It’s getting a bit angry out there in the USA

August 31, 2011

     I’ve have had quite a reset since I started preparing. I think I’ll always be a bit of a conservative or perhaps libertarian in my mindset and I’m former Army that believes in taking care of  problems at the lowest level possible. But I have changed. I don’t simply discount what someone says because they are not spouting my correct political line. I’m not sure what I am political speaking though I know i used to be a Reagan Repub,  then a conservative. Now I guess I may be classified as a Constitutionalists or Libertarian.
       But I think Ron Paul is incredibly naive for man is 70’s. I find it odd that a man that believes so much harm and evil can be perpetrated by fellow US citizens at the Fed and the Banks. Will not believe the same kind of thing is done by folks that see the USA as an enemy. I do believe in T. Jefferson’ s as friend to all but ally to none. So do we kill NATO, how about SEATO or repudiate all Doctrines from Monroe forward? Kick out the UN or dissemble it because it won’t survive without US money. It will go the way of the League of Nations. How about the IMF or the Hague and the world court? I’m not against these things happening I just don’t think Paul has thought of all ramifications if he gets his way.  It will hurt the USA and unless we are willing to be self-sufficient the World economy will punish us.
     Can we afford to cut entitlements and defense at least 10%-30% which is a best scenario guess on costs. I can get if we go to a gold standard my pension won’t stay the same and will go down even more in buying power. Because Gold will have to go up to keep up with all those dollars that have been printed and held as a reserve. I can eat 30% deflation easily, I could survive 50% but I’m odd that I’ve planned for an Inflationary or deflationary event. My parents would have a very hard time absorbing even 10% change in buying power. They are solidly middle class and if you think that’s bad drop all entitlements by 30%-50% and see how folks like that? This unemployment to food stamps. If you are on unemployment I’m guessing you are just getting by right now . Take 30% away I’m guessing you won’t make it and will be living in a tent if you are lucky.
    This is a best case scenario, the banks have over 62 trillion in credit default swaps and nothing but MBS liar loans, bond holders and taxpayers and possibly another 221 trillion in obligations,  keeping the wolf at bay in the west is getting very hard. China is fighting inflation and sooner or later those folks that manufacture an Ipad will demand wages to buy an Ipad.  It’s already happening in China though they keep a tight lid on news and shoot rioters.
It’s global, get some food now and be ready. I’m happy to be wrong and the PTBs are right. I got more stuff to get to put me on the Homegrown terrorist watch list like buying solar panels.


Wow what an interesting week for me

August 31, 2011

       I do have a few little cherry tomatoes turning red on some volunteer plants. Got some plums from a nieghbor. I’ll be freezing and she has said I can come pick some more if I want them. The yard sale is done and I made about $20.00 not a lot but I’ll get another 4 # of butter, a can of coffee and some snacks for the pantry.  I’ll take some of the stuff to Goodwill and hopefully help some other folks out. I went and got a roll of quarters for the yard sale.  I’ll break in half and put $5.00 in the BOB and $5.00 in the RV for laundry, coin op machines and parking if needed. No more yard sales for me, though I did get a nice little multi-band radio and made a little money.
As per previous post tested the cheap solar oven was a bit of a bust for baking bread. But I’ll try to make it better. So another test tommorrow and I know I can use it for heating water for cleaning up or soaking tired muscles.Getting up to 150+ degrees of heat totally free, is nothing to sneeze at so it’s worth the effort. If I can get at least the boiling point of water I’ll be happy. 350 degrees I’ll be estatic!  I’ve got a couple of refinements in mind that should be both easy and cheap to do with what I have on hand.
    I’ll gotta start getting the RV ready for a camping trip for mid-Sept. Clean up and a few other ideas I have floating around in my head for storage and layout/load plan. Re do the BOBs and Bugout buckets list,  recipes and sustainanabilty away from home if ordered to evacuate. That part of my plans still needs a bit of work. All in all I’m pleased on how it’s coming together and how one plan can be independent but work well with others.

