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Tony Grist

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Ragwort [Jun. 26th, 2017|12:02 pm]
Tony Grist
Julia says the gypsies hold that a healthy horse won't touch ragwort- and if you have one that does it's because there's something wrong with it and it's using the ragwort as a suicide pill. I suppose that's why Chris is philosophical to the point of not being in the least bit bothered about the ragwort in our fields.

Even so I don't want to have his horses on my conscience or lie awake at night worrying about them and I've decided I'm going to do some extreme weeding. I made a start this morning; setting out with my straw hat and my sickle and my wicker basket like one of Van Gogh's noble peasants. In a way I regret the need; ragwort in full flower is glorious and smells glorious too. I remember reading about a farmer who has been bundling it up and selling it at the roadside as "country gold"- and why not?

[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2017-06-26 11:30 am (UTC)
No, the alkaloids in ragwort are very bitter and most livestock won't touch it. In a bare field horses can sometimes develop a taste for the stuff, but generally it's far more dangerous in hay, as it loses its bitterness when dead. When I had horses I used to spend hours pulling the stuff...

I like to see it in flower along the forest tracks though, where it's not doing any harm. And I like the stripy cinnabar moth caterpillars you see on it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-06-26 12:27 pm (UTC)
Better safe than sorry...

I've cleared one of the fields. The other has a lot more in it.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2017-06-26 12:14 pm (UTC)
As puddleshark said, livestock normally avoids it because of the bitter taste, but if you do cut it, make sure you burn it or dispose of it where no animals can get at it because they might eat it when dry.

It is pretty though.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-06-26 12:28 pm (UTC)
I have quite a few bonfires. The ragwort will go on one of them.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2017-06-26 12:56 pm (UTC)
I love your "bulletins from the country squire." It's so different from our urban life.

(We weren't far from your old Philly stomping ground last week. I should take some pictures so you can see what St. James looks like now.)

Edited at 2017-06-26 03:42 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-06-27 10:09 am (UTC)
I'd like that. :)
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2017-06-26 01:46 pm (UTC)
I'd be clearing the fields also. You just never know what a horse might eat.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2017-06-26 09:13 pm (UTC)
I love these old folkloric remedies and advice.
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