Friday, October 31, 2008

SHTF: Gold prices

I never talk much about gold and gold prices because frankly, I have never been able to afford to purchase much in the way of gold. When gold prices started to spike some time ago, I sold some of my smaller coins and turned the proceeds into "tangibles" as my wife and I like to call them.

After all, I cannot eat a gold coin, but I can eat a case of tuna fish!

Gold has been steadily (and sometimes dramatically) been rising for many years now. I think the big moment was after Y2K and shortly after 9/11. Since then, gold has gone up, up, up.

Why should you buy gold?

Gold is real, holds its value and has value to anyone worldwide.
Gold has proven its value during a bear market and during inflationary times.

When should you sell gold?

When you need money and tangibles for sure.
When the price is so high you can pay off most of your tangible debts.
Never. You will only be selling your gold for paper (I don't agree with this statement, because of what I noted above).

How can I buy gold?

You can buy gold from dealers which are sometimes jewelry stores or pawn shops, you can buy gold from auction houses and you can buy gold from other collectors.

Gold can be bought in coin or bar form. I prefer coins. They look like money and will have more value to the untrained eye for commerce. A bar looks like a Willie Wonka chocolate bar only it weighs more!

Should I buy gold?

Sure if you have the money. I would buy preps first.

And is now a good time?

Gold is down, hence the reason for this post. Gold prices are down because the dollar is getting stronger. As I write this, gold is down 14.00 and reached 1000.00 just a few months ago.

Hmmm.. with an election about to happen, economic uncertainty, and gold (and junk silver) being a good place to "relocate" your trackable investments and cash...

It might be a good time to buy gold!

Tell me what you think!

Leave a comment or click below!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

SHTF: Where to go?

I read lots of survivalist and preparedness posts about "bug out bags" and "get out of dodge" bags. The idea is to quickly grab your 72 hour or 2 week emergency pack, a trusty firearm, jump in the Mad Max vehicle and hit the high road.

But where do you go then.

The most fortunate have a "retreat" someplace else out of harm's way. This location will be remote, have land fit for growing food and supporting edible wildlife, a permanent shelter, clean replenishing water source, and adequately covered to avoid detection.

The next "sort of fortunate group" will have a friend or family member who has a ranch, farm or other rural property with the welcome mat out for select friends and family.

The last group will be the least fortunate. They will be the refugees. They will head for the hills (translation: anywhere rural and outside of their urban or suburban environment) and attempt to live off the land.

In most cases, the land refers to..

..Any small towns and facilities including grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, etc...

and/or any farm or ranch which happens to be in their path.

First the refugee will ask for water, directions, a piece of open ground or a some food. As they become emboldened, they will act more like locusts, straining local resources to point of breaking. Eventually, remaining towns and villages will blockade roads in and out of town to preserve what little they have left.

Some refugees will be more creative or downright dastardly. They will target state and national parks and take over cabins, shelters and campsites and convert them to permanent dwellings.

Yet others will claim empty vacation homes, lake houses and fishing and hunting camps. Some will resort to violence when the rightful owners arrive. Some will use violence to take the home or camp site in the first place. These refugees will have graduated to "raider" status at this point.

So where can you go so you will not degenerate into this sort of pariah?

First, rural and remote are is the right description for what you are looking for.

My advice is to find a county within 100-150 miles of your front door. Google real estate agents in those target counties who specialize in "rural land, vacation homes, farms and ranches". This will help you avoid the Century Remax agent looking to sell you a 3/2 with garage in a community of 22,000 residents with good schools.

Search for a minimal 2-5 acre parcel of land preferably with water (might be a stock pond, creek, lake or river access), some elevation, local game and fenced.

Visit the land and get a feel for it. Is there some sort of road access? What is on the adjoining acreage? Farm? Ranch? Meth lab?

If you like the land then how you buy it is your business, but my advice is to consider it an investment and part of your retirement savings.

Once purchased, search Craig's list for a used travel trailer. I just checked and there are plenty of fifth wheel models available. Haul one out there and camouflage it well on your land.

Bring out some barrels of water and store with your trailer. If you feel adventurous, consider caching supplies on the land, but a better be would be to rent a storage space in a nearby town.

