Practical Changes

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Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
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Practical Changes

OK.

I know I'm not the only one here who's noticed the amount of discussion about things well beyond our control.

It's no secret that there are a lot of neferious things going on, and we're all on the same page regardless of what nuiances are uncovered, who slips up and says something revealing or if you believe in hyperinflation or deflation.

So how about this: lets talk about what we have done, and what we will do to make sure we're better off than the folks who think things are mighty fine and looking shiny.

What have you done to protect your assets?
What have you done to protect your ass...ets....?
What have you done to make sure your family will be fed?
Clothed? Have access to clean water?

What lessons have you learned?

This is the place to discuss what changes have been made, what changes you will make and perhaps most importantly, to discuss the effect of such changes.

Lets talk shop about what steps we can take towards energy independence, self-sufficiency and community building.
Who have you referred to CM and the crash course?
How has it effected their lives?

We need more proactive and productive conversation.

Instead of talking over the pedantics of a situation we all know we're looking in the face, we need to dedicate at least an equal amount of time to not only discussing, but taking steps to fix the problem - if only for our families and communities.

Cheers, and I certainly hope that this generates some replies.

Aaron

Ready's picture
Ready
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Re: Practical Changes

Aaron,

This is the kind of thread I can appreciate.

You are well aware of what I have personally done, and I will contribute to the thread as best as I can.

Let's define the areas to discuss:

Financial Security

Personal Security

Food / seeds, etc.

Water

Energy

Personal necessities (clothes, medications, TP Cool)

Items to trade / barter

Communications

Skills and Tools

Community (does your team have a Dr., Carpenter, etc)

Ongoing access to raw materials

 

Did I miss anything?

 

PS, glad to have you back brother.

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
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Re: Practical Changes

Hi, Aaron;

I've been bemoaning the lack of participation on the more practical threads for some time now . . . I don't know why, but few folks seem interested in that, anymore  . . . .  Perhaps because the ones to do,do, and the ones who don't, type . . . . Clearly I know that's not without exceptions, yourself being one of them, but  . . . . There has been a massive movement away from action and toward analysis, economic, political, and historical, since this spring . . . . Maybe it's because, on the surface, the economic news has been relatively quiescent . . . Whatever the reason, frankly, I've lost interest in starting practical threads, as there has been only a dribble of participation in the few that are started.  I participate half-heartedly in the analytical threads, as that's not where my heart is.  But, if you can prod the masses out of their lethargy, I'll be happy to participate.

 

 

JAG's picture
JAG
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Yeeee Haaaaaa!!!!!!

Yeeee Haaaaaa!

Aaron and Ready Are Back!  (sorry, I got a little exited and the Texas in me came flying out)

Lets get back to business.

Home Video Surveillance System:

Has anyone installed a computer controlled or DVR controlled video surveillance system? I have a basic system that uses utilizes an internet cam connected to my computer. I can view the video on my iphone as long as I'm within my wireless network range. I'm interested in a DVR-based system that can broadcast to the internet. Anyone with any experience with such a system or any other type of system?

Thanks in advanced.

 

Ready's picture
Ready
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Posts: 917
Re: Practical Changes

Howdy Captain,

You can use your existing system if you like, or add components to suit your needs.

To get the current system over the web:

You will need to find and register a domain name, like CaptainSheeple.com, I use godaddy.

Download and install a Dynamic DNS service like TZO.com (I think I remember that you have a cable modem)

Put the IP address for your computer in your router / modem in the "DMZ", meaning that the incoming requests to that IP on port 80 are routed to that PC that is getting the camera images

Change your DNS servers at Godaddy to be the nameservers for your DDNS (TZO or other) to point to the DDNS namserver, like NS1.tzo.com

After the DNS propagates (24-48hrs) you will be able to access the webserver of the video system at CaptainSheple.com.

This is my last post before the weekend, so I'll check with you on Monday.

