Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pregnancy and [Goat] Kids

For a little while now, Jeff and I have talked about taking a picture of me with the goats, since we're all pregnant right now.  It seemed like kind of a funny thing.  By now we're all far enough along that we look obviously pregnant, and some of the goats have started to moan more often, so on Saturday I suggested we finally take a picture. 

Jeff and I feel no confidence whatsoever in our ability to judge when the goats will kid, because last year Caroline seemed like she was ready to kid any day now for over a month.  She totally faked us out.  But, it seemed like there was a good chance that pretty soon not all of us would be pregnant anymore.  And if we were, we could always take another picture later. 

So, we decided to try to get a picture, and this is what we got:

Hm.  Not exactly what I had in mind.  But, they lost interest in our picture, and that was the best that we got.  So, we tried again the next day after church, and got this:

Not really much better.  Goats just are not very good at posing for pictures. They're all too close together, so you can't see that they have huge bellies.  And Tank (the buck) snuck into the back of our picture, even though it was supposed to be girls only.  We didn't notice.


So that was Sunday.

And then, very very early this morning (Wednesday) there were some noises outside and Chalcy started barking.  It wasn't cat noises, but I told Chalcy QUIET and sent her back to bed.  I fell back asleep too.  I woke up at about 2:45 this morning to the same noise, and it occurred to me what it was: BABY GOATS!

Once I figured it out, I was super excited.  I got dressed and hurried outside to see whose babies they were!  And how many!  And whether they were boys or girls!

When I got outside, Mercedes had a baby goat with her, and they were outside the barn, with all of the other goats. 

It was especially exciting, because just last weekend I told Jeff that I wanted a particular young goat from the dairy that we get our milk from.  She was a black goat with white stripes on the side and a brown belly.  Pretty!  But, she is a Drake doeling, which means that she probably costs $400 or $500 at the cheapest, and maybe $900-1000.  So, instead I realized that we have two black goats and our buck has stripes on his sides, and maybe we could end up with one that looked like that anyway.

So, I was really excited to discover that the baby goat near Mercedes looked very similar to the one that I had been interested in.  And?  Was it a girl??  (If Mercedes had a girl we were planning to keep it anyway.)  I checked.  Nope.  It was a buckling.  Too bad. 

Mercedes had been really big, so I was surprised that she only had one kid.  I decided to check the barn and found...

Another one! 

And in another corner, there was another baby goat!

Our best goat gave us triplets!  Awesome.  Hopefully not all boys?  I checked.  Both of the brown kids are girls!  Way to go, Mercedes!

Our buck this year ("Tank") comes from champion lines of dairy goats, and Mercedes comes from pretty good lines too, so it's great that she had triplets--and it's even more great that two are girls--because they will almost certainly be very, very good dairy goats.  It will be exciting to see how they turn out.

Breeding to improve our herd is so much more exciting than just breeding goats to continue getting milk!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Little Trips! (Duchesne and Idaho)

Duchesne and Roosevelt!

A couple weekends ago, Jeff and I celebrated our second anniversary with a little trip out of town.  Jeff proposed Duchesne as a destination because he felt like he had a good idea of what most of Utah’s regions are like, but not Duchesne. 

I have actually been to Duchesne many times (to visit relatives), but I think the last visit was 13-15 years ago.  My memories of Duchesne were:
-       I think there’s a lot of dirt out there.
-       The church is up the hill.
-       There was a dirt ditch near my cousins’ house and they had put a rope swing on one of the trees.
-       My cousins had a cat.

That was about it.  So, we were excited to see Duchesne.

As we left home, I started looking online to find somewhere to stay that night.  Pretty much all of the hotels/motels in the region had truly awful reviews: “I do not think you could pay me enough to stay there again.” “I left at 2 am because I could not sleep comfortably there.” “The swimming pool was filled with dirt and had a massive tree planted in the middle.”  “This place was a close choice above simply sleeping in my car.”

It was really amazing, because the places didn’t have mixed reviews, or just one review—they each had 4 or 5 terrible one-star reviews, written by different people between 2008 and 2012. 

So, we ended up staying in Roosevelt, a town about 30 miles from Duchesne.  We paid $100 to stay at a pretty run-down motel that had mediocre reviews.  Apparently, hotels/motels are a booming business out there (in the middle of nowhere!) because of oil drilling in the Vernal area.  Our room included very slow WiFi, which we appreciated, because our smartphones were not smart out there—they were on the extended network, and we had no 3G or 4G, and no navigation available. 

