Hurricane Farm

  (Scotland, Connecticut)
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Cleaning Up the Pasture

So every once in a while we have to go out into the main pasture and clean up a little bit.  Fences sometimes need to be tightened, and sometimes we have to remove undesirable plants to keep the pasture healthy and useful.  Aside from finding various remnants of super-huge fireworks that our friend Jeff brings over for July 4th, we have to contend with giant "pricker/cactus-like things."  (See photo below.)

If anyone can tell us what these things are, and what their purpose is (if any are known), we'd be much happier when working to rid our pasture of them.  They do have a beautiful purple flower that comes around mid-to-late August.  Problem with that, though, is that when the flower comes so do all the pesky little seeds that scatter around to make more of these things.  We got most all but one of them last year, I think, but that one that we let bloom procreated all over the place!  I know right where it was, too.  Smack dab in the middle of the turkey's pasture.  It managed to spread over several acres all on its own.  What a great job it did!

You can see from the above that the cattle love to eat just about all that grows in the field EXCEPT these little buggers.  Now, Sarah, the milk goat, does enjoy eating these things, but I have kept her out of the pasture lately since the largest cattle is kind of standoffish around other four-legged creatures.  He likes (or at least abides) the turkeys, geese, chickens, ducks, and crows, though.  Check out the next shot where it almost looks like a carpet of grass except for the presence of these prickly devils.  We'll be putting the sheep in to clean up whatever the cattle missed and then after two weeks or so with this weather, the field will be ready for the next set of cattle to move in.

We all worked on getting the pasture in order that day.  You have to try to get the whole root out; otherwise, the pesky bugger just grows right back!

Here comes the reinforcement, pink shovel in hand!

If these plants have any value, then we have yet another thing that we're naturally great at growing (add to list of rocks, stones, poison ivy...).  I generally don't wear gloves, especially on such a hot day, but MAN, those things have a nasty bite to them.  The prickers are up to an inch long.  I have no idea how the goat can eat such a thing.

Maybe it's an acquired taste, say, like hot pepper or anchovies.

Liev came out with his shovel and worked pretty hard along side of us until he started to spot parts of the fireworks.  He then set about to collecting all that he could find, making a pile of the pieces, and trying to assemble his own "rocket ship."

A lush pile of "pricker/cactus-things."  This was merely 1/3 of our take for the afternoon.  It would have been a bountiful harvest if we were harvesting, say, ANYTHING but these things.



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Hi - I think those are a "thistle" of some type. My wife has one planted in our perennial garden on purpose! Go to Google and link to the Images page and search for "thistle". See if any of the photos look like your plants.

Posted by Dave on August 07, 2009 at 02:09 PM EDT #


Cool blog. Long time no talk. I did meet your kids the other day with Tom and Ellen. Cool blog, I love the pictures!

Don Foley

Posted by don foley on August 09, 2009 at 02:56 PM EDT #

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