Best,

Rog

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goes211
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Posts: 1114
Re: Practical Changes

There are free solutions for dynamic DNS services.  Check out no-ip.com or dyndns.com.  Both of these sites offer free services and may even be supported by your current router.  If so, you might be able to register something like CaptainSheple.dyndns.org for free.

I would also be careful of using a DMZ solution.  That might leave your host a bit unprotected from external threats.  I would setup a port redirection in your router so that you can access the camera from outside without opening up a larger portion of your network.

Another problem my be how much bandwidth your viewer application requires.  It might work fine on you LAN but not over the WAN.  You might not be able to get enough upstream out of your cable/DSL modem to make it work remotely but it worth a try.

Harvey's picture
Harvey
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Re: Practical Changes

Well as for myself , I still think I'm new to all this and have a hard time taking it all in !

I have purchased some PM , and have some cash on hand . Not sure if the cash on hand is right or more PM would be better ?

Moved my 401k (when I lost my job) to a IRA I manage with all my money in some sort of foriegn investments like Foriegn bonds , currency, utilitilties and such that pay dividends. Also 75% of my personal saving is also in overseas investments (trying to stay out of the US market and banking system as much as I can )

I have stocked up on food and water  . We have about 1 month's supply. Oh also stored a month of pet food, might not sound like much but we have two goldens and ten (thats right TEN !) cats . Most were rescues who were supposed to go up for adpotion, but thats a different thread or even site!

Also solar radio,lights, candles etc.

A few fire arms as well . Started going back to my local range every week to stay comfortable with my 9mm and buy more ammo every week.

Not sure what else to do at this point. when i try to talk to neighbors about this , most get a glazed far away look and try to change the subject.

I think they are happy to just Hope for change and it will all get better on its own. When I talk of the US being broke they want to talk green shoots and how the local news said things are getting better!

 

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SagerXX
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Practically prepared?

If the SHTF manana, I wouldn't feel prepared.  I bet only 5% of the tiny slice of society represented by people prepared for SHTF ever get to the place of "I'm totally ready."  I would, however, be heartened by the idea that I'm readier than 99% of the population.  It's not a "neener neener"/schadenfreude thing, nor would I feel somehow superior to the un-prepared.  I guess it comes down to:  knowing what I know and believing what I believe, if I hadn't worked avidly to prepare I wouldn't be able to look at myself in the mirror.

With that as preamble -- and using Aaron's guidelines:

"What have you done to protect your assets?"

Having invested in experiences and travel post-college until about age 35, I have far fewer assets than most of my peers.  (I"ve also always been skeptical in the extreme of the "he who dies with the most toys, wins" ethos.)  Good news:  that means I have fewer assets to protect.  Bad news:  I have less liquidity to allocate to the cause of preparation.  What fundage the spouse & I can liberate from more mundane purposes, we have I feel spent wisely (more on that below) and we're hedged against a collapse/currency crisis scenario with physical PMs.

I'd say we're about 70% done here -- and if we can unload the house next Spring (big if I know, but...) and get even half our current equity out then I'd say we're about 95% done.

"What have you done to protect your ass...ets....?"

I see this question as touching on 2 separate issues, strategic and tactical ass...et protection.  WRT the former, we are in the country in a location unlikely to get Golden Hordenized (with plans to get much more remotely located as soon as can be effected) and peopled with residents who by and large have at least a smidge of skill at living w/out services (frequent winter power outages, etc.).  On the tactical side, I'm gaining familiarity with my shotgun and am thinking a good grappling/hand-to-hand martial art wouldn't be a bad idea.  We have lots of work to do in this department, but we've made a good start considering I got rolling on all this in March.

"What have you done to make sure your family will be fed?"

