Monday, August 12, 2013

Getting my goat

If you have an overgrown yard or lawn, you have a choice.  You can get out there with your lawn mower and your hoe and your scythe and your pick and your shovel and your rake and your sieve and spend days and weeks cleaning out the unwanted greenery.

Or, you can get a goat or two.  Or a whole lot of them; that's what I herd.

I am relentless with the bad jokes.

Baaaaad news for those who love to do the diggin' themselves.  Here's an article from CNN about the Historic Congressional Cemetery over in Washington, which is where many great people from the 1800s are enjoying their final rest.  The guy who cuts the grass there has a very important job: he has several hundred people under him.  There are military nabobs, judges, congressmen, two vice presidents and a Supreme Court justice in that hallowed ground.

And on that hallowed ground was many a weed and unwanted piece of shrubbery.  And poison ivy, the wolfsbane of many a person who goes out among the green stuff.

I was not surprised when I saw that the cure they found in DC was purely organic.  They brought in a few dozen goats, and they went to town, so to speak, gobblin' the weeds like Steven Seagal at a Golden Corral.  Goats will eat anything green,  and poison oak, ivy, sumac, whatever you're growing, does not bother them.

When I was a kid back in the distant past, my Opie-esque childhood kicked into high gear when our family moved to a Providence, MD.  The yard around the old homestead had been allowed to run to ruin for years.  At four, I was too young to get out there with a hoe (!) and it looked like my father was in for many a backbreaking day, until...the man across the street, who also had chickens and rabbits and a fish pond and other new friends, hooved and otherwise, came over with a couple of goats.  Tethered to the old walnut tree but given the run of the yard, they cleared things out in a jiffy.

Students of World War I history will recall that the White House staff had sheep tending their lawn during the war, freeing the gardening staff for other duties.  The sheep were shorn of their wool, which was auctioned off for the benefit of the Red Cross.

Animals at work - and all they ask is something to eat!

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