What I kept seeing was that folks

What I kept seeing was that folks were either saying they had no experience with gold of any kind, or were investing only in gold bullion which is only one form of gold (and the most expensive in terms of buy-in levels). Also the clunkiest, as Sharon has pointed out, in terms of converting it to currency. What I was talking about, and no one else here has yet mentioned they have any experience with it, was gold coin. It’s a lot easier to work with, a lot easier to buy, a lot easier to trade, and a very potent investment vehicle for small scale investing. That’s why I was going to such lengths about how it works. Is it the be-all, end-all of investing? Of course not, no one investment would be. But is it given due consideration as an attractive option, in comparison with the other forms of investment typically traded by individuals? Realistically, I think it’s usually overlooked. Which again is why I made such a point to show its strengths and weaknesses. I could say the same about silver coin; a good “starter” precious metal, holds value, easy to work with, no federal meddling, etc. Stela, as to how to convert your bullion into currency, the short answer is I’m not sure if you can “trade it in” for gold coin. We’ve never worked with gold bullion so I have no idea – that was too rich for our blood at the time. And yes, you have to have a trading partner who can handle gold bullion. That list is relatively short. Honestly I’m not sure I’d ever mess with gold bullion for exactly the reasons you mention. It would require some shuffling to translate that bullion into dollars (or whatever other currency) in your hand. That’s not its strength. Its strength is its longevity compared to paper assets which come and go a lot more easily. The “midpoint” between the ultra-convenient paper assets, and the clunky brick long-term value of gold bullion, is the gold coin I keep harping about.

OK, this has gone quite a bit further than I expected or wanted. Gold and silver are a part of our investment plans, in the form of coin, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned. They aren’t the only thing we plan to invest in, nor even the centerpiece. But they can play a unique roll in anyone’s investment plan who cares to include them. That’s all I was trying to get across.

OK, don’t want to get into arguments

so this will be it for me on this topic. The price of gold did drop 2% over the course of calendar year 2012. It is usually not a short turnaround investment. But in the past five years, it’s increased in value by 85%. None of my savings accounts have had returns at that rate, and stock performance may or may not have matched that. My house and property certainly didn’t appreciate that much in the last five years, nor did any of our other durable goods/assets. And looking over the 10 year, 50 year and 100 year history of gold prices in this country, it has steadily climbed, sometimes by a lot. So it can at least compete with other forms of investing. I’ve been trying to find a chart that would allow me to compare the DJIA side by side with gold and silver, to see how they each performed over longer periods of time. All three have steadily improved in value over time, with individual bobbles here and there of course, and at different rates. Haven’t found a chart yet that allows me to compare all three side by side, but here’s a nice chart for gold that goes back up to 60 years.
Haven’t found one yet for DJIA that goes back in those increments. All of them either go back only 5 years, or go back to the beginning of the industrial average. That leaves out a whole lot of good comparable info. I’ll keep looking.

In times of extreme economic collapse, this is the part I’m not understanding…

thus why I say its a nice collection to have, just not currency.I understand and agree with you on the fact that we’ve not had such a disaster where our currency has died (unless you count the confederacy), but those people (such as myself) who have gold, how do I convert it into a medium which will garner currency in such an economic upheaval? I’d much rather have food, supplies and such. Not living with my head buried in sand, but just speaking as a person who understands the currency value of gold, just can’t translate that in an economic upheaval.I’m just trying to understand gold as currency in such a time. The logistics of conversion.

Each to their own

and one person’s comfort is another person’s discomfort. But like I said earlier, the original post was concerned that we as a nation are at least possibly about to head into economic upheaval the likes of which we’ve not seen in living memory. I think that is a reasonable concern. But as such, we can’t look at what we comfortably do now, to be a gauge for what we’d want or need to do when things are turned upside down. Looking through what other societies have done in those instances, gold/silver has been a recurring successful strategy. No more, no less. And happily, if someone did make such preparations but that severe circumstance never occurred, they’d still be able to sell the gold/silver later, and almost certainly not at a loss. That’s a nice reassurance.

