Notes for Wednesday – October 01, 2014

Several days ago, I asked for our readers’ experience with “Square” and PayPal “Here” card services. SurvivalBlog reader SJG has informed us that after reading about “Square” in SurvivalBlog, he sent a letter stating his dissatisfaction with them. SJG runs a side business dealing in Pelican cases, Hardigg boxes, ammo cans, and MREs at gun shows. He subsequently received this letter from Square:

“Hello xxxxx,

“We’re sorry to inform you that we are deactivating your account. We reviewed your account and found that your business is prohibited by Section 6 of the Square Seller Agreement, which means we cannot accept payments related to your business.

“We regret that, starting today, you will no longer be able to process transactions using Square.

“Your outstanding Square balance will be paid out per our normal payment schedule.

“We appreciate your having chosen Square and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

“Sincerely, Square Compliance Team”

Folks, it’s not enough to just not use the “Square” for your business. That’s the whole point of their maneuvering. You need to refuse to do business with anyone who uses “Square” in the transaction.

Round 54 Non-Fiction Writing Contest Winners Announced!

First Prize goes to Leo Medic for “Musings of a Law Enforcement Paramedic, Part 1”, “Part 2”, “Part 3”, “Part 4”, and “Part 5”, which was posted on September 2-6, 2014. He will receive the following prizes:

  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 Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS 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. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  11. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  12. 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,
  13. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second prize goes to J.B. for “Multi-Species Rotational Grazing to Maximize Food and Income in a TEOTWAWKI World”, which was posted on September 18, 2014. He will receive the following prizes:

  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. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  10. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  11. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third prize goes to J.C. for “Protecting Your Home, BOL, and Supplies from Pests”, which was posted on September 14, 2014. He will receive the following prizes:

  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 Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Honorable Mention prizes ($30 Amazon.com gift certificates via e-mail) have been awarded to the writers of these fine articles:

Note to all Prize winners: Let us know your current e-mail address. We will also need the UPS and USPS addresses for each of the top three prize winners.

Round 54 ended on September 30th, but Round 55 has started, 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. Those articles that we received for Round 54, but that did not get published in time will be automatically entered in Round 55.

September In Precious Metals, by Steven Cochran of Gainesville Coins.

Welcome to SurvivalBlog’s Precious Metals Month in Review, where we take a look at “the month that was” in precious metals. Each month, we cover the price action of gold and silver and examine the “what” and “why” behind those numbers.

The marketplace in September was dominated by two big factors– paranoia over when exactly the Federal Reserve would start raising rates and the absolute dominance of the U.S. dollar in the currency markets. These two factors not only affected precious metals, but they caused large gyrations in the stock market, especially towards the end of the month.

Precious metals started September almost exactly where they ended August. Gold closed September 1 at $1287, silver at $19.45, platinum at $1419, and palladium at $902. Unfortunately, that was the highs for the month. The dollar began its rampage that night, hitting a 13-month high in London the next morning. Gold ended the day down $21 and silver down 32 cents. Platinum dropped $18, and palladium swooned by a whopping $23.

The playbook for the month was stocks going up and the dollar going down on bad news (because that means the Fed won’t raise interest rate), and stocks down/dollar up on good news (which meant interest rates would rise sooner than later).

Precious Metals Market Drivers in September

Ebola

The ebola epidemic is leading to evacuation of foreign mining personnel in West Africa, and mines are being shut down. The economy of Liberia has almost collapsed, and the World Health Organization says that there may be over 1.4 million cases of ebola before the epidemic is contained. Doctors and health workers are being attacked and even killed in affected areas by villagers who think they are responsible for the disease.

While Ghana, which neighbors the affected areas, has not been stricken yet, it is leading efforts to combat the disease in other nations, while educating its own population. Ghana is also a major gold producing area, and AngloGold is providing health symposiums for the villages surrounding its main mine in Angola. Conducted in their native language, doctors explain that personal hygiene is the key to preventing the spread of the disease, and they explain how to avoid dangerous foods.

