Notes for Wednesday – November 26, 2014

November 26th is the birthday of both gun inventor Eugene Reising (born 1884, died February 21, 1967) and the late Barton Biggs (born 1932, died July 14, 2012). Biggs was a money manager known for his pro-preparedness stance.

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JRH Enterprises is running a big Black Friday sale with all Mt. House on sale with shipping included as well as PVS14 Pinnacle Autogated Night vision devices, Thermal imaging scopes, and Perimeter alarms. Sale ends in just a few days! Don’t miss it!

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

A Strategy For Profitable Investing, by JEH, CPA

I am writing this letter in response to the question posed in “Letter Re: Surviving Financial SHTF and Becoming Debt Free, by K.D”. I am a CPA who thought about investing the day I got my first job. I am not a licensed investment representative, so as a result I will not tell you what to specifically invest in. However, I want to teach you how to look at the market.

The first tax season I worked, I noticed that people poured money into what was “hot” at the time, and they took a loss when the market went south. As a result, I talked with people who were successful at investing. One family took me under their wing and taught me about their strategy. They had a family trust routinely making 40% to 50% per year. I was flabbergasted.

I started off with $500 in 1991, investing in what was not hot at the time. The bubble has just busted on this investment about six months earlier. I placed my money in a mutual fund, via an IRA, through an online brokerage service. I made money. When this investment made 25%, I took the profit and invested in the thing people were just beginning to talk about– technology. I made easy, quick money. Back then people were talking about technology like it might never end. I got out. When TV people talk about something, get in when it is in its infancy; get out when everyone owns it.

I have never gotten close to an investment. An investment is like a car to a car dealer; you just use it to make a buck and then sell it for more than it cost.

In 2006 people started talking about gold. Mr. Rawles had several articles discussing gold and silver. I had grown skeptical with the stock market and the many bubbles. I took the money from the stock market and placed it in gold and silver. My investment doubled. The talking heads were saying gold would go blah, balah, blah, and silver had no end in sight. I decided it was time to sell in early 2009. I tripled and quadrupled my investment. Wow! Thanks, Mr. Rawles.

I left money on the table but not that much, as compared to the profits I made all tax free in my Roth IRA. WooHoo!

So to sum up my strategy, listen to the talking heads. If it is hot now, do not buy! If you can get in on the beginning, do it. Do not be greedy! Take a decent profit, and be happy. It will multiply. One of my mentors told me to sell stocks that lose 5% and sell stocks that make 30%; you will always, on average, realize a 25% profit. It worked for me until I went into the precious metal market. I thank my wife for keeping me grounded. She is not the financial information decipher, but she understands human reaction. She well understands my theory and is watching to see the next bubble.

I am not a fan of profiteering from tragedy. However, when something bad happens in America, such as 9/11, stocks tumble. The talking heads said they did not know if the airline industry could sustain such a hit. There were investing opportunities when the market opened again. If everyone is leaving an industry, pick the best of the industry and enjoy a quick gain.

I had made some money in the banking industry from 1998 to 2003. I got out because it had been too good for too long. My grandfather, before he passed away, once told me that things in our country have been too good for too long. I have taken his philosophy and applied it to the stock market. When a sector has been too good for too long, get out; you are in a bubble.

My daughter used to love to blow bubbles. She asked me one day, “Why do some bubbles continue to rise and then pop, while others sink and pop, and other bubbles stay afloat and then go away?” I had the opportunity to talk about density to her and high pressure and low pressure. It became important to me, because I could now explain how the market works.

Bubbles That Rise and Then Pop

The bubbles that rise and then pop represent the people pouring money into the market and it is rising, rising, rising. Eventually, what everyone has money in will pop as it is too high! The atmosphere (this is metaphysical, as this is the political atmosphere and the perceived atmosphere) causes the physical bubble to pop. When money stops pouring in, it cause the financial bubble to pop.

Bubbles That Sink

Bubbles that sink are too heavy to float. In investments, this can easily represent a market that is overheated and heavy. The bubbles are crashing. The bubbles also could represent companies too heavy in debt to float. They, too, go away. Just look at the number of closed banks.

Bubbles That Float a While Then Go Away

This represents industry darlings that have a significant amount of money poured into them. The money then becomes stagnant as the amounts of generated profits are not enough to make people happy. People then take some money out, but the investment continues to float. It can float forever. It could quickly pop one day out of the blue. When an industry is flat for a while, cut your losses or take your profits.

