Musk thistles, injured bulls and kitten rescue
My husband's father was a big opponent of the musk thistle and not only did he work tirelessly to rid his pastures of the plant, but also worked to have it declared a noxious weed that must be managed. Now we spend a lot of days every spring driving through the 3,000 acres that we own or manage hunting for these thistles.
If you are diligent in your hunt, you can merely use a hoe or shovel and dig them out of the ground. If the flowers have turned purple, you will have to pull them off and burn them to keep the seeds from spreading. These thistles have a very long taproot and are difficult to kill. Even when you think your pasture is clean and has no thistles, you must check for them every spring as the seed may lie dormant for years and spring up one year to invade your grass.
At the same time that they are looking for thistles, they are looking at the cattle to check for illness and injury. In one of our pastures they found a bull who had been injured. This is every ranchers fear as an injured bull is not able to breed cows, and if the cows don't get bred within a certain time frame, there will be no calves -- and that means no income for that year! So when they found him injured, they called me and we walked him to the nearby pens to load him onto the trailer to take him to the veterinarian for treatment. At the same time, we had to take another bull to the pasture to take care of the cows. Every day there could be cows in heat, and if they are not bred, there will be no income. Luckily, I raise and sell Angus bulls so I had another good bull available to use. If a rancher does not have another bull, it will cost a lot of money to replace an injured bull. This year, I sold my bulls for an average of $3,000 each. So if you buy one and he gets injured, not only are you out the money for him, but you have to spend about the same amount to buy another one! Ranching is not a cheap or easy business.