Country Living Series

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tangible investments

Don and I were watching our six calves gamboling around the pasture yesterday, and we started talking about their futures. Some we'll sell, some we'll butcher, some we'll keep and breed... but ALL will contribute in some way to our family's welfare. It's no wonder we call the cattle our tangible investments.

Food prices are skyrocketing and the value of money is decreasing, but people will always need milk and meat. That's why we consider our cattle tangible investments.

But not everyone can raise cattle. Or goats. Or even a garden. Not everyone has the room, the means, or the ability. Nonetheless, faced with the uncertainty of our economy, I believe tangible investments to be smart.

So what are your tangible investments? What do you think is useful to own, do, or know in the face of our nation's future, even if you don't live on a farm? What kind of investments can act as an alternative to, say, stocks and bonds, or even a savings account?


  1. Just a thought...If I had put in all the hard work to produce such beautiful jars of canned food, I'm sure I would build some kind of safety bar to prevent them from falling to the floor from whatever reason. JB

    1. I have close to 2000 jars on my pantry shelves, which I built myself. I live in California, and we have the occasional earthquake. Instead of fighting to get a jar over a bar every time I wanted one, but recognizing the need for safety, I ended up cantilevering the shelves 3/4 inch in the back. Is that the right word? The rear of each shelf is 3/4" lower than the right, so in the case of a light earthquake, which is what we get here, the majority of the jars will not fall forward, but hopefully nestle back. I also have a lip on the front of every shelf, 1" hanging down, to hold the quarts in place, at least !

    2. That's EXACTLY what I was thinking when I saw that picture. I'm sure Patrice has already had the same thought.

  2. Nice pic of the canned goods. Ever think of what a even mild earthquake would do to those jars? Suggest some sort of retaining bars or something to protect that investment.
    Just sayin...

  3. I am a retired, widowed apartment dweller on a fixed income. As such, a garden is not possible and my landlord has nixed a cow or chickens (that part is a joke). So I have to go with what I can do and not worry about what I can't do. I consider my tangible investments my preps. I can and dehydrate everything I can lay my hands on, mainly from our local farmer's market. I build up my supplies with whatever I can find on sale, like medical supplies, lighting, alternative cooking sources, etc. I fill notebooks with information that may be useful at a later date should our world go through major changes. I also put away a little cash each month to cover expenses for a few months, should the need arise. The bottom line is, you work with what you've got and do the best that you can. Then pray.

  4. Automotive repair tools, carpentry and masonry tools, several sets in assorted sizes of *very* expensive German wood-carving tools gifted to me by the widow of a woodcarver, wool-processing tools, a few hundred poultry consisting of chickens and ducks, a small rabbitry, and a smallish flock of sheep culled over the drought of the last few years to keep the youngest and healthiest individuals. Oh, and a CNC router with a 4' x 8' table.

    Grin. I didn't collect them all at once, but over the past several years when I started playing "what if".

  5. I'd consider the garden, the cookstove, the canning supplies, and the knowledge of their use a tangible investment. I suppose my DIL's two horses could be considered as such though I don't go near them.

  6. Under tangibles AFTER ‘beans, bullets, and bandaids’, good farmland in ‘2nd Amendment country’ would be excellent. How about some pre-1965 silver dimes?

    Forget gadgets. Like James Wesley Rawles says, ‘Skills beat gadgets’. Speaking of skills, medical skills would be hard to beat. They could be just the ticket you’ll need some day when the house of cards collapse. Don’t overlook the importance of maintaining personal fitness. And last but hardly least, is your faith. Get good with God.
    Montana Guy

  7. Our little farm is paid for, we have a large garden (and the accompanying canning, drying, freezingm), I raise and butcher our own hogs, we will be getting goats again, and we could live without electricity if necessary.

    We play the "what if it were 1850" game.

    We still have the piping to run gravity-fed spring water into the house.

    We save our own seeds. We're both very mechanically inclined. We heat with wood. I sew. We're working on herbal remedies and getting in better shape physically. I wish I had a field full of gamboling calves!

