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Archive for the ‘Preparedness’ Category

 

I linked to one of your Hardyville essays

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Hi Claire-

I just wanted to drop you a line and say “thank you” and tell you I’ve linked to one of your Hardyville essays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read or thought about the words you wrote…

Now that I have my own burgeoning readership I’ve come to appreciate the occasional email that says, “I read your blog every day and just wanted to say ‘thank you’!” Mark Twain once said he could live two weeks on a good compliment and I’m right there with him. My readers words keep buoying me up when times get tough.

Your words… “Are you racing like a little maze-rat, just to keep yourself in fancy toys?…When it comes right down to it, do you choose convenience over independence? Then you’re not on the road to Hardyville. If you want to be on the road to Hardyville, then turn around”

They made a difference. I started thinking about the life I wanted and how I could get it. It also woke me up to the fact that the whole rat race and more toys and crap were NOT what I wanted. It wasn’t an overnight change, but we are well on our way. And I’ve got a good life, one that makes me happy, and that’s better than it was.

I just wanted to remind you that you touch a lot of lives.

Christine Shuck

 

The 7 core areas of preparedness

Saturday, January 28th, 2012
In the section about lights you neglected to mention chemlights.
I’ve used them in lots of situations from a 4 hour power outage to combat. They come in various colors, sizes, and light output.
JS
 

Circle of friends

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Great article, the best I’ve ever read on the subject of preps.

Thanks

EN the Peasant
Sonora, CA

 

Your EMP article

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Dear Sir,

Thank you for writing this article. Words cannot describe the frustration I feel at the lack of attention this EMP doomsday scenario is receiving. (This lack of attention is tantamount to negligent homicide by our political leaders if we are subject to an EMP attack. They have commissioned studies and conferences on this scenario and are well aware of the consequences and yet do nothing.)

To my reason for writing: I have been studying this country’s preparation for many doomsday scenarios in an effort to better prepare myself and my family. The EMP attack scenario is by far the most scary for prepared survivors, even when compared to an all-out nuclear war. (With the nuclear war scenario, we will at least have a chance at maintaining a manufacturing base, with EMP we’d better learn how to make everything by hand first in order to rebuild a modicum of manufacturing infrastructure! Imagine making everything thing by hand to get ONE manufacturing plant back on-line, much less what it would take to get the power generating facilities and conveyance on-line to get power back to the manufacturing plant! By hand! without aid of anything electrical or electronic! And how would we get the fuel to the power generating plant? It’s a nightmare scenario!)

But there is one aspect to EMP attack that a nuclear war will not have that I cannot seem to get my head around. In my thinking the two scenarios that will cause people to become unrestrained looters without regard for common decency for a sustained period of time will be nuclear war and an EMP attack. In other scenarios we should be able to present to these roving hoards at least a road to a relatively quick recovery. With nuclear and EMP, it will be so devastating that “quick recovery” won’t even be in the vocabulary. But the “downside” (in regard to my family’s safety and well being) to EMP, is that it will leave a HUGE number of people alive to roam the countryside looking for food.

And there-in lies the rub: how can I keep these huge numbers of people away from my supply without resorting to massive violence? Any attempt at deception will eventually be found out when I appear well nourished. I cannot by any means store enough for everyone. And imagine the stampede when it is “rumored” that so-and-so at such and such place has a lot of food…I couldn’t live far enough away to prevent a migration to my front door. (And that is not to mention if an EMP attack is followed up by a conventional attack by a hostile country or countries…how could I feed and defend myself against an army or militia?)

I know that it is a bit more complicated than a simple email exchange can allow, but I’m at a loss here, so any direction/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! And I love your magazine (I just cannot afford a subscription YET!)

John M.

 

Praise for Jackie Clay’s books

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Hello,

I must write to tell you how much I have enjoyed Jackie Clay’s books.

I just finished reading “Starting Over.” It is a wonderful read, very entertaining but also very educational. On every other page or so, I learned something new. She didn’t just write that some project was accomplished, she explained how it was done, in detail! I expected to enjoy reading about her life and how her homestead unfolded. I never expected to learn so much or be so encouraged by her words.

I also just finished reading the Self Reliance book “Recession Proof Your Pantry“. I thought I knew about all there was to know on the subject, and still learned more. The same with “Growing and Canning Your Own Food.”  I would recommend all of these books to anyone interested in homesteading and self reliance.

