Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Little update - part 2

Aside from work, there have been many other things going on.

- We got new chickens. Did I blog about that yet? I don't think I did, but maybe I did. We got them to replace some of our older layers that will uh, "retire" this fall. I got two teenage hens* from Sunny Brooke Farm in Sandy, where we got our adult hens last year. This year I added a gray Araucana (like Gertie and Maude are, except she has no tail. It will lay blue or green eggs, though.) and a Black Australorp.

I also got silkie chicks. Silkies look ridiculous! When I went for the other hens, the lady had silkie chicks "straight run" (which means 1/2 will be girls, 1/2 will be boys). I picked a white one and a red one** to take home. They live in Chalcy's old kennel, in our garage. Unofficially, I have called the white one "Cotton" and the red one "Karl." They're the funniest. Silkies have poofy feathers that look like fur. They have fluffy heads and fluffy feet. I often giggle when I look at them. God has a sense of humor, for sure. Anyhow! A couple weeks ago, Karl started trying to crow. "Err-errrrrr-rr!" He tries to crow usually about 8:00 am. Slacker!*** It's such a funny sound, though, because he's just learning. So he hasn't quite got it yet. It's like...half a crow.

- In anticipation of..uh... "retiring" one or both of the calves this fall, we got a couple more goats. One is a papered**** doe. Supposedly she is pregnant. So we should be able to milk her at the end of January, we think. She is so, so mild. Her people called her "Caroline" and she is very gentle. Despite being gentle, she is also a jumper. She keeps going to this one weak spot in the fence (where it is just the metal 4" squares, and not wood pickets) and she backs up a bit, TOTALLY clears the fence, and then RUSHES our garden to start eating the strawberries as fast as she possibly can. HEY! NO! So I take her by her head and guide her back into the fenced area. Naughty goat! A couple times the neighbors brought her back. We chained her to a post away from the weak part of the fence, but she doesn't like being restrained like that, so she has broken 2 collars and a chain collar. Ugh. Now we've just closed off that part of the yard and everyone is in the front and middle pasture. But she's about the calmest, sweetest goat you could think of. She was a 4H project.

Our other new goat is a buckling. He was 6 weeks old when we got him. He is from a family who was just getting into milking goats, so his mom supposedly gives a lot of milk. We wanted him to eventually breed Feta (our doeling that we already had), because by the time he's interested in her, she'll be big enough to breed safely. The family who sold him to us was VERY happy that we plan to keep him, because bucklings usually become meat but they like him. He's a cute little guy. He's kind of like a puppy--he'll follow you around and play chasing games, and he jumps up on people (which doesn't hurt and is adorable). He still drinks bottles.*****

- J and I have been married for 6 months (as of yesterday)! Go us! We got our wedding pictures back like a month ago, and I want to post some sometime, but Blogger laughed at me when I tried to post some because the files were too darn big. Eventually.

- Thursday evening J and I were driving up to Ogden and we talked about wishing we were going on a road trip. So we decided to take a road trip this past weekend! We ended up going up to Wyoming and Idaho, near Jackson. Our favorite part was actually Bear Lake, which we discovered by accident. We ended up stopping by again when we were headed home. We had a pretty good time.

- Chalcy is getting bigger! A couple weeks ago I took her in for her final shots and she weighed 54.6 lbs. She was almost 4 months old then. So. She's growing up. Next week is the last week of puppy preschool. (There were a couple weeks off because of Labor Day, and the trainer being sick, etc.) Chalcy is usually a good dog, but she sometimes gets a ton of energy. It's a puppy thing, I'm sure. She does this funny thing lately where she will sit on the couch halfway. She's tall enough that she can sit her bum on the couch and keep her front feet standing on the floor in front of the couch. (Kind of like how people sit, if you think about it.) It looks pretty silly, but she'll just hang out that way. Other news with Chalcy is that we discovered the joy of dog parks! They are SO FUN.*******

- I learned to separate cream yesterday. This makes J pretty happy. Cream is his favorite thing.

- Our garden is producing! Big tomatoes. And that's it. No blueberries. Not many strawberries (although the plants keep making more plants). Nothing else.

Well, there are probably a lot of other things happening, too, but that's enough for now. I need to get back to work!

