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Archive for the ‘Self-reliance’ Category

 

Storing apples

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Hi,

Thank you for your very informative information about cold storage of food over the winter.

I was given a tip about apples from an elderly gentleman who had an apple orchard. He said to wet a towel and wring it out well and place it over the apples you are storing.  It helps to keep the apples crisp.  You need to re-wet the towel weekly but it is worth doing.

Thanks,

Karen

 

Getting Logs

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Hi, new to prepping and found your site.  Love all the good info there. Read one of the articles on getting logs and thought I would comment.  We live in the country in Louisiana and our state has huge pine forest and logging industry.  They cut tracks everywhere you look around here.  They take some time cleaning up after themselves and sometimes don’t at all. There is so much wood left over it is amazing.  You can really get as much as you want.  There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.

1. Approach the owner of the land, if clean up was not part of his deal with the paper mill he will gladly let you take what you want for free.  Often even if clean up was apart of the deal they will let you take what you want because they usually burn what is left anyway.

2. Approach the logging foreman for the track cut.  A case of beer will usually do the trick and you can have all you want.

3. Go in on the weekend and take what you want.  They are gonna burn it anyway so no one here minds, usually anyway.

There is allot of all types of wood to be found doing this, including hard woods and pecan.  All different sizes and shapes.  You can do allot with what you find.

This works well here in Louisiana and might work in other area’s too.

Your new friend,

Don Bottoms

 

Your “squatter” article

Monday, May 14th, 2012
Hello Claire,
About your “squatter” article, I wanted to thank you so much for writing it. You are very compassionate and that is refreshing to see. Also, you did not hold back on the legalities of “squatting”. That is good for all to know more about. I watched a movie last night that had me in tears. It’s called “Missing in America”. It’s been around awhile but Danny Glover was in it and some other pretty, well known actors. It was about an area(looked like around Ranier in the movie) where a few veterans were living in the woods.I couldn’t stop thinking about it this a.m. so I just googled “living in the woods” or something like that, and found your article. Anyway, all I wanted to do was let you know I read it and appreciated it so much. I am almost 60, returned to college for a 2 year degree in Medical Administrative Assistant so I can hopefully get a decent job for as long as I can keep working. I am unmarried(divorced 16 years now)no children and I stayed in a homeless shelter recently just so I could get my bearings and figure out what to do next. I don’t drink, do drugs or smoke, but yep, I was among the homeless. If I were not a woman I might try living in the woods but also, I have always tried to be law-abiding and do respect others rights and properties.

I hope all the info you provided gets around to as many as possible. Caretaking could be a good thing for both parties. It’s hard to think about the millions of homeless though and especially those that can’t bear to trust or be near people anymore. I can relate a little but I know they have been through much more than I ever will experience.

Thank you again,
Denise R., OR

 

I wrote about your magazine on my blog!

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Hello!

I love your recipe for laundry detergent and have been using it for several months now. I blogged about it and mentioned your website and magazine in the blog. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe for free for us! It has saved me so much money and it is earth friendly. Love it!

Thank you,

Sara McFall

 

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 Art of Living in Small Spaces

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Hi Claire.

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article about designing for, and living in a small space.

I live in a “shoebox” apartment in San Francisco, about 400 sf, but I fantasize about moving to a remote or “unusual” space and living in a very small home.  Maybe even in a motorhome.

But your ideas certainly apply to both urban and backwoods environments.  I look forward to exploring the links at the BHM website.

I wanted to add something to the rack-mounted computers you mentioned:

When I had a “desktop” computer, I bought a strap device to hang it from under my desk.

The straps are $18 on Amazon for a basic type, to $40 for the kind I had — it allowed the computer to be slid forward, and spun around to access cables in the back.  But I agree with you that a good laptop makes more sense these days.

Thanks again for the interesting article,

Jim Lee

 

Homemade electrical power

Monday, November 7th, 2011

It’s nice to see people trying out new things such as this cheap alternative to a more costly generator set.

My grandfather did similar things such as making his own string trimmer (weed eater) . This was back in the early seventies. He took an aluminum pole or something like that and attached a old vacuum cleaner motor to the end of it. Attached a pulley at the bottom and drilled holes along the perimeter of it and instead of weed eater plastic string he used sections of bailing wire. My dad said that thing would go through some pretty heavy brush. Heavy but it worked.

He also used to recycle bottles, cans, and scrap metal from his home, and bring it all in to town once a month in his VW van. He did all this before it was even a household word.

