Hi Kathy! Michigan is quiet! It's you and me!

Jodi Stanley
By Jodi Stanley on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 - 8:35pm

Any specific discussions you'd like to see open up for Michiganders? Excited to see who will find/join us! What are your preparedness priorities? Our family has focused on the basics -- alternate location with shelter, food, sustainable future food, off-grid living and protection. It's always a pull as to where available resources should go next, right? I'm interested in hearing if anyone has dealt with their retirement savings yet -- as in self-directed precious metals so you can actually get them if the SHTF, etc.

Anyone? Looking forward to conversations ahead. Spread the word!

18 Comments

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Posts: 22
Welcome, Notiller!

Glad to have you! Let us know if you have particular interests. As we pick up speed, we can figure out our next steps.

Notiller64's picture
Notiller64
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Posts: 6
Interests

Looking to get more self reliant as far as energy goes.  Really anything off the grid  I have concerns with wealth preservation. We have a 200 acre farm currently mostly in row crops but we are starting to rotationally graze beef cattle.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Posts: 87
Preparedness Priorities

I'm glad you've started this group.  Your initial question about priorities triggered some long-delayed thinking about what the "next steps" are in my preparation for a very different future.  I've done a lot of what's been recommended in the "What Should I Do" guides over the past several years, but lately have found myself stuck in a state of indecision and inaction regarding the next step(s).  I had a few days to think about this since we were off sailing on the upper Great Lakes with few wi fi connections.

I'm with Notiller regarding greater energy independence.  I've put off the installation of solar panels because I thought the overcast winters in northern Michigan would render them less than useful.  A PP member from the lower Great Lakes corrected me on this, so this may be the next step.  I've also researched a manual pump for our well. 

I'm also concerned about wealth preservation.  My retirement accounts went to cash in advance of 2008, but I haven't started a precious metals IRA.  I have been purchasing precious metals for about 10 years, and little by little have built an "insurance policy" in PMs so as to have something if everything else vaporizes.  I'd love to own some "primary wealth" in the form of farmland or woodlots.  Up where I live, there seems to be more land suitable for hunting than for agriculture.

One thing that has struck me since moving to northern Michigan 16 years ago is the sheer amount of driving necessary to go anywhere.  Since the area is relatively sparsely populated, necessary things like medical care and even decent grocery shopping are often located an hour or even several hours away.  I've had a hybrid car for 10 years and get excellent gas mileage, but with gas prices at nearly $4 a gallon, (and likely to go higher), it's beginning to be worrisome.  It's wonderful to retire to "God's Country," but it has its drawbacks.

Well, these are my initial thoughts.  Thanks again for the impetus to get busy with the next step.

Kathy

 

 

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Posts: 22
Our group shares an interest in alternative energy!

Hi Kathy,

Great to open our discussion. Forgive me if I seem spotty -- I'm still trying to figure out how the PP groups/discussions/posting really works. I always dig into the content, but am not well versed on the interactive part! I will try to get educated quickly.

We all share a key focus on alternative energy! My husband and I also share your plateau of indecision and inaction -- we call it paralysis over here. wink We realize that inaction could be disastrous if we wait too long, but want to make sure we don't waste resources buying the wrong stuff. We have built an initial structure on our 35 acre remote location. It is totally off grid, but currently only generator-powered. This was obviously a stopgap until we figure(d) out what to do and planned the resources to put a solar/wind/water/human powered system in place. Unfortunately, that's when indecision took over as we got stuck on whether AGM or full lithium ion batteries would be best, how many we needed, etc. In addition, this structure is not intended to be our permanent remote residence -- it is a barn that we built very securely, but in the ideal world, it would become a secondary sick bay, storage and livestock shelter at such time that we live there.

We have not, however, started on the main structure yet, so we must consider the barn a possible permanent shelter simply because things could go south before we get the other one up!

Our update is that a friend owns a battery business and helped us get a preliminary plan in place and we have just ordered four deep cell batteries. If we could ONLY get Outback Power to get back to us to discuss matching up the right solar panels and components, we would be moving forward. We have contacted them several times to no avail. Bummer!