Stock the storage space with..
- Shelf stable food like canned goods, dry foods, rice, beans, etc.
- Long term storage food like the Ultimate Family Preparedness Pak.
- Water, water filters, water storage, bleach.
- Home supplies like pots, pans, cleaning materials.
- Clothes.
- Tools, garden supplies, seeds, and fertilizer.
- Protection equipment.
- Medical supplies and medicines.

Put the supplies in water proof containers like Rubbermaid totes. This will also keep the bugs out.

If worse comes to worse and you cannot get a trailer, purchase several high quality tents and plenty of camping gear and stock some building material in your storage shelter. Perhaps you can put together a temporary shelter which would sure beat being in the radioactive wasteland of the big city.

Yes, this is not a casual endeavor. It will take some planning and budgeting. However, I know several people who have done this or are in the process of putting together a similar retreat as we speak. It is far better than "living of the land". Like a locust.

Tell me what you think!

Leave a comment or click below!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SHTF: Silver prices are wayyyyyy down!

The Junk Silver Blog is here.

Take a look at the Kitco graph on your right. Silver is below $9.00 an ounce. Historically, silver is down over 5.00 from a year ago. That means today is a great day to buy some silver.

Silver can be purchased in bullion or rounds, from a dealer or from a pawn and jewelery store. As you know, I prefer my silver in a form which everyone is familiar with and recognizes.

Of course, I am talking about pre-1965 U.S. silver dimes, quarters and halves also known as "junk silver"

When prices are down, buy. When prices are high, laugh. Unfortunately, all of us buy when the panic is on and sell when we feel like it.

I plan on stopping at my neighborhood jewelery store this afternoon and see what they have in stock for a roll or two of pre-1965 junk silver dimes. I consider it a hedge after seeing what happened to my 401K this past month. Ouch.

Besides, I think sometime those Roosevelt and Mercury dimes will be worth quite a bit more before this is all over.

I am not an investment adviser, but I am entitled to my opinion on junk silver and precious metals.

See the Junk Silver Blog Here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

SHTF: Surviving election day 2008

Like it or not, election day 2008 is about a week away in the U.S. If you live overseas, whoever wins this election will mean very little to you despite what the pundits say.

However, most American citizen/voters have very strong feelings about who wins the presidential election. And some of those feelings may turn negative if their candidate does not do as well as they personally hoped.

There are many in the U.S. who truly believe we will see mass demonstrations, civil disturbance, riots and violence regardless who wins. Further, even if one presidential candidate achieves a clear cut victory, some voters may believe their vote was discounted due to voter fraud or disenfranchisement.

Being prepared is the name of the game. Who cares who you vote for? What really matters is what to do when the results come in.

Don't draw attention to your political views!

First and foremost, keep your political thoughts to yourself. Paranoia aside, vandals and rioters opposed to your viewpoint may target your home, car or family if they know where you stand. Don't put out yard signs or car bumper stickers if you really want to avoid attention.

We still have a secret ballot in the U.S. - it was designed that way to stop pressure by opponents.

Vote early. That way you can avoid polling points which may erupt in violence.

Avoid political discussions with strangers and even some acquaintances. Who knows what their motivations or reactions may be?

What is to stop that loudmouth at work to lump you in with "Those people who cost my candidate the election!" and come over to exact revenge?

As always stock up on essentials like food, water, fuel, cash, and "safety equipment" but especially before election day. If there are civil disturbances and they are wide spread, who wants to be out at the grocery store or driving around?

Avoid urban areas, the city center and bad neighborhoods on and after election day. Rioters and celebrants have a habit of picking passersby and innocent drivers to take their happiness/frustration out on (Google: Reginald Denny).

Have your emergency transportation and communications plans in place before hand for family members. Decide who will get the kids from school, how spouses will get home from work and where to meet up.

Two biggies here: Prepare your home for riot and fire AND prepare a bug out plan now in the event you are forced to evacuate in face of rioters, arsonists and looters.

That means having fire protection equipment (extinguishers, hoses, etc.) and proper protection hardware in place before trouble rears its head. Speaking of which, often during civil strife, authorities will limit arms and ammunition sales if not ban them altogether. You have been warned..

