Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

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nickbert
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Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

So what is your "action plan"?

The subject of what preparations to make for the future has been covered extensively by Chris and in the forums, but I figure it's also good to have some more discussion on what to do at the time an economic crisis or panic occurs.  Many if not most of us have already taken preparations and steps for this probable outcome, but no matter how well prepared most of us won't have the luxury of sitting back and watching it unfold on the TV or the web.  We'll have to take some actions, which for some might just be making sure the car gas tank is full while others may involve a day or more of intense management and/or reallocation of financial accounts.  So I think that a thread where we can share or brainstorm action plans for the moment of oncoming economic crisis or emergency might be helpful.

For the sake of aiding visualization, consider the following hypothetical scenario.  It borrows heavily from Chris' concept of "From the Outside In", as I think he's probably correct that any future economic crisis may not necessarily start in the US or Canada where it's easy for us to see it coming. (oh, and apologies if there are discrepancies in the description of events in the scenario... I'm not an economics expert so I'm sorta winging it here):

"It's Wednesday, sometime later this fall. A major banking scandal (major as in 'definite jail time' for some participants, not just heavy fines) involving several of the largest banks in Spain has emerged last weekend, and recent developments implicate some other European banks as well as high levels of the Spanish government as being involved to some degree. US markets have dropped by an average of about 8% today, and are down about 15% in the past three days. Most European and Asian markets have not fared much better, and some like Spain faring significantly worse. Today the government of Spain has called into effect a bank holiday after experiencing escalating bank runs, and there are also rumors of long lines at some UK banks today. The cost of insuring Spanish sovereign debt bonds has gone through the roof, and the costs to insure most other Southern European sovereign debt have spiked upward as well, if not to the same degree.
Over the past two days, particularly today, the mainstream news has been abuzz about bank liquidity concerns. Zerohedge, PeakProsperity.com, the Automatic Earth, and several other financial websites and blogs are posting with a notable sense of urgency that there are striking parallels between the sharply contracting credit and market movements this week and that of the week or two leading up to the Panic of 2008. Fed chairman Bernanke has announced this afternoon that the Fed is taking 'immediate emergency liquidity measures', and is scheduled to attend an emergency meeting with heads of European central banks tomorrow to discuss coordinated central bank actions."

So if you all are willing, please share a little of your action plans, if any.  Or if you don't have one, try making one right now.  Would the events described above cause you so adjust or change your existing action plan in any way from its original form?  Keep in mind the time it takes for the national and global economies to return to some halfway stable state could be measured in a few days, weeks, or perhaps months, and we have no idea which of those it will be beforehand!

- Nickbert

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Ok, so here's my (pre-existing) action plan:

- Call family members and alert them to the developments; ask them if they've got enough cash and essentials to get them by for several weeks. Call and email our friends and select coworkers too to do the same (they are more likely to shrug it off or ignore it, but who knows?...).  Try to take some of the inevitable "WTF are you talking about?" comments and questions in stride Wink
- Remove all belongings from safety deposit box that day if possible, or first thing in the morning if not.
- Take out any extra cash from bank accounts that won't be needed for electronic payments in the next month. I usually do this every payday anyway, but sometimes I don't manage to get around to it until days or a week later.
- Re-examine 401k and re-allocate funds if necessary. Making a withdrawal is not possible as long as I'm employed, so allocating them to relatively safer (for the short term at least) funds is all I can do.
- Make sure credit card balance is paid off and print out and file payment receipt, and do the same with phone and utility bills. Avoid using credit card until crisis has passed or some stability is restored. Now some might want to do the exact opposite to keep more cash in hand, but if there's a horrible mess in the financial & banking systems I don't want to count on the bank to keep the transactions straight during that time. Better to have zero balance and avoid that potential headache, and I'm not terribly worried that a couple hundred dollars more in our hands will be that critical.
- Fill up the cars' gas tanks if necessary. We try to make a habit of keeping them no less than half-full at any given time, but like with trips to the bank I sometimes end up being too busy to get around to it as promptly as I should.
- Review our food and consumables inventory and see what we're missing or have in short supply. Make a trip to the store this evening and pick up those few things as well as a few jugs of milk for the freezer (for the baby).

