Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jack-O-Heifer, New Neighbors, and Work (or lack thereof)

I've been in one of those moods lately where I feel like I don't have anything to blog about.  I guess I actually do, though.  We went hiking near Heber for Labor Day.  And we went to the State Fair.  That was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed the agriculture buildings more than I used to.  It was fun to see the goats that people were showing.  Also, the lady that a bunch of our goats are from was there, so it was fun to finally meet her.  We talked with her for quite a while.

Farm News

Our animals are all doing well.  Turkey is getting big.  I wonder how much he will weigh for Thanksgiving.

Daisy lost one of her front teeth.  Poor little girl!  I suspect one of the goats shoved her too hard.  (They're always trying to establish their pecking order.)  We were wondering, will she have a gap in her smile forever???   Do cows have baby teeth???  I finally looked it up.  Cows do have baby teeth.  (GOOD.)  Daisy will grow a new tooth in about a year and a half.

(I kept trying to get a picture of her goofy new smile and she wouldn't cooperate.  So, maybe later.)

New Neighbors

Did I mention we have new neighbors?  Because we do.

A couple days before our old neighbors moved, we were talking to them, and joking about whether the new people realize we have goats.  Our old neighbors said yes, actually, they were excited about the goats.  (They must not have shown the house at 6:30 am when our goats are noisy, I told Jeff.)

They really are excited about our animals, though.  The neighbors have two kids: Peyton (a boy, 10? years old) and Tristen (a girl, 4? years old).  They are adorable, and friendly, and they like us a lot.  We went over to introduce ourselves right after they moved in, and Jeff told them they're welcome to come over any time to visit our animals.

So, they do.

Seriously, the kids hang out in their backyard (by our fence) waiting for me to come outside.  "PEYTON, PEYTON!  THE LADY IS OUT!"  "CAN WE COME OVER?"  "Sure!"

I let them collect eggs with me one of the first times they came over.  I told them they could each take two.  They thought that was a lot of fun.  Peyton has come up with a schedule.  He thinks it is a good idea for them each to collect two eggs once a week.  That's fine.

They like to "help" me milk.  "Okay.  So you normally milk at 7:00?  We'll be outside at 6:55.  Wait for us, okay?"  It's pretty cute.  They come out with me, and I've shown them how to milk, so Peyton always wants to do as much of it as I will let him.  He knows to spray the teats, and wipe them with a goat wipe, and then to spray one squirt of milk not in the bucket.  "Let me do it, okay?  I know how."  Sure.  So I'll milk one side, and Peyton milks the other side, at the same time.  He chatters with me all about how fun it is to have nice neighbors, and about how farm work is like chores--except it is fun.  And he talks to me about how farm food is better than food from the store.  Then when we're finished milking, he likes to come inside and help me filter it.

Jeff thought it was really funny the other day because Peyton had suggested that he could help with the farm work and we could share milk and eggs and meat.  So then we were in filtering the milk and he explained a good way for us to do things:  when we filter the milk, if we get two quart jars, he'll take the one with less in it.  Hahaha!  He wanted to take half of our milk.  "Yeahh, probably not every day, but sometimes you can!"  "Oh, I mean, I know not every day."

So he wanted to try raw milk.  I told him he had to ask his parents.  So they both ran back to their house, and their parents discussed it and decided it was fine, and they came back and I let them take a quart of fresh, warm, raw goat milk back home.  (Labeled, of course.)  The next morning, Peyton told me he didn't really like it.  It tastes really different than store milk.  I asked if he had it cold.  "Halfway cold."  "OH, well you should try it when it is cold.  It tastes a lot better cold!"  So later he did, and now he says he doesn't think he likes store milk anymore because raw milk just tastes better.  Good kid.

He told me he can milk for us when we go on vacation.  It's tempting.  He usually milks about 1/2 of one goat all in all, so I don't think he would actually be strong enough to milk all by himself yet, but maybe next year.  It's cute that he enjoys it so much.

They also help with feeding the animals.  Tristen likes to feed Daisy bottles.  They both like feeding the chickens.

The thing about kids is, they're really funny.  Sometimes I wish I could just do farm chores without "help" (because it takes about 2-3 times as long when they come over), but mostly we just really enjoy having them visit.  They say the funniest things.  Peyton was AMAZED by the door to our garage (from the hallway by our front door).  "I can't believe this," he said, just standing there, staring.  "I've always wanted to see one of these.  It's just like I imagined."  "What?" I asked.  "You have an upside down door!"  "Huh.  I guess I do."  "You never noticed???"  "Well, I hadn't really thought about it." 

Jeff's Job

Jeff got a surprise at work recently.  Not this past Thursday but the week before, Jeff's CEO called him into a conference room---and said Jeff would be taking a six-day furlough, starting that Friday.  They put 80% of their employees on unpaid leave, because they were having financial problems.  Basically, they were receiving investor funds and the last installment was two months overdue.  Jeff asked a lot of prying, hard questions, and left work with the impression that the investor had probably walked.  "Take a vacation!" they told him, but Jeff knew after their conversation that he had pretty much been laid off.

