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Archive for December, 2010

 

Keep Up the Good Work

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Dear Backwoods Homes Magazine:

Thank you so much for your wonderful magazine filled with useful common sense down to earth lifestyle ideas.

I am a farm boy at heart who has grown up in suburban areas. As a youngster I have fond memories and experiences growing up on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and adventures on my uncles rural farm.

Growing up I remember my parents planting and harvesting a wonderful garden. Our home was landscaped with several apples trees, cherry trees, grape vines and a large strawberry patch.

When we left Iowa we moved to New Mexico and Utah before settling down in Colorado where we ended up in suburban areas and lost our country roots.

After high school and college and marrying 2 city girls I divorced in 2006 and decided that it was now my turn, so I purchased  a small ranch home on 5+ acres with great passive solar exposure and a water well. While my dream would be to have a section of farm land my career as a financial consultant, and alimony payments for 5 more years, has required that I live close to a metropolitan area with a higher cost of living. Three years ago with my office building of more than 10 years was sold and my lease expired so I decided to move my office home. I finished off my walk-out into a wonderful office space for me and my administrative assistant as well as adding another bedroom and bath plus a laundry room and large pantry and after 3 years I have recouped my costs in saved office rent.

In the last three years I have substantially improve my home by making it more energy efficient by installing an efficient wood-burning stove, caulking the air gaps, adding extra insulation and my most recent purchase, a wind generator, which is being installed as we speak. I also converted my 3 stall horse barn into a greenhouse and the fenced coral into a 40 x 65 ft garden area and planted 2 additional apples trees, a cherry tree and 2 peach trees and hope to add additional fruit trees each year. My new down to earth country bride and I have filled our pantry and freezer with canned goods from our garden and wild game. We now have a food supply that could last us 1-2+ years and expanding.

Over the last year I have routinely sent my clients and friends the link to your website (and have received very positive responses from them).

While I am not able to totally live the way I dream of, I have been able to create a some what self-sufficient lifestyle southeast of Denver and share the concept with everyone who will listen.

You inspire me, keep up the good work.

Warmest Regards,

Jerry L. Gruber

 

Smart guy

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

John,

Just read your editorial Getting the state out of marriage and you are dead on.  In fact this is something I have been known to pontificate myself.  So there are at least two smart guys left in this country.

I think marriage actually started as a legal thing, not religious.  It was more about keeping track of who owned  what land and such.  I believe it became associated with the church because those were the guys who could read and keep records.  But then, as things go now, something that gets started as a practical matter gets blown out of proportion and taken over.  So, yes, for a long time it has been in the realm of religion.

Thanks,

Howard Peer

 

Living without a Social Security number

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Hello Ms. Wolfe,

I know you are incredibly busy, but I do hope that this somehow crosses your path and you can find a spare minute for me.

My name is Sarah, I am 26, and have never had a SSN.  I just read an old article of yours entitled Yes, You Can Work without a Social Security Number and found it tremendously interesting.

All my life it’s been a struggle to get by and earn a decent living outside the system, and recently I’ve been at my wit’s end, and almost considered getting one.  Which goes totally against my beliefs and stance on government, and not to mention would just crush my dad who has devoted his life to standing up for truth and freedom.  So, decided to do a little research and realized I’d never actually just googled “how to work without…” in hopes of finding some online support and/or advice.  My main question for you, is, do you have any idea of some of the alternatives (specifically the private contracting) are still viable options?

Also, do you have any ideas as far as drivers licenses and car registration without providing a number?  I have had a home base in TN (where they offer a form for those with a religious objection)  for several years, but for various complicated reasons, am most likely going to have to establish some sort of residency in Colorado, where I just moved, and where I’m quite sure they don’t accommodate those with true freedom tastes.

I’d really appreciate any info/advice you could offer.

Thank you SO much, I’ve really enjoyed reading your writings.

Best wishes to you and yours.

Sincerely,

Sarah Klingler

Sarah,

I admire your courage and determination — and your dad’s. I wish I had more information to offer you, but as you well know, live without an SSN is getting harder all the time. Some of the options from my original article — like private contracting — have been obsoleted by police-state law or enforcement, or have simply turned out to be dead ends.

Without doing tons of state-by-state research or offering advice on “illegal” activities, which I won’t do, I’ve got only a few bits of potential help.

* On registering a vehicle: Consider registering it in the name of a trust. A revocable living trust can be set up easily and made official with nothing more than a notary’s stamp and signature. (You’ll need government ID for the notary, but a passport is usually accepted, and you can still get a passport without giving an SSN, as you probably know.

