Ruth Maxant Schultz owns goats and has teamed up with the town to employ them to clear unwanted greenery across from the transfer station for the summer.
Last fall, Schultz proposed the idea to Mark Wetzel, director of the Department of Public Works. She had been reading articles about how the government was using goats to clean up federal land and thought her goats could provide similar services.
“I kept sending him (Wetzel) links and articles about the goats,” Schultz said. “He was very appreciative and receptive when I mentioned the goats and having them clean up the transfer station.”
The goats started working for the town this past fall and it was decided they were needed again for the summer.
“It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to have the goats out there,” Wetzel said. “It’s better than mobilizing heavy equipment, which is hard to get into that area anyway.”
The goats are out at the transfer station chowing down on greenery almost every day. Schultz brings them in the morning and picks them back up at night.
“It’s so easy for me to get them here,” Schultz said. “I don’t have to bring water or food or anything. It’s a perfect situation.”
Each goat earns $1 an hour. Wetzel said there are 7-25 goats at the transfer station.
“When they work they eat the greenery, twigs, poison ivy, so you don’t need to come in with a shredder or anything else,” Schultz said.
“If they eat it often enough, it just won’t exist anymore and you’ll have a nice manicured lawn.”The goats are protected in the area due to a chain link fence keeping them inside. But they have escaped a few times.
“Last year, they did find a place where the fence was a little too high and they crawled underneath it,” Schultz said. “I’ll have to do a little patching but they’re really good at getting out of places. ”
Schultz’s goats not only work for Ayer but have begun clearing greenery in Littleton. She also has had people from town reach out to her about having the goats clear in their yards.
“Last year, I took the goats over to people’s houses to eat the poison ivy,” Schultz said. “I’d be happy to have the goats going out to eat ivy or whatever people want them to.”
Although the goats are able to eat a lot of different things, they can get sick from overeating, said Schultz. She said if people see them, it’s okay to pull greens from the side of the road for them, but she does not encourage giving them human food.
“Even though they eat a lot of stuff they still can get sick and die from it,” she said.
The goats are expected to work all summer, except for rainy days.
“The goats like to eat and we have a lot of brush for them,” Wetzel said. “They’re happy to be there.”
And the DPW is happy to have them.
By Stephanie Michaud, Correspondent
Read more: http://www.nashobapublishing.com/community_news/ci_28600897/goats-payroll#ixzz3ibU6TMrA
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Is now a good time to buy a newly constructed home?
Most economic signs point to yes, according to three economists at the National Association of Home Builders’ semi-annual construction forecast webinar on April 25.
I’m inclined to agree, but not just because the usual closely watched indicators like employment, GDP, household employment and income growth are generally looking healthier these days. I’m swayed by the fact that builder confidence has risen by more than a third year over year (even though it slipped a bit in April from the month before). While builders tend to be an optimistic lot—otherwise, they wouldn’t be in a business that requires them to make large capital outlays for land, labor and materials months or even years before a potential payoff—this uptick is significant.
Builders keep a close eye on both the national economy and local market conditions. While they sometimes get caught up in irrational exuberance (or simply greed) and overbuild, last year they were exceptionally cautious, building only about 433,000 single-family houses and about 177,000 multifamily units. While that’s not as bad as 2009, when home building hit a trough, it’s still far below the average 1.3 million total units constructed annually since 1990, according to Robert Denk, NAHB’s assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis.
NAHB chief economist David Crowe expects the pace will pick up quickly this year. He predicts single-family starts will jump 17% and multifamily 22%. The jump will be partly in response to a gap of at least a million units between the current level of production and looming demand, particularly from Millennials who are just entering the job market and are yearning for their own place. “You can’t live in mom’s basement forever,” he said.