Sunday, October 31, 2010

I know it's been a bit of Doom and gloom!

Trust me I'm there myself. It looks to get a lot worse before it gets better or at least stable. From what I am seeing the Fed is actively courting inflation perhaps hyper-inflation. http://www.zerohedge.com/
No you won't see these stories on the main-stream media. Just like you won't see the stories of banks and feds shredding your Mortgages note to repackage as a security. Or of the world food shortage that is causing prices to rise. If you have gone grocery shopping lately you have seen it. Honestly, has Jim Cramer of MSNBC been right about anything in the last 3 years?
Now hopefully you have done your MSP (Modified Stationary Panic) and are wondering what to do next...
Get basics now! Food, water, sanitation and security. If you have those items look at how you can get out of  the system. Grow your own food and meat or hunt.  Generate your own power, buy local and not from corporations. Make your own entertainment and turn off the boob tube. Ammo and gun prices are coming down a bit. Now is a great time to buy some of those items. Look at what rich folks and countries are doing.  They are buying commodities and PM's (Precious Metals). Hard assets, they are not buying up I phones or I pads but metals, wheat, rice and corn, Coffee and cocoa. Why do you think they are buying those things now? Do your own research.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flirtin' with Disaster

Gosh, stuff is hitting the fan, and I think that sucker has been turned up to high!
I really hoped we had more time to get prepared but heck I always hope that is the case. There is always more to do, more stuff to learn and more stuff to get.  I don't think I'll ever be as ready as I would like to be. Oh sure I can get by and have done it. I had a big vet bill and lived about 2 months without grocery shopping. Just my own little disaster. Let's just say you have a vet bill comes up that is equal to half of your monthly income. Well like most folks I would do anything for my dog if at all possible.
A few things I learned:
First have an emergency fund. I don't care if you start it off with $10.00. Start building one immediately and make it a part of your budget.  Use the 70,10,10,10 rule. 70% you live on, 10% for emergencies, 10% You pay yourself(savings) and 10% tithe/charity. Trust me there is a method to my madness.
  1. Can you live on 70% of your take home pay? If you can't why not? Is it debt? Do you have loans? Do you eat out a lot? How about you cable/sat tv do you have all the channels? Your cell phone, is it for communication or do you use it as a toy? Look at what you need as opposed to what you want. 
  2. 10% for emergencies; I use my dog as an example but it could be a major repair on a car or any number of minor emergencies that happen in life. 
  3. 10% for savings, Pay yourself, you work hard (I hope) for your paycheck. You are not machine. I believe all humans have a "Divine Spark" within them. Yes you deserve a few treats for what you do, just don't put it on a credit card. This way you control the money and don't become a slave to debt.
  4. Charity/Tithe: It can be anything church related or a cause you believe in. This has so many returns but if you give to the poor your not poor. You can call it Karma, or what "goes around comes around". But I have never met anyone who gives to charity and did not feel good about themselves. 
Now I don't know your financial circumstance. One reason I go with percentages. You may have to start off just getting to 70% budget to live on. It can/will be difficult. But in preparedness you must assess where you are and where you want to go. You won't hit the lottery and the bad stuff won't go away just cause you ignore it. "Don't Panic" I think we have about 6-9 months time to get the real critical needs at decent price.
But let's say I'm from the future and I say there will a bank run/ Bank Holiday on Dec.7th and you can't withdrawal any money  from an ATM, no checks will accepted at any store and all banks are closed for next 6 days. What would you do, what's a priority now?  You have a month to think about it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Trying to catch up on all the stuff going on in the USA

The Mortgage Crisis, don't be suckered kids this consists of more than few "paperwork errors" According to the Law this is fraud on a felony scale and system wide in the banking industry. We are looking at billions if not Trillions of dollars of losses that major banks will be sued for and the lawyers are lining up to get a piece of pie that does not exist. Contracts have been shredded, not properly transferred sliced, diced and repackaged.
We are starting a trade war devaluing our dollar not only against China but the whole world. To boost our exports and limit our imports. If you have gone shopping you have seen this raising costs already. (Smoot-Hawley act)
The Feds are not only recreating the actions that made a depression "The Great Depression" but are doing the same thing that the Weimar Republic did for it's debt after WWI. I don't think they can hold it together much longer. I'm not sure how the Feds will react. I'm guessing price controls and rationing. But I don't know for sure.
Priorities:
  1. Food and Fuel; Get it now before the price rises or price controls and rationing kick in.
  2. Get as Debt free as soon possible.
  3. Have some cash and Precious metals on hand to pay bills and preserve wealth.

