Dave Barnhart

No, not those Dave Barnharts. I’m this Dave Barnhart. I live in Phoenix, AZ and have since 1966.

1973
2015

If you knew me in my 20’s you may have known me as Barney Barnhart instead of Dave Barnhart.


Some of Dave Barnhart’s popular websites and blogs:

Fumbling Foodie

The airplane I built

A website about shooting sports, ammunition reloading, and bullet casting

A Mercedes-Benz 300E I used to own

My current Mercedes-Benz

A blog I’ll finish someday about French Pastry

A blog I started about breadmaking

My ham radio blog

A bit of silliness


I also build websites. Here are two of them:

Buyer Persona Institute

Beck-Arnley

I made it


I turn 65 in a few days, which means that yesterday my Medicare coverage officially began.  And I could not be happier. I worked with an insurance agency in Prescott, AZ and now have coverage that is better than I have had in decades at a price I have not paid in ten years.

When I executed the plan to sell my big house in Phoenix and move out there in the country, I was forced to take a risk: I could no longer afford the $1600/month health insurance premiums.  I switched to short term catastrophic health insurance.  It was cheap but the coverage was lousy.

I just had to make it work for a year until I could get on Medicare, and now I’m there.

And in 16 months Sweet Lady Wife will turn 65 and she’ll be on Medicare (I have her on Medi-Share now).  At that point I’ll be paying about $500/month for excellent health insurance for the two of us.

Happy. Happy. Happy.

Living Well, Cheaply

It’s become a game: Figuring out how cheaply we can live well. Not long after we moved out here into the country, I realized that our monthly expenses are less than half of what they were in the big city. And I discovered that life here runs at a much slower more laid back pace.

A long time ago, a friend in the city was complaining that he needed some work done on this mountain cabin. He could find people who had the skills he needed, but none of them had the ‘hustle’ needed to take on the job. I understand now.  It’s called ‘working to live’, not ‘living to work’.

I’m going to apply for my Social Security benefits a few months early.  That will cover a big portion of my monthly expenses.  As a result, the amount of income I will have to generate each month will be 20%-25% of what it was a year ago. When the car and my little bit of credit card debt are paid off we can live off almost nothing, and live well.

Tonight I’m making Grilled Salmon Paella for dinner. Once a month a buy a whole side of salmon at Costco and so one night a week we have salmon.  The rest of the ingredients (rice, sausage, spices) cost next to nothing. I buy pork shoulder 15 pounds at a time and grind my own sausage. Homemade sausage ravioli becomes very inexpensive. I found a farmer up here who sells me fresh eggs for $2/dozen (less than half the cost in the supermarket).

So the question keeps popping into my mind: What else can I do differently that saves me money but still allow me to live well? I’ve found a blog, Mr. Money Mustache who has lived this quest his whole life and so I’m spending some time reading it.

I’m already thinking about putting in a pellet stove before next winter because there are a lot more BTUs per dollar from wood pellets than from electricity.

 

 

Finding The Pony

There are many variations to the story about the exuberantly optimistic boy who, when presented with a huge pile of horse manure, began jumping excitedly. He dove into the pile and began digging around. When asked why, he replied that with this much manure there was bound to be a pony in there somewhere.

I once told a friend that one of the things I admired about her was that whenever faced with adversity she always began searching for the pony (and usually found it).

Earlier this year I was faced with just such a pile of manure. My biggest client was undergoing some changes and the probability was high that I would see a significant drop in income.  Momentary images of home foreclosure and car repossession flashed through my head.

My second reaction was to begin  a search for new sources of replacement revenue, but my first few attempts were not fruitful. It looked like a tough stressful slog.

Then a little voice said, “Hey, you know that plan you’ve had in the back of your head?  That may be the answer to your problems.”  I had long ago said that when the value of my home got high enough I would sell and buy something – probably smaller – that I could pay cash for. My wife’s input was that if we did so she wanted to move out of the big city and into some place more rural.

The value of my home had risen dramatically in the past year.  A quick check of rural home prices revealed that it might just be possible.  My wife and I took a hard look at the budget and it was apparent that by losing the mortgage and some other expenses, we could live quite well without my biggest client’s revenue.

Three-and-a-half months later, we sit in a jewell of a home about 50 miles from the big city – a home that we own free and clear.  Not only that, we’ve cut our expenses in half. (Our car insurance went down by $950/yr for example.)