Low Oil Prices

Low oil prices all month were a bearish factor for gold. Even though Saudi Arabia cut production to support prices, Iraq and Libya increased production to pay for their wars against rebels. Economic slowdowns in Europe and China have contributed to an oil glut, and the strong dollar is depressing oil prices the same as gold is being affected.

Ukraine

Ukraine dominated the news in the first part of September, with Russian armored vehicles and self-propelled artillery reported to be openly providing fire support for the rebels. Russian president Putin boasted to the president of the European Commission that “I could take Kiev in two weeks if I wanted to,” rattling markets. France announced it will not deliver the finished helo-carrier it built for Russia until the Ukrainian situation was resolved, and NATO held training exercises near the Polish border in western Ukraine. Talks of cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system may have had some influence, as Ukraine and the rebels agreed to a ceasefire.

Combat continued to flare up, but by the 22nd of September, the Ukrainian government announced that it was pulling tanks and heavy artillery out of the front lines to further de-escalate the situation. These developments erased any safe haven bid for gold over the situation.

Russia, Ukraine, and the EU are all in serious pain over the sanctions and counter-sanctions that have been put in place, and winter is coming. Look for more efforts to resolve the situation, even if it ends up being a solution that Kiev doesn’t necessarily want.

Fed Fright

All month long, the markets freaked out on every little rumor that the Fed may raise interest rates from 0.25%. Wall Street was all worked up on whether the September FOMC meeting statement would continue to say interest rates would stay low for a “considerable time.” The Fed kept that phrase in the statement, despite some Fed officials wanting the remove it. Stocks jumped, while the dollar gave up gains and precious metals declined. Even after the FOMC meeting concluded on the 17th, stock markets were still getting whipsawed over different Fed officials saying different things regarding when interest rates would move.

Federal Reserve enforcer Carmen Segarra bought a tape recorder and taped regulatory meetings after repeatedly being told by her bosses to quit investigating Goldman Sachs and to let their illegal activity slide. She was fired after refusing to look the other way and has released the tapes to show how Big Banks rule the regulators.

Now everyone from Yellen to Congress will have to smear and discredit her in a frantic attempt to make the truth go away.

Scotland

An event that rivaled the crisis in Ukraine, as far as unsettling European markets, was the independence vote in Scotland. Splitting up the UK would not only cause the greatest disruption in the economy of the British Isles since WWII, it would give fresh life to regional independence movements in French, Spanish, and Italian territories.

It was reported that net gold imports into the UK totaled 70 metric tons– the highest net monthly inflow since 2012– ahead of the vote, in which the “no” vote for independence won by 10%.

Dollar Domination

The dollar was up sharply in September, as the euro collapsed to 22-month lows, and the yen plummeted. This rally, hitting its 11th week at press time, is the longest dollar rally since the greenback was decoupled from gold in 1971 during the Nixon Shock.

Eu Economy

The European Union, already struggling to rescue its economy, was pushed to the brink by the consequences of economic sanctions levied against Russia for seizing Crimea and supporting the rebel movement in eastern Ukraine. With deflation staring the EU in the face, the ECB cut its benchmark rate to 0.05%, announced that outright Fed-Style QE was being worked on, and raised the negative interest rate (read: fee) that it charges banks on excess funds to 0.2%, to force them to actually make loans. The European Composite PMI sat a 9-month low in September, and consumer confidence fell.

Apple, Alibaba, and Wall St

Stock market “irrational exuberance” continued in September, despite growing skittishness over when the Fed would take away the “free money.” The release of the new iPhone sent Apple stock soaring, only to be hit after defects in the cases of the new phones were revealed. Chinese mega-corporation Alibaba entered the stock market in the largest IPO in history, worth $25 billion. Alibaba stock was up 38% the first day, as speculators sold small cap stocks and precious metals (among other things) to buy into the stock. The party was short-lived, though, as the stock falls every day afterward. This spectacle led many to ask if the Alibaba IPO marks the top of the bull run for stocks?