* On earning a living: Freelance. To small businesses and individuals, not large corporations. Or create some other small-scale, individual business for yourself.

Sorry not to be more helpful. I hope you succeed in your effort to live free.

CW

 

Canned bacon

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Great article on canned bacon.  Very informative and worthwhile to us avid canners.

Would appreciate follow-up articles on canned cheese and butter.

Thanks.

Jerry Mangen

 

My view article

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Mr. Duffy,

I enjoy your magazine. I didn’t enjoy your article about legalizing drugs.

I am a police officer and used to work in a local jail. You made it sound like “cops” kick in doors and personally line their pockets.

First let me say that to have legalized alcoholic beverages and not marijuana is absolute hypocrisy. At least in my experience the negative impact of liquor on society is far more devastating than pot. Most of my calls for service involve booze.

Second, I do agree that constitutionally, a person has a right to put what every they want in their body. The problem comes when I start picking up the tab for their self destruction.

If we had a society that was pragmatic enough to leave OD victims to die, problem solved, but instead Medics are called to the same address, week after week, taking these self destructive folks to the hospital at a huge financial toll.

While you were in jail did you ask any of those innocent 19 and 20 year olds, that were there with you if they were on disability for their drug dependence. I have, when I worked in jail, more than could be numbered! 20 and disabled, drawing social security. Who is picking up the tab for that? Society is going to pay for it one way or another.

By the way, here in Ohio, possession of small amounts, and I mean an ounce (a lot) is a ticket, you can’t go to jail for that. No one is in jail for having a joint in their pocket. Since 1990,I have been involved in maybe 3 seizure cases! All were big time dealers. Meth and crack and heroin are all very destructive. If no one has to pick up the tab, let em have it, but we will end up with the tab, and raising their illegitimate kids too.

Again, I love the magazine.

Regards,

Garry Lawson

 

Something missing in your magazine these days

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Hi Annie & Gang,

First off, Happy Holidays!

I’ve noticed that you are missing element in today’s world, whether it be homesteading or not. HOMESCHOOLING. While I have no kids of my own, I’ve noticed more and more on all the message boards I belong to (including yours ;)) that you really don’t delve deeply into homeschooling. Maybe an article here and there. I know you have only so much much space and do appreciate that, but more and more in the forums I see more and more parents asking for help in getting started homeschooling their children. What curriculum do others use, how to incorporate preparedness in HS, etc.

With more people getting into the self reliance lifestyle, I think that if you could add more about HS, it would be so helpful to the beginners out there.

Yours is the only magazine I choose to subscribe to.

Happy Holidays!

Cecilia Calvin

 

The Just Say No Article

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Oh, thank you for saying exactly what is in my mind. All I can add is that I hope you reach many, many more people.

I asked a neighbor once,”How many laws are enough? When do the elected ones finally throw up their hands and declare the job done? How heavy a burden of legislation must we carry in our lives ’til they’re satisfied that we’re protected from our own follies sufficiently?” The neighbor had no answer.

Thank you for speaking out, I applaud you Oliver.

Christina
Blackpool, BC
Canada

 

Massad Ayoob

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Part of his blog states incorrectly ” You cannot, of course, use deadly force merely because the intruder is in your house.” This is a blanket statement. Not only here in Texas, but in many other states that have the “Castle Doctrine”, we may shoot to kill without checking for a weapon.

Secondly, the “intruder” doesn’t even have to be in the residence! Just wanted to add my two cents.

Cordially,

Alan

Alan,

Having been involved in multiple homicide trials in Texas, I can tell you that courtroom ordeals are not precluded by the the law to the extent that some seem to believe.

Best,

Mas

 

Finally found you

Monday, December 13th, 2010

What an absolute joy to have found your magazine. All the times we have been in Gold Beach and never new you were there.

You see for those who don’t know Gold Beach we go there to get ‘abrated’. One just stands and faces the ocean and the wind and sand take off a couple layers of skin. AAAAh  feels so good.

Thrilled with your magazine. Have subscribed  and won’t stop.

Next time we are in town will pass up coffee shop and stop in to visit.

Excellant, excellant publication with excellant writers.

Did I say excellant too much?

Howard
Citrus Heights, CA

 

A guide to buying silver and gold

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

I’m writing in response to Mr. Buckley’s excellent article. Id like to add some observations to that excellent overview.

The thoughts below are solely my opinion and are not intended proselytize anyone; I am including them to provide my rationale for the silver acquisition strategy I am about to share below.

