There really does seem to be no end to depressing nationwide news this week, but there are three fluffy little bright spots on the way—a trio of sheep is headed to Nolita this week to munch on some grass.
The Times reports that the sheep, who hail from a farm in Elizaville, N.Y., have been hired to "lamb-scape" (not my joke) the churchyard at the Basilica of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral on the corner of Mott and Prince. This is nothing new—sheep have come to nibble on the greens at the church for the last four years, ever since the human groundskeeper decided to retire.
"The guy who cuts the grass said, ‘I’m going to retire,'" Frank Alfieri, an administrator at the church, told the Times, “and the monsignor said, "What am I going to do, get sheep?'"
Sheep make excellent living lawnmowers. Back in the day, they used to roam public parks in New York to maintain the grounds, and there have been efforts in cities like Montreal and Paris to use sheep to landscape public green spaces. Some consider it a win-win—humans get tended lawns without the noise and air pollution caused by lawmnowers, and sheep get free snacks.
St. Patrick's sheep will be in town for six weeks. They will wear teeny tiny jackets to keep their wool clean, and they get to sleep in a wooden house made specially for them—"People are calling it the manger," Alfieri said. “We just call it the sheep shack." The sheep will have to get used to New York-sized living spaces while they're in town, as the churchyard is only eight-tenths of an acre, but they will get to return to their farmland once their work is done.
Former sheep employees were named Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh; Elizabeth, Mott and Mulberry; and Faith, Hope and Charity. This year's sheep have not yet been named, so feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.