I remember working with him on his metal lathe in his shop and I noticed the lights getting dim then bright. I told him something was wrong with is light bulb and he just laughed and said that the light bulb was a 12 vdc type attached to a windmill he had built,and the power source was a 12 vdv VW generator. The cause of the flickering I guess was the wind was fluctuating.

I thought old Gramps was the coolest old dude. Glad to see other people try this stuff out and share with people so they might get an idea and try it out.

Kim Moe

 

Making Homemade Firestarters

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I read Claire’s article with interest since I’ve been making firestarters for years once we started taking our kid’s camping. One cold, windy night with only a few sheets of paper to get a fire going was enough to convince me to make a bunch of firestarters using various materials.

I found that using petroleum jelly on a cotton ball is a wonderful firestarter, you can fit a month’s worth into a pill bottle or mint tin. Spreading the cotton over the tender helps to get it going.

Also, using dryer lint (we have lots!) pushed into cardboard egg cartons or cup carriers and then covered with candle wax makes a great starter-lasts a long time like the ones Claire discussed in her article.

After having lighters fail and matches get wet I tried making my own “water proof” matches, which works okay except they tend to be brittle and hard to ignite. Now I use a magnesium stick firestarter that never fails to work. I found mine in a camping catalog, they’re also sold at Walmarts.

I love your magazine, have just signed-up for another year.I’m interested in being as self-reliant as possible. We live in a small town on a half acre lot where I keep 4 chickens in a mobile chicken tractor that my husband and son built to my specifications (we built it on top of a garden wagon, with a pen attached on wheels. When it’s time to re-locate the hens we just pick-up the wagon handle and pull it to the next spot. We have about 30 different fruit trees, tons of ever-bearing raspberries, strawberries, etc. I ordered the trees about 3 years ago and I’m excited by the fact that my peach and one of my plum trees are both loaded with fruit and the apples are also beginning to produce.

Keep up the great articles and information.I suspect that more people will be in need of it in the near future and your magazine will be an inspiration to them.

Marie McKinney Stone
Indiana

PS. I love everything that Jackie Clay writes!!!

 

Firestarters

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I just wanted to mention that for melting wax, a double boiler works really well. Another source of wax are those little wax bottles of whatever that is. My granddaughter gives me hers when she’s done drinking them.

Richard & Georgia

 

Dave’s recent columns and complainers

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

This country has been on the wrong track for well over 2 centuries, yet some Republicans and Democrats remain oblivious to the fact that their political party leaders are responsible for what has happened in recent decades. The letter writers who complain about Dave’s political views going too far should examine their premises. Contrary to the naysayers; I’m of the opinion that Dave, John, and O. E. McDougal don’t go nearly far enough, for they appear to believe that restoring Constitutional government is possible and desirable.

Before some of you dig out your pitch-forks in preparation for attack: Let me inform or remind you that the ratification of the Constitution had its strongest opposition from the most liberty-minded people back then! Patrick Henry of “Give me liberty or give me death” fame, when asked why he refused to attend the constitutional convention, declared:”I smell a rat!” I also recommend the reading of the anti-federalist papers.

My disagreement with this view stems from principles that perhaps they have not yet considered. I am a strong believer in the Non-Aggression Principle, which means that I take a moral and principled stand against force, aggression, and power: nobody, with or without badges or ballots, has the right to agress on any other. We live in a violence based society because we have always had a violence based government.

Had the founding leaders truly believed in freedom for all, then they would have set up a voluntary societies similar to the church congregations that many of them were members of, which raises funds via voluntary donations. Instead, they imposed upon us a coercive government with the power to rob us. Indeed, not long after the ratification of the Constitution, President George Washington led an army to Pennsylvania to rob people that wished to keep their whiskey, which for them was a form of currency. This became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Alexander Hamilton and his ilk claimed that they needed the revenue to pay off government debts. If it is immoral for a gang down your street to rob a store for the purpose of acquiring enough money to bail out a jailed friend, then it was also immoral for a group of people that call themselves “the government” to rob people for the purpose of repaying investors. The citizens didn’t consent to the loan, and saddling them with the debt ex-post facto was also wrong. The debt could have been paid for by the sale of land, or the debt could have been defaulted on.

There is no question that the people who attended the constitutional convention were highly educated and very intelligent. How is it then that such sharp lawyers, judges, and politicians would include language into the constitution that imposes a death penalty for treason, yet imposes only slaps on the wrists of the ruling class for violating “the supreme law of the land?” This cannot possibly be a mere accident! Indeed, President John Adams and the Federalist congressmen passed the Sedition Act, which was clearly unconstitutional, during the founding generation; yet they were not even impeached, let alone imprisoned or executed. Therefore: we should not cast blame at our fellow tax slaves for failing to remove today’s tyrants from office since our forefathers could do no better with a much smaller government that lacked today’s weaponry. Isn’t it amazing that the very minarchist document which was supposedly intended to limit government led to the most powerful government in world history in so little time?

