About Protecting Your Food Investment
Cheryl and Karl S. write: Have you ever heard of oven canning? We learned how to take something like dry beans and put in jars like 1/2 gal pickle jars, without lid, heat on low oven for 2-3 hours. When heated through, then put the lids on. If there is still a rubber seal inside the lids,they will seal. Bugs dead, preserved. Maybe others would do this.
Yes, oven canning is a viable method when you don’t have a home pressure canner. However, oven canning isn’t as efficient in transferring heat inside the jar and carries the potential for bursts of oven heat could cause the glass to shatter. You might want to consider a pressure canner or the boiling water method instead.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation advises, “Low-acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner to be free of botulism risks. Although pressure canners may also be used for processing acid foods, boiling water canners are recommended for this purpose because they are faster…. These canners are made of aluminum or porcelain-covered steel. They have removable perforated racks and fitted lids. The canner must be deep enough so that at least 1 inch of briskly boiling water will be over the tops of jars during processing.”
Don’t Let Yourself Be Herded into Mr. Obama’s MyIRA
William M. writes: Should we be exiting our 401ks and IRAs before we are forced into the Bond Market via MYIRA?
Yes, but you may have a few more years’ window of opportunity to act before the threat you mentionis actualized. I view President Obama’s recent rollout of the “MyRA” as another step toward commandeering private retirement accounts and forcing them into government bonds. A few more steps would be needed for the government to gain the power to seize control over existing 401ks and IRAs.
The MyRA scheme (see “MyRA,” page 16), coupled with Mr. Obama’s disturbing penchant to advance his agenda unilaterally through executive orders, raises the threat level. I would project that by Obama’s
third term, he’d probably try outright nationalizing private retirement accounts. Fortunately, our Constitution (specifically, the 22nd Amendment) doesn’t allow presidents to serve more than two terms!
We’ll have to keep a close eye on the 2016 Democrat primary candidates to gauge the extent to which the front-runners intend to implement a “third term” for Obama by doubling down on his agenda.
Lots of Do It Yourself Learning Opportunities on www.independentlivingnews.com
Chuck M. writes: I appreciate the information you share. Where can I get DIY plans on how to build and install a complete home solar electric system?
I must admit, that’s a bit beyond the scope of my expertise. As much as I’m a champion of selfreliance, I’d rather let a pro handle something like installing a home solar power system. I’d give that same advice to most people. I don’t know what your skills and experience are, but if you’ve never actually worked on a solar system before, I’d recommend getting in touch with someone who has. If you don’t know anybody who specializes in solar installations, you can check with a local dealer or a national provider such as SunPower (800.786.7693; http://us.sunpowercorp.com) or LG Solar (855-854-7652;http://www.lg-solar.com).
About Making Dogged Rescue Plans
Martin St. John writes: My name in Martin St John. I am the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the MuttShack Animal Rescue Foundation. This is in reference to your recent article,“Leave No Dog Behind…Creating A Bug-Out Bag For Man’s Best Friend” [published on http://IndependentLivingNews.com].
Following our Katrina rescue work in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and in East New Orleans, where MuttShack rescued and provided critical care for over 3,000 animals, we began working on an evacuation plan for the animals in vulnerable coastal Parishes.
Interestingly, none of the national Humane and Animal Rights organizations, (some collected over $30M from their Katrina Fundraising efforts) wanted anything to do with the evacuation (although
they did provide some volunteers as shelter care workers at the temporary evacuation shelters). They claimed that they did not wish to put their volunteers “in harm’s way”.
Imagine our volunteers’ surprise when the largest of these Humane organizations showed up as we were loading the last of pets in Orleans Parish with a film crew and a spokesperson and several
others. After unloading several dogs already loaded and ready for their departure to Shreveport, they then filmed them being reloaded and posted a story on their website (cleverly worded) so that
their readers would donate to this evacuation effort.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your recent article and our story in greater detail. Thank you for taking the time to bring to light an issue to which we have dedicated our lives and our fortunes.
I’m glad our story on family pet prepping connected with you! I appreciate your insights and wish you and your organization all the best in your important on-the-ground efforts.
It isn’t just the welfare of dogs that is put in jeopardy when pet owners fail to plan for disasters. As “Creating A Bug-Out Bag For Man’s Best Friend” noted, nearly half of people who refused to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina did so because they lacked a plan for evacuating their pets and didn’t want to leave them behind.
Whether to flee or stay in place and ride out an impending weather disaster is always a difficult judgment call. But if you have extra supplies of pet essentials (water, food, any medications, etc.) that you can either take with you when you’re bugging out, or draw upon when you’re hunkering down, you’ll be better equipped to provide for your needs and those of your pets in an emergency.
Bright Ideas on Mandated Light Bulbs
Jules K. writes: I want to correct an inaccuracy in the recent article titled “Power Down…”; more specifically the section on the end of incandescent bulbs. While it is true that standard incandescents
are being banned, one type of incandescent, Chromalux, is classed as a “specialty bulb” and will continue to be available. This bulb has a neodymium coating which makes the light closer to natural
light. While they are more expensive than standard ones, they also last 5 times longer so you do get your money’s worth. They are available in 60 to 150 watts. Thank you for a great newsletter!
