Tuesday, 4 April 2017

08:58 – It was 53.5F (12C) when I took Colin out around 0715 this morning, sunny and breezy. Today is to be the only nice day this week, followed by colder weather moving in and precipitation changing from rain to snow.

Barbara just took Colin to the vet for his annual checkup. This is a busy week for her. She’s volunteering at the bookstore this afternoon and has various other stuff going on all week. Friday, she drives down to Winston for a followup appointment with her doctor. She’s staying overnight with Frances and Al, and returning Saturday. It’ll be WWaP for Colin and me while she’s gone.

Kit sales remained pretty strong through late March, which is later than they usually fall off the cliff. Usually, mid-February through early June is very slow, things start to pick up in mid-June, and sales boom between July and mid-September. Oh, well. We’re running well ahead of last year at this time, and we can use a break.

I ordered another dozen 28-ounce cans of Keystone Pork from Walmart yesterday, along with ten 28-ounce cans of Keystone Beef chunks. That’s all Walmart would let me add to my cart. My guess is that they limit cart quantities to on-hand inventory, so I may have wiped out their supply of both.

Keystone Meats is not a large company, and with both Walmart and Amazon stocking their products, I suspect they’re having a hard time keeping up with demand. Amazon, as usual, prices their products much higher than Walmart does.

Keystone sells their canned meats direct at $75/dozen ($6.25/can) for everything except beef chunks, which are $85/dozen ($7.08/can), plus $20/case shipping. That takes the total to $7.92/can or $8.75/can for the beef chunks. Walmart prices the 28-ounce cans at $6.28 each, or $7.74 each for the beef chunks. When I checked Amazon yesterday, they were charging $10.77/can for the stuff Walmart sells at $6.28.

I’m still considering canning our own meat. Doing that would be cheaper than buying commercial canned meat, but the real reason I’m thinking about it is that it would expand our selection. Almost all commercial canned chicken, for example, is white meat, but we could can our own dark meat, as well as stuff like sausage that’s difficult or impossible to find commercially.

Right around the time we moved up here, there was a new building being built out on US21, only a couple hundred yards from our house. It was originally a retail meat processor. Bring your own cow or deer or whatever, and they’d butcher and package it for you. Apparently, they didn’t get enough trade to stay open, so they’re in the process of converting it to a new business, the Alleghany General Store. Barbara is keeping an eye on it as a substitute for Lowes. I suspect they’ll continue the butchering/packaging part of the business, so that may be a good nearby source for locally-sourced bulk meats that we can can ourselves.

And the USPS carrier just showed up to pick up a kit. I was expecting Lori, but she had a new substitute running this part of her route this morning. Tina, a nice young woman, is learning Lori’s route so that she can work as a substitute when Lori’s off. She has an official-looking magnetic placard on her car door that reads “USPS feMAIL Carrier”.

* * * * *