Changes or amendments in response to specific scenario:
- Try to get feedback from people we know living in Europe as to what they're seeing in the news and on the streets right now. CM.com members in Europe would also likely be an excellent source of information.
- Make sure 401k allocations don't have any heavy European exposure (specifically, my 401k's 'International Fund'), and if they do then re-allocate.

 

As you might guess, the only involvement I have in the markets is through my 401k.  It'd be great to hear from those who have more substantial exposure to stocks and bonds as to what they might do.... (for privacy's sake, be as general and non-specific as you feel is appropriate of course!)

- Nickbert

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Well, I wouldn't try to sell any shares, as I would probably get buttons for them. When investing in them I have always kept in mind an old piece of advice which was: 'Don't invest money you can't afford to lose.'

Your other plans sound fine to me.

 

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Powering up for the collapse

4 10 2010

I’ve been meaning for ages to talk about our solar power system, but simply never seem to find the time.  But since the last time I posted on this poor neglected blog, a few things have happened, like me landing a consultancy job selling solar power to people in my area.  Yes… a real job!  Sometimes it feels like I’ve rejoined the Matrix…

Some five years ago, when our house project was barely up (a roof but no doors windows or cladding!) we put 20 US64 amorphous solar panels on the roof (1.28kW) with a German inverter called SunProfi 1500E.  Yes, it’s 1.5kW, and the E stands for Emergency, which means we have battery backup for when the grid fails and we have to endure a blackout.  Or not in our case, the system automatically and instantaneously switches to battery power when this happens.  To be honest, the battery backup is a real indulgence.  First, we started out with a tiny 17Ah battery bank (the more Amp hours the more energy you are storing) which turned out totally inadequate.  It was soon removed and replaced with a second hand 100Ah set of batteries which cost us the princely sum of $100 and a bottle of rum.  So far they were the better value for money, because they lasted maybe 18 months or more, but they eventually curled their toes up and died.  So, a replacement set made in China and bought on eBay arrived, for a grand total of $1300.  Gel cells…  never again.  They barely lasted long enough to run out of warranty, and the problem with this inverter is that it will not work at all without batteries, and if they are dying, it wastes prodigious amounts of solar power trying to keep them charged up.

new 500Ah battery bank

Luckily for us, my new boss is one of the few solar people around here who isn’t one of those greedy business people who jumped on the rebates bandwagon to sell grid connected PVs for a quick buck, he actually knows solar, and has been in the business for thirty years….  some people even consider him a guru of sorts!  That’s why I chose him to work for.

Out of the blue, he bought an entire telephone exchange worth of backup batteries for a song.  Not gel cells, and not piddly 100Ah jobs, these were the Rolls Royces of lead acid batteries, 500Ah Yuasa, which, he claims, have been known to last as long as 34 years…..  pretty amazing.  So I bought a set of 24 (2 volts each to make 48V) for barely more than the last set of crappy Chinese batteries.  So far so good.  They are all housed in a brand new little cubby I entirely built out of salvaged materials, looks like it’s always been there!

new PVs

new PVs, old system at the back

One thing I have learnt from rejoining this industry after a 15 year period of retirement, everything’s changed.  The incentives to screw panels to one’s roof are now hard to ignore, let alone resist.  So we decided to top up our old system with a totally new one, 2.2kW of, this time, monocrystalline Chinese made PVs with a 2.8kW Chinese inverter.  Yes, China is taking over the world…

I estimate that now we have reduced our consumption to around 3 kWh per day, we will be feeding so much excess energy into the grid during the day that we should make two to two and a half grand a year profit out of the panels…  I now firmly believe that ten years from now, there will be people with panels, and people without power. Or at least people who will not be able to afford the power they currently take for granted.  Only time will tell, but at least we are ready.

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Can anyone tell me how to find a qualified solar company/installer?  We would like to look into putting in some kind of solar plan,mainly just to keep a few basic things running in case of outages, but have no idea how to find people who can be trusted to really know what they're talking about.

Thanks.

 

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

To go back to the OP,  one of our fears has always been how far away we all are from each other during the average day.  We live, work and play across three state lines and have always fretted over big state border issues cropping up suddenly.  Additionally, DH's job is considered essential by the government (right up until he was laid off!)  but he is still in the field and expected to return in January to his old job.  When there have been major issues in the past,  such as severe storms and 9/11,  those who were at work were ordered to stay and some who were not there were ordered in.  After 9/11 essential personnel were on hand for 3 days.  So we fear his getting stuck and us getting stranded.