“Starting Over” should be required reading for any woman attempting to homestead (or farm) on her own.

Thank you to Backwoods Home and to Jackie Clay,

Mary Hartsock

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

Password Site

Friday, December 10th, 2010

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

Peggy Pace

 

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

 

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

 

Jackie Clay – food storage

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I enjoyed Jackie Clay’s article about long-term storage of food. One  small suggestion I’d like to add: we live in an area with the  possibility of earthquake. My husband nailed strips of 1 x 2″ “rails”  about 2 or 3″ above the bottom of about half of our shelves (the ones  with my bottles of canned fruits/vegetables) to keep them more secure if  an earthquake hits. There is still room above the “rail” to access the  bottles, but will hopefully keep them from crashing off the shelves. Thanks.

LH

 

The Real Gun Criminals

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Your article hits the nail squarely on the head, and I give my heartfelt congratulations.

This is the stuff that ought to be pasted on billboards.

Richard Keelan
Texas

 

Why do I study self-reliance?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Why I do study self-reliance, alternate gardening, homesteading, or what ever you want to call it?

I was chatting with a friend earlier and she said there is nothing good going on, I had to strongly disagree. You and I, my Chicken Little friends are very positive. We are doing and learning things everyday. We study how to grown fresh vegetables in the dead of winter, with only the heat of our compost; making our own dirt. We put up food so when things go wrong we can give a hand up instead of needing a hand out, be it a lost job or a flood. Some of us believe like our mascot “Chicken Little” the sky is falling, but until then we will plant our gardens, convert to solar and wind power, put up our food, and learn a million things that are positive and we will make Mother Earth a better place.

So my wild eyed friends remember when you pick that fruit off your tree, help that child plant his/her first tomato plant, pick that salad out of your garden, or sharing the extra from your garden with someone in need. YOU are being positive and have the right to smile about it.

Thank You for Your time,

Mike Saucer

 

Building and stocking your pantry

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Just had to comment on this article in the September/October 2010 issue: it is not really necessary to use two-by-x lumber; one-by-x will do nicely if it’s braced properly and there is no more than a four-foot span between supports. I always add at lest a 1″ x 2″ support edge at the front and back of each pantry shelf. I have also built shelves using front-to-back bracing but I have to admit that doesn’t seem as good.

The author experienced a collapse of a set of metal shelving. I have to wonder what gage the metal happened to be. I have had great success with the heavier-duty metal shelf units, and with office-type storage cabinets. The light-duty metal shelving sold in many hardware and discount stores is weak and flimsy; as a 67-year-young disabled veteran I do not have much strength in my hands, but even I can bend one of those 18-gage shelves!

Currently, our “pantry” consists of a built-in closet-style shelf set about 28 inches wide by 24 inches deep, where we keep the canned meats and sauces; a nice tan steel office cabinet with a locking door where I keep boxes of cereal, pasta, and other goods (I cover the bottom of this one and the backs of each shelf with fresh bay leaves each spring), and a nice 24″ x 36″ Edsal industrial shelving unit that holds canned goods, jellies, jams, and jugs and bottles of water and juices. The metal units have flanged shelves and are 12-gage steel. Over the years I have collected gallon jars and popcorn tins to hold wheat, barley, millet, whole oats, tapioca — and of course sugar. We do not store flour; in our climate even with the best of care it tends to turn rancid. We swap for or buy honey at the farmers markets as we need it. We have two chest-style deep freezers: an 18-cubic-foot in the barn and a smaller five-cube here in the house. Excess non-perishable foods that won’t be affected by heat and cold are stored outside in an old mobile home in four more office cabinets and two sets of shelves built of 1″ x 6″ and 1″ x 10″ lumber. We use the deep-mulch method to preserve cabbage, potatoes, rutabagas, and turnips over the winter, and simply rake back the straw covering or the snow when we need a root vegetable or a head of cabbage for a meal. We have a cold frame for spinach, chard, and other hardy, leafy greens.

All that works for us. We’ve been here for 22 years, most of those as subscribers to Backwoods Home. We appreciate the articles and the letters from readers, and always get a chuckle out of the Irreverent Jokes page.

Your faithful subscriber,

Joyce Eikenberry
Ohio

 

“Learn To Stash Cash”

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Howdy Claire,

I pray this finds you well and healthy.

I always enjoy your articles whenever I run across them and this was no exception.