* Not laying yet, but not so little that you have to keep them under light and be careful with them. They went outside right away. (But in a separate section next to the big chicken area, so that they wouldn't get pecked by our flock. Chickens are funny that way--the lady told us to have them in a nearby area for a couple weeks, so they can see each other but not get to each other. Then, one night, after the hens are asleep, take the new hens and put them on the perch next to the sleeping ones, in the chicken coop. In the morning our birds would wake up and think "HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? ... I've seen you before, though, so it's ok.")
** GO UTES!!
*** I think it's because they're in the garage. So he doesn't get as much light as if they were outside.
**** Fancy! She took 2nd place at the Fair! She also has her registered number thing tattooed on her ears, with little holes, so you can shine a flashlight through her ears and read who she is. That's what they do with fancy papered goats.
***** When I go to feed him, I have to let him out of the pasture area and onto our driveway, because otherwise the calves see the bottle and push him out of the way because they want to drink it. LOL. They have nice memories, I guess. Also, here's something funny. The kids named the buckling "Nanny" and put a pink collar on him. I call him "Kiddo" because he is a kid, but that won't be good for when he gets bigger. Sometimes I call him "Buckley" because that's a little more masculine, but "Kiddo" comes more naturally to me.
****** Actually, she mostly just goes around and says hi to all of the people who brought their dogs. She sometimes plays with the other dogs, though, so...you have to start somewhere, right?

Little update - part 1

One of these days I'll have time (or make time) to finish the story about our floor.

For now, here is a little update about life.

- I am still working, working, working at our fourplex. We keep trying different things to get more, uh, qualified applicants. Right now we're doing a "FIRST MONTH PAY 1/2 RENT!!!!!" special. It's just been kind of a problem because I've shown both of the apartments a lot and for a while I was getting people who just...well...they were way too risky to rent to (or, they're not actually interested). Among people who have come to see the apartments:

* many people without jobs (so...uh...how are you planning to pay rent?*),
* a felon ("Is it a crime that the city considers a danger to neighborhoods, including sexual crimes, crimes against property, or violent crimes?" "Yeah, it's one of those ones." "Oh."),
* someone in the process of being evicted ("My landlord is such a @#$)&$* !!! He said he's not going to give me any of my security deposit because we have cats and we're not supposed to, but I have a note saying they're COMPANION cats for my daughters** because they've been through a lot, so they have to let me keep the cats. But he's evicting me so I'm going to just stay there another month and not pay him rent since he's not giving me my deposit back."
* people thinking about moving (after 30 minutes showing both units and discussing where to put furniture, etc: "Now, I have to be honest with you--we're not really sure we're moving. We won't know until Tuesday. In fact, I can't even say there's a 50% chance we're moving." [So...why am I spending my weekend with you instead of my family...?] "Mhmm...", OR "If I give you $100 will you hold this apartment for me until October?" [back at the beginning of August... Ouch.] "Uhhh, no. If you want to put down the deposit and first month's rent, then maybe." "Oh, no, I just have $100.")
* guys who just want to hit on me (A couple guys drove by while I was watering the lawn and they started honking and calling out to me. Then they called the number on my FOR RENT sign in the yard. "Did we just see you out watering the lawn? ... Ohh, hi! Can we come look at the apartment?" They did at least pretend to be thinking of moving.)

Anyway, we're*** hoping to finish getting the units ready pretty soon. There really isn't much left. I've learned a lot in the process. Next time we have a vacancy, I think it will probably go smoother. I will hire help faster. I will have clean pictures to post so that people can get an idea while I'm still actually fixing it up.

Some of the things I have done at the fourplex are: replaced tons more sprinklers, installed 17 boxes of fake wood flooring. Replaced showerheads. Whitened grout, re-caulked tub. Used an airless paint sprayer to paint all of the rooms in one unit and the downstairs of the other unit.**** Patched four holes in walls. Replaced ghetto 1970s ugly lights with modern light fixtures. Re-seeded the lawn. Cold-welded an iron handrail that renters broke. Installed a new motion light outside. Cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. Installed a dishwasher and new garbage disposal (but I still have to finish that because it needs some change to the pipe work beneath the sink.) Changed locks. Replaced 10? sets of blinds. (But I mostly had my brother and the other guy I hired do those, because I really don't like installing blinds.)

* In Utah, you can't discriminate people based on "source of income." It's a Utah thing. That to me sounds like prostitutes and drug dealers, but Utah actually means you can't say no to people who receive housing assistance or child support, etc (if they are otherwise qualified). And that's completely fine. The trouble is, lots of people are unemployed and have no "source of income." (You can "discriminate" about that.)
** Can I say their names online? Stormy and Sulfur. And I don't mean the cats' names. They seemed nice, though. And I would have rented to them if they applied and were qualified.
*** [I'm]
**** Ha! I'm so bad at using a paint sprayer. It takes practice, I think. In the rooms that were dark, I ended up with drips all over the place. In one of the living rooms, I accidentally got way too much paint on one wall. I wiped it off with my hands (into a little bucket) and I painted a whole big storage closet all with the extra paint from around the outside of just that one closet door. Oops.