We debate calling in all of us sick if it looks like things are going south really fast.  If it doesn't we get docked a sick day and maybe get put on probation.  It schumer hits the fan we are all together....     I have wondered about how other people approach this particular issue.

We keep fuel in the vehicles and fuel on hand so that is OK and we are food secure for quite a while.  I, too might head out for fresh food and dairy,  but not if it was risky.  (nearest market is across state lines)

I might take cash out,  but we are cashing down - putting cash into tangibles at the moment things that will retain value if the USD does not.  Barterables etc...

We still have stock.  If things really tank we lose it.  I am getting ready to do some profit taking here soon.  I have no good reason or sign that I am waiting for.  This is far too unpredictable at the moment for market timing really.  We are all playing Vegas and the house usually wins!

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

  Checking the news is such a depressing thing to do ... but to not get complacent it is a must .    I do not know how long it will take for us to let our guard down and be caught unaware.     Right now the rail traffic has picked up there is no way anyone is going to listen.

  But  for today the neighbor stopped by and offered to help put up wood and bring a skid loader .   What a jewel !  And he is the neighbor we all have challenges with ... go figure !

 FM

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

James-

As of this time I actually don't have any of my 401k in stocks (against all conventional advice for workers in their 30's Tongue out) and don't expect I'd need to re-allocate for any near term crisis.  But in the eventuality this happens to emerge in the form of a US bond crisis (I consider unlikely in the very near term but I can't count it out) then I'll probably need to take action.  Hopefully I'll be able to withdraw (at penalty) or redirect my 401k funds before that happens, but I'm not necessarily counting on that.

land2341-

Wow, sounds like you have similar distance issues that my family has.  My work site is 290 miles from home in a remote area, and while I'm home around 30% of the time there's no guarantee when TSHTF I'll be home.  Also similar is that my job contract states that during emergencies or special activities I may be required to work nonstop for who knows how long without any days off.... and while an 'economic crisis' would normally be irrelevant to my job, if serious infrastructure problems come about as a result then all bets are off (which would be the time I'd most want to be home!).  For the sake of keeping the family together (or at least more secure) while working, our tentative plan is to either have my family stay with my dad and stepmom (they only live a mile away from our home apartment) or bring my family up to stay at my work apartment until things stabilize.  This is where keeping the gas tanks full comes into play... both of our cars can make the trip on 2/3 of a tank, and having a few 5-gallon gas cans in addition to that gives us a way to drive back home at the minimum if no local gas is available up there.  It sounds like you guys have more distance to contend with however.

As for taking time off work, I don't plan to do that until a more critical threshold is reached.  Which in my mind is something like the supply chain beginning to show stress, a bank holiday here in the US is or is expected to be announced, China or another major US debt-holder dumps their treasuries, and things along those lines.  Hmm, maybe there's a general prep notion there that most probably haven't actively thought of though.... "Always keep at least a week or two of vacation time available to use for emergencies"

And if things don't stabilize or if things start looking really hairy (civil unrest on a major scale, declaration of war, or severe or complete supply line disruptions)?  Maybe that can be its own thread... 'Action plans - when the S*** officially Hits The Fan'  Undecided

Full Moon-

Add that one to the list....

- Maintain increased vigilance on developing news (domestic & international, mainstream & alternative sources) or have someone who can help do that for you.  Which for me means checking on this site every half-hour or so for updates from Chris and others here  Wink

 

- Nickbert

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Damnthematrix,

We appreciate your sharing real life mistakes so none of us has to reinvent the flat tire.  Been thinking about solar a long time, but the cost and battery back-up issues have kept me from it.  Need to get off my ass and go for it.

Nate

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

I am afraid I am going to miss the tipping point.  I watch the news and listen to all kinds of datasets and get on here all the time,  but I am afraid I will not recognize it when the train leaves the station and it is time.

Today's major DOW jump and the expectation of QEII here and the stimulus the Japanese Govt't threw out there (which made the dow jump) all seemed like very bad signs to me.  But, again,  everyone else seems pretty happy with the dow up.  And I came here expecting to here talk of it and nothing....  

 

 

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

land2341

I will point out that the markets and gold were up about 2%, the USD was down about 1% and silver was up almost 4 1/2%.  I think the dollar drop stimulated the markets and gold which kept pace with each other, and silver responded to the same stimuli plus, but I think, silver speculators are also responding to silver's scarcity.  But that's just my totally uninformed guess.

