Burn me once … or learn from mistakes

Tue, Aug 19, 2014 - 9:13am

Back in those heady days of plus-forty silver, I used to tell myself that only I wish I had been enlightened just a few months earlier. My actual “date of enlightenment” was about September 15, 2010. Oh! I would have bought lots more silver at $18-24 per ounce in the Fall of 2010. As it was, I had just discovered metals and was picking and choosing, looking for sub-spot pricing, wondering if it really would go higher. Well it did. Then it went back down and I was frustrated—frustrated at those who illegally drove it down, frustrated at myself for not taking the “naysayers” seriously—these were regulars on the blog who warned us that a drop was approaching. I was frustrated at myself for not loading up my trading account and buying AGQ out of the money puts to hedge my stack. Frustration led to disgust, disgust led to a suspension of my buying, the suspension led to a place of hopelessness about learning to invest wisely. I got burned!

Well many of you know the old saying “Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me!”  So here we are with a chance to purchase $20 silver again while gold meanders around at $1300. And this time I am enlightened. But will I take the advice of the old saying, become cynical and refuse to keep adding to the stack at these once desired prices because I fear another big price drop to (gasp) $10 per ounce? Or will I learn from that mistake, buy more at these prices and learn how to hedge my stack most effectively if metals rise, as Turd predicts they will?

What WAS my mistake anyway? Buying more silver at $35-45, or neglecting to hedge?

I say it was neglecting to hedge for a downside attack. It was assuming that the “moonies” were right because it resonated with my greed. And I will not make that mistake again. This time around I will continue buying at these low prices, and if we do make a run above $26 per ounce, I’ll inquire among the pros on this blog (or Jim Commisky) about some sensible hedging techniques to lock in those gains.

If the paper markets fail, there is probably no need to hedge my metal. Who knows what happens then? But if markets stay intact in some form as this economy continues its inexorable slide into the pits of Keynesian hell, I should be able to purchase derivatives that will let me sleep at night ( /SI futures options, AGQ puts, ZSL calls). I’ll cross that bridge when we get over $26. Until then I am going to stack what I can as we pay down the mortgage, within an allotment formula that keeps the wife happy.

And so what is the proper response to $20 silver? Stack with both hands—well at least one…

In my other Keynesian-hell defense efforts, I have backslidden into sin. Namely, I am no longer properly prepped for economic collapse. It doesn’t matter that I am convinced the collapse will be slow. I need to keep my family prepped for a fast collapse as well, especially since it does not cost that much to have some basic necessities and alternative energy methods on hand. But I have failed. The Ferguson events are making me wonder what my city would look like if the large population of native Americans ever gets angry. They certainly have grounds to protest.

There is nothing like taking the family camping to determine if you are properly prepped for emergency living. Our family moved 13 months ago, and I thought we brought all those necessities with us. But the other day, as we loaded the truck with our camping gear, I was unable to find my 4 gallon supply of camp stove fuel, I was unable to find my good camp stove. The sleeping bags are missing and the tent is nowhere to be found. I can hardly believe that I “gave away” these necessities to friends as we realized that all our “stuff” would not fit in the moving van last year. If you had seen that moving van, you would have knelt down and prayed for those poor people. Someone should have told me to stand back when we opened it after the 1750 mile voyage. We did have some yard sales and I must have sold or gave away some things. But this new home is much smaller and it does not take long to check everywhere.

I did save one old Coleman camp stove. But when I tried it out, I could not get it to light—perhaps bad gas? Lots of rust in that thing—Ohio was humid and not kind to metal items. But either way, it will not cook. Glad I didn’t have three hungry family members waiting for hot beans looking over my shoulder. So we went to the store to purchase a new stove and some fuel. Ouch! $100 fiat for a new stove and $13 per gallon for camp fuel. No inflation though, says the BLS.

I had to choose between a gas stove and a propane stove. I was unsure of the pro’s and cons other than when you are out of propane, you are out. The gas stove might be able to use other fuels. I also expect propane may not be easy to find one day. This dilemma is sure making a wood rocket stove sound more secure.

So we set out to the campsite with our truck loaded with everything I thought we needed. Upon our arrival we started searching for other things missing from our “essential list.” Spoons and forks, dishes, cook ware. All those things were kept in my old camp-box which had gone missing. We had one saucepan for the beans, and fortunately my wife remembered to get a can opener.

