Practical Changes

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  • Fri, Sep 11, 2009 - 10:21pm

    #11
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    Re: Practical Changes

JAG,

Thanks for the “welcome home”! Much Appreciated

Sager,

Excellent reply!

I *love* the irony of this phrase:
“I’m totally ready.”

Rog, you’ll get the pun 😉

Gabor,

Thanks for the compliment, I appreciate the kind words. I hope this thread continues to be useful.
It’s amazing and daunting how integral experience is with skill, and how long it takes to accumulate.

As Miyamoto Musashi said “To know 1000 things, know one thing well”.

Thanks for the replies, and keep them coming. As we develop, we need to share our lessons learned, successes and failures and insights.

Cheers!

Aaron

  • Fri, Sep 11, 2009 - 10:26pm

    #12
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    Video Surveillance System

Thanks Ready and Goes for the info.

I actually found a simpler solution to suit my own particular needs. Its called iCam, an application for the iPhone, with desktop sister software. Its very eloquent and very cheap ($6). With iCam, I can view up to four webcams (attached to my primary computer) on my iPhone. It works over my local network or even the cell-phone 3G or Edge networks. So  as long as my computer is running, I can see what is going on at the ol’e homestead from anywhere in the world.

Additionally, I can have it notify me via a push notification on my iPhone if motion is detected on any of the cameras.

Now, I just need to purchase some outdoor webcams to complete my security camera system.

(And get an uninterruptable power supply for the primary computer)

For anyone interested, here are some videos describing the software.

  • Fri, Sep 11, 2009 - 11:58pm

    #13
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    Re: Practical Changes

Great thread idea Aaron… hopefully with enough contributions we’ll all see some new ideas we can adopt for ourselves.

So as for my family:

Protect my assets-  Taken all of my savings out of the bank, keeping about half in cash form and half in PM’s, and keep only enough cash in my account for regular expenses.  My wife and her siblings sold the two houses they had bought together and both our families moved into rentals.  Recently have taken a general purpose loan from my 401k (my plan doesn’t allow me to cash out while still employed and not in a hardship situation), and will take it all out this weekend and keep half as cash on hand and use the other half to buy more PM’s.  Also, I’m keeping my cash/PM’s split between two separate locations, and will be picking up a safe this weekend for one of said locations.  Transferred to a job in Alaska that offers much higher pay and has more job security than my previous position, and saving as much as possible in anticipation of job loss down the road.  If I were to lose my job this second, I could probably cover about 12 months with our current expenses, maybe twice that if we were to move in with family.

Protect myself and my family-  We moved from Denver to a small town in Alaska, a farming community where crime is relatively low and people tend to be more self-sufficient.  I still practice martial arts and my stamina and endurance remains decent, though without regular classes available it’s really hard for me to get back to peak condition and practice.  I own several guns, a healthy supply of ammunition (which in Alaska means several thousand rounds lol), and go target shooting about once a month (hard to afford more than that), and in the next 6 months or so my wife and I will take a CCW course.  The same place also offers defensive handgun and shotgun courses, and even tactical carbine… I may take some or all of those in the next year. 

Food/Water/Consumables- We have re-established our 6-month food supply… our previous supply we donated to my wife’s family as we didn’t have the room to take it with us.  Bought a LOT of baby formula and enough diapers for the next 4 months.  Steadily buying more storable food, and should have a year’s supply by the end of this year.  We have about 4 5-gallon (collapsible) water jugs, but in truth there’s no shortage of water sources nearby and many people use their own well water.  Clothing we’re still working on… we need to get cold weather clothing and gear for all 3 of us, and the good stuff isn’t cheap.  As for long-term food self-sufficiency, next year we will probably help in expanding my dad and stepmom’s garden.  Also I will be able to get a resident fishing & hunting license by next spring.  I’ll probably be fishing for the most part, but if I have a chance to join anyone on a moose or caribou hunt I will jump at the opportunity.  I didn’t grow up learning how to hunt, so while I’m familiar with some hunting basics I have a lot to learn.

Energy Independence- Have not been able to take any major steps in this direction.  Aside from ensuring our recent vehicle purchase was a fuel-efficient car, all I’ve done thus far is scout out prices for solar PV, solar heating units, and woodstoves.  I have been kicking around the idea of building a portable solar PV system that could maintain power to a large appliance like a fridge or freezer, but haven’t ordered any materials yet.  That may end up being my winter indoor project. 

