3.24.2015

evolution of a farm booth

I was looking at some old photos and started to see a trend of bigger to smaller. More to Less. Lots of product to little... and vice versa as the year unfolds. It never stays the same.  It might be because of the sheer enormity of time and space constraints, on what it takes to get to a market to sell my wares with what is going on at the farm. births. deaths. kids. I really don't think people truly understand how much work it is to go mobile, set up shop, work it, have items, and then break it all down at the end of the day.  In the beginning, all I had were a few eggs, some milk, and soap. As the years continue I've added, honey, kefir, art bags, wreaths, feta in jars, milking demonstrations, kids, chicks, hens,  etc.

This is how it started and has progressed in the last 5 years.....
I started out with one table, no shade, and brought a goat to keep me company. Note: bring doe's not bucklings as they pee on people too much. Pierce here should have been in a pen but he behaved on leash.




Then of course the booth would get bigger. I would bring animals to show off. And goats to milk. and the trailer to haul them in. And pens to set them up in... And I would bring hens and roosters. And would do my darndest to make him crow. He never did. But he loved to make a mess.


I like to go to events where I can set up right where parked. That is awesome. They do that up North. Not so much down here. Then you just pack up and leave, rather then haul in haul out. need a cart. drag. carry. Back breaking. Leave the coolers in the truck and you're golden.



I would have 5-6 hours of market time. So, i can't just milk one goat. I would bring 3 or 4 so that I could milk them once an hour. Educate. And show people just how cool it is to get fresh milk.



Sometimes my tables are just filled with stuff to sell. Sometimes not even my own. Books for sale that the author sent me. Soaps from friends. Honey. Wax.  You name it, I'll try to help friends out and sell it.



At times even co-sharing a tent with a fellow friend and soap maker. It rained this particular day and made things interesting. The last thing needed is water when selling soap. And if goats in tow? oh wow.... Where to put them when a down pour starts. One year luckily they had a car port and i needed some help but we made it to the carport before the lightening started. I lost all product that day.



It's difficult to move the goats for the day. They need water (their water from home yes, prima donnas) feed, hay, then all the milking equipment, and pails, buckets, hand sanitizers and clean up material for when the day is over and goat pellets are everywhere. They need shade, or another tent. Which entails more set up and weights for when its windy. The pen below is hog panels cut up and just clips keeping it in place.



If really lucky my neighbors come help me. Patty (pictured below). She is a grandma now. Guess what she likes to do on weekends.



If feeling a bit radical, I'll have milk and cheese tastings. Add to the list plates and disposal items.. But to get all that to a market -- needs coolers. Lots of them.  Heavy, bulky, filled with ice well packed milk so it would stay cold.



If there is no milk to bring then selling art cards, note cards, wreaths, hand bags, soap, honey, eggs. Things that are not as perishable as milk and cheese.



This is when the booth is at its best. When fresh eggs, cheese, kefir, honey, and milk are in bounty. And rarely all at the same time. Things change as the season and lactation and weather changes. Timing is critical and you can't always know what mother nature has in mind. The chickens went on strike last year right at the height of milk production. What the heck?



Each time I go to an event the booth changes. Love that ! Its go with the flow of what is available. Yes, a business but not one that has same product each time.





And of course... when I can bring kids the products in booth gets smaller. kids are just like the full size does, they need lots of stuff to take them off the farm for the day. Bottles, nipples. extra milk. coolers. feed. hay. Bringing kids bring lots of people to the booth. But harder to sell when you're making sure the kids are happy. note to self: have a #delilahsdairy sign for picture taking and tagging you later. I love to see photos that people took when visiting the booth.



