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Absolutely gorgeous spring day on Sat – perfect for a massacre.  Garlic mustard is the latest invasive exotic threatening the woodlands in Floyd (and throughout half the US). I’ve seen pictures where the entire forest floor has been taken over by it.  Right now it’s blooming and easy to see – I pulled up thousands of them yesterday.  The Ailanthus is also starting to leaf out, identifying those that I haven’t killed in the past two years.  The good news is that every single one of them larger than a pinky are now dead.  The bad news is that they are now already falling over everywhere – into pastures and paths which will require serious work to clean up.  And there are still thousands of sprouts smaller than a pinky.  Did the “hack and squirt” on hundreds of them on Sat.  It was a good day.

Below an aggravating sight – garlic mustard, ailanthus, and multiflora rose all in a 2 square ft area.  Sometimes the task seems overwhelming….

Unholy Trinity

Unholy Trinity

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Whenever I get depressed about all the work to do to clear the land at CRF, I call the Sutherlands to come out with the BullHog for a few days.  It instantly cheers me up.  It’s just so amazing what they can do in such a short time.

Had them come out last week to do a few things.  First up was to clear the old home site of Noah Moore (see the History section).  I plan to rebuild a log cabin on that site very soon and needed it cleared out of the multiflora rose and other brush.  The result was just amazing to me.

Old Home Site Before

Old Home Site Before

Old Home Site After

Old Home Site After

We also had about 2 dozen big (12″-24″ diameter) white pines in pastures that we needed to get rid of.  Some fellers were clearing a lot just up the road who had humongous equipment, including a tub grinder that would turn everything wood into landscape mulch.  They said they could get rid of the pines for about $2,500 – not really a bad deal at about $100 per tree.  The Sutherlands had a better idea, though, which was to cut each of them down, drag them all off to one spot, use the BullHog to grind down the tops and side branches, and save the logs for the sawmill.  Total cost – less than $1,000.  And on top of it, they ground down the stumps in the pasture to dirt level.  What a blessing.  Initially they didn’t think they could do it efficiently, but we timed it and it proved to be very efficient – only about 2 minutes per stump!  Can’t beat that at all with a stump grinder which can take up to a half hour for each.

24" White Pine Stump Before

24" White Pine Stump Before

Stump 2 minutes later

Stump 2 minutes later

John and his son JR also cleared some other hillsides of rose and bullpine where we plan to plant trees next spring, and rose and buckthorn patches in the woods along the driveway on this job.  It just lifts my spirit so much every time they come out that I have to do it in stages to keep from being overwhelmed.  They’ll be back in the fall to clear some  woods of rose after I’ve killed this all the Ailanthus growing all through it, and probably clear a fenceline and more of the steep pasture for tree planting as well…..something to look forward to….