In other words I don’t count my gold bar as wealth

just as collectable value. Insured yes, but as a means to say it is the way I’m willing to do business in the future, no. I wouldn’t even call it an investment, just simply a collection.
Trackable – I don’t put anything past the feds. They know I’m in possession, as of today I can sell back to them, but I wouldn’t deal with a person to person interaction in exchange of a collector’s item or currency. I can’t see buying my currency off e-bay.

Those are traded on the open market with no federal reporting

Since you’re trading dollars for gold or silver, it’s not counted as income per se. And since you don’t store it in the bank, it’s not counted (or taxed) as deposits. It increases in value every year, but that increase in value isn’t reported and isn’t taxed. It is a durable asset that is reportable to no one. If you buy through a gold dealer, they may have reporting requirements as part of their business, and I don’t know if they report names/addresses. But transactions between collectors are handled as any other private transaction of an antique or collectible item – you bought a goody and that’s that. You can stack them up in a corner all day long and no one will ever be the wiser. Not even the post office knows how much gold/silver is changing hands and being shipped on a day to day basis. That’s part of the appeal of gold/silver for folks who greatly resent federal intrusion into how much wealth they have.

That’s gold bullion

which is only one form of gold. And frankly, not really the form of gold that common folk would ever have. But owning gold coin has never been illegal. Even if it was, I’d like to see them enforce it. It’s the day-to-day trading value of gold coin that keeps that form of currency alive even in modern developed nations regardless of who is in power at any given time.
There are a lot of pro’s and con’s, as I’ve listed and as other folks have pointed out. But I take history to be my teacher on this one. The USA is a very young country, and has not had the upheavals that other societies and cultures have had. Those societies have repeatedly either gone to, or gone BACK to, the gold/silver standard whenever their own currency stumbled badly. It has happened on every continent where human civilization has existed, repeatedly, for 6000 years. That sort of track record counts for something which I doubt has changed in the last 200 years, even if our nation has not itself ever experienced those types of events. If the USA has a big weak spot, it’s that we as a society haven’t gone through a serious national crisis as have many (most?) other nations. We’re like the teenager who’s had a driver’s license for 18 months, and hasn’t seen any serious accidents or had any close calls, so can’t imagine it’ll ever actually happen to us. But looking to other societies and how they handled long-term economic upheaval, and that gold/silver standard shows up every single time. Hard to argue with that.

One other draw back

I forgot to list earlier. When times have gotten rough in the past the US government has declared it illegal to own gold bullion (from 1933 to 1974 it was illegal for U.S. citizens to own gold in the form of gold bullion, without a special license) and took it from everyone that did not have that license. If they did it once, there is nothing to keep them from doing it again. They might change the currency, they’ve done that more than once, but they have always done a replacement for the old currency with the new currency.

I’ll point out that

no one living in current US society, has ever experienced here the kind of economic upheaval which triggered a reversion to the gold/silver standards that historically have occurred. Katrina was a blip on the radar compared to the types of events I’m talking about. But talk to folks who lived through things like the collapse of the Soviet Union, the modern collapse of some South American countries such as Argentina, or even survivors of the London blitz, and you’ll hear different stories about what has value. Our nation has sustained some short-term, regional catastrophes like Katrina, which caused weeks-long or months-long disturbance in that particular area. But the country as a whole wasn’t in that crisis. However, the US has experienced a few national-scale emergencies, but almost out of the reach now of living memory. The closest thing that anyone in this country would have seen as part of our national history, was the Civil War/Reconstruction era. The Great Depression was a runner-up, but even there our currency lost value but didn’t actually start to fail. Since the original thread was “what do we do if our economy ever actually fails”, let’s compare apples to apples. Other countries whose economies have actually failed, or whose currency actually failed, did revert in almost every instance to some form of gold/silver trade while some kind of new currency was created. Those are the types of events that I’m talking about.

I just spotted a typo in my ramblings

Silver is not 1/10 the value of gold, but very roughly 1/100 the value of gold. A lot of variation in that over time, so it’s not written in stone. For instance silver is trading this morning at roughly $30/troy ounce, while gold is trading at roughly $1500/troy ounce. So it’s closer to 1/50 rather than 1/100 today. But historically, silver has been roughly 1/100 the value of gold, and that value is across cultural boundaries. So as gold and silver have been used as currency, most civilizations seem to inherently recognize those different levels of trading value. Not significant for day to day investment strategies, but more of a “hmm, that’s interesting” commentary on what the human species has found valuable over the passage of history. That’s what keeps me coming back to gold/silver. I can go to any country on the planet, at any point in time, hold out gold and silver, and whoever I’m talking to will instantly recognize is as valuable. Can’t do that with any other form of currency I’ve ever read of.

