Category Archives: Preparedness

More Mercury

As I’ve said before, buy on the dip days.  On 6/27 silver dipped below 34 again and so I bought a few more Mercury Dimes.

I wanted to share another piece of advice for the beginners.  I’ve  updated the chart 2011-06 Junk Silver Calculator that I posted the last time I talked about silver.  The addition is a column to estimate the face multiple.  Often the price in a coin shop will be discussed as “X times face” or something like that.  It behooves you to know what that means so that you know if you are getting a good deal or now.  I kept a printed copy in my back pocket for reference.

Before I left the house, I confirmed that the close of trading in New York was around $33.50 per ounce.  I knew that 90% silver should be sold at 24.23 times face value.  Some quick math will tell you exactly how many coins you should expect for the amount of cash you want to pay.

With a little experience, I’m sure this will become second nature.

Thanks, Robert.

Jericho will get you motivated

Robert checked out a TV series from our local library this week.  It is called Jericho and it aired on CBS, I think in 2006 or 2007.  It is a series about life in a small town after a nuclear attack.  It is very captivating and really makes you think about things.  Now let’s not get all crazy here I did have a hard time imagining a nuclear attack in my lifetime (Robert on the other hand has no problem imagining this scenerio).  But it did make me think about an extended period of time without power, maybe caused by a natural forces.

It also brought to mind how you would acquire food, clean water and medicine without an infrastructure in place.  It has made me think twice about the things in my pantry and the lack of important things in my pantry.  We try not to eat a lot of canned foods so I only have a few cans in my pantry.  And if power were out and we couldn’t get to a store then this would be a problem.  I may need to rethink storing some cases of canned food, like the kind you get at Costco.

With each DVD, we watch 3 episodes in a row because we are addicted and I think of new things to worry about.  Not really, but it has caused much discussion in our house.   If nothing else it is just good entertainment that we think you will like.  Check it out.

Thanks, Courtney.


What are you doing about savings and investment these days?  I’ve been interested in stock markets and other investments since high school when I was entering in mock investment competitions.  Much of what Courtney and I write on this blog has to do with skills from days gone by – and so is this one.  We’re building a savings account the old fashioned way, with old fashioned money.

I have been watching gold and silver for quite some time, but I own very little of it.  I’ve known that the best ways to buy are on the dip days.  Well, yesterday was one and so I headed in to the coin shop after work and bought all of the mercury dimes they had in the display case.  With a few Roosevelts to top it all off, I left with 40 dimes in total in exchange for a one hundred dollar bill. And boy do I feel better about possessing physical silver rather than fiat paper money.

I adapted a small spreadsheet I found online to analyze prices so I was confident I was getting a good deal.  I have never done this before.  As I do this more, I’ll be able to look at certain coins and know whether or not they’re a deal.  For now, though, I needed my cheat sheet which I adapted from the chart at this site.  Here it is: 2011-05 Junk Silver Calculator

Mercury dimes were produced between 1916 and 1946.  I chose them for their beauty, history and due to my personal aversion to President Franklin Roosevelt.  The Roosevelt dimes minted between 1947 and 1965 are just fine in terms of silver content and value.  I ended up with one Barber dime from 1901 as well.  Once I got home and had time to analyze the stash, I realized that a few of them were slightly rare, carrying twice the collector value of the others, so all in all it was a very worthwhile experience.

The term junk silver refers to currency with dates prior to 1965.  That was the year silver was no longer used in the coins.  It is rare, but you can bump into these coins in circulation today;  I recently found a silver canadian dime in a jar of spare change.  Referring to the chart above, you’ll see the silver content listed is different with each coin type.  The dimes I bought are all 90% silver content.

Thanks, Robert.

Internet Down

As you may know, I’m blessed in that I have a great job that I can do from home.  This job required 24/7 connectivity with the internet, however.  100% of my job is done on the local server at my employer’s office in California.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but Courtney and I rely on the internet for almost everything.  Mapquest, online phone directories, communication via email and facebook are just a few.

The first few days here in Colorado were without internet.  We deliberately had our service set up the week before we got here so that there was no excuse for delays because I had to get back to work quickly.  As it turned out, the internet provider had lines crossed in their local service box and it took about a day of “the run around” before they sent someone to fix it.  All told, we were in the dark for three days including the weekend.  Don’t worry, I don’t mean dark in the literal sense.  Electricity was on, but we had no contact with the outside world other than our cell phones which are dumb phones and not smart phones.  It seemed like an eternity.

Thankfully I had the foresight to do some planning, but there were plenty of gaps too.  I downloaded the DirecTv satellite installation guide so I could get to work on that right away.  I’m kind of a nut in that I absolutely love maps, so we had that covered already.  We did not have a phone book for the local area.

