Friday, May 23, 2008

Gardening and the Cost of Fuel

Okay, Tim d, the new profile photo is up. It's not exactly a current photo as it was taken a few years ago but I'm looking a bit tired in it having just completed an epic (for me) ride. So the way I figure, the fact that I'm looking a bit worn out in the photo should make up for the reality that it's a few years old and it should give a good approximation of what I look like. But then, you only see me at work and I'm always tired at work. Um, speaking of blog photos...Tim, Rob? Oh yeah, Tim...I just saw yours tonight...sweet.

With Tammy's new job our schedules don't mesh as nicely as they used to...definitely going back to Friday/Saturday off next year. I took off Wednesday from work so we could take our annual trip together to Gerten's Greenhouse and buy the bulk of the flowers for our gardens. This is the longest we've waited to put our flowers in but since this spring has been so cool we didn't feel like taking any chances with frost.

It's always a lot more work planting our flowers than I think it should be. This year I needed to add thirty, 40lb bags of top soil to the gardens. What seems like it should be a one day job easily stretches into two days of effort. I did get sidetracked along the way this year.

I woke up Thursday morning to the sound of water running. I wasn't sure where it was coming from but I'd soon learn. I looked out the den window to check the status of our bird feeder and I noticed the ground was saturated with water. I walked outside to find that one of the main lines from our underground sprinkler had sprung a leak. I didn't need that. I shut the water off and got busy digging down to find the problem area. This sort of thing isn't uncommon but usually the problems with the sprinkler are from heads which go bad after a few years and need to be replaced. I recall thinking somewhere during the repair that if I could just win the lottery I could forget about ever having to do this sort of dirty work again.

It turns out a root had grown under the water line and put enough pressure on it to cause a split.

Switching gears...

A few times a week I'll take the pups to the dog park ten miles away. I figure with the cost of gas it's easily a $5.00 trip each time vs just going for a walk around the neighborhood. It's worth it to me to let them get out and run around but it also represents the first time I've found myself reconsidering my driving habits.

It's a bit unnerving to watch the price of crude oil blow past the $100 per barrel price to around $135 where it's currently at. Our society has staked its future on this one commodity. Without a free flow of it we could easily find ourselves in a position unlike any other time in our lives. No blood for oil? Oh, I don't know about that. I can think of plenty of reasons to ensure a free flow of oil but having gas in my vehicle to get me to the dog park wouldn't be one of them.

When I supported Bush going into Iraq, oil was the main reason I could think of for going in although the administration claims it had nothing to do with oil. WMD. Yeah, right. Having Saddam in control of the 2nd largest oil field in the world was reason enough for me and I do understand that the US gets very little of its oil from Iraq.

I don't think it's any coincidence that the world is dependent upon the most unstable part of our planet the oil we all need to survive. God either has a sense of humor or it's His way of causing us to learn to get along with one another but that's just my simpleminded way of thinking.

I'm as guilty as the next person for enjoying cheap gas to the fullest my entire adult life. I recall the lines of cars at gas stations in the late '70s but it didn't affect me as I was in the Navy and didn't own a car. Are we headed for those days again or will the availability be there but at a steep cost? Actually, I don't drive all that much. If I were to subtract the miles I use for getting to and from work I easily put more miles on my bike each year than I do in our other vehicles combined. I suppose I should qualify that statement by saying that I ride a bit more than the average joe. That's not to say that there aren't some unnecessary automobile trips I could eliminate.

I was watching CSPAN today while I got ready for work and they had a panel of oil company executives being questioned by members of the Senate. One number which stood out for me was the amount of profit being realized by one of the oil companies. It was ten cents per gallon of gasoline. It's possible that that's an excessive amount but I have no way of knowing. The number which followed was even more interesting and that is that oil companies are only making 25% of what the US government charges in taxes for every gallon of gas. Something to think about when trying to put this in perspective.


Pdog said...

I think I'm getting more for my fourty cents a gallon from the government then I get from the ten cents a gallon the oil execs get.

Kevin said...

Maybe...maybe not. I don't know what a fair price is for profit off one gallon of gas. What is more obscene...the amount of unnecessary driving we do which leads to greater profits for oil execs or the profit they're making?

I'd be curious to know how much revenue is generated through fuel taxes and how it's spent. My guess is I'd be more upset with the way the government is wasting my money.

Tim said...

So are you upset with your credential card, or does that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

'Sides, the current administration is enabling lots of people to get rich at the expense of the taxpayer these days besides the oil companies. They're called "contractors" and lots of them are in Iraq.

Kevin said...

Oh yeah, the credential card. I haven't forgotten about them. And what are they for? I was actually pondering them the other day and it occurred to me that the sole reason for issuing them was so they could rub our noses in the words written on them that we are "privileged" to be air traffic controllers. Maybe so but management is a whole lot more privileged than we are to be paid what they're paid for doing so little. If the tax payers only knew.

Rob's Rants said...

I am unsure I believe the oil companies only get a dime...lots of middlemen in oil...shipping costs, pipeline upkeep, refineries, tankers. Lets see a breakdown because I'm sure the oil execs have openned all their books to public scrutiny.