Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sheep mowin' grass in Ypsilanti... Say What?!?!

Yep, it is true! I just saw for myself! As of 11:30 am Tuesday, May 23, there is a flock of sheep 'mowing' grass in the city of Ypsilanti! Yeah, it is really weird!  Well, here's the skinny. Earlier in the week I saw a post on social media stating that the City of Ypsilanti is working with an organization called Project Mow to have sheep 'mow', you know, munch difficult and challenging parts in Riverside Park. I thought to myself, I've got to see this!

Late Tuesday morning I headed down to Riverside Park to check out the grass munching little guys, I mean, sheep! I was wondering to myself, what if they aren't hungry, or what if the don't feel like mowing in challenging places that not even smart and engineering humans don't want to mow?! So many burning questions! I mean, are they union? And what if they go on strike for cripes sake! Is this operation OSHA approved? Did anyone ask the sheep if they wanted to spend the next week mowing a steep hill in Riverside Park! And what would PETA say?! Oy.

Actually, when I first arrived at the scene of the 'mowing' with my camera and big zoom lens I think I scared the b'Jesus out of the little sheep, because as I approach the fence surrounding them they ran their little behinds into the little shelter hut thing that was in there for them. Uh oh. Not to worry, I backed up and they all popped merrily back out and resumed ' mowing' the steep hill in the park they were chewing on.

According to the Project Mow facebook page, "Baaahhh (Hello)! We are a flock of sheep looking to mow and overgrown fields to clean." That's cute. I like it. These sheep are clever and have strong command over the English language to boot, I mean, hoove. Baahhhd.

I did reach out to humans at Project Mow with a few questions. According to Yuko Frazier, Shepherd, the sheep will be stationed at Riverside Park until they finish mowing the hill which is thought to take 4-5 days. I'm curious as to how much money the City of Ypsilanti is paying Project Mow for the service. Understandably, Project Mow did not wish to divulge that information.

Earlier Tuesday morning I contacted Ypsilanti City Council member Beth Bashert about what Project Mow is costing the City. According to Bashert, "I don't know the cost. There is no staffing issue related to it because we are cutting staff so much that this is going to be a help to managing the city grounds. Also, we are choosing an extremely difficult place to mow saving staff time for other places that are easier to get to."

I learned that DPS director, Stan Kirton advocated for the project. I contacted the Ypsilanti DPS Tuesday. The person who answered the phone did not have any information regarding the cost to the City for Project Mow services. I was also told that Stan Kirton would be out of the office until Tuesday. Next Tuesday, I assume.

Well, it is all very interesting though I do have lingering questions. In the meanwhile, check out the cute little grass munching sheep! I hope their unionized!

Jeff Brown
editor, publisher & founder
Purple Walrus Press.
Mowing sheep in Riverside Park Ypsilanti. Photos by Purple Walrus Press.


  1. Thanks for all the great photos, gives an idea of the terrain and the management of the whole thing. Now I'm thinking about sheep poop, but I'm guessing that it's mostly plant fiber and pretty innocuous like rabbit poop. Overall I think it's a great idea and I really hope it works out