Totally excited, New stuff to try out. Updated

August 29, 2011

Looks like I got a nice and warm day to try out the “Redneck” solar oven. Bread is made and will rise over night in the fridge. The solar oven is basically those heat reflectors for your front windshield,  a large oven bag for cooking Turkeys during the holidays, a cooling rack and some support structure. The inststruction recommended a bucket. I’m going to do a bucket and some cement blocks. I bought a couple of grill thermometers and will see how much heat is generated.
     If this test works I will have a solar oven that costs under $10.00. If it can bake bread it will cook other foods. If I get the temp over boiling point I’ll have safe water. Not a perfect answer, but a cheap one to try out. Investment so far $2.00 in oven roasting bags, $2.00 in solar shades. I have glue, velcro and buckets already on hand. Let’s say a solar oven for about $10.00. If it works? If it doesn’t you still have a  couple of solar screens and at least 1 roasting bag.
Didn’t work out, the bread just kind of puffed up and then deflated. Top temp was about 160 degrees F.
I’m going to try again but I’ll be useing a Stryofoam shipping cooler as the support structure and hopefully the additional insulation will help keep the temp. up.   

I’m not worried about Hyper inflation or Deflation.

August 27, 2011

Why aren’t I worried? Because I’ve bought my food and fuel already. Okay I can’t really store enough gas for a year. But I can buy an adult trike for shopping and stretch my fuel farther. Now food on the other hand I can store for several years if I buy right, grow a garden, preserve and take advantage of sales.
     Hyperinflation is not your freind even if you are in debt. Your wages will always lag behind the cost of living. If your on SS or a pension you won’t make it. It will not rise with the REAL cost of living. But if you have put food away you can make those $100.00 loaves of bread instead of paying for them. If deflation happens you get more bang for your buck and can buy more stuff.
Theoretically SS in 1962 was equal to about 2 oz. of gold of buying power. I get 1/2 oz. of gold’s buying power on my monthly check.  It’s not that gold is worth so much, it’s that paper dollars are worth so little. That’s inflation and that’s why the PTBs love it and hate deflation. It’s a hidden tax.

Are you taking all the warnings to heart?

August 25, 2011

    I do consider the Earthquake in CO. and VA. a warning. Hurricane Irene is a warning. The markets and economy are also warning us to be prepared. Earthquakes don’t just happen in Cali.  Floods, droughts, storms of all sorts can happen anywhere at anytime. A home fire, a car accident that lays up the bread winner, a layoff happen all the time and it’s an emergency for you!
     Everybody on the East coast should have topped off gas and prepositioned your go bags (BOB) in your car or next to it ready to load. Checked flashlights and bought extra battries, If you can afford it you might make reservations at campground or hotel inland, (you can always cancel if you stay home). Do you have copies of insurance, DL, current photos of pets and family members? Do you have a number you can call out of state/area where you can check in and say you are safe? If you are using a cellphone text instead of calling that will help keep lines clear for Emergency calls.
    Remember surviving the storm is just a start. Most power will be out and maybe out for sometime. Food deliveries could be slow because of debris, damage and flooding for up to 2 weeks. If your windows are broken can you repair or have you bought some sheets of wood for make-shift storm shutters? Get some plastic or tarps to do some make shift repairs and keep stuff dry.  The Storm surge could take out sewage treatment plants so be ready! Is your home clean? Get that dishwasher and Laundry done now!  Do you have pics of your hi-end items for the insurance adjuster?
      Everyone else not in the “Cone” you need to do a test of your preps. Where are your BOBs, where would you go, are your pets prepped to go with you? How long will it take for you to load at least 10 gal. of water per person, 10 days of food, cooking and sanition per person? Does your BOV have enough gas to go 3 hours/ 150 miles? (think stop and go traffic) What if all the TBTF banks are offline and your Credit/ Debit card doesn’t work? JP Morgan is handling a lot of the SNAP cards, what if they stay offline for a week and you can’t go shopping on the 1st? Is your life on your PC?  Have you a backup of your critical files that can go with you?
    I don’t think this is Armageddon, and we have to go all Mad Max on folks. But I think you can see how a storm or earthquake can kinda screwup your everyday plans. Plus after watching Bloomberg and your city workers after the blizzard I don’t have a lot of faith in them being proactive on repairing any damage.

The Perfect (Economic) Storm

August 22, 2011

All of the markets are so manipulated right now that you can’t expect fundamentals to work correctly. Many folks have emptied their 401k’s because  emergencies have come up or they are paying down debt. It did not help that several Governments including the US have raided pensions to keep themselves afloat. This creates a few of problems:

  1. Fewer average Americans have a real stake in how the market is doing.
  2. Low volume in the market makes any swing higher or lower has a larger effect on the closing bell
  3. The use of computers for pattern recognition of the market creates buy and sell orders in a matter of seconds and it happens so quickly that no human can intervene.
  4. Lastly everyone is becoming a day trader. Instead of parking some money in a stock and receiving dividends everyone is chasing the “Next Apple,Google or Netflix”.