Spreading the Message-  As for referring people to the Crash Course and encouraging preparation for hard times, I’ve had only partial success.  Most of my friends aren’t expecting anything more than a nasty recession, and haven’t made any preparations for the possibility things get much nastier.  A few have been open to the CC and the possibility of a rough future, but have for the most part only made financial and security preparations… not much in the way of extra food storage and consumables (maybe 1-2 months worth?).  My parents and most of my family including in-laws are on-board to varying degrees; most of them aren’t expecting a SHTF scenario, but are preparing for hard times in general which is about as much I can ask for.  I’ve had zero success with coworkers… from my conversations with them I see they expect things to go on as normal.  Though with some unanticipated layoffs we had very recently many here a bit shaken up, so maybe some are on the way to being more receptive.  I would like to find a way to host a viewing of the CC in my town to increase exposure outside my circle of friends and family, but honestly as for time I’m already swamped.

That’s all I got for now.  I’m sure more will pop into my head later.

– Nickbert

  • Sat, Sep 12, 2009 - 12:21am

    #14
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    Re: Practical Changes

Aaron.  Good idea for a thread.  Thanks for starting it.

Well, we’ve done virtually everything Chris recommends, but still feel somewhat uncomfortable about the future.

I guess you could say that all this talk about inflation and deflation has caused me hyperventilation. Sealed

  • Sat, Sep 12, 2009 - 02:08am

    #15
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    Re: Practical Changes

[quote=RetiredBen]

Aaron.  Good idea for a thread.  Thanks for starting it.

Well, we’ve done virtually everything Chris recommends, but still feel somewhat uncomfortable about the future.

I guess you could say that all this talk about inflation and deflation has caused me hyperventilation. Sealed

[/quote]

 

Don’t worry about it too much. We are all dead in the end anyways .Wink It is more important that we do the right thing.  Survival and wealth is or at least should be secondary.

  • Sat, Sep 12, 2009 - 02:36am

    #16
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    Protecting Assets

Aaron inquired:

What have you done to protect your assets?

FWIW, I sold my remaining financial assets (primarily stocks) in July, and have invested my longer-term capital with Sitka Pacific Capital Management. After researching over 250 financial advisors, newsletters, and investment services, Sitka was the only investment service that I found (and could afford) that didn’t lose money in the last 3 years. In 2008, Sitka’s Absolute Return Portfolio gained 6.9%, and their Hedged Growth Portfolio gained 13.7%.

Though Mish, a well known deflationist, is an advisor to Sitka, I found that their primary portfolios did well during the inflationary period leading up to 2007-08 as well. Additionally, I find their management fees to be extremely reasonable, and the transparency of their management services to be excellent. 

What sold me on Sitka? Their market neutral approach provides returns with very little market correlation. Additionally, their business model is significantly more investor-friendly (and safer) than mutual funds and hedge funds.

Bottomline: I sleep well at night now and have much more time to focus on other prudent preparations.

 

  • Sat, Sep 12, 2009 - 05:42am

    #17
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    Re: Practical Changes

Welcome back Aaron.  I always appreciate your knowledge and wisdom and sage advice.

 

Here’re the measures we have taken.

Have cut spending to the bone (except for a nice vacation recently with family … there’s no replacing memories) and have maximized savings by cutting all unessential expenditures.

Have reviewed all insurances (auto, homeowners, umbrella, life, disability, health, etc.), utilities (phone and cable), credit cards, banks, investments, business supply sources, food sources, gasoline sources, services (ranging from accounting to auto maintenance), etc. to ensure we are getting the most value for our money.

Have a secure profession/business which is holding up reasonably well in this economy but could be subject to adverse influence through legislative and/or corporate actions (although that likelihood appears remote, at least presently).  Also, have a reliable commercial real estate holding with businesses (including two credit counselling businesses and an insurance business) occupying the premises that are thriving in the financial crisis but recently lost a tenant who was not doing so well.  Also have alternative secondary source of income I could shift into if problems would arise with present primary source.  Would probably take 3-4 months to get that source fully up to speed. 

Have cash holdings in diverse locations in case institutions close or in case of a bank holiday.

Have precious metal holdings (10:1 gold to silver) in various forms ranging from bars to bullion coins to junk coins to collectible coins in diverse locations as well.  Presently adding to silver position on dips.

Have no holdings in equities or bonds but have some relatively small commodity ETF positions that I trade in and out of.

Have sufficient assets set aside for children’s college education (no matter what) and also to weather potential longer term unemployment.

Have stockpiled a supply of non-GMO, non-hybridized, heirloom seeds of a wide variety suitable for our climate.

