My Woods

MY WOODS by Gary Bahr for BahrWorks

In 1989 my wife Dawn and I bought an old 130 acres dairy farm.  It had 28 acres of old growth ( if you flattened out the hill, the old growth woodland I think I might have 150-180 acres).  In 1994 we planted 32,000 pines and hardwoods on 53 acres of CRP land. The planter had a special tractor he drove with one kid behind each rear wheel that put little sticks in little funnels on the back wheels to plant in the land. It took them only 12 hours. No one told me it would be a lot of work thereafter. As President George W. Bush would say, “It’s hard work”.

It is now all part of the managed forest program.

We started woods cleanup in 2006.  A crew came in to take down the Buckthorn and Honeysuckle and Grapevine and other Invasive Species. Initially I would say 90 per cent of the old growth and 50 percent of the new growth was covered with garlic mustard. I measured one Buckthorn at 22 feet.  Usually they are 10-12 feet.


I am known as the number 1 Garlic Mustard killer in the world.

Garlic mustard is the worse invasive species. It saps the nutrients from the soil and slows the life of the trees. One 2nd year plant – called – mother plants – can produce 500-2000 seeds. The next year you could have a couple thousand 1st year plants. Worse yet the seeds can lay dormant in the ground for 7 years. Seeds are also transported by deer, raccoon, humans, wild turkeys, etc. No one mentioned all this when I started. I think in the new growth I have the GM down to less than 1% of fields. But, like I said, you still have to walk each row to get a few plants or if you miss them, next year you have thousands of new plants.

I have been working on cleaning up our woods for several years. The invasive species – like Buckthorn, Honeysuckle etc may be winning again, but I’ll get rid of it! The Garlic Mustard is down 90% in the old growth, but you still have to walk every inch of the woods to kill the garlic mustard mother plants. That is 2000 zillion steps with a backpack full of chemical on your back. It helps if your are crazy.

It is expensive.


Last winter we took off most of the branches in most fields to 12-13 feet with a power pole saw. I had taken off most lower branches in the past that I could reach with a clipper when the branches were smaller. Soon we will finish the fields. Then in a few years we will attack the upper branches from 12-16.5 feet.

July 2012

Finished spraying the fence lines of the middle field today. Done spraying for this year or should I say I quit. My new Honda Brush Cutter will have plenty of work to do along these fence lines.

Poke weed is now atrocious.  It is a big tall fat weed that grows over your head, gets white flowers in summer and lots of clumps of berries hereafter.  The stems are big, fat, hollow. You will be tripping over them later this year when they die this fall.

It is very hot.  90 degree plus. Tried my new WORX grass trimmer – think it may work to clean up yard if grass isn’t a foot tall and thick. It is a toy compared to my new Honda Brush Cutter. Have started cleaning garage. Too hot in garage.

by Gary Bahr

Started cleaning up my office overlooking big woods.


While cleaning the office, my deer: my lone young yearling (Turk), my twin yearlings (Pete and Andy), my mother deer (Dawn) and two fawns (Jen and Jena) have been visiting my small pond – 2 – 3 times a day.  I have been adding some fresh water daily. Then they like to eat grass in the shade of my little crabapple tree – especially in 90 degree weather.

The Crow came to drink. He looked and looked at where the pond sat before. Did not yet try the new spot. I call him Crow.

Yesterday one of the fawns (Jena) came up to the pond by herself. She looked in and saw her reflection. I could see the reflection from my office window. It scared her. She jump back and ran off.  Then my twin yearlings (Andy & Pete) came to drink. While they were drinking, my lone yearling (Turk) came out of the pines. He walked over to the two yearlings to make friends. They chased him away.  This is the yearling that tried last year to make friends with wild turkeys which chased him away.

Did you know the fawns can scratch the back of their ears with their hind feet!? Cute!

Next day – Jena the fawn looks in the pond and sees her reflection and jumps back. Circles the pond and looks in, jumps back. She does this a couple more times before taking a drink. Then she climbs in the small plastic liner pond and drinks. Jen, the other fawn watches all this for several minutes from 100 feet away. Then comes to the pond and Jena jumps out.

Oh what fun it is…

That’s all for now from…

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