Comex is suggesting it will hike the margins for gold like they did with silver so that will keep a lid on gold for a bit, but Hugo Chavez is taking his gold back from the storage vaults of BOE and JP morgue, and some folks expect that those banks may have a difficult time getting that much physical gold together.

The USA and EU have sent most manufacturing jobs overseas for cheap labor, but people with low pay service jobs/welfare can’t really buy anything but the basics. In China, Brazil and other 2nd tier economies the workers know they make the cars, Ipads and phones and want higher wages to buy some of the things they manufacture. This is starting to create unrest and we will see supply interruptions and higher prices.  

I think what will kill the system is all Credit Default swaps. (CDS) Once a couple of the TBTF banks and or countries fail/default  the CDS will cause a cascade of failure. Just look at Bank of America selling off its divisions trying to get some liquidity.
Right now the markets are doing a remake of 2008. But instead of TBTF banks going down it will be countries as well.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  1. Have your food and daily supplies ready for 6-12 months
  2. Get out of debt as quickly as you can. Get your living costs as low as possible.
  3. Don’t time the market. If you are thinking of purchasing gold and you don’t have the first 2 items taken care of,  you are a fool. For the price of 1 oz. of gold you can easily get all your food, security and supplies for a year. You can buy a hell of a lot of Beans, rice, grains and ammo for $1900.00
  4. Your emergency fund is cash on hand not a credit card or loan. I’m all for local Credit unions and small banks for holding higher amounts but keep enough physical cash on hand for a couple of weeks of basics. If there is a bank run, Cash will be king!  Most likely no merchants will accept debit/credit cards or checks and ATMs will be emptied.

You will be on your own the government will have their hands full just dealing with the chaos of a financial meltdown. Depending on when it happens SNAP cards may not get filled because the JP Morgue now has the contract on filling those cards with digital money.  You must be ready to protect yourself and stay away from all stores for about a week. That will give the riots, looting and anarchy,  time to burn itself out.

Hopefully I’m wrong again and the financials will get back on a sound basis. The Governments will start working on the debt and deficit spending and not kick the can down the road. 
Which do you think is more likely to happen?

Great deal CBS retire at 38 and get a 40% E6 pay.

August 20, 2011

$1400 a month that is a fat pension for an E-6?. Trust me no E1 are going to be E1 for retirement as the military does up or out. How many of you must prove your physical fitness? Run at least 2 miles, PU and SU and usually a bit more to keep your job? How about starting your day at 6:30 am finishing at 5:00 pm in garrison at best. Or after a terrorist attack you do 12-20 hour days on guard duty no weekends or holidays.  Or you are ordered to a warzone and go all out for 3 weeks and you get about 15 hours of sleep for that 3  months. We have been at war for over 10 years and multiple deployments. CBS if doing 20 in the service is so easy. Why don’t folks do it? Because it ain’t easy!
I loved the Army and I’d have retired if I wasn’t medicaled out at 13 years.F *** you CBS. We don’t expect special treatment. If you have a problem with wars talk to your Congress critter. The Military caries out orders from the civilians, they don’t make the orders.
    Military is your cheapest government worker. You got a problem with pensions look at your GS workers or congress critters and what they make after 5 years of service. It’s so freaking easy CBS why aren’t you signing up for a tour of duty ?It’s easy according to CBS. I was Army I’m geussing the Marines were a tad more physical. No I didn’t serve in a warzone. Yet I crushed 3 vertabrea in my back, blew out both knees, Tendonitist in 2 shoulders and carple tunnel in elbows and hands. Hell I didn’t even get shot at or blown up by the enemy.  I did it all in training. So do 90days of real duty CBS before you state joining the Military is a cake walk and an easy retirement at 40 years old.

Cleaned up the house today!