The Atmosphere – High and Low Pressure Systems

This represents the climate, not just the climate outside that causes my daughters bubbles to go up and down but the financial climate that causes stocks to go up or down. In today’s climate, we are in a high pressure system. Stocks are climbing and climbing. Bond returns are low and precious metals are lower than they have been for a while.

Therefore, a high pressure system causes stocks to rise. Eventually, the atmosphere becomes too light and the bubble pops. DO NOT be in the market when this happens. People commit suicide over this, as their paper profits are not recognized (more on this later).

In a low pressure system, interest rates are high enough to sustain an equal amount of people in the market for bonds and stocks. Alan Greenspan was a genius at this. Stocks and bonds have low pressure from bubbles during this type of financial atmosphere.

Realized and Recognized

We, accountants, use funny terms to talk about profits on your tax return. For example, you can realize a gain on the sale of business property, but through like-kind exchanges, we can help you not recognize the gain on your tax return.

I will use the following example to demonstrate realize and recognized:

  1. You buy one ounce of gold for $1,000 on January 1, 2014.
  2. On November 1, 2014, the spot price for gold is $1,200 per ounce.
  3. On November 17, 2014, you sell the gold for $1,100 per ounce.

From January 1, 2014 to November 1, 2014, you realized a profit of $200 ($1,200 – $1,000). However, because you did not sell your ounce of gold, you do not recognize the profit. You rock on until November 17, 2014 and then decide to sell the investment. You realized two things– first is a profit from January 1, 2014 to November 17, 2014 of $100 ($1,100 – $1,000) and a loss from November 1, 2014 to November 17, 2014 of $100 ($1,200 – $1,100).

If you have to report your investments on your tax return, you will recognize a gain of $100 (January 17, 2014 price of $1,100, less the original cost of $1,000).

My goal is to realize gains and recognize them in my ROTH IRA. “Realize” means it is a paper profit or loss. “Recognize” means you have completed the process.

Overcoming Being Human

Human rationale is to follow the crowd and think you are a winner. I am an avid college football fan. The teams in the top 10 have more money poured into their team wear (jerseys, sweatshirts, memorabilia, etc.) than other teams. So if you follow a winning team, and you decide to go out buy a t-shirt with your favorite team’s logo on it. Only, next year, that team is not the darling of the top 10. Their sales goes down, the bubble popped. You might not even wear the t-shirt you bought.

Then you have teams like The University of Alabama and Florida State University, which are good year after year. People everywhere, unless you are an Alabama or Florida State Fan, hate Alabama and Florida State. We like to root for the underdog.

Try not to follow the crowd. This creates bubbles, and you lose the chance to get in in on the ground floor of the next bubble. Root for the underdog with your investments. See what is not hot at this moment but shows promise. My best example of this would be The University of Arkansas. They have been beat up for years. They barely lost to Alabama, and they finally beat LSU– a monster of the SEC West. I was happy for Arkansas. I like it when an investment pays off when I rooted for the underdog.

Where to Invest Now

Gold and silver prices are down. It looks like people have left the precious metal market. Right the opposite, our currency is being propped up and makes it a buying opportunity for precious metals once again. The stock market is in a high pressure system with a rising bubble, which is not a good place to be. As for telling you where to place your money, I am not a licensed investment representative. I cannot tell you where to place your money, but I can tell you philosophies and strategies.

I hope this helps to explain my philosophy and strategy, which is to place money where other people are not. When people realize I am making a profit, I recognize my actual profits and look for other places. I try to do the opposite of what human rationale tells people to do. You can be a winner if you are the leader.

Finally, I collect old accounting text books. One old book, from the 1950’s, I bought had a hand written note in it: “Do not put all of your eggs in one basket, the bottom could fall out.” They understood bubbles back then; they just did not call it a bubble.

Letter Re: The Value of Human Relationships in a Grid-Down or Survival Event, by J.C.

I have to disagree with the article “The Value of Human Relationships in a Grid-Down or Survival Event.” In this article, what J.C. is describing is nothing more than Crony Capitalism, which is what happens when those connected or who are friends or relatives of the “rulers” get favors that others in society don’t receive. It’s happening now at all levels of government, and it’s one of the main things wrong with society today. Those in government are supposed to treat everyone fairly and equally. Just because you’re friends with someone or related to someone in government, doesn’t give you the right to receive favors.