We may, however, be seeing the beginning of the USD collapse.  I wouldn't trust stocks or bonds in that environment.

Doug

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

land2341-

On a 1 to 5 scale of my "S***-Hitting-The-Fan-O-Meter", this is a 1.... which for me is worth increased observation and maybe some additional info digging as time permits, but not much else.  These sorts of things are too small for me to get amped up about (at least in the "new normal" financial situation we're living in), and the world at large is much more likely to pass this sort of thing off as merely interesting if not an excuse to celebrate.  I certainly consider it a long-term bad sign, but not necessarily imminent.

A "2" for me would be something like this year's flash crash or the European PIIGS sovereign debt crisis of late 2009/early 2010.  With the flash crash, we spent the day going over our inventory list, did some shopping, and checked my 401k, but stopped short of emptying out our safety deposit box or removing any savings from our bank account.

It would take a "3"... something along the lines of a series of major stock crashes in conjunction with bank liquidity problems... for me to kick my above action plan into gear.  Fall of 2008 falls in this category for me.

A "4" might be declaration of a US bank holiday, terrorist strike on the level of 9/11, multiple stock markets being shut down for more than a day, or global & domestic liquidity issues beginning to affect supply chains and infrastructure.  Unfortunately I think this will be the point most average people will realize they should have been prepared and will rush out to the stores.  I wouldn't bother going shopping for anything at this point unless it was the store across the street, and even then I wouldn't go alone or unarmed.

A "5" (or "Full-Sized Elephant Poo Hits The Fan") would probably be the point at which supply chains have effectively frozen and/or major civil unrest is experienced in multiple parts of the country.

I had to set up this sort of rating system for myself just so I don't keep over-reacting to the frequent alarming news items, and so I can rate the "urgency factor" separate from everything else.

- Nickbert

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown
Nate wrote:

Damnthematrix,

We appreciate your sharing real life mistakes so none of us has to reinvent the flat tire.  Been thinking about solar a long time, but the cost and battery back-up issues have kept me from it.  Need to get off my ass and go for it.

Nate

It's 9:30AM here in sunny Australia......  and we have already generated ALL the energy we need for the whole 24 hours......

Ker-chink!

Mike

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Matrix - Congrats on your new job.  Your PV system is well thought out and reflects the learnings of the trial and error that a lot of us go thru when trying to get self sufficient.

Songbird - Google Starlight Solar in Yuma, AZ.  They're one of us.  That's where I get my panels and inverters & I live in Wisconsin.  They get pretty busy in the winter, but if you contact them in late spring or summer, they might be able to work with you.  I've found that with a little technical help from somebody like Starlight, and lots of research on the internet,  most of this stuff can be done by the do-it-yourselfer, unless you have to contend with zoning inspectors.

 

 

 

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Keep in mind...my plan with hurricane preparedness has always been to react before everyone else.  When everyone else pereives a Threat Level Two it is a good idea to already have yourself at Threat Level 3.  That way, while everyone else is filling their cars' gas tanks and buying non-perishables, you're already stocked on non perishables and stocking up on stuff they may not think of...like bread mixes or flour.  After the stations are out of gas, go fill your extra fuel containers with diesel fuel (for diesel generator, or just to trade), etc.  So buying the items before they are in demand, or recognizing what can be of use that no one else wants, is also a major strategy of mine.  I want my $$ out of the bank before anyone else thinks it's necessary...I can always put it back, right?

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown
leweke1 wrote:

Keep in mind...my plan with hurricane preparedness has always been to react before everyone else.  When everyone else pereives a Threat Level Two it is a good idea to already have yourself at Threat Level 3.  That way, while everyone else is filling their cars' gas tanks and buying non-perishables, you're already stocked on non perishables and stocking up on stuff they may not think of...like bread mixes or flour.  After the stations are out of gas, go fill your extra fuel containers with diesel fuel (for diesel generator, or just to trade), etc.  So buying the items before they are in demand, or recognizing what can be of use that no one else wants, is also a major strategy of mine.  I want my $$ out of the bank before anyone else thinks it's necessary...I can always put it back, right?

