Friday, January 30, 2015

Interesting Headlines in the News January 30, 2015

Reagan’s OMB head: Wealth inequality is a problem
Oil Wars: Teetering On The Edge Of Economic Disaster
Japan’s Retail Sales Unexpectedly Slump in Challenge to Abe
Greek Bond Yields Spike as Syriza Scraps Austerity
Subprime Bonds Are Back Seven Years After U.S. Crisis- Cause this worked so good the first time…
David Stockman Trashes The Fed
The Progressive Trinity
Adachi blasts deputy public defender’s arrest; police say arrest was lawful
Suspected Ebola patient admitted to California hospital
Drowning: A Deceptively Quiet Event
Survivalist, Prepper, or Housewife?
A grim warning cry on soaring US debt
Jobless claims lowest since 2000, but...
Is Atlantic City Headed for Bankruptcy?
Feds’ Price War on Housing Puts Taxpayers at Risk
Alibaba's Disappointing Earnings Pile On To List Of Problems
The Raging “Currency Wars” across Europe
Why Markets Still Fear the Federal Reserve
Citrix plans 900 layoffs
Official: Gitmo prisoner traded for Bergdahl reaching out to Taliban
Keiser Report: Open Sources & Open Cesspools
SkyMall attracts buyer interest after bankruptcy filing
Obama budget to include $1 billion for Central America
U.S.-Cuba Travel Could Happen 'Within the Year
The World's Next Mortgage Crisis?
Lord Christopher Monckton-Climate Change is Really a Basis for Elite Control
Can fancy burgers help US workers?
CT Tax Commissioner: Walmart Tax Refund Service Just A Lure To Get You To Shop At Walmart
Billionaire: US faces 'massive job killing machine'
Greece Steps Back Into Line With European Union Policy on Russia Sanctions
Iraq's Oil Problem
McCain boots 'low-life scum' from hearing
Surge of Illegals Puts Thousands of Immigration Cases on Hold
Officials: Up to 1K possibly exposed to measles in Ariz
USDollar/USDX Index
Putin Sends Nuclear Bombers Over English Channel: “Transponders Turned Off… Invisible to Air Traffic Control”
Birth Pangs of the Next Depression: If the Price of Oil Stays at This Level, We’re Going to Have a Total Financial Nightmare…”

Interesting Energy Stories in the News Jan 30

China to Buy More Crude Oil from Nigeria
Abu Dhabi aims to raise crude oil 35m barrels a day, sells 10% stakes to Total Oil Company
Shell falls short after oil production income collapses
Oil producers push to export US crude even as prices drop
Norway's oil sector set to repeat mistakes of last big downturn
Lawmaker wants US-made ships for exporting gas to India
Shell shelves Arrow LNG project in Queensland
EU Gas Prices Prone to Declines on LNG Supplies, Vattenfall Says
Coal Keeps Dropping as OPEC-Like Tactic Stymied by Dollar
First U.S. nuclear plant in decades is over budget, behind schedule
News Analysis: U.S. nuclear deal with India draws ire of Pakistan
Nuclear Power Needs to Double to Meet Warming Goal
World's second largest wind farm edges towards finish line
US Energy Department provides US$45 million funding for solar manufacturing technologies
GTM report: Latin American PV market grew by 370% in 2014
WRAPUP 1-Lower gas prices seen fueling U.S. consumer spending in Q4

Interesting Precious Metals Stories in the News Jan 30

Jan 30 Gold Stocks: A New Trading Range  Morris Hubbartt 321gold   
Jan 30 Dollar Is Wandering Off Track  Tom McClellan 321gold   
Jan 30 The Raging "Currency Wars" across Europe  Gary Dorsch 321gold   
Jan 30 All major indicators are breaking down, deflation is taking hold and Wall Street is oblivious!  Groenewegen 321gold    pdf
Jan 30 Why Are Central Bankers Surprised by Monetary Disasters?  TDB   
Jan 30 Grexit: Reality?  m-t   
Jan 30 Hollywood uses 'American Sniper' to destroy history & create myth  MN   
Jan 30 Everybody poops. But here are 9 surprising facts about feces you may not know  VOX   

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Warm weather this time of year? Time to get moving!

Well the weather has been wonderful for several days.  So it really gets me thinking about all the work that needs to be done as spring is just around the corner.  As you know if you have been following my posts I have been building garden beds.  These are in ground beds that were dug as a ditch across the side of a hill in my urban landscape.   You should have seen the look on the neighbors faces when I started ripping out my yard a few years ago!  LOL  It was priceless.  Now they have seen it transform into something completely different and it will be changing again dramatically this year.   My garden will be on steroids this year as I convert more and more idle space into growing space and transform it to a growing space in a high plains desert that uses little or not water.  It is going to be very exciting to see how this goes.  

So what did we do this morning before I had to head off for work?  Well I got my behind out of bed early and went out and started emptying my compost bins from last year into my garden beds in the back yard.  Up to this point I have been working in the front yard and I need another truck load of manure to finish my "in ground" beds.  I will be creating some more beds that are on the surface of the front lawn also as I continue to get more manure and wood chips. 

In the back yard this morning I started emptying my compost bins into the garden beds.  Sadly it won't be anywhere enough to meet the needs of the garden so I will have to explore more compost bins and get my vermicomposting system up and running soon.  So for the bins I have right now they are large black plastic bins you can buy at Home Depot.  They don't really hold a great deal when you start properly mixing your browns, greens and water to keep the pile composting and keep pests and smells under control.  A properly managed compost bin should not smell or attract unwanted attention from pests.  But it also means my space is reduced in the bins as I line the bottom and sides with straw and hay.  Anyway maybe I can do some video on how some of this is done in case your wanting to start composting yourself.

So I have 3 of these bins, but only 2 of them are ready to be dumped.  The third one has been my active bin for my kitchen scraps so it will have to wait until the fall before I can dump it.  I will look for some pallets and mesh to build a new bin this year with much more capacity.  I started laying the compost out on the first bed and my dogs went NUTS!  They LOVE the smell of that compost... Now the battle is on to keep them out of the garden beds!  I imagine it will be more of the same as I bring in the next loads of horse manure into those beds starting the week after next.   I will be getting loads to finish the front yard in ground beds next week. 