Instead of government, how about using your church, neighbors, and friends? – VCM

HJL Responds: Perhaps one of the issues in writing about this is the language we use. If we called it “networking”, it might be more palatable to everyone. It isn’t hard to grasp the concept of a networking relationship, as very few people have ever made something of themselves solely on their own. Whether it is in government, church, or your local community center, the concept of knowing someone and having a favorable relationship with them is always a good thing. Some may look at it from the perspective of “what’s in it for me”, and some may see it as a “good ol’ boy club”, but if the relationship is two-way (meaning you give as well as receive) and it stays within the biblical ethical framework, it is a good thing. It is really only when it becomes selfish and crosses the moral boundaries that it is wrong.

JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Books

Adventure Medical Kits A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicineby Eric A. Weiss, M.D.

Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener

Fiction

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Movies

Enemy at the Gates

Schindler’s List (BTW, it is too bad that Spielberg didn’t show Oskar Schindler arming his Jewish employees, which is what actually happened.)

Odds ‘n Sods:

Ferguson PD Tell Gun Stores and Pawn Shops to Remove Guns. – T.P.

I would also like to point out that as far as I can ascertain, the Redoubt remains riot free. – HJL

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With guns drawn, police stage surprise raid on school as part of psychological drill to ‘protect the children’. – D.S.

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Forget your robot overlords: Watch out for Lethal Autonomous Systems that make mistakes. – T.P.

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Video: How to hunt your own Thanksgiving dinner – Georgia Pellegrini – T.J.

Also see her book: Modern Pioneering: More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life.

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Water War Amid Brazil Drought Leads to Fight Over Puddles . – H.L.

Notes for Tuesday – November 25, 2014

November 25th is the birthday of economist and comedian Ben Stein. His unscripted monologue on economics from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the most memorable scenes in American cinema. By the way, Stein spends part of each year at his second home in Sandpoint, Idaho, so he is an honorary Redoubter. I’ve heard that he plans to retire here.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The Accidental Prepper, by J.C.

This isn’t as much of a “how to” as it is a “how I have done it” in the spirit of sharing my “experience, strength, and hope” instead of giving advice or instruction.

I am a little over two years into my own serious preparations as well as recovery from my own personal TEOTWAWKI. Prior to August 12, 2012, I had been sort of a hobbyist or dabbler but mostly a self-absorbed guy. I was working 55 miles from home in my chosen career, which I will acknowledge will never be worth more than about 45K a year. My wife was earning about the same as I was at the time. We had two car payments, a small mortgage on an old frame “fixer upper”, and a small handful of high interest credit cards. Officially, we were living paycheck to paycheck, but we were not struggling as long as nothing went wrong. I had gotten deeply into home improvement, by necessity but also interest. I was also gardening and raising rabbits and chickens. The garden and animals I had gotten involved with to help feed us but also because it was “fun” and different. In my forties I had gained a little weight and decided to get back into shape. Being compulsive and having a previous history of competitive cycling, it wasn’t enough to just start running a few times a week; I dove head long into triathlon, marathons, long distance swimming, and 100+ mile bicycle rides. Nearly every hobby I have embraced turns into a cash pit, and this was no exception. I was so absorbed into this, with the tacit support of my wife, that the bills suffered, the home suffered, and my marriage suffered. One Saturday afternoon, I returned from an early morning bike ride to discover she was gone. There was no warning; she was just gone. Without boring anyone with all the details, the bottom line is she was gone, her income was gone, and though I was able to establish contact with her, there was no clear explanation what was happening or going to happen. She had established a life of her own and seemed determined to live it.

Within a matter of weeks I had eaten every morsel of food in my house, was walking to the convenience store to use the bathroom, then later stealing toilet paper from work because I was out. My truck was briefly repossessed, and I was on the verge of permanent self destruction. I had resources available, but I was pridefully refusing to tell anyone I needed help. I thought she would return any day and things would get better. Eventually, I had to reach out to my family. I filed for chapter 13, cleaned up and rented out the master bedroom and bath as an apartment, and began to climb out of my financial and spiritual hole. Through this process came a resolve to never be in this situation again. Coincidence or providence had surrounded me with people who gave me some clarity– political, spiritual, and professional clarity. My personal fragility opened my eyes to the fragile nature of the entire system we live under. The concept of being a “survivalist” gave me a renewed focus and something to pursue that had more than one aspect. I had grown up two generations removed from the Depression, and that background had influenced some of my core values. I tended to be “right of center” politically, with a strong libertarian streak, but I had simply not paid much attention to any of that. I called myself “spiritual but not religious”, which is still largely true. However, that label was mostly used as an excuse to not have to commit to anything. Stripping away my own religious bias and prejudice opened my eyes to some very good people I had dismissed because I did agree 100% with everything they “seemed” to stand for. My willingness to ask for and receive help unconditionally made greater things possible and saved me from my own tendency to make radical moves in the face of minor inconveniences.