Because police may use tear gas or pepper spray, having a gas mask at work or in the car may be wise. Make sure you have them available for family members as well.

You may have nothing to do with politics, but rioters, looters and arsonists often attack by proximity or relation. Your neighborhood may near where the riots start, near a major transportation hub or simply between the rioters and their target.

Avoid travel on election day for business or pleasure. Don't get caught in a strange city. Who wants to be in another town and end up on the wrong side of the tracks simply out of ignorance? Stay home!

The urban areas will be more dangerous than rural or even most suburbs. Be in the latter rather than the former if possible.

Don't succumb to the temptation to "want to take a look at what's going on over there" when you see the riots and fighting on the television. Again, stay home.

Take a page from the shopkeepers in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots. Google it if need be. Be prepared to protect your family, home and property.

You may be forced to join up with like minded friends and family for mutual protection. Consider others who are most vulnerable to harm such as elderly neighbors, children at home alone or single friends.

Local authorities typically quarantine unlawful areas and then move in with riot police. Don't get caught behind lines or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hope for the best.

My own prediction is that we will see demonstrations and some disturbances on election day and most certainly the day after depending upon the outcome. As a person of deep faith, I pray and hope for the best, but we are talking about people here. People who are emotionally caught up in a very divisive election.

Prepare now - you have about a week to get ready.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tips to survive the end of the world

If you are new to "preparing for the end of the world" and need a solid reference to get started, check this book out.

The world won't really "end". After all, it survived dinosaurs, great floods, earthquakes, volcanoes and disco. There is nothing this place cannot handle.

However, there are massive setbacks which can happen and which will feel like the end of the world. If every grocery store closed, power was shut off, water was no longer coming from the tap and the government ceased functioning, it would be the end of many people's world.

Here are a few tips for surviving the end of the world.

Stock food now. This means shelf stable, canned, packaged and dry food. Most of this can from your grocery store, others from specialty stores like Nitro-Pak (see Mountain House link on right). Stock months if not years worth of food. Many food products, like sugar and salt, can last for decades if stored properly.

But don't stop there. Stock seeds, hand tools, grow some fruit trees and put in raised beds on your property to grow more food.

Store water now. You can fill 2 liter soda bottles or buy food grade water storage barrels on line. Fill them with tap water, add a little bleach and rotate every six months or so.

But don't stop there. Purchase a high quality water filter system like a Katdyn. Get extra cartridges for the filter. Buy extra bleach for treating water. And a system for boiling water be it a camp stove or hot plate and battery setup.

And dig a well on your property. I am a big fan of sand point wells where possible. A rain water catchment system and cistern can also be a good choice.

Get alternate power. Solar panels and deep cycle batteries come in all sizes. From a single 5 watt panel and 12 volt rechargeable battery to a bank of 85 watt panels and room of deep cycle batteries.

A generator is useful for occasional use, but drinks a great deal of fuel and is noisy. Don't let the neighbors know you have juice!

If need be, a stationary bike with an alternator and car batteries (ala Soylent Green)) works in a pinch.

Don't forget extra batteries of different sizes such as AA, AAA, D and C!

Get fuel now. Propane for the grill. Gasoline for the car. Camp stove cartridges.

Be safe first. Store properly and only store what you can store safely. Make sense?

Stockpile the things you need and cannot produce. That means needles, thread and cloth for clothing and repairs. Nails, screws, tape and glue. Wood for burning and for building. Glass. Storage jars and buckets. Every sort of cleaner, disinfectant, and chemical used around the house.

Prepare for safety. Arms and ammunition are a must. Purchase and practice with what you know. Reinforce the home or retreat. Doors, locks, window grates or bars. Burglar alarms will be useless as nobody will come to help you.

Buy extra medical supplies. Aspirin and extra eyeglasses come first. Followed by over the counter medicines and bandages. Take as many first aid and medical courses as allowed.

Prepare your mind, heart and soul to survive and succeed in a new world. Survival is not for the fittest (although good physical fitness is mandatory - start working out and dieting now), but for those that adapt. Adapting to change is the sign of a survivor in the world after it ends. Get your faith in order - you are going to need it.

