Thursday, August 13, 2009

From "The Good Stuff Going on We Ought to Know About Department": THE GOAT PATROL ...

We used to have two goats when I lived in Mukilteo, about twenty miles north of Seattle. We lived in a place called 'Smuggler's Gulch.' The acre of land we perched on (oh, oh ... is there a pattern to my choices, unconscious until this moment?) was high bank land overlooking the Northern Pacific railroad tracks and just beyond the big broad Puget Sound stretched north and south. Across the Sound was Whidbey Island. The goats "Rainer" (the white and black one) and "Rasputin" (the dark black and brown haired, kinda stinky guy) were my son's. The goats were penned along the hill-side sharing the land with our pot-bellied pig Kalua. I hadn't thought of the goats for a while and then the other day a story out of North Carolina caught my attention. Wow, some good things are being dreamed up in North Carolina. First there was Leslie's Donkey Dreaming and then this ...

Why Goats?

  • Goats love to eat, and they do so 8-12 hours a day.
  • Goats are browsers by nature and prefer to nibble on a wide variety of plants.
  • Goats are quiet and won't disturb your neighbors.
  • Goats don't burn fossil fuels, and their only emissions are natural fertilizers.
  • Goats are non-toxic and pose no threat to the water supply
  • Watching goats eat is an excellent form of meditation

THE GOAT PATROL ... definitely something we ought to know about!

"Goat Patrol is an environmentally sustainable landscape management business owned and operated by Alix Bowman. Ms. Bowman focused on entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business with the goal of starting a sustainable business."
-from the website The Goat Patrol

I read through the website and all the while I thought about Rainier and Rasputin grazing the hillside down to the nubs, while our pig Kalua rooted around them. As my son reminded me when we chatted this morning talking about the goats, "They'll eat everything!" And that's the thing that made reading about The Goat Patrol such a kick. Ms. Bowman targets and managed the area in need of 'weed whacking.' She supplies the flexible fencing to keep the goats where they are wanted as munchers and has a goat-herder on site to keep watch on the munching machines. The website is easy to use, friendly, and a visitor to the site whether potential customer or lurker will learn a lot. There's a tab on the site where the individual goats are named and personalized.

This is the sort of action that makes me smile. There are smart, resourceful, earth-wise folks doing wonderful things and we need to know about them! The organization Beyond Pesticides held a recent conference in the town near The Goat Patrol and that in itself is another bit of the wonderful-things-we-out-to-know about. Between donkeys and goats the whirl could become a lot less complicated again. It takes time to become less complicated, like Leslie (of the donkey dream!) said "It takes time to learn how to do things simple." She's right and maybe that's just a great way to spend the time we have.
Got weeds. Don't spray ... get goats~

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