I maybe wrong and the feds may save us. LOL All of the items will last for awhile and are always good to have on hand. You really can't go wrong by doing those 3 things first.

Working with cash? Actual greenbacks.

I'm trying something new and moving away from using my Debit card and withdrawing actually cash to pay bills and buy groceries and the stuff I need. One of the big reasons for doing this I have been hearing the term "Bank Holiday" bandied about lately, and a couple of stories of electronic purchasing systems going down causing chaos in stores. Then there was that Bank of America story that they (BoA) would hold your cash for 7 days before allowing a withdrawal.  So I thought I'd forgo that whopping .025% and make sure I had some greenbacks to make purchases and pay bills.
I'd like to say it was a seamless transfer but I did hit a couple of bumps along the way. I knew I paid a lot of my bills online but I didn't realize just how easy it is to just press a button and it's paid rather than going down to the city to pay the water bill in cash. My attitude changed as well at the local grocery store. Swiping the card is quick. So quick you almost don't think about it. Now I always have it budgeted about what I will spend, but  I focused on the budget not the actual dollars I was spending. When I had to break a $20.00 or a $100.00 bill how much I just spent seemed more real. My attitude about my surroundings changed as well. I became much more aware of who was around me just by carrying cash. I changed from being somewhat blase' to actually looking for threats. Not paranoia, just a heightened level of awareness. 
So far I  think this a good idea, though I have some extra steps to take and some more tweaking to do with this system. I think I 'll have most of the kinks worked out pretty quickly.

P.S. Bonus, I can collect all that change I don't normally get and save it in the coin jar for a "Fun Day" or next year's gift fund.

Some Bread recipes I like using

 No-Knead Bread  Tastes like Ciabatta bread.
* 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
    * 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
    * 3 cups water
    * 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough (*you can replace about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of white flour with any whole grain flour with great results).
    * Cornmeal

      1. In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups warm water. Add flour, and stir to combine completely. Let dough rise in a warm place for at least two hours, until it rises and collapses (up to 5 hours - or even overnight won’t hurt it). The dough may be baked at this point, or refrigerated for later use.

      2. Cover dough, but make sure it is not airtight - gases need to escape - and place in fridge. When you are ready to use it, throw a small fistful of flour on the surface and use a serrated knife to cut off a piece of the size you desire. (The authors recommend a 1 pound loaf - which means cutting off grapefruit-sized piece of dough). Turning the dough in your hands, stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in under. The surface will be smooth, and the bottom with be bunched.

      3. Dust a pizza peel (or any flat surface - I use a rimless cookie sheet) with cornmeal. (This prevents sticking, and adds a nice, rustic crunch. You can use flour instead, but you’ll need to use a very generous dusting). Allow dough to rest in a warm place for 40 minutes - longer (up to an hour and a half) if you use some whole wheat flour in place of the white, or if you make a larger loaf.

      4. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with baking stone (or overturned baking sheet) inside on the middle rack, plus a shallow pan on the top rack. Throw a small fistful of flour over the dough, slash it 2-4 times with a serrated knife (in a cross, a tic-tac-toe, or a fan), and slide it into the oven, onto the baking stone. Throw 1-2 cups of tap water into the shallow pan, and quickly shut the oven door to trap steam inside. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is well browned and bread sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.

One-Hour French Bread
1½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
3 - 4 cups flour (any combination of white and whole wheat)

Preheat oven 450ยบ. Combine water, salt, honey, and yeast in a medium bowl. Let sit 5 - 10 minutes, until bubbling. Add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, until dough is no longer sticky (I'll sometimes dump the dough out onto the cutting board with what flour is in the bowl and roll it around,adding a bit more flour, until it's not sticky). Roll dough into a 12 - 14" roll (or you can divide it in half and roll it into two long skinny baguettes). Place dough roll(s) on a cookie sheet (this won't work in a bread pan), greased or sprayed with non-stick spray, cover, and let sit 20 minutes. Make diagonal slits, 1/2" deep, on top with a razor blade. (Optional: spray with salt water). Bake 20 minutes.

