March certainly turned into an interesting month!

March 31, 2013

I suppose watching a bomb tick down is interesting, as long as it lasts!  I think Cyprus proves Anne Barnhart correct “If you can’t touch it or defend it it is not yours”  I think the Cypriots as well as the rest of the EU are still in a state of shock and denial, which is why we haven’t seen much violence or mob action happen yet.  That can change very fast when paychecks stop along with food and gas deliveries.  There is a guy that posts under the name “ekm”  that is from a former communist nation and he made a very valid point that while humans can get data faster than at any time in history, our brains still need time to process and make sense of that data.

For myself it seems so obvious to get out of the banking system.  I have been saying that for at least a year if not longer but many of us preppers and survivalist types have been thinking and mentally rehearsing a bank closure/run up to an economic collapse. I think most of us are already stopped using the TBTF banks and have moved our banking to a local bank or credit union.  I’m not  sure many people do what I do and get all cash out of my account each payday and pay with cash except for a few bills paid over the internet.  We have already taken action or mentally rehearsed what we would do if _______  happened.  So we don’t freeze and go all “deer in the headlights” when something like Cyprus happens.

I believe when the historians look back at this time they will see Cyprus as the “trigger event” with 20/20 hindsight. That doesn’t mean things will now happen quickly. A good example is 1929 in the USA there was a major correction in the stock market in March and the banksters kept things going till October.  Ihave a bad feeling about this event being the warning that we have been waiting on.  Just like when a tsunami happens and the water rushes away from the beach and out to sea . It’s time to head for higher ground,  not pick up fish and seafood!

So what do you do? I think for at least the next couple of months you should keep as much cash on hand as you can afford in addition to your normal prepping purchases. If it is a choice between buying what you need and cash on hand buy what you need first and then keep cash.  Buy a good safe if you haven’t already and clean out your “safety deposit box” if you have one.  Those boxes can become property of the bank or government if they decide they need it.  My guess is the Government will go after 401ks and pensions before bank depositors because Americans are terrible savers,  but there is over 19 trillion in IRAs that the government could seize after a market crash, replace with T-bills and then give an annuity. Of course it would be only done to protect the consumer from the volatility of the stock market!

At this time I would not start buying  gold or silver unless you already buy a bit every month. If you have extra to spend get 6 months to a year’s worth of groceries, 30 days worth of gasoline for your vehicles, a camp stove and fuel. Rain barrels/water collection and a couple of good water filters. Seeds and get that garden growing!  Think of gold and silver being used as long term wealth/capital that will be used after the crisis has passed and people are rebuilding not for basics you can buy today with fiat paper.  At least short term “cash will be king” as we saw in Cyprus. The suppliers wanted Euros for gas and food deliveries not gold or silver!

I have been seeing some great deals in the mega marts on meat for example.  Albertsons has turkeys for 99 cents a pound and both Fred Meyers and Albertsons has a Rib eye roast for $5.98 a pound.  It’s a bit long for a turkey to sit in the freezer till the holidays a couple of 10-15 pound turkeys could go a long way for protein for a family for less than $30.00.  I will admit that a Rib-eye roast is my special treat.  For under $20.00 you can get 3 pounds of meat and feed a large family or myself for a few days and for about the cost of a delivered pizza.  With the drought in the Midwest and so many ranchers culling herds to save on feed cost I think it’s a good idea to stock up and preserve meat while the price is relatively low.

I have gone through many changes of my mindset as I have prepared.  When I started out it was because I got hit with a personal disaster and my thinking was if this happens again I will be ready. Then I started watching our economy and was less than impressed with our recovery. I started thinking about when the economy collapses. I moved beyond if to when because of math.  I think we have reached the point that is happening now!  Just like watching someone before the declare bankruptcy it starts out slow but then it moves very fast after that tipping point.

This is my thinking and what I’m doing to adapt to this very fluid situation.  My costs are still within reason and the budget has been constant though I have had to shift my spending from high price items I wanted to get to some cheaper items stocked up while folks panic buy.  It does no good to whine and complain about your plans blow up in your face because of some event outside of your control. This will happen and it will probably get a lot worse, so you need to learn to move with it, adapt and move forward.  I bet you don’t have all you need of any item that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Ammo and guns are expensive? shift to food.  Food is expensive shift water collection.  Everything is too expensive learn skills and practice them.  Humans survived thousands of years without electricity and your average Boy Scout has better basic medical  knowledge than most 19th or early 20th century physicians.