It’s a little late to start tomatoes from seeds

They take a L-O-N-G time to go from germination to fruit. We usually start our tomato seeds in a greenhouse around the first of March in order to have them ready to transplant to the outdoors by the 15th of May. Given that’s only a month away, you may do better to wait until about then, and start off with transplants where the tomato plant is already a strong 12″ – 24″ tall, and ready to go in the ground. Find out your area’s last frost date, then figure you’ll plant around then with a living tomato plant that already has a good start. Also be prepared to over it, in case you get some frosty nights after that. That’ll get you well on your way to having tomatoes this summer.

Never really checked..

to big for me to smell the flowers and because of allergies, never thought to check–it’s just pretty. we had it in the middle of a front bed and decided to move it to the back yard this year. guess I’ll check in a few months and get back to you.

Flowering type of tree…also called fragipani

Mostly found in tropics, but can be grown other places in pots. We are too far north to grow it in the ground, so we have it in a pot and move it inside when the outdoor temp get to 50 or so at night. we just moved it outside 2 weeks ago, but it is next to the house, still fairly dormant right now.

When Emmie gave it to me it was 8″ tall, she told me just sunlight and water was all it needed–grew to be about 24″. The following year, DH added fertilizer and it is now almost 10′ and had the seed pod.

If this works and I have one ready, you can pick it up when you do your WDW trip–just a little detour to Jacksonville.

You know that is NOT true!

You are copping out, here! We live in an agriculturally rich state, you goof! Plus, I know where you live. I was in your neck of the woods for close to a week, two weeks ago. The weather is nice down there (in comparison to what we’ve got going up here). There were robins all over the place! You have a real Spring! You could at the very least plant a couple of tomato and pepper plants. Go to Home Depot and pick them up and pop them in the ground. Unsecured personal loans for bad credit from withnocollateral.com service. A couple of geraniums in pots are no brainers, plus they look nice by your front door, I’m certain. You just need to start, but don’t tell me we can’t grow anything here!

A few helpful hints with tomatoes:

1) the heirloom and full-sized varieties (such as paste tomatoes, Brandywine, Beefsteak, Early Girl and the like) need 9+ hours of full, STRONG sunlight to provide a goodly amount of fruit. If you don’t have that much sunlight to work with (for instance, if you only have a porch, patio or deck and it is partly shaded), then a cherry tomato works really well for those situations. Up here with our long days but sun relatively low in the sky, we get that question all the time.

2) Also, if you’re in the northern tier of states (like Eldred), the Early Girl, Stupice, Glacier and other early-type varieties will do better because they don’t need as much growing season, and they don’t need as much heat during the growing season.

3) if you’re concerned that your little tomato will dry out during the heat of summer, you can bury most of the stalk/vine in the ground, leaving only the few youngest branches of leaves aboveground. The entire length of stem/vine will sprout roots, and all those extra roots will help pull in more moisture.

4) Also with irrigation, water deeply 1-2 times a week, at night, rather than watering every day. When you water deeply 1-2 times a week, during the cool of the evening, that sends a lot of water down deep into the ground. The roots “chase” that water, going deeper than they would otherwise. When you water just a little, every day, that actually encourages the roots to not go as deep, so the plant is more prone to drying out during extended hot weather. If you plant tomatoes early enough in the season, with as much stem/vine in the ground as possible, and water deeply right from the start, plus put some mulch on the soil surface, you can make those tomatoes almost drought-proof.

You are definitely ahead of me

So far I have the grape twigs. Of course the garlic and sage are growing. I bet the asparagus is too, but the geese love asparagus and since they are still sleeping in the garden I think they are having a nice little snack every day. LOL!
We were hoping to finish the can rotators today and then move the geese tomorrow. But dh just came in with a MINOR boo-boo, a board kicked back on him on the table saw and there was a whole lot of blood for a very tiny cut. He doesn’t do well with blood, so I’ve got him “resting” now. So things might be in a slower gear the rest of the weekend. Basically it split the nail on his pinky so it’s going to be major sore I’m sure. At least it was the push board that hit it and not the blade!
What is your best gardening advice on parsley? I seem to have dismal luck with it.