Stocks get beaten down in the latter part of month, partially because of Fed Fear but also because more people are waking up to the fact that this is a very unhealthy market in which the bull market is relying on the strength of a fewer and fewer number of very large-cap stocks. Even though people can see the bubble, they believe the Fed will ride to the rescue with new money printing to prevent a bear market.

China

China announced an $81 billion stimulus program for the nation’s five largest banks, helping revive Asian markets. On September 18, the Shanghai international gold market debuts, with all contracts denominated in yuan. All the usual players in the Western “paper gold” market pile in, because the new Shanghai market gives foreign companies access to the Chinese gold market. Since it accepts “offshore yuan,” which is usually not allowed to flow back into China’s domestic economy, it gives companies who export into China a venue for their yuan reserves.

Isis

Airstrikes by U.S., France, and Arab monarchies against ISIS began on September 23, giving gold a $15 boost. While the other nations restrict air attacks to ISIS territories in Iraq, the U.S. strikes ISIS targets in Syria, without asking the Syrian government for permission. The U.S. positions is that, since ISIS doesn’t recognize national borders in building its “caliphate”, it can’t hide behind borders to avoid payback. An Algerian group linked to ISIS kidnaps a French hiker and kills him on video in retaliation for French airstrikes in Iraq.

Concerns in the West grow about how many Western citizens have joined ISIS and are expected to come back and start domestic terrorism.

On The Retail Front

U.S. Mint sales pick up for September, as prices drop. Sales of American Gold Eagles in September increases 84% over August, to 46,000 ounces. This is a whopping 253% over September 2013 sales. American Silver Eagle sales for September jump 45% from August, to over 2.9 million coins.

The Perth Mint, which announces sales figures on a one-month delay, noted that silver sales in August were the strongest since January. Those numbers should increase in September, with the introduction of the 2015 Lunar Goat gold and silver coins, and the 25th anniversary 2015 silver Kookaburra.

The Royal Canadian Mint introduced a new MapleGram .9999 fine gold coin in September that is seeing an enthusiastic response. These tiny, 1 gram Gold Maple Leaf coins are individually sealed and come attached together in a 25-pack. Each one can be separated from the rest and still remain sealed. This may be a good way to keep fractional gold on hand for barter that is immediately recognizable.

Physical Demand

The super-rich in the UK didn’t bother with gold Sovereigns or Britannias when running to gold as a safe haven ahead of the Scottish independence vote. Sales of 400oz Good Delivery gold bars surged in the UK in September.

Have you seen these stories in the mainstream business news that Indians, who were the world’s largest gold consumers before a government crackdown on imports, have lost their love for gold? Don’t believe it. The Hindustan Times reported on September 24 that 50 metric tons of gold was smuggled into India in just ten days!

Silver is seeing love in September from savvy investors, too. Silver dipped late in the month, leading to more monster deposits into the SLV silver ETF. Ed Steer at Casey Research reported that nearly 4.8 million ounces of silver was added to SLV in two days– September 24 and 25.

Market Buzz

Manipulation

“Turd Ferguson” at TF Metals Report thinks gold market manipulation has about come to the end of the road in this retrospective of a July prediction.

Speaking of market manipulation, Bloomberg fills us in on another case of Big Banks Being Bad, in this report that banks colluded to rig the rates on interest rate derivatives, known as the ISDA fix. The manipulation resulted in billions of illegal profits for the banks and billions in losses to companies and pension funds, also known as their customers.

In a similar vein, Eric Sprott tells people to “Get Your Money Out Of Banks And Into Something Tangible.”