But the bathroom is what finally sunk our ill-fated camping trip. My daughter’s friend, visiting from Ohio, came with us—indeed she was the reason we decided to go. I thought the bathroom was just fine—it really was clean as far as outhouse-style, campground bathrooms go. Not too many flies, the sewage at least 4 feet below the seat. But she went over to the bathroom three times in 30 minutes, then announced that she did not feel well and did not want to camp anymore. given that she was a visitor, we coddled her and returned home after dinner. (Upon arriving home, she went straight to the bathroom.)

And then I recalled that my sister worked for a river trip outfitter one year, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the rich tourists that would pay $2500 per head to spend eight days floating down the Colorado river. She refused to use the open -air portable toilets and would (wince) actually “hold it” for eight days until they got back to civilization. She worked on about 8 trips that summer! I suppose she mostly fasted from solid foods. But really, I gotta think more about how to provide clean and sanitary, bug free, bathroom facilities with my bug out preparations. Not to mention showers… perhaps this little tent is a worthile investment. And lemme tell you, the events in Ferguson Missouri are making me wonder what my neighborhood will look like if rioting begins.

As we drove back into the wilderness, I noticed that someone had an acre with two travel trailers parked there and permanently connected to a septic tank—probably homemade. It really was a nice little set up—inexpensive, civilized, remote, and portable. If I simply want a place to go to get my family out of town and away from “rioting in the hood” why do I need to buy five acres and build a house? An acre with a travel trailer can serve the purpose. Portable storage sheds can keep some dry supplies safe. Greenhouse tents would keep most critters out of our gardening efforts. Taxes would remain low with no permanent structures. Solar panels can be mounted on top of the travel trailer… You know, I am nearly convincing myself that such an arrangement would be workable on a low budget. Situated on the right land, it would provide living quarters while we build a permanent cabin, greenhouses, work barns and dig a pond for my stack.

Just checking the prepping supplies this morning—Gee, the wife sure prepped us with lots of deodorant. I wonder why we have so much? But anyway, rather than giving up, I’ll learn something from these mistakes and hedge our stack and our lives against whatever kind of collapse we may face.

About the Author


Aug 19, 2014 - 9:28am


That final pic above is of white Horse lake near Williams AZ. It is beautiful, but remote with harsh winter weather. The early settlers did not make it in this area and the native Americans just came and hunted, returning to warmer areas in the winter. I had to look on the internet to find an image where there was water. The western drought has affected this area as well. Many lakes are completely dry, this one had been reduced to about 1/3 of its full acreage, only about 6 feet deep of muddy water. Still a beautiful area, but water is a problem--a challenge for all the homesteaders who have places and ranches nearby. Most people haul water. You see the trucks and trailers everywhere as well as pick-up trucks with 200 gallon tanks nestled in the bed. I really don't think that near my city is a good place to have a bug-out home due to the lack of ground water and depth of existing wells. The river valley 50 miles to the south is much more fertile and watered, though it is 20 degrees warmer year round. Lovely winters, hot summers. One must think of such things as water and temperature.

Aug 19, 2014 - 9:39am

Excellent stuff

Thanks, Doc

2c piece
Aug 19, 2014 - 9:54am


now to read

Thank you for you insights on all types of prepping. I guess my biggest concern about hedging with metal options is that if there was significant inflation in the value of the metals a force majure might be declared. In that case the payout might be in fiat at the price from the previous week. If the hedging is done with shorting the price could change so quickly that the stops could be run faster than they can be triggered at the stop price. The latter is probably less likely. Unfortunately the rules are fungible and modified by those in control. As I read this I guess I am quite a pessimist. I Keep thinking of the saying: man plans and God laughs. Having said all that, I am a Prepper doing the best I can.

Aug 19, 2014 - 9:57am

The City Slicker!

Classic tale, thank you kindly for posting. Let me ask you this, though, about your daughter's friend. Is she coddled, or just inexperienced at camping?

