Time to cut the grass again? Lawn mower out of action? Borrow a
goat. Yes, a goat. Not as neat as a lawn mower, granted, but good
enough for me. Cuts and fertilizes at the same time. In one end,
out the other. ‘Cuts the grass and feeds the lawn.’
So borrow a goat or - even better - get your own.
We have three
goats ourselves and they do an excellent job of keeping the grass
down, although they can be a trifle indiscriminate at times. Mathilda,
Biff and Nettle - a Toggenburg and two Saanens.
The front garden
is well-fenced off and so that’s where we put them when the
grass needs cutting. They will eat everything of course, so first
we cover the bamboo, the clematis and the conifers with plastic
bin liners. They’re not very good at a light strimming of
course, big mouthfuls of grass from the centre of the lawn is more
their thing, not good at neat edges where the grass and the fence
line meet, but in general they do a good job. You could hang on
to their back legs and hold them up, I suppose, direct the head
sort of thing, but I don’t think this would really work, no,
no, not really, you’d need a sheep for that, more manageable,
smaller too, though hardly acceptable behaviour, is it?
But if you
do decide to go for the goat option, beware of Rhododendrons. Rhododendrons
are poisonous to goats. Nettle ate a Rhododendron once, four or
five mouthfuls before we realised what was going on. She survived
to tell the tale, mind, but when we opened the goat shed the following
morning we discovered the true meaning of liquid manure and projectile
vomiting. Not a pretty sight. Not nice for the other goats either.
But if you’re careful, no rhododendrons, cover your shrubs
with bin bags, then a goat will save you time and money in the long
run. A good investment, you see, for there’s no petrol required,
no servicing and no costly repair bills. Highly reliable too, and
certainly nothing that a journey in the back of the car to the local
vet won’t sort out. They’ll chew the car seats perhaps,
maybe even the hair off the top of your head, but they don’t
mind a car journey at all. Affectionate animals - environmentally
friendly to boot. And let’s not forget those wonderful goat
droppings for the compost heap.
Now while on
this theme of grass cutting, I’ve often wondered about those
houses with turf roofs - ‘Eco-houses’ (is that what
they’re called?). How would you get a goat up there? Sheep
are no good, are they? They’d fall off. No, it has to be a
goat, doesn’t it? But how would you get a goat on the roof
in the first place? Now there’s a mystery.