Monday, May 30, 2011

I didn't get anything done I wanted to do this weekend!

Sick, knocked down whatever you want to call it I got nothing got done. Stuff happens and with this disease or condition or whatever it is this week, but it kicked my butt. I've lost all feeling in my pinkie finger and while that doesn't sound like a big deal it lets's me know my disease is progressing and now I got to watch my limbs for injuries and it's distracting. A bit like like a a bad tooth your toungue keeps proding. Not cause it does any good you just can't help yourself.  I just got to watch it, and the pinkie still seems to be taking commands so far so good. Just a bit of permanant tingle and an odd lack of feeling. Just a bit disconcerting overall. I'm watching it to see what happens and how it goes. I learned I may be a greater risk for ALS or Lou Gherigs disease if it happens it happens. I got my mini-van a;ready and it can be retro-fitted fairly easily. I worry about my Mom she kinda expects me to run herd on her kids until they grow up. They are well over 40 years old if they haven't grown up yet I don't think I will be any more successful than her. But we keep trying!
So my Memorial day sucked how did yours go? did you go to a parade? did you have fun? I'm a vetran and I don't want you to be dour.  I want you celebrate the sacrifice of the folks that gave the "last full measure". Be exubriant, light off fire works hang your flags. It's a hope of freedom/liberty they fought for or a least what I fought for, and you are free to act as you wish! I can think of no greater honor than that,  Free to act as you wish.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yep, I over did it and was a little sore...

      I did over do as I feared but I did have some success on research and reading some books for ideas. I got a brainstorm for fruit press and additional water filtration system from some free food safe buckets I scored.  All the wet rainy weather hasn't been all bad as my rain barrels are almost full. It's only about a 100 gallons but every bit helps. I hope to get another 2 rain barrels to assist in water storage for the gardens at least and can be used if filtered and boiled as needed.
     The local Mall is opening up for artisans and home made goods. I was thinking of doing some bottled butter and perhaps canned bacon on a small table or doing some barter/trade. I know I'm odd but I like having a relationship with shop owners. While sometimes I may pay a bit more, I usually get a heads up on sales so in the long run I come out ahead and I get superior service cause they want my money.
   I should be able to get a breakdown of of my bug out bag and buckets done this weekend. I hope to post up pics as well. This will be great and hopefully spark some ideas for you of what you need to do to make it work for you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just puttering along.....

      Got a few items done as today was the first morning in a long time I woke up feeling pretty good. I'm okay once the weather settles down for the season, but here in Idaho like a lot of place Mama Nature is being fickle about what season she want's it to be this month/ week /day.  LOL  Got all my indoor salad pots and mini citrus trees moved into the front room. Got it  rearranged and cleaned up the potting soil I always seem to spill no matter what I do. Gosh I love wet/dry shop vacs. The guest room's closet got rearranged and I finally am moving beer bottles, canning jars, bug out buckets/ bags , the preserving equipment and Beer buckets into it so it's neat and easy to access. It really helped getting some of that stuff out of my tiny kitchen, I didn't move any thing to heavy just made a few trips and I feel a lot better for not having it underfoot.
     Started an "Amber Ale" today, it went a lot faster as I'm getting more familiar with the steps and I know what to expect. I bought another fermenting bucket so I hope to to get the Pale Ale started this week.  The Wheat Beer was a huge success and my neighbor gave me some Tall Boy (23.5 oz) bottles and will get some more for me, which will save me some money and give me more flexibility. I'm just doing the basic types of beers I know I like until I get some experience then I hope to branch out into Lagers, then mead and maybe some ciders this fall. This beer making is turning out to be a lot of fun. I started it because I wanted to "Starve the Beast", and have beer and perhaps a barter item, but I'm enjoying it much more as a hobby rather than just a survival/prepping thing.
       I cut up a 21 pound Beef chuck roll my Mom and I split the cost on. I'm working on getting better at cutting up primals and wrapping them. Mom is very forgiving and the Beef Round I cut up turned out well. Dad said he like the cuts and he is darn particular about his roasts and steaks. I know most folks can't afford to get 20+ pounds of meat, but by us going in together we have gotten a beef round and Chuck for under $2.00 per pound. Heck it's hard to find good hamburger at that price today.
     Vacuumed my bedroom, backed up Dad's hard drive and fixed Mom's email. I'm plum tuckered out, but it's a good tired from getting stuff done. It was only about 3- 4 hours work for a healthy person. For me it's a whole day's worth of work. I hope I didn't overdue it and be down for a day or 2, but even then it was worth it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

You gotta bug out, Now what?