Spice Bread
1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast

 1 1/2 Cup Warm Water (110-115 degrees)

4 Cups Sifted Flour

1 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tsp. Kosher Salt

1 Tsp. Onion Salt

Egg Whites for Glazing

Fennel Seed (optional- or I like to use Rosemary)

Grated Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water.  Then, sift the dry ingredients and stir them into the yeast mixture (this includes the fennel seeds and parmesan).  Next, work the dough with your hands until all the flour is absorbed.  Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Then, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. (Suggestion: keep a pot of boiling water on the stove and place your dough bowl near it- it helps activate the yeast).

2. Remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down.  Divide the dough and shape it into long narrow loaves.  Place the loaves on parchment paper or a silpat and onto a cookie sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again.

3. Brush the top of the loaves with egg whites and sprinkle more fennel seeds on top.  Place into the pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes.  At 30 minutes, brush the loaves with egg whites again.

Beer Bread
make 1 loaf, prep 5 min, cook 50 min

    * 3 cups self rising flour
    * 1/2 cup sugar
    * 12 oz beer

   1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a loaf pan.
   2. Combine all three ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well.
   3. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until loaf is golden brown.
   4. Rub hot loaf all over with butter to soften the crust and cool on a rack.

If you don’t buy self-rising flour you can use the following as a substitute:

    * 3 scant cups all-purpose flour
    * 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
    * 1 tsp salt


PIZZA Dough
Ingredients
    * 2 tablespoons sugar
    * 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    * 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
    * 3/4 cup warm water
    * 2 cups bread flour (for bread machines)or Pizza Flour. You want a High protein flour.
    * 1 teaspoon instant yeast
    * 2 teaspoons olive oil
    * Olive oil, for the pizza crust
    * Flour, for dusting the pizza peel

Directions

Place the sugar, salt, olive oil, water, 1 cup of flour, yeast, and remaining cup of flour into the mixer's work bowl.

Using the paddle attachment, start the mixer on low and mix until the dough just comes together, forming a ball. Lube the hook attachment with cooking spray. Attach the hook to the mixer and knead for 15 minutes on medium speed.

Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the baker's windowpane, or taut membrane, has formed. If the dough tears before it forms, knead the dough for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the pizza dough into a smooth ball on the countertop. Place into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.

Place the pizza stone or tile onto the bottom of a cold oven and turn the oven to its highest temperature, about 500 degrees F. If the oven has coils on the oven floor, place the tile onto the lowest rack of the oven.

Split the pizza dough into 2 equal parts using a knife or a dough scraper. Flatten into a disk onto the countertop and then fold the dough into a ball.

Wet hands barely with water and rub them onto the countertop to dampen the surface. Roll the dough on the surface until it tightens. Cover one ball with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat the steps with the other piece of dough. If not baking the remaining pizza immediately, spray the inside of a ziptop bag with cooking spray and place the dough ball into the bag. Refrigerate for up to 6 days.

Sprinkle the flour onto the peel and place the dough onto the peel. Using your hands, form a lip around the edges of the pizza. Stretch the dough into a round disc, rotating after each stretch. Toss the dough in the air if you dare. Shake the pizza on the peel to be sure that it will slide onto the pizza stone or tile. (Dress and bake the pizza immediately for a crisp crust or rest the dough for 30 minutes if you want a chewy texture.)

Brush the rim of the pizza with olive oil. Spread the pizza sauce evenly onto the pizza. Sprinkle the herbs onto the pizza and top with the cheese.

Slide the pizza onto the tile and bake for 7 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sorry kids been a bit beat up.

