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Dear Kay,

Where to begin? I’ve got two bits of news that are nothing but good.

No. 1: Sheep

A flock of 30 sheep arrived Wednesday at Fort Negley, a Civil War historical site here in Nashville.


Within two minutes, they were chowhounding a mess of invasive plants, properly into it. They’ll be there for a week, eating themselves silly while tidying up the overgrown parts of the park.


These hard-grazing sheep are the Nashville Chew Crew, and you can hire them to clean out any overgrown area you please.

I have long had a fantasy of keeping a little flock of sheep in my yard. You know, small fluffies that occasionally give up a fleece or two for me to picturesquely spin, then knit into small fluffy garments. The Nashville Chew Crew could tidy up my yard in an hour or so.

Here’s urban shepherd Zach Richardson:


His border collie Duggie (in action here) needs to get an Instagram feed. The whole thing is so great. A sensation!

No. 2: A New License Plate

Dolly Parton lives and reigns here as a sort of goddess. I’ve seen her exactly once, across a restaurant, having dinner and being ignored/adored by everyone in the room. She is magnificent. If only I could carry an image of her on the back of my car, issued by the state of Tennessee as an official emblem of my admiration—



The funds raised go to her Imagination Library program, which sends free books to preschoolers to encourage a love of reading. Currently over 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to over 750,000 children each month. Dolly has sponsored this program for decades.

If you’re a Tennessean, sign up here to put a little Dolly on your ride. I’m plate #442—once they have 1,000 orders, they’ll produce them. AWESOME.



(Chew Crew photos from The Tennessean.)


  • Both of these tid-bits make me smile widely.
    In Virginia, there is a goat herd for hire called Goat Busters:
    But not a Dolly Parton license plate.

  • Both of these are just splendid. I’m tempted to come register my car in TN just to get that license plate. Dolly is wonderful.

  • You want a fleece to spin? Oh, Elliott…here kitty, kitty, kitty…;-)

  • Dolly license plates would make me hate the DMV a whole lot less. Imagine it state by state–who would each state choose? This is better than quarters.

  • But what about the news that Nashville_ABC is coming back Jan 5? Even more good news from Nashville!

    • Coming back on CMT, but Connie Britton is only signed for 10 of the 22 episodes, so far…

  • We had ‘Mutton Mowers’ at our neighborhood park (which has some steep and more rugged areas) last month. They actually seemed to be goats in spite of their name.

    I’ve always admired how Dolly has embraced the flash of her life by rather quietly using it to do a lot of good. There’s a gal who remembers how life started and doesn’t take the glamour too seriously. Hope TN sells a million of those plates.

    • .Some places do use goats to clear out areas. However, sheep are grazers and goats are browsers, so they are used for different purposes. Sheep eat vegetation on the ground while goats eat shrubs, etc. If the area is really steep, goats would be better at climbing it !

  • Nashville (well, the mayor) was also recently featured in an article in the Economist, my favorite non-knitting publication. I thought of you when I read it. 🙂

  • Dolly. So not surprised.

  • My grandfather had a sheep, Pierre, for a while to keep his lawn (country) trim. I have a photo of him posing with the sheep in one of those tiny 1930’s snapshots. Must dig it out now. Great stories.


  • O’Hare Airport in Chicago has a mixed herd of goats, sheep, llamas, etc. that graze on difficult to tend areas on the airport grounds.

  • Dolly is coming to Canada in September and I’ve got tickets!! I love her charity.

    • Gasp. Going to find out about that. She’s been such a hero to me since I was young. Love her.

  • That Chew Crew would enjoy my backyard. No grass, because of the drought, but lots of healthy green weeds. What a brilliant idea.

  • Part of my original plan in breeding cashmere goats was a retirement business called “Invasives 2 Go.” So far, no takers here for my rent-a-herd in MA, but they have done a phenomenal job here on my own place. I am now, unbelievably, *actively managing* a small section asiatic bittersweet – formerly the invasive bane of my existence – so the goats can continue to have a mouthful of this special treat now and then!

    • Here on Cape we wish Eversource would hire a herd to clear under the power lines. Instead they like to use herbicides over our single aquifer.

  • We have an license plate option with wild horses.

  • “That’ll do, Duggie, that’ll do.”

  • I love Duggie! What a great dog!

  • I’ve seen goats for cleanup, but not sheep. Cool! Maybe they could come eat the passionflower vine that has absorbed my bamboo stand. Crazy.

    Love those Dolly plates. I want one!

  • So jealous! She should be on plates for all 50 states because she is a national treasure!

  • You made my day with the Chew Crew. And Dolly was on the Today show this morning.. she has always been awesome.

  • If I had a car I would somehow figure out how to register it in Tennessee so I could have a Dolly license plate. If the new season of Nashville goes forward on the CW or whatever it’s supposed to be doing I hope there are many, many shots of cars and trucks with this.

  • My Nigerian dwarf goats, Leland and Stanton, work for the city in “brush management.”

  • It makes me wish that plate was available in Missouri! I love her imagination library program and wish that it were available in my area. For years we received books for my older girls while we lived in AZ and KS. My youngest is 3 years old and has benefited from them being part of our home library. Dolly will always hold a special place in my heart!

  • Ann, you should check out @herdyshepherd1 on Twitter and Instagram. It’s by James Rebanks, a farmer of Herdwick and Swaledale sheep in the Lake District of England. I just read and loved his book, The Shepherd’s Life.

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