Monday, November 28, 2016

Credit Card Nation

When our children were little, Sir Knight coined a phrase he called "Credit Card Parenting".  Basically, he said that we could either discipline and train our children when they were young or we could pay for our lack of parenting later, with interest.  We knew, that although it was "easy to love folly in a child", that folly would become a consuming fire of destruction if left unchecked.  What was "cute" in somebody who was 2 was ugly and destructive in someone who was 22.  We didn't want to suffer the consequences of credit card parenting or make society pay the price, with accrued interest, of our permissive parenting.  And so we disciplined our children, doing our best to "train up a child in the way they should go".  And so far our plan has worked.  Although our children are not perfect, they are productive members of society, contributing to the well-being of our family and our community.  The are consistently part of the solution rather than being part of the problem.

To my great dismay, I have come to realize that we are a Credit Card Nation.  This once great Nation has become what our forefathers fought to abolish.  We have allowed the few to rule the many and encouraged tyranny (bullying) in all levels of society.  Just as a tyrannical toddler rules the household, our tyrannical minorities are ruling our country.  We are no longer allowed to live according to our conscience, rather our thoughts and actions are policed by the intolerant few.  Just as we have all seen permissive parents terrorized by tantrum throwing toddlers, we are now witness to a country being terrorized by angry malcontents and still, we indulge.

For years we have allowed our citizens to be bullied and done nothing.  We have allowed tantrum throwing children to rule our house and we wonder why we have a world out of control.  Our balance is now due - with interest.

Not only have we allowed our own citizens to run herd on us, we have also allowed our neighbors to manipulate our indulgence.  And the interest is multiplying.

When our children were small, we lived in a neighborhood, directly across from a culdesac.  Although we only had a couple of acres, we had horses, chickens and a milk cow, along with a large garden, huge yard and the all-important trampoline.  Right across the road, at the head of the culdesac, lived a family with 6 children.  The family was unconventional - a little rough around the edges, and the children were the epitome of free-range.  It was not uncommon for the kids to show up on our doorstep asking for paper and pencils for school, bread for sandwiches or money for lunch.  They regularly went into our barn, opened our grain bin and fed our milk cow until she bloated.  They would fill their pockets with change Maid Elizabeth had saved and swear up and down it was theirs. 

Sir Knight and I took action.  We didn't want to ban the children from coming to our home, but we also didn't want them harming our livestock or influencing our children.  So we made rules.  And enforced them.  We told them they were not allowed in the barn, without Sir Knight or I present.  We didn't let them come over whenever they wanted, rather we made a standing date for a certain time and day of the week.  We never allowed the kids into the bedrooms or any other room unattended.  Instead, the kids and I played board games with them or baked cookies (which they took home to their family).  We raked leaves, worked in the garden or did whatever needed to be done, with the extra kids in tow - always with constant supervision.  Rather than allow the neighbor kids to harm our property and influences our children, we embraced them, within the confines of carefully outlined and enforced rules.  Because we were the parents in our home, we parented not only our children, but the neighborhood children when they were in our home.  Basically, it was our house, our rules.  End of story.  Rather than allowing our neighbor children to terrorize our family, we parented them and paid the debt - no interest accrued.

Now the credit card crisis has hit our shores.  We have welcomed our neighbors into our homes, with no rules or supervision and we are reaping the consequences.  Rather than creating and enforcing rules to incorporate our neighbors into our family, we have allowed them full access to our homes and they have repaid us by bombing our cities, shooting our people and demanding that our society conform to theirs.  We are paying for being a credit card nation with our culture and our lives.  And it will continue until we pay our debt and take back our home.  We have to again proclaim, our house, our rules.

Our nation is at the breaking point.  Our debt is killing us.  Our interest has compounded.  We truly are a Credit Card Nation.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Charitable Spending

Just when you thought you couldn't find a charity worthy of your hard earned dollars......I present "Millennial International".  Your consideration is much appreciated!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Battery Power!

As most of you know, we live off-grid.  We rely on our generator and solar panels to charge our batteries, which in turn, power our life. 

Because Sir Knight fixes electric forklifts, we use industrial, deep cycle lead acid batteries in our system rather than the Trojan LT 316's most commonly used in off-grid applications.  These batteries provide us with a huge amount of storage and have worked well for us for many years. 

About a year ago we began to notice that our battery didn't last as long as we would have liked, and that it took a charge too quickly, indicating that it had a severely reduced charging capacity.  We limped along with our dying battery through last winter, with the intention of replacing it in the spring.  Spring came, and with it, the sun, which kept our battery charged to full capacity, lulling us into a false sense of battery security.  And then, the bottom fell out of our off-grid world - our generator died and the sun sank into the autumn sunset and our battery slowly faded into powerless oblivion. 

Sir Knight, realizing our precarious position, brought home a beautiful "new" battery!  One of his customers bought all new batteries for their fleet and discarded the old batteries.  One of the discarded batteries was only about a year old and hadn't seen much use so Sir Knight discharged and charged it and loaded it into his van and brought it home. 

One Saturday morning, our neighbor arrived with his self-loading log truck to help us remove the old batteries out of the shouse and install our new battery.   Switching batteries is not my favorite task because it requires moving nearly every piece of furniture in our shouse!  Our batteries live in our bathroom/utility room, which is on the far end of the house, as far away from the front door as you can get!  The batteries are huge (ranging from about 1500 pounds to 3000 pounds each) and require a decent amount of room for maneuvering.  After we cleared a path through the house, we brought in our pallet jack (doesn't everyone have one?) and put a special "roller tray" on it that Sir Knight fabricated for moving our batteries.  We rolled a battery out of our bathroom, through the shouse and to the front door.  From there, Sir Knight chained the battery and hooked it onto the grapple of the logging truck and our neighbor pulled the battery off the pallet jack and through our front door.  After moving both batteries from the bathroom, we were ready to bring the new battery in - a far bigger chore than we had anticipated! 

Miss Serenity wheeling out an old battery

Using a self-loading log truck to drag the battery out

Because we have an arbor in front of our door, we had to jerry-rig a couple of battery roller trays outside to get the battery to the front door so that we could pick it up with the pallet jack.  A pry bar, a couple of oak beams and a wish and a prayer later, we had the battery on the pallet jack - at an angle because the new battery was 1/2 and inch wider than the old batteries and wouldn't fit into the roller tray!  Finally we rolled the new battery into place, plugged the SB connector into our house system and flipped the switch.  Let there be light!!

Ready to move the new battery into the "Shouse"

Miss Serenity and Sir Knight guiding the new batttery

"Shouse" Surfing - it's a new thing!
We have been running on our new battery for about three weeks now and are in constant amazement!  Because our old battery had been slowly losing capacity, we didn't realize how terrible it was.  This new battery holds an incredible charge, rarely dropping below 24.9 volts, and takes a nice long, hard charge.  Our gas bill has plummeted because I rarely have to charge the battery and I am thoroughly enjoying a well-lit shouse!

One new battery in position

I take the tablecloth off of the battery when charging so
that the hydrogen can gas off the battery
Running your own power company has its challenges, but it also has great rewards - and a nice, full battery as winter envelopes us in her frigid embrace is just such a reward!