I am not a precious metals dealer, nor do I have any commercial interest in what I have to say. I just have a belief that regardless of political orientation, with a very few notable exceptions, the same gang of myopic, quarreling, self focused, gladiator-politicians, who have for decades been catering to a moneyed aristocracy for whom “More!” is never enough, will probably continue in power. That’s a scary enough scenario. However, if plague-flu, nuclear terrorists, computer saboteurs, unchecked global heating, climate wierding, nuclear states acting out historical grudges (Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea. Etc.), or a nuclear terrorist attack on Washington or New York don’t bring on Dylan’s “It’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, the Wall Street locusts will. The world economy dropped to its knees in a few short weeks after years of wink-and-a-nod regulation (bad, bad, word) fostered staggering greed that eventually compromised our financial and national security, with the only remedy being either mortgage the farm to buy more slop for the Hogs or let the farm go to hell.

Any one of these scenarios would almost immediately dry up the oil supply (how much bread and milk would be on the shelves after a few diesel-less weeks for oil tankers, trucks, container ships, power plants, etc.; who would go to work in the teeth of a virulent lethal flu? And just how long before desperate people would start “foraging”, that is, taking whatever they need from whoever has it? In the long term, considering that only Congress has legislative authority to reduce the obscenely massive national deficit is worrying enough, but should they actually do anything, that burden is sure to fall on ordinary citizens, and not the creators and beneficiaries of this catastrophe, who have been, are now, and will continue to finance campaigns of “friendly” politicians. As Deep Throat once said to Carl Bernstein: “Follow the money”. I say, “It is time to get smart”.

I grew up assuming that other people had organized the world for my benefit, and that all I needed to do was work hard, obey the law and pay my taxes to earn money for my wants and needs. That was called the American Way of Life; and it was all based on earning and spending enough to keep the economy growing. It seems that most politicians think that only by borrowing money to spend or reducing national income (tax cuts) or stripping government services will keep the economy growing. That’s like saying the best way to avoid foreclosure is to take out a loan, get a lower-paying job, or start selling off your inheritance. The horrifying truth is the Chinese, Saudis, and Japanese hold the mortgage, and the family is in crisis and tearing itself apart. No politician will do anything that could endanger re- election. That is where things are now, and the sickening truth is the medicine we need is gone – to Wall Street hedge funds, banks, corporate growth and profit machine and stockholders, and especially to the wealth aristocrats with super-size medicine cabinets brimming with (w)health, while the patient’s monitor red-lines and the doctor sits watching ESPN and picking his nose. In response, I have been relying on an old and fundamental American value; self-reliance. Among many other things, part of my strategy is acquiring the things of value I can use to secure things like food, fuel and shelter and safety.

David Weschler, the premier constructor of intelligence tests (Weschler Scales of Intelligence) once defined “intelligence” as not some mysterious “mental energy” intelligence tests measure (including his own), or even one’s ability to benefit from instruction (although that comes closer), but (to paraphrase) “the ability to organize the world to your benefit”. Sooo – I think it’s Time To Get Smart.

I have a suggestion for people who wish to acquire precious metals as a precaution against paper money’s predictable loss of value during “Hard Times”: Buy silver. Unlike other precious metals, silver has a wide range of important industrial uses that sustain demand and smooth out the volatility of the precious metal commodity exchanges. If you do choose to buy silver bullion, don’t “nickel and dime” unless you must. It is better to buy silver in 100 to 1000 oz. bars because the greater the quantity, the less of a dealer’s premium you pay. It is best to buy local and pick it up yourself. You should meet the person you are buying from in his office. If the office looks like a shabby dump, well, caveat emptor. Furthermore, unlike gold, silver can be a medium of daily person-to-person exchange during hard times. Try buying a carton of milk with a Krugerrand. You could bite it into bits with your teeth and weigh them – or just give the person a silver dime.

Three years ago in October when the Deregulation buzzards came home to roost, and after I realized the government had let the aristocracy of the never-rich-enough suck up national security. I bought two $1000 bags of U.S. pre 1964 silver coins. My first point is if you perceive the need, DON’T WAIT. If things go to Hell, it won’t matter if you paid $5.00 or $50.00 per ounce. No matter how much “profit” you made, the only difference will be how much paper you’re holding in your hand to wipe your buttocks when paper towels would do just as well. I bought U.S. pre- 1964 90% silver coins when the spot price was $10.50. Today’s spot is $29.43. If you are acquiring and not selling, this paper difference is of no consequence. If you need help convincing a cautious partner, spouse, etc., there are graphs of the change in the price of silver at MJPM.com: daily, monthly, and yearly from 1792 to present. The price trends for the last two decades are sobering. If I’d listened to advice back then (anxious spouse), I’d still be waiting for the price to drop.

