Finally I'd had enough. There were too many. They are taking over. What is this plant? I plucked one up by the roots, shook off the dirt and stuck it in my pocket to take home to investigate. I was shocked and dismayed when I found out that the plant was a buttercup (or crowsfoot because of the shape of the leaves). It was toxic to horses.
Here are three of the many sites I researched that afternoon.
What were we to do with such a plant? We don't have that much pasture for the horses to graze. Something had to be done. Most of the time the horses are kept in a "sacrifice lot" with lots of hay. We turned them out on pasture when grass was high and the day was sunny and the ground was dry to avoid ruining the root system.
After talking to the maintenence men about options and then to a cooperative extension agent , we hooked up the brush-hog to the tractor and started our fight.
It takes about an hour and a half to brush-hog the pasture. As I pay attention to keeping the tractor wheel on its course along the uncut/cut weeds, I have lots of time to think. The second time I brush-hogged the pasture was about the time certain news items were happening and I couldn't help but make a lot of analogies.
Buttercups have beautiful flowers.
Many people passing through see the pasture of yellow and admire it. Some have stopped and taken pictures of the horses grazing the field of yellow. I've seen a few people dressed in wedding finery standing next to the fence getting their picture taken and ignorant of the potiential problems lurking in the beauty. Oh, those Buttercups may look good, but its a weed, and it has bad consequences. Be very careful of your choices in life. They may look and feel good, but the end result? Not good.
Buttercups take over quickly.
That's obvious. They sure do spread. They take up precious soil nutrients too and grow, at times, huge enough to block and choke out significant areas where good grasses could and should grow. Why should the horses even have a choice and why should I be giving them an option when I know the weeds accidentally eaten give such horrid side affects? I've also learned that weeds are there for a reason. It shows that the soild isn't as good as it should be to nurish the grasses. Time to fertilize. Time to fertilize on a regular basis. There is a song I've taught the children. "Imput, output what comes in is what goes out. Our mind is a computer whose data we must use." Junk is all too eager to quickly infiltrate our hearts and minds-no matter how old we are. Time to take in things that are good and true and pure and right....(and as my Little Monster Lives At My House book goes..."you will then have peace in the night.")
Buttercups are hard to get rid of.
Once weeds have invaded a space it takes firm and consistent persistence to have it irradicated. We really have no desire to use poisons because of the horses eating there and the such close quarters. It's like fighting fire with fire. We have opted to use fertilizers to encourage good grasses to grow, we have worked on mowing the pasture regulary. Weed eating the fence lines keep weeds down. Even taking a little time when waiting for the water tank to fill to pull weeds by hand is part of that consistent effort. Weeds are hard to get rid of, but it is a fight and it will take an effort...and it is very true that every little bit helps. I know that there are so many people fighting with weeds in their lives. It's a constant fight, but gradually as you keep putting good things (God's words, good friends, good church, good counsel) into your life, the good grasses flourish.
I ponder this for my town, my state, my country and my world.
It makes me remember the 4-H motto that I had to memorize when I was young:
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
And my health to better living
For my club,
And my world.