I ask this because in my neck of the woods, there seems to be NO effort by regular folks to endure traditional living conditions. Heck, my wife and her posse only drink bottled water and NEVER go near a water fountain. I, in the other hand, ascribe to the theory that drinking the local water supply helps maintain health through exposure to local minerals, etc. My family, sadly, refuses to drink from the faucets, as well.

I am constantly trying to get my kids to toughen up, and learn to be robust, all while everything else around them screams for them to be complacent, and pampered.

What is your sense of the younger culture? Are they seriously contemplating life, or avoiding reality as we all here see it?

Thanks for the post!

Aug 19, 2014 - 10:00am

Precisely... "And so what is


"And so what is the proper response to $20 silver? Stack with both hands—well at least one…"

I'm always a bit surprised by my wife's response to the lower metal costs, but then again, she always has liked a good sale.

Last week I had to run an unexpected, partial test of my family's preparations and use part of the emergency stocks (we ran out of toilet paper).

I can see right now that my preparation in this area is woefully inadequate.

Aug 19, 2014 - 10:15am

Hedging physical PMs . . .

I don't hedge my stack. It is for insurance against TEOTGKE. I do not plan to trade my phyzz for fiat/paper. I am not looking to "get rich" in fiatskis. 

If I did, I would buy GLD and SLV.

But, owning GLD and SLV would mean I really do not believe that TEOTGKE is coming to a neighborhood near me (just to Ferguson, MO).

I cannot see hedging against perfection (the elite have everything under control), because I believe TEOTGKE is the big black swan settling its wings for a landing.

Anyway, if you own physical gold and silver, you are hedged both ways for the long term. If the elite hold it all together and it becomes life as usual, the industrial uses of silver will ultimately cause supply/demand and attendent prices to re-establish themselves.

If they fail, then the monetary aspects of gold and silver will prevail.

To me, the key is to keep enough fiat/fiat income to maintain the stack and pay the daily costs of living, including tending to the stack and preps--and having some fun along the way as well.

Aug 19, 2014 - 10:19am


Around our neck of all these woods, one must check to see if they may install an old style potty in the back woods. When I was a kid, they were everywhere including several Sears catalogs and a few faded old newspapers (CL can explain their usage).

Well my story: My brother-in-law farmer wanted to have an extra outdoor potty on the huge farm. He headed over to the county and they said he could not have one. Digging a hole for the material to fall into was ground pollution. He said there had been many over the decades and there was not any pollution problems. The county said NO. He said my cows are dumping all over the fields every day. They told him he could only have a temporary potty if outside like the ones used at construction sites.

Well he just built a frame upon skids, screwed some I hooks to the skids, placed the structure on his field and just pulled the house around as needed. Now he was just like the cows.

Well, it was a good story and did not last.

ancientmoney California Lawyer
Aug 19, 2014 - 10:22am

Cal Lawyer re: bottled water . . .

"Heck, my wife and her posse only drink bottled water and NEVER go near a water fountain. I, in the other hand, ascribe to the theory that drinking the local water supply helps maintain health through exposure to local minerals, etc. My family, sadly, refuses to drink from the faucets, as well. "


Have her read the labels of her bottled water. The cheap (store) brands are hilarious. Here is a label from our local Piggly Wiggly bottled water:

"Bottled by Waters of America, LLC., Woodridge IL, 60517

Source: Municipal Water Supply, Woodridge, IL, 60517"

Aug 19, 2014 - 10:27am

Hear comes another buying oppratunity...

Silver down over twenty cents in a few minutes.

Aug 19, 2014 - 10:40am
Aug 19, 2014 - 10:46am

Aug 19, 2014 - 11:00am

Bottled water

I buy the stuff--I think for the convenience of tossing some bottles into the car as we go somewhere

My son showed me this video


bacteria, arsenic, no regulation of contents, 75% picked tap water over bottled water in NYC

Their "water steward" at a restaurant is a hoot! @ 5:35 in the video-- serving water from the hose out back to upscale diners inside.

CA-Law--I am fortunate that my wife and daughter are both great campers. Just need to keep the supplies stocked with TP. My kids love harsh conditions--makes them feel "tough." Her friend has "bathroom issues" on a good day in the city--must go back to trauma in toilet training as a baby... The younger culture sounds like a good topic for next week's post. My initial sense is that they do not live in reality! Instead they spend their time living in fantasy video games, playing online with their friends--if you count living as what you spend your time doing.

