Goats don’t make good gardeners


I am harboring delinquents. They come and go as they please.

I ground them, but they continue to sashay past any line I’ve drawn as if I haven’t even spoken. In fact, when I do raise my voice, they stare blankly at me as if they don’t understand English.

Worse is when they look at me as if they do understand what I’m saying, but their attitude is full on “you’re not the boss of me.”

I’m at the end of my rope with these kids. They are running amok.

Then they ate my hosta. Now, this is war.

Of course, I didn’t mean the human kids. They know better. Human children I can discipline. It’s these darned goats.


Billy and Gertie, both of indeterminate age but I feel like they are teenagers, have been with us for many years now.

They are living the good life here. They have acres of lush pasture with trees and foliage. They have two forms of shelter and daily feeding and watering. There is even a stream. They also enjoy the largesse of all unfinished produce and many breads and cookies too. Frankly, they are spoiled.

All was well for many years. They stayed in their fenced in area.

Then the deer crashed through the fence one too many times and Billy and Gertie got a taste of sweet freedom. Now their motto has become “don’t fence me in.”

I fully admit we run a pretty loose ship around here. The inmates generally are running the asylum. I don’t pretend that the cat doesn’t own us all. The dogs are beloved, and the goats, well the goats do whatever they want.

People have asked over the years what the goats are “for?”

For? They’re “for” my general amusement and decoration. They serve no real useful purpose. I just think they’re cute.


You know what else is cute? My hosta. I have no green thumb. I plant very little and kill most things that I do try to grow. Still, my mother lovingly transplanted three large hostas to our yard. Bless her heart. They bloomed full and frothy and I just love them.

It turns out that Billy and Gertie do too. Now instead of a charming array of greenery around the base of my carriage light, I have a charming array of green nubs. Also, on any given day, two very ornery goats.

As fast as we wrangle them back in, they get back out. They do it just so they can make a beeline for the hosta.

Billy looks at me with his grumpy little pygmy goat face as if to say “what are you going to do about it?”

The answer? Nothing. I’m going to do nothing. I don’t even have a good threat. How do you discipline a goat?

Goat proof

Leashes have been suggested but I fear they would tangle each other up.

We keep repairing the fence, of course, but nature is not to be trusted and deer seem to make sport out of crashing through and tearing it down.

I spend my days googling “goat proof greenery” and wondering why these two bad goats don’t work on trimming weeds and pruning shrubs and leave my foliage alone.

Last week this very paper published an informative article titled “why won’t my garden grow? 10 common plant problems.”

I can’t say for certain why your garden might not grow, but I know that two contrary goats are the reason for the problems in mine.


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