Birthday baa-baas bless Burt’s bride

Burt's Eye View

For her birthday, my sweet wife asked for only one thing — a gas-powered weed trimmer.

“Seriously? One of those noisy, smelly, heavy tools you use to knock down high weeds while standing in a ditch?”

Terry nodded enthusiastically. “Exactly. And to clean up around the shrubs and posts.”

So instead of flower shops, dress stores, candle shops or (gulp) jewelry outlets, I could go birthday shopping for my wife among the power tools at a hardware store?


Reason Number 2,363 why I’m the world’s luckiest husband.

“So, what kind of weed trimmer are you thinking?”

“Periwinkle. That would be a nice color.”

Hoo boy.

Anyway, it’s nice to know that for once, I’m a guy who can’t possibly screw up gift-giving for his spouse.

In fact, I can make it even better!

I was thinking, we already have a riding mower for our place out in the country. And a push mower for the spots and edges the riding mower can’t catch. There are pruning shears and loppers. There are rakes, a trowel, a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a seed and feed spreader. Now she wants to add a power weed trimmer to the arsenal?

One of our neighbors has a practically perfect front lawn and never uses a single hunk of machinery.

He has sheep.

“They eat all the weeds and keep the grass at an even quarter-inch height,” he said. “I haven’t mowed or trimmed in three years. And they’re nice.”

I read of a vacant lot in Cleveland that a flock of sheep kept ship-shape. Just in case stray dogs or other critters thought of harassing the blade-eating bleaters, the lot owner added a guard llama.

It’s worked beautifully. And unlike the gas-powered weed trimmer, these lawn specialists don’t use gas.

Of course, according to an “animal mowers calculator” I found on an NPR site, it would take about 50 sheep to properly tend our front, back and side yards. But only four cows could cover the same territory.

The drawback is that cow droppings tend to be more dramatic, and pungent, than sheep leavings.

So maybe we could go with 23 goats. A side benefit is that goats would eat the moss growing on the roof as well. Roof goats would be great.

But after they rid the shingles of moss and gutters of saplings, the roof goats probably would eat the roof and the gutters, too. That probably wouldn’t tickle Terry too much.

Lawn sheep definitely are the way to go. Terry can even harvest the wool and knit herself a bunch of sweaters and afghans for the winter. Oh, hey, she can even dye them periwinkle.

It’s perfect.

My sweetie wasn’t thinking big enough when she merely asked for a gas-powered weed trimmer. I improved it for her. Just think how thrilled Terry will be to wake up one morning to find 50 sheep on the front lawn. And two guard llamas.

I am so glad to know that for once, I’ll be the guy who didn’t screw up gift-giving for his spouse.

Happy birthday, Sweetie!

— Write Cole at or at the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook. He’ll be living in a tent in the yard with the sheep.