Goats may not really eat tin cans, as they were depicted doing in the Saturday-morning cartoons of our youth; but it’s true that they are not the pickiest eaters in the animal kingdom. Poison ivy for lunch? Not a problem. So the Cihanek family of Rhinebeck had the bright idea of starting an environmentally friendly vegetation removal service called Green Goats, which has been obliterating pesky invasive plants from hard-to-access nooks and crannies at parks, historic sites, schools and cemeteries since 2006.
The goats, being cute and photogenic, garnered a lot of media attention, and demand for their services grew like…well, like weeds. Eventually the size of the Green Goats herd expanded to 100 and could no longer fit in the Cihanek barn, so they began housing them on the Sheehan farm in Red Hook. Then, on February 20 of this year, disaster struck. Larry Cihanek got a phone call from the Sheehans in the middle of the night: Their barn was ablaze. By the time he got there, not a single goat was left alive.
Since the fire, surrounding communities have pitched in to help the Cihaneks rebuild their herd, one animal at a time. Offers to donate goats poured in from as far away as Texas. And plans are in the works for an old-fashioned hands-on barnraising on the Sheehan property. But lots of funds are still needed to help these two farming families recover their lost livelihoods.
At 8 p.m. this Saturday, May 2, Club Helsinki in Hudson will host a fundraising concert called “Green Goats Jam: Neighbors Helping Neighbors Rebuild.” The country/Celtic/rock lineup includes the Little Creek Band, the T. McCann Band and the Stringmasters. Tickets cost $20 each and can be ordered online at www.clubhelsinki.shop.ticketstoday.com. For the latest updates on the fundraising campaign, visit www.facebook.com/redhookbarnraising, and check out www.green-goats.com for more on the Green Goats.
Green Goats Jam benefit, Saturday, May 2, 8 p.m., $20, Club Helsinki, 405 Columbia Street, Hudson; (518) 828-4800, https://helsinkihudson.com/.