As far as becoming a “prepper”– a moniker I really still dislike but understand its use over “survivalist”– the process was not hard or complicated, but it does require some thought and discipline. I couldn’t just “buy in” and be done. I applied one of my talents– the ability to find and absorb every tid bit of information on a topic that has my interest and completely submerge myself into it, breaking the process into stages and small goals. I began with a goal of obtaining a one-month supply of food and three months cushion on my bills. I don’t “save’ well, so having a credit on my bills instead of having three months in the bank worked for me. The bankruptcy, as humiliating as that was, gave me the breathing room to make it work. Very few people in my city of 35,000 drink the tap water. It is “safe” but not appealing, so accumulating water was natural and easy. There is an industry of kiosk-style vending machines for drinking water at roughly $0.25/gallon, and I set a goal of keeping 100 gallons of drinking water on hand in 7-gallon containers. We rotate these so it never gets very old. I also have several 2-liter bottles of tap water and a rain barrel. As tempting as the bulk purchases of food were from Wise foods and others, I kept it simple and simply purchased more than I needed in each trip. With an eye toward meal planning in the future, I accumulated things I knew I would eat, that could be prepared in different ways– stove or microwave, if electricity is available, or on a camping stove or over an open fire. I accumulated non-food items as well with the number “twelve” in my head or multiples of twelve. (I think twelve months or twelve weeks.) I sharpened my canning skills, dug out my old dehydrator, and filled my freezer with something more than just a few pizzas and bags of ice. I have some relatives staying on a farm 300 miles away with two wells, a flowing creek, two ponds, a garden, and solid neighbors all within a few miles, so I have a place to “bug out” to also.

As I reached a degree of food security and was reasonably sure I would not be homeless soon, I branched out, starting with some shotgun shells for my old shotgun. My mother had gotten back into shooting sports and that spurred me into getting my concealed carry permit. I have put together a small collection of weapons, which include nothing expensive or exotic but serviceable. My SKS with the 20 rd detachable magazine is solid; my Glock 26 is reliable and easy to carry; my little LCP is convenient in certain situations; and the two inexpensive handguns I have stashed around the house are reassuring. Add to that three shotguns and I feel okay. (The obsessive guy I am always wants more though.) At my family’s farm, there are many more firearms that will likely be passed down to me. I have a small stash of ammo and have participated in some small shooting competitions to develop a skill set. I also got involved in krav maga training and some weight lifting to compensate for the runners physique I had developed. I have added some additional camping supplies, fuel for my camp stove, and two back packs; one I keep stocked in my truck. Also in my workshop and truck are extras of almost everything. When I bought a set of tires, I kept the old set in my shed out back “just in case”, and this has come in handy. I have extra bottles of oil, tire repair tools, plenty of screws and nails, and some plywood. I have also gathered first aid supplies, OTC meds, some veterinary supplies (with human applications) and a small library of survival literature– both fiction and instructional. With the exception of big ticket items, which for me is anything over $50, I strive to acquire at least two of anything I identify as a “need” in the spirit of “two is one and one is none” and the theory that if I need one now, I will need one later. Working on my own bad habits and no longer having credit as an option, I am better at making what I have last and have actually managed to accumulate a little cash reserve and started buying small amounts of silver as a backup.

My home is starting to come back together after a period of neglect. I am in the process of putting a metal roof on myself, hardening the defenses and clearing old trees and shrubs, bringing my garden back on line, and getting my chicken house back in order. I live in a poor area with transients and renters, but I have developed relationships with the two neighbors nearest me who own their homes, and we can be trusted to look out for one another.

My job recently changed, so I can commute only 15 miles now (a huge gas savings). Though I laugh at the irony of it, I work for the County but as a State Employee. I have learned that not all government employees are mindless bureaucrats, and there are patriots amongst us. Because many of my co-workers are also “gun people”, with military and law enforcement backgrounds, I have learned a great deal more and have even more resources available. I also have networked within the law enforcement and local government circles, which might prove helpful. This summer I earned my Technician License and acquired a pair of inexpensive radios and have begun adding to my skill and knowledge set. This is another potential money pit hobby, so I struggle to stay grounded. Occasionally, I catch myself being the paranoid conspiracy guy, instead of the smart, prepared, and rational guy. I don’t want to forget to live in the moment while preparing for the unexpected.

