Cows & Conifers

Puts cows and spruce trees together for any length of time and this is what you get — trunks pruned of branches and bark rubbed smooth.

In pastures with few trees the damage is even greater for it’s here the cattle gather when sun beats down, when rain and hail pelt them, when snow falls thick and fast.

The earth also suffers as their hooves churn the soil to dust or mud holes or frozen lumps, depending on the season. Little can grow under such a pounding.

All part of the price of hamburger and steaks.

The Purple Cow

I never saw a Purple Cow
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!
                                 Gelett Burgess

The cow that ate the tall larkspur didn’t turn purple but it might have gotten sick. The plant has a bad rep among ranchers. It can make animals extremely ill. Worst case: it kills them. Not a good thing.

How toxic depends on the season and location and how much the bovine belts back — apparently, to a cow, it’s quite tasty.

I found the few plants the same day as the spotted coralroot orchids and decided to record the flower growth over the coming weeks. That cow beat me to them. On my third visit the flower stalks were gone. Chewed to a nub.

Guess I need to be faster on my hooves.

Did You Know?
Tall larkspur belongs to the buttercup family. Among its relatives (many of whom you also don’t want to eat) are clematis, columbine, monkshood, anemones and white watercrowfoot.

Tall larkspur   Delphinium glaucum