Short term:  stored food.  Probably up to a 4-month supply for 2.  Both freeze-dried and canned.  Some nice deelish things and some dang-I-won't-cry-if-we-never-have-to-eat-this/it's-a-good-thing-"hunger-is-the-best-spice" stuff.  This is ongoing probably until we've got at least 6-9 months worth.  Long term:  we put in our first garden this year.  Mixed results, mostly good.  What failed was prolly due to the funky wet June.  Of course, we'd have to scale up about 500-700% if it was a subsistence gig.  But we can do it.  (I actually find gardening cathartic...although that might be different if survival depended on it.)  Still need:  canning equipment, supplies, skills and experience.  Next time my Mom visits, I know what I'm asking her to teach me (she grew up on a farm in Iowa and canned all through my youth).  So:  good start, but a looong way to go.

"Clothed? Have access to clean water?"

Access to clean water requires we procure a hand pump, which I've held off on getting since if we change locations in the way I think/hope we will, a pump will not be required (running water on property).  Clothed?  No freaking idea.  I'll trade one of my skills for clothes.  I do have enough threads to keep me warm and so forth for years.  Hmmm...actually, probably wouldn't hurt to have about 4 pairs of sneakers and 2 backup pairs of hiking boots and a spare pair of Timberlands in the closet.  Tide me over until cobblers reappear...

"What lessons have you learned?"

1.  Fear/panic merely wastes time.
2.  This process is endlessly humbling.
3.  Just cuz nobody else I know is doing it doesn't mean I'm nutters.
4.  I like learning new skills.
5.  Learning new skills is more fun than 90% of what our culture offers up as "fun".
6.  Most of the other people who are preparing are solid, interesting people worth knowing.
7.  Leading by example is the way to lead.  
8.  Us preppers won't be lonely for long (on the prepping front).
9.  A spoonful of Jameson's helps the medicine go down.  Which is to say, gotta work hard...then you gotta dance.  Or the rubber-room awaits.

Thanks for starting this thread up Aaron.  You have a fine knack for being "on point".  Ever-so-glad you're back!

Viva -- Sager 

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Gaborzol
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Re: Practical Changes

Preparation is also hard, because very few of us experienced real hardships. So where do we get the "know-how" for preparation to something we have a hard time relating to? Luckily for me there are some really amazing books on the subject. One of my favorites is Reinventing collapse from Dmitry Orlov.

Two of the most important things I do is

1) To be diversified - imagine what can go wrong with a plan, and have another plan that I can fall back on, and have the supplies ready for them, even if they are not exhaustive. It is better to have fewer total eggs in many different baskets than a ton of eggs in one or few.

2) To build my community. Not only making sure, that I would have access to a doctor or carpenter (which is important also), but what I can offer to my community in case of hardship (skills and useful things in a simpler society). Inviting my neighbors to some common actions, offering a good deal for them has helped me (like: Let's keep some ducks. I build the pan for them, and pay for them also, and we will take care of them and enjoy them together, howsdat?)

Thank you Aaron, for starting this. In my experience the most important preparation step is the first actual action. A lot of  the talking about it may be previous to that, but that is where the rubber meets the road.

Gabor

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Full Moon
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Re: Practical Changes

  I have a question here .  The 55 gallon plastic drums that the iodine teat wash comes in, if we wash them out really well can we use them to store drinking water in the basement or should it only be used for washing  and such.   We have made rain barrels from them and the plants are not negatively  effected by the water .

  Having  had much fog lately  we are sure to have a wet winter , so much of our time is still being used to bring in the garden that is still putting out well .    One thing I noticed with such a cool wet summer the soybeans are not doing well so the price will surely go up. In fact all the grains are down now if you have not already filled the feeders  Now would be a good time .  If the price of gas is going to go up they will use it as an excuse to hike the price  .

  It really feels like we are spinning our wheels here  .I did not get eggs in the incubator in time for fall butchering  so I am   having to buy chicken . So much to get done !   I remember my grandma doing everything by a farmer almanac ... suppose I had better get off here and start looking for one .  I have got to start journaling or something because if my family had to depend solely upon me providing for them we would be in trouble  .

  Back to juicing tomatoes .

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
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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

JAG's picture
JAG
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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.

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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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

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cannotaffordit
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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

wbogle's picture
wbogle
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Re: Practical Changes
RetiredBen wrote:

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

 

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.

