3.28.2015

Honey Timeline

just a few jars. I pulled almost 20 lbs/honey from the one hive. and left three full  frames in for them.


Someone asked me the other day it didn't seem that long for me to have gotten so much honey. Got me thinking on when I first started.

August 2013  Went to the S. Florida Bee College and spent 3 days learning about bees. As well as the Small Farms Conference where I had taken a class that started the interest. (The thought to keep bees had been swimming around for years).

September 7 2013 Went to hear Michael Bush speak and he sealed it for me. I can do this. I wasn't so sure leaving the Bee College courses. I just liked what he had to say. I go to his site for most questions.

October 5 2013 Kayla brought me a swarm she had found. I still have that lovely docile hive. She started it. I would likely still be waffling if she hadn't shown up with a hive for me.

November 9 2013 Picked up a nuc from a beekeeper in Delray. All beeks say must have more then one to compare and work and learn from. But the commercial keep wasn't arriving. So i was getting ancy.

November 11, 2013 2 boxes arrived from a commercial beekeeper. 

And that is how it started.... 4 boxes. Almost 2 years. Not without some bumps in the learning curve. I have learned i have a knack for it. I don't mind rank bees. I like (no LOVE) seeing them in the yard every morning. I commune with them daily. I know their moods. I'm respectful and mostly leave them alone. I've been stung 4 times in 2 years. Thats not 4 episodes but literally just 4 stings. Each my fault. 3 times on the fingers trying to move frames around. Once on the lip. I think we 'bumped' into each other.

I've also lost some. Split some. Swarmed some. And learned even more from these experiences. One box just up and left (absconded) and literally left the boxes clean as a whistle. That was the split i messed that up royally.  It happened while i was in the hospital for 10 days. PooF! So sad. Amazing though how the hive was cleaned.

I have put zero into the hive in terms of beetle, varroa etc. management. I do see beetles, periodically. I did have to change out the commercial keeps hive he gave me wax moth. And dealing with it. 

I've one episode I'd rather not repeat, but it involved a queen less hive. And that prompted help from beeks from above. But that experience was invaluable.

Since I was down to 2 hives friends brought me a split this past December. While not totally back on my feet from surgery what a nice little christmas surprise. 

My thoughts on the bees are with the goats, if you're in it for the long haul, what's the rush? I say this all the time to new potential goat owners. I'm not in any rush with the bees. Nor pulling honey out too soon. One wasn't established. One was weak from moths. One was doing so great had to split and so on... Each time, maybe pulling a frame or two just to play. 

Last week really was my first ever pull. So, really it was a long time coming. And Then it got rainy, cold front moved in, with 70 MPH type winds and i'm itching to go back out and see what the other two hives are doing.

I also know that I still know absolutely nothing about bees. I read and read, and the more I experience realize this is truly a life long pursuit. I can learn about how to trim a hoof, read lots on it. Trim hooves and then feel mastery in a very short time. Bees are not like that. And as slow as I go? Isn't there a saying ... ' the more i learn, the less i know'.... feels that way with bees.

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



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