Your tips to survive the end of the world. It is not impossible, only getting started is the roadblock most of you will face.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SHTF: Business travel preparedeness

It has happened.

While on a business trip in Atlanta, a news report comes across that "an event" has taken place in New York City, DC or LA. You have worried about this day for years and now it sadly has come to pass.

Whether it is nuclear war, viral outbreak, invasion (alien or earth) or meteor strike, the conditions are the same. What has happened occurred suddenly and your reaction must be equally swift.

This week I am been writing about how to do deal with situations be it with food or water. This is another segment of that same theme.

The first thing to do is get out of town. Be it Atlanta or any other large metropolitan area, the last place you want to be is in a major metropolitan area. This is one of the times you should be thankful you rented a car rather than used mass transportation or depended upon others for lifts.

- Have a rent car

Get to your car and take the fastest way out of town. Make sure you know before the event happens.

- Have a good map or know the area well. Do not depend upon the in vehicle GPS system - they may be knocked out!

Don't stop until you are well out of the suburbs. All too often we think leaving down town is enough. On the contrary, the suburbs are where all the people are and will be heading. Keep the pedal to the metal until you are well out of town.

As soon as you are safely out of town, now plan a stop. Your first stop should be in this order:
- Fuel
- Water
- Food

Hit a truck stop or convenience store first. Fill up the car. Then go inside and make purchases. A list of things to get..
- Spare gasoline can, five gallons, more than one if possible.
- Maps and road atlas, if you do not have one.
- Food
- Small pop top cans
- Dried fruit, nuts
- Ramen noodles, oatmeal, soup
- Protein bars
- Water
- Bottled water
- Some energy drinks for late night driving and times when stopping to rest is out of the question.
- Instant coffee, tea bags, cola and other regular caffeinated beverages.

Other supplies -
- Dust masks
- Rope
- Work gloves
- Duct tape
- Small bottle bleach
- Flashlight, batteries
- Matches and/or lighter
- Emergency candles
- Canned heat (i.e. Sterno)
- Disposable ponchos or tarp
- Garbage bags
- Toilet paper
- Soap
- First aid supplies or kit
- OTC medicines and vitamins

Many of these supplies can be found in a 7-11 these days. You may also carry these same supplies with you when traveling such as a couple of trash bags, a dust mask, gloves, etc.

Pray that credit cards are still taken. If not always have cash when traveling. If the ATM are still working, count your blessings and get some more cash now while it is available. For the first 24-72 hours are when cash will be accepted if at all.

Plan your route. Pick a way home which avoids as many large and medium cities as possible. Consider taking a longer way home but one which travels secondary roads and through smaller towns.

Fill up the spare gas cans, check your water and head out.

If and only now should you consider other supplies. If you have the time and inclination, pick up some basic camping supplies and spare, heavy clothing. Most likely you are dressed in a suit, slacks or sports jacket. A pair of jeans, work shoes and a couple of good shirts go a long way.

Weapons? It depends upon the situation. I know I would feel better if I had a basic shotgun or rimfire rifle in the car with me. Both can be used for protection, but more important, both can be used for food gathering. What's more, long guns can be bought in most states without a waiting period, are less expensive than handguns and the ammunition is readily available.

Get moving. Drive as long as possible towards your destination. Every mile is one closer to home. Expect delays. Listen to the radio for any updates or information. Some if not most may be incorrect or blatantly false. Read between the lines.

Should you stop for the night? It again depends upon the situation. If there is a nuclear war, I would be reluctant to drive at night. Same with urban unrest or insurrection. Curfews and not being able to see who or what is in front of you can be a real problem.

If stopping, where to stop? A motel or truck stop is safe and being around other people (except in a viral outbreak) will be a good source of information and possibly safety in numbers. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure those five guys standing around the gas pumps or motel entrance are really who they say they are and not escaped convicts looking for a ride.

If necessary, stop on the side of the road. I would avoid most rest stops, camp grounds and parks unless they still have some sort of law enforcement presence and allow visitors to leave freely.

Rest. First check your fuel levels, tires, etc. Eat, use the bathroom and drink plenty of fluids. It is better to take a couple of short two hour naps than find a hidey hole to nod off half the day. Keep an eye on your stuff and vehicle. Loss of either may spell your death.