My wife is back in town but not home. We see each other often but are cautious. She was humbled also by her experience, but both of us are trying to be more mindful and certain of our choices now. This is a small sampling of what I have been able to achieve on a small income. Some writers seemed to be preparing for very specific SHTF scenarios. My personal life experiences and what I have observed in my professional life, working with others, is just how unpredictable any SHTF can be. With that in mind I try to be a well-rounded prepper and a well-rounded person, a good employee, neighbor, et cetera. I consider myself a Christian and recognize Jesus Christ as my savior, but I still eschew organized religion for the most part. I have added The Bible and other text to my readings, and although I had prayed most of my life I am working to be more “prayer-full” in my approach to life. That being said, I am still impulsive, prideful, a little hedonistic, and lustful. However, I feel more grounded than ever before. I still have a long way to go and many strategic and tactical decisions to make with plenty of personal and existential uncertainties, but the events of the previous few years, as sad, painful, and humbling as they were, may have saved me.

Letter Re: Human Relationships by JC

Well Hugh,

What JC describes is pure citizenship. If we had a lot more of that, we would only have to prep for natural disasters.

I do what JC does, but I do it from my Rotary Club. I am complimentary and polite at the tax office, election office, school office, city hall, and building department. My truck got stolen and returned a year later. The nice lady at the tag office just took my word for it and over-rode the extra fees for not having a tag. I was pulled over for no seat belt last month. Driving a plain, late model pickup truck makes you a mark with the police in my town. Rather than a ticket, I get “Wear your seat belt Mr. V.” and sent on my way. I made sure I secured a good republican election sticker in the last cycle so that does not happen again. I got into a mess with a transmission light, and replacement and tag deadline. The wife got ticketed. The prosecutor cut the fine in half; the judge cut it in half again and acted embarrassed that he had to charge that. The stinking transmission started out as a $4,500 problem but was finally resolved down to $1,000. Still, you cannot get the tag with the orange light on.

A key piece of advice is to always have your coat and tie on when you have your drivers license photo taken. I have tried returning merchandise at a big box store without a receipt while covered with plaster waste and seen the conversation turn from “No way” to “Yes sir, Mr. V.” with the passing of the license as my i.d. It is a shame it is that way, but it is.

RV

News From The American Redoubt:

This Lewiston Tribune story was featured by the AP wire service: Men charged after Idaho Fish and Game truck taken (I was sort of believing their story, until the Tequila bottle was mentioned…)

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Big Horn Sheep Killing: A Betrayal of Trust JWR’s Comment: So wait a minute… It was the undercover fish and game agent who killed the ram???

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Montana: More than 800 roadkill salvage permits issued in first year

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I noticed that Primary Weapons Systems (PWS, in Boise, Idaho) has expanded their product line substantially. In addition to ARs and components, they also make precision bolt action rifles, 10/22 target variants, and a full line of muzzle devices (flash hiders, compensators, and suppressor adapters). Their CNC machining is superb.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Meet the coyote packs roaming downtown CHICAGO: Predators have adapted to city life so well more than 2,000 now call the Windy City home. – RBS

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FAA drone rules would ban farm use and delivery services, report says . – RBS

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The US Is Stockpiling Ebola Survivors’ Plasma to Treat Future Patients. – G.P.

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Wolf travels hundreds of miles from the Northern Rockies to Arizona in the first sighting at the Grand Canyon since 1940

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CT Report Lays Groundwork for Nationwide Psychiatric Surveillance . – D.S.

Notes for Monday – November 24, 2014

JWR’s License Plate Collection

I have started collecting license plates from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. My goal is to collect pairs of modern (recent issue) plates from all 50 states (or single plates from “one plate states like Florida and New Mexico.) I’m also interested in getting unusual plates, such as trailer plates, “Permanent” plates, and truck plates. And I also collect novelty front license plates that show state flags, branches of military service, and so forth.

For your privacy and mine, please DO NOT send me any e-mail mentioning particular plate numbers. Also, put my address in both the “To” and “From” address blocks on the package. (Since Uncle Sam now scans and archives the exterior of all mailed envelopes.)

If you have any plates that you can spare, just throw them in a flat rate box or a padded envelope, and mail them to:

Jim & Family
P.O. Box 303
Moyie Springs, Idaho 83845

Many Thanks! – JWR