Ever had a weed you hated? This is one of mine. Thistles come in two forms here and you have to be able to identify the one you are fighting with. A Canadian thistle grows in worn out soil and spreads by underground runner roots. Just for good measure it also will bloom and form thousands of seeds from purple flowers that blow away in the wind to sprout somewhere else on your property. I truly hate this plant. I have battled it for years. I just found an article on getting rid of this obnoxious weed and it makes perfect sense. Pulling the damn thing sure doesn't work. The one thing I know is you have to cut it down before it even looks like it is going to bloom because even though it is cut the flowers will still bloom and make thousands of seeds after cutting and laying on the ground. So if you have this thing check out this link.
http://www.truehealth.org/acanthis.html The picture above is of what we call a bull thistle or spear thistle. It is fairly easy in comparison to eradicate. But you have to get all of the long tap root which can be nearly impossible. Years ago I went with a friend to a garlic farm in Oregon. One of the things we did while we were there was thistle hunting. I have since used this technique to get rid of these "prickers" (my youngest calls them that when she accidentally steps on them with bare feet.) You will need salt, a cutting or weeding tool, and gloves of course. But beware! The stickers still go through the gloves so handle with care. Simply slice off the thistle at ground level then put a pinch of salt on the exposed root. Works like a charm for me. And I have had some in my front yard that are about 2 feet in diameter. You will have to keep weeding other plants out as they come up from seeds but eventually you will see a difference and you don't have to rely on poisons which don't work on thistles anyway and can make your animals sick if ingested.
I love curling up with a new book. Reading in the winter time is the one thing I really look forward to and sometimes I have to be prodded out of my comfort zone by friends to read something I don't normally read but I have seldom been disappointed with their suggestions. My brother is a writer and until recently I had not been asked to read anything he had written. Perhaps he didn't want to deal with my criticisms. Ya I can be that way. However I was asked to read (and proof) a copy of one of his stories and guess what? I liked it! So much so that I read another and liked it too. I suggested that instead of dealing with agents that only want to handle a proven writer (read easy money) that maybe he should try putting one up on Kindle. After all, those agents are going to be unemployed soon due to downloadable e-books and not so high and mighty. (Ya, ya I like having a real book in my hands too but I also didn't want a cell phone and now look at me.) So he did. It took some time to figure out how to do it and the learning curve was steep but low and behold he is selling books! He writes mysteries mostly and is very good at painting word pictures. To view his stuff and reviews follow this link. Don't have a Kindle reader? Did you know you can download to your computer and read anything you can get as an e-book? Here is a link to his stuff. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_8?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=schankel&sprefix=schankel Oh and by the way. I just set up the hammock in the backyard and now when I have an hour or so I can lay in the hammock and read and still be around my animals and in the fresh air. So take an hour or two for yourself. You deserve it.