This  of course is my favorite set up. Everything fits in one trunk. No milk or cheese to bring. Set up in 10 minutes. break down easy. and we're off. Of course, its also my favorite since its only 3 hours, at another farm, with good food and drink. #swanktable events. ( check them out www.swankspecialtyproduce.com)


Going to market is exhausting. Truly. Back breaking. It does take a full day to get the farm back in order. Me to recover.  Animals thrive on routine. Take them out of their element, and all sorts of things can happen. Milk production gets thrown off when you milk them middle of the day. Boy, can they get cranky, they are always milked at 8 am. Plus, the 2 or 3 days before an event,  you're washing and cleaning, trimming hooves, shaving udders,  so that people see the best representation of your animals. If they are sick you can't bring them, too thin? etc.  I sit there the morning of event, look over all and see who is happy, mad, looks awful, looks off, looks great, loving, not interested, cranky, then choose based on who gets along with whom, not all goats get along and in tight quarters? omygosh.

Yeah! this last photo is my favorite. :)


2.26.2015

Swanky!


Farm to table events are just awesome! They give the chefs the ability to showcase the farms produce. Farmers get their food in front of the customer. And I get to go to them as either a vendor, guest, or helper. I by far like being a vendor at these events best. I bring the kids and it's so funny to watch all these grownups acting like kids themselves. I also do the email blast and menu designs for each event. I love when I can take both my talent and my passion and put them together.

Here are some photos from the most recent Swank Table event. www.swankspecialtyproduc.com #swanktable.

Libby Volges is an amazing food photographer. Check out www.libbyvision.com

I've been invited back for the next event. I bring the kids and art, soap, etc. It's a fun evening. 
Come see me if you go to the next one Le Grande Aioli.







2.23.2015

Babies for Sale...

Kids!!!!


LOTS OF THEM!

Lots and lots of them were born. Starting January 15  and the last one born February 12. All healthy. Beautiful. Easy births. (<> relief always).  All testing my nerves and ready to be sold. We had 7 girls / 6 boys. Purebred Nubians. 1 purebred Lamancha. And some wombats. 

Wombat? 

I'm not sure where I heard them first called this. But it stuck. This is where the Lamancha female bred to the Nubian male. OR Lamancha male bred to the Nubian female. Still registrable with pedigree under 'Experimental'. And they can be shown in the Recorded grade classes at ADGA Dairy Goat Shows. Ok  so maybe Wombat isn't a good term. More like Lubians. Or Numancha. Either or these experimentals are going to be something! I guess the thinking is since they are an outcross you get the best of both breeds, more so then the worst.

a wombat

Wombat in action.

Gottta love the ears though!
 Can always find more photos on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/delilahsdairy



12.30.2014

I went to the Land fill today.

no photos today. nothing pleasant to show.

This isn't a subject many will enjoy reading, and I'm not going to sugar coat it either. I went to the Land fill today to bury / dump / dispose (pick your word)  a goat. Why? Various reasons... One of which was curiosity, the other cost.

When an animal dies what should you do? Bury it? Call a service to bury it? Have them remove it? Its a subject that sooner or later will come up. If you have a horse you really do need a plan. Or a backhoe and some serious logistics and land. or ability to get it on a trailer. Horses are huge and usually you might go thru this once in your life. And calling a service is particularly poignant at that time. But what about smaller animals- chickens, bunnies, small goats, burying in the backyard is doable (in certain parts of Palm Beach county it is allowed). What about when you have more then just a few animals?  The more you have, the more you have to deal with this.

Most of my adult life, I have driven the highway and passing these landfills, smelled them, sometimes for miles before ever seeing them,  but had never been to one. I'd never really understood it. Broward landfills from 20 years ago are now parks. There is one off of Davie and I-75. I wonder if the landfill off Sample is still there and what is it?  Today, I went to the one off Jog Road. Right next door, it was interesting to see Ironhorse Golf and Country club. I'm curious how million dollar homes enjoy the smell. And yes, it was pungent. A smell that lingered and one that took a few hours to get out of my nose. This is just one aspect of todays experience.

Roman was my oldest wether, a pet, he died, and I just couldn't afford to call the remover who normally does this for me. Burying him wasn't an option this time, plus I just could not take the chance of hurting my back again, or worse not totally healed from surgery and creating other issues. It was time I bucked up and learn the not so happy part of dead stock.  That saying comes to mind, "if you have livestock sooner or later you're going to have dead stock."  And well..... what are you going to do with it?

