause that to happen–this area wouldn’t starve, but the consequences would nevertheless be very unpleasant.

Speaking of deep pantries, the FedEx guy just showed up with the 26-pound pail of Augason Farms brown rice. When he opened the door of his van, he announced that he had a whole lot of rice for us, which he knew because he could read the label on the pail through the finger slots in the box.