We have a relative who's having problems with the IRS over identity theft that's been going on for many years. The IRS has got to be one of the most incompetent organizations in the entire world. It's a good thing he's saved every scrap of correspondence with them because every time we try to deal with them they don't have any records of previous correspondence. So, after today's conversation I'll have to re-scan more documents and resend them to yet another IRS clerk who is looking into the matter. Hopefully this bozo will enter the information into their computer ... but I'm not holding my breath! A word of advice, save FOREVER everything and anything that has anything to do with income taxes! I can guarantee that if they ever investigate you they will have no record of previous correspondence. Another tip ... if you happen to mention that there's a reporter from a major news network looking into your situation the IRS clerk will adopt a much friendlier attitude.
I plugged the holes in the Birch trees and quit gathering sap for the year. We have enough stored in buckets in the root cellar to make probably another quart of syrup. It takes about 100 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup. I thought when I began that it took a lot less than that. If I'd have begn earlier it would have been better because we could keep the stove going hotter all day. Now it heats up the house too much and with the nice weather and dry ground we have things to do outside. I checked out some You Tube videos and Birch syrup sells for about $35.00 per pint. I may do it again sometime but It will be earlier in the year and I plan on having a "sugar shack" to boil down the sap.
The days are much longer now which means we have lots of extra electricity even though we've plugged the refrigerator back in and are now running it. I switched the angle on the solar panels to the "summer" position this week. We were watching Netflix shows on the television in the evenings between supper and when Scott went to bed. (If you try to read or do anything productive he wants to do it with you so it's easier to just watch television for a bit until it's bedtime for him.) We finished up the "Out of the Wild - Venezuela" series but it's light late into the evening now so we won't be watching much on TV for awhile. We'd rather spend the time outside. In a few weeks we'll be going to bed before sunset and getting up after the sun rises.
A neighbor dropped by and we swapped some of his tires around. Turned into a bit of a problem so we had to stop while he got some more tires and a tube. The tires he had were picked up on a trade and they had bad sidewalls. When we got them mounted they wouldn't hold air. He bought a radial tube for the best one but when he tried to put it on himself he ruined the bead on the tire so he brought the stuff back here to finish it up. We ended up removing the tire with the broken bead and tube then removing a different tire from a 4-hole rim and putting that tire on the rim that had the tire with the broken bead which meant we had to put a new valve stem in the rim (lucky I had one left!). We took one of his tires with the bad sidewall and put the tube in it so now he has the two tires he needed to put on his truck. I still need to swap the studded tires on our Cherokee for non-studded ones.
We had a scare with Susan this week. She had one eye cloud up for no apparent reason on Sunday. We contacted the eye doctor on Monday and they got her in. The local optometrist wasn't sure what was going on so he sent her to a specialist in Kalispell. She went through a bunch of tests there and she had some broken blood vessels in her eye related to some floaters that had broken off. He thought it would clear up but there's no guarantee. Her vision in that eye is still 20/20 but it's like looking through a foggy window. Our emergency fund is also lighter by over $350.00. (But then, that's why we have one!) At least most places give you 10 percent off for paying cash.
Scott is relaxing on swing while he watches Saturday morning cartoons. Of course in our case they're on Netflix, DVD or VCR tape. He doesn't sit like this very often. He's sort of a perpetual motion type of guy.
Time to grind more chicken food. This is an assortment of outdated food we had on hand. Most of it came from stuff we got after Y2K. We helped an elderly couple move into town and they had a pickup load of food that they'd stocked up on for Y2K. This was several years after Y2K and they wanted to get rid of it. The last couple of years we've been using some of it for chicken food. There are beans (white and pinto) rice, wheat (in the red can), a wheat, barley and oat mix in the brown bag, boxes of old macaroni and cheese and a couple of containers of egg shells we've saved since the last time I ground chicken feed. We mix it as we grind it and I ground about 40 pounds before quitting for the afternoon.
I had a little help though. Scott loved dipping out the wheat ...
and pouring it into the hopper ...
or sometimes pouring it near the hopper.
We rode bicycles up into the state land south of us to see if the snow is gone yet. I have some trees spotted that I want to cut for firewood before someone else gets them. It's about 3 miles (one way) by road. The snow is gone so I just need to get a permit.
We've been trying to keep a hat on Scott so we have them around him most of the time. He likes them (which is good) but obviously has his own ideas of how they're supposed to be worn.
This is the turn-around point of our latest bicycle ride. We lost the license plate on our little trailer last fall somewhere along a ten mile stretch of Highway 93. We parked the Cherokee and rode along the highway looking for it yesterday afternoon. We average about 10 mph on our rides so this as about an hour after we started. We took a half-hour break primarily so Scott could get some exercise then we headed back for the car. We never did find the license plate but we picked up a roll of duct tape and a Leatherman Sidekick in like new condition.
We had a meeting at the fire department afterward. Susan is part of getting an Auxiliary set up so this was an organizational meeting where they mainly went over the bylaws and mission clarification.
After hours upon hours of sap collecting and boiling we have two pints of the best tasting Birch Syrup you can imagine. After making it I fully understand why it cost $35.00 a pint!
We got the wash tub out for Scott's bath but he didn't want to wait for the water. He tossed in his bucket of toys and climbed in after them.
We ordered a helmet for him and it finally arrived. We checked a lot of reviews before choosing this one. We mainly wanted it to fit well and stay where it belongs. It does a fine job of both and he loves wearing it.
If he keeps driving forward while looking backward he's going to need a helmet!