A Bad Day to be Honeysuckle in our wildwoods

On several occasions, I’ve attempted to walk through our new property, only to get completely tangled in invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn.  When I say tangled, I really do mean tangled.. like, not being able to move 6 inches… literally trapped in the midst of a sea of basket-woven branches. I’ve even gotten lost back there – once I’m tangled in it, I start to forget which way I came from, where I was originally planning to go – and most importantly, which way to get out!

I’ve had a hunch that one of the existing trails swerves off of our land and onto the neighbor’s land as it makes its way back to the marsh. It’s a nice trail, but I don’t feel comfortable wandering across the property lines.

So, needless to say, I’ve been really itching to cut some trails through this stuff back to the stream and the northern edge of the property that joins the DNR land. I sliced through about 40 feet of the stuff yesterday, which is incredibly satisfying work! The trail is still pretty weak, but if I keep at it I think it could be pretty nice. Of course, mosquitos will invariably render the trail useless throughout most of the summer, due to its wetland character, which also makes it mushy, and sometimes even impassable after a long steady rain.

I also found the courage to climb the tree stand that was left on the property. I had assumed it was the neighbor’s, but upon closer measurement – with compass and tape measure in hand – its very clearly on our property by quite a ways, so I figured I’d test it out. I’m mildly afraid of heights, and dangerously close to exceeding the weight limit (with all that heavy winter clothing on, of course 😉 But all in all it was a great experience. Murphy had been off exploring when I climbed it, so I had some fun calling her back and confusing her to the point of distraction wondering where I was. She kept pacing around below the stand whining. I let this little charade go on for a few minutes, because she often wanders off too far and I worry about her getting hit by a car. After this experience, she stayed right at my side for the rest of the afternoon.

My Dad pointed out this massive patch of phragmite in the marsh off in the distance. It shows up clearly on a aerial map search, and has quadrupled in size since this aerial was taken. It won’t be long – perhaps only a few years, before it completely takes over the entire marsh, leaving no room for biodiversity of species. I also learned while talking to a neighbor that we have an infestation of garlic mustard on our property as well. I won’t know until vegetation starts to come up the extent of the infestation, but I really hope it is minimal. Garlic mustard is a bear to get rid of, and takes many years of patience and an agreement with all the neighbors to also work at it. We’ll see!

We’re hoping to do some prairie or native wildflower planting in the front of the house, given the adequate southern light it will get. Its a wide open patch of grass that I’m not very excited about mowing – so my sense of urgency to make it more natural is pretty strong. We’ll start with many of the natives we have up at Kingfisher Farm – that we’ll be transplanting next weekend, then gradually work our way into more coverage.

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