The Kilkenny Family Project

The Buckthorn Man has finally landed his first cash paying client!  I’ve been giving it away for the last 16 years, volunteering everywhere I worked out of pure love for the land.  But since I launched this new website last November, I have been offering my buckthorn cutting services for hire.  My new bosses are none other than Lindsay Knudsvig, Constance Kilkenny and her son, Joe Winn.

August 21, 2012, Tracy Hames, Sophia, Constance Kilkenny, Lindsay Knudsvig, The Buckthorn Man, Pati Holman

August 19, 2012, Tracy Hames, Sophia, Constance Kilkenny, Lindsay Knudsvig, Paul Mozina and Pati Holman

Joe Winn and Lindsay Knudsvig on a lunch break

Joe Winn and Lindsay Knudsvig on a lunch break at The Springs

Lindsay and Connie have been working on “the farm” for many years now and since Joe joined the effort, the action has really heated up.  Joe applied for a grant for the Kilkenny Family Project from the Wisconsin forest landowner grant program (WFLGP) and it looks like the funding will become available in August.  The farm is a 70 acre spread near Delavan, Wisconsin that features Turtle Creek, aka Swan Creek winding right through the middle of it.

KilkennyFarmGoogleMapThe restoration efforts began near the homestead, which you can see in the lower left of the picture above (and also below), and they have progressed over the last 4-5 years along the old horse trail between the south edge of the farm field and the railroad line.   This past fall they turned the corner north to work along the tree line between the farm field and Swan Creek.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

IMG_1103

The view of the southwest corner of the property

I’m trying to create something different with this website: make it a place were people can share and focus their volunteer efforts and also support me financially — so that I can continue to give it away.   I invite you to check out my About page for a description of all the features on this site.  The latest addition is the Kilkenny Family Project page, which we will use to document the history of their restoration effort.

On February 11, Lindsay, Joe and I loaded up the trailer and headed down the horse trail for the tree line on the east side of the farm field.  Drifting snow and previously cut buckthorn eventually blocked our path and we decided to unload the gear and get to work right there.

My favorite part about working at the Kilkenny Family Project is relaxing afterwards with a cold beer near the fire in their cozy kitchen and savoring a plate of Lindsay’s special recipe beans and rice!


It has been a real pleasure to share my passion for the land with other like-minded volunteers.  On February 6, I was joined by Andy Buchta, Lindsay Knudsvig, Chris Mann, Steve Brasch, and Ben and Karen Johnson at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail.  We continued clearing the left side of the trail between signposts #1 and #2 and achieved amazing results!


On February 12, I joined the Southern Kettle Moraine SNA volunteers at the White Water Oak Opening, which is part of the Clifford Messinger Dry Prairie & Savanna Preserve State Natural Area.  We cut, poisoned, piled and burned our arch enemy — buckthorn — while working on a knoll and deep drainage at the base of a steep moraine near Hwy P (you can see it on the topo map below).

map230cI grabbed this video of the UW Whitewater Ecology Club volunteers heating things up.

Jared Urban, with the DNR’s Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, has been building momentum for the State Natural Areas volunteer program for 4 years now. He will be closing the deal any day now on a trailer loaded with brand new equipment for the Southern Kettle Moraine SNA volunteers.  Way to go Jared!

Well, I’ve been busy and having a lot of fun. I hope you will come out and join us when you can, and make a donation to The Buckthorn Man if you want to show your support for what I’m doing.

See you at The Springs!

2 thoughts on “The Kilkenny Family Project

  1. Thanks for all the hard work at Whitewater Oak Opening while I was sitting in the nice warm classroom for S130. I did follow up your work a little bit a week later by cleaning up and seeding the burn pile scar you were tending too when I showed up. I also broadcast seeds through most of the sunnier area near the road. I’ll keep you posted as I check in on the site through the summer.

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