Kilkenny Family Project


Essay by Connie Kilkenny

My mission is to engage my family to develop a land ethic (why and how you value nature and the “farm” and the creek); also, to inform family members of proposals for work to be done and get input and assistance.  I have hopes this will recharge and revitalize the Kilkenny community and most importantly the love of the land.  My goal is to stimulate discussion to guide us in land conservation and spark dialogue for land management and restoration projects that will renew and recommit our family to “the farm” — both the Richmond farm (Kilkenny heritage) and Elm Ridge Rd “farm” ( Grandpa Hull’s purchase in 1946 for mother and her many children).  I personally want to inspire confidence and freedom to enjoy the land.

One way to accomplish this is by a method I learned at the Aldo Leopold Center Land Ethic program in Baraboo, Wisconsin in October 2012.  Yes!! near Devil’s Lake where Grandpa and Grandma Hull took our Mother and your Grandma Ruth and her sisters camping and hiking and where we continue to take our kids and our kids take their kids!

The method consists of Observation, observing the natural world around you and at “the farm”; Participation, Participating in purposeful work on the land (more simply I would welcome man power on scheduled work days and welcoming people to take hikes and nature study here and walking my labyrinth in the old horse pasture); and lastly ongoing, Reflection on the experiences of observing and participating.  Thus we would gain a deeper connection with the land and our own environmental values.

“There are two things that interest me; the relationship of people to each other and the relationship of people to land”. –Aldo Leopold.

If land is healthy, it can provide nearly everything we as a family need and want — food, fiber, recreation, retreat, wildlife and beauty.  Wildlife depends on us for food and shelter and breeding.  Our care of the land will provide ways to meet both species needs (ours and theirs = we).

“When land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land; when both end up better by reason of their partnership, we have conservation.  When one or the other grows poorer; we do not (have conservation)”.-Aldo Leopold.

There is now an imbalance due to soil and trees being smothered by invasive species and lack of land management.  Smothering reduces nutrient cycle of plants and soil and nitrogen is reduced.

Objective: Let us connect to “the farm”‘and each other.

Much of the family’s discussions have been among a few members and have focused on identifying problems and formulating solutions.  We need time to contemplate the root cause of these problems and our personal and communal connections with our natural world where ever we live right now.

Let us work on conservation through education, research and restoration of “the farm”.

Through this process of reflection, we can contemplate the root cause of the land unbalance.  For example, we can come to some understanding of the biodiversity of the land before Grandpa Hull purchased it for his daughter, our mother and grandmother, Cantonia Ruth Kilkenny.  By biodiversity of the land we mean what it was before grazing and application of chemical intensive mono culture farming, e.g. beans and corn.  What were the native plants and the biodiversity of the land before cows and horses grazing and agriculture?

Our land is open oak woodland/oak savanna, upland oak and Shagbark hickory stands, and a lowland marsh with the creek. (An extremely rare variety of habitats)

That is a beautiful expression of Connie’s hopes and dreams for the Kilkenny Family Project.  You can read the entire proposal that Connie and Lindsay created back in 2013 here.  It takes courage, vision and imagination to make change happen, but, perhaps the most important ingredients for success are persistence and resilience.  I’m looking forward to working with Connie, Lindsay, Joe, and hopefully more members of the Kilkenny Community, to restore the non-agricultural areas of “The Farm” back to their native beauty and diversity.

Here is a current look at the Elm Ridge Rd Farm in Delevan.KilkennyFarmGoogleMap

That’s Turtle Creek, aka Swan Creek, passing through the heart of Grandpa Hull’s legacy.  You can take a closer look at the property here via this Google Map.

How has “The Farm” changed since Grandpa Hull purchased it in 1946?  The following gallery is from the Walworth County GIS system and it shows images captured approximately every 5 years since 1941.  Click any photo in the gallery to open the images full size.

You can see the brush closing in all the open spaces, especially the field on the east side of Swan Creek.  Notably, the area just south of Connie’s place, in the lower left corner, was becoming thick with buckthorn as evidenced in the 2005 photo above.  You can see the difference a successful restoration effort can make by comparing this area of the 2005 image to that in the 2010 and 2015 images.


March 21, 2013


March 21, 2013

Here we should insert pictures of the Richmond property just like we did for the Elm Ridge i.e., Google Map image, embedded Google Map, historical sequence 1941-2015 and pictures of this property.

It all begins with Care;  this is our spiritual currency.  What do we “spend” our time on?  What do we “pay” attention to?  We should insert an historical timeline of what has been accomplished so far.  For example, here are two videos from March 21. 2013 when Pati, Lindsay and I got after it.

And after the days work.

We can insert galleries, like the historical gallery of images above, for each workday or event. Pictures from the Kilkenny Family meeting, when the 2013 restoration proposal was discussed, would be great.

This section of the page can be as long as you want it to be, with as many of the past workdays as you want to document. Get the Kilkenny Community up to speed on what has been done so far.

We can take a suitable image of the property and use an image editing site like this to shade in the areas where work has been done. A different color shading can be used for each year if that seems like a good way to show progress.


Ok, now assuming you have brought everyone up to date, what do you want to say here to the Kilkenny Community about how you move forward? How can they get involved either intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, physically or financially?  Note, the order of content is totally up to you and we can move this section up if you want.

Here’s a link to the latest post

Or we can add new content right in the project


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