Venezuela Goes Full Monty On Gold Reserves

A Bank of America economist was in Venezuela meeting with central bank officials, when he asked out of the blue “Hey, can I see your central bank gold reserves?” The Venezuelan bank official says “Sure!” and took him to the vaults to see the $13 billion in gold with his own eyes. Your turn, Yellen!

Luke Broman asks “Can the Petrodollar Survive Low Interest Rates?” in a guest column on Sprott Group.com, coming to the conclusion that OPEC and other commodities markets are going to begin rejecting trade in U.S. dollars, because Washington is enslaved by the Big Banks that want low interest rates.

China is a big force in hamstringing the dollar as it works to make even more bilateral agreements with other nations to trade in yuan. Alisdair MacLeod looks at what that will mean for the U.S. and its debt-fueled existence.

Shrinkflation

More mainstream press coverage of stealth inflation, as even the media cheerleaders can’t ignore what the Fed has done to the economy. Beef prices jumped 4.2% in August, with no relief in sight.

Fox Business News warns that more is coming, as two noted inflation hawks at the Fed are retiring, doubtless to be replaced by people more compliant to the wishes of the Big Banks.

Recovery For The Rich

Consumer confidence hit the lowest point since early June, but if you’re rich, you’re feeling fine! A booming stock market had consumers who earn over $50,000 a year feeling much more confident than people making less, due to the whole “stagnant wages and rising food and housing prices” thing. Bloomberg notes “Consumers are still looking for some tangible sign of economic improvement and have yet to see it.”

Looking Ahead

Gold Miners may be setting themselves up for a fall by cutting exploration almost completely out.

South African Pgm production fell 45.2%, gold production fell 14.6%, diamond production fell 10%, and copper production fell 15.9% this year, so far. The five-month platinum workers strike in South Africa has put producers between a rock and a hard place. Implats earnings dropped 74%, and Amplats has decided to expand its plat mine in Zimbabwe while it searches for a buyer for four South African mines, even though the government of Mugabe has seized the company’s bank account once before and forced it to sell 51% of the company to native interests (including, surprise, the government).

Letter: Survival Anxiety

Mr. Hugh,

I have a response for those who are having an anxiety attack over what R.W. said about his method of taking down a compound. The answer is that I have been planning for people like this. About a year ago I bought material and built a new compound fence. This fence is made of cattle panels that are supported by 8 foot long 4×6″ posts and 4×4″ posts set 24″ deep in clay on 8′ centers. The 4×6 posts are where the cattle panels join each other. The panels are nailed to the posts on the outside with 2-1/2″ long staples. Along the top of the cattle panels are 2×8″ boards that are 16 feet long that are nailed to the posts on the outside of the posts on top of the cattle panels with 20d galvanized nails. The cattle panels are stapled to the boards from the inside. The cattle panels are 50″ tall and touch the ground. Bolt cutters are needed to cut the cattle panels. Above the cattle panels are two runs of electrified four point Gaucho barbed wire. I chose this brand because it has a high tensile strength, good grade of galvanize coating, very sharp barbs, and has a tremendous “spring-back” when cut. This fence is electrified by either 3,000 volts of pulsating direct current or when attacked by a 110 volt AC current by an inverter through a 100 watt light bulb. The light bulb comes on when the wire is contacted by a “varmint” or grounded and prevents the inverter from tripping and also provides an immediate warning of contact. I have on hand enough steel “T” posts and 3′ wide metal roofing to construct a 4′ high dirt berm 2′ wide around my house with my tractor and loader. I have enough sand bags to cover my windows. I’m also building a 25-foot elevated platform that can see 270 degrees around my property through 200 yard minimum open fields. The other 90 degrees is heavily wooded thickets for escape or to sneak around attackers. I will tie stray dogs in this spot, so they will bark at strangers. The watch point will be fortified with steel plate and sandbags. We have enough snipers to snipe anyone approaching. Our snipers are deer hunters who easily make 200 yard shots. I have neighbors located 400 yards away around me in most directions. When they are attacked, I will attack from stealth positions from the attacker’s rear. As far as a vehicle attack, I’m protected by 8′ deep ponds, or 3′ deep ditches that will be dug when “it” goes down. The entries to my compound are protected by reinforced steel gates that will have a disc cultivator upside down in front of them. If you come for me, I will have a 3-year food supply and unlimited water inside. There are many things in my yard that offer both concealment and cover from snipers. However, we plan to intercept you a mile from our community, when you try to cross the trees cut across the road. My neighborhood is located in a rural setting seven miles from a small town and surrounded by 20,000 acres of tree-covered, timber company land. The access is by one-lane county roads. Most of these defenses were gleaned from the book How To Survive TEOTWAWKI by JWR. -MER

