[lit-ideas] Re: Mowing

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 08:10:40 -0800

On Nov 21, 2006, at 6:53 AM, Andy Amago wrote:
As far as the ecology is concerned, I do probably more than most people, but it's a lost cause. Simply by not eating meat I'm saving methane (cows
produce it, among other sources), as well as saving literally tens of
thousands of gallons of water that goes into each pound of meat production.

As America's one-time foremost historian of the lawn--I kid you not; I gave one talk on the subject and people sent me stuff for years--I feel qualified to advise you and some of the other "holier thans," who think that Mr. Budding's machine or a scythe is the only way to cut grass. Sheep, good folk, are the answer.

Lest you think I'm merely imagining things, let me assure you that one of my occasional tasks is to help an old lady with her grass-cutting sheep. She has a couple of acres and three Romneys. The task? When she's away, someone has to bring the sheep in at night, to avoid coyotes. Though stupid, sheep do know enough to realize that in the barn is where safety lies. Also additional food. You open in the barn door and in they trot. Chuck a handful of food in the dish and you're done. No ride-on mower, no push mower, no scythe.

Is this way out in the country? Not at all. Six minutes from downtown. But the family have owned the property a long time. My guess is that zoning laws would not currently permit such a solution in most places. Which is a shame, because it's a good solution. I once was considering such a solution for our garden, which has almost no lawn but which was overgrown with blackberries and ivy. My plan was to buy or rent small goats. The drawback to the plan was that anything in the rhododendron family kills goats and they're stupid enough to eat things that kill them.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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