COVID Garden Update 2020_05_10

Greetings SNH’ers, it has been a busy week at #realjob, but this weekend I was able to get into the garden and hopefully, work a few more improvements. I planted a few more of the tomato starts, we are now 15 total tomato plants at various stages.

I also took a healthy dose of lawn clippings and put them into the plant channels as a nitrogen booster. Ants are all over the place and other insects are eating everything. Mrs. SNH suggested another round of neem oil.

Here are some pics of the fun.

Whole Garden Picture

Investing: Taking a look at metrics: Beta

I haven’t done a financial post in a while due to the depressing view of how Covid has changed the market landscape. I am back on the horse and thought I would examine how some of the metrics work that you may see in your stock analysis profiles in your investment and retirement accounts.

The Covid effect on your retirement portfolio was an alarm bell for me regarding risk. Most advisors qualify stocks and people into 3 risk groups: Sometimes, you see some designations in between these 3.

  1. High Risk
  2. Moderate Risk
  3. Low Risk

These risk profiles help an advisor define the portfolio that you should adhere to for your financial goals. I fall in between the High and Moderate profile since I have a good recovery time. If you’re in the same boat, don’t fret over the Covid dip. I believe this represents a buying opportunity for long term investors. Since I don’t have a fiduciary to assist with our goals, I wanted to examine how some of the metrics like Beta might be an indicator of risk. For reference, Beta is a measure of how much your stock choice varies against the stock market as a whole. So, if the idea is true, then those low risk stocks will have a low beta, but also return a lower percentage of gain over time. Conversely, when the market is in a big dip, it is also likely that they will swing further that the market as a whole.

I took data from my IRA provider and graphed return vs beta for large and mid caps with a beta between -1 and 2. 574 stocks were returned in the filter. It looks like there is a pretty decent correlation between the total return (5 years) and the beta value as stated above. Of course, we should consider that we have been in a Bull market for quite a bit of time and this data also represents the current drop due to Covid 19.

With concern to risk, those who move less in the market also tend to have less total return (under 300%). Those stocks who have a beta above 1 largely represented the largest gains in the last 5 years.

There is some caution though as you examine beta vs risk. There are multiple factors that should go into making decisions about how you invest. I was surprised at a few really strong performers on the list like Microsoft who had a Beta rating of .95 and Ascendis Pharma (.94), but had one of the best returns of all the companies. This tells me that Microsoft and Ascendis are still a great play for both those with lower risk and maybe* those who want to see the potential for a very high return. On the flip side, some like Darden Restaurants have only returned 28% over the last 5 years and maintain a higher Beta at 1.2, but would not likely be considered an investment in my book due to the low return in what was a strong bull market.

The conclusion here is that Beta is a good metric to judge how your stocks might perform relative to the market as intended, but it doesn’t dictate what the returns will be. It also warrants further investigation since there are clearly outliers that might indicate very weak companies with low returns in largely positive markets such as Darden. I think that Beta will be a go-to indicator for stock selection, but needs to be combined with many others to form a personal score factor.

–Notice–

I am not a professional investment advisor and use this blog to examine ideas on my own accord. Do not use these writings as professional investment advice. I do not currently hold a position in MSFT, DRI or ASND.

Just some spring gardening pics!

Powdery mildew spotted on the zucchini. Treated with milk as a “home remedy” seen from other pages. Also added some diluted milk and water to some slow growing roma tomatoes.
A nice little jalapeno growing.
Yellow bell pepper changing from green to yum!

CV19 Victory Garden is Growing

Greetings SNH’ers,

Just a quick post to talk about our COVID 19 Victory garden. Since planting last week we have the following things popping up:

* cow peas (black eyed peas)

* okra

* green beans (pole)

* pickling cucumbers

* tomatoes (roma)

* 1 yellow zuchini

* yellow straightneck squash

* red onions

Harvested items this week:

*2 Bell Peppers

* about ½ cup of blueberries

I am a bit concerned about the beans in the grow bags since they are getting yellow leaves. It could be iron deficiency or ph imbalance.

Have a great week, stay safe.

View of the CV19 Victory Garden
The baby green beans popping up.

Corona, Corona, Corona

Greetings SNH’ers,

It has been a while since a post, mostly because a lot has been happening in real life! As the corona virus makes it’s mark upon the world, it is undoubtedly affecting you or someone you know. Since this blog focuses on finances, gardening and eventually the occasional fishing report it might be time to explore how I and the SNH family are dealing with it.

You may have noticed that food is in short supply at the grocery stores due to the panic caused by corona virus. It seems a run on toilet paper is in effct and you might not have gel alcohol based hand sanitizer. What are we to do!