Odds ‘n Sods:

Ebola has come to our shores, just a month sooner than I had anticipated. If and when Ebola reaches your county, be prepared to hunker down at home for several months, folks. Keep in mind that you can collect your mail from your mailbox with disposable exam gloves and then put both the gloves and the mail in your microwave oven for 90 seconds to decontaminate them. For any larger scale decontamination, I recommend that you get a HAZARID system. (Available from Readymade Resources and several other online vendors.) I predict that these systems will sell out in less than a week and then there will soon be a back-order queue that will stretch for a year or more. So do not hesitate; buy a decontamination system now. – JWR

o o o

CDC confirms first case of Ebola in US – T.J.

Hugh Adds: I fully expected Ebola to make an appearance in the U.S., though I am surprised at how it made it here. As I understand it, Presbyterian Hospital is a hospital serving the middle class and up, which indicates that the person seeking medical help is likely not an indigent. I expected the appearance to occur in a lower economic class, probably from across the southern border. In any case, we will be keeping a close eye on this situation. As JWR stated above, make sure your preps are in order and be prepared.

o o o

Controversial Owner Declares Her Store a ‘Muslim-Free’ Zone; Find Out Her Reasoning. – M.J.

Hugh adds: Nope. You can’t do that in the United States. Religion is one of those protected statuses that you cannot use as a basis for discriminating against people. She has the right to refuse service to anyone who she deems dangerous due to their actions or attitudes, and she gets wide latitude in her decisions, due to being a range owner, but she will lose this one. You just can’t refuse service to someone because of their religion any more than you can because of their race.

o o o

Can Employees protect against jihad-style workplace attacks with ‘bring gun to work’ laws?- B.B.

o o o

Panel blasted for blaming massacre on homeschooling. – RBS

Notes for Tuesday – September 30, 2014

Today is the last day for Infidel Body Armor’s $20 off sale. Make sure you check their site out before the sale ends. They have also started carrying bullet/impact resistant glasses at 46:90 and the glasses include a gasket around the eye. The Falcon model is one of the most comfortable out there.

o o o

Also ending today is the Mountain House Food sale at Ready Made Resources. Some of these entries may never be offered again so get your order in today!

o o o

Today, we present another entry for Round 54 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,100+ 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 Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS 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. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  11. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  12. 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,
  13. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

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. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  10. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  11. RepackBoxis 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 Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 54 ends on September 30st, 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.

Single Mom Prepares, by M.B.

I am a single mom with a ten year old daughter, a Christian Constitutionalist, and a prepper. I grew up very poor, both physically and emotionally. However, my grandmother gave me a tremendous spiritual foundation for which I am forever grateful. Life is about making choices– choosing to put one foot in front of the next and keep going, regardless of the circumstance; choosing to prepare for whatever comes; and choosing to trust in and follow God in all ways.