My DH just moved the little seedlings into the yard

we have dill, parsley, banana peppers and pablano peppers done today. He did basil last week. We always have 2 types of chives, thyme and rosemary all year round. We stopped trying for the ‘maters because it just was too much work and not much to show for it.
I’m guessing he’ll have the other peppers ready in the next week or so…everyone needs a pepper plantation.

Ahem, Chief Stormcloud

some of my most favorite market veggie grower colleagues are in MI, in both the lower and upper halves of the state. It’s not only possible, but it can even be profitable, if you want it to be! And no, you don’t need 40acres and a John Deere tractor to succeed with it. But an attitude change would be a good first start!

PS – if anyone else claims that they can’t have a garden because they’re too far north, I have some very successful gardening friends in Alaska who can prove otherwise. C’mon, folks, let’s talk about ways we can succeed, rather than reasons why we’re gonna fail before we even try. I’m sorta picking on Eldred at the moment (because he’s such a willing volunteer for such things!). But a lot of folks can have very good gardens, if they merely a) decide they want to and b) put in even a medium amount of “git ‘er done”. This isn’t rocket science, but some assembly required. Like most of the rest of life.

Our main farm products are meats – pork, chicken, eggs, pet food, etc

But we do have a relatively small garden area (a few thousand square feet, which really isn’t much for a farm). Without any attention from us over the winter, our rhubarb, comfrey and strawberries are already coming on strong. One of my bulk buy groups recently posted a call for rhubarb. Um, hey, we have that! So we are moving forward with doing some rhubarb sales, and now I’m thinking to go ahead and plant our smallish garden area with a mix of other veggies. Not because we eat ’em, but because now we’re plugged into a network of buyers who want fresh-n-local, even if it’s in small quantities. It won’t pay the mortgage, but it will likely be enough to pay stuff like filling the gas tank. So, one more little income stream for the farm, without a heckuva lot more effort! Yay!

Why don’t you wanna?

How about making it a family project? Let the kids help pick out what to plant and include fun things for them to grow. Like giant pumpkins for Halloween, a sunflower tipi.
Let each one have a space to grow their own private crop like Sugar Baby watermelons, or Casper the Friendly Ghost (white) pumpkins. Think about square foot gardening and give each one their own square. Let the kids “decorate” the garden with home made whirli gigs, spinners, painted rocks etc.
I know you love pizza, so who would do good at planting a large flower pot of pizza toppings? Oregano, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
Or since you have been landscaping, how about challenging yourself to make the garden as artistic and beautiful as possible?

Nope nothing

The soil was an organic mix a la Lasagna Gardening soil, but it had also been used for 2 seasons.. I just cut the end that went into the soil at an angle. Then buried the end over the first two “nubs” from the previous year’s growth. It took me less than 15 minutes to do about a dozen sticks. There are some very good videos from Guerney’s seeds on the care, and pruning of grapes.

I can’t believe it worked!

Now that the sun is finally out and I’m getting over the bug I’ve had I decided to walk around outside and size up the garden for spring this afternoon. I already knew the grapevines dh had pruned in February were leafing out about a week ago. I had been concerned for them since we’ve had below freezing temps this week. So when I saw all the lively growth still bright green and growing I was thrilled.
Then I remembered my “experiment”. When dh pruned the grapes I went out the next day and gathered up several of the trimmings. These I cut into 18-24 inch lengths with an angle cut on them. These I randomly stuck in large flower pots of soil and then watered them well. I’ve done nothing else to them since then. The weather did all the needed watering for me.
So I went over to the flower pots and was AMAZED to see EVERY single stick had leaves on it!! I can’t believe it worked! So now I’ve got a whole lot of grapes (seeded unfortunately) to plant. Hmmmm, now where to do it. This adventure will of course end up on my Mind Your Pennies Blog (can be reached from the link below) when I go to transplant them later on this spring. Stay tuned.