As I have built these beds with a deep bed of manure and a deep bed of wood chips the key now to get the composting action going is nitrogen and water to get things reacting and starting the composting process.  So I gave the beds with the mulch already down a shot of water to get them started.  I will be coming behind that now with some organic nitrogen fertilizer to give them another swift kick in the right direction and will keep moving from bed to bed from now to planting season giving the beds nitrogen to bind to the wood chips and get things moving.  Hopefully they will be ready to roll as we start planting. 

We will be starting some seeds indoors in the next few weeks for our peppers and tomatoes.  We have a water tank showing up for our rainwater collection system on Saturday.  So it is very exciting times around the homestead! 

There is no time like the present... If you get a good weather day it is time to get up a little early and get out and get something done... It feels great, and it is one less thing you will have to do when planting seasons and your home projects are piling up.

Now back to yelling at my dogs for digging through the compost in the beds! LOL

Take Care and God Bless!


Interesting Headlines in the News January 29, 2015

Shocking Illustration Exposes The Tragic Collapse Of America
NYSE Invokes Rule 48 To Pre-Empt Selling Panic
We’re No. 12! Report: U.S. Not Among Top Nations for Economic Freedom
Russia and China’s Growing Energy Relationship
More Power Puller + A Homestead Helper
watch your security
Short landing!
If you like your raisins, you can keep your raisins
Seattle government now going through citizens’ trash for public shaming, revenue
McDonald's CEO out as burger chain's struggles worsen
Millions to owe Obamacare tax penalty
New ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill Calls for Full Transparency from Central Bank
The Case for Gold at $3,000
Sealing the Deal: Secret TPP negotiations near completion
Govt tells agents to ID which immigrants not to deport
After 'staggering' iPhone sales, what's next for Apple?
Fed Sticks to 'Patient' Tack on Rate Increases
Yes, Europe will give in to Greeceâ€"but it won’t admit it
Super Bowl hosts shouldn’t expect higher economic growth
One In 5 American Kids Are On Food Stamps
S&P Close to $1.37B Deal Over Risky Mortgage Bond Ratings
US signs $2bn loan guarantee deal with Ukraine
Phoenix-area residents can make big bucks renting homes for Super Bowl
Big banks fail to dismiss U.S. currency rigging lawsuit
Fugitive treasure hunter arrested
Two Economists Predict the Markets, Employment and Growth for 2015
Seattle 'Garbage Police' Rummaging for Food, Revenue
'Two Percent Inflation' and The Fed's Current Mandate
FOMC May Hold Rates Until 2016, GDP To Come In Around 3% - Peter Hug
Rural America's Silent Housing Crisis
Arizona measles outbreak reaches 'critical point'
Denver Airport Won’t Cater To Pot Tourists, Bans All Marijuana-Themed Souevenirs
USDollar/USDX Index
Telecom Outrage: Obamaphone Program Plagued With Fraud: Over 13 Million Free Cell Phones Given Away In 2014
Measles Police State: “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail”

Interesting Energy Stories in the News Jan 29

Oil markets open up weak following record U.S. stockpiles
BP, Chevron, Conoco tie up for US Gulf oil project
Iraq oil surge to fan OPEC rivalry that triggered slump
China-Myanmar Crude Oil Pipeline Opens For Test Runs
China 2014 natural gas demand up 5.6pc at 178.6 bcm
UPDATE 1-U.S. House passes bill to pressure regulators on LNG exports
Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to be completed by 2017
India set to sell 10 percent of coal shares
UPDATE 2-Glencore considers closing S.Africa coal mines, laying off workers
China to Push Exports of Railway, Nuclear Power Products
N.Korea may be trying to restart nuclear reactor - U.S. think tank
US starts playing catch-up on offshore wind
India eyes ambitious renewables targets - with US help
Germany to launch first auction of land for solar power
U.S. ethanol tumbles after EIA shows largest supply in 2 years

Interesting Precious Metals Stories in the News Jan 29

Jan 29 Going Up?  MA   
Jan 29 Could the U.S. Become the Unrivaled Superpower Again?  OfTwoMinds   
Jan 29 The Swiss Franc Will Collapse  Keith Weiner MM   
Jan 29 Comparing the inflated cost of living today from 1938 to 2015  MB360   
Jan 29 Obamacare program costs $50,000 in taxpayer money for every American who gets health insurance, says bombshell budget report  DailyMail   
Jan 29 This Is What Gold Does In A Currency Crisis, Euro Edition  ZeroHedge   
Jan 29 The Latest Subprime Scam  acting-man   
Jan 29 Bibi Exploits US Congress for Naked Political Advantage  RS   
Jan 29 Blackbeard's Ship Yields Booty of Medical Supplies  NBC   

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Interesting Headlines in the News January 28, 2015

Evidence Grows Showing Wall Street as a Negative Economic Force
Gold: Its Time Has Come
US Dollar losing an enormous amount of purchasing power since 1938
Treasury Yields Rise From Record Lows as Fed Meets on Rates Path
Greece’s New FinMin Explains “This Is What Happens When You Humiliate A Nation & Give It No Hope”
How to Stay Alive in the Woods
Living Well on Practically Nothing
The Best Years of Our Lives
Big Trouble in Little China
Tactical Walls
An excellent example of charity 1 in 3 on Disability Have Mental Disorder; 42.9% in D.C.
TurboTax’s database knows your secrets
Here’s How The Internet Of Things Will Solve Traffic Jams And Take The Stress Out Finding A Parking Space
No Fed rate hike until March 2016, Morgan Stanley says
It’s Not The Greeks Who Failed, It’s The EU
Russian Central Bank Deputy Head Shoots 3 Dead In The Far East Of The Country Before Killing Himself
Phony US Recovery Will Hurt Many Investors
Goldman: Job Cuts May Reach 70,000 in Energy Industry This Year
A new study argues cutting unemployment benefits created 1.8 million jobs
Ex-Im Official Secures Millions for Indian Solar Company, Then Joins Its Board
Are U.S. Budget Problems Underrated or Just Complicated?
Taxpayers' Tab for Obama's Saudi Arabia Visit: $267,787
U.S. Shale Boom May Come To Abrupt End
Displaced Ukrainians receive planeload of EU aid, more to follow
Bernie Sanders wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastruture
ObamaCare spending will balloon to nearly $2 trillion over the next decade
Planning for the Blizzard That Wasn't
Trade protests disrupt Senate committee hearing
Corporate America is not America
Yahoo shares jump; company to spin off Alibaba
Caterpillar Inc. Earnings and Outlook Indicate Big Trouble Ahead
Female terrorists finding their place in Islamic militants' ranks
Economic Impact of Storm Expected to Be Small
Tim Hortons to Slash Jobs After Burger King Takeover
FTC Requires Safeway, Albertsons To Sell 168 Stores Before Completing $9.2B Merger
Meet the Extreme Super Rich â€" A List of the 80 People Who Own Half the World
USDollar/USDX Index
Nationwide Ban On Personal Body Armor Proposed In Congress: “10 Years Imprisonment” For Possession