Establishing a Mindset to Survive

The first eighteen years of my life reads like a bad dime store novel. It included a little brother dying at three months of age from SIDS; an alcoholic mother and a disabled father; for six years, beginning at only age six, living with and providing care that included cooking, cleaning, laundry, and more for an elderly grandmother; being in a fire at age 12 where 46% of my body received 2nd and 3rd degree burns; my father dying when I was age 14; numerous car accidents that should have resulted in death or serious injury; living alone (getting myself up for school, cooking, cleaning, doing my own laundry, et cetera) six months after my father died; and at seventeen (summer between my junior and senior year in high school) a house fire destroyed all of my earthly possessions, except what was packed in my suitcase while I was away at a summer program I had wrangled myself into for college credit. I have visible scars over most of my body, and they are noticeable in public. It’s not always easy to keep pressing on. Sure, there were times when I was angry with God, confused, and made my share of mistakes, but I have made the choices to keep moving forward.

At a young age, I chose to follow God. I believe that He knit me together in my mother’s womb, knew me before long before I breathed my first breath, and created me with a plan and purpose for my life (as He does everyone). The rest of the story illustrates God’s faithfulness and my freewill. Instead of using the tragedies of my life as an excuse to fail, I survived and flourished, with God. I graduated from high school, earned a BA degree in college, and went on to acquire a Master’s degree. During this time, I stayed involved in the church and community wherever I lived. I have worked full-time since I was eighteen, making and paying my own way. I have worked so hard that I made too much money to qualify for financial aid after my first semester in college. I currently work from home as a grant writer in a rural community in Central Texas, volunteer to write grants for various organizations to improve my community, am a mother to a wonderful young girl, and believe in and work toward being prepared for whatever calamity may happen in life.

I have written the short synopsis of my life as an example of the fortitude and the mindset a person must possess to survive whatever the challenges (from the tragedies of life to the collapse of the world as we know it, and yes, I believe that is coming). Preparedness is not only being prepared with material items, but it is also being prepared intrinsically with an internal arsenal of faith in God, fortitude to keep moving forward, hope for the future, honor, integrity, knowledge, and love.

Practical Steps to Prepare

I am a working class mom. There is no rich relative or husband to provide for me and my daughter. I drive a 14 year old SUV that’s well maintained. I believe that the tortoise can prepare just as well as the rabbit. I believe in doing for myself and teaching my daughter the same. Below are some practical steps I have taken to prepare. I have:

  1. Several years ago, started buying a box of ammunition every time I received a paycheck. As a result, I have a nice stock pile of ammunition. I took a hiatus from my ammunition purchasing plan when the cost skyrocketed but anticipate beginning purchases again, starting in October 2014.
  2. In the past three years, acquired four firearms– a .22 revolver (bought for my daughter the day after Obama was reelected), .22 rifle, 12-gauge shotgun, and .40 caliber handgun. I anticipate purchasing a small .38 semi-auto to carry concealed (on my person) in the next two months, and in the Spring I will purchase a larger caliber rifle for hunting, then continue saving for two AR-15s.
  3. Purchased a BB/pellet handgun for my daughter. In three weeks, she is going to take a gun safety class with a couple from my church. I will let her carry her gun in a holster as she becomes comfortable with the safety and the use of the gun. I plan on graduating her to the .22 revolver after that and then to an automatic handgun. I’ll review the following gun safety guidelines.
  4. Bought necessary kits to clean and maintain all firearms. I was blessed that a retired couple from church taught my daughter and I how to properly disassemble and clean the firearms over the summer.
  5. Taken the Concealed Handgun Class and acquired my license to carry concealed. My daughter was able to sit in on the class with me for free, and it was very beneficial to her.
  6. Over the years, purchased MREs, freeze dried food in #10 cans, and stockpiled extra food a little bit at a time. I look for sales and often get to HEB and Walmart early on Thursdays and Fridays to look for sales on discounted meat for the freezer.
  7. Taken a canning class offered at my church, so I can start canning food. My daughter was able to attend and participate in the class.
  8. Over the years, acquired and learned how to use camping equipment and first aid supplies. My daughter and I love camping; it is a preferred vacation for us. Several times a year we camp. Last March, we loaded our backpacks, hiked three miles to a primitive campsite, ate MREs, and experienced sleeping in the woods alone.
  9. Begun studying for a Ham Radio License. I anticipate taking the test in November or December 2014. Also, I have purchased long-range radios and ammo cans to use as a faraday cages for electronics.
  10. Moved to the country, 20 miles from town this summer. I could not afford to buy a home or farm in the country but received a call from a dear couple from my church offering to rent a home on their ranch to me for less than what I paid in town for as long as I wanted. The only requirement, in addition to discounted rent, was to take care of a small orchard that had been neglected and to start a garden. It is important to be honest and walk in integrity, because opportunities sometime arise as others watch how we live life.
  11. Two weeks ago, prepared our garden for Spring planting. As a means of enriching the soil, my daughter and I put down a layer of each: cardboard, newspaper, leaves, and goat manure. In February, these items will have decomposed and be tilled into the soil.
  12. Had my daughter enrolled for several years in 4-H. She has learned about animals and their care and learned responsibility by taking care of her Fall animal projects. I anticipate raising goats, pigs, or rabbits in the next year.
  13. Taken a Constitutional course through The Oak Initiative. My daughter was able to sit in on many of the classes.
  14. Taught my daughter about the Constitution/Bills of Rights. Pocket Constitutions can be downloaded and printed. Hillsdale College also offers free courses on the Constitution.
  15. Taught my daughter enrichment tools that she is not being taught in school, such as multiplication tables and history. I encourage her to read, read, read. She likes the “I Survived” books. We don’t have regular television, but we watch survival shows together on Netflix, and she loves playing survival outdoors on her own.
  16. Have started memorizing biblical scriptures with my daughter. Ultimately, God is the only force that can stand against the evil coming. Creating a solid biblical foundation for my daughter will enable her to stand on her faith when the situations arise where only God can intervene.
  17. Attended church regularly and network with many older folks that also prepare.
  18. Worked with a group of folks to create a Community Development Center that works with the Food Bank, community, and offers a Prayer Room for folks. Several like-minded folks came together with the desire to help our community now and in the future. Many practical ideas have been to establish a soup kitchen, expand the Food Bank, and establish a venue and resources to serve the community if everything goes to hell. It’s important to plan infrastructure now to establish resources that will be needed in the future.
  19. Planned on acquiring a hunting license and taking a hunting safety course, for both myself and my daughter. Friends from church have agreed to take us hunting and teach me how to dress out a deer and store the meat.
  20. Read numerous preparedness books, including those by Mr. Rawles; regularly visited preparedness websites; stayed updated on current events; and tried to remain cognizant of what’s going on in our nation and the world. My daughter and I have signed up for some free self-defense classes offered in our community and will keep moving forward with our preparedness.
  21. Prepared and always carry a “get home” bag in my car with items I might need to get home, including a gun/ammunition, shoes/socks, food, water, first aid kit, et cetera. I have also developed a get home plan with my daughter, if an EMP or Solar Flare occurs while she is at school. If cell phones stop working and the electricity is out, she has a plan to get out of dodge (the school) and go to a prearranged location at a friend’s home about a mile from the school, where she will have a bag ready as well.

I am preparing as the tortoise, slow and steady, for whatever changes the world as we know it. I am also listening for God’s direction for the course of my life, with work and volunteer activities, and yes, even with preparedness. I am working on training my daughter in the “way she should go” and teaching her the benefits of hard work and preparedness, long-term planning and goal setting, and creating a firm foundation of knowledge about our nation’s constitution, as well as knowledge, trust, and faith in God.

I see society and cringe at the entitlement mentality, the poor work ethic, and laziness among younger generations and even my own generation, the “blame game” to justify actions, the lack of consequences and responsibility for behavior, the corruption and immorality in our government and among society, and the low expectations for ourselves and our children. I tell my daughter fairly often “If George Washington was surveying in the wilderness at 14”, then . . . I shouldn’t expect less of her. I know she’s not George Washington, but I don’t plan on lowering my expectations of her—“for how a man sees himself, therefore he is”.