I'm a big beleiver in bugging in,. Making your home as safe and secure as you can is tops on my to do list. But what if you can't? I think I have a way you can shift quickly from bugging in to bugging out.
Now many of the survivalist/prepping blogs have a years worth of storage from food to socks to toilet paper and that is great, but the cops or fire dept. knock on your door and tell you got to leave in the next 2 hours because of a mandatory evacuation order and you won't go to a shelter.
  1. Don't think a 72 hour bag will sustain you. Think 3 weeks to 3 months, I'm simple I plan on 3 months and the 3 weeks will be covered.
  2. You are on the move, and so is everyone else. All traffic will be slow and you will have to deal with it and not get crazy. Videos, cards, dice and books can keep folks entertain during the slow sections.
  3.  Have a place to land. I think an old RV or tent is great to have on hand and ready to go. Make it a camping trip as you get out of the impact area. Plus if you keep it stocked up you can have a great little mini vacation witout much work. 
  4. Have a few buckets full of all basic food. While a bucket of wheat may sustain you bugging in. You need a multi-tasker bucket that covers beans, rice, meats, vegies and fruits. Not to mention water, sanitation, first aid or cooking. I've made several of these types of buckets using Ziplock or Foodsaver bags. Not perfect but are great for an easy grab and go or to store by or in your bugout vehicle. You might choose Freeze-dried food or MRE's but you must store it in or be ready to put in a vehicle in minutes. 
  5. Where is your BOB make sure that it is on the way to the exit. That's you first life line and should get you through that first 72 hours. You need to be able to grab your BOB and be out of the house in less than 30 seconds.
  6. Fuel for the vehicle, try to drive on the top half of the tank, I know it's tough at todays prices. Have enough gas cans on hand to fill a tank. I drive a Kia Sedona Mini-van that has an 19 gallon tank. So I have 3, 6 gallon gas cans full of fuel that I try to rotate a can at a time every 3 months. This is also has a bonus that I have fresh gas for a generator if needed for bugging in. 
  7. Medications and paper work, You can easily carry your records via USB stick and some basic records of  Birth certificates, shot records, SS cards,  a resume,  banking accounts, insurance papers and other items needed for re-estblishing yourself in a new locale. 
This is by no means a complete list. It's to get you thinking about what you need to think about if the unthinkable happens and you MUST move. What works for me may not work for you. But this should cover the basics for everybody and give you a place to start. 

Huzzah!! the garden is finally in the raised beds.

I  don't know of anyone that is getting a garden in "On Time". It's all been working around Mama Nature and she's being difficult. That being said I did get my seeds planted and the starts into the raised beds today.  I'm trying a lot of new plants especially greens, but some herbs as well. So it'll be fun to see how well they do this year.
I've got the stuff and equipment for sauerkraut, canning, pickling drying and freezing. So I'm hoping for a good crop to try all the ideas out for preserving. Mom just gave me another dehydrator she got a yardsale for $3.00 so that bad boy will have to go to work! I did good on stocking up on hamburger and sausage when the prices were low so I need to get busy dehydrating and canning meats. My freezer is full! and I need more space. So in regards to my moving forward post, I'll try out dehydrating sausage and caning some chicken. I'll try the chives and see how they work out for drying. Onions did great in my dehydrator so I hope the chives do okay.
Please don't think I'm an expert on preserving cause I'm not. I read a lot and I'm willing to try new things. But I'm just like you following the instructions and hoping for the best. With some practice I've gotten good a few things, but I have a lot more to learn and practice to put in on preserving. I don't like failing but I don't mind it all that much if  I learn from my mistakes. 
You will screw up, I want you to screw up. That's how you learn. Don't be afraid of failure, see if you can tell where you made your mistake, or perhaps it just take some practice. I know bread is that way after about 10-20 loaves you get a feel for the dough being right or wrong. You can do it, Don't be afraid to try.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My top 10 reasons not to head for the hills

I think too many folks think they can run to the hills and be safe and not think about the problems that will be once they get there.
1. Having enough supplies: It's a bit difficult to have several months of every thing you need in a car or truck.
2. Others will be heading for the hills/rural areas as well. Never be a refugee, it sucks
3. What if it's a quarantine situation? Roadblocks will turn you back.
4. You know or should know your neighbors. Rural areas will treat you as an outsider and probably not trust or help you.
5. Sprouting, Hydroponics, a sunny window and you can grow stuff to eat. If you have supplies, and time.
6. While robbers/looters may have to travel they may attack isolated places. No cops, no security, They may think "I think we can get something of value".
7. You probably have met folks in Home association meetings or neighborhood watch, or PTA or other things. Cultivate the ones that think about prepping and help them out. It's amazing how far a fresh baked loaf of bread, cinnamon rolls, or cookies can go in establishing a friendship. Hard to build a network when you are on the run.
8. Disaster proof yourself as much as possible. Pick the most likely to happen. Weather: Power outage, Ice storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Flooding etc. Then your man-made disasters Congress, LOL. Terrorists, Attacks, Pandemics. Financial: Lost job, unexpected bills, Spread your risk in other words don't put your all your eggs in 1 basket.
9. Invest in yourself and family 1st. You know you need food, shelter, water and security. Start with those, then move on to trade goods and skills, then onto Financial protection. Trust me you can make it happen cheaper a faster than you think if you start small and build on it.
10. Don't think you have to be perfect. Start off with a basic plan and build. You can always adjust as opportunities or for problems arise.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brewing Beer Update

