Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Good Shepherd

Gregg and I love to walk for exercise. Running is not an option for him due to problems with his back, so we walk instead. We like to explore new places, yet we have favorite routes which we like to repeat. This summer, his employer is offering an incentive to walk a certain distance each day, so we are going to have fun trying to "beat" that number.
After dinner last night, we went to one of our preferred spots and found that the city of Bainbridge Island is utilizing a natural means for dealing with the encroachment of pernicious ivy in this park: they brought in a goatherd and his flock of goats.

This man parks his huge trailer in the lot, and camps there with his dog and herd until the job is done. Let me tell you, those goats are dedicated workers (eaters). When they have stripped one area, he moves the flock (and the portable electric fencing which protects them) to another section of the park.

It is amazing to see them strip the undergrowth. We saw goats climbing trees, butting each other, standing on stumps and fallen trees, eating bark and branches and navigating slopes so steep that it looked as if they would certainly topple over. They are sure-footed, efficient, comical, and noisy.
We stopped to ask questions of the goatherd, and learned a bit about his work. His business is called "Healing Hooves Vegetation Management." It is an alternative to chemical weed-killer - a natural, organic use of a resource in a way that illustrates the old saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." It reminded me of a favorite psalm.

"The Lord the Shepherd" (Psalm 23)
"The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need [will lack nothing].   
He lets me rest [makes me lie down] in green pastures. 
He leads me to calm [quiet] water. 
He gives me new strength [renews my soul]. 
He leads me on paths that are right [righteous; or straight] for the good [sake] of his name [reputation].  
Even if I walk through a very dark valley [or the shadow of death], I will not be afraid [fear no evil], because you are with me.  
Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.  
You prepare a meal [table] for me in front [the presence] of my enemies. 
You pour oil of blessing on my head [anoint my head with oil;oil was a means of refreshment in a hot, dry environment];  
you fill my cup to overflowing [make my cup overflow; a cup of blessing].   
Surely your goodness and love [loyalty; mercy] will be with [pursue; follow] me all my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever [for length of days]."
Sunset over the calm waters of Rich Passage


Elizabeth said...

Gosh, I love this! I know that if I told Oliver about it, he would decide that he wanted to be a goatherd guy when he grows up!

Karen said...

Creative and totally organic solution. Hoping my Good Shepherd takes such care of the invasive weeds in my heart!

AnnDeO said...

I love this.

I have met some lovely ladies in my new adventure. One in particular I would love to connect with you. She lost her 14 year old son in a car accident and is just the most joyful, incredible lady.

Another is a young girl experiencing rare cancers who is an acquaintance of a friends children. She is quite the little fighter and I think you would be interested in her blog. http://www.prayersforrachel.com/

Busy Bee Suz said...

I think that is the coolest idea ever....very 'green' and that makes me happy!!!!
What a great business this man has!
It does remind me though that goats are very good workers. A few years ago a small herd (about 7) of goats escaped a yard in our area and came into mine. I wasn't home, but the sherrifs dept found them eating my beautiful grass and flowers....they were able to get them home safely.