Regarding your PMs, I'd be interested in learning who you've used as a PM broker and how you've focused -- gold, silver, what type, etc. We have made some purchases mainly in silver, with small gold, but it's basically been a "that seems like a pretty good deal and I have a little extra cash that I can use" approach. 

We are fortunate that our parcel of land has some woods that indeed are attractive to hunters, but also good space for crops. My parents live in the U.P., so I am familiar with the driving required to get what you need on a large scale. Our property is only about 45 minutes from our current primary residence. We'd be living remotely already if we didn't have a social third grader in the mix. : )

Are you actively looking for property? If so, don't give up. We looked for months at dozens and dozens of parcels before choosing the winner. Is it PERFECT? No. But it has many attributes we considered important, so we feel it was as close to perfect as we could get within budget and proximity and without moving to Montana!

No easy answers on the fuel cost -- and the electrics just have such limited range! Is your concern growing due to the need to travel to get supplies? Are you at the moment planning to "bug in" in the event of an inciting incident? Just trying to get a handle on the underlying concern besides supply runs and the general budget impact of high gas cost?

Let's see if Notiller has any thoughts to add to our power/property and travel conversation! For the moment, we carry on for a beautiful Michigan summer weekend!

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Joined: Feb 5 2014
Posts: 22
Notiller beef cattle.

Hi Notiller,

Interested in hearing about your beef cattle. Is the direction part of your preparedness related to self-reliance and food supply or for commercial reasons as long as the world continues as we know it? See Kathy's from nothern MI and my discussion about off-grid power. How are you hoping to incorporate it at this point? Sounds like  you have a big farm operation! Is off-grid power for an alternate location or to allow your current home to be off grid or partially so?

 

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 87
Anticipating Future Conditions

Hi Jodi,

You seem to be following a very systematic plan for preparing for the future, starting with securing your site, structures, and energy infrastructure.  Big expenditures, but as you point out, good to tackle them while you have the resources.

I think that we are pretty much "in place" (but not completely prepared at all) for whatever comes.  The main ideas that have been informing my planning include Greer's notion of catabolic collapse (I think Chris's descriptions of how he sees things unfolding match up pretty well to this notion) and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  Given these frames, the future conditions I'm anticipating involve a gradual, "bumpy" deterioration of living conditions with the necessities of living becoming significantly more expensive and, at times, scarce.

One of the things I'm anticipating is escalating costs of energy.  I don't have to look far to see gasoline at $3.95 a gallon (right in town).  As Chris has recently written, this may look cheap in the months to come with the deterioration of the Middle East situation.  I'm anticipating a huge increase in heating costs (natural gas) once the fracking "miracle" is shown to be a myth.  With this in mind, I had the lower level of my house remodeled to create a second residence half below ground level.  It is very cheap to heat and holds whatever heat is generated.  My husband already loves it because he likes warmer temperatures than I do.  It's ready to move into any winter that natural gas prices become prohibitive. 

My purchase of my hybrid car (10 years ago) was another step in anticipation of higher energy costs.  Now, consideration of a solar heating setup for hot water is my next step.  Also, a manual well pump would be insurance against erratic electricity supplies.  We have a whole house back up generator that runs on natural gas, but if things were to really go badly, I'd like another way to get at my water (Maslow comes in here).

I sometimes think of what the people in Bagdad went through (and are probably still experiencing) relative to erratic electricity supplies when I try to anticipate future conditions after a bad round of catabolism. 

Like most PPers, I work on deepening the pantry and several years ago purchased a supply of emergency food.  We don't grow much of our food (we're sailors which takes us out on the lakes for much of the growing season), but we purchase a lot of our fresh food from local farmers. 

Relative to precious metals purchasing,  there is a good list of precious metals vendors in the What Should I Do section under the Prepare tab. I've used several of them.  There's good advice from Chris on how to approach buying PM as well.  You can join the Gold and Silver group and get lots of good advice from the members who post there. 