As far as the forms of silver, I suggest not buying the Treasury “American Silver Eagle” dollar coins. First of all, they are so stunningly beautiful and limited in issue, they have numismatic (coin-collecting) value (i.e., they appreciate over time), and collectors pay a premium over their 1 oz. bullion (spot) value. If you want bulk silver for barter, many silver producers issue 1 oz. (or more) .999 pure silver “coins” called “rounds” which come in “half”, “quarter”, and “tenth” ounce sizes. I’d only buy silver rounds that feature the most beautiful of old Treasury issues, such as the “Walking Liberty”, “Standing Liberty”, “Morgan Dollar”, “Saint Gaudens”, “Incuse Indian”, or my favorite, the James Earl Fraser “Indian Head” or “Buffalo” design used on the 1913 – 1938 nickels (for example, see at Golden Gate Mint website). Since these silver “rounds” are not U.S. coins; their value” isn’t backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government, which is often given as a reason to buy Silver Eagles. But considering that the face value of a Silver Eagle is one dollar, if things do go to hell, the government will only give you a dollar for it, and that will probably will be in some form of paper. Duh. Again, if things do go “south of the border” (chasing NAFTA?), the value of an ounce coin will be way beyond present day spot. Again, think about trying to buy a carton of milk with a 1 oz. Silver Eagle perhaps worth the equivalent of $100 – if not more.

In barter situations, people may question the authenticity of what you have to give; in addition, you will need a form of silver that can be used for everyday small purchases. People will be most comfortable with actual out-of-circulation U.S. silver coins. Again, even these in dime form, in a “gone-to hell” situation, could be worth considerably more than a loaf of bread.

There is a strategy I have used that has allowed me to acquire pre-1964 90% U.S silver coins for less than their commercial spot value. Interested? Although it is time-consuming, it is not difficult, nor does it require knowledge or skills beyond the ability of a reasonably intelligent adult. Although time-intensive, I found it to be satisfying and enjoyable.

I bought a $1000 face value bag each of pre-1964 silver dimes and quarters. Many buyers of bulk coins ask for bags of half dollars or dollars. This is a mistake for the reason outlined above. Instead of just packing the coins away, I sorted them into the various US Treasury issues, or face designs, if you will. A word about U.S. silver coins. When they were pulled from circulation after 1964, most ended up in Treasury vaults. It appears that the larger denominations have been culled of earlier Treasury releases – I would imagine based on their numismatic value. So, for example, only about ten of the $1000 of bag of quarters predated the Washington 1932-1964 issue, and these were so worn they were worthless to any collector. Again, there were practically none of the more valuable coins of the early 1930′s. This was not so for the dimes, which were represented (roughly) as follows (in descending order of issue):

About 60% “Roosevelt” dimes (1946 – 1964) About 37% “Winged Liberty Head” or “Mercury”dimes (1916 – 1946) About 2,5%, “Barber” or “Liberty Head” dimes (1892 – 1916) About 0.5% “Liberty Seated” dimes (1837 – 1891).

Unlike the quarters, the earlier coins of these releases, as well as the scarcer mintmarks (more below) were proportionally well-represented. I cannot guarantee that any particular bag of dimes would have the same proportions of these various issues, but I think there is reason to believe so. First, anyone who has sorted through a $1000 bag (10,000) dimes would not find it implausible that someone has taken the time to sort them. Second, I was careful to choose a reputable seller of precious metals who could identify their origin, in this case, a bank vault. I would suggest that anyone wanting to use my strategy identify the source of their purchase. Under no circumstances are coins to be purchased from a coin dealer. And if you do find a valuable coin, you have some certainty it is not conterfeit. China has been flooding the U.S. precious coin market with – well, Chinese crap.