I couldn't agree more.  Now perhaps I'm gauging things incorrectly, but based on how most people respond to imminent oncoming hurricanes and heavy storms I expect the majority to begin any serious stocking-up or disaster preparedness between Levels 3 & 4 (as I defined them earlier anyhow).  There will be some like us who do so earlier, but that's likely to be a relative minority.  So the minute I see level 2 escalating to level 3 as I described in the initial post (or attempted to anyway Tongue out), I'll be getting gas (if I haven't already), doing any shopping (if necessary), and swinging by the bank.  Perhaps in my case I feel I have a little more time since both the bank, two grocery stores, and three gas stations are all a 1/2 mile or less from my apartment. 

Any shopping I do at that point wouldn't likely include much food other than more jugs of milk to put in the chest freezer and anything we neglected to keep fully stocked (nobody's perfect lol), and would probably focus more on other consumables and household items that it couldn't hurt to have a little more of.  Toilet paper, toothpaste, an extra 5-gallon bucket or two, trash bags, paper plates & plastic utensils... that sort of thing.  I probably wouldn't go nuts on that though, as we already have what we need to last us a while and anything extra would just be for a bit of breathing room.  We would probably do a fair amount of liquor shopping though; we keep a modest stock of 'good stuff' that mostly sits gathering dust, but if things are reaching Level 3 I'll go out on a limb and pick up some more things along with a couple 12-packs of my favorite beer.  My wife's past experience with a prolonged currency crisis had showed a booming black market, and tellingly enough alcohol was one of the more universally prized items. 

We should be able to do all this in less than two hours, or less than an hour if we split up tasks.  Once that's done, we'd probably limit our driving to getting to and from work and refrain from any further shopping if things at the store start getting nuts or crowded.  And hey, if I end up mistiming this and can't get any of this done, it wouldn't be the end of the world.  We have all we need so the last minute shopping would just extend our comfort zone a little further out (frozen milk instead of dry milk, that sort of thing), and we don't keep a majority of money and valuables in the bank at any given time. 

 

So a question addressed to all.... relating to land2341's earlier remark about the dollar's recent and notable slide, is there a point where any of you would be worried of imminent (as in the next few weeks) financial systemic problems?  USD dollar index of 72?  Gold at $1450-1500 before the month is out?  Or do you think we're already there?  Sure I know there is no magic answer to that, but since it's all about perceptions perhaps it's helpful to get a collection of viewpoints....

- Nickbert

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Here are the plans that I have in place for WTSHTF or right now for that matter:

I took my horses out yesterday and plowed a half acre. Usually do more but they are soft after a long summer too wet to do any field work. I have tractors but I also have the equipment to do things just with the horses if neccessary.

Have milked a cow up until I shipped her a week ago because of health issues but have a good relationship with a neighbor who can send me his next nice old cull cow (NOCC). I have all the supplies for milking. I know how to make butter, yogurt, cottage cheese and hard cheese.

I have a root cellar in the basement ready for the carrots, potatoes and turnips still in the field. I have several barrels of wheat and have planted more in the field. I still need a hand grinder but could use the coffee mill if neccessary. Hey, Laura Ingalls Wilder did it.

The water in the barn and house are both available with hand or foot powered energy and I heat the house with wood from my wood lot.

My land is debt free and I have housing for 3 extra people should the need arise. I am moving it towards a "village" configuration because it takes a village to power down!

Along with some friends I have started a Transition Initiative in my local town. Moving slow but making important connections. These connections are my biggest asset. Our community has and will respond to many crisises.

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

 Kate ,          You are my Hero of the day !     I want to be like you .    Someday, Lord willing, I will get there .   You web site is put together so nice too.

  FM

  PS , Nice matching team ,  Do they work well under saddle too ?

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Kate, ditto what Full Moon said!  I just checked out your web site and its great!  Love those work horses too; they are beautiful!

Ok, so here's my half-baked (if even) action plan, nickbert.  My problem is that I find it really hard to straddle both of our realities at once: our current reality (the unsustainable one that is steadily transitioning into our "past reality") and our future reality (which we're getting closer and closer to!).  I work full time (I know it is the old reaility but still a necessity!) and am a mom.  So the time (and energy!) I have available to cultivate the more sustainable life I want to transition to is limited. 

What that has meant in terms of preparations is that I am dragging my feet in terms of doing some additional things I need to do  that would demand even more time and more energy.  E.g., I really feel like I should be getting some chickens and goats and such, and learning how to care for them, to take that next step towards added food resilience.  But taking on chickens and goats is another added time- (and energy) burden that I am loathe to take on, given I am already working full time in the old world!  It is hard to fund the time and energy to do both realities at once!