I want to post at least 2 o3 times this week but I got a bit beat up and my CIDP kicked in on high-gear. So a bit bloody and battled but still here and unbroken. Weather seems to Kick my but,
Mom had a cancer skin-cell taken off. It looks good outside of her new haircut and the nurses tried very hard to to do a natural thing on the hair. Not sure if Mom was more freked about the cancer or her new doo. LOL

I got a another 50# of rice and some more Hi-protien flour for my little "pizza survival kit".  A couple of grinders of sea salt , peppercorns and I'm  looking at a winter garrden. I'm not" Hip", I don't know how to play to the "Media", I  can't leave my garden for 2 weeks while I go to Spain.  I don't know who is growing the White House garden, But I'd like some tips as long as it dose not involve open sewage. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's on! How will you protect yourself and family?

I knew we in the USA were rushing towards an "Economic collapse". I just hoped it would take longer to happen. Sorry kids, I think in the next  3-6 months we need to top off our inventories. If you are new to prepping get hot and focused. Your cable and Satellite TV is no longer important. Keep you Internet connection but downsize if possible. The info you get off the Internet can save money on books down-lodes and data.
If you have done prepping as an extra can of soup or vegies now you need to get right. Commodities have sky rocket in price. You have a little lag time till it works down to your local store. All food prices are going up across the board. You may find some great buys now while stores clean out old inventory and bring in new and higher cost items.
There is good news with the bad "Hard goods" are deflating. Good for a consumer not good for manufactures.
Now kids I hope we have 3-6 months of stable prices. I maybe wrong and the feds and Wall street will make it all work out right.  We can all keep working our jobs and paying our bills. But if I'm right and food and energy cost explode! Think about $5.00 a gallon gas or heating oil. You did buy heating oil and not put it off?  

I'll have a sale price shopping list up on Wed. 20 Oct.2010. If you have ever been a storm you know the quiet is scary. Where will you be when the Gust front hits. Down the cellar or driving around for handouts?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Well I think we are screwed!

I think this Mortgage crisis will expose that the (top 10) banking industry is bankrupt morally and fiscally. I have no problem with any earning and "honest" dollar. Just the big banks are so in bed with the Feds it can't be done.
Well folks you will see the bad side of trickle down economics cause you will get screwed. 
I actually saw a bank claim, That if you folks didn't default on a loan none of the banks shoddy paper-work would have come to light?
If you are in foreclosure get a lawyer. Don't pay and make them kick you out. I do believe if you owe a  you debt pay it. But, make the banks work for it. Plus stay in your home. How many stories have we seen in the "Media" that encourage yo to walk away from your mortgage?
I do think you should pay off your mortgage loan. I also expect banks to follow the laws on mortgages.
I'm a law and order kind of gal.
Kids, this is huge and could take down all of the USA economy. Folks have already talked about  a bank holiday.
Are you ready? Do you have cash on hand for a bank run?