After sorting out the low-value Roosevelt dimes, which I have reserved for future bartering, I sorted the Mercury and Barber dimes by their U.S. mint marks. These marks indicate their origin and can also be used to identify the numbers produced by each mint, which along with condition (wear)determines their numismatic value. Typically scarce for “Mercury” dimes are the “S” (San Francisco) mintmark, and, to a lesser extent, the “D” or Denver mintmark. The earlier the date, the higher the numismatic value. For the “Barber” dimes, the “O” or New Orleans mintmark and “S” or San Francisco mintmark are usually scarcest, as are the Philadelphia and Denver 1916 and 1921 issues. 1920, 1921. I hit JACKPOT on several coins: an 1896-O and 1905 “micro ‘O’” in “Very Good” condition ($160, $25); two 1921′s and one 1921 “D” in “Good” condition ($65, $65, $80), and two 1926-S in “Very Good” condition ($15, $15). I was also able to make several 50 coin roll of the scarcer earliest-dated coins which I also sold for a good profit.

The bottom line is that I sold the Mercury and Barber dimes for about and $800 profit, thus discounting what I paid for the dimes ($10,500) about 7.5%. My only caveat is that this strategy is time-consuming: Not only must you sort through 10,000 dimes by issue and mintmark, you must grade their condition before you can identify their value. There are various on-line sources for this. There is no guarantee this strategy will work for others; for example, you might not receive an unsorted bag of coins. However, if this is so, if your mission is to acquire coins for barter, there is no loss other than a lost opportunity to make a profit.

[Name withheld by request]

A guide to buying silver and gold By Thomas M. Buckley

I’m writing in response to Mr. Buckley’s excellent article. Id like to add some observations to that excellent overview.

The thoughts below are solely my opinion and are not intended proselytize anyone; I am including them to provide my rationale for the silver acquisition strategy I am about to share below.

I am not a precious metals dealer, nor do I have any commercial interest in what I have to say. I just have a belief that regardless of political orientation, with a very few notable exceptions, the same gang of myopic, quarreling, self focused, gladiator-politicians, who have for decades been catering to a moneyed aristocracy for whom “More!” is never enough, will probably continue in power. That’s a scary enough scenario. However, if plague-flu, nuclear terrorists, computer saboteurs, unchecked global heating, climate wierding, nuclear states acting out historical grudges (Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea. Etc.), or a nuclear terrorist attack on Washington or New York don’t bring on Dylan’s “It’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, the Wall Street locusts will. The world economy dropped to its knees in a few short weeks after years of wink-and-a-nod regulation (bad, bad, word) fostered staggering greed that eventually compromised our financial and national security, with the only remedy being either mortgage the farm to buy more slop for the Hogs or let the farm go to hell.

Any one of these scenarios would almost immediately dry up the oil supply (how much bread and milk would be on the shelves after a few diesel-less weeks for oil tankers, trucks, container ships, power plants, etc.; who would go to work in the teeth of a virulent lethal flu? And just how long before desperate people would start “foraging”, that is, taking whatever they need from whoever has it? In the long term, considering that only Congress has legislative authority to reduce the obscenely massive national deficit is worrying enough, but should they actually do anything, that burden is sure to fall on ordinary citizens, and not the creators and beneficiaries of this catastrophe, who have been, are now, and will continue to finance campaigns of “friendly” politicians. As Deep Throat once said to Carl Bernstein: “Follow the money”. I say, “It is time to get smart”.

I grew up assuming that other people had organized the world for my benefit, and that all I needed to do was work hard, obey the law and pay my taxes to earn money for my wants and needs. That was called the American Way of Life; and it was all based on earning and spending enough to keep the economy growing. It seems that most politicians think that only by borrowing money to spend or reducing national income (tax cuts) or stripping government services will keep the economy growing. That’s like saying the best way to avoid foreclosure is to take out a loan, get a lower-paying job, or start selling off your inheritance. The horrifying truth is the Chinese, Saudis, and Japanese hold the mortgage, and the family is in crisis and tearing itself apart. No politician will do anything that could endanger re- election. That is where things are now, and the sickening truth is the medicine we need is gone – to Wall Street hedge funds, banks, corporate growth and profit machine and stockholders, and especially to the wealth aristocrats with super-size medicine cabinets brimming with (w)health, while the patient’s monitor red-lines and the doctor sits watching ESPN and picking his nose. In response, I have been relying on an old and fundamental American value; self-reliance. Among many other things, part of my strategy is acquiring the things of value I can use to secure things like food, fuel and shelter and safety.

David Weschler, the premier constructor of intelligence tests (Weschler Scales of Intelligence) once defined “intelligence” as not some mysterious “mental energy” intelligence tests measure (including his own), or even one’s ability to benefit from instruction (although that comes closer), but (to paraphrase) “the ability to organize the world to your benefit”. Sooo – I think it’s Time To Get Smart.

