And for once I don’t mean knives or swords.
Yesterday evening was largely spent grubbing out ragwort in the “gallop” paddock (it’s called that ’cause it’s big enough and more or less flat enough to). Ragwort and the occasional thistle. The ragwort we had to carry out in buckets, because while it’s poisonous to animals, it’s also more tasty when it’s wilted. Thistles are also more tasty when they’re wilted, but are not poisonous, so they get left behind. I spent most of the time clearing the ragwort out from under one of the larger patches of gorse (gorse so old and tall that it was possible to walk around more-or-less safely underneath it). I must say it takes a certain amount of… finesse to dig a four-foot-high bull thistle out from a mass of gorse.
It was really quite lovely under there, though, in the dappled sunlight. The gorse trunks get all twisty and wiry (it was old gorse trunks they used for Fangorn Forest in The Two Towers, BTW), and where I was they were tall enough that grass (and ragwort and thistles, of course) was all growing underneath, and also these great purple spires of blooming foxglove. Heaps of them. So I was basically surrounded by either spikes or poison, but it was all very very pretty. (Luckily, livestock generally has the wit not to eat foxglove, so those can stay).
Apart from the foxglove, there’s tons of other stuff blooming in the pastures as well, though apart from the broom, nothing so showy. I know clover and English daisy and buttercup, and maybe a spot of vetch, and something that might be dead-nettle or henbit or something. But other than that ? Tiny little stars, bells, cups, in blue and white and yellow and pink, in different shapes and sizes and habits. Oh, and eleven different kinds of plantain, rushes in the damper spots and watercress in the streams. Plus, you know, grass, and other leafier things that aren’t quite blooming yet.
Stephen has the right of it: We don’t have pasture; we have salad.
Conveniently enough, that makes it just about perfect for alpaca.