The “To Do” list contains the following:

1. Obtain local phone book

2. Obtain old telephone which doesn’t require electricity.  I found one on Craigslist for two dollars and just need to make arrangements to pick it up.   Sometimes a power outage doesn’t mean phone lines are down.  But if your phone requires electricity, then you’re outta luck.  Older phones just plug in and can make and receive calls.

3. Begin gathering key references material.  This includes downloaded information on your computer but also a three ring binder for things I may need to know but can’t research. In here I keep things such as dosage information for medicines/herbal remedies, table for measurement (english/metric) conversions, operator/repair manuals for important tools like your chainsaw or generator, etc.

4. Get a generator and convert it with a tri fuel carburetor kit.

5. Get a weather radio that will sound an alert for local warnings since we’ve relocated to an area with a tornado risk.  This is especially on my mind after the 45 deaths across the country in the second week of April due to storms that also passed through our area.  The storms weren’t yet that bad as they passed through our area, but it was windy nonetheless.

Thanks, Robert.

The Prepardeness Challenge

I just came across this article from a blog I follow called Homestead Revival.  There are all kinds of neat do it yourself things on her blog and I just like to poke around and see what’s new.  She had a blog post a few weeks ago (I missed it, sometimes having a toddler means I am several weeks behind on some things but always up to date Handy Manny and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) that is a great challenge.  Being prepared was definitely a topic of discussion in our house a month ago due to the disaster in Japan.  More specifically the fallout that potentially could have reached the west coast.  Which is where were.  With an unborn baby to protect this occupied my thoughts.  Luckily we were spared but it brought up a useful theme, be prepared.

So take a look at this post.  I think it will be inspiring to you.  I plan on taking part in the challenge.  To me this challenge doesn’t mean buying something every week but also researching how to do things for yourself, teaching your children about emergency situations, collecting, sorting, cleaning and in general being alert and ready.  I remind myself that I am not doing this because I concerned that the end of the world is near but because we as a family are trying to get back to a simpler lifestyle, one that is a little more self sufficient.  Why?  Because we enjoy living this way.

Homestead Revival: A Call to Be Prepared

Thanks, Courtney

Whats in your car?

I keep a bunch of “what if” things in our vehicles.  Maybe it started way back when I was in Boy Scouts, where the motto is “Be Prepared” but who knows, it could have started before that.  Anyways, I like to be ready to take on any challenge.

In each of our two vehicles, I have always kept several bottles of water, a pen and paper, a flashlight, a pocket knife, small tool kit, duct tape, one quart motor oil, a wool blanket,  some toilet paper and some spare change.  Recently I’ve beefed up the stash.

One box is a first aid kit which contains a multitude of bandaids.  Courtney got this a three pack of these plastic containers from Costco a year or so ago.  I stuffed in a bunch of extra things, to include butterfly closures, neosporin, a lighter, one really large bandaid patch, a bunch of Q-Tips, some dental floss and a zip lock baggie with some Benedryl tablets. Most of those are self explanatory, but I want to add that there has been some negative press about Benedryl especially used in younger children.  We won’t be using it for your typical seasonal allergies, but rather emergency bee sting induced anaphylactic shock, etc.  [Disclaimer: I’m no doctor, so this is not medical advice.]

The top of the picture shows one of each box sealed.  The bottom has one of each opened to show the contents.  I put a label on the front so we can quickly determine if we need to open the box or not.

A second box contains a deck of cards, another lighter, a few more quarters (I don’t know why I threw those in) and an old deactivated cell phone with the DC car charger.  The cards are for passing time if you are stranded somewhere and plan to wait for help.  The old phone is for making a 911 call.  The FCC has a rule that requires all 911 calls to be put through even if it is from a deactivated cell phone.  But, you need some battery power, hence the charger.  I’ve never done it, but have received this information from multiple sources online.  Spare chargers can be found on eBay for $3.00 with free shipping.

Each of these compact boxes are sealed up with packing tape to keep moisture out.  They can be opened with the pocket knife that is kept in the drivers side door pocket.

As you may have read on our blog recently, we’re moving to Colorado soon.  A set of tire chains for each vehicle have been found for a bargain at garage sales over the last few months, so we should be ready for the snow.

My truck has a flatbed with toolboxes under the bed, so I also keep a few extra things. The list includes a foldable military surplus shovel, a spare glowplug relay, spare fuel filter, power steering fluid (its a Ford, prone to bad P/S pumps), ropes and straps,along with a few other tools.

I’d hate to think that Courtney could get two flat tires  or hit an ice patch and end up in a ditch and be stranded somewhere.  I’ve reviewed all of this with her so that she knows that she can be prepared to hunker down and wait it out until help arrives.

So, what am I missing?  I know its not perfect and this is a work in progress.  Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear what you guys think.

Thanks, Robert.