So, the six-day break became a six-day intensive job search.  We were disappointed about the furlough because Jeff really loved his job.  He liked the work environment, and he liked what he was working on.  Too bad. 

This past week, Jeff has been to a bunch of interviews, and he got his first job offer.  He has a few more second interviews at the beginning of next week, and he hopes to make a decision about his next job on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Finally, last night Jeff got a call from the CEO of his company.  We assumed it would be notification that Jeff was laid off, and it basically was.  On the message, the CEO told Jeff that unfortunately they were unable to secure funding, and everyone was going to be on "indefinite furlough" and he understood if Jeff wanted to find a new job, but the CEO hoped that he would still be able to secure funding.

So, I guess that's that.  We are grateful that we are very prepared, and we don't live on the edge; we haven't had to change our spending at all.  So that's a blessing.

Em's Job

I've still been doing a lot of marketing!  My 500 flyers came, and they look SO professional.  I think they turned out really nice.  I sent a bunch last weekend to people who are currently trying to rent their homes.  No response from that yet.  I also talked with a guy who e-mailed me this week about managing his home for him.  I think that one is going to work out.  So, that will be really exciting.

I would love to get busy doing more real estate work and less marketing.  (I think these things just take time.) 

We're gearing up for a couple vacancies--we've gotten notice for two of our properties.  It's kind of bad timing (summer would have been better), but not a big deal. 

I also ordered my second set of postcards for the 273 people.  I think they will arrive on Monday.

I'm participating with the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), and I love their meetings.  Everyone is very friendly and helpful.

Well, I think that's about it for now!  We're doing well, and we're really happy.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

A new heifer, more work, and preparedness blog posts

This week we got a Jersey heifer calf!

I told Jeff I would milk for three months if he would get me a calf.  He agreed.  We named her Daisy, she is eleven days old today, and she is absolutely adorable.  We won't actually get milk for a couple years, but we're still excited to have her.  I bought a halter for her, and we're teaching her to let us lead her, but cows don't really like going where you want them to.  We (okay, I) wanted her so that we can use her milk for cream, butter, and cheese.  Her mom gives 6-7 gallons per day, so Daisy should be a pretty high producer.  When she is full grown she will weigh about 800 lbs.

I've been working on building my property management business.  So far I am not managing much, so I've been working on marketing a lot.  I sent out 273 postcards to people who either bought or tried to sell multifamily housing in Salt Lake county within the last year.  A couple people called from that, but it hasn't resulted in any new management contracts---yet.  I also developed a flyer for other Realtors to give to their clients that are having trouble selling in this economy.  I designed sticky notes (with a message to the Realtors), and once the flyers arrive (probably Tuesday), I will be able to go out to other real estate offices and introduce myself to other Realtors.  I had 500 flyers printed, and I think they are a good direction to head.

Last week started a property management blog.  I am  I have other websites, like my name .com and, but I don't know how to put a blog on one of those sites (yet) so I figured I might as well start anyway.  The blog only has a few posts so far, because it is new.  I keep checking statistics to see if other people have found it at all, and it never has any views at all.  That's okay!  I'm still excited about it.  These things take time. 

I have also written more emergency preparedness blog posts.

I haven't mentioned this for a while on this blog, so there are a lot of new posts. I finished my series on sprouting, and then I wrote about: HAM radio, storing various types of fuel, food storage for restricted diets, a couple posts about specific eFoods Direct products, and bartering.  Now I am writing a series called "Preparedness Chickens" which is to help people understand how they can start keeping chickens in their backyard, as part of their emergency preparedness and food storage. 

11 April 2011 - Sprouting: How to Choose Seeds
18 April 2011 - Sprouting Supplies
25 April 2011 - Try Sprouting!
2 May 2011 - You'll wish you had a HAM radio!
9 May 2011 - How to get your HAM radio license
16 May 2011 - Storing Gasoline?
23 May 2011 - Storing Propane for an Emergency
30 May 2011 - Food Storage for Restricted Diets, part I
6 June 2011 - Food Storage for Restricted Diets, part II
13 June 2011 - Kerosene, White Gas, and Butane
20 June 2011 - Storing Wood or Coal
27 June 2011 - Best. Snack. Ever.
4 July 2011 - eFoods Direct Blueberry Muffins Recipe
11 July 2011 - Bartering in an Emergency
18 July 2011 - Everyday Bartering 
25 July 2011 - Prepare to Create Value in an Emergency
1 August 2011 - Preparedness Chickens - part 1
8 August 2011 - Preparedness Chickens - part 2
15 August 2011 - Preparedness Chickens - part 3
22 August 2011 - Preparedness Chickens - part 4
29 August 2011 - Preparedness Chickens - part 5

I have three upcoming posts about chickens, and then I will be moving along to another topic.  There has also been a change in the schedule, so now I will be posting every other Monday, instead of every Monday. 

Well, this is about enough for now.  We're doing well.  Please think happy thoughts of me finding properties to manage.  :)