The Lonely Goatherd

I live in Seattle….not in a rural part of the city, but 10 minutes from downtown.  My neighborhood is great: A small burg of shops and restaurants, view of the lake, wonderful small, well-kept parks, an urban heaven.

Occasionally a dog barks, a cat howls, the usual sounds of fence-to-fence living.  But, this morning, the sound of goats filled the air.  Yes, that’s right.  Goats. Goat eats its way through hedge by florriebassingbourn

I followed the bleating, two blocks to the south, down a small street bordered on one side by a row of lakefront homes and, on the other side, an overgrown hill.  Covered with goats. 



One-Hundred Forty-eight to be exact.  Small, medium and large,

More goats...

More goats...

and all munching contentedly on the various vegetation, some of it thorn-clad, with the intensity of newborns suckling for the first time.

Across the street a tall man eaned against his car, chewing on a piece of straw like Farmer Brown.The Jolly Barnyard, Illustrations by Tibor Gergely, 1950- Farmer Brown by try-whistling-this

Your goats? I asked.

Yup, he said.  He pulled a card from his pocket and delivered it into my hand.  “Our goats are vegetation control specialists,” it read.  Indeed.

The man explained that the goats were rescue goatsGoat by opheliapo(resucued from what, I wondered…I didn’t want to know the details…), now employed as primary landscapers, so-to-speak.  They were moved in for 2-3 days, depending on the job and the weather.  It seems goats stop eating if they get rained on.  The goat trimming season must be erratic, I thought, given the nature of the wetaher in Seattle.  None-the-less, they ate away and in 2 days were gone…the hillside clean and ready to be tilled and planted.

The goats next gig?

On to the Museum of History and Industry

varanasi – goat eating poster by kay.tee  Industry, Indeed.


~ by rfgainey on October 17, 2008.

One Response to “The Lonely Goatherd”

  1. Not many people realize that during the early 20th century, “Rescue Goats” were highly prized.

    Each firehouse had its own goat and they were counted on to assist the firefighters in extricating hapless souls trapped by accidents in one of the new-fangled horseless carriages.

    That’s right, Rescue Goats, were the original “Jaws of Life.”

    This is also widely considered the source of the myth about goats’affinity for eating tin cans.

    …or not 🙂

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