Interesting Energy Stories in the News Jan 28

China's oil demand to grow three percent in 2015 - CNPC research
OPEC is now on life support: oil experts
Exclusive: Green light for some would-be U.S. oil exporters; more questions for others
Kazakhstan oil refineries face shutdown
Ghana signs $7bn gas production deal
Russian Gas Provides Lifeline To Chinese Expansion
Global met coal demand to outpace supply for first time since 2011: Peabody
China Shanxi won't approve new coal capacity before 2020
Vessel demand for coal exports rises at Australia's Newcastle port this week
Iran, Russia keen to develop nuclear cooperation: Envoy
Ghana makes progress towards nuclear power plant
US nuclear reactor shuts down during snowstorm
Global capacity of renewable energy will more than double in 2025
SunEdison CEO joins President Obama and Prime Minister Modi at New Delhi climate talks
Ethanol isn't a good fuel, but it's not going away anytime soon

Interesting Precious Metals Stories in the News Jan 28

Jan 28 Chartseek Basic Newsletter - Tuesday 1/17/2015  Pierce Wellington 321gold   
Jan 28 Gold Bear Market Is Dead - Jan 27, 2015  Denaliguide 321gold   
Jan 28 There's More to the Gold Rally than European Market Fears  Frank Holmes USfunds   
Jan 28 Gold: Its Time Has Come  DI   
Jan 28 Mark Carney warns of liquidity storm as global currency system turns upside down  Telegraph   
Jan 28 The Powers of the Market Are Much Bigger than the Powers of Politicians  Sprott   
Jan 28 Profits of doom  MB360   
Jan 28 Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions  BV   
Jan 28 AT&T ushers in the cross-country call, 100 years ago  Cnet   

Mulches, Tools, and fruit trees

There is no time like the present to start planting trees.  Fruit and nut trees take a long time to mature to the point where they are producing fruit, nuts, and things that you can put to use.  So there is no time like the present to start.  One of the things that many people do not know is that many types of fruit trees require two different types of the same tree for cross pollination.  For example if you wanted sweet cherries you might plant a Bing and a Ranier cherry so that you have at least two different types for pollination.  So when you start to plant frees be aware of this.  Unless there is someone else around who also has some cherry trees and you know the variety you will want to plant those trees that need a second variety in pairs. 

Another thing that many people don't know is that the large majority of fruit trees today are grafted trees.  What this means is that a branch of a tree you want to grow is grafted into a root stock that is from a different type of tree.  The reason for doing this many times is to select the size of the root stock.  For example if you want a dwarf tree that stays somewhat small then you will graft the branch of the variety of fruit into a root stock that is a dwarf root stock.  The branch will grow and will produce fruit true to the variety that it is.  So if it is a Gala apple you will get a Gala apple from your branch that is grafted into that root stock.  BUT, if you were to save the seed from that apple you would not get a Gala apple when you plant it.  Apple trees also require two different varieties to be planted for pollination.  This cross pollination means that the seed that will be produced will be some cross between your Gala and whatever other variety it was pollinated with.  Secondly, because of the grafting of the root stock so that your tree remains a dwarf, or semi dwarf that tree variety is also mixed into the seed and what you get is probably not going to be anything like what you expected.  Now if you have the space to experiment you can plant these seeds and see what happens.  You may very well come up with a new variety of apple.  If not you can cut down the tree, use it for mulch or firewood and plant another and keep on experimenting.  

If however your trying to just get started, or your space is limited you may want to start with a grafted tree from your local nursery, or if you happen to know how to graft and have some root stock you can graft your own.  At least when it comes to apples that is the advise I seem to keep getting.  So I have a couple of apple trees I planted 2 years ago that were bought from a local big box store.  I am planning to purchase a couple more trees this year.  Possibly plums, pears for this urban homestead location as I understand they should do well here.  However things like peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots apparently are not very reliable here in our urban location due to late frosts and late snows.  So I am hesitant to spend money on nursery trees for this location due to that fact. 

I also have some trees I purchased from the state forestry department in Missouri that will be arriving in the last week in March.  This is the cheapest way I know to get started with trees.  I ordered some Black Locust, Mulberry, Pecans, Serviceberry, Dogwood, and one or two others I believe through this program.  You have to order them in the fall when the order window opens up or you wont be able to get the trees you want.  They continue to take orders through April I believe, however to get the trees you want you need to order early.  I ordered during opening day of ordering and they were already out of Serviceberry, but sent me a notice last week that I could now get my Serviceberry trees.  So I got lucky I had tried to order them right away.  So don't wait.  I will explain the reason for the trees I ordered in another post.  There is a reason for each one in a Permaculture design. 