Realistically, any land purchases would probably be for timber which is used a lot around here for heating.  (We even have a wood boiler which we've never used, but who knows?).

I'll be very interested in your progress on your solar/wind installation.

Kathy

 

 

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Joined: Feb 5 2014
Posts: 22
Gold, catabolic collapse...+ more : )

Love the idea of your semi-underground remodel. Our home is too close to population bases that could deteriorate quickly to stay in place. We also have so much glass in our current home, we would be sitting ducks for looting once they reached our area. These realities were the main reasons that remote property search was our major effort last year.

Also, I have indeed read a lot of Chris's articles, but have been searching without luck to one I've seen referenced about why he "is cool to gold" -- it sounds like you've read everything.! Have you seen this article? I have to admit, I have a hard time finding and re-finding articles on PP, probably just me. I have dealt with PP-recommended metals vendors, too, but was surprised to see how much more expensive they are than some others with whom I've had excellent customer service and transactions, so I vascillate. I remain, however, specifically interested in finding this article about why Chris is "cool on gold" as some comments indicate, so if you know to what they are referring and could let me know where it is, that would be most appreciated! My site searches come up empty.

My husband used to do a lot of sailing, but we had a surprise baby when our last was a senior in high school and he had a couple really rough races at sea, so he pared back quickly. : ) 

We also have quite a big pantry too, but you know, it can always be bigger. I am constantly imagining supply chain disruptions or, as you note, fuel crisis, so I focus on "what would I most wish I had?" That's where I am endangering other important aspects like electricity -- food is critical, but so is energy.  It's finding the balance!

We are blessed to have lots of water on our remote location -- and my husband hand drilled our well last fall. We now have a flowing well, with a hand pump, which I am thrilled about. If you have any well questions on the pump, I'm sure he can answer them -- he learned a LOT through the process. : )

 

phecksel's picture
phecksel
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 24 2010
Posts: 204
We took a brief trip to

We took a brief trip to Leelanau peninsula and Glen Arbor last week.  Ended up wandering around on some lesser traveled roads.  Have no idea of the costs, but we'd see a for sale sign with literally a two track going back into the woods.  Trip wasn't about looking for a place, but there sure were a lot more properties then I expected to see for sale up there.  Our long range goals are actually further south, but I do love that area.

WRT, I've heard of people liking Texas Precious Metals.  They can deliver it to your house, or a UPS depot center for your pickup.

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Posts: 22
Thanks, phecksel!

Used to camp at Sanborn's on Leelanau peninsula, it's such a great area, but agree on the availability of great parcels. If we weren't tied to Michigan by our family, south would be the way we'd rather go. We have friends in Marietta, GA -- great people in that area, like-minded -- and certainly less need for firewood!

Thanks for the heads up to check out Texas Precious Metals. Will do! Enjoy the rest of Independence Day weekend!

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 87
Cool on Gold

I think you may have run across a comment referring to Chris being cool on paper gold - gold EFTs.  He most definitely is not cool on physical gold.  Here's the discussion I think you ran across:  http://www.peakprosperity.com/discussion/85895/why-chris-cool-gld

I've been following this site for many years, in fact, for several years before I took the plunge to being a subscribing member.  I, too, sometimes have trouble tracking down articles he's published in the past. 

When I'm ready to do a gold buy, I usually have several vendors' websites up at once so that I can compare the premiums (and shipping costs, if any).  Last buy was from Gainesville Coins a couple of months ago.  Good service and safe shipping.

We have lots of water, too.  We're right on Lake Huron.  But, getting it out of the well is always a worry.  If I have questions about the Flojak manual pump I'm looking at, I'll take you up on your offer.  Your remote location sounds fabulous, and it sounds like you've been thinking and doing like a prepper for quite a while. 

Notiller64's picture
Notiller64
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Joined: Jan 31 2014
Posts: 6
Energy

We live near Lansing. 

We are out in the country but it seems we live in town because of all the small lots built alongside the road.  I enjoy traveling north and think it would be great to live there but on the other hand it is good to be relatively close to town, have a longer growing season and we are established here.  I think it would better for us to just hunker down and and travel less distance.  If push came to shove we could ride a bike to town or drive a horse. 