Where I'm going with this is that I toy with the idea of having my last minute action plan being to be alll ready to buy the livestock we'd need to live more sustainably.  I know it would be much better (less risky, and I'd learn more) getting them now.  But I am loathe to take on even more of a load right now!.  Add to that the fact that my DH is not on board -he thinks I'm wasting my life worrying about something I can't control anyway...and so it's also carrying the load alone and going against the current.

Anyhow, Kate and Full Earth (and others), you guys are actively living a more sustainable life.  Do you think such an idea -getting livestock last minute if you already know where you'll get them -is at all feasible?  Ot do you think it is a bad idea given the learning curve?

Another version of that plan I've toyed with is asking a neighbor with (I think) more time than I, who grew up farming, if she'd consider raising livestock for the both of us if I offer to carry the cost burden of buying and feeding them (which I think I can do as long as I have my job)...  I live in a fairly rural area of small towns and farms...

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

We have already begun amping up the storage of fuels.  DH has worked in the industry so he knows what he is doing....  If you're not sure don't store much,  too dangerous,  too volatile and you'll lose quite a bit anyway.

Here recently gas went from $2.47 to   $2.95 a gallon between Monday and Thursday of this week.

Dollar slid commodities rose,  gas prices rise...

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

pinecarr ,     I like your plan B.   If you have someone who is willing to take on the work  for the cash  then go for it .  You can learn from them as you have time .      I know one guy who just pays someone to do it all for him .   IT  does not make sense to give up the good paying job   unless you are feeling the pull to be home .    Here again if the husband is insistent that you keep the job  then truly it is best to stay at it.  

  You do need to get your storage and emergency things bought tho  . Having a year or two storage will give you time to learn if you loose your job .    But  it is very important to start gardening a little at a time .  Get the kiddo's involved .      Fruit trees are first .    Today the kids and I put up 48 quarts of applesauce and pears ... it took hours !  $96 worth of food took 5 hours ..  see where I am going with this ?      There is no way a working mom could do this except on  a weekend.    Successful gardening is way harder to learn than animal care .   Raising chickens for eggs and meat does not save you much  money right now .  Just tastes better and better for you .  Raising a beef or pig does save you money ... but maybe not if you have to buy all your feed .   Start learning to make butter , yogurt , cheese. make sure you have canning supplies bought and someone to help you learn when and if the time comes .   This too is good for the kids to know how to do .

        That being said ,  Staying home and cooking meals , not having to have extra car expenses, and clothing allowance off sets the money you bring home . Also if you are paying for day care ... . I would say all these things add up to 4-5$'s an hour .  

Read all you can,  ,store seeds ,and do garden .. there are just somethings the kids need to know .  Like where food comes from and how hard the work is . Most of all learn from those around you that are willing to teach .   Then you will know what you are willing to do and what not .  

You just can not do it all .   Moms just can not  do it  and work out side the home full time  too.

 FM

Ps . The downside of being at home is that you get called to volunteer for Everything and you know how hard it is for Gals to say "NO"

 

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earthwise
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown
pinecarr wrote:

What that has meant in terms of preparations is that I am dragging my feet in terms of doing some additional things I need to do  that would demand even more time and more energy.  E.g., I really feel like I should be getting some chickens and goats and such, and learning how to care for them, to take that next step towards added food resilience.  But taking on chickens and goats is another added time- (and energy) burden that I am loathe to take on, given I am already working full time in the old world!  It is hard to fund the time and energy to do both realities at once!

Pinecarr,

I can appreciate the time crunch you endure while trying to think about prepping. I would suggest as a first step to get your chickens. I found them to be very, very easy for the return on the minimal time investment. Goats, even though I relish the milk and cheese we get, are much more burdensome. They must be milked twice a day. For the chickens, I can fill their feeders every three days or so (takes maybe two minutes) and in return get double the eggs our family can use. Chickens are a no brainer (lucky for me!). It will be getting even easier when I build my chicken tractor. I also have have found that for meat, rabbits have a great cost/benefit return on time invested. I have automatic waterers for the rabbits (chickens too) so all I do is feed daily (>one minute--literally). Cheap, easy and the meat is great.

