Buckthorn Alley Rumble

I’ve never been in a street fight, but I imagine it might leave one feeling like I did this morning. Yesterday, Ben Johnson, Zach Kastern and I picked a fight with gang of mute, motionless, defiant and ultimately, defenseless, buckthorn that had invaded “our” territory at The Springs. Their thorny branches and stout, gnarly, trunks were no match for our sharp, steel, chains and our saws whirred their death knell in three part harmony.

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Fortunately, we’re not working alone at The Springs, and a team of dedicated volunteers is coalescing to undo the damage that has been inflicted on this “world class site”.  I’m energized and encouraged by the growing level of commitment — the fresh blood (no pun intended) — that all of the new volunteers bring.  It’s going to be a great year!

IMG_2014

The last time we were at The Springs, The Buckthorn Man got skunked and left the Buckthorn Alley with his tail between his legs.  With victory so close, it was a hard loss to bear.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, the courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.  Reinhold Niebuhr

 I returned to the buckthorn alley yesterday determined to “change the things which should be changed!”  There is a relatively thin curtain of buckthorn separating the trail here from a good sized wetland.

IMG_2022 IMG_2021 IMG_2019

I started one of Andy’s brush piles on fire and was soon joined by Ben Johnson and Zach Kastern.  We got our saws in tune and they began to sing.

IMG_2023

John Hrobar, who has quite a voice by the way, joined the chorus and stoked the fire with freshly cut brush while Sue corralled this wild unicorn that was roaming north of the old barn site.

horsehead tree 01:05

IMG_2038 IMG_2036

When the rumble was finally over, and slain buckthorn littered the alley, we gathered round the fire to savor and celebrate our success.

IMG_2032 IMG_2031  IMG_2028

We left enough daylight to take a walk around The Springs, enjoy the scenery and catch the sunset.

IMG_2034

The river bend.

IMG_2039

The big valley.

IMG_2041

Pati joined us for the sunset at the Indian Campground.

IMG_2043 IMG_2045 IMG_2047 IMG_2049 IMG_2051 IMG_2052 IMG_2055 IMG_2058

We finished the day walking the north end of the loop trail from east to west scoping out the last stretch of the buckthorn alley and hanging out by the fire…

See you at The Springs!

4 thoughts on “Buckthorn Alley Rumble

  1. Pingback: Kettle Moraine Natural History Association | Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

  2. Pingback: Ben Johnson — Expanding the Green Dream | Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

  3. Pingback: The Heart Of The Scuppernong | Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

  4. Pingback: The Pike Lake Springs | Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s