It has been a week so I did a test . Carbonation was good, nice and clear with a rich amber color, no off flavors but still tastes a little on sharp side, like it's not quite finished. I will let it sit and condition for at least  another week that will hopefully give it a more mellow/rich flavor.
No exploding bottles, but I really like that Roughneck crate for the carbonation stage since my whole batch can fit inside it and contain any breakage.
I hope to start the Pale Ale this week, get the flip top bottles, Hydrometer and maybe an LME for a Brown Ale.
cheers

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Move Forward!!!

I don't know about you but I often get bogged down in the details, and forget the big picture. We are in a deep recession, if not worse. But we are just starting to feel/see some pain. If you have gone to a supermarket or a gas station you know it. Now I'm big on prepping and think anyone can do it. Is it easy no! It will call on you to get out of the "Rat Race" to stop competing with the Jones and redefine yourself. You are not your house, your car or the latest gadget. You are not your prepping supplies. You are a spark of the divine. So you have read my missives and many others. You are ready or getting ready for what? Let's say you survive the Zombie hordes.   You got your stuff together and the world economy collapses. You survive and then what?
What is your goal? Prepping or survivalist should be just a means to an end. I prep to save money, buy low eat high, and live. So let's say I live today now what? You must have a goal to work towards. But what do you really want from the whole general mish mash of a collapse? Define what you want, set several small  goals and achieve it. I hope to build a good base of Operations, and trade my silver for gold or land. Now how do I meet those goals? A start maybe making my own bread and pasta to save money. Because it's cheaper to buy in bulk and learn to bake. It's all about the finish line not the race itself. Where do you want to be? Now walk it backwards and say this is where I start.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Planning some new stuff to try this next week

I think I've been suffering from PPA (Piss Poor Attitude). Spring has sprung and is being quite uncooperative. Still dealing with some pain and lack of energy or perhaps motivation. I'm very happy about my inventories. I'm gathering more items, but the news has got me down. I see more of the cheer leading, propaganda and very few facts. The few facts I do get don't give a warm and fuzzy feeling.
But the future will take care of itself and I certainly can't change it for a nation, just myself.  I think I got passive and reactive instead of aggressive and proactive. I'm letting life happen to me, rather than grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and saying " I control my destiny". So for myself, I've got too shake things up and try some new stuff, learn some new skills.
So this week I'll be making some jerky from that round roast Mom and I split. I did get the beer bottled today and in a couple of weeks I hope the brew will taste good and bottles do not explode. All my starts for the garden will go in the raised beds by the 11th and I have straw and plastic standing by for a late frost.My diakon and baby bok choy are doing great. I haven't killed the citrus trees yet and they are doing good.
I got several good books that I need try some of the recipes and 1800's preserving ideas and have some fun. I like painting with water colors and have some canvases that need filling with color. I have no talent or schooling. I just like painting.
I think that's a good start for the week ahead. I am very big on lists and goals to reach. Things haven't quite happened the way I planned and I got bogged down, concentrated on the bad instead of good. You got to be beyond flexible you got to be fluid in your reactions to the world. I forgot that!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why I buy silver part 2

