Our new house has LOTS of land in the backyard. Not so much grass to mow, but a mature forested landscape with lots of Georgia pines, carefully chosen shade plants as well as a horrible, poison ivy infested area. With two small kids that want to run around with friends in the backyard, I’m terrified that they will venture into this snake pit of doom and come out with skin rashes and thorn pricks. In fact, those are the same reasons I don’t want to tackle it myself. It’s a hire-out job, as far as I’m concerned, because how in the heck would you start that process??
Lucky, for me, during a pregnancy insomnia midnight moment, I stumbled across a company that rented out goats to eat foliage. Yup. Goats come to live at your house for a few days and eat your backyard. They even fertilize as they go… I was super excited about this. We had to get goats. Because… well, FUN and cute and more cute. It turns out, after contacting Mary of Goat Land Clearing, I learned goats were 30-50% cheaper than hiring a dude with machinery to do the same job. (Like I needed more reason to do this!). I quickly pitched the idea to Chase, who was all about it. He started telling his friends about the goat boarding and even wanted to start a goat-watching cocktail hour the day they arrived!
The day Mary pulled up with a trailer was an exciting one. We hired a family of four goats to eat the forested area. Mary set up an electric fence with a solar panel to curb the goats into eating a restricted area of forest and to stay away from plants we wanted to keep. Of course, there were some plants in the forest that goats won’t eat naturally, but that could be handled later by
me and Chase. 🙂 As we tried to lead the goats from the trailer into our backyard, Red was squealing and jumping for joy, which of course didn’t help calm the goats, so when one darted away from Mary, they all followed… and started eating our neighbor’s tree. oops. A quick five minutes later and the goats were corralled into our backyard, being led to the electric fence area and grazing. Thanks to our friends Ashley and Helen for helping corral them!
Chase took a BUNCH of photos of the yard – nearly one every day from the same angle so we could see the goat’s process. I was really shocked when I started looking back at the photos – those goats were really clearing the land! Check out the below graphic to see the before, during and after. I’m impressed!
And aren’t they adorable? The four goats were really very quiet, only bleating in the morning, and to be honest, the cicadas were louder than they were. Neighbors lined the fences, giving them pets, treats and plenty of attention. I’m just thankful they were happy to see them and not crabby that we hired livestock to clam up the backyard for a week. (We made sure to leave them mailbox notes about what we were doing beforehand and check with our HOA!)
Red freaking LOVED the goats. He called them by name, checked on them twice a day with Daddy (and lots of bug spray) and was very sad when they had to go home. Since the growing season is still upon us, we might have one or two re-visit before the winter comes to chomp down any remaining growth before we lay down landscaping fabric and pine straw for the winter. We eventually want to turn the area into a pretty fire pit and entertaining area. Bi-annual burns (safely, of course!) and s’mores for the win! Would you ever consider hiring a company that did goat land clearing? It’s certainly greener, cuter and cheaper than alternatives. If you call Mary at Goat Land Clearing, let her know we sent you. I’m writing about our process because we LOVED it – thanks, Mary!