Good luck!!

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pinecarr
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Thank you Full Moon and earthwise; I appreciate the advice!  I'll write more later...now off to work!:) 

re the work, it is by necessity right now.  We were so good not to go in debt when my job appeared shakey before.  But then we got passed that, job stabilized, and we finally gave in and took out a substabtial home equity loan to fix up the house... THEN I learn about how screwed up our economy is, and what a trap debt is!  So I have about 4 or 5 more years to pay that off...not sure if the economy will last that long, but I can't not pay the bills in the meantime!

Again, thanks so much for the great advive; I'll re-read and respond better when I get home from work.

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nickbert
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Kate-

Oh sure, just rub it in.... Wink

Seriously though, I think most of us would love to be where folks like you and DTM and some others here are at in self-sufficiency and resilience.  I feel I've made immense changes in the past 2-3 years, but that's peanuts compared to where you're at!  Alas, like Pinecarr pointed out many of us are still in the middle of transitioning between one world and the other, and likely to be for some time yet as the old world/reality keeps throwing up obstacles.  But any progress (even slow progress) is better than the old status quo alternative, or at least that's what I tell myself lol.

 

Pinecarr-

Sounds good to me!  I think earthwise is probably right about trying the chickens first, and even in a Level 3 or higher situation you may want to limit it to just that (and maybe a fruit tree or two).  I imagine after the next crisis (whatever it may be) comes and goes and eventually stabilizes to some new crap-tacular equlibrium, most probably goats and other livestock will still be available to buy.  Perhaps more expensive, but still available.  One can only do so much and there's no sense lamenting something largely out of your control.  Now your notion of bringing your neighbor in as a partner has merit... as it so happens some of my wife's family in Mongolia do much the same thing, owning small herds of cows, sheep, and goats that friends (who largely herd for a living) tend to along with their own herds.  I believe such arrangements often involve the caretakers keeping some of any livestock birthed from the herd for themselves and the owners helping with some of the maintenance costs (which in their case is usually minimal since they almost exclusively feed by grazing in the countryside; your situation may obviously differ).  

Oh and I feel your pain about having to have one foot in both worlds/realities.... it drives me nuts sitting at my office wall or computer screen knowing that this isn't doing much to help me develop skills for the future reality.  But it's all part of meeting those short term goals to reach the longer term ones; I have to remind myself of that frequently when I feel like I'm in some warped rural Alaskan version of "Office Space".

Well enough frivolity, time to find my cover sheet for my TPS report... Laughing

- Nickbert

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

My action plan is to lock the gate, and move the cows in closer to the house.  That's about it.

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pinecarr
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Earthwise and Full Moon, thanks again for the advice; I appreciate the benefit of your insight!  Maybe just taking on chickens myself wouldn't be too big a hassle in the near-term after all, based on what you're saying. 

nickbert wrote:

Now your notion of bringing your neighbor in as a partner has merit... as it so happens some of my wife's family in Mongolia do much the same thing, owning small herds of cows, sheep, and goats that friends (who largely herd for a living) tend to along with their own herds.  I believe such arrangements often involve the caretakers keeping some of any livestock birthed from the herd for themselves and the owners helping with some of the maintenance costs (which in their case is usually minimal since they almost exclusively feed by grazing in the countryside; your situation may obviously differ).

That's interesting, Nickbert!  Maybe I'll toy with that idea a little more seriously.  It may be one way I could make progress towards getting livestock (goats or whatever) while still living in the old reality!  That way, if things got worse and I needed to implement my "action plan", I would be closer to being positioned where I want to be.  Hey, maybe we've hit on a new job area for the transition time; livestock caretakers for rent!  (who also teach us how to take care of the livestock to help ease us into it!)

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Doug
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Kate

Sounds like you are way more prepared than most.  Questions re: Norwegian Fjords.  I ran across a guy last year who raises them and have thought of getting a pair.  I understand that are pretty hardy and good workers.  How are they temperamentally?  Easy to train?  Do you saddle them as well as using them for draft?  What's a good price?  We live in Amish country where we can buy equipment, but they generally have full size draft horses.  Is the equipment adaptable?  If not, where do you get yours?  I noticed you have a team of three pulling what looks like a seeder.  That seems excessive, is it?

As you can tell, I don't know a whole lot, but am interested.  Any info or advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.