When you get into farming, for whatever reason, this needs to be addressed. What are you going to do with the animals that die. Thinking that they don't die, or have years to figure it out,  or that over time you can just keep burying them in the backyard, but lets be real, I'm on a bit more than an acre. If i only lose one animal a year that is 11 animals buried in the yard. And if doing this 20 years?

Living on a wetland canal, having my own well system, I wonder at times how OK that is. And just as I don't want to take any animal to a landfill, I worry for our ecosystem and how much my one acre plus can take.

Actually, the experience wasn't that bad. I would not recommend going unprepared for it. Or bringing the kiddos.  I went alone in case I freaked out or chickened out, arriving early this morning when its cooler. Everyone on the site was pleasurable, helpful, and nice. It's possible they saw the fear in my eyes or guilt. That guilt a pet owner has that we must bury our babies like we bury ourselves or cremate and get urns and hold onto them forever. I've done that. Again, with farming and time, that starts to add up. It's just not reality.

What you do is drive into the 'landfill' part of SWA which is obviously the giant hills everyone sees passing on the highway, with lots of birds flying around it. The stench starts a mile down the road, but interestingly, dissipated by the time I was right on top of it. Its not a nauseating smell. Just unpleasant and everywhere.

The lady at the weigh in station takes your money. Depending on how much weight you think you are dumping. She asked me for $5. Its $30 per ton.  So, right there in the inhumanity of it all the cost to dispose of one dead goat in the end cost $2.  Once the animal is off the truck they weigh truck again, total lost 60lbs. cost $2. I was so upset with what I had just done that I didn't want the change back.  But you must stop on the way out and get your receipt filed.

As I got to the area that said "Land fill 1",  a man directs you to either the right or left. And up you go. To the top. It was the worst part of the experience. I'm a flat land Florida girl. I  panic going over the Manuel bridge on 95 right outside of Vero. This was a steep incline with no safety rails. I see at the top huge dump trucks, if they made it up, so could I. The nice man at the bottom who I asked a million and one questions, promised me there was plenty of space up there to turn around. And there was.

What I wasn't expecting once up there were, it seemed, the thousands of birds flying around. And not just vultures, but all kinds. I even saw a few wood storks. You know, the ones on the endangered list. Its not nice up there. It's ugly. It's pretty gross. It smells. It's reality. I put my truck into 4WD and continued on to a space that was a bit open.  Away from anyone driving. And there lies Roman.  RIP sweet boy.

The best I could describe it is exactly what you see on tv. EXCEPT you are driving over refuse, and the ground was soft. Another immediate fear was I'd be stuck up there, all day, and would need to call a tow truck. My mind was wandering to other things except the task at hand. I didn't even shut the truck off. I got out. Opened the flat bed. Took the tarp and as gently as possible put him down. I had my boots on. I kicked as much fill and dirt around him as I could. Said goodbye, and then drove down the hill. It was bad but it wasn't bad.

I know he's is dead. I feel that his body is just a carcass. His soul has moved on. And by the looks of it he will be feeding a lot of hungry birds before they push some dirt over him. I'm not sure why we feel the need to respect the body up until the time it goes in the ground and the same thing happens. Devoured by creatures.

This wasn't anything i've ever experienced. It surely wasn't something I want to do again. But in the end, a possibility. When the remover is called you are paying him to do the exact same thing. And they charge $150. And now I know why. If you have the money to spend then that is something to do, avoiding the discomfort, shielding yourself from the experience. But, reality is some just don't have money like that to spend. and for me?  this cost, this goat, my back, the healing this is what I needed to do. I make no apologies for it, and know that if I am in this for the long haul, it is something that will need to be done again.

Farming is difficult. This is just one part of it. And sometimes it's ugly.

Also, I'm in an ever evolving urbanizing area, one day burying might not be an option any longer. The cost to have it done for me. vs. the cost to do it myself well you do the math....

The fact that I could do it proves a few things, as well. I needed to do this. It's done.

Goodness Gracious More...

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