JAG's picture
JAG
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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.

 

ao's picture
ao
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Posts: 2220
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, 7.62x39, ,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.;-)

 

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
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Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: Practical Changes
ao wrote:

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, 7.62x39, ,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.;-)

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 . . . .

 

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SagerXX
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Re: Practical Changes
ao wrote:

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.

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

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Ready
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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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Re: Practical Changes

I'm gonna bump this thread because I think it is important and don't want it to die!

I may be in the group of folks who has spent too much time and money on the preparation, so it is interesting to see other people's preparations. I guess you could say I am in the rounding out stage looking for things I have missed.

Moon, did you find the almanac? I've never used one but have heard great things.

One thing I don't see as I look through the different answers above is a solid plan for energy independence. Is anyone else prepared for off-grid? How?

What about communications? Is it a safe bet to assume the internet and cell phones are going to remain functional? If they both failed tomorrow, I'd be sending out smoke signals I guess!

One last question, I personally believe we have another year before it might get bad, but this fall will be interesting. Does anyone have a target completetion date they are working towards, and why? How will you know when you are ready?

Best,

Rog

 

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SagerXX
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Re: Practical Changes
Ready wrote:

I'm gonna bump this thread because I think it is important and don't want it to die!

I may be in the group of folks who has spent too much time and money on the preparation, so it is interesting to see other people's preparations. I guess you could say I am in the rounding out stage looking for things I have missed.

Moon, did you find the almanac? I've never used one but have heard great things.

One thing I don't see as I look through the different answers above is a solid plan for energy independence. Is anyone else prepared for off-grid? How?

What about communications? Is it a safe bet to assume the internet and cell phones are going to remain functional? If they both failed tomorrow, I'd be sending out smoke signals I guess!

One last question, I personally believe we have another year before it might get bad, but this fall will be interesting. Does anyone have a target completetion date they are working towards, and why? How will you know when you are ready?

Best,

Rog

Hmm...I'll know I'm ready when SHTF and six months later me'n'mine are carrying on okay.  How else does one know for sure?  Undecided

As for a completion date, my (seriously nothing more than ballpark) estimate is Spring/Summer 2011.  Which very well could be "too late"...

In the meantime -- Viva!  Sager

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Ready
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Re: Practical Changes
SagerXX wrote:

Hmm...I'll know I'm ready when SHTF and six months later me'n'mine are carrying on okay.  How else does one know for sure?  Undecided

Quite true.  At the same time, I had a list of stuff to accomplish before I felt warm and fuzzy, just wasn't sure if anyone else wanted to share theirs. Since I found peak oil before CM, energy has been my strongest play, and I knew exactly where I wanted to be before I was "done" if there is such a thing.

The world won't melt down betwewn now and 2011, so you are OK.  Now, 2012 is another issue (just kidding, no planet X)

 

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JAG
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Off-Grid Power

Hi Ready,

I have been fascinated by off-grid alternative power systems for most of my adult life. But as anyone who has looked into it knows, they are very expensive. Right now I can't afford a system for my home, but it is a priority. When I built my house, I spent a lot of my capital (and elbow grease) on climate-specific adaptations to the design of the home. I live on the hot and humid Gulf-coast of Texas, so I added 9 sets of french doors to the exterior walls to maximize passive ventilation. I supplemented this with a very energy efficient whole-house fan. There is no way to run an central air conditioner on a PV/Wind Alt. Energy system, so I thought these design changes were a more important initial investment than an off-grid system.

The result of these climate-specific adaptations to my home is that I only have to run the AC about 4 months out of year. I would say most people who live here run their AC about 9 months out of the year. By my calculations, this saves us about $2,000 a year on the utility bill compared to our neighbors.

 

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JAG
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Posts: 2492
Off-Grid Refrigeration

I have been looking for a simple solution for off-grid refrigeration. Last year I found a simple solution, but I can't find anyone who sells it. The solution involves a Sundanzer Solar-Powered/Battery-Free Refrigerator and a 120 watt PV panel. The refrigerator is really a great design. It only requires intermittent power, so it can be connected directly to a PV panel, with no battery bank, inverter, or charge controller needed.