We have so many things going on right now it is hard to focus resources on one project.  We are still working on learning to conserve electrical energy to keep solar costs down.

Notiller64's picture
Notiller64
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Posts: 6
Beef

To answer your first question.  All of the above.  It really is a small operation when you compare it to the cash crop farms and large dairies around here.  I have been cash cropping for over 20 years and despite our little windfall with high prices and big yields the last couple of years.  Inputs keep going up.  Looking to simplify and maintain profits without making the fertilizer company rich.

As far as energy goes, I'm looking to conserve more on the farm but to be off grid is realistic.  The house is a different story we look on doing this in a couple years.  Starting by determining how much electricity we are consuming and trying to conserve more now.  I'm hesitant to install solar panels now because you always hear about the breakthrough in technology is coming and it will cost less in the future.  At some point you have to bite the bullet,  I don't know when we will be there.

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Joined: Feb 5 2014
Posts: 22
solar costs

Hi Notiller,

Do you already have solar in place or do you mean keeping the cost of starting a solar system? We live near town on 20 acres, but have built up neighborhoods all around and are a mile from major commerce. That's why we bought our more remote location, which is far enough that it's in true farmland/wooded area but close enough that we could get there on foot within a couple days with our daughter if needed. We built our completely off-grid barn there, which is alllmmooosstt done with a separate 12 volt system so that we can maximize what we can do. Our start-up set of deep cycle AGM batteries just arrived. Interested to hear what/how you are converting (or have converted) some of your electrical to solar. 

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Joined: Feb 5 2014
Posts: 22
we are crossing in cyber space... : )

It's true, your situation is more complicated--retrofitting is always trickier than starting from scratch. Our barn has (tiny) living quarters upstairs with food storage, wood stove and small kitchen downstairs in a corner, next to the John Deere and the Ranger in the "living room." : ) We've got double entry with steel barn doors and then a custom steel inside entry for security -- you'll be trapped if you get through the steel barn doors.We've  been using a diesel generator in the interim -- the 12 volt with LED lighting is so great for LOW usage. And my husband and a few friends hand drilled our well with only YouTube and one of the guys had drilled them before -- it was still expensive, but half the price of a pro. I found some cool charts awhile back about electricity usage, solar needs and what they mean when converting to off grid. I'll see if I can relocate them if you'd be interested. We had the SAME hesitation you're having on panels over what batteries to get -- the super-new lithium ion technology or the AGM. I was inclined to go with the super future, my husband noted that both have advantages and to ensure the power we need within budget, we needed to "settle" for AGMs at this point. We needed to bite the bullet -- his fear is that if there is any kind of "blip" be it a fuel crisis that makes shipping grind to a halt or something else, if we can't GET our hands on anything at all, we will be kicking ourselves and STUCK. So, we are charging ahead with the mindset that "we've never bought brand new cars and have done just fine" plus, we can buy redundancy for longer-term power capabilities by using the AGMs. We are second graders on the learning curve of solar, which is why we've been begging Outback Power for a call back, for some expertise on the panel recommendations. They just keep saying they'll call back and don't. Grr! Our panel research keeps coming back to Kyocera or Grape, tho' there are so many others. 

phecksel's picture
phecksel
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 24 2010
Posts: 204
J, Have you considered making

J,

Have you considered making your own solar panels?  There's a couple sites that show you how to do it.  Looks simple enough, but I haven't tried it.

Notiller64's picture
Notiller64
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 31 2014
Posts: 6
solar costs

We haven't installed any solar yet. We are looking at just converting the house right now. 

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 5 2014
Posts: 22
DIY Solar Panels?

Hi, P --

My husband can do just about anything! I have not even dreamed of this, nor heard of it. I'll google it! Let me know if you have a favorite site! Thanks! Notiller, you might be interested in this, too!

 

Notiller64's picture
Notiller64
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 31 2014
Posts: 6
DIY Solar Panels

I think it worth experimenting with. 

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