Odds and Ends for March and shopping with Mom

March 27, 2013

I took Mom shopping at the farm store and I picked up the 55 gallon drum for the beans this week.  Cost went up  but I think it is worth it for the seven year plan.  15-40 oil was on sale,  so another gallon was added to the shop. One more gallon of oil should give me enough for a couple of oil changes and topping off  the generators. The  next fluid to store for the vehicles is transmission fluid and then I can start on maintenance parts like plugs, wires and belts.  That should cover any minor stuff for the vehicles and generators.  My Lawn mower died last year and I have been searching on Amazon for an electric mower to replace it. Prices are not to bad on the Earthwork’s electric mowers and they have been getting very good reviews. I have the earthworks rototiller and I have been very happy with it’s performance so far.  Idaho’s electricity is almost all Hydro-powered, so along with a small solar generator setup I think electricity makes  sense when I can use it and save the gasoline for the heavy jobs that an electric tool can’t do very well.

Excited to see a blossom on one of my strawberry plants already.  I have the front beds ready but I think I’ll put the strawberries in a 18 gallon  “party tub/bucket”.  The Hops should arrive in April and will make a great summer plant to shade my big front window.  I will be putting in a “beer garden”  full of all kinds of plants for making and flavoring beer.  It will be very small scale but I like the idea of having all of the  different plants that go into beer production.  From grains like barley and wheat, hops and other herbs and spices you can use making beers and mead to add flavor. Plus I think it will be fun and a very unique project for me to try out.  I know I won’t be able to grow enough wheat or barley for beer production but the grasses will add an interesting visual element to the garden beds.  One of the ladies on the block did a garden based on colors,  I’d like to build some plant beds based on how the plants are used.

I will be moving ahead on the bean barrel if at a bit slower pace.  Because of Cyprus specifically and the EU overall.  I will be keeping a bit of cash on hand and working on projects that make me more secure from the PTBs.  Priorities will be cash on hand, energy/fuel I can  store in different forms as well as practice using them everyday.  If the world economies can last till May in the northern hemisphere and have a good harvest along with no “contagion” from Cyprus we should be okay until fall.  I know that is a lot of “ifs” to hope for from the PTBs and sheeples and I’m  aware when folks wake up they tend to freak out. All you can do is your best and adapt as things change.  You are different than me and if what you do makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside do it!  I don’t know why spending cash makes such a huge difference in my shopping compared to using a debit card. I have no idea why I can keep coins on hand and paper money is spent easily by me. I have stopped trying to analyze it and simply do what works best for me.


April shopping list

March 25, 2013

Cash & Carry has a few items that I want to add to my pantry. A case of distilled vinegar for $9.32 is a must as it is such a great multi-tasker. From cleaning windows,  preserving foods to vitamin C and unclogging pipes,  you have to work to find anything that can do so many different things so well.  Popcorn is on sale $8.00 for a 12.5 pound bag will be great for snacking and you can grind it into corn meal.  I don’t think a lot of people think about snacks when they prepare, but I think it should be considered an important  part of your storage plan! When I did my 2 months eating from just the pantry I really missed not having any snacks to eat and at this price popcorn is a great way to go. Lentils are $11.77 for a 25 pound bag and while I have put the seven year food project on stand- by until things settle down in Europe.  I’d like to get a bag since lentils are so rich in protein as well as doing some work on my food drums if at a slower pace.

The next big item I see is fuel and energy that you can store safely. Cash and Cary has a gallon of paraffin oil for $16.95,  other stores sell it for around $10.00 a quart. I want to get some of this for the 100 hour candle project I saw at Tactical intelligence blog. I think these would be great for friends/ family or barter if  the electric grid gets iffy. Add a homemade  small clay pot heater and small grill frame  and it could make a compact heater/cook stove setup.  I’m still playing with the idea to make a low cost frame for the stove/heater part. I think I will test a modified version of the wick and lid instead of straight cut in the lid something rounded that way almost any type cloth wick would work as a replacement.

My idea for using 2 buckets for the porta-potty is it would give it more height.  There were very few things I really hated more about my disease as being so weak that I could not get of the standard toilet by myself because of the lack of strength in my limbs. By having a taller toilet someone who is weak will have an easier time using it and for healthy folks it  won’t matter. For the kids you can just use a shorter bucket like the used Bakery buckets (3.5 gallon) I get at the stores.  I saw a very cool composting toilet on youtube and I have been thinking a few items could be added to the bucket to make it better without costing a lot of money. Computer cooling fans use about 1.5 -3 volts DC and now you can buy little solar yard lights at the dollar stores so a couple of those solar lights could be rewired to provide power to the fan and attached to a bit of flexible hose would exhaust smells and gases out a window or outhouse. Now you could keep the led lights or simply cut them out of the circuit depending on your needs. Having a few dim lights around the outhouse might not be a bad idea if the power is free and especially if you have kids. I also want to add a composting feature to start breaking down the poo as quickly as possible and takes very little energy. That is taking a bit more thought turning theory into something practical, somewhat simple/cheap to build and uses free energy via muscles, solar or what is renewable at hand.