August 20, 2011

    Okay, I know that normal for most folks, but I wiped down walls and the lower cabinets, scrubbed floors and vacuumed floors,  filters and behind the fridge. Scrubbed 2 cases of beer bottles and placed food and spices in canning jars. I like the look of canning jars for kitchen storage and they are practical as well.
    Ordered 2 ceramic water filters and my reloading setup this week. This was my month to concentrate on some equipment  I wanted and it went on sale so I got it.  Mom’s Solar set up is just about complete, just lacking a big  inverter and it should be here next week. Dad did the  work on the setup. I think he is starting to see some of the positives of Solar energy.
     I keep forgetting I’m the odd one and not “normal”. I think everyone should think like I do about politics, the economy and other stuff, and they don’t. Most of my family is much closer to “normal” than me and my Mom. We have stored the basics and then some for the the rest of the family. I’ve only got about 5 more gifts to buy this year for birthdays and Xmas.  
     But it’s all good, cause I’ve never been normal, and I like it! It takes a hell of lot of courage to be different. I’m no hipster to have to prove I’m different. I’ve never been cool and never followed the crowd. Just contrary I guess. On any day on the freeway you have seen “Normal”. It’s overrated!

I got a good bit accomplished so far this month

August 18, 2011

      Found some great buys this week 2 brand new women winter dress coats at the Macy’s outlet $6.00 each. I think these will make great gifts. So all of the gals in the family will get either sweaters or a coat. I already got a few little knick knacks and fun gifts covered.  About all I have left is the kids (3 grand nephews) and my Dad and he is hard to shop for.
Big day internet shopping  day got 2 gravity fed ceramic water filters(sportsmanwarehouse) and my my reloading kit (lee anniversary kit). I think I only have a solar panel set up and I should be set on all major purchases I want. Solar panels are coming down in price and I hope they go a little lower this fall and winter time frame. For a couple of hundred bucks you can get a nice little solar set up and keep some lights and low wattage stuff going.
    I’m not gloating, but I’m proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish in about 3 years on a small budget. You can do it as well. I’ve sacrificed some giving up debt as a way of life. But it’s really paying off now. You can get a flat screen 32″ TV for as low as $225.00 new. Instead of the $400+ when they first came out and now I can easily swing that cause I don’t have credit card/debt payments and interest eating me alive. Plus I’d admit to some unholy glee knowing I’m not filling the pocket of some bankster, utility company, or some crony corporation by paying cash, getting stuff second hand, growing and preserving my own food.
   A lot of this preparing does involve doing thing for yourself and learning new skills which I really enjoy. From baking bread and canning  to reading and researching ways to do things. Some folks I think get a bit crazy cause prepping never ends. But I enjoy always tweaking my plans and the next challenge. I guess I have moved from the mindset of “Now What?” to embrace “What will I do or learn next?”.
     For me prepping is an Adventure, not easy,  if simple. Always learning something new from the high tech to the low tech and making it work together.

Canned bacon and bottled butter

August 16, 2011

I have found something that is more tedious than waiting for water to boil after adding LME for beer making. It’s waiting and adjusting an electric burner to get the pressure correct on a pressure canner. With the additional incentive that a canner can blow up and all the wort can do is make a mess. So off to the new adventure….
    How I canned bacon:  I got 4# of Albertson’s thick sliced bacon (my favorite) and rolled some in parchment paper and a cut up brown paper bag. I wanted to see if I had a preference. Any where from 12-14 strips seemed to be a good size for a wide mouth quart canning jar. Lay out paper, bacon then paper and then folded in half. parchment paper will allow you a few more strips than the brown bag. I live at altitude so I needed 12 # pressure for 90 minutes, my stove really seem to like 13 # of pressure compare to 12 #. I’d rather be a bit overpressure than under for processing meats. Anyway 4# of bacon = 4 wide mouth quart jars. I had my little instruction guide that I referenced from start to finish to make sure I followed all the steps for safety. I also had another job to keep me in the kitchen so as not to get bored playing with the heat to keep the pressure at the correct level. Trust me you are committed to paying close attention to your canner if you want to be safe. So I bottled some more butter.
       Bottled butter the sequel: I used 1/2 pint wide mouth jars this time instead of pint reg. mouth jars for a couple of reasons. If you have use reg. jars it’s hard to get at some of the product, and if we are looking at a lack of electricity a half pint of butter is used rather quickly after opening and should not spoil even without a fridge. Plus I think they may make good gifts and barter items. I prefer small amounts for those kinds of things. 5# of butter will do about 6 pint or 12 1/2 pint jars, with just a little left over. If  some of your jars don’t seal, just put in the fridge and use first.
I used a combo of info for bacon, Enola Gay, and the folks at Rural Revolution for the basics on canning bacon. Kellene Bishop at www. for the bottled butter. If you want to do any of this search their websites on how and why you should do butter and bacon yourself and add it to your preparing.