Monday, October 11, 2010

MSP (Modified Sationary Panic), Thank goodness that panic attack is over with

I scared the poo out of myself this month with all the wonderful economic news coming out lately. I think the economy will tank but since I can't do anything about that, what do I really need and what will I do? Stress and fear never help any situation. So I got over my panic and ran a little thought experiment. If I could only buy 1 thing this week for less than $50.00 what would I get? Well I could think of all kinds of things I could buy but it always adds up to more than $50.00. LOL
So I spent the weekend doing an inventory of what I had on hand. I was better and worse than I thought on many staples. I was doing great on grains and flour. Not so great on beans and rice, Honey good, sugar I'm okay but a little more would be nice. Salt very good at over 90 lbs stored of all types, but no pectin or enough canning jars or lids. Plenty of oil, shortning and vinegar but need some quick, easy and simple meals for when you are tired and boiling water seems like a lot of work.
I'm doing good on spices but I haven't stored any vanilla or started growing garlic.Low on dog food but great on cat food. Need some extra baking soda/ powder and vitamins. Tooth brushes and toothpaste femine napkins are good but I'm low on deoderant and shampoo. Good on lundry soap for 18 months, and dishsoap is okay but I just got my dishwasher working again so I'm low on dishwasher detergent. Doing ok for extra fuel and alternate ways of cooking and heating.
I'm not in bad shape it's just my standards have changed. A 3 month supply of any one item is a critical shortage. If I am down to a 6 month supply it's time to look for sales and coupons to get that item. I kind of loss track of that rule.. I didn't know what I had on hand so I didn't fill the most critical need first and bought what happens to be on sale.
So I can't control what  FED or the Stock market or commodity traders do. I can only control what I do and how I spend. I can watch what the traders and the markets are doing and try to anticipate highs and lows at the local supermarket. Don't be a follower take control of your purchases. Buy low and eat high, learn price points of what you are willing to spend for an item. Heck the Dollar Stores have some great buys on OTC meds and Spices.
Bake a few loaves of bread, It costs me about 30 cents to bake my own bread (probably high as I guestimated on power cost). I have yet to find a store that can beat that price. The cheapest sandwich bread I can find is about a dollar per loaf and that doesn't count "Artisan Breads" that are about $3.00 in the store and  I can do for a cost .30-.40 cents per loaf at home and they are very easy to make. Also is a great way to introduce bodies to whole wheat. You don't want to go whole wheat without letting your body get used to it. Do half and half of white to wheat flour for at least a couple of weeks. Even then you find out about fiber in the diet means,  that is best practiced before hand.
Don't wait to buy grains. If you have a good food processor you can make flour or sausage. Do you need a hand grinder? I think so but if you have power you can grind grain or make sausage. You should have a generator or 2? If you do you can keep your fridges and frezers cool and use the energy for that little grinder if left on your own. But most nations that have gone through a melt-down try to provide energy for 8 out of every 24 hours. Good enough for keeping fridges and freezers cold. Don't depend on it and have a backup system. It could be ice, Dry-ice or a generator. Or go solar, a bit pricey but no power company can cut you off. If your frezer is not full, freeze some water bottles 2/3 full of water and fill it up. Do only a few bottles at a time so you don't overwork the compressor. Bad things happen you can top off the freezer with food and you have water to drink. Do you know what grocery stores have dry ice?
That is how I'm reacting to the news today. Out of panic mode and ready.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The depression is happening NOW !!

Sorry folks I was hoping we had a bit more time to prepare. I don't think the Feds can do any more. I think the crash is coming in the next 3-6 months. The feds are following the same game plan that got us into the Great Depression almost exactly.
I have skipped buying Silver this month and am stocking up on grains, meat and necessities I know I will need. I hope I'm wrong and I have been wrong before, but I think an Economic collapse is coming. If we can get through October in descent shape we will have until Jan. 2011 to build on our preps.
Don't panic yet, just keep building but you may want to change your focus to need to have and not want to have.
Focus on basics, such as water, food, sanitation and 1st aid. I could be wrong but those are great skills to have no matter what happens. 
I think we are about 1930 as far as following the Depression for the country. It's bad but it could be worse. I just fear for folks that are starting out that you have no reserves to fall back on.
It's time to prioritize for the next 3 months.
  1. Water: Clean drinking and cooking water and rinse and safe "gray water" to put on gardens. If you haven't stored at least a gallon of water a day for every family member for 2-3 weeks, or have a way to make water safe. Get on it now! Bleach and Iodine are good and the filters the have now a days are great.
  2. Food: I like staples and less processed food. It's cheaper and easy to store. You may not have that option as you did not prepare for an "economic collapse".  Have some snacks, chips, chocolates and spices to keep food boredom at bay.
  3. Sanitation: Lack of sanitation is a huge killer of folks world wide. If your sewer goes out or is destroyed have a chem toilet or a bucket and a way to get rid of waste. There are some great resources on the web for this issue. From burning waste to making compost and long term solutions.
  4. Security: I have said I think a gun is an essential survival tool. From hunting to dealing with predators of all sorts. It's up to you if choose lethal or non-lethal ways of dealing with a situation. But you need to think about it and how you will deal with threats.
  5. Books, cards and dice: I would add sketch pads, journal and diaries. I think a good laptop should be added into any survival situation. Entertainment will be crucial. A deck of cards can provide hours of  entertainment if you have games you can play. A DVD movie on a laptop is great. Books, crossword and word search keep the mind active yet require no power. 
 Make it fun, a no power night. Break out flashlights, candles and lanterns. A camp out in the back yard and roast some hot dogs and make smores. Or do a test of a bugout and have a picnic. Troubleshoot what you forgot, get the kids involved Sorry if what I expect happens you won't/can't protect your child from the collapse. You will be able to keep them alive and teach them.