Life is about making choices–choosing to put one foot in front of the next, moving forward, regardless of the present situation; using the intellect and capabilities entrusted to us by God; choosing to prepare for whatever comes; and choosing to trust in and follow God in all ways.

Preparedness is about preparation, a constantly evolving process both intrinsically and extrinsically of improving present circumstances to ready one’s self to survive. It’s a lifestyle.

Letter Re: Several Articles

Sir,

First, thank you for all you do. I find this blog to be a wealth of information and inspiration.

Second, regarding the piece about the Mosin/Nagent, thanks for a well-written article about Mosins. I recently purchased two of them for around $120 a piece. One was a piece of art manufactured just before WW2. The stock was a rich red and the brass pieces were screwed in. I cleaned it and gave it to my Dad as a “just because” present. The second Mosin was manufactured during WW2 and was much more rough. I ended up replacing the trigger with a Timney trigger for around $90. I believe it was worth it. Not only does it provide a better, easier, more reliable safety mechanism for the rifle, but it also is set from the factory at around 4lbs (though you can choose at time of purchase on pull weight) for a much smoother, consistent pull. The stock on the second rifle and brass fittings were very rough. I ended up purchasing an adjustable stock from Archangel for around $200. Archangel also had 10 rd magazines for around $20. One issue that seems to come up is mag seating. I can say I’ve seen it, and the fix for it is to make sure you “slam” the mag home; otherwise, you may have a feed issue. This issue seems to fade with use. I now have a decent bolt action rifle that’s good out to 600 yards (I have a hard time seeing further than that with open sites) for under $600. If you want to mount a scope on the Mosin, I also researched, and there are smiths out there that can take your bolt and “bend” it for around $40. I may try that, as funding becomes available.

Third, I had to weigh in on something that was mentioned in a letter about the septic tank article. One reader brought up “not flushing any toilet paper” and to throw the toilet paper in a trash can instead. I feel the need to point out the obvious; if we’re truly in a TEOTWAWKI situation, eventually toilet paper is going to run out, probably much quicker than any of us would like. I’ve read articles of people that even now do not use toilet paper in the interest of saving a lot money and, of course, storage space. (No, admittedly, I’m not one of them.) Instead, these people use rags to clean themselves, and then they put the soiled rags in a small can with a lid next to the toilet for storage until cleaning. It seems to me that this is a more realistic solution compared to using up valuable storage space for an item that, let’s face it, is very nice to have but we could survive without.

That’s my two cents from the “left coast”. Thanks for everything, especially the knowledge! – MJ

Odds ‘n Sods:

The Death Of Shop Class And America’s Skilled Workforce. – RBS

o o o

Scotland Votes Like Anti-Gunners: Guided by Fear and Ignorance . – RBS

o o o

Yeah, I know it’s from the old Weekly World News. Ed Anger KNOWS. We used to actually repair things in this country… – T.P.

Hugh adds: This is an issue near and dear to my heart. I still like to repair things and I will often do so even when it is cheaper to buy a new one. If you account for the cost of my labor, it is most definitely cheaper to buy a new one. I take care of my cars and the last car that I sold had 400,000 miles on it. It is truly an annoyance that so many of our consumer products can’t be repaired. However, I still prefer to keep my skills up because at some point, I truly don’t believe buying a new one will be an option.

o o o

Video: Hospitals ask patients to pay upfront. – B.B

Out family has just gotten through dealing with this issue. After a hefty 12 day hospital stay, the first question asked to us by the rehab center was “If your insurance doesn’t cover you fully, are you prepared to pay yourself?” A fully 50% of the questions dealt with the family finances.

o o o

“Activists” Say They’ll Stalk Montana Hunters During Wolf Season. – T.P.

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.” – Frederick Douglass