Wealth Watchman
Aug 19, 2014 - 11:12am

Wise Words

Wise words, good sir.

Western Civilisation is so advanced and blessed, that we have trouble imagining(let alone living) life without the creature comforts we've spent centuries building.

I really appreciate the thoughtful content you bring to this site. Sure hope you have enough deodorant! *laughs*

Also, for any who've enjoyed following the series: "Think Like a Pirate, pts. 3 and 4" are now up.



Have a great day, Turdville!

-Wealth Watchman

Aug 19, 2014 - 1:08pm

Know your camping fuel !!

Nice post and topic Dr Jerome! 

I was just checking on getting some fuel for the camp stoves and came across these articles and found them to be greatly informative about the different types of fuels. I use "isobutane" mixed fuel for my "JetBoil" system because of the cold weather abilities to cook! This is for backpacking and camping situations where you are trying to limit how much you are packing. Otherwise, propane is still the best fuel for cooking and heating.

Gas Blends and Cold Weather Performance?


What's the Best Brand of Gas for Cold Weather?


El Gordo
Aug 19, 2014 - 1:09pm

More on propane versus butane

THE LOVED ONE (Tony RICHARDSON, 1965) Liberace

Watch the entire clip

Aug 19, 2014 - 1:15pm

Excellent as always Doc.

Thanks for what you do.

Aug 19, 2014 - 1:24pm

Just a bit of irony

I did a google search on Ferguson MO to try to find some information. The text excerpt from the city's official website reads:

"Ferguson is proud to have been named a Playful City USA community for the 4th..."

(The full website was inaccessible at the time of my search)

Aug 19, 2014 - 1:49pm

Right Up My Alley

Great thread Dr J now thread like this will make us think and act positively and take our minds of the prices of PM's which doesn't matter in the least as it will be survival that matters the most and PM's are only for the recovery of the months after when TSHTF.

By the way why carry around heavy propane tans and stoves when all you need is a match, magnifying glass or other neat small items to light a fire? LMAO

Come on folks, be positive, take your minds off the smash and come up with some ideas to use WTSHTF.

My best find so far is the Luci inflatable Solar lamp and very light. Lol (little pun)

Little expensive but there is a knock off from China now for $11

erewenguy Wealth Watchman
Aug 19, 2014 - 1:53pm

@ wealth watchman

I enjoyed your series of articles on the Saddle Ridge hoard. Thanks for linking them.

Aug 19, 2014 - 2:16pm



I think you are on the right track. I have been working on precisely what you are describing. I bought land on a small river that I would like to build a small cabin and move in one day when the kids are out of the house. But in the meantime I wanted a bugout retreat. I never use the word bugout around my kids (spousal compromise), they just think its our own camp retreat. We can fish, swim and kayak in river so they love it. There are plenty of deer, turkey and rabbit for hunting. Here is a picture of our bugout camp. One of my tenant's left the carport (of course they skipped out on rent) but hey it works great. Also bought a pop-up camper for $600 bucks. Built a small out house with bench seat with five gallon bucket underneath with cedar shaving. My girls have gotten used to it. Recently I added a shower to the back of the outhouse (sorry no pic). I hooked a shower pump to my solar setup and it works great. Of all the things I have done this seems to be the most popular. Being able to take a nice shower just makes everyone feel better.

As far as camp stoves....we made this setup. We can put hot coals under grill for grilling and the concrete block rocket stove has two burners. I have been amazed at the efficiency of the rocket stove. Forget the fuel you can boil water in just a few minutes with a small amount of small twigs.

I just bought a shipping container for storing supplies and atv. May even put a couple of bunks in container. It is a work in process but with the new container to store supplies we could pick up in a minutes notice and "go camping" for quite awhile.

don quixote
Aug 19, 2014 - 2:33pm

It's no problem for a lot of

It's no problem for a lot of women to hold one in for 8 days, many seem to be at some level of constipation. My mother didn't go for 3 weeks once! Me on the other hand, show me a toilet and I'm off to the races...

I've learned to make little stoves out of various types of cans. A little beer can stove for use with methanol or isopropyl alcohol, a wood gas stove from some cans, and a rocket stove from cans, gravel, and sand. The latter two can run quite nicely on twigs.

