| TheUnion.com

Goats at Work-No Kidding

Hi everyone, Carl the goat guy here. I haven’t written for a long while because it has been such a busy year—relocating my barn, kidding out over 100 baby goats, getting them raised, setting up a new handling system, training my Border Collie, trying to get my home ranch fire safe. The time seems to fly and there are never enough hours in a day to get all the goat-related work done.

Goats enjoying the sunset.
Photo submitted by Cerissa Bell

The goats work at Lake Wildwood year-round. I had a group of yearlings up on the property at Minnow Way. Then we grazed the dam this spring with the main herd and their kids. We grazed from the Ddm all the way around to the old campground. It’s hard to believe, but that section of land covers over 50 acres in its entirety! Between the tree work that the Washington Ridge Fire crew did in the past and the goats targeted grazing, you have a very large fire break that protects both the LWA community and the sanitation plant. The goats did an amazing job and have nearly eradicated the star thistle that grew in swaths near the spillway.

While preparing cross-fence lines, I discovered an abandoned, hand-built, rock-walled ditch, most likely constructed as part of a gold mining operation. The ditch runs parallel to Moony Flat Road along the hill. It is over five ft. deep and at least 10 ft. wide, running several hundred feet in length. In addition to their work in fire prevention, the goats are turning into historians, uncovering our Gold Rush heritage in Nevada County.

We just got the goats off the dam project and back into the community a few weeks ago. They have been working along the 4th Fairway between Lake Wildwood Drive and Lake Forest Drive near the main entrance. Starting on their second year of clearing this area, two positive changes have been seen. First, there is half as much blackberry, brush, and other vegetation as last year. Secondly, residents have been clearing their properties all the way into the LWA property.

The reduction in vegetation, especially blackberry, is consistent with other work I have done in the community, and with my experience with other targeted grazing work. Each year the goats graze an area, they reduce the noxious, unmanageable plants. I’m also seeing more growth of ferns, water grasses, and native bunch grasses growing in areas that were overgrown with blackberry.

The other exciting thing to see is how the residents have rallied around the goats’ work and kept the vegetation pushed well beyond their property lines. Last year it was a real challenge trying to keep my fences on LWA property. So much of what was overgrown was just too much to fight back, but with the goats reducing the amount of vegetation, residents were given a fighting chance to control the brush growth and have really worked hard to make the area fire safe.

I finally have a new website up and running now, www.brushbustnboers.com, where I have all kinds of information about the goats, dogs, and work we do. Please visit the site and explore. Also, if you have any questions, click on the “Contact Carl” button, then click on the business email address. It will take you to a “General Inquires” form you can submit your question on.