Dogs by Laura J Sanborn (April 2007)
Okay, so I made my decision to terminate the Sulkie-Whinies because it's solving nothing and I'm getting on my own nerves. Getting on your own nerves is just never a good thing really!
SO, in light of being done with the S-W's I asked Nic to take Thursday off work, we rang Archicenter (for the 4th time!) and got the reports, signed papers for our lawyers, then talked to a buyers agent I found who is also an architect. If he can't negotiate it, then we'll have him source a place that suits what I'm looking for. As much as Nic loves this place and I could deal with it, it's not what I'm looking for. Last but not least finishing touches for Easter including bunny pj's for La! (Photos tonight!)
Instead I'm amusing myself by thinking of a name for the farm names. Half toying with the idea of something Herriot-ish, half toying with the idea of something French but mostly I'm loving the idea of calling it "Wits End". It's where I'm heading, we're more than half-way there already and it appeals to my sense of humor!
I *think* I've sussed out the places I want to do my livestock/sustainable farming/pasture managment and improvement stuff... I've been looking around for a few months now, churning the ideas over and forming up a plan of sorts. Since short of weather reports in hell taking a drastic turn towards the freezing and Nic deciding the BackOBurkes, Gippsland, 15-minutes-from-Woodend or Epping-and-keep-going (ironically both places I've found houses I like...) is a great idea... we'll be on -very- small acerage (yes this place is 5 acres but only 1 is usable) I'm know I'm going to have to have a very niche market to garner any profit and diversify to prevent the land from getting overtaxed and maintain profitablity in times when weather such may bring a poorer season. I want to stay profitable so I can justify staying at home with the kids (yes, plural, we're thinking we may start TTC#2 early/mid next year) and aim toward the market for organic, locally-grown produce sold under an environmental label. (Similar to what I said before but more specific.) I have a little bit of agriculture background because of where I grew up and because when I did my vet stuff at MSU, part of it included agricultural and livestock classes but they were pretty basic ones. The school itself is in Epping and looks quite reasonable, the course is a 2 year (or PT equiv) diploma course with focus on real life experience. Plus this place also has a sheep program with certs II-IV or a diploma in sheep/wool production if I wanted to go further in that arena. So I'm going to contact them to find out more and target starting for after we've moved and (if we've moved to the fixer-upper) after basic repairs have been done adn we're settled.
Likewise, I've also had a good chance to suss out a program I heard of that might be sort of kind of what I'm looking for with regards to training education. It's not a diploma program like the one I really want but could (possibly) be a stepping stone to further education in that direction. Need to find our more though because the idea is no more developed than "someone mentioned this and it sounded like it might not be completely redundant and a waste of time" atm.
Also sussed out several breeders I may end up buying my sheep from. I'd tossed around trying to decide which of the breeds I like to go with. All three are good for handspinning, good staple, micron count not too fine to handspin/too coarse to be against the skin and all are thrifty, good lambers and good mums, highly vigourous as lambs, good mobbing instincts, sound feet and no merino wrinkly skin to make sheering a "pro only" job. Since whatever place we get, we'll end up improving the pastures for a good while before we actually GET sheep, I figure I'm going to be attending several sheep shows and visiting those who breed/spin with them to decide ultimately which ones to get. This is actually turning into a nice little plan! So excited! ^_^
As an aside on Real Estate Dude... he is brassing me off! All along he'd pegged Nic as the easier to get to agree to things, chiefly because I ask lots (and lots) of pointed questions and insist on things like inspections and running the fine print by my legal advisor before signing anything.
Ex. with the electricity: there is no electricity on the property after a tree knocked it out a year or few back. We were told by RED they'd been arguing with the company about putting it underground which the elec co wants but is more expensive or not. This made it look as if they had a choice. I did a bit of light reading and lo and behold the electricity company says, "tough crap, it's not safe, you HAVE to have it underground" and they are contractually obligated to install it underground. So we make our offer contingent upon inspection and with the provision THEY install electricity. They agreed, then co-owner balks and says "I didn't know it was with us putting in electricity, we want more money!" Or at least, so says RED.
He called and told Nic he'd been talking with the people alllll day, arguing with them, the best he'd been able to get them to agree to was going in on halves. Nic heaved a sigh of relief and agreed without even asking me because he didn't think he had a choice. I rolled my eyes, restrained myself from indulging in the more colourful side of my vocabularly. Nic said, "But he told me he argued all day for us! He tried to get them to pay it themselves or lower the price!" I said, "Yeah. RIGHT. More likely he's saying that to make you think he's on your side and make you feel grateful for -only- paying half, when in fact he's just trying to bilk extra money out of you for something they are contractually obligated to pay. Just like our RE agent told you if our top bidder was just above the reserve, he was going to take them back, tell them they were just below reserve and squeeze a few more thousand out of them! He's a salesman, not your buddy! You can't take everything he says as truth! His job is to get them as much as he can, he'd be a lousy agent if he didn't!"
And not only did Nic agree without question to pay electricity, he was happy to agree to an open ended contract. I had a hissy fit - how could he agree to anything without talking to me... didn't he realize he wasn't obligated to agree to anything just because someone told him to etc. And as for the payment, "No WAY are we doing anything open ended! Suppose during digging they hit rock or the weather turns, we could end up paying thousands of dollars more! IF we do this, which I don't agree to...but as devils advocate, IF - we wait till they get written quotes from the digger and electrician AND it is drawn up as a seperate contract to the purchase contract so it doesn't incur stamp duty AND we only agree to pay half the amount on the mutually selected contractors estimate - if it goes over, they eat the cost, if it goes under, we pay half of real costs." (See, this is why they like dealing with him instead of me! LOL Open ended is much easier for them than dealing with my Cover-My-Ass stipulations!)
At any rate, I finally convinced Nic he was being played (it only took a month!) and knew RED was going to call Nic up and try to downplay the inspection situation. Shore 'nuff he called and tried to downplay the troubles, surely it couldn't be as bad as the little woman portrayed things etc. Nic, having finally cottoned on, said the reports begged to differ and stopped playing buddy-buddy with him. RED apparently got a bit shirty that Nic wasn't playing nicely into his hand.
I don't mind admitting I feel quite vindicated after foolish and wondering if I wasn't crazy because I was the only one with reservations, when everyone else was saying (even well intentionedly) "Don't worry so much, just go for it!" I was right about not trusting RED's "assessment" of what needed fixing. I *knew* they were hiding stuff! Nic was happy to go with it because surely RED wasn't hiding anything when he'd been so open about the stuff that needed fixing! I was right about there being serious issues hidden! Hoo boy, was I right! And I was right about it being far more expensive than we'd thought! If we'd payed $510K and then found out how much needed doing, we'd have been toast! Seriously, we'd have spent every last cent we had and been up to our eyes in loans for 30 years!