Mr. Fix
Aug 19, 2014 - 4:17pm

An open note to Turd:


I have noticed that in the past 24 hours, you have shut down two threads that I was participating in, which I find highly unusual.

It is not uncommon for us to use an “old thread” to continue a discussion, is it now a new policy to not allow that?

Closing down the “Ebola Forum" was completely unnecessary, even if the discussion was only allowed to be completely one-sided.

I understand fully that there is a “officially sanctioned version” of everything, but discussion outside of the official narrative has always been permitted here.

Especially on a forum dedicated to a specific topic.

Last week I listened to your interview with Dr. David Janda, he holds this website in very high esteem, and you yourself promoted that thread.

It would interest me greatly to know what Dr. Janda's opinion of that discussion would be, considering during his years of experience as a doctor, he has come to the conclusion that the government is actively working against the health of the American populace. If I had your contacts, I would ask him myself. Could you?

Apparently expressing such a point of view would not be allowed on the forum you promoted on his show.

On Stephanie's latest thread, yes, the conversation did go somewhat off-topic, but I thought it was being handled well by Stephanie.

It has not gone unnoticed by me that the same instigators doing the name-calling were present in both threads, and they are the very people you are defending.

What's up with that?

I do know that a couple of years ago we had far more disagreements than we do currently, possibly with the help of Jim Willie, you have become far more conscious of the criminal enterprise known as the United States government. Maybe it started with precious metals, but I assure you it expands to every field of investigation you can imagine.

So we have exposed the fraud that is our monetary system, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I looked at the “Ferguson Forum", and quite frankly, the “official narrative” is being espoused by the same person again!

If I want to watch CNN, or MSNBC for my news, I could do that, but I come here to discuss the truth with other members.

Often I do that with personal messaging, but occasionally, a larger point of view is required.

I humbly ask you to reconsider closing down those threads, I do not think that benefits anyone, and as my last post stated on the “Ebola Forum”,

people are and always have been welcome to use the “ignore” option on this site.

In my opinion putting an end to active discussions particularly when they are “on topic” works against your mission to provide answers.

Have a nice day, and thank you for what you do here.


I left a copy of this post on “DOTS" in case that is a more appropriate forum for such a discussion.

 I think it needs to be used more, instead of being broken up into separate threads that are being effectively censored.

Aug 19, 2014 - 4:37pm


is my most important prep.

New Heller-Aller pump came last week.

Proudly made in the USA by the Amish. Double stroke (water on up and down motion).

Hand dug with a hand auger.

4' of 2" point, 20' of 2" galvanized, reduced to 1.25" just below ground level.

240VAC to that concrete pad in the left lower corner for an electric pump.

Looking to go solar if I could find the right pump.

That would be a fun project.

Water from here has to be filtered through a Berkey type filter to be potable, but the garden loves it straight up.

Dagney Taggart
Aug 19, 2014 - 4:43pm

Dr. Jerome

A few weeks ago or so, you mentioned something that caught my attention. I don't recall what. Perhaps something about debt/finance or real estate holdings and balancing this with your PM holdings. Anyway, I asked a few people and the answer I was going to give you was this:

In the Weimar hyperinflation, a family that had the equivalent of 50 toz. of silver per adult per year maintained or increased their standard of living. Please weigh this information against what you hold, your family size, and how long you would expect the financial crisis you expect to last.

It's been a truly exhausting Summer rearranging a few asset allocations and locations. Sorry that I cannot be around more. But this too shall pass.

transplanted baby
Aug 19, 2014 - 4:51pm

To CaLaw and Saratoga

CL, my kids (esp my boy) are the same way- simply put- weak. But perhaps I am "weaker" than my folks, and they were weaker than their folks. Must be the forward march of capitalism ala Adam SMith.

Saratoga- wanna get me one of those for my ditchling.

Mr. Fix
Aug 19, 2014 - 5:08pm

A simple explanation

I opened the Ebola thread so that Cris and SSJ could use their expertise and inform us all on the growing Ebola pandemic. I closed the Ebola thread when it devolved into a bickering discussion about medicinal silver and alternative medicine. This prompted Cris and ssj to quit the thread and, without their input, the forum lost it's specific credibility and purpose. I closed Steph's thread because, at over 3 days old, I wasn't going to be able to continue monitoring it. Since it had devolved into a personal name-calling session, I didn't see the point in keeping it open.

