Hope the holiday season has been treating you well, and best wishes for a happy (and safe!) New Year!
While I had a free moment (i.e. before the rest of the family wakes up and the 4-legged critters start threatening to mutiny outside), I just wanted to send out an update on how things are going over at our place...
We had the unfortunate luck to be forced to fire our first contractor...I won't go into the details, but needless to say we are happy to be free! We are still waiting to get the new contractor working on the barn - the holidays sort of ground everything to a halt...The nice thing (as far as stress levels and my sanity are concerned) is that the main level of the barn (which contains the stalls, etc.) are pretty much complete - so our kidding/foaling season can be conducted in our new barn this year! YAY! We have spent the past few weeks racing to get the fencing for the four new pastures completed (we have two done and one that is almost there), and Ryan has been working to construct a little kidding stall (within one of the stalls), so that our expectant goat mommies can give birth in the presence of other goats, but the other goats can't get in to disturb the mom/babies. Try to picture a wooden frame with farm fencing and a gate, which cuts one of our barn stalls in half. Anywho, it's going to be so nice to have a barn!!!!
We have 5 animals due to give birth every month between January and June/July, and possibly 6 (as I think we will be breeding Poit in Feb/March - for an August kidding date). We have three goats between the end of January and the first of March, and then two donkeys. I am excited, but nervous. I pray every day for safe and easy kiddings/foalings. But, just in case, Ryan and I have beefed up our veterinary supplies, and I have been reading up on baby positions, etc....I guess it's a good thing I have small hands, eh?
Ryan and I have decided to bite the bullet and pay the fee for a private linear appraisal for our nigerian dwarf goat herd in 2009. I really want to find out how our bucks rate (especially Suede Boots), and I think being able to talk to someone with a heck of a lot more knowledge would be a wonderful learning experience for both of us!
We have also decided that it's high time for us to invest the money and add and jack to our miniature donkey breeding program. We have four breedable jennets (and Frieda - who is sort of a question mark at the moment), and instead of paying thousands of dollars in stud fees a year (and yes, I am being literal!), Ryan and I decided it would be well worth it to buy a jack. We have one in mind already, and are just waiting for 2009 to hit (when we'll actually have money!). We are taking out a loan for about half the cost of the home remodel, and decided we'll probably just squirrel a little money into the "donkey fund."
The good news, speaking of loans/remodeling, is that I have found two wonderful resources to keep the cost of our very large undertaking down: craigslist and the Restore in Medford! I have been able to snag antique doors for $30, pedestal sinks for $30, tile for mere cents per square foot, antique tubs for almost nothing, etc.! I have been pretty stoked! :) So, here is the list of remodeling items:
(1) We are replacing every square foot of carpet with character-grade black walnut hardwood flooring - it will really look good with our bold color schemes and antique furniture
(2) We are tearing out our kitchen down to the studs, raising the ceiling, putting up a wall and new doorway to separate the dining room and the kitchen, and repairing some of the leaky pipes and faulty venting in that area as well. For those who have seen my 70's-decorating-nightmare-
(3) We are tearing out our two upstairs bathrooms and remodeling them - it was sort of a necessity, as the hall bathtub has a hole punched through it (which the idiotic previous owners had merely caulked over), and the master shower isn't even completely SEALED (you can see into the inside of the house), so it's got a wretched mold problem (which will be taken care of when the old shower comes out), as well as the fact that it isn't LEVEL (so trying to put down your soap on the shower ledge is always a battle of wills). I am refinishing an antique claw-foot tub, which will be put into the hall bathroom on a raised platform, and when we rip out the master shower, I am just going to tile that area and put in a base and a set of glass shower doors.
(4) We are COMPLETELY re-doing the basement: moving walls, putting in a bathroom and pantry, etc. We are basically creating a 2nd master suite (which will be for us - the "innkeepers"). I am attaching a scanned image of a hasty drawing I made, showing the general floor plan for the new basement.
That's the general scheme of things for the remodel.
I have also as of late purchased several pieces of beat-up antique furniture, which I have been patiently restoring and reupholstering. One is a couch (purchased from a VERY scary 40-year-old bachelor pad in Rogue River), which will go into my office in the barn (to sleep on during kidding/foaling season). I also have two wingback chairs and an ottoman on my to-do list...I purchased about 20 yards of Scottish-thistle-patterned
I have begun my front patio landscaping project: I have planted about 12 heirloom apple trees for a small orchard, and thanks to some good friends of ours (who have a small nursery, and generously donated about 20 native trees to us), I have been able to landscape around the house with some very pretty plants! I am going to put in some more roses and honeysuckle next spring, and then I'm calling that good enough for now!
Speaking of kidding season, I have also spent many many hours updating our website, so now all of our nigerian and donkey pedigrees are up on each animal's page, and the due dates are as accurate as I can make them. I have also put up a link to my photo album on flickr, so you can see images of the new barn, as well as what I have accomplished thus far in remodeling/redecorating. The big structural remodeling changes won't begin to occur until January, but I will keep my photo album updated with pictures of that! Our contractor said that it should take about 4 months to get everything done, so we will still be able to open up by May 1st and hit the summer tourist season. I am SO excited!! It feels like this past year we've been beating our heads against a wall, just waiting-waiting-waiting (for things to start; for things to stop going wrong). I am hoping that 2009 will prove to be much more productive and fruitful! We have had a lot of interest in our B&B, and I have even had people call and ask when we will be open so that they can come and stay...so I think (hope?) that even with the economy as it is, we will still be able to do fairly well. I have a feeling that people will want to stay with us due to the unique experience we'll offer.
Anywho, hope that you are doing well! It's off to chores now! :)