Improving the Constitution would be of no use because we would have to babysit the government 24/7 in order to make it behave; so why replace it once the government collapses? There has never been a moral government in this world, nor will there ever be one! The very second that a government becomes established; there becomes 2 classes of people: the ruler(s) and the ruled. The belief that government is needed because mankind is evil is erroneous thinking. “If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.”-Robert LeFevre

Positions of power attract busybodies and evil people, and power corrupts even otherwise good men. No man should have power over another in a moral and free society!

Genuine free-market solutions to problems is the moral way of solving problems and filling wants. Natural Law is easy to understand and is explained at the Lysander Spooner website link below.

So, what should lovers of liberty do? Free yourselves! Freedom is mostly a state of mind! Most decisions made by people every day are anarchic in nature despite the state’s existence. I used to be a statist conservative republican, but my thirst for knowledge drove me and drives me toward self-improvement and gradually toward wisdom. I can state from personal experience that the truth will set you free!

Here are some free educational resources for your consumption:

http://tiny.cc/4h01z

http://www.lewrockwell.com/

http://www.freedomainradio.com/

http://www.lysanderspooner.org/

and most certainly BWH’s very own columnist Claire Wolfe:

http://www.backwoodshome.com/blogs/ClaireWolfe/

Please folks; educate as many people as you can. If this government were to collapse today, the masses would foolishly promote an election to choose representatives to form a reincarnated state to replace the one that just failed.

Brian Mast
Abolitionist from Stover, Missouri

 

Water wheel article

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Just wanted to say thanks on the great article. Just what I was looking for and what more people should be aware of.

Scott Barrett

 

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

 

Off grid refrigerators

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Dear sirs,

My wife and I have a cabin in northern Ontario and [instead of a refrigerator, we use] a Danby chest freezer with the thermostat turned up in the 38 to 42 degree range.

We only run the unit off of a generator for an hour  morning and night. Everything stays cold and once you get used to the idea it is a great way to keep food and cheap .

I think we only paid around $300.00 for it at Home Depot in North Bay last summer. It could just as easily be run off of a solar panel & inverter set up as generator, or small gas engine and alternator & battery set up as well.

We are very satisfied with it and is easy to use once you get everything arranged. Juices on bottom veggies on top,  etc. We use several different baskets and plastic containers to separate things out so it is easy to get what is needed to cook/eat.

[It is a] far cheaper method to use then Sun Frost, etc. units and if you wanted, a bigger insulated box could be built around it for better efficiency I suppose.

PS. we love your Magazine !!!!!

John & Susan Farris

 

Grain insects

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Dear Backwoods Home,

I’m not writing to be critical, I just want to correct some misinformation provided in Jackie Clay’s “Ask Jackie” section in the Jan/Feb 2011 Backwoods Home magazine.

Jackie refers to grain weevils as “pantry moths” and suggests putting out pantry moth traps as a control method. Weevils are beetles. Moth traps are based on a sex pheromone and no moth pheromone is going to attract a beetle.

There are at least three weevils, five other beetles, and two moth species that infest grain and pheromones are species specific (that’s their purpose — to attract a mate). Putting out a pheromone trap for Indian meal moths is not going to catch any Angoumois grain moths, for instance. Also, pheromone traps only attract and capture male moths (and they are not 100% effective), and one male can mate with more than one female, so trapping males will not stop egg laying but is a useful monitoring tool.

If someone has an insect infestation in their grain, they can take specimens to their local cooperative extension agent who can identify them and give control advice specific for that species. The advice will probably involve sanitation, tight fitting screw top lids, and freezing.

I’m not faulting Jackie; it’s unclear to me how she does all she does and still finds time to contribute so much to Backwoods Home. Maybe she doesn’t need any sleep!!!

Sincerely,

Juli Gould
Entomologist

Interesting knowledge! There’s always something new to learn, no matter how “much you do know”!!! I’ve always had luck with the pantry moth traps, and of course, cleaning up all infested cereal and flour products. And I’ve been lucky, I guess, not to have had any “bugs” in my stored food, other than weevils or pantry moth larvae. Pre-freezing stored flours and grains is always a good idea and is especially good if you have had a problem.

And, yes, I DO sleep. That’s what I do in my spare time.

Jackie

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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