Mr. Fix
Aug 19, 2014 - 5:45pm

Do you now need a "Doctorate" to have credibility here?

DayStar, Safety Dan, and others, particularly with personal messaging, were having an ongoing dialogue on that topic.

 We were also doing our own research, and coming up with solutions.

 Why shut down a thread that was being productive?

 Since when was a doctorate required for credibility?

By the way, it was the doctors doing all the bickering.

Simply asking them a legitimate question, their response was both vulgar and insulting. If they left under their own volition, the problem was already solved. 

Their particular "rule" of using the “FDA” as the final authority on all matters, needed to be discussed, and they would have no part in that. Since when was a federal bureaucracy the final say on anything?

 I think that violates the very nature of "Turdville".

Aug 19, 2014 - 7:50pm

9 years ago

Nearing 10 years since I first bought silver... Your mistake was buying in as it was already going up. You weren't aware of where you were in the bull-bear cycle in the midst of the secular bull market. All in all, when you look at the very long time, whether you bought in at $6, 12, 25, or 48 is all a wash, though what matters is how many ounces you have. For me, it didn't matter, as I'm in it for the long haul. I have done many, many things to keep batting away expensive events from my silver stack over the years, and I've been successful so far.

Mentioning buying an acre or two of land and putting a travel trailer on it made me think that this is perhaps something I need to do once I have a better idea of where I'm going to end up. I have such a house (travel trailer), and I can go anywhere at any time I want. I am entering the renaissance faire circuit possibly within the next 2-3 months (as I am working a short faire next month, and I hope to be working at the next one, which is a big one) before taking a 2+ month break during the winter before starting again in February. I will travel between 5 or 6 faires in the course of the year.

Aug 19, 2014 - 7:51pm

$10 for $26 silver

I forgot to remind you, Turd... $10 goes to you if we reach $26 by the end of this year.

Lamenting Laverne
Aug 19, 2014 - 8:00pm

I thought the very nature of Turdville was


That means that there is room for your particular perception of the world. It also means that there should be room for other peoples' particular perceptions. That we can come here and share our individual perceptions and research with people from all over the world in a benign atmosphere - that is the very magic of this place, if you ask me.

Did it occur to you that there are those who find it valuable to balance their own perceptions with different kinds of input - and that your view of the world is not the final result for them. That they may find it valuable to read both your opinion and that of others, who do not agree with you?.

As a venue with a clear libertarian bent, it is rightly frowned upon when something is "censored". Freedom of speech is held above almost everything else. The flipside of that coin is that in order for that freedom to work in real life for everybody - all participants must exercise some degree of self-regulation. A bit of fingerspitzgefuhl, so to speak. 

If someone puts in a lot of time into maintaining a dedicated forum to discuss a subject in a certain atmosphere, and that someone kindly asks you, me or anyone else to moderate our posts on said forum after the first exchanges reveal a fundamental difference of approach, is it not reasonable and considerate to back-off a bit to leave room for those, who may be misguided in your opinion, but who happen to find the presented information valuable for various reasons? 

Is there not enough space here in Turdville to just say- "I disagree with your approach, but if my point of view or modus of discussion is not well received in this forum, I will present my opinion on this or that other forum, where people with an interest in my view can come and discuss instead?" Like Flyinkel did early on - pointing out that related discussion could be found in the DOTS forum. 

Turdville has a tremendous variety of people. It is a huge strength as long as we all can find it within ourselves to allow others to be different and not seek to impose our own opinions and beliefs on others, but merely seek to present them for the reader's evaluation without the undercurrent of necessity for conversion. 

It is not a law of nature that all these very different people must be able to coexist in the same room/forum - on all subjects - all the time. It is not necessary to demand mutual accept - it is only necessary to demand mutual respect.

For me personally it is a loss that the Ebola forum has been closed, but I am not actually writing this to pick on Mr. Fix specifically.

I have had a "pep-talk" on remembering the importance of spaciousness and mutual respect in the discussions on my mind for a while and Fix merely provided the segway (sp?) with the post above.

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