Now when it comes to stone fruits, peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, apricots etc you can plant from seed.  However keep in mind that the varieties that need cross pollination the fruit you get will be some cross of those varieties.  So the seed you plant will very likely not come back as the same fruit you ate.  However reading what others have done and the results I think this is very much worth experimenting with.  Budgets are limited and any time you can get essentially a free resource like a producing fruit tree just by saving some seed from something you bought for food at the store is simply a bonus.  So we are going to run off and get some starter seeds this weekend when we go grocery shopping.  We will explain the process and tell you how it goes.  We will see what we have available at the store this time of year to give this a shot and if we have some decent little starter trees for planting in the spring of 2016 that would be fantastic.  If not, nothing is lost.  Keep in mind these trees will take 5-7 years from some things to produce like peaches, and 7-10 years for a cherry tree.  So there is a time investment.  If our budget allows we will try to buy a couple trees of each variety that we want from a nursery  and get those in the ground ASAP so that we can have fruit in the next few years instead of the much longer time horizon from planting from seed.  In the mean time we will experiment with starting some of our own and see how that goes also.

So why not take free seed and start your own orchard today?  I will post some links as we start to do this process ourselves and document how we did it, and if it works for us.  Stay tuned...

There is nothing like FREE!  Especially when it is something you need.  Mulches for your garden can be free.  Seriously.  In the fall every year people are paying someone to haul off some of the most perfect composting, worm feeding, garden feeing material on the planet in the form of leaves.  Why are leaves so important?  Trees dig deep into the ground for minerals and water.  Those minerals are not easily accessible by you and me, but these deep tap rooted plants get down to where these minerals are and bring them up.  They are deposited in the wood of the tree and in the leaves.  These leaves then drop and begin decomposing and start to feed the tree from the top of the soil down.  When we remove the leaves to the tree we really are robbing it of nutrients, water, and beneficial bugs, insects, fungi, and bacteria.  Most people seem to be unaware of this and cannot wait to get those leaves out of there!  And are paying people to take them.  Here is a great article at Mother Earth News talking about this free super mulch.  Save it, use it, you will be amazed how effective they are in your garden.  You can never have too many leaves.  Check Craigslist, and ask around to your neighbors to see if you can get their leaves from them.  My urban homestead location is semi arrid so trees can be sparse in some parts, but there are trees in other parts of the city.  Again keep your eyes open for free leaves.

The Perfect Free Mulch

Now one last thing I wanted to bring up since we are talking about trees.  That would be tools to keep those trees pruned back and managable.  I have been watching a lot of Back to Eden Garden videos and the Back to Eden videos posted on L2Survive's channel are very good and very helpful.  Fantastic insight into Paul and how he gardens.  The videos on pruning are very good.  I will post a couple here.  But the tools of the trade appear to be a good pruning saw, and some pruning sheers, and a good leather scabbard so you can keep them at your side and handy.   My two apple trees in the yard right now have never been pruned so it is time to experiment and begin learning how to prune these trees.  I follow many permaculture forums and people also and some people say don't prune your trees.  Let them do their own thing.  Once you start pruning you will have to always prune.  Or so goes the conventional wisdom.  I am torn on the topic and once out on our acreage I will experiment with both methods, but for now I think I will prune these trees on our urban landscape to keep the size manageable and see if I can promote the tree growth that I am looking for.  So we will see. 

Invest in good tools, learn some skills.  Practice, practice, practice.  This year we will be getting some practice.  Looks like a set of good sheers, and pruning saw will get added to my arsenal of tools.  You want to invest in something invest in tools and learn how to use them.  The value?  Priceless! 

Have a wonderful day!  God Bless!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today's excitement? Building more garden beds....

Well today's excitement was an early workout with manure, rock dust minerals, and wood chips.  Still working on the garden beds in the front yard.  I am piling the manure in the new bed about 8-10 inches deep, a dusting of rock minerals on top, and then about 8 inches of wood chips.  Then I will be coming back around after complete building these with some water and nitrogen fertilizer to kick in the composting process.

The beds that were already in use last year have a nice layer of soil in them, so I am piling about 6 inches of manure in each of those, some rock dust minerals, and then about 8 inches of wood chip mulch on those as well.  I have 2 more beds to finish up as soon as the unseasonably warm weather cooks off the layer of ice/snow on one end of the beds that don't get much sunlight as it is on the north side of the house. 

This has me thinking about possibly planting some trees up in this shade of the house that have issues with late frosts killing the blooms like cherries, peaches, apricots etc.  Since the north side is sheltered it takes longer for it to warm up and possibly will delay the bloom on those trees so they wouldn't get tricked into blooming early.  I have to give this some more thought and do some more reading on this idea.  I might just work...

Now is the time to be working those garden plans if your not already.  Your best investment you can possibly make is in water and soil this time of year.  Start thinking about your water harvesting, collection and garden sustainability.  I am on a mad dash run to get things in place here.  Rumors are circling about layoffs where I work so I need to do everything I can now.  It should ensure that we have something to eat this summer and maybe something we can put away for the fall and winter. 

If you haven't ordered your seeds.... You snooze, you loose!  Unless of course you are happy with the hybrid and Monsanto owned seeds at Wally World...  This time of year you have a choice.  Choose wisely!

Take care and God Bless,

Interesting Headlines in the News January 27, 2015

Markets or Mercantilism
The global economy has degenerated into one massive currency war. This is not sustainable nor a rising tide that lifts all boats…
Precious Metals Coveted Once More as Draghi Acts: Commodities
S&P Cuts Russia To Junk, Ruble Plunges To 6-Week Lows
Greece Election: Big Syriza Win
David Stockman: Meet Bloomberg’s Latest Idiot: Shobhana Chandra On Why Falling Prices Cause Hungry People To Starve
American Radio History
Americans Want Obama To Repeal The Bill Of Rights: “Let’s Do It, Let’s Get Behind It”
U.S. Spies on Millions of Cars
Binary Firing System Where food crises and global conflict could collide
S&P Cuts Russia's Rating to Junk Putting It Below Investment Grade
IBM "Flatly Denies" Report of Mass Layoffs
U.S. deficit to 'hold steady' until 2018
Marc Faber: U.S. Financial Assets Prospering, Not Economy
Things Are Bad In Texas
Fannie Mae: Mortgage lending will see dramatic growth in 2015
Davos Elites Enjoy the Global Depression
Report Predicts 18 States Will Legalize Pot by 2020
Grexit’s still possible and central banks aren’t doing real QE
Cold War Still On? Banker, 2 Diplomats Charged As Russian Spies in N.Y.
Citi Warns "Central Banks' Grip On The World Economy Is Waning"
Mechanics Say American Airlines Pressured Them To Commit Maintenance Fraud
The growth of Wal-Mart may have made America’s obesity epidemic worse
EU ponders Greek debt fallout
Former CIA officer convicted of leaking secrets to NYT reporter
Obama Job Approval Hits 50% for First Time Since 2013
Wall Street's Threat to the American Middle Class
New Survey Shows U.S. Businesses Are Confident Employment Will Increase
UPS Profit Hit By Costs of ‘High Quality’ Holiday Service
Oil steadies after OPEC says prices may have bottomed
$6 Billion in Claims From Americans Could Affect Cuba Talks
NYC, Boston ban road travel as huge storm hits
Greece’s Hard Choice: Escape or Merely Reset EU Servitude
USDollar/USDX Index
THIS CHART Tells a Story… America’s Middle Class Thrived After WWII and Died Under Obama
When Real Disaster Strikes: These Are The People Who Will Loot, Pillage and Kill You For Your Food