Hopefully you had a great planting of winter vegetables and are seeing a harvest from your cold frames if you are in a cold climate. If you are in a subtropical as I am here in Florida, the oranges are in harvest and your spring garden should be in full swing! I am not yet harvesting anything out of it, but still maintain the goal that when we get to our permanent house we will produce about 1/3 of our own family food needs. In the meantime, find out if there are local farms that you might be able to get some fresh produce instead of your typical grocery channel. They can have great deals, don’t gouge and it supports your locals. We were able to score some great Oranges the other day from an ex-sunkist farm.

Just for fun, these are things we have growing: Bell peppers, Italian sweet peppers, blueberries, turnips, cantelope, a single zuchini, tomatoes, a few failing bush beans and cabbage. Oh, there are also a few bulb onions growing in a bin that we planted the other day as well as a handful of bunching onions that I threw into a grow bag with a blackberry bush. The truth is that the volume of these items is very small and we have poor soil, so if there was a genuine food storage issue, we would not be able to cover the need for the 6 people in our house. It is good practice for the next time. I’ll continue to learn how to read plants and ammend soil when it is “go time” for the bigger effort.

On the upside, the stock market crash has taken a huge tumble which represents a great buying opportunity! I can’t wait to get a big discount on some my steady dividend REITS and equity REITS. I am personally looking at putting into OHI, STOR or STAG as great stocks that kick out high dividends and have good upside potential. I also thought about O or FRT, but I still think O is overvalued even with the dip and FRT while attractively valued doesn’t match my growth need. Those two will make great income generators when I get close to retirement, but not now with my 30 year horizon to market exit. You might also be able to get into a good solar stock since solar is now a requirement in California for new buildings and you get to buy in at a low low rate!

While CV19 might be on your mind, remember to keep your wits about you, keep building, investing and growing. Think of fun ways to stay busy if you are on lockdown and help others when you can.

Wash your hands and say your prayers because Jesus and germs are everywhere.

Mr. SNH.

Passive Solar Heating

Greetings SNH’ers,

I am back with another good way to do things just a bit smarter. Passive solar heating ideas have been around for a long time. If you are new to the concept, then this might spur on a great idea for you!

Passive solar heating uses the sun to heat something without a 3rd party interruption. For example, a passive solar pool cover will help heat the water in your pool by focusing energy from the pool cover directly into the pool. A non-passive method might be using your electric pool heater with energy generated by the solar panels on your home.

Do you have a location around your home that is consistently a few degrees cooler that other portions of the home that you want to heat during the day? You can build a low cost passive heater for these kinds of spaces whether they be a garage, outbuilding or a spare bedroom. All you will need is a 2×4 frame, some clear plexiglass or clear corrugated plastic sheeting, black tubing commonly available at your local hardware store and a bit of time with your construction skills.

Step 1. Build a frame that can sit on the outside of your building that you want to heat.

Step 2. Cut a hole at the top and bottom of your building to support the in and outflow of air from your solar heater. The top will serve as a location for hot air exit, the bottom will serve the cool air entry into your heater. Some folks like to install a mechanical fixture to open and close the vents when they want to “turn on” passive heating in cool weather and “turn off” when weather is warm.

Step 3. Put your tubing into the frame. Weave the tubing from the bottom entry and wind it up to the top of the entry. This will allow the air to heat from the base. As the sun energy heats the air in the tubing it will rise through the tubing gaining additional heat through the frame. Once the tubing is affixed inside the frame, seal it with your plexiglass at the edges of the frame. If you are using the corrugated plastic method, ensure that the ends are sealed. “Great Stuff” sealant can be used for this purpose.

Step 4. Attach the cool side entry of your solar heater with another section of tubing to bottom entry of your building. Do the same for the top.

Step 5. Enjoy the great free heating you get during the daytime. The size of your frame and the volume of the space you intend to heat will determine your performance. I would recommend that an 8’x4’ passive heater frame be used for a 10×10 space for moderate gains. This is a very smart way to save some heating costs on your home during the cool spring and cool fall weather. It can also give your heating system a bit of help in the winter.

One great site with some good examples of a passive solar build can be found here: https://greenpassivesolar.com/2013/06/passive-solar-air-heater/. I like that they take the basic construction a bit farther and make the frame look like it belongs to the home.

This site, a bit more advanced, examines the incorporation of passive heating techniques in building design. This is a great read if you want to take the passive method up a notch. https://www.wbdg.org/resources/passive-solar-heating.

If you have any pictures of a passive solar heater that you have built, please share them!

MrSNH@snhliving.com.