Have a 3-4 month supply of dehydrated food for family plus 1-2 mon. of pantry and freezer food plus ready access to hunting, fishing, and plant life foraging.

Have water stored plus a well plus abundant available clean fresh surface water close by (have filtration devices) plus snow pack in winter.

Have homeopathic, naturopathic, nutriceutical, and other natural remedies as well as some basic pharmaceuticals for a variety of potential health issues.

Have combative arts training as well as wilderness survival training and keep self in good physical condition.

Have expanded garden to four small separate locations (for easier access and management, protection from disease and predation, and other unforeseen circumstances ) with further plans for expansion next year and have stockpiled additional organic top soil.  Also compost regularly .  Have also invested in fencing and netting for garden for bird, rabbit, and deer protection as well as electronic deer chasers (which seem to be working so far but the deer are probably more interested in our apple tree presently).  Have two dogs that provide early warning of predators of four and two legged varieties.  Will obtain a small portable greenhouse next growing season.

Have stockpiled and stored ammunition in 22 rimfire, 9 mm, .45, .223, 7.62×39, ,308, and 12 gauge.

Have air gun and cross-bow for pest control and silent hunting.

Have rimfire and centerfire rifles and handguns (more tactical than hunting) plus shotguns plus maintenance supplies.  Will acquire one more shotgun.  Will add night sights to additional firearms.  Also considering acquiring night vision capability.

Have made contigency plans to address possible precious metal and/or firearm confiscations (let your imagination be your guide).

Have wood back-up to heating system but looking to add generator back-up in future.  Also looking for 40 acres with at least half hardwoods, half field or pasture, with good water, good soil, good solar and wind exposure, and a pond or stream to build an energy efficient home with solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources with wood heat back-up and composting toilet.  Hope to purchase in the next year or two.  Will acquire an electric vehicle if the technology is suitable but land, new home, and vehicle are longer term plans.

Live in an area away from major population centers with a low crime rate, strong sense of community, a self sufficiency oriented population, plentiful fresh water, reasonably plentiful fish and game., and good neighbors but more isolated from major supply lines of gasoline, food, etc. and cold and snowy in the winter with a shorter growing season.

Have developed a list of friends and acquaintances with a similar mindset and a wide variety of skills and abilities for community based mutual assistance and support.

All plans have been made with the expectation that things could get very bad or continue on as they presently are.  Big emphasis on diversification (in terms of variety and location) of everything from financial assets to security assets to food and water.  In short, we’re hedging our bets, not burning any bridges, and trying to be ready for any contigencies.  Plus focusing on enjoying life and staying in the moment.

Have referred a lot of people to the course but have also found a number of families here who have never read about the course who are making similar preparations.  Most people, however, are sitting on their hands and hoping for the best rather than taking action and preparing for the worst.  Our primary focus for our future well being and security is on the 5Gs … G**, gold, guns, garden, and goods.;-)

 

  • Sat, Sep 12, 2009 - 06:42am

    #18
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    Re: Practical Changes

[quote=ao]

Welcome back Aaron.  I always appreciate your knowledge and wisdom and sage advice.

 

Here’re the measures we have taken.

Have cut spending to the bone (except for a nice vacation recently with family … there’s no replacing memories) and have maximized savings by cutting all unessential expenditures.

Have reviewed all insurances (auto, homeowners, umbrella, life, disability, health, etc.), utilities (phone and cable), credit cards, banks, investments, business supply sources, food sources, gasoline sources, services (ranging from accounting to auto maintenance), etc. to ensure we are getting the most value for our money.

Have a secure profession/business which is holding up reasonably well in this economy but could be subject to adverse influence through legislative and/or corporate actions (although that likelihood appears remote, at least presently).  Also, have a reliable commercial real estate holding with businesses (including two credit counselling businesses and an insurance business) occupying the premises that are thriving in the financial crisis but recently lost a tenant who was not doing so well.  Also have alternative secondary source of income I could shift into if problems would arise with present primary source.  Would probably take 3-4 months to get that source fully up to speed. 

Have cash holdings in diverse locations in case institutions close or in case of a bank holiday.

Have precious metal holdings (10:1 gold to silver) in various forms ranging from bars to bullion coins to junk coins to collectible coins in diverse locations as well.  Presently adding to silver position on dips.

Have no holdings in equities or bonds but have some relatively small commodity ETF positions that I trade in and out of.

Have sufficient assets set aside for children’s college education (no matter what) and also to weather potential longer term unemployment.

Have stockpiled a supply of non-GMO, non-hybridized, heirloom seeds of a wide variety suitable for our climate.

