Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Make way for goats

Posted by on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM

"Never grab a goat by its horns."

This was the advice my friend gave me one evening as we pulled up to a dusty hilltop in central Wyoming. With our mothers, we had stopped by after a day of sight-seeing to feed a handful of goats she was watching for a neighbor.

Her advice seemed obvious, but my friend had more of a knack of getting bit or kicked than endearing herself to animals. Nonetheless, she seemed to have learned her lesson, and went about her chores, hazard-free. I, meanwhile, patted the goats and took in the sights.

The sun was setting bright pink and brilliant behind the mountains, and the world felt deserted. This neighbor, a little old woman, lived up here with only her goats and her tiny home, which was stuffed with indoor plants and a baby grand piano.

I thought her spread looked fantastic. It was only a little, but it felt like a lot.

Ten years on, it doesn't hold the same allure now, but I still see myself living like that. And by way of her goats that we fed, and herded about — without touching their horns, of course — I've come to save a special little place in my heart for goats. Apart from my fond memories, goats, in my city-slicker perspective, seem like a good deal: They're cute and they eat weeds.

Goat_eating_teasel.jpg

Part_of_Herd.jpg

And that's what I'm writing about, a herd of about 2,000 which will be coming to Bear Creek Regional Park later this month to eat the weeds out of the park garden. They'll be here for about 10 to 14 days grazing, according to Karen Flitton Stith, a board member of the Bear Creek Garden Association, who writes, "We have to fit in between other, much larger jobs the herder does for the government and for businesses like Chevron (grazing oilfields)."

The goats not only benefit the 200 gardeners who use the park, she writes, but it also helps with fire mitigation and is a fun field trip for students.

This is an annual service, and something the nonprofit must pay for, so any help you can offer will go a long way toward the cause. Checks made out to Bear Creek Garden Association — Goat Fund can be sent to Bear Creek Garden Association, P.O. Box 38326, Colorado Springs, CO, 80937. Donations are tax-deductible.

For questions on the goats or gardening, call 473-5827.

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