How Much Can 1,000 Goats Eat?

Friday, July 27, 2018   930 am, 75 degrees

goats, Fair Oaks Bridge, Bannister Park, American RiverMore than 1,000 goats crowd a field overrun with dry weeds and grass alongside the access road to the American River Parkway near Jim’s Bridge. Sacramento County employees brought 1,000 goats in trailers. Men are busy installing the wired fence enclosure as I pass by. Goats will munch on weeds for the next 10 days. Today they look bewildered. “What are we doing here?” Most of them have not started eating yet.


rafts, American River, Bannister Park, Fair Oaks, water, play, fun, recreationWhen I arrive minutes later at Jim’s Bridge, nearly 100 rafters are waiting. Their rafts ready to launch for a day of fun on the river and shooting water cannons.

rafts, American River, water, fun, play, summer, Fair Oaks, Jim's Bridge





Six Canada Geese are gathered near the boat ramp by Fair Oaks Bridge for a morning meeting. Shortly after I arrive, they rise out of the water and fly away.  I will watch to identify their movements next time I stand closer and discover how they lift themselves out of the water and take flight.


Sunday, May 26, 2019  7 am

So many quiet mornings I see no wildlife flying in, swimming or diving. The river flows swiftly and deep. I need to look for other ways to tell the story of this beautiful place hidden away from busy urban spaces.

I feel grateful standing under partially cloudy skies and experiencing magnificent scenic views of the American River corridor even when the river seems empty. I see a brilliant ball of sunlight shining through clouds – and sometimes see no sun at all.

During many recent mornings, I have crossed Fair Oaks Bridge, walked the trail along the American River Parkway, and from Bannister Park to Jim’s Bridge (crossing the river farther east). My goal has been to experience the open space and the calm of the morning when few others are outside. I enjoy the cool wind against my face, the bird songs and the lonely roosters calling out to anyone who can hear.

At times when I have no words, I feel grateful. Voicing my gratitude for the beautiful spring day, warm weather and the beauty that surrounds me inspires the words to flow.

I feel grateful for the variety of trees in all their twisted shapes and sizes, sweet bird songs, green grasses and leaves. I feel grateful for the pale green moss that hugs tree trunks along the river trail. I notice weeds spreading everywhere boasting their own spiny purple flowers. I wonder when will the goats return to eat these weeds?

I walk on river rocks that line the trails – large, small, smooth round, jagged, curved and straight. I listen to the haunting call of a morning dove, the twitters and caws of other birds hidden in the trees that surround me. I enjoy the gentle curves and slopes of the dirt trail enclosed in greenery to create a walk with character, interest and a bit of mystery.






I stop to enjoy the abundant clusters of deep green leaves growing on mature oak trees. I marvel at the expansive oak tree canopy stretching its curving branches away from its central trunk as they reach for sunlight. I stand upon the edge of the trail and see deep pockets of green foliage set into a canyon.

I see trails crisscross leading deep into the parkway – some trails lead to the river, others to hidden concrete structures overgrown with ivy and often missed, secret picnic alcoves and islands where waterfowl rest and play. One day I found a small amphitheater long ago forgotten.

I feel grateful for patches of poppies yet to wake at dawn and the brightness of other wildflowers that live with them. I feel grateful to enjoy such beauty any morning, afternoon or evening I walk.