Thistles – and a Whimpering Viking


The boys headed up the Eastern Hill in search of Thistles today. We’ve been putting it off for a week now. Having the same conversation – “Wanna go get Thistles so we can see what kind they are?” “Ya, that sounds like a good idea.” Then. Nothing. Ya see, in two of our previous properties we dealt with enough thistles to make us never want to intentionally look at one again!


Yeah! Quick Success. Thistles!

Last year this area at the top of the hill was FULL of thistles. An American Gold Finch’s Dream. In fact, there was a huge flock of them that hung out up here. This year, the property owner pushed a huge pile of debris over the Thistle Area. Good Choice!




Growth in the disturbed dirt by the piles.



A teacher’s sacrifice to find 15 minutes to hike to the top of a hill to find a Thistle. But – It’s a good job. Pay’s not bad. Someone’s gotta do it. Winking smile


Back at home Jon and Nathan filled out their Notebooking Pages. Nathan continues to enjoy his “Older” Notebooking page. This time he was able to find all of his information on his own out of the field guide. He also ran across an interesting piece of information about the Order of the Thistle.


Apparently the Order of the Thistle, and a Motto for Scotland is – Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, which translates – Noone Provokes me with Impunity. Impunity? What is that? Why wouldn’t you want to be provoked with it? We looked up the Latin words and learned that impunity meant that you wouldn’t let anyone attack you and let them go unpunished, or allow them to attack you without restraint. The plant book talked of the Danish Army attacking Scotland at night, when a Viking stepped on a Thistle and cried out, alerting the Scottish Army. The Thistle became known as the Protector of the Scottish Army.


This small piece of information led to a search online to see if the story was true. There were enough references to make us believe it was so. Enough so – that King Charles the II, King of Scots used it for his emblem, and the Badge on the Cap of the Royal Highland Regiment in Canada also uses the saying and a Thistle type design.



We learned more on how to be rid of Thistles in the Handbook of Nature Study and a few sites on line. We learned about Nemo me impune lacessit from Plants of the Pacific Northwest, and well, saw a bunch of Thistles that weren’t in our area from the Oxford Book of Wild Flowers.

A game of 10 Days in Europe
was inspired to check out the distances from Denmark to Scotland.


We were able to have the conversation about the “No one attacks me and goes unpunished” type of attitude. We are studying Meekness, Patience, Forgiveness, from the Put On Chart from Doorposts. This is a great saying for an army brigade, but not necessarily for boys who want to show good character!

HandbookWant to play in some of our fun outdoor challenges? Be inspired by Handbook of Nature Study . Blogspot . Com!

Outdoor Hour Challenge, Fall 2011 #9 Thistles

“On looking at the thistle from its own standpoint, we must acknowledge it to be a beautiful and wonderful plant. It is like a knight of old encased in armor and with lance set, read for the frey.” Handbook of Nature Study 524

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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6 Responses to Thistles – and a Whimpering Viking

  1. carol frey says:


  2. MissMOE says:

    Wow! What a great study! In true homeschool fashion, you ran with it–can’t wait to read more inspiration here.

  3. zonnah says:

    Well, that was interesting history about the thistle 🙂

  4. Your family has overwhelmed me with this study. So many great things and such a great example to the rest of us. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts. (Your comment about a teacher’s sacrifice made me giggle.)

    Thanks for sharing your entry and the GREAT info on thistles with the OHC carnival.

  5. Amanda says:

    If this isn’t the ultimate in homeschooling, I don’t know what is. Geography, History, Games, Writing…all borne of a little hike. It’s so hard for me to get out and go hike a little. I’m stuck in a bad rhythm of not going. I miss it, keep inspiring the rest of us sweet girl.

    You rock!

  6. Very, very, very cool post.

I love to hear from my readers, I appreciate comments!

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