Jojo Milano rises at 6:30. There are many mouths to feed – and many goats to milk. Fifteen goats are doing their best at waiting patiently for her. And 45 chickens, five ducks, four guinea hens, a pony, one pot-belly pig, a few dogs, and cats and one squirrel that believes he’s tame.
It’s just another morning at Jojo’s beautiful, sprawling 1.4 acres that feels like more out in Loxahatchee and as the sun peeks through the trees and the 10,000 bees start getting to work, Jojo opens the back door and calls out one name at a time: “No, Linny, I want Izzy, Izzy, your turn.” They’re excited, waiting for their name to be called and as soon as it is, their floppy ears perk up and they race through the open door, trotting through her house, past her parrot and into her garage where they jump up on the milk stand and bury their heads happily into the grain bin.
“Valentina. Linny. Desdemona. Izzy. Sable. Fern. Bella. Audra.” And sweet, sweet Delilah, her first and best milker, who started her on this crazy journey ten years ago when she bought her to keep her horse company.
Jojo sells milk, eggs, cheese, kefir, honey, soap and also her art - hand-drawn note cards and other beautiful art. Jojo’s raw dairy is sold under a pet food label – not for human consumption and she is particular about to whom sells. She is permitted to do so by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Despite the struggles of managing her farm, Jojo’s biggest concern is the urbanization of her somewhat rural area.
“Our area is changing, becoming more urban, developers are coming and ruining it all,” Jojo said. “This is my focus this year. I want people to understand that the more they develop out here the less welcoming small farms like mine will be. I see it starting. Just like in Davie (they) pushed out all the horse people who moved up here to get away from the 8 lane roads and urbanization of a somewhat rural area. Then comes paving the roads, city water, sewer, rules, zoning, code enforcement... and so on... This area is unique we need to cherish what it is now before its too late.”
Currently, there’s a four-day old goat that can’t keep his spindly legs from jumping up on her couch. He’s getting into everything, which means that Jojo’s about ready to turn him loose with the other baby goats that are a bit older. He’s ready to fend for himself when he’s tottering on the back of Jojo’s couch.
They finish the milking, the next goat is waiting excitedly on the back step. One by one, she works her way through her brood. It’s a peaceful morning, the milking goes on without a hitch and soon the goats are ambling around the yard again. They’re curious about the camera, they like to stick their noses up the lens and happily bleet.
Jojo’s done for the morning – she’s off to help out the goat tent at the South Florida Fair for the day. The goats are done too. The noise will resume later that night. But for now, they’re full and happy. And Jojo, well, she still has a long day ahead of her.
Goodness Gracious Acres: For more information, please call (561) 422-9906; www.goodnessgraciousacres.com