Have a 3-4 month supply of dehydrated food for family plus 1-2 mon. of pantry and freezer food plus ready access to hunting, fishing, and plant life foraging.

Have water stored plus a well plus abundant available clean fresh surface water close by (have filtration devices) plus snow pack in winter.

Have homeopathic, naturopathic, nutriceutical, and other natural remedies as well as some basic pharmaceuticals for a variety of potential health issues.

Have combative arts training as well as wilderness survival training and keep self in good physical condition.

Have expanded garden to four small separate locations (for easier access and management, protection from disease and predation, and other unforeseen circumstances ) with further plans for expansion next year and have stockpiled additional organic top soil.  Also compost regularly .  Have also invested in fencing and netting for garden for bird, rabbit, and deer protection as well as electronic deer chasers (which seem to be working so far but the deer are probably more interested in our apple tree presently).  Have two dogs that provide early warning of predators of four and two legged varieties.  Will obtain a small portable greenhouse next growing season.

Have stockpiled and stored ammunition in 22 rimfire, 9 mm, .45, .223, 7.62×39, ,308, and 12 gauge.

Have air gun and cross-bow for pest control and silent hunting.

Have rimfire and centerfire rifles and handguns (more tactical than hunting) plus shotguns plus maintenance supplies.  Will acquire one more shotgun.  Will add night sights to additional firearms.  Also considering acquiring night vision capability.

Have made contigency plans to address possible precious metal and/or firearm confiscations (let your imagination be your guide).

Have wood back-up to heating system but looking to add generator back-up in future.  Also looking for 40 acres with at least half hardwoods, half field or pasture, with good water, good soil, good solar and wind exposure, and a pond or stream to build an energy efficient home with solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources with wood heat back-up and composting toilet.  Hope to purchase in the next year or two.  Will acquire an electric vehicle if the technology is suitable but land, new home, and vehicle are longer term plans.

Live in an area away from major population centers with a low crime rate, strong sense of community, a self sufficiency oriented population, plentiful fresh water, reasonably plentiful fish and game., and good neighbors but more isolated from major supply lines of gasoline, food, etc. and cold and snowy in the winter with a shorter growing season.

Have developed a list of friends and acquaintances with a similar mindset and a wide variety of skills and abilities for community based mutual assistance and support.

All plans have been made with the expectation that things could get very bad or continue on as they presently are.  Big emphasis on diversification (in terms of variety and location) of everything from financial assets to security assets to food and water.  In short, we’re hedging our bets, not burning any bridges, and trying to be ready for any contigencies.  Plus focusing on enjoying life and staying in the moment.

Have referred a lot of people to the course but have also found a number of families here who have never read about the course who are making similar preparations.  Most people, however, are sitting on their hands and hoping for the best rather than taking action and preparing for the worst.  Our primary focus for our future well being and security is on the 5Gs … G**, gold, guns, garden, and goods.;-)

[/quote]

Now, that’s what I call a Man of Action . . . . You’re my new role model, AO . . . . Very comprehensive preps . . . . Kudos!  Your list reads like a master checklist of preparedness . . . A great reference for all of us . . . .

 

  • Sat, Sep 12, 2009 - 12:38pm

    #19
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    Re: Practical Changes

[quote=ao]

All plans have been made with the expectation that things could get very bad or continue on as they presently are.  Big emphasis on diversification (in terms of variety and location) of everything from financial assets to security assets to food and water.  In short, we’re hedging our bets, not burning any bridges, and trying to be ready for any contigencies.  Plus focusing on enjoying life and staying in the moment.

[/quote]

Yep.  That sounds about perfect.  Well done, ao!  

Your state of readiness sounds like my Mental List o’Aspirations, but I’d say I’m 1-3 years off depending on which area we’re discussing.    Thanks for the comprehensive throw-down of your prep.  I always get ideas/inspiration from people’s stories.  And inspiration = good.  Thanks again.

Viva — Sager

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 01:40pm

    #20
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    Re: Practical Changes

Jag, that seems like an elegant solution. Not much of a MAC guy here, so I didn’t even know it was an option.

 

Lesson (re)learned this weekend, clearing new raw acreage for planting is a lot of fun if you are a masochist. I REALLY don’t know how the original settlers did it all by hand. If you are going to get some land, I would recommend a valley (topsoil reodes to a valley making them more fertile) that has at least mostly been cleared for you already. Having a water source such as a lake above it makes irrigation gravity fed if the need arises.

Best,

Rog

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