Doug

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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

Doug 

   , I just had the Amish build me a set of Harness for my team and they were so reasonable .!  Less than $600.  

   While I was away overseas my family had an auction and sold all my grandfathers harness making equipment  for little of nothing. I was so bummed .  One magazine I did  grab  from his things  was  this magazine http://smallfarmersjournal.com/     and a book called  The draft Horse Primer  . SOOO much good stuff there.   So much fun to read .  Really does take you away from the modern worries of the world for a little while .

 I can still smell the leather , wood , and sweat smell of my grandpa .  He passed on 14 years ago and the team of horses I got from him are about to be put out to pasture .  I need to get a new team training ASAP .     Good luck with finding the right team for you .    I have started with the old style of Morgans now.  Good for pulling and under saddle , Belgium's are what my grandfather preferred because he was such a big man .

 onto milk cows ... Today I was so excited to run onto a family raising Guernsey milk cows and crossing them with a miniature .. Dexter maybe ?  They said it should be a great breed for small acre farms and gals like me not to be intimidated .   Now a couple of my kids work at a neighbors dairy, milking Holsteins  they do not have trouble but those durn things are so loony at times .. scared of their own shadow .

  Anyway Hope you find some info you need in the magazine .

FM . 

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Full Moon
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

NTDancer ,  

     I had a thought run through my mind today that I should extend  my grape vines   further  along the south and east of the homestead  and With little work I could hide a solar electric fence along there . Anyone trying to come onto the place would get quite a jolt and give us some warning .    The Dogs usually do a good job at this but once in a while we will be sitting at the house and someone knocks at the door ... quite a shock when you have let your guard down .   Gee one night I was here on the computer and a neighbor was clear on in the house hollering *hello*.   Good thing I was not ready for bed .   Anyway  Yes we still have things to do around here.  Might ought to think about a gate .

 FM

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wvcaveman
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

By the time action needs to be taken, pretty much anything that I can do will have been done. I am caught in the welfare trap. Seemed like the only way to get out of the situation that was in, and with the continued decline of the economy my exit strategy fell apart. Now I'm just waiting for my benefits to get cut... I'm sure it's coming. Since I'm in subsidized housing that won't necessarily put me out unless the housing subsidy gets cut, which wouldn't surprise me really. In fact, if things get that bad my best hope would be for law and order to decay to the point that no one would be around to boot me and my fellow next-to-bottom-rung on the societal ladder-ers out. I've done what I can, but the main component is community and naturally there is none of that, especially for a near hermit like myself. Even lacking that I've tried to do what I can to get others near and far to get some kind of resilliancy in place, but fear I'm just about the only person nearby who has done anything. I've got go bags for my son and myself but we've no where to go. And there's the suspicion that if there is a break down the "law" and "order" enforcers will like to pay "friendly" visits to my neighborhood. I kind of feel doomed.

That being said, for over a year (since I realized that the stuff I predicted ten years ago would happen about ten years from then was right on schedule) I've spent virtually nothing on anything that I didn't think would be potentially helpful and have put all of the depression-era wisdom that passed to me through my family to use. I quit paying my car insurance as that was the only bill that I could sacrifice save for phone and internet, which I am loath to give up, and have split my money between silver (a little) and supplies (mostly second hand) of whatever sort that I can afford that could help. I am still rather weak on defense and have no water filtration. I have put as much of my food stamps as possible into storable foods and in the meantime we eat rather spartain. I continue to try to get to know people in the community, build ties and get the word out, but with results that afford me no encouragement.

So if news or events tips me to the point that I think "this just might be it?" Call and talk to as many of the people that have somewhat understood me as I can and a few of the neighbors that I hope will take me seriously in light of the current events and hope for the best. A community will either materialize by magic or else... But I've learned all I can about edible plants in the area too, because I think we're going to need them.

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Full Moon
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Re: Action plans - Economic crisis/meltdown

What causes you to think you have to stay in the welfare system ?   How old is your son ?  Just wondering , as  three of my children have two jobs to get what they can while they can .  There are  lower end jobs( $10 and under) everywhere  . this should not stop you from receiving food stamps I would think .     If not I would be buying a tent and sleeping bags   to  be ready to head for warmer climate  for the winters and learn to gardenand butcher  for someone who is rich that does not have a clue.  Find out what you are good at and * Be the last one kicked off the Island so to speak .*

 FM

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