Thistle

We decided to move the main herd of cattle to the Lower Field yesterday. They had been grazing the Mountain field for three weeks, since that storm took out the waterer on June 26. I keep a paper calendar just for farm events, like what day the cattle move to a new field. With two herds on different fields, the main herd and the heifer herd, Bill and I seem to continuously ask each other, “When did we move these cows?” or “Which calf was born in May?”. Marking farm events on a calendar, which I then periodically transcribe to a journal, helps to keep us sane.

Because the Lower field is fence with wood posts at the corners and high tensile wire between t-posts, the foliage had to be cut under the wire. We set the bottom wire at 16″ and the top wire at 26″. This time of year, weeds and grass quickly grow up to and over the wires which causes the electricity to become less effective.

Trimmed fence line.

On top of the hill is a patch of Canadian thistle that I have intermittently trimmed throughout the spring. The thistle is also known as Californian thistle, Creeping thistle, Field thistle, Corn thistle or Perennial thistle. Since I was on my mower, I decided to take a quick detour from trimming the fence line and cut down the thistle patch. I started mowing the plants when I saw butterflies all over the thistle flowers.

I stopped cutting and sat on my mower, amazed at the number of butterflies. There were dozens, on every pretty, purple thistle flower. Thistle cutting was over, I couldn’t do it. This fall when the flowers are gone, I will cut it down. Even the weeds can look pretty in a field!

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