Interesting Energy Stories in the News Jan 27

UPDATE 1-Saudi Aramco to renegotiate some contracts on low oil price -CEO
US Oil Rig Numbers Plunge, Especially In Bakke
UPDATE 1-U.S. regulators should study oil slump -CFTC official
UAE economy minister expects oil to start recovering by mid-year
Qatar may build 2nd LNG terminal in Italy
ANALYSIS: Brazil LNG trade strategy shifts toward contract buying
Ukraine increases gas imports from Hungary to 3.7 mcm a day, from Jan 24
Botswana Coal Companies See Output Without New Rail Line
Chinese coal industry freezes over - CNCA
Payback for joint statement? China objects to India inclusion in Nuclear Suppliers Group
Kazakhstan mulls construction of two nuclear plants
Iran nuclear deal unlikely by March as significant gaps remain, official says
Taiwan solar cell makers set to lose US market
India wins Obama backing for $160 billion solar push
China Dominates the World of Wind, but the U.S. Wind Energy Market Rebounds
Gas, Still Not as Cheap as It Used to Be

Interesting Precious Metals Stories in the News Jan 27

Jan 27 Silver Stocks Will Rule In 2015  Stewart Thomson 321gold   
Jan 27 What would an emerging markets crisis mean for the U.S. dollar and gold?  Arkadiusz Sieron 321gold   
Jan 27 Davos Elites Enjoys the Global Depression  BATR   
Jan 27 The Visual Story Of The Biggest Fraud In Gold Mining History  ZeroHedge   
Jan 27 When This Ends, Everybody Gets Hurt  PP   
Jan 27 Miraculins Announces Retail Pharmacy Pilot for Its Scout DS(R) Non-Invasive Diabetes Screening Technology  MW   
Jan 27 Great Panther [web] Intersects 13.82 Metres Assaying 4.99g/t Gold and 194g/t Silver in San Ignacio Mine  GPR   
Jan 27 The Four Musketeers Discuss Miraculins  Kereport   
Jan 27 Currency Wars: Is Surrender an Option?  MDN   
Jan 27 The Unraveling of the US Middle Class Is Monetary and Corporate  TDB   
Jan 27 IDF Military Intelligence Blatantly Lies About Targeted Assassination of Iranian General  RS   
Jan 27 Thomas Cromwell was the Islamic State of His Day  Telegraph   

Monday, January 26, 2015

Interesting Headlines in the News January 26, 2015

Goldseek Radio Interviews Chris Martenson.
The global economy has degenerated into one massive currency war.
Oil Crash Needs A Villain But The Story Is More Complex Than That
27 Facts About The Middle Class In America After 6 Years With Obama In Office
U.S. Retail Sector Begins Massive Collapse
a video
Nanny State Billboards…Cuz the Government Is Your Mommy!
400 TSA agents have been arrested for theft of passenger items while not one terrorist has been caught.
Why Google made the NSA
Panic-buyers flood grocery stores and commuters are begged to stay home ahead of ‘historic’ blizzard that threatens to drop THREE FEET of snow on New York City and up to 57 million on East Coast
Greek election adds economic uncertainty across Europe
Japan Exports Jump More Than Forecast, Paring Record Deficit
Oil-and-Gas Default Wave, “Outright Liquidations” Next
Obama's Plan Only Helps 529 Plan Families Who Utilize Two Free Years of Community College
No, the U.S. economy isn’t about to fall into recession
JP Morgan adds gold for Natural Resources fund
Highlights from World Economic Forum in Davos
Catherine Austin Fitts-2015 Forecast Volatile & Violent
IS claims it executed Japanese hostage
UK economic recovery running out of steam, forecasters say
McDonald’s CEO Pleads for Time to Turn Things Around
The Ghost of Debts Past: Americans Face the Reality of Wage Garnishment
Super Bowl ads set another record
Peter Thiel Explains What Backs the U.S. Dollar
Why Can't Unions Keep Up With the Economy?
U.S. gas prices at April 2009 low, bottom in sight
Coming soon: A “Made in USA” Republic Day parade in India
Dating Site Hacked for 20 Million User Names
SkyMall falls victim to digital age
ECB’s escalating clashes with Germany
New economic term is old economic idea
At Davos, rising income inequality worries some billionaires too
1,000 paratroopers from 82nd Airborne headed to Iraq this week
USDollar/USDX Index
Video: Americans Want Obama To Repeal The Bill Of Rights: “Let’s Do It, Let’s Get Behind It”

Interesting Energy Stories in the News Jan 26

Global Oil Prices Continue to Drop as Saudi Arabia Maintains Production
Obama wants Arctic refuge off-limits to oil drillers
UPDATE 1-Libya producing 363,000 bpd of oil -rival minister
Africa's Second Biggest Oil Producer Has Resorted To Painful Austerity Measures
The South China Sea: Oil On Troubled Waters
Traders Delaying Russian Gas Imports Tap Declining EU Storages
Japan's 2014 LNG imports rise 1.2% to record high
Egypt awards $2.2bn LNG tender to 4 foreign firms-state gas board
Energy-hungry India doubles down on coal
Anglo plan to sell coal assets in Australia
Nuclear energy public forums to be held in northern emirates
India, US reach nuclear deal; Obama uses executive powers to waive intrusive checks
Exelon Corporation: Nuclear Power Isn't Going Anywhere
US, China firms plan solar manufacturing plants in India
Bangladesh to Establish World's 'First Solar Energy Nation'
Steep Drop in U.S. Gasoline Prices Diminishing, Lundberg Says

Shovelling POO!

