Silver, Part 3

In March, I wrote about gold and wound up buying a couple of gold bullion coins and some shares in a silver exchange traded fund. Then in April I wrote about silver and bought a few silver bullion coins. In May I wrote about buying some more and maybe buying more than I should including on auctions on eBay, to the point that it was kind of hard to justify. After that I continued to buy substantially more, though just 2-5 ounces at a time when I would win an eBay auction at a reasonably favorable price. The way I see it, if the spot price of silver is $20 an ounce, then any silver I buy is worth at least the spot price, and the amount over that is the true price I am paying. So at a spot price of $20, 5 one-ounce coins would be worth $100, and if I paid $120, then I am really only paying $20 and the rest is safely invested in the value of the silver. So while the difference between paying $120 and $125 may not seem like much, it is sort of like paying 25% more ($25 is 25% more than $20). My point is that small differences in price can be pretty significant when buying silver.

Five Ounce coins from Fiji and the US

Five Ounce coins from Fiji and the US

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Captain Alexander Grant

I’ve written about a few of Mom’s ancestors. Her great grandfather, Alexander Grant, was pretty colorful, living during a time of tremendous change in the United States. He was the son of Alexander Grant from Scotland, who moved to New Orleans and owned a store in the city as well as a couple of sugar plantations. So this Alexander Grant, sometimes called Alexander Grant, Jr., grew up the son of a pretty wealthy store owner in New Orleans. He also seems to have gained some skill running river boats up and down the Mississippi River, probably in part making runs between New Orleans and his father’s plantations (and maybe plantations of store customers) further down the river in Plaquemines Parish.

When the Civil War broke out, Alexander Grant was made a Lieutenant in the Louisiana navy and given command of a river boat renamed the General Quitman that had been converted to a gun boat by adding a couple of cannons. It was called a “cotton clad” in contrast to the “iron clad” warships. While cotton was probably easier to get than iron in the South, it couldn’t have been that much protection against cannons. Alexander Grant’s superior officer in the defense of New Orleans was Captain Francis B. Renshaw, formerly of the US Navy, who was born in Philadelphia and had been stationed in Pensacola before the war. Eventually Grant’s son Joseph would marry Renshaw’s daughter Isabella, both just kids at the time of the war. These are Mom’s grandparents. Grant commanded the Quitman in some reconnaissance missions and was probably involved in some skirmishes with the Union navy, but when New Orleans ultimately fell to the Union, Grant had the General Quitman burned rather than allow it to be handed over to the Union. There is a 1904 public domain book of navy records that mentions Grant and Renshaw a few times (use the search feature or index since it is a pretty long book). There is also a neat picture of an envelope addressed to Captain A. Grant of the Louisiana Navy here with some explanation.

Envelope addressed to Capt. Alexander Grant
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When I got Rosa from the shelter they warned that she was very scared of thunder and had actually climbed out of her chain link kennel once during a storm, even though she had never climbed fences before. It didn’t take too long before I found out that she does like to climb up on things during storms (not just with thunder, but rain). Or she will try to get into narrow spaces behind the sofa or under a desk or table. Eric closed himself in his room during a storm so she couldn’t mess up any of his computer stuff and when he came out she was standing on the rolltop desk.

I knew about Thundershirts from Aunt Jane who said that Chris was somehow involved with the company that produces them. It is a tight fitting shirt that goes around their body and chest and seems to help anxiety in some dogs. Austin is scared of thunder, but nothing like Rosa, so I thought maybe I could get Rosa a Thundershirt and see if it would do any good, knowing that they don’t always work. Some reviews at Amazon say they work, some say they don’t work, and some say they seem to help reduce anxiety, but don’t make it go away. They can be used for any kind of anxiety, not just thunder, so some people use them for dogs that don’t like to go in cars or have separation anxiety. Rosa’s weight puts her right in the middle of the large size. I was able to get one from Amazon for about $35.

The Thundershirt arrived Wednesday and I spent a while figuring out how to put it on her. There is an extra flap that didn’t seem to make sense, but looking at the instructions and watching a YouTube video, I figured it out and now can put it on her pretty easily. She doesn’t seem to mind too much when I put it on her, though she doesn’t exactly move a lot either. I left it on her and pet on her and gave her treats so she would like the shirt. They said you need to get them used to it before thunder ever shows up and you want to put it on them before any thunder starts so they don’t associate the shirt with storms. I just left it on her for a little while and then again about an hour or two later.

Rosa's Thundershirt

Then on Thursday, there was a big storm coming through. I put the shirt on her once I heard the littlest bit of thunder, before she got too anxious, but eventually there got to be a lot of thunder and lightning (not much rain). She was still very nervous and still shaking sometimes, but she at least stayed next to me most of the time instead of wandering around and getting onto and under things constantly. So maybe it helped a little. It may also have helped that she was still groggy from going to the vet for a dental exam where they pulled six small teeth and one broken canine tooth, and cleaned all the rest. The next day it looked like there would be another storm, so I put the shirt on her and we even went for a short walk. She did fine and didn’t seem to mind the shirt as much this time, but the storms never really materialized. I think it could help and that even though it didn’t do the trick the first time, maybe she will realize she doesn’t need to be as anxious and will get better over time. The shirt has a 45-day satisfaction guarantee if it doesn’t work, so I could return it.