I still have a couple of tools to get for my ideas but at least you get a glimpse of the idea and heck you might figure it out faster than I do and that is great. Theory is fine but to make it work on a practical level is a “whole ‘nother animal”.


I need a little motivation… Pipers give us a tune

March 24, 2013

 

 

 

Nothing special just peoeple with an idea and willing to sing out.  I understand if you want to keep a low profile and I’m counting on you to step up and help folks if I can’t because I’m so out there on the internet. I’ve made my choice on what I will do and it scares the crap out of me. I fought very hard for my life and will not give it up easy and I find I can’t go covert and I might be the first targeted by the PTBs.  Someone always has to take the heat round and hopefully they will see me as a very little threat because of my handicap.  If not we all got to die somewhere as much as I wish I was an immortal. Freedom and liberty is worthy of a death if not for me for the kids.


Got my strawberry plants and coffee cans are shrinking!

March 23, 2013

Got into Freddy’s fairly early and got my strawberry plants. They look good but I have to wait to put them in the ground until warms up a little more.  So they are sitting in the window until it gets warm enough to plant outside.  While I was at Freddy’s I decided to swing by the coffee aisle and see if coffee was $5.99 a can and pick one up. Well the FM store brand Supreme was still $5.99 but the higher end blends all suffered from massive shrinkage, from 34.5 oz. to 24 oz. per can.  Not much you can do about it unless you stop drinking coffee.  Since those other cans had shrunk I went ahead and picked up a couple of the big cans while I was there at the store.  Next check I’ll get another three big cans if they are still in stock.  If you are a coffee drinker I would stock up on you favorite coffee before they shrink the cans. You can get at least a year of storage from ground coffee if stored in a cool place. If you are thinking of using coffee for barter it a good idea to stock up and rotate.

A young couple was at the store getting strawberry plants and I think they got at least 10 as we shared out the flat of strawberry plants.  They were nice and were a like in me in amazement at the price of 49 cents a plant.  This  shows how being on a store’s email list and using the internet can save you a lot of money. It makes me feel good seeing others growing food for themselves especially the younger folks.  Our city has embraced urban chickens and now allows up to 10 hens, no roosters for us here, which is very exciting.  I’ve been thinking about having a few chickens though I get all the eggs I want and enough to store from Mom’s chickens. It’s something to think on, but I have enough projects I’m working on this year.

The rain barrels arrived early today which was very fast from Amazon considering I picked the free 5-8 day shipping.   I need to get the rigid barrel moved up front and setup the collapsible barrels on the north side of the house.  One more rain barrel to order for the RV and  think I can say I’m prepared for most water emergencies.  I have picked out a couple of spots for the “village latrine” and need to call the utility companies about digging and now I have a plausible explanation for digging deep. I’m playing around with an idea for a better poo bucket that is a bit taller than a single bucket and will start the break down of waste faster and produce less odor.  If the concept works that will add  another trade/barter item.

Keep moving forward and be ready for all of your plans to change at the drop of a hat.  You might as well practice your adaptability now and get used to having your perfectly rational goals blow up in your face.  Because it will happen a lot and will only get worse as the world gets more volatile.   Accept it and move along!


Good stuff happening at casa de chaos

March 22, 2013

I did have a some great things come together here at little house in the city.  I found two 1964  Kennedy half dollars while going through my junk silver. A very happy surprise finding (2) 90% silver coins when I thought all the coins were 40% silver.  While I put the seven year food drums on hold,  I found I have four years plus of my bulk foods after focusing on beans this month.  I surprised myself on the  amount when I thought how hard getting 6 months worth when I first started prepping.  Stored meat is looking to be good for the year with a nice variety,  canned veggies are okay but I’m looking forward to getting the garden growing.  Fred Meyer’s has strawberries in 3 inch pots on sale for 49 cents each the 22 & 23 of March. I’ll get a few for my new idea of a berry patch in one of my front yard beds.

