Russian Thistle Keeps Livestock Alive

Blizzard knocks stable down around cattle; Russian thistles stacked as windbreak keep the animals alive.

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My father was a well driller in Kansas in the 1890s and often was away from home, leaving us to care for the stock. Once when he was gone, there came a terrible blizzard. My mother didn't dare venture out of the house to see about the stock. After three days, the storm ceased, and we could see that the pole stable was drifted completely over. Mother walked on top of the drift and tore a hole in the shed roof until she could see that the stock was safe. Father had cut green Russian thistles and stacked them against the stable for a windbreak. The cattle had torn down their mangers and lived on that thistle hay!

After that, whenever we had a dry year, Father cut and stacked the thistles, and they tided the cows over so the children had milk, even though other food was scarce.

Mrs. James Eggers
Cortez, Colorado


 Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER's WEEKLY asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.