Ok, for most people they use a figure of speech that they are shoveling POO... Some use a different term for POO, but you get the idea.  Well to most it has a very negative meaning...

But that is exactly what I was doing this morning... Filling and dressing garden beds with manure I loaded up yesterday.  Half of my beds are still frozen and full of snow and ice, but the other half that is exposed to the sun are already clear and I was able to begin filling and dressing the beds with manure.  This i really aged horse manure so it is pretty good stuff.  I am piling it on about 6 inches deep in my existing beds that already had a good layer of soil in them that I grew in last year.  However I had one bed I built last year that I didn't get done until late in the growing season so I didn't get anything planted in there.  So I am putting cardboard down in the bottom of that bed and then putting 8-10" deep manure in there.  I have some rock dust that I will be putting in there for a boost in minerals to get it started.   Next I will by laying about 6-8 inches of wood chips over the top of that and will be trying some of the Back to Eden Garden ideas with heavy wood chip mulches this year and we are going to see how long we can go between watering the garden or if I have to water at all.  Paul from the Back to Eden documentary lives in a place that gets 16 inches of rain a year and he doesn't water.   Only watering is during the first week he puts seeds in the ground then once they have germinated he stops watering. 

Now Paul has something that I don't.  He has garden beds that have been worked like this for many years and each year you work the soil like this the better it gets.  So I don't expect right out of the gate this year to get the fantastic results he is getting, but I at least now have an idea that growing food can be done in the semi-arid high plains desert.  We get approximately the same amount of moisture that Paul does here at my urban homestead.  I have been spending a lot of time and money on water and drip irrigation systems.  If this works like Paul's works then it might be possible that I won't have to water and that would be a huge savings in water costs and irrigation costs.  It is one of the biggest irritations for the garden is the ongoing maintenance of the drip irrigation system.  The plastic connectors and heads break or stop functioning.  You then have to make repairs and try to keep an eye on your plants for signs they are not getting the water and go investigate what is happening.  

The goal this year is to get my rainwater catchment tank up and use the rain water to water once a week if needed from the water we have captured.  And again if it doesn't need it I am not going to water them.  I have most of my garden beds dug down into the ground on the side of a hill to catch any rainwater runoff from the land and I have tried to redirect rain gutters to send the water where I want it when we get it.  All of that combined with the deep manure and wood chip mulch should make a big difference in how my garden grows this year.  I am excited to see how it goes. 

I also have some raised beds as well and I will be taking some of the dirt out of those beds to make room for the deep woodchip mulch that I will be applying there also.  I am not sure they are going to work as well as building beds on the ground.  So I will see how it goes this year and if I think the on the ground beds are doing better than the raised beds I will consider converting these beds to on the ground beds so that I can work with the material better.  So the jury is out on how well that is going to work given how deep I need to mulch. 

So while most people would definitely not be looking forward to shoveling poo... I very much was and am... I found a family with horses close by that was looking for a place to get rid of their horse manure.  So they are happy to give it away, but I have to go and load it and bring it back myself.  It takes a couple of hours with a shovel to load up a pickup truck with manure and it is a lot of work.  But when you get to put it out in the garden beds like I did this morning it looks great and it really gets you excited about what is going to come from all of this. 

Each year you garden you learn a lot.  Ways to do things better, more efficiently, what grows well, what doesn't.  You have pests show up, and make a meal out of your garden.  You have challenges with weather, and learning how things really work.  It takes time, patience, hard work, and a willingness to learn.  I hope your gardening now.  Anyone who thinks they are going to just pull some seeds out of their "emergency seed bank" and have an instant garden and supermarket really are fooling themselves.  They are going to be some seriously HUNGRY PILGRIMS!  Don't be a hungry Pilgrim, begin planning your garden now.

No tilling needed, no turning the soil is required.  Get yourself some newspaper or cardboard, some manure(look around on Craigslist or look for anyone with large animals and ask them about manure), and look around for a source of wood chips.  You will also need a source of fertilizer.  Paul in his video has chickens.  I don't want to setup chickens in our urban homestead when I plan to move and really don't want to try and move the birds.  So my alternative for soil manufacturing is going to be worms.   Vermicomposting is basically building a worm farm and feed them your table scraps, garden waste, yard waste and turn it into incredible soil to feed your plants.  So moving worms is doable from here to our off grid place so I will be setting up a worm farm very soon.  We also compost in bins as well, but we really don't have the space we want for that so by having the worms compost some of our waste immediately we don't have to wait for the compost bins to produce the soil we need in our beds.  So we are expanding our composting operations here out of need for more space.  I will post more about these projects soon as I am on a dead run to get all of it going as fast as I can to make this growing season the best one yet. 

I hope your having a great day and are thinking about, and working on your preps.  Don't overlook taking some time to pray about this also.  Meditate and take this to God.  He has provided great abundance all around us if we will just look and are willing to be his hands and feet.  As we act we see creation happen right in front of our eyes!

Have an awesome day, and God Bless,

Interesting Precious Metals Stories in the News Jan 26

Jan 26 No Blood, No Fasting, No Waiting  Bob Moriarty 321gold   
Jan 26 When the Dollar Crashes  Bob Moriarty 321gold   
Jan 26 BBBBB This past week in gold  Jack Chan 321gold   
Jan 26 Jim Wyckoff: Gold Has Hit Bottom, New All-Time Highs On Horizon  HAI   
Jan 26 Gold's First Big Test In 2015  Demeadville   
Jan 26 Is Q-ECB a Favorable Development?  HussmanFunds   
Jan 26 Investor implications of QE by the ECB  MERK   
Jan 26 American Liar  Slate   
Jan 26 Doomsday Clock reads 11.57: Atomic scientists move minute hand two minutes forward - and say we are at closest point to disaster in decade  DailyMail   

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fools gold - why you should NOT invest in gold, silver, and precious metals

Ok, I am sure I am going to catch some heat over the title of this post, but I think the facts speak for themselves.   If I catch a lot of heat it will be from those who have probably invested heavily in the precious metals markets thinking they would be covered in the present economic collapse.  Let me just state that I too was once a believer in precious metals.  Gold and silver investments, a gold standard and gold is money.  But I have since learned some lessons from history, and I have watched over the last few years at what has happened to the gold and silver markets. 