I have a suggestion for people who wish to acquire precious metals as a precaution against paper money’s predictable loss of value during “Hard Times”: Buy silver. Unlike other precious metals, silver has a wide range of important industrial uses that sustain demand and smooth out the volatility of the precious metal commodity exchanges. If you do choose to buy silver bullion, don’t “nickel and dime” unless you must. It is better to buy silver in 100 to 1000 oz. bars because the greater the quantity, the less of a dealer’s premium you pay. It is best to buy local and pick it up yourself. You should meet the person you are buying from in his office. If the office looks like a shabby dump, well, caveat emptor. Furthermore, unlike gold, silver can be a medium of daily person-to-person exchange during hard times. Try buying a carton of milk with a Krugerrand. You could bite it into bits with your teeth and weigh them – or just give the person a silver dime.

Three years ago in October when the Deregulation buzzards came home to roost, and after I realized the government had let the aristocracy of the never-rich-enough suck up national security. I bought two $1000 bags of U.S. pre 1964 silver coins. My first point is if you perceive the need, DON’T WAIT. If things go to Hell, it won’t matter if you paid $5.00 or $50.00 per ounce. No matter how much “profit” you made, the only difference will be how much paper you’re holding in your hand to wipe your buttocks when paper towels would do just as well. I bought U.S. pre- 1964 90% silver coins when the spot price was $10.50. Today’s spot is $29.43. If you are acquiring and not selling, this paper difference is of no consequence. If you need help convincing a cautious partner, spouse, etc., there are graphs of the change in the price of silver at MJPM.com: daily, monthly, and yearly from 1792 to present. The price trends for the last two decades are sobering. If I’d listened to advice back then (anxious spouse), I’d still be waiting for the price to drop.

As far as the forms of silver, I suggest not buying the Treasury “American Silver Eagle” dollar coins. First of all, they are so stunningly beautiful and limited in issue, they have numismatic (coin-collecting) value (i.e., they appreciate over time), and collectors pay a premium over their 1 oz. bullion (spot) value. If you want bulk silver for barter, many silver producers issue 1 oz. (or more) .999 pure silver “coins” called “rounds” which come in “half”, “quarter”, and “tenth” ounce sizes. I’d only buy silver rounds that feature the most beautiful of old Treasury issues, such as the “Walking Liberty”, “Standing Liberty”, “Morgan Dollar”, “Saint Gaudens”, “Incuse Indian”, or my favorite, the James Earl Fraser “Indian Head” or “Buffalo” design used on the 1913 – 1938 nickels (for example, see at Golden Gate Mint website). Since these silver “rounds” are not U.S. coins; their value” isn’t backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government, which is often given as a reason to buy Silver Eagles. But considering that the face value of a Silver Eagle is one dollar, if things do go to hell, the government will only give you a dollar for it, and that will probably will be in some form of paper. Duh. Again, if things do go “south of the border” (chasing NAFTA?), the value of an ounce coin will be way beyond present day spot. Again, think about trying to buy a carton of milk with a 1 oz. Silver Eagle perhaps worth the equivalent of $100 – if not more.

In barter situations, people may question the authenticity of what you have to give; in addition, you will need a form of silver that can be used for everyday small purchases. People will be most comfortable with actual out-of-circulation U.S. silver coins. Again, even these in dime form, in a “gone-to hell” situation, could be worth considerably more than a loaf of bread.

There is a strategy I have used that has allowed me to acquire pre-1964 90% U.S silver coins for less than their commercial spot value. Interested? Although it is time-consuming, it is not difficult, nor does it require knowledge or skills beyond the ability of a reasonably intelligent adult. Although time-intensive, I found it to be satisfying and enjoyable.

I bought a $1000 face value bag each of pre-1964 silver dimes and quarters. Many buyers of bulk coins ask for bags of half dollars or dollars. This is a mistake for the reason outlined above. Instead of just packing the coins away, I sorted them into the various US Treasury issues, or face designs, if you will. A word about U.S. silver coins. When they were pulled from circulation after 1964, most ended up in Treasury vaults. It appears that the larger denominations have been culled of earlier Treasury releases – I would imagine based on their numismatic value. So, for example, only about ten of the $1000 of bag of quarters predated the Washington 1932-1964 issue, and these were so worn they were worthless to any collector. Again, there were practically none of the more valuable coins of the early 1930′s. This was not so for the dimes, which were represented (roughly) as follows (in descending order of issue):

About 60% “Roosevelt” dimes (1946 – 1964) About 37% “Winged Liberty Head” or “Mercury”dimes (1916 – 1946) About 2,5%, “Barber” or “Liberty Head” dimes (1892 – 1916) About 0.5% “Liberty Seated” dimes (1837 – 1891).