Plan on leaving at dawn multiple routes laid out in writing on your map or atlas. Look for resupply points for fuel, food and water. If it looks dicey keep moving.

If communications are working, stay in contact with loved ones back home. Cell phones, pay phones, internet, any service which may still be up. Let them know where you are and how far you are from home.

If fuel runs out, you may have to ditch the car. Pack up everything useful in as few bags as possible, put on correct shoes, cover your head and start walking. Although you may find help, don't plan on getting AAA to tow your car or fill it up.

Stick to the road and get out of sight when other vehicles come up on you. When you come to a small town, you might seek out the help of law officers, but they most likely will consider you a vagrant or refugee. You many lose your freedom and things.

Keep an eye out constantly for water and food. As the days pass, you will find that the further the crisis goes on, the less likely you will be able to count on civilized behavior from others around you. Be prepared.

At some point, some towns and roads may be blocked or barricaded. Sometimes by authorities and other times by locals trying to protect what they have left.

Remember the television show, "Jericho"? How the mayor wanted to burn out all the refugees during the winter because the town could not support them? This may be the reception you face either driving or walking.

Keep in mind "ad hoc" supply points. These would be abandoned vehicles, trucks and trailers. As fuel runs out, drivers will leave the car or truck behind thinking they will be back in a few days with a tow truck to retrieve it.

The contents may be a truckload of groceries destined for Wal Mart or a pack of cookies left in a glove box. Consider the alternative of starving and repeat "Finders, keepers.."

Should you help others stranded and attempting to return home? It depends upon your own inner voice, resources and experience dealing with others. That woman with the baby on the side of the road may be a lure with five very strong men hiding in a ditch off the roadside waiting to relieve you of your food, water, shoes and life.

However, there is safety in numbers. If you find a suitable group of law abiding travelers, it would only make sense to share what you have and be able to sleep at night.

If on foot, where should you sleep? Under bridges and overpasses offer the best cover. Another idea is to sleep in abandoned cars on the side of the road. They offer protection from the wind and can help keep animals away.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Emergency Water Supplies

Part One this week focused on light weight emergency food supplies which is the first in a multi part post about having to get home or to another location on foot or other human power conveyance (bike, skates, etc.).

If you ever leave the house, this scenario is easy to imagine. You are at work, school or away on a trip. Suddenly, the SHTF and you have to make it home. Perhaps at first your car or public transportation is available. But then due to the circumstances, you are left on foot to make it the rest of the way.

Suddenly weight and space become very important. The energy and physical needs of the journey are balanced against the carrying capacity of the traveler. I hope this helps with your preparations.

Part Two - Water.

Water, as you know, is mandatory to life. No water and in three days most of us will die. Further, clean water is becoming more and more of a luxury. Whereas 100 years ago, one could drink safely from a stream, more and more water sources are contaminated with chemicals, human and animal waste and bugs like giardia.

Also, if the SHTF and you find yourself on foot, resources will become scarce. Stores will no longer have bottled water available. Hotels and restaurants will close up. You soon find yourself left to you own wits to provide basic drinking water.

First, never leave home without water. In the car keep at least a six pack of water bottles stored. The bottles can be used over when empty and can be refilled several times over.

Also, keep any other sort of container for water storage handy as well. For instance, a resealable plastic water bottle, empty of course, can be carried aboard a commercial airplane. I carry one with a built in filter on every business trip I take.

Keep a spare bottle in the backpack or purse when at school. My kids do, my wife carries at least one bottle of water in the diaper bag and I carry one in my backpack to work.

Whenever water presents itself, fill up. Free bottled water at work? Grab a couple of extras. Bottled water at the meeting or on the flight? Take two please. Always find and locate clean portable water sources and stock up, using good manners of course, whenever possible.

Further, when traveling, stop off at a quickie mart or drug store and pick up a six pack of water as soon as possible. Keep it in your hotel room or rent car and you have the start on your water supply. Drink it before you leave town and there is no waste.

Invest now in a good water filter. Nope, not a Brita, but a Katadyn like this Pocket. It can filter thousands of gallons of water and clean it of bacteria, chemicals and protozoa. It is a great first stage to clean water in most situations.