Mom is making progress with her knee, though our crazy weather is causing a bit of additional pain. I installed Dad’s new wireless modem. It’s nice to be able to help him out after all the help he has given me. The early bill paying has been working out I just need to  make it a new habit on my budget.  Watching the Cyprus debacle and thinking how I would have handled what they are going through showed a big weakness in my short term planning for a lack of cash on hand.   I could have adapted okay and made my all my payments but it would have been a scramble to get it done.  One of my biggest goals of prepping is not having to scramble and partake of the herd mentality. I’m adding a few FRNs stored at home and going to work on paying one month ahead on all bills. If a my credit union shuts down for few days I won’t have to worry about late fees for 15-30 days depending on what date it happens.

Everything that happens in the world as far as disasters go,  gives me a chance to put my self in that situation and figure out how I would deal with the event.  I would have been less prepared than I like,  if it had been my Credit Union had locked it’s doors for 11 days (so far).  So the food drum project goes into standby mode and I focus on cash on hand and how I would pay bills.  If savings accounts paid any interest paying bills ahead would be a dumb idea.  Today’s  ZIRP via the Fed it now makes sound financial sense to pay ahead on bills. I’m going to hold on to cash a bit longer too see if  Cyprus is just a warning or grows into a “Black Swan”.


Still thinking about the best way to adapt to our “recovering” economy.

March 21, 2013

My faith in the PTBs fixing the economy is sadly lacking. Even if they decided to fix the economy there would still be a lot of pain, sacrifice and misery for a couple of years at least.  If you have tried to get out of debt you know what I’m talking about it being a lot of work.  Oh it’s great once you start seeing fewer bills and nasty grams from creditors, and then it  still sucks because you are just getting started! If  you have gone debt free you know you have to cut your costs to the minimum to get by not based on what you want to have as your wants got you into debt in the first place.  Well the PTBs don’t want to cut down to basics to get out of debt and since no one has refused them credit yet,  they must be doing fine!   Like most humans they won’t change until they are forced  by getting knocked down to rock bottom and not getting bailed out.

So I figure our elites will continue to play “kick the can” until the run into a wall or over a cliff. This is no longer an issue of if or when it is happening now simply because of math. I know most of the folks that follow this site and others have done at least some prepping and I hope you have worked up to six months or more of the basics on hand and you know how to uses what you have stored and have used it a few times if not daily.  If not it is time to get some practice done using your preps.  Do it now while you still have time to screw up and replace items. Do you have Heirloom seeds to grow your garden or set up a small container garden if you have limited space? If you can’t do that are you ready to preserve food via drying, salting smoking, pickling and canning what you can by at the local market. Vinegar and salt are cheap right now along with most spices. While sugar has gone up in price it is a great multi-tasker and if bought in bulk is only 50 cents a pound.

Got clean water?  Quite a few of us American could afford to miss a few meals but one day of going without clean drinking water would incapacitate us and 3 days without water would kill most people.  You will have to force yourself to take the time as well energy to make safe drinking water if you run out of stored “safe” drinking water.  Typhus, Cholera and a host of all kinds of waterborne diseases is terrible to think about but they are very real and happen fast in a compromised water situation.  I think in an economic collapse water would still flow from the tap but it might be a bit iffy quality wise or need to be sanitized/purified. Think filters, bleach and heat for boiling water at a minimum.  Think about adding some drink mixes, coffee, tea and a non electric coffee maker. I like the “French Press” type rather than a Percolator coffee maker as there is no boil over potential with the french press  and they are a bit easier to find in most mega marts for under $20.00 and work great for loose leaf teas or herbal tonics.

Energy is a bit tougher to store but I have got a few small power paks as well as a few solar lights and panels that can work along with the car battery and a gas generator for short term. I think we might face a few brown outs or even electricity rationing at odd hours but if the PTBs provide a few hours a day that should keep the fridge and freezers going most of the time and the generators will be a backup for energy intensive appliances.  Camp stoves, solar ovens,  rocket stoves, and grills should have as much fuel as you can safely store.  Clothes pins some strong line/rope for a clothesline should be something you are already doing but if you are behind the power curve the dollar stores offer plenty of thin line/rope and clothes pins so you can catch up for a few dollars spent.

The tough issue, how do you pay your bills if your bank account is shutdown for 10-30 days?  Ironically there is usually a physical paper fiat shortage when economies get shaky as all electronic transactions are easy to shut down.  It has been reported that the Cypriot banks will not open again until the 26th of March can you imagine your account is locked  11 days without any notice?  The PTBs will limit how much people can have of their own money. I think a lot of those Cypriots are still in a state of shock and are trying to convince themselves that soon everything will get back to normal. But deliveries are not getting made to stores because the suppliers are insisting on cash payments and the stores themselves are not accepting credit card payments.  This is going to be a very long weekend for Cyprus but until I see what happens on the 26th and the following days I can’t recommend more than trying to keep cash on hand.