Sunday, January 18, 2015

January 15, 2015 - Company, Inverters, Coyotes, and Taxes (yuch!)

Welcome to the new year!  As usual I'm at the computer working on tax records.  I did much better on my record keeping this year which should make the process quicker than last year.  It's hard to imagine a more tortuous way for a government to extort money from it's citizens than this.

My preference would be for an amendment in which the government could only collect a sales tax to fund their activities.  It could be made friendly to the "poor" (or frugal!) by exempting necessities like food, fuel/energy (of all kinds), and medical expenses.  Large ticket items like vehicles, homes, etc. could be prorated with no tax on the first $$$$.  If a low income person bought a cheap car or house they would pay no taxes yet those wanting the expensive items would pay more.

Sales taxes are ridiculously easy to figure plus they are a consumption tax meaning they do not negatively impact the producers (penalizing them for their productivity) of the nation.  They'll impact those receiving government aid (they'll be paying taxes too) any time they purchase non-essentials.  In fact the card for food stamp and other government aid devices could be set so that it was impossible to use them for non-essentials.  (Of course someone will figure out how to get around this but no system is perfect and this would be better than what we currently have.)

The bad side (from the government angle) is that they are extremely apparent every time someone spends money so any tax increases are immediately obvious and hopefully the sticker shock of how much the government extracts would lead to a long deserved tax rebellion. It would also put a lot of IRS employees out of a job.  They might not appreciate that either.

Anyway, that's not likely to happen.  So I'll continue to lose more hair trying to comply with the massive bureaucracy of the IRS.

Taxes ... yuch!

Scott decided he wanted some snowshoes.  (He's been saying he wants to go home and play in the snow.)  Obviously snow shoes are in short supply in southern Nevada so he improvised.

Okay, they're a little awkward on sand and hard clay.

But, hey, what can you  expect from using shock cord for tying on a plastic coat hanger and a do-hickey for throwing balls!  You have to admire his creativity!

Firewood cutting with the bow saw.  Sometimes I don't feel like firing up the chain saw so I use the bow saw to cut a couple of days worth of firewood.

One of Scott's favorite activities is swinging from the rail around the upper bunk (over the driver's section).  I think he's watched too many Curious George movies.

Time for a little excavating.

And playing with stickers.

And "reading" a book while snuggled into a down sleeping bag on a cold day.

We've had times when the wind was blowing that we've had to run every light in the motor home to burn off some of the excess electricity being produced.  We finally got the idea to buy a larger inverter so that we can at least run one of the electric heaters on low.  It seems a much better use than just turning on more lights.

This is our new 3,000 watt inverter.  It has two 15 amp outlets.  You can also wire it directly into the breaker box with the center connection.  That way you can take advantage of the full output of the inverter for things like AC and electric heaters.

As usual the air force is out on the lake "playing."  Scott hasn't got them to stop and give him a ride yet even though he waves vigorously every time they fly by.

Odie took off growling/barking one morning at this guy.  He was about 50 feet from the motor home when she took off after him.  I called her back and by the time I got the camera out and snapped this photo the coyote was probably 200 yards away.  He looked pretty healthy with a good size and nice, fluffy fur.  We've also had burros within a fifty feet of the MH.

Our wood stove works well for cooking.  We've saved a bunch of propane by cooking on it instead of the gas range.

Scott's mom and dad with their new baby, Benjamin, (2 months old).

Scott wearing his Batman cape getting ready to pounce on the unsuspecting victims on the swing.

Ah, Vegas!  Of course we took the kids to Vegas for one night.  They'd never been there before and like most tourists were pretty amazed with all the lights, casinos, hotels, etc.  We spent the night in a motel room at Circus Circus before putting them on a plane the next day.

Can you imagine washing the windows on this!  It's probably an acre or more of glass and they're tied to the top of the dome.

Vegas is a nice place to visit but we're back home now and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

December 31, 2014 - Enjoying life ...

Lots of photos ...