Has anyone seen this particular model for sale? Thanks in advanced....Jeff

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Ready
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Re: Practical Changes

Jeff,

You make some good points, and are clearly looking at this from the perspective of staying where you are, and I believe you are in a suburban community, correct? I have not found an effective way to provide off grid power for my house in the subdivision either. Wind is not allowed, and only flat mounted PV. Too bad my house points the wrong direction.

On the farm, that is an entirely different story. And yes, you can have AC off grid in that environment. You are better off to design around it though, if you have the luxury. Putting the house underground is a great option. I realize this might be a bit late for you, and your wife may not take to kindly to burying the house at this point :)

While this is not the answer you are looking for, my refrigeration consists of a 25 c.f. chest freezer with a brewer's thermostat installed that allows me to set the temp to the non-freezing range. The idea of a vertical fridge was clearly desinged by a guy who cared nothing about AC use, as every time you open the door all the cold pours out on the floor. The electricy used is something like 1/10 of the upright cousin, and lends itself well to off grid use and still has a lot of space. We also have a root cellar.

While folks lived for eons without a fridge, I don't plan to.

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JAG
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Posts: 2492
Re: Practical Changes

Hi Ready,

I do live in what could be called suburbia, but I choose the location because the neighborhood had no deed restrictions or home-owners association. Its quite the eclectic neighborhood. The neighborhood is on the coast, so an underground home (my personal dream home is a semi-underground dome home) is not an option. In fact my house is raised on pilings 12ft off of the ground. We do have an excellent costal wind source here and plenty of sunshine for PV. And just last year the local utility company stated that they will accept grid-intertie systems now. A battery-bank is so incredibly inefficient, and expensive, that this was welcome news to my ears. Of course you would still need a small battery bank for power outages.

What type of wind turbine did you go with on your farm?

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Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
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Posts: 917
Re: Practical Changes

I'll bet you have awesome wind potential. I would really look at that close if I were you. Even if you just sell to the power company when you are not using and reduce your overall needs, you have gone a long way more than most, and if things get tight you can make different arrangments then for storing excess power.

Based on what you have said, I would think multiple small turbines would be the way to go for you. I went the big route, but I don't care about the dead birds, noise, tall towers with guy wires, and neigbors out on the farm. I have nobody within miles to complain.

Are you the handy type, or do you prefer a kit / pre-manufactured device? We may want to take this offline unless there are others interested...

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JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 2492
Rocket Stove

I'm sure most people know about these, but I would share my experiences with rocket stoves in case somebody might have missed it. The advantages of a rocket stove are:

  • The are very efficient, so they use very little wood.
  • Can be powered by twigs and sticks.
  • Can be made very easily.
  • Provide a means to cook food in dire circumstances.

Last year when Hurricane Ike took at all of our utilities, I used the rocket stove to boil water for pasta, and to make the sauce. I bought mine off of ebay last year from the guy who made the youtube video below for just over $100. But if you have welding skills you could make a nice one very cheaply.

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JAG
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Posts: 2492
Wind Power

Hi Rog,

I'm somewhat handy, but making a wind turbine is beyond my skillset. I was thinking several small micro-turbines might be ideal. I really like the vertical axis turbines but the watt per $ ratio is poor compared to traditional turbines. Traditional wind turbines create interference for TV reception. I wonder if the new digital broadcast standard is effected in the same way?

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Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Wind Power

I would stay away from vertical designs, they are inherrently less efficent than horizontal because the blade that is returning to the wind side to be driven back again must pass through the wind to get to the top of the stroke. You can have a very clever design, but it will never reach the potential of horizontal. You may have seen all kinds of crazy drive designs for the earliest airplanes, there is a reason they settled on the prop.

These guys do a great job with small devices:

http://www.windbluepower.com/

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