There is a pause after the autumnal equinox when the nights are warm and limbs along meadow edges bend low with fruit. Among the first to ripen are Concord grapes, one of the most widely planted and oldest varietal grapes in North America.
These grapes feed a host of wildlife including bears, foxes, ruffed grouse, quail, wild turkeys and many species of songbirds. The unmistakable fragrance of Concord grapes carries so far that the best way to find them is with your nose. There are plenty, so don’t hesitate to pick your fill!
Their tartness makes them perfect for jelly: place five pounds of crushed grapes in a large saucepan. Add two cups of water, bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through cheesecloth, measuring out 5 ½ cups of juice. Place 3 ¼ cups of sugar in a large saucepan and stir in one box of low sugar pectin and the measured grape juice. Bring to a full boil, immediately stir in ¼ cup more sugar for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into 8-ounce sterilized glass jars and cover. Process in a boiling water bath for five minutes. Enjoy!
The Harvest Moon rises early this month, so named for the additional time it allows farmers in the fields to harvest their crops before winter arrives. The next full moon in 28 days is called the Hunter Moon for a similar reason: they could now hunt the barren fields and groves for their winter game to feed the families.
The Almanac is calling for a cold and wet winter across most of the USA. Since 1792 they have had a prediction accuracy of 80%+ each year. Perhaps today’s ‘climate scientists’ would do well to listen to their humble and august advice…
As for us who compose The Renaissance Group’s fall songfest, we have no skills - at prediction. We readily acknowledge this simple fact. We do, however, have the responsibility of awareness. Of trends. Circumstances. Concerns. Opportunities. Some may call this a worry. We think of it as staying aware of the financial and market conditions that may affect your hard-earned wealth and your comfortable retirement. Here are a few items to which we pay close attention:
- Unemployment is moving higher. New jobs are forming almost exclusively in the lowest paying service industries.
- If 30 year Treasury yields hit 5%, the last three years will have witnessed their 50% decline in value. The USD ‘safe harbor’ has become a cesspool.
- With interest rates continuing their rise, the 30+ years of low rates/low risk have dissipated. Risk can no longer be accurately priced.
- The US central bank now owns 31% of GDP as a result of QE purchases and Wuhan viral fiscal responses.
- Federal government deficit is 9% of GDP and spending is 44% of GDP. We have Never been at these tragic heights of spending our grandchildren’s’ inheritances.
- US monetary and fiscal excesses (MMT) underlie all inflation. Price, labor and commodity increases are the result - rather than the cause - of inflation.
- U S stock market returns have been driven almost entirely by the Magnificent 7 – the largest seven companies traded on stock exchanges. The Tech Monopolies are the fox in the chicken coop. They devour all they meet.
- Scarcity drives the markets now: oil storage is at historic lows, as is productive capacity; net zero is accomplishing just that - as a financial return.
- The US dollar continues to lose value globally. Renewed efforts by the ‘unaligned nations’ for a gold-based currency are rising.
- No matter who wins the next federal election, 50% of the country will be angry. This polarization may be the most troubling event since the Civil War.
My point? We pay attention. Less to the headlines than to the underlying stories. The facts, ma’am, nothing but the facts, as Jack Webb said on Dragnet, portraying Sgt. Friday of the L A Police Dept.
You have known me for 30 or more years. I am an optimist by my very nature. That’s how my mother raised me. She also said, ‘If you can’t easy something nice to someone, don’t speak.’ A good woman. I read Trends - Human Progress weekly and enjoy the refreshing pint of view. Its inspiration, Julian Simon, is one of my heroes. He is the fellow who bet Dr. Erlich in 1980 that the price of any basket of commodities would be lower in 10 years and won handsomely (although the foolish doctor refused to pay up). Matt Ridley is another.
I pay attention to the stories listed above not as a worrier but as a realist. If I worry about something, it rarely ever occurs…!
In closing, I offer these tidbits from a faithfully positive client:
We grew up in the 40s-50s-60s.
We studied in the 50s-60s-70s.
We dated and married in the 60s-70s-80s.
We ventured into the 70s-80s.
We stabilized in the 90s.
We got wiser in the 2000s.
And went firmly through the 2010s.
We have gone from the telephone with an operator to video calls to anywhere in the world, we have gone from slides to YouTube, from vinyl records to online music, from handwritten letters to email.
From live matches on the radio to black and white TV to HDTV...
We went to Blockbuster and now watch Netflix...We got to know the first computers, punch cards, diskettes and now have gigabytes and megabytes on our cell phones or iPads...
We wore shorts throughout our childhood, then long pants, oxfords, Bermuda shorts, etc. We dodged polio, infantile paralysis, meningitis, H1N1 flu and COVID-19.
We rode skates, tricycles, bicycles, mopeds, cars and now hybrids...
Yes, we've been through a lot but what a great life we've had!
Our generation has literally lived through and witnessed more than any other in every dimension of life. It is our generation that has literally adapted to CHANGE.
Always together, Always united, Always brothers/sisters, Always friends.
Love with Abandon!
John Graves, AIF, CLU, ChFC
The Renaissance Group, LLC
805.652.6942 fax 805.652.6930
199 Figueroa Street, Suite 101A Ventura, CA 93001
CA Insurance License 0689525
Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Investment Advisor Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a Registered Investment Adviser. Financial Planning Services offered through The Renaissance Group, LLC. The Renaissance Group and Cambridge are not affiliated.
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"These are the opinions of John Graves and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice."