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For the past week, more than 30 rented goats have been dining on the invasive plant species choking the trees around D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery. It’s the second time a group of goats has travelled to the historic site to help clear the poison ivy and weeds that can kill the trees, causing them to fall on the historic grave markers. This time, the goats are from Prosperity Acres and Browsing Green Goats in Sunderland, Md.
“The goats live with us on our farm and are cared for daily by us and loved on,” says owner Mary Bowen. “The majority of them were born here on our farm so they have been handled by us from the day they were born.” The goats, who are on view to the public from dawn until dusk through Aug. 20, also have their own personalities, according to Bowen. You can also meet them this Friday when the cemetery hosts a happy hour. Here, we introduce you to a few of the goats currently at the cemetery.
Nadia, “the wonder goat,” is so sweet she’s available for birthday party appearances. She’s also the subject of a forthcoming children’s book by Bowen’s teenage daughter, Jacqueline, called The Adventures of Nadia the Wonder Goat. “Jacqueline wants people to see agriculture through Nadia’s eyes,” Bowen says. “[She] wants people to know goats aren’t like how they are portrayed in ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff.’ They are beautiful and have their own personality.”
Whiskey, the “big boy” of the group, was apparently not invited to help clear the cemetery but jumped on the trailer anyway. Despite his apparent eagerness, Bowen says he’s “timid of strangers.”
Cinnamon, along with Moonlight and Joy (not pictured), are trained to walk on a lead. Cinnamon “tends to keep to herself most of the time,” says Bowen, while Moonlight “loves to lick hands.” Joy is a former therapy goat who spent some of her younger days comforting a hospice patient. (Also pictured: Korra.)
Peanut, a half fainting, half Pygmy goat, may be small, but he has a distinctive look thanks to his “long goatee and massive horns.” Bowen adds, “He’s pretty quiet and tends to stay to himself.”
Mistletoe was born two years ago on Dec. 25 (get it?) and has a twin sister, Arabelle. “Mistletoe is 95 percent Boer goat and 5 percent Kiko goat, two very hardy and docile breeds,” says Bowen. Pictured below is Katara.
Photos by Darrow Montgomery