And as a result, We’re living a much more stress-free relaxing life.  No big city crowds. No big city traffic.  No big city smog. No big city noise. With a much smaller ‘nut’ to crack every month, I can be much more picky about the clients and projects I take on.  I have much more free time – time for my old hobbies.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say, “Oh I wish I could move into the country to a place all mine.”  I’ve realized that I’m living a dream held by many.

For me, I think of it as finding the pony.

Dave Barnhart Has a Little Fun

“Hello I’m from Microsoft and your computer is sending us messages that it is full of viruses”

Have you received one of those calls?  I get them all the time. I have fun with them, particularly since I’m on a Mac.

Today I managed to keep the guy on the phone for 25 minutes before he gave up in despair.  I play really dumb, as in:

Him: “Click on the Start button”
Me: “The What?”
Him: “The “Windows Start button”
Me: “I don’t see a button named Start”
Him: It’s that button in the taskbar with four little flags.
Me: What’s a Taskbar?”

Then about every 5 minutes I say “Hold on a minute I have to let the cat out.” then I wait 2-3 minutes before getting back on the phone.  About 2 minutes later I say “Hang on I have to let the cat back in.”  The guy today got a little impatient with these constant interruptions so I launched into a story about how I rescued my cat from the Humane Society and he was there in that cold little cage and he was scared and confused, etc etc.)

I figure if I can drive enough of them to suicide it will be worth the time spent.

Dave Barnhart’s Food Blog

I am a gourmet chef and fame a food blog called The Fumbling Foodie.

2ScallopsAsparagusSaffronCreamSauce

My passion is taking people who say “I can’t cook” or “I wish I could cook like that” and show then that they CAN cook like that.

I inspire them to cook.

I give then the confidence that they can cook like that.

Fumbling Foodie is fiul of recipes that are simple and easy to prepare and make dinner guests go ‘wow!’

Dave Barnhart’s Thoughts of The New Bond Film, Spectre

A little disappointing.

I remember my first Bond film: 1965.  Thunderball. Totally Completely Awesome.  For me Sean Connery IS James Bond.  No one has ever played Bond as well as Connery.

When Daniel Craig appeared on the screen as the new James Bond, I was pleased.  None of the interloper Bonds were able to pull off the occasional need to be a mean cold-hearted assassin like Connery could.

At the conclusion of Skyfall I really had high hopes.  The Secret Service was returning to the old wood-panelled offices.  The Aston Martin DB5 was back. I thought we were being set up for the return of Classic Bond. Alas no.

There were lots of references to Classic Bond, for sure, the main villain being named Ernst Stravo Bloefeld (complete with cat) being the most prominent. But it’s as if the producers simply threw those references in. Imagine GM building a care with the right front fender reminiscent of a 63 corvette, the left rear fender resembling that of a 57 Chevy,  the left front fender of a 68 Camaro, etc. It wouldn’t look right.  That’s what Spectre felt like: gratuitous use of old iconic images.

I read that the legal rights to the name ‘Spectre’ and ‘Erst Stravo Bloefeld’ had been tied up in legal wrangling for 25 years, and that those terms could now finally be used in a Bond film again.  If that’s true then the producers had the opportunity to create a masterpiece but chose not to.

And I have to admit I miss the double entendres. (“Just a slight stiffness coming on.” – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; “Do you mind if my friend sits this one out? She’s just dead” – Thunderball). The producers have taken the serious grittiness too far.

Conclusion: Spectre is an opportunity not lost, but wasted.

 

 

Dave Barnhart’s Very Special Banjo

banjo

This is a very special banjo.  Three things make it special:

First it is an SS Stewart Special Thoroughbred made in the 1896-1898 time frame.  I’ve always wanted one of these

Second this banjo belonged to my former banjo teacher and mentor, Joe Bethancourt. Joe passed away a little over a year ago, and his wife has begun selling a few of his instruments.  I’ve actually played this very banjo.  Joe brought it to one of our lessons and let me play it as much as I wanted.  Whenever Joe gave a performance this SS Stewart was one of the banjos he played.

Third, when I told my sweet lady wife that I must have this banjo she thought for a minute and then offered to buy it for me as an early 40th wedding anniversary present.