Anyone who has been reading and watching the gold and silver markets and the soap opera that has been unfolding over allegations of market manipulation, market control, and criminal banking and regulators should know by now that the fox is watching the chicken coop.   The banks OWN the metals markets, they have regulated themselves PAPER precious metals, and built in massive leverage mechanisms to push the price higher or lower on a whim.  People have come forward and admitted they were doing this for the banks as people directly involved with the operations.  What happened?  They were ignored, and worse yet very bad things happened to the whistle blowers and their families.  Moral of the story is this.  The Money Masters have figured out how to make fiat gold and silver.  They have found a way to OWN the regulators, and they have the ability to manipulate the metals markets without recourse.  So own metals at your own risk.  If you do decide to buy some metals then take possession and I would not make them a primary holding.   Hold only a small amount for emergencies.

What to do then?  We have to build our own barter and currency.  Own tangible things that will produce food, shelter, water, and a means of trade in the future.  Land with the intention of working it, not speculative investment is wise.  I would take a large pile of manure, wood chips, and some heirloom seeds long before I would accept precious metals.  A good workable piece of land of course would be nice first.  Livestock and building materials are far more important than wasting our time messing with investments that are owned and controlled by the very people who are responsible for the global economic mess.

The metals market is just too small, and the central banks have too much funny money to play games with the metals markets.  I am seeing similar things happening to alternatives like the electronic currency called Bitcoin.  Let's face it, the money system is their primary method of control.   As long as we are force to exchange our labor and lives for their money we are going to be enslaved.

If you have already gotten all your preps ready, have your property bought, and have your systems and everything setup then that is fantastic.  Your way ahead of most of us.  Then maybe investments in other areas might make sense.  Frankly I personally would still steer clear of the metals markets unless your talking about lead... Lead is a pretty valuable precious metal after all!

I personally have divested what metals I had and put it into buying our property and getting the ball rolling.  It has been a long time coming, but I don't feel bad about it.  I wish I had known more about the nature of this beast and maybe my focus would have been different.  As long as we are going to play in the devil's playground you gotta expect to get FORKED!

For this very reason I am now completely against the idea of a gold standard.  As long as the money master own the metals markets they can crash or boom the economy at will.  It would give them the same ability they have today.  I have decided the method imployed by Lincoln and Franklin to issue or own currency makes more sense.  To just pay off the debt, go to a full reserve banking system, and then we control the issue of our own money.  If we ban issue a bond for a debt then we can just issue the money into circulation directly.  No central bank needed, no borrowing needed.  The apportion the issuance of the currency based on the population growth, and in times of war allow for emergency provisions to issue more currency as needed.  Put the control of the money system back in the hands of the people with NO DEBT attached.  Until that happens we are slaves to the all mighty dollar with a debt based system that can never be repaid.

We will have to begin to issue our own method of exchanging services and goods in our local communities where we do not rely on the Federal Reserve Notes(FRN).  Once we can convince others to come along and join use our communities can begin to thrive again as there isn't this vampire of debt that is sucking the blood out of the system.  I hope you will join me this new way of thinking and doing things.   Avoid the dollar system, and the precious metals system.  The sooner we do this the sooner we will be free.

Here are some clips from a good documentary that was on PBS called "Fixing the Future".  I personally would love to see the concept of "Time Banking" catch on everywhere.  Here are some links to clips from the documentary.   Looks like the full documentary is no longer online that I can find.  :-(

Fixing the Future Trailer:

Fixing the Future Clips:
Fixing the Future: Time Banking
Fixing the Future: Different Types of Co-ops
Fixing the Future: A relationship Economy
Fixing the Future: Yo Mama's Catering
Fixing the Future: Economic Indicators
Fixing the Future: Federal Reserve

I hope you had a wonderful weekend....  I have just enjoyed a nice Sabbath, did some studying for work, and went and got a load of manure for the garden.  Overall a very productive weekend.  I hope your weekend has been equally as productive. 

God Bless,

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Off-grid refrigeration - chest freezer as a fridge

Today's topic is off-grid refrigeration.  Honestly this is a lot more complex topic than I expected it to be.  Most people really don't know what consumes energy in their homes, or how much.  Only by reading, doing an energy audit with a kill-a-watt meter, and doing some simple math do we start to figure out that our refrigerators eat a large portion of our household electricity. I speak for myself included that when I started into all of this I didn't know how much or where my energy was being consumed.  Over time I figured it out and it helped me to get a handle on my power use and it cut the bill a lot, but I wasn't ready to take the real leap and prepare to go off grid. Now this gets serious! :-D

Now before running off and doing anything I first started by asking myself some basic questions. For example can I live without a refrigerator?  How did they do this back in the pioneer days?  What would the cost be to try and produce the electricity to feed this thing we call a refrigerator?  Is it worth the cost and complications to accommodate this? 

Well the mental exercises began and the research project was under way.  I went back and forth looking at the options.  Power requirements, cost, conservation ideas, and comparison to old world technologies such as a root cellar.

Back in the old days we would have worked with a root cellar, or an old dry well, or some other way to go under ground, insulate with straw, hay, and preserve winter squash, root vegetables, and some fruits like apples, cabbages etc.  We would have packed a root cellar with canned goods and would have been living off of the things we saved from that years harvest through the winter.  This is a great idea, but there are a few complications.  First I don't currently live near or on my off-grid homestead.  Second I have hired contractors to come out to the property to do work and they didn't do it right, wasted my time, money, and I ended up just having to redo things.  So when I started calculating cost for excavation, and construction of a root cellar at this time and having someone else do it for me I realized we are talking 2000-3000 bucks.  And this still only addresses longer term storage and not really day to day use. However it could be made to work.  The cost factor and the fact I cannot be there to supervise the construction really makes this move a non-starter at this point in time.  However I will be planning on doing this as soon as we get more pressing issues solved on the property like water, and a stove for heating, cooking, and sanitizing water.  So lots and lots of projects in line before I get to the root cellar.

