Deb Lakowicz-Dramby loves goats. At Willowsford, where Dramby works, the new multi-village community in Loudoun County is over 4,000 acres and includes a farm.
From feeding goats to planting tomatoes to setting up the Farm Stand and marketing the whole operation, Dramby does a bit of everything. But mostly, she loves taking pictures of and snuggling with goats. —Stefanie Gans
6:36 A.M. Snooze button.
7:45 A.M. Quick [oil] pull while I walk the house dog. Don’t worry—I still brush my teeth.
8:51 A.M. [In the] “broiler room”/soon-to-be upstairs barn office. The chicks need to be very warm until they are older and go on pasture. We just got the upstairs insulated so between that and heat lamps they are happy babies. All these chickens are broilers, so, for meat. Processing in a few weeks.
9:41 A.M. [The goats] are good—happy to see the sunshine and lobbying for a little grain too. Which I will give them because it was a cold night (they metabolize faster in the cold).
9:46 A.M. My grandmother once asked me if my job is taking pictures of goats. I said, “right now it’s a hobby but someday…” That was four years ago ;-) Our goats are dairy breeds—which are very sociable and great with people—but boys. Since they were our first farm animals and we are still learning about the sustainability and efficacy of prescribed grazing, it seemed like a good idea to keep costs down (male dairy goat—not too valuable). They are for eating invasive and problem vegetation. But they have also sort of become farm mascots.
[They’ve also] inspired a series of children books my friend Christie Balch started writing and one of our CSA members (also a resident) is illustrating. We have a few friends semi-sorta in the biz making suggestions and maybe connections. Fingers crossed!
9:48 a.m. My niece named Sparkleworks after a vintage My Little Pony. He is pretty shy and mild mannered. Closest friend is Spot. Kids in the neighborhood call him Jar Jar Binks.
9:56 A.m. This is Spot. Smartest goat. Flies under our radar and lets the other goats shove over a little grain while he gets all the hay to himself.
This is Gus. Got his name from Augustus Gloop (from “Willy Wonka”) cause he has a tendency to over eat and get bloated. And he sometimes makes pig noises when he eats. So we say, “Pace yourself Augustus” like the mom in the ’70s version of the movie.
10:02 A.m. Bruce, who is in almost all my profile pics, is my #1 (but don’t tell the other goats!). I’ve only had him for just over a year but instantly felt like we’d known each other our whole life. Everyone in the Willowsford community that interacts with the farm knows him.
10:06 A.m. This is Mister. Mister Mischief. Mister Loudmouth. Don’t you dare do that, Mister!
10:09 A.M. Quick check in the greenhouse and as always, our awesome Asst Farm Manager is keeping all the babies [plants] hydrated. And in this particular moment, giving them some organic fish fertilizer too.
10:20 A.M. Email time… Grazing goat inquiries in… I need to get estimates out! Folks rent the goats to clear unwanted vegetation without the use of chemicals or very expensive manpower. And another fridge and freezer for the farm stand, and orders in to all our neighbor farmers: Heritage Hollow for beef and pork, New Asbury for lamb, cheese and more cheese, Trickling Springs milk and ice cream… Not enough hours in the day!
11:06 A.M. Veggies will be for sale at our Farm Stand (on Founders Drive in Ashburn). Although many of them are already sold as CSA shares.
Also, there is one (soon two) demonstration kitchen on the Willowsford property where the Culinary Director Chef Bonnie Moore offers cooking classes for residents with our produce. That is actually one of my favorite job duties—getting her orders together and delivered to the kitchen.
We dedicate Thursday evenings, 4-7pm, to having volunteer help. We call it Happy Gardening Hours and give it three hours in hopes folks can work in an hour after work or before or after dinner. We usually host a few groups throughout the year too for big jobs like digging potatoes or garlic planting or harvesting.
Working lunch with the boss so … may pick up some sandwiches but may also just hold tight til we cut up the strawberry rhubarb pie a crew member made :-) Got to talk about the new point of sale system for the Farm Stand.
1:45 P.m. Still meeting. Also about a mower we need, how to better use our market space, fridges and freezers.
3:28 P.M. Came back to live plant delivery so gotta get those babies out of boxes ASAP.
4:06 P.M. Potting tomatoes we started from seeds last month.
5:17 P.M. As always, taking a goat snuggle break from volunteer hours :-)
Made it home to Hamilton just in time for a sunset frolic in the neighbors’ corn field with the pup [Jack]. Making dinner now. Spinach (ours) and not sure what else yet. Something with bread!
8:11 P.M. Wait… Do people do things after work other than eat, shower and sleep? Lol. #farmlife. And catch up in email again? Looks like we are going to work with Sweet Farm Sauerkrauts this year. Stocking their stuff at the Farm Stand.
8:13 P.M. And there is a farm dog too, Bella. Not sure I sent any pics of her. She and her sister cat, Radish, also had a heartier breakfast (and probably dinner) then I’ve gotten around to today.
Yikes it has gotten late! I gotta shower (tick check!) and consider getting to bed.
9:44 P.M. Reading… Probably won’t get through many pages but I’m still savoring “Pathways to Bliss,” by Joseph Campbell. A friend’s recommendation that I am so grateful for.
Edited for style and readability. Darn auto-correct.