Unlike the quarters, the earlier coins of these releases, as well as the scarcer mintmarks (more below) were proportionally well-represented. I cannot guarantee that any particular bag of dimes would have the same proportions of these various issues, but I think there is reason to believe so. First, anyone who has sorted through a $1000 bag (10,000) dimes would not find it implausible that someone has taken the time to sort them. Second, I was careful to choose a reputable seller of precious metals who could identify their origin, in this case, a bank vault. I would suggest that anyone wanting to use my strategy identify the source of their purchase. Under no circumstances are coins to be purchased from a coin dealer. And if you do find a valuable coin, you have some certainty it is not conterfeit. China has been flooding the U.S. precious coin market with – well, Chinese crap.

After sorting out the low-value Roosevelt dimes, which I have reserved for future bartering, I sorted the Mercury and Barber dimes by their U.S. mint marks. These marks indicate their origin and can also be used to identify the numbers produced by each mint, which along with condition (wear)determines their numismatic value. Typically scarce for “Mercury” dimes are the “S” (San Francisco) mintmark, and, to a lesser extent, the “D” or Denver mintmark. The earlier the date, the higher the numismatic value. For the “Barber” dimes, the “O” or New Orleans mintmark and “S” or San Francisco mintmark are usually scarcest, as are the Philadelphia and Denver 1916 and 1921 issues. 1920, 1921. I hit JACKPOT on several coins: an 1896-O and 1905 “micro ‘O’” in “Very Good” condition ($160, $25); two 1921′s and one 1921 “D” in “Good” condition ($65, $65, $80), and two 1926-S in “Very Good” condition ($15, $15). I was also able to make several 50 coin roll of the scarcer earliest-dated coins which I also sold for a good profit.

The bottom line is that I sold the Mercury and Barber dimes for about and $800 profit, thus discounting what I paid for the dimes ($10,500) about 7.5%. My only caveat is that this strategy is time-consuming: Not only must you sort through 10,000 dimes by issue and mintmark, you must grade their condition before you can identify their value. There are various on-line sources for this. There is no guarantee this strategy will work for others; for example, you might not receive an unsorted bag of coins. However, if this is so, if your mission is to acquire coins for barter, there is no loss other than a lost opportunity to make a profit.

 

Double dip recession

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

[In response to How deep can this recession get? How do we escape from it? ]

You people are so full of crap it’s not funny anymore.

Carl Aresco

 

Password Site

Friday, December 10th, 2010

For the first time, I really understand what a “random” password is.  Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Pace

 

Most Free Nations

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Most Free Nations

Hi, John.

You state “What, on paper, would appear to be the freest society in the world appears, in practice, to be among the most oppressive. Does this bother anyone besides me?”

I would like to agree with you. It bothers me for two reasons.  And not the reasons you might think.  You see I’m not American though I have been visiting the USA for 20 years or so for vacation and business so have the perspective of an outsider.

The two reasons are that (i) the people in the US seem to be oblivious to the inexorable legalistic technocracy that the nation is becoming and (ii) since US culture is globally influential through media and multi-national businesses there is a creeping legalism in countries where common sense normally prevails.

Over the years when I have left the US to head home to the UK, I have felt that I was leaving a police state for the land of the free…a slight exaggeration to make the point, but not far off.  I have felt that common sense is disappearing from the US social life and being replaced by laws,  To take 2 very simple examples which should be considered just as examples of a wider point not as important cases in themselves…In the UK there are no laws against jaywalking (except on Freeways) …you will not be booked for crossing a road when the man is on red.  The lights are to advise adults when it is safe to cross rather than treating people as children to be caught for being naughty.  You will not be booked for failing to give your seat at the front of the bus to an elderly or pregnant person, but will culturally know that it is something you should do.  And signs will encourage everyone to give their seats to people not able to stand rather than indicating a fine if you don’t.  There is no need for laws to punish offenders because children are taught acceptable behaviour from a young age.

I try to understand why the US needs to regulate the social world through so many laws.  I can only conclude that it is because (i) there is no universal cultural model that acts as a common sense norm set of behaviours (ii) it is a fundamentally legalistic rather than common-sense based country…adversarial rather than collaborative.

