Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

Family members are always looking for ways to entertain themselves. Some of them recently inherited a bit of rural farm land in North Carolina.

When not working, they spent time at “the farm,” trying to maintain the grounds near the old farmhouse. In spite of their efforts, the vegetation in the backyard was gaining on them.

There was discussion about hiring a law crew when someone suggested it would be fun to hire a herd of goats to eat unwanted vegetation! No one in the family had any experience using goats for this purpose, but a decision was made to give it a try.

Time for the fun to begin. Goat owners were contacted about the feasibility of using some of their animals in the backyard. Invasive plants were removed and a temporary electric fence was installed at the site. The area to be covered and the extent of goat numbers needed were decided. An agreement was reached that 20-plus goats would probably take several weeks to clear 2 acres at an estimated cost somewhere between $200 to $3,000 dollars. Not being a part of this agreement, I cannot say for certain how much the project cost.

I can say that with the arrival of the goats came the fun time the family was looking for.

The goats were friendly and the youngsters petted them, gave them temporary names and watched as they chomped away on poison ivy, kudzu, and other unwanted vegetation.

The herd owner supplemented the animals’ food and made sure they had water on a daily basis. Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience, including the goats, who continually approached family members for affection. Undesirable vegetation soon disappeared and using goats instead of a regular lawn crew proved fun and productive.

Goat landscaping might be a profitable business, who knows but satisfied customers and herd owners.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each week in the weekend edition of this newspaper.