Decisions, decisions!  Scott must make a choice of which video he wants to watch.  On windy days it's not much fun to go outside so Scott ends up spending a lot of time watching videos.  When the wind is blowing we have lots of power from the wind generator so power use is not a problem.  Many times the battery voltage is so high (the inverter shuts off if the battery voltage is too high or low) that we must turn on all of the lights in the motor home to use up the excess electricity.  .

Time at the library in Overton.

Scott putting stickers on the Christmas tree at the Overton library.

The chocolate factory Christmas light display.

We swapped stoves in the motorhome.  The oven did not work in the factory stove so we got one out of another motorhome we acquired for parts parts.  Susan is cleaning it up.  I hooked it to the propane before she cleaned it and the oven and all the burners worked.

I had to enlarge the hole a bit but we got it installed and hooked up.  Then we learned that it had a gas leak in the oven valves.  (My eyebrows will probably grow back okay just like the hair on my arms that is now missing.)  So we're back to looking for a new stove.  We found that all of the new units have a large grill across the top instead of individual burner plates.  We're still trying to find one like we want but may end up going with the newer style.

The wood stove is great!  We learned that Mesquite and Tamarisk leave a lot of ash when they burn.  I had to clean it almost daily until we got some new wood.

Scott at the playground in Overton.

I brought my longbow with us this time and have enjoyed many hours of shooting it.  There's a lot of gravel around my target so missing the target is really hard on my arrow supply.

Scott has his bow too but likes to move in close when shooting.

Me and Susan on a bicycle ride.  We ride to the highway and back most days just for exercise.  It's three miles each way.  Mostly uphill going out and downhill coming back in.

Scott has his control center set up in the motorhome.  He sits up there pretending he's a pilot.  He has a toy computer and my calculator along with the television remote so he has lots of buttons to push (in addition to all the buttons, switches and gauges on the motorhome's control-console).  He has a plastic sheet of desert animal pictures that he refers to as his navigation chart.  He has a plastic milk crate filled with pillows for a chair with the barbecue tongs for a back rest.  He'll play for hours up there charting a path across the world.  It would be nice if I could record and play all the sound effects he makes (including radio transmissions to the control tower).

He's helping Susan play the keyboard now.

A nearby spring we occasionally visit on sunny days.

The water is about 80 degrees.  Not hot but warmer than the air temperature this time of year.

Scott loves playing in the spillway.

Our Christmas tree which had to remain outside due to there not being enough room for it inside.

Scott just being Scott!

Another day at the library.  This is the tree they had set up.  They had a couple of stuffed penguins which Scott pulled close while admiring the tree.  He was busy telling them all about the tree's decorations.

Scott and Santa in Overton one evening. Santa asked Scott what he wanted for Christmas and Scott said a motorcycle.  I think Santa thought Scott wanted a toy motorcycle but Scott wants the real thing.

Christmas morning and Scott is really getting into it this year.  He wanted to eat all the candy right then but mean old Grandma and Grandpa said "no."

He got some stickers for Christmas (along with a bunch of other stuff) and proceeded to plaster them on grandma's face and his own).

Not sure what he's thinking about here but he thought it was fun.  (He was "looking" in the mirror.)

Local wood for the stove and evening outside fire.

It was a bit windy for about a week!

One of our desert walks near camp.  The path is from wild burros and feral cattle.

Campfire time.

We found someone in Vegas who had about a half-cord of firewood for sale.  He wanted sixty-dollars for it so we made a trip in with the trailer.

We filled up the trailer and the back of the Expedition.  It's all smaller stuff which will be great for our wood stove.

Susan did her "polar bear" swim in honor of the New Year.  She challenged our kids to do the same thing at home but they declined (pansies!).  Seems that they didn't want to cut holes in the six inches of ice on the lake or brave the sub-zero temperatures.  They thought she was cheating because she used a hot spring with 80 degree water and the outside air temperature was around 45 degrees on the plus side of the thermometer.

Susan basking in the morning sunshine while writing in her journal.

Lest anyone think it's always a tropical paradise here we've had some nights when it got down to 38 degrees in the motorhome.  It was early in the morning and Scott woke up but decided he'd rather crawl in with grandma while grandpa got the wood stove fired up good and hot!