Next point that comes to mind is that while I am still living in an urban environment I would like to transition to a very low energy footprint just as if we were living off grid on our property.  So we began changing things here at the house as we work to get our consumption down to a target I think we can meet with solar and wind power.   We have a lot of work to do to get there, but one of those things we could do is to conserve and the largest consumer is a refrigerator.  So if we really want to shoot for an off grid lifestyle it is time to make changes today.  We started shutting things off, putting them on power strips and turning them off.  We moved from our electric stove to a portable propane cooktop.  We looked for any way to reduce what we use.  We still have a ways to go like changing behaviors like the dishwasher, and using a the clothes dryer.  I have a clothes line, but getting everyone on board with using it takes some coaxing and work. So we still have lots of room for improvement.  I am looking forward to seeing the progress so far on the next bill.  Conservation is key... The cost to produce the amount of power we use would be insane if we were to build a solar and wind system to address our current energy use.  So the only real answer is to conserve.

Back to Refrigeration:
So we started looking at the lowest power consuming refrigeration units on the market.  Looking at solar and propane specific units.  Looking at the consumption figures.  We looked at and looked at the most efficient models available and weighed the costs.  All of them still seemed to use more power than I was prepared to produce.  Then my searches stumbled upon some folks talking about an off grid solution by converting a chest deep freezer to a refrigerator.  I started digging and watching the videos.

Basically the concept is sound. The chest freezer is highly insulated.  When the door is opened the cold air does not escape and tumble out of the fridge out onto the floor.  No wasted energy and very efficient.  Next the idea is to put a external thermostat on the freezer to control the temperature.  You set the temp you want and the thermostat power cycles the freezer on and off to keep it within a range of temps you set.  They make these thermostats and many people who apparently like beer a great deal are converting these old freezers into what they call a kegoratror or some variation of that...  You get the idea.  Well I found a few people who have done this for off-grid applications also.  They reported a great reduction in power consumption on their power system once they made this conversion.   The concept works.  Power consumption reduced greatly and refrigeration needs still met. 

The downsides?  Well crawling around inside of a chest freezer is a pain in the behind to put it mildly.  A system of organization would be needed to use this as a fridge.   Maybe some plastic bins and baskets so that the items can be arranged and accessed more easily and managed.  Secondly I see that some people reported that the more your in and out of the fridge that condensation becomes an issue.  So they felt it was needed to raise things up off the bottom of the conversion fridge, and to wipe down the walls when your in there.  There is a drain plug at the bottom of most chest freezers so it shouldn't be too difficult to manage moisture, but that may depend on your location, amount of humidity in the air and how often your in and out of the fridge. 

Overall it looks like a good idea and fit even with the compromises.  So instead of looking for an old deep freeze to re-purpose I wanted to go with the most efficient model I could find.  Chest freezers are not that expensive to begin with unlike a full blown fridge/freezer combo.  I was looking for something small as we don't need a large capacity fridge.   We already have a small chest freezer that we can continue to use as a freezer and will use the new conversion fridge as a fridge only.  So I hit up and found the most efficient model that was in the 7cf-8cf size range.  I settled on a 8.1cf unit that uses 189 kilowatts a year when functioning as a freezer.   Of course when we put it on a thermostat and run it like a fridge I fully expect that power consumption to be at least half of that. 

So I found the freezer online and placed my order.  I get a call a week later to tell me that they were shipping our freezer but found it was damaged.  They didn't have another one in stock.   They offered to give me a big price break on another freezer if I would accept the replacement.  I told them I had specifically chosen this model due to the power consumption figures and I will be using it for an off-grid application.  They understood and told me that the new unit will be arriving by the end of the month and they will be shipping it to me as soon as they have one.

So now we wait.  I will be posting the data comparing my existing fridge with the new one when it arrives to see the differences in the consumption figures.   Hopefully this will knock a nice chunk out of our monthly kilowatt usage figures and get us much closer to where we need to be.  We will post our data so you can see for yourself and maybe this will help you decide how you want to address your own energy consumption and your refrigeration needs.

The model we chose is:
DCF081A1WDD    Danby White 8.1 Cubic Foot Chest Freezer

For a thermostat there are several options to choose from.  There are some cheap Chinese imports that frankly I just didn't want to mess with all the conversion stuff that I saw other people doing.  By the time I added up a project box, wire, shrink wrap, outlet, and thermostat you almost have as much into it as buying one prebuilt like the Johnson Controls one that I found.  You have two Johnson Controls models to choose from that I found.  I went that route for the controller.  Simple, plug it in and go.  No messing around.  Of course if you have the time and want to play then by all means get the inexpensive one and build it.  I hear they work fine.   

The two ready made options are:
Johnson Controls Digital Thermostat
Johnson Controls Analog Thermostat

If your considering your refrigeration needs and trying to figure out how to make it work a chest freezer with a thermostat might just be just what your looking for.  Personally I will feel a lot better when we are on our property full time and a root cellar becomes a viable option, but until then we are improvising solutions that hopefully will have long term payoff.  Trying to provide power from solar or wind to any conventional fridge just wasn't an option and many of the other solutions I have seen offered really didn't add up to a solution that would work for us.  Always look for people to provide actual data for how many watts their fridge is consuming.  Too many folks just didn't provide enough data and worse yet you follow up later on with them and you see them replacing what they previously recommended because the power consumption was still too high.  Many of the 12v DC powered options out there either draw way too much power or they are insanely expensive.   The solar specific fridge market is also just way over priced for what your getting.  So I think by buying a very efficient conventional deep freezer and using this controller we can get most of the benefits of these very high dollar solutions at a small fraction of the cost.  I will keep you posted and post the data on the before and after.

I hope you found this helpful.

Take care and God Bless,