Cities and towns facing tight budgets have often
neglected their cemeteries, an oversight that has left many of them in
disrepair with broken fencing, crumbling gravestones, overgrown grass
and persistent weeds.
But this summer, the
Vermont town of Charlotte implemented a new strategy to both save money
and keep grass in the town's graveyards under control, and it's a
decidedly traditional way of doing it: Let goats and sheep do the work.
Brooks, who oversees two graveyards in town and smaller plots as
chairman of the town's Cemetery Commission, admits it's all rather
pastoral. He says it's also a financial necessity. "Depending
on the time of year, sheep and goats can chew a higher percentage or a
lower percentage of what needs to be chewed down in direct proportion to
how fast the grass is growing," Brooks says.
He figures these wandering animals — two goats
and two sheep rented from a local farmer — have reduced the need to mow
and fertilize, saving the town at least $2,000 in fuel costs this year.
power mowers, grazing goats and sheep were one method towns used to
keep the grass trimmed. In England, some towns still leave the work to
The move has proven popular
here with those who say it's good for the environment....