Nevertheless the impression I have when visiting the US is that (i) really, it is the least free country I regularly visit (I now work in Australia and spend a lot of time in Asia and Europe too) (ii) people are told/brainwashed that the US is the land of the free (iii) things are getting worse.  The most insidious part is point (ii).  It is an example of American Exceptionalism.  Which is to say that since the US is the biggest economy in the world there is a natural extension to “the US is the best in the world….at everything”.  Though the US certainly is the best at some things, I would argue that most of these are in the economic sphere rather than in the social and that the US is walking zombie-like down a de-humanising path of over-regulated social and cultural life.  I hope the US wakes up to this because of the influence it has outside of its shores.

Yours

Konker

 

Enjoyed your article

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Hello Claire,

Enjoyed reading your article The art of living in small spaces very much.

I was born and raised in NYC but I have dreams of buying 1 little acre somewhere, and building a little 800 sq ft house. An average studio apt is half that. I’ve read your article twice in the past 7 days. I agree with you and many others, buying a house doesn’t have to mean “over 1500 sq ft”. A single person like me can live happily in 800 sq ft.

Eddie Colon

 

Password Place

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

First off I completely acknowledge that what you have done is infinitely better than the common password examples you gave. However, a couple of quick points.

1. The browser password stash is notoriously insecure.  Google it or ask a security guy.  Granted it is much better than nothing but is not secure against a lot of malware, let alone anyone with physical access to your computer.

2. Use Lastpass.  It’s free, encrypted, allows one use passwords for access when traveling and works across all your computers.  For that matter use  Roboform or any other good manager although they may not be free nor have all the security features that Lastpass does.  It generates and secures your passwords, notes and personal info along with automatically entering the login and password for each site as needed.

3. Use a trick for your master passwords such as an easy to remember word or name but type the offset letter above or below from the correct one.  Such as; “password” becomes ;zxxslfc  Just create a simple system that works for you and you can use easy to remember words or phrases for your master passwords.

Jim Kretschek

Your first and second are good points. For folks who have to manage many passwords, Lastpass, Roboform, etc. are good options. But many folks only use one or two passwords and are unlikely to want to acquire and learn to use a password manager.

As to the trick in your third point, the key offset is well-known and easily programmed into the bad guy’s bot for each regular word it tries. Ih92c@yq5v*bJn3qh? Better is to create a true nonsense word that can be  easily memorized, such as flepismarp, then insert some capitals and other symbols, to end with fLep_is~Marp or FlepIsMarp38 or flep3is8marP, etc.

-Oliver

 

20 gauge shotgun

Monday, December 6th, 2010

A few years back, I bought a 20 gauge pump action shotgun for home protection. I am a female, now 66 years old. I have not gone out to practice with it and I know I should and after reading this article, it has inspired me to.

Oh how I wish my brothers were still alive (4) as we all grew up with guns in the South and they were gun nuts, some more so than others. One of my brothers would go out almost every weekend and target practice.

I am new to the forum but I will be reading this section on guns frequently as I am very interested. I bought a 38 Taurus but it was stolen by a family member, ’nuff said. Recently, I looked at the Taurus called “the Judge” (?). I have been reading message boards about it and have not been sold on it  yet.

Thank you for good articles and advice.

Elizabeth Angus

 

Flag on book

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The flag you put on the front of your book is the first MARINE CORPS flag. It is called the Gadsden flag named after the Christopher Gadsden, who designed the flag to be put on the man-of-war ship “The Alfred” and three other ships in the 1776 American Revolution.

This is NOT a tea party flag. For your information, the EAGLE, GLOBE, and ANCHOR emblem was officially adopted in 1868 by Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin.

Thank you for letting me have my say.

Harry Smith

 

Passwords

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Thank you so much for this site!  [Password Place] I got a notice a few weeks ago from Facebook that they caught someone trying to get into my account–from Istanbul Turkey!  I changed my password immediately and now will do so about every month.

Thanks again!

Catherine Cooper

 

Great Magazine

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

My Sister-in- law, Barbara Blackmore referred your Magazine to us. What a Holiday Gift.

My Wife and I started trying to be self-sufficient 2 years ago. We saw the direction this Country was heading and wanted to provide for ourselves. Your Magazine, and my passion, are one and the same -teaching people to do for themselves. We’re opening a small raw Milk Dairy in the spring of 2011. Our hope is offering people a choice for fresh foods. We have Pigs and cows also.  One day there will be very little food at the supermarkets so we each need to provide for ourselves and help our neighbors to do the same.

Sorry to ramble on, but this is my passion. Thanks for your time. Happy Holidays and God bless you and yours.

Jim Graham

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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