    Congrats on so many heifers this year.

    By the way, my husband asked if I had ever read you on wnd, I laughed and said I read your blog daily. He does enjoy your columns.

  8. We are retired and getting back to basics. Doing the usual preparedness "stuff". When we were raising our family we did not go out and replace things when they quit. We fixed it ourselves. We had gotten away from those ideals as the kids went out on their own. But do to the nature of the current fiscal mess we have returned to our old ways.

    As far as tangibles I have been acquiring more tools and tooling to build, rebuild, or make it my self. I spent thirty plus years in heavy manufacturing.

  9. Hand tools, buckets, garden tools, seeds, canning jars and lids, pressure canner, the means to cook outdoors over a fire, water supply and the means to obtain it without power, extra clothing, a means of communication that does not rely on the grid, reference books, soap, medical supplies and the list goes on and on and on. What would we really wish for if we could never obtain another thing? That is what we keep asking ourselves.

  10. The best I have going for an apartment dweller is 90 days of dry goods for my husband and me. I really need to get a water filtration system, that is my biggest hole!


  11. I'd like to get a dehydrator and start dehydrating. I don't know if I could learn canning, but I'd like to try that, too.
    We have our property, and our protection. My husband has a lot of skills, and I'm trying to learn, too.

    I wish we had the property for cows. We're hoping for chickens, guineas, ducks, and pigs one day. Maybe goats, too.

    Have a blessed week!

  12. My skill as a certified EMT. I am also a certified Pharmacy technician, so that might be able to help in the future also.

    I recently bought a new compound bow as an investment. Hunting and target shooting is an investment for me. How? I believe that there may come a day in the future when I may have to harvest my own food in this way. I pray that day never comes.

  13. Gold, Silver and Ammo. I love all your canning goodies. One of my goals is to have a pantry full of canned goods. You're awesome Patrice! Have a great week.

  14. my non electric tools! my land and its natural resources.

  15. We live in a big city with a small yard but we have an apricot tree, nectarine tree, lemon and apple. The canning starts next week. We also have lots of wine barrels cut in half and used as raised beds. We have lettuce, green beans, carrots, pole beans, tomatoes, peppers, blue berries, boysenberries, zucchini, pumpkin and yellow squash. We are being over run by green beans! We have at least two years of freeze dried foods and a freezer full of meat. Lots of tools, a generator, camping gear, various ways to cook, propane, a fenced and locked yard, tons of ammo with the corresponding tools to send it on its way. I sew and am a dental hygienist with access to medical supplies. Saving for a bug out location!

  16. After 36 years in health care (CNA then RN) I left it all three years ago to farm with my husband. We raise organic beef, pork and sell raw milk. I cashed in ALL my 4o1 K's other investments and sunk it into our farm. New livestock, equipment etc. So everydau we can look out in our fields and SEE our investments grow...literally.

  17. I have a herd of dairy goats, a flock of chickens, ducks, a rabbitry, bees, fruit trees, grape vines, and a large garden. However, with all the mouths to feed, we are really not "self sufficient" - we just shop at the feed store instead of the grocery store. It is our plan to grow our pasture into a managed-intensive grazing operation so that our milk, duck meat, and honey can at least be "free". Since we have a mortgage on the house, I have often considered buying a pop-up camper that we could pull with our minivan that we could use for housing if ever we got kicked out of our place. Once we own the house outright, that will be a big step toward self-reliance as I won't be as dependent on a continued well-paying job to pay the mortgage.

  18. i completely agree. i'm curious to hear what you are doing to 'protect' those tangible investments.

    one suggestion - we took light bungee cord (about 100' of it) and/or PVC pipe across all our shelving holding our canning jars. in the event of an earthquake event, alot of that hard work will end up in a puddle on the floor. just a few dollars will save those jars and keep them on the shelves for when you REALLY need them!

    also suggest anchoring the shelves well.

    for our big animals, we have cheap motion detectors along the fences farthest from our eyesight that light up an LED to alert us of predators passing by. a good dog also alerts us to coyotes or strays, and helps keep them at bay. time invested in the dog keeps her from causing problems with the livestock, they all get along well.

    for our chickens, we keep 2 livetraps out, that keep the skunks, raccoons, and neightbor's cat at bay. using a livetrap keeps good neighbor feelings between us.

    just some ideas - eager to hear anything others have though of!