Thank you for pointing out that alternative incandescent option! Incandescent bulbs haven’t disappeared entirely in America.
Bruce B. writes: I’ve been a subscriber to your newsletter for several years. I am looking for a chart that would indicate the value of the various denomination of “junk silver.” Do you have such a chart available to indicate such value which would show an item’s “worth” depending on market fluctuation?
It’s great to hear from another long-time reader, Bruce! As to your question, the key to knowing the values of the various denominations of “junk” pre-1965 silver coins is the quantity of silver they contain (in terms of fractions of an ounce). There is a small additional copper constituent (10% by weight), but the actual value of that copper is negligible at current copper prices. So for all practical purposes, we can calculate the intrinsic value of U.S. 90% silver coins based on their silver content.
Here’s a table showing the various silver coin values, based on a silver spot price of $21.64/oz.
Occasionally, “junk silver” sells at a significant premium to its intrinsic value – this was the case in 2008 and early 2013 when retail demand was heavy and supplies were scarce. Half dollars typically sell at a slight premium to dimes and quarters.
Private Conversations Take Some Thought These Days
Gary H. writes: Thank you for your privacy information. I have 4 options for home telephone service: (1) cell phone, (2) traditional landline, (3) Magic Jack internet, and (4) new U.S. Cellular ZTE Home phone (no wires—uses cell phone tower). Which is the easiest and most likely to be eavesdropped and which is the most difficult and least likely to be conversation monitored? What can I do to improve my privacy?
A cell phone that you pay for via a monthly plan is among the least private, least secure ways of communicating. Your calls can easily be tracked (and in some cases the actual conversations intercepted), as can your location whenever your cell phone is turned on (and sometimes even when it’s not). You can boost your cell phone security by using encryption, and you can lower your profile by purchasing a pay-per-minute phone, using cash to buy re-load cards.
A landline makes it more difficult for someone without direct, physical access to your phone line to “hack” into your conversations, but the records of all your calls can still be tied back to you.
Internet-based calling systems such as Magic Jack, Vonage, and Skype (commonly called Voice over Internet Protocol) can yield privacy advantages, depending on your actual Internet security. If you’ve set up firewalls, encryption, and perhaps even IP address spoofing you can achieve a much greater degree of privacy than with conventional phone lines and cell phones.
About the PowerWhisperer
Doug R. writes: I purchased one of your Power Whisperer units last year, and have a technical question. I have been looking at the NuWave Portable induction Cooktop as a possible survival cooker, to be used in conjunction with the Power Whisperer. I know you do NOT recommend using the PW with hotplates, heaters, etc., due to excess current draw. According to NuWave’s website (I asked how much current it draws), the NuWave can be used on boats or in motorhomes/trailers and draws 10.83 Amps in those applications. Would that be realistic with your PW? I don’t want to buy the NuWave if it would overtax the Power Whisperer. Thanks !
Deanna Harris responds: That’s a great question and we had the same thought. I have not personally used the NuWave; however a couple of people in our office did try it (using regular electric power) and they felt that it did not perform as it states it should. Unfortunately, the current was too strong and it drained the battery very quickly so it is not recommended to use with the Power Whisperer.
If you need additional assistance, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-877-371-1807.
Editor’s note: The Power Whisperer and other survival essentials are available through our newly expanded online Store (http://www.IndependentLivingNews.com/store).
Are “Semi-Numismatic” Coins Worth Paying Up For?
Bernie K. writes: Are semi-numismatic coins like proof coins from the mint?
The term “semi-numismatic” may be used to refer to any coin that carries a premium above ordinary bullion coins but below numismatics. There’s no absolute line of demarcation between semi-numismatics and numismatics, but a coin that carries a markup of more than 25% above its actual melt value will generally be considered a numismatic.
My view is that if you’re going to pay a significant premium for a coin, you might as well obtain something with some actual historic value, such as U.S. Morgan and Peace silver dollars or gold Libertys. Why pay a big premium for a “proof” coin minted by a modern mint? Unless you’re in love with its fine luster, I see no good reason to do so. You’d be paying up for a minting process rather than actual rarity.
Historic semi-numismatic coins aren’t the most efficient way to accumulate physical gold and silver, but they can be fun to collect and do have the potential to increase more in value than other types of coins due to their scarcity. Whether they will depends on the ebbs and flows of collector interest. High collectible premiums on some historic coins could come down, so don’t go overboard in this highly specialized and sometimes illiquid market.
Needed: A Second American Revolution to Restore the Constitution
Gary G. writes: Please expand on a sentence from your February newsletter: “Right now I would settle for freedom’s extinction being as far away as a generation.” Are you suggesting somehow kicking the can of tyranny down the road, to be stumbled over later by our children and grandchildren; or possibly simply conceding that we are on an inevitable path to a totalitarian state at some point in the future…or neither?
No, I don’t think totalitarianism is inevitable and certainly don’t want my generation to be responsible for enslaving the next one. But it will be very difficult to reverse the trends toward national bankruptcy and total surveillance without something like a second American Revolution. The debt and unfunded liabilities will only get bigger, and the technology that enables the government to monitor our movements, financial transactions, and communications will only become more powerful in the years ahead.