Where there's one, there are often more - I found three plants there and one more when I was walking back to the barn through another pasture. Horse Nettle (also called Bull Nettle) is a member of the Nightshade family (Solanum) and is poisonous to horses. The leaves and stems have small spines, and the flowers are white (sometimes violet) and the berries are yellow. The plants are more toxic in fall. Here's a set of plants in flower (not from our pastures) along a path behind my house - in our prairies and native areas we don't remove it because it is a native plant and is not invasive:
While I was out with the clippers anyway, I removed a bunch of Spotted Knapweed plants. These tend to grow along fence lines or in disturbed, compacted areas near the gates. This plant is very invasive in pastures, and is a plague in parts of the West, occupying thousands of acres. The plant secretes a chemical that makes it difficult for other plants to grow nearby. Luckily, we don't have too much of it in the pastures:
We've had the good fortune to have an Orb Weaver spider establish a web just by the front walk to the house - it spans an amazing distance and is high enough off the ground that we can walk under one of its guy threads without bending:
The spider is in the center, and I think it might be a male, since males are smaller than females - perhaps one of you spider experts out there can comment.
And for the final natural wonder, several days ago there was a very large hawk sitting on one of the pasture fences. As soon as I could get my husband to come over with a telephoto lens on his camera, it left, but he managed to get this shot from about 75 yards away:
Although we've had occasional sightings of Bald Eagles, from what we could see of it, it appeared to be a very large Red-tailed Hawk.
On a horse note, neglected Maisie finally got some attention yesterday - we managed a nice 40 minute trail ride - I worked on giving very small half-halts with my seat to control her speed and it worked beautifully.
Enjoy your fall - I think it's the best time of year to be outside!