So we have made it through the cheap credit and the Roaring 20's and in 1929 we had a crash of the stock market. Folks that got the cheap credit and bought on margin saw all those profits wiped out. Folks that bought the car, radio and phonograph found they couldn't afford those anymore with out a job and we hit deflation. Many companies and jobs wiped out. This was world wide pull back of cheap credit. Hoover tried to save capitalism by creating false shortages in agriculture and paying farmers to destroy their crops to drive up the price. But since jobs were gone and folks had no money they couldn't buy food, and or they still had all that easy credit to pay off. Then the "Dust Bowl" crushed the small farmer. The few that could grow crops got crushed cause folks had no money to pay for food. Well the USA limped "Prosperity is just around the corner" until a new savior came along FDR and American voted for him and for the "New Deal". I don't blame them really they wanted food and jobs. I truly hate FDR I see him as a American dictator. I think many of his policies were wrong. But especially the confiscation of gold and his arbitrary setting the price of gold. So I can't be even handed in regards to FDR.
Thankfully WWII happened and that put lots of folks to work. Honestly the war killed many folks and labor became valuable once again. The GI Bill got folks educated and VA loans got the housing market moving again.
Brenton Woods it was decided that the US Dollar would be the reserve currency until the world recovered from WWII. Plenty of Gold in reserve and we move along to the next generation.
Nixon in 1971 detached Gold from Dollars, and while Americans could buy gold once again the Federal Reserve and banks no longer had to trade gold for dollars or hold it in reserve. Nixon I hate as well for introducing price fixing. Which created nothing but shortages. Carter did a cross between the price fixing of Nixon and extra regulation ala LBJ/FDR and got Stagflation.
 Along come Reagan who got rid of regulation but went big time on expanding the Military with no cuts at the Federal level. He had to defeat the "Evil Empire" and he did. He outspent them into debt and crushed the USSR's economy. Reagan didn't bail out anyone in the 87 crash, though he was told to by all the talking heads to bail them out. But the die was cast,  deficeits didn't matter and all government spending leads to growth. Away we go....After Reagan it became all growth is good growth. Instead of Joe six pack having an addiction to credit in the 20's the Fed and the US government fed an addiction to debt.
Now debt and credit I think of as very different ideas. You will have to decide what you think. But I think using your "credit" to pay off debt is usually a bad idea.
Now as I have given you a very quick and dirty lesson of USA economic policy.  FRN's are nothing but an IOU from a bank, a corporation. It's not backed by anything but faith. Silver and gold have been used for 6000- 10,000 years as an item of value. Now I may not understand the why, but I can't think of any other item that is still valued over that length of time.
Silver unlike gold has industrial uses and is destroyed via electronics. Unlike gold that sits around in bricks and is considered valuable. There is a saying that gold is the money of Kings, Silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of common folk(serfs/peasants) debt is the money of slaves. Where are you at?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why I buy Silver

With silver and gold prices going crazy many folks are jumping in and out of the PM (Precious Metal) Markets. Some folks are interested in making money, others in some safety against a falling Dollar and inflation. So I thought I'd tell you why I'm in Physical Silver (Coins, Bars I can hold in my hand). There are a lot of ways you can own silver. Paper certificates, stocks in miners, PM funds and bonds, I only own metal I can hold in my hand for a few reasons...Warning:  History,  Economics and Math coming next.....

Those little green pieces of paper called Dollars but are more correctly referred to as Federal Reserve Notes. Notes are a promise to pay a  like an IOU or unsecured credit card. There is no collateral held in trust or offered in exchange for this Note. Notice the term Federal Reserve this is the Federal Reserve Bank and is an independent corporation that issues our " US dollar".  Not the Treasury, not the US Government, a corporation just like Apple, AT&T, Comcast or General Motors. Have corporations ever gone bankrupt or need bailing out?  All I hold here is a promise to pay, an IOU. There is no collateral or of value backing it if the IOU is not paid. I can't put a lien against the Fed if they refuse to pay.
  Andrew Jackson killed the first Central Bank/ National Bank and considered it his greatest achievement and I agree. But bankers want to make money and what better way to do it than to control the very creation of money itself?
In 1913 the Central Bank was resurrected again and this time passed by the congress and given the mandate of issuing money.  This was to "protect" the USA from the Boom and Bust cycles that always plague a free capitalist economy. Since the banks controlled the money supply they also created a new credit system in the USA after WWI of a dollar down and a dollar a week and you to can own the newest gadget the radio. Or phonograph or any of the new gadgets coming out. almost daily and to the A&P near you or available by catalog. At an interest rate set by the bankers loaning the money. Well the USA was a young economic Titan, Europe was devastated by WWI, the population of young men destroyed and the USA was barely touched by comparison. Everything was perfect, the USA couldn't lose. We took on most of the manufacturing of the world. We had plenty of resources, inventors, schools and  a lot of money in hand.  We were no longer uppity colonials but players on the world stage. With a pocket empire, and an Army and Navy that was a winner in a World war.  How could we lose?
The Roaring 20's ,Well if I can buy a radio or the latest Model T on credit, why not stocks? We are growing the USA has the most patents, inventions this will go one forever... I can buy on Margin it sure money the market always goes up!   Sound Familiar?  0$ down and just pay the interest. Housing must always go up, They ain't making any more land.
So they did buy and the Boom lasted 10 years and went bust. The Federal Reserve didn't stop it but actually made the Depression worse because as a bank it fed into the cycle and kept more cheap credit into the system. It was all credit, before if you ran out of money you couldn't buy more than you could pay for today. While the folks of Wall Street took a beating, those poor folks that had saved their silver and gold coins did okay.
Continued.....