I was thinking about the value of nickel and copper when you mentioned it. I usually roll my coins stashing the nickels and pennies in an ammo box and trading the rolled dimes and quarters for rolls of more nickels and pennies at the bank to throw into the ammo can. I always pay for things with a larger bill and try to never spend coinage but add it to my collection. I like your idea about stashing the smaller bills in envelopes for the various and sundry expenses that arise. Thank you.

Since the fed has been putting the RFID strips in [Federal Reserve Notes] you can be tracked by any store with a reader at the entrances and exits. This isn’t universal yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes so. I like to withdraw a large sum of cash from the bank, go home and send the bills six or  seven at a time for a minute or two through the microwave oven. It fries the RFID chip and renders the bills useless for tracking my comings and goings and expenditures. I realize many products have RFID chips in or on them somewhere but at least it is now more difficult to trace the purchases to me. I have also purchased reader proof insulated envelopes for my debit cards. I even use them for reloadable Dollar General, grocery and restaurant cards. While it doesn’t make me completely invisible at least it gives me the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing SOMETHING to stay under the radar.

Thanks again and God bless,

Dick Crockett

 

Series on water

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Editor:

The three-part series on Emergency and backwoods water treatment was excellent! [ Emergency and backwoods water treatment: Part 1 - Issue 122, Mar/Apr 2010; Emergency and backwoods water treatment: Part 2 — "The practice" - Issue 124, Jul/Aug 2010; Emergency and backwoods water treatment: Part 3 — "Taking it to the field" - Issue 125, Sept/Oct 2010 ]

Tim Thorstonson is to be commended for its preparation, as it is so comprehensive and so useful in these times.

William R. Rick-Brigham

 

You inspired me

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

I just wanted to say thank you to all of the writers and staff of Backwoods Home Magazine.  You have inspired me to finally get off my duff and create a website and a new business.  I was disappointed in the writing and opinion of other magazines that promote independent living.  Sorry, but if I have to surrender my Second Amendment rights or be told I can’t criticize an entrenched politician, then I don’t care how far off the grid you are, you are not living free.

I know there are those who want you to drop your political views.  But to what end?  America has been and always will be political.  It’s part of who we are and what made us so great.  But it’s always a SMALL group who stand up and actually shout their opposition to tyranny and ultimately take action.  The majority either side with the tyrants out of fear and wanting to be on the “winning” side or, like the vast majority of Americans, they simply don’t care and don’t want to hear about it.  Like a child, they believe all that is necessary for evil to stop is to close your eyes and ignore it.  This was very much like the American Revolution, when a relatively small handful of citizens actually participated on the side of the Revolution.

BHM is doing it right.  You may not be as slick as the big money magazine (I’ll denote here as M.E.N). but you are far better, far more down-to-earth and serve a real and growing group of Americans who have come to the realization that America does not reside in Washington D.C., it resides in the hearts and souls of those who can reach across time and touch the meaning of what our founders really wanted.

Americans should be free to live quietly.  To raise those chickens and goats.  To have a garden.  To tap energy from flowing water, the wind or the sun.  They should also be happy in the knowledge that their government is working with them in their endeavors and not singling them out for heavy handed fines, threats, or worse, an armed attack to seize their property.

I am going to recommend  BHM to those who will be coming to my website.  I also intend to become an advertiser.  Thanks again for inspiring me to stand up and start using those rights that we all talk about, but few actually use.

Jim Harris

 

Lovin’ it!

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Hello!

I just wanted to send you a little note and let you know how much I appreciate your magazine!

We live here on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and my husband and myself have been living  simply for a long time.

Thanks to all the great info from your magazine we are striving for total self sufficiency!

In these times of a bad economy,your magazine has become our bible.

Thanks for giving us a shot at the good life!

Julie & Don Goulart

 

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Mr. Dave Duffy,

I want to take this time to thank you for working on and/or creating this website.  I am a currently a stay at home mother of two toddlers with a third baby on the way. My husband and I are a young couple with mature dreams of owning our own property, living off the land, and helping others.

Currently we are finding it hard to make money and thinking on what we can do different. We moved to NC from NY in hopes of a better economy after we graduated college. With his degree in Anthropology and mine in English we somehow found ourselves unemployed and more mouths to feed. After researching ways to make money and coming across your website my hope and dream have been replenished. I want to thank you for doing what you do. I am blessed to have come across it.

The story of the couple making money from home and homeschooling there children touched my heart. I want that and am not going to give up.

Sincerely,

Mindy L. Scott

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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