  19. We have a large garden, that by the Grace of God will produce well this year; a flock of sheep, we have a small customer base; a herd of rabbits, we are trying to improve the herd; and egg laying chickens. We have reduced reliance on purchased feed and continue to work on this savings measure. As I mentioned in the beginning of this list, our success is only by the Grace of God and prayer.

    Besides improvements to the home toward catastrophic problems that occur in this area, this is the end of our "tangible" assets. Our even more important assets, however, are non-tangible. Besides gardening and husbandry skills, my husband and I have other skills that have not only save(d) us money, but have contributed to a better quality life. We have a do it yourself attitude and are very frugal. My husband can repair and make just about anything, including replacements for broken parts. This may seem like a narrow skill base, but it is encompasses many skills. I can knit, sew by machine, but more importantly can sew and repair by hand and no one could tell the difference. I can and preserve food, cook from scratch, with music and art thrown in for good measure. (Music was important to the Ingall's family. It is vitamin M.) I cut my husband's hair as well as my sons before having families of their own. I can cut with a clipper or a pair of scissors and the results will be the same. We make quality gifts for our 9 grandchildren (Birthday/Christmas) and children. With both think out of the box, something that any self-reliant person probably does.

    A strong skill base can mean the difference between thriving or enduring--or worse.

  20. Our tangible assets?

    Meat rabbits, chickens, a garden, a large shed, lots of stored beans and rice (and we do actually eat beans and rice), lots of canned goods, a nicely rounded set of tools, canning jars and lids, pressure canner, non-electric grain mill, dehydrator, Pump-n-Seal, and a large chest freezer with a good amount of meat in it.

    We are learning skills. My husband was in construction for years, then in maintenance for years, and has his universal HVAC certification, so he is very, very handy. :) I can sew, and am learning to can and dehydrate.

    We just moved from the city to the country, which we had wanted to do for a very long time. We own the land outright. While we had gardened before, our large garden this year has definitely been a learning experience, and we've gotten a lot from it. We didn't feel we had the luxury of enough time to learn slowly, so we just jumped in.

    We have been discovering some wild plants on our land that are edible. I believe I've identified a wild cantaloupe cousin called a "ground peach" and another weed we were calling Chinese lantern, which is probably gooseberries. We have poke weed. We'll be getting concrete IDs on things before eating them.

    I've been experimenting with a homemade solar oven. We are doing all of our laundry drying on a clothesline, except when it rains and we really need something.

    I will be seeding our yard with forage seed I bought clearanced, so I can gather more of our rabbit food from the yard.

    We have plans for dairy goats in the near future. We will also be installing a hand pump on our well.

    We look forward to paying off the mortgage as quickly as possible, so, like Anon 7/1 8:44am, we aren't so dependent on a well-paying job. But if something happens, we can move into the 16x32 shed, which we own outright.

    Even when we were living in an apartment, I had food storage everywhere - in bins under the beds, in the closets under the hanging clothes, etc. You do what you can.

  21. I think that our tangible investments are our land (and tools), our skills, and our children.

  22. Great discussion point. For the last few years, given the pessimistic outlook on our economy, I've been diverting most of the money I typically would put into a 401k into my tangible investment fund (TIF). I'm currently 36 and pretty certain that my 401k will be worthless by the time I'm of retirement age. I feel this makes my TIF MORE valuable and of a higher priority than any retirement fund, essentially backed by a fiat currency.

    My TIF consists of firearms, ammo, reloading supplies, good quality tools, firearms training courses and self defense courses for my wife and I, first-aid courses, first-aid supplies, stored fuel (gas, kerosene, propane), stored food, lots of water, good books and guides, gardening supplies, food storage supplies, hunting supplies.

    Future purchase will be a diesel tractor that I can convert to multi-fuel.