Going green, with goats
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain Sun-Times Mediaemail@example.com May 28, 2012 3:12PM
Goats feed on oat grass on the roof at Siegel 's Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill. File Photo. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:00PM
Paul Siegel jokes that he’d like to call his latest farm attraction “goats on a hot tin roof.”
But the goats munch on oat grass all day on a green roof as traffic whizzes past Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Lockport.
Siegel is always thinking of new ways to market his farm, which sells plants in the spring and veggies in the summer and hosts a pumpkin fest in the fall.
Years ago, he was impressed with goats eating a thatched roof on top of a Door County restaurant.
“The goats would just stay up there,” he said. “They knew where the food was.”
Later, he started reading about green roofs filled with grass and plants on skyscrapers in big cities.
Last year, when Siegel decided he had to repair the rotting roof on a building that shaded his plant sale area, he decided to go green and plant oat grass and pasture plants.
Siegel bought special soil for the project to allow proper drainage without weighing down the roof too much.
“You don’t just take dirt out of the field and put it up there,” he said. “There’s a whole science to how you have a growing media that shallow.”
Siegel, who once had the faces of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain carved into his corn maze, is happy with the way his latest project turned out.
“We are always looking for something unique and eye-catching,” he said.
He thinks it’s important to teach people about farm life and nature. “It’s all about education and life on the farm,” he said.
Siegel said the green roof has generated a lot of interest at the farm on Weber Road just north of Caton Farm Road.
“A good way to promote something is to get people to ask questions,” he said.
So far the as-yet-unnamed goats on the roof are doing their part for the farm display, Siegel said.
They’re naturally cute and voracious eaters.
Oh, and one more thing:
“They’re fertilizing up there, too,” Siegel said.