Saturday night Jeff and I decided to go bowling.  It was a lot of fun!  The bowling alley was fantastic.  They had signs up that looked really official, but seemed like they would be tough to enforce.  Outside, a sign warned that if you were caught skateboarding, rollerblading, or on a bike within 50 feet of the building there would be a $25 fine and the item would be confiscated.  Really??  The bowling alley had a huge (empty!) parking lot, so I don’t know why it would even matter very much…but say they caught someone on their bike within 50 feet of the building.  How do they confiscate the bike?  How do they get the kid to cough up the $25 fine?  What do they do with the bike after it is confiscated?  Do they talk to the kid’s mom when they see her next, since it’s such a small town that everyone must know everyone?  Then, inside, there was a sign that said there would be a $1 fine for each time someone was caught sitting on the arcade games or pool tables.  That seems slightly easier to enforce.  But do people cooperate with that?  Do they pay it?  If people don’t pay, do they get kicked out of the bowling alley?  I’m so curious!

Anyhow, the bowling alley was excellent.  Jeff and I went bowling one time back when we were dating, but this was our first time bowling since then.  Jeff is actually a decent bowler.  I am very bad at bowling, but I still enjoy it.  Every time I go bowling, the same thing happens:  I bowl a whole lot of gutter balls, which doesn’t bother me much at first, but then becomes a little frustrating.  Then, towards the end of the game, I remember that if I’ll just take a step to my left (and pretend that is the center of the lane) my games go much, much better--I even get strikes. 

The next morning—Sunday morning—my cousin happened to be speaking in church.  (He was going to leave on his mission that week.)  So, we went to hear him speak in Duchesne.  Finding the church was an adventure because our phones still didn’t have maps or navigation.  We did eventually find it, and we were even on time. 

We had thoughts of hiking after church…but it didn’t seem like there was really anywhere good to hike.  So, we just went back home instead.  It ended up being a shorter trip than we had planned.  It was a nice weekend, though.  

[We always read when we go on trips; our book for this trip was Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.  We're not quite done with it yet, but we've really enjoyed it so far.]


This weekend, my sister Tracy graduated from college!  She originally started attending BYU – Idaho when she first graduated from high school.  Then, she got married, and moved around, and she finished her degree by taking online classes (still through BYU-I). 

So, Tracy (and her husband, and her son) drove up from Arizona for the graduation.  My parents both flew up for the graduation, and on Friday we all drove up to Idaho (in two cars). 

The day that my dad flew up to Utah, he also had the “magical” idea that it would be fun to print t-shirts for all of us to wear to Tracy’s graduation.  So, that morning he printed shirts for everyone that said “GOOD JOB TRACY! YOU DID IT!  WE [heart] YOU” to surprise Tracy.  The graduation was Sunday-dress, so we just put the t-shirts on over our nicer clothes.

When my sisters and my mom and I were getting ready to go to the graduation, we had kind of a funny moment.  My mom kept debating whether she should wear a gray dress or something else she had brought that was more spring-colored.  She put the gray dress on.  Then as my sisters and I were getting ready, Sarah noticed that the three of us girls were all wearing similar teal/turquoise colors.  My mom decided she would change into her spring-colored option, and we were like, “Oh, you look fine.”  And Mom was like, “No, you’ve got to see this…” and she got out her other option, and she had brought something that matched us too!  We looked like we were dressed for a family picture, or something, totally coordinated, and all by chance!

The graduation was successful: Tracy walked across the stage that night and received her diploma cover.  (They asked everybody to not clap until the end, which we thought was kind of dumb for a graduation, but whatever.)  We took some pictures, which came out kind of funny because we’re amateurs and we don’t pay attention to things like lights above us.

Then, after Tracy’s graduation, we went out for dinner, went to bed veerrrry late, and came home the next day. 

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Nursery Update #2 - Painting (with Milk Paint)!

Last week I finished painting the nursery!

As I had planned, I used Milk Paint's "Safe Paint".  It came out really well, I think.

At first it seemed like kind of an intimidating project because I was going to have to mix the paint myself, and I'd never done that before.

Our regular mixer was totally adequate for mixing the paint up.  I mixed it up usually about a quart of paint at a time.  It doesn't last well after it's mixed, so you're only supposed to mix the amount you're actually going to use.