When the SHTF, purchase a small bottle of bleach. Put the closed bottle inside of at least one closed zip lock bag. (Carry several zip lock bags as they can be used as emergency water carriers).

Have matches or a lighter on hand for fires to boil water for complete sanitization. A can of sterno or other canned heat will be invaluable for small heating fires for water boiling.

Always follow the same sequence of rules when dealing with strange water supplies: Filter, boil, bleach.

What to do when the SHTF and your out on your own?

1) Secure all clean water supplies. Find bottled water and fill any and all containers from a safe source.

2) Repack all water possible into closed containers.

3) Find more containers, clean and fill; fill used ones as emptied.

4) Use clean sources first from authorities and stores first.

5) Use alternate sources as available, i.e. water heaters, water fountains, etc. Filter, boil, bleach.

6) Use wild sources (creeks, rivers, streams, etc.) last. Filter, boil, bleach.

7) Rain water contains chemicals and harmful substances, too.

Water is heavy. Carry what is comfortable but be aware, you may go days between sources. Never assume that a new source will be available tomorrow.

Defer to water before food and food before any other supplies including firearms and ammunition!

The food rule with water is simple. Each person/each meal requires two cups of water - one for preparation and another to aid with digestion. Prepare and eat accordingly.

Water is the lifeblood your body needs to make the long journey home. As stated before, you can make it home hydrated and hungry but never the other way around.

Monday, October 20, 2008

SHTF: Emerigency Lightweight Foods

At school, the office or on the road, there is no worse fear than the thought of being miles from home without transport. Being the kind of distance which requires days or weeks to get home on foot.

In this situation, what you can carry on your back or pack may be all that is available and edible? First, one must be prepared.

A quick list of lightweight foods to see you home or to another location...

- Ramen noodles (eat cooked or raw).
- Oatmeal and grits.
- Granola, dry cereal.
- Protein bars, the higher protein the better.
- Cereal and granola bars.
- Single sliced Spam packages.
- Crackers.
- Sealed packages of tuna or salmon.
- Dried fruit, raisins, etc.
- Candy, not chocolate (melts) but hard candy.
- Dried milk
- Coffee, tea bags
- Drink mixes like Kool Aid and Tang.
- Cookies
- Pop tarts
- Bullion cubes, dried soup mixes

Pack plenty of zip lock bags for repackaging.

Only thing left is water, how to carry it and where to get it.

Part two!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

SHTF: Preparedness work out and exercise

You can stock all the canned goods, ammo and water you want. But if you are in bad shape it won't do you a bit of good.

Being in good physical health is key to survival. Being in top physical shape will make the difference whether or not you survive and are able to prepare and provide for your loved ones.

Why should a work out plan and exercise be part of your preparedness plans?

- After the SHTF you will have to do more physical labor, i.e. gardening, home repair, moving, lifting, etc.
- If bugging out, you may have to travel on foot while carrying supplies, pulling or pushing a cart and possibly carrying a child or injured friend or family member.
- Your body will be under tremendous stress and mental strain. Heart conditions and weakened bodies will lead to early casualties.
- Regrettably, a survival situation may require you to defend your loved ones and friends. This may mean hand to hand fighting at worse or long hours on watch and patrol at best.

So how can you get started? Much in the same way you built your food supply. One step at a time in small increments.

- Make a doctor's appointment and get a full physical checkup. Make sure you are healthy enough for exercise and where you can safely start.
- Start walking. A brisk 30 minute walk three times a week will do wonders.
- Consider biking - you can save gasoline and get exercise at the same time.
- Get off the couch. Get outside and do regular activity.

A few years ago I was in terrible physical shape. I started off with a short jog around the block. I was so unhealthy, I could barely make it down the street and back without pausing to walk. So I would run for two minutes and walk for one.

Today I run two miles five days a week. I follow that with 30 minutes of weights working specific areas. I do all of this at home and do not have an expensive gym membership.

Eating is the largest part of my preparedness work out plan, but I will cover that in another post.

Get off the couch, turn off the tv and get start getting fit today. When the SHTF it will be too late to get in shape.

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