Happy as a Dancing Goat!
Free Range on Spring Farm Day
Several weeks ago, I got to have Free Range at Dancing Goat Farm in Tampa, FL with Pam Lunn for Spring Farm Day. When they first opened their doors that day, Pam introduced the volunteers and gave an informative talk about the latest happenings, how they are giving back to their community and volunteer opportunities. There was live music and Azteca Rojo was on hand for some great tamales. Best of all, we got to cuddle with some adorable baby goats. They were all cute, but hafta say Pandora was my favorite.
Now before you call or head on over with your 3 year old wanting to see the animals and pet the goats, be advised, that this is a working farm and NOT a petting zoo. Twice a year Pam Lunn and her crew, mostly volunteers, open the doors to the public. It’s a fun and informative way to get to see all that goes into running a farm. During that time the two-legged kids can play with the four-legged kids all they want.
Old Goats Retirement Dream
In the words of Goathe (hehe, couldn’t help myself) are true in everyday life...
“Tell me with whome you associate, and I will tell you who you are.”
~Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe
...then they are even more so true for an entrepreneurial organization that relies on volunteers. When I told Pam what an amazing organization she has and how impressed I was by their level of commitment, in particular the enthusiasm and sincerity of the teen volunteers, her response was, “Thank you! I am so blessed to have such wonderful people who want to be part of this farm! We would be nothing without them! As I tell people, we are all a team, I just come up with crazy ideas and steer the ship”.
Her “crazy ideas” are really a more humane way to farm. She said the goats are like her children. My new friend Pandora will be staying on the farm to eventually produce milk. As Steffi mentions in the video below, the milking goats are not overly freshened (impregnated so that they continue to produce milk) and most goats will have no more than three pregnancies in their lifetime.
The boys like the little guy I’m holding in the image at the end of this page, were only two weeks old when this photo was taken, will get sold off as pets (sometimes a teen in Future Farmers of America) or to breed in another herd because they are too closely related to other goats at DGF. But not as food.
All of the goats that are raised on the farm get a great retirement package of daily meals and lots of love. As Pam basically put it, the goats they milk have taken care of them all those years, she wants to take care of them in return.
Here is a video of Steffi Lynne, Pam’s right hand, who is in charge of Caprian mischief, milking and Chief goat’n nanny giving a milking demo while discussing the care of these creatures.
Giving Back to Her Community
You could feel the heartfelt sincerity when our conversation shifted to her outreach projects, “The community has been great to us.” Giving back to their community Dancing Goat Farm directly donates raw goat’s milk to the fosters at Pinellas County Animal Services. Lori Piper (an employee of Humane Society of Tampa Bay) organizes distribution to St. Francis Rescue League, Cat Depot, Cat Rescue of Sarasota, Big Cat Rescue as well as Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Last summer they donated a total of 200 gallons of milk to all of these rescues.
How YOU can Help
One of the coolest volunteer opportunities is to become a goat nanny. FREE Oxytocin Alert! All kidding aside, the cute cuddly factor is off the charts, but requires a serious commitment of 3 months.
When asked about ways that people can volunteer and support Dancing Goat Farm, Pam shared, “We always need cat help in summers - or donations of food and LITTER!!! For people who want to help and may not have the time, Lowes gift cards help us so much! The infrastructure of fencing is now 20 years old in parts and showing the age. We desperately need 1" x 6" x 8' or 16' rough cut lumber. Our posts are still mostly in good shape. When people have extra items from construction projects, we would love to have it. Always repairing and replacing pens, doors, etc.[sic] I am rewriting my volunteer guidelines to address each item where we need volunteers and adding in the Summer Kitty Team.” Dancing Goat is the farm extension of the National Humane Society. They help with rescued cats and kittens to be adopted, for those of you who would like to help out with the kittens this Summer.
Benefits of Goat’s Milk & Cheese
The Goats milk and eggs that are produced at Dancing Goat are unpasteurized. Florida is one of ten states that requires raw milk to be for pet and animal consumption only.
We’ll save the pasteurization debate for another day, for now I want to share some of the goodness to be found in goats milk and goats milk cheese.
The small chain fatty acids found in all dairy, but has the highest concentration in goat (and sheep’s) cheese help boost metabolism and are more antiviral that even my beloved coconut oil. I will geek out on how the tiny but mighty Butyric, Caproic and Caprylic fatty acids found in goat, sheep and cow’s milk/cheese destroy Virus and how research is showing possible neuroprotective and restorative benefits for those with of Parkinson’s and Alzhiemer’s in another post. Goat’s milk also has extremely low amounts of Estrogen compared to cow’s milk. This is significant for those who have prostate issues or estrogen-driven cancers.
Here are some easy recipes with goat cheese to try;
Where to Find Them
You can find Pam at the St. Petersburg Saturday morning market selling the fruits of her labor. Eggs, including duck and sometimes turkey and quail. Of course they have goat cheese, goat’s milk and Kefir as well as goats milk soap. These unpasteurized products are sold with the intent for pet and animal consumption. To stay abreast of all the happenings & volunteer opportunities at Dancing Goat Farms, check out their Facebook page.
Pam will joke that she was a corporate refugee and Dancing Goat is her mid-life crisis go awry, but it’s really more like a mid-life crisis gone Right!
THANK YOU to Pam and her amazing group of volunteers for their hospitality during Spring Farm Day!
Check out Pam’s episode on FarmHer she is in the top 3 running for favorite FarmHer episode, you can show her some love by voting for her at http://www.rfdtv.com/story/37871300/vote-for-your-favorite-farmher
Yours in Abundant Health & Happiness,
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DBA Five Rings Wellness & Shannon Reissman