The people at Milk Paint told me I should expect to need two coats: the first acts as a primer, and the second coat provides complete coverage.  So, I scrubbed all of the walls, and then I primed all of them.  I finished the white walls first, just because that seemed like the easier part.  Then I put up some painters' tape and prepared to paint the accent wall!

With Milk Paint, there are only twenty colors you can choose from, and none of the color choices are pink.  Instead, they suggested I order one of two red colors: "Salem Red" or "Salmon".  Then, I could add some of the red powder to my white paint powder, and mix it up to make my own pink.  (If I wanted an orange-ier pink, I should choose Salmon, they said.)  So, I ordered Salem Red, and hoped that if I added it to white the result would be a "Little-Girl-Nursery Pink" color.

For the main background on the accent wall, I tried to create a very light pink.  (My ratio ended up being: 8 oz white powder, 1 tsp. salem red powder, 8 oz water.)  I thought it looked pretty nice.  So I went ahead and painted the accent wall.  After I painted it, it occurred to me that it looked kind of like Pepto Bismol pink, so I asked Jeff if he thought that was a problem.  (Nope!)  Fortunately, it dried into a slightly different color.  After two coats, the wall looked great.

My plan had been to use a stencil on the accent wall, and after the light pink dried, I decided I should stick to the plan instead of leaving it plain pink.  One of the nurseries that had kind of inspired me had a dark pink wall with a white damask stencil that covered the whole accent wall.  It looked a lot like wallpaper, but the girl explained that she had stenciled it, and I thought that was pretty interesting.  So, I found Cutting Edge Stencils online and debated which pattern I wanted to put on the wall.  Eventually, I decided to do polka dots.  (Keep it simple.)

So, I ordered the small polka dot stencil.  While I listened to General Conference talks last weekend, I mixed up a darker pink, and I used a (smaller) foam roller to put dots all over the accent wall.  It was so exciting to see my progress.  Suddenly, the ugly 1970's beach room had been transformed into a modern little girl nursery, and that just seemed wonderful to me.

I think it turned out beautiful!

For a little review of Milk Paint: I would probably use it again, although it did turn out a little different than I had thought it would.
1. The paint is quite flat, which seems like not the best choice for a baby's room, since I think little kids get stuff on walls.  Optionally I could have purchased an acrylic finish to paint on top, but when I was ordering I didn't want to spend another $50/gallon beyond what I was already paying. 
2. Especially on the accent wall, the paint formed tiny cracks as it dried.  It is only noticeable if you look very closely, and it is very uniform, so it seems like it could have been intentional.  Based on the instructions, I think this is a result of the milk paint kind of somehow reacting to the old paint, and pulling in different directions as it dried?  (Or something?)  I'm not sure why it was a problem primarily on the accent wall, though.  It wasn't what I wanted it to look like, but it doesn't really matter.  The baby won't care.
3. On the walls adjacent to the accent wall, where I had put painters' tape (especially the kind that is supposed to keep paint lines totally sharp), when I removed the tape it pulled up a bunch of my white Milk Paint. Maybe I needed to use delicate painters' tape, but I didn't know.  So, it was a bit of a pain to touch up.
4. Milk Paint was very easy to mix up and the "recipe" for mixing paint seemed fairly forgiving.  I used a calibrated mixing container so that my measurements were close, but I'm sure there was some variation especially among the many batches of white, and it really didn't matter.
5. Milk Paint was very easy to clean up.  I didn't even bother to put plastic down.  The room has a fake wood floor, so once I was done painting, I just used a wet washcloth to wipe the floor all the way around the room.  The few drops that had gotten on the floor washed off easily.
6. The Milk Paint really didn't smell at all.  It had a slight milky odor while it was wet, but definitely no chemical smell. After it dried, it didn't smell like anything at all.

To finish the nursery, I think I will...
- Set up the crib.
- Make a curtain to hang in front of the closet, since the closet has no doors and it has not-baby stuff in it.
- Make curtains for the window?
- Finish the fairy tale paintings.  (They've been on hold during the room painting project.)
- ???  Not sure what else.  I would love to do something with the baby's name, to really personalize her room.  Of course, it's hard to do that without picking a name!
(- Do NINE MILLION other crafty projects in my free time that I wish I had: make a mobile! make a button monogram thingie!  sew a pillow or stuffed something from a fairy tale!  re-upholster the glider! etc, etc, etc)

At a minimum, we should probably at least set up the crib.