It was a heart warming week at The Springs both physically and emotionally. Old Man Winter loosened his grip…
and, instead, I felt again the embrace of my loving soul mate, family and friends.
I might be his biggest fan, so the pleasure was all mine this past Monday when I helped Scott Finch harvest some black locust firewood for the cozy living room stove over his recording studio in Milwaukee’s hip, Riverwest, neighborhood.
I took a leisurely walk around the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail before Scott arrived,
and was happy to take the call from my sister Cathy, “Heh, will you give us a tour of The Springs?” We made a date for Tuesday and I finished my walk contemplating the fun we would have.
While Scott, his buddy Mr. Snoodles, and I, loaded our trucks with firewood, Chris, Brian, Austin and Phil, from the Kettle Moraine Land Stewards, continued cutting and burning on the north side of the Buckthorn Alley. Nice work!
On Tuesday I was very pleased to be joined on the trail by 5 of my 9 brothers and sisters (Cathy’s husband Tom, a 35+ year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service was there too, and took the picture of us shown below.) I deflected their compliments by explaining that working out at The Springs is the only thing that is keeping me sane. It’s the only time I get to win. With my trusty chainsaw, and a razor sharp chain, I win the argument with Mr. Buckthorn every time. I know — it’s pathetic.
I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did! Below from left to right: Joe, Margret, Paul, Pete, Liz (in blue) and Cathy.
On Wednesday, I took care of business at home cleaning the house in preparation for the return of my loving mate, Pati Holman, from her second trip to Uruguay. Meanwhile, Chris, Austin and Phil broke through the buckthorn thicket on the north side of the Buckthorn Alley to reach some massive red oaks.
Thursday, I returned to get some licks in myself, but first I had a sign to put up.
I mistakenly named this previously anonymous haven for birds and bees The Hatching House Springs, after Lindsay Knudsvig uncovered them by some intense brush, cattail and phragmites clearing. When I saw this map that Ron Kurowski preserved, I realized that the Hatching House had actually been located much closer to the Hotel Springs.
Shortly thereafter, Jim Davee and Melaine Kapinos positioned the new signpost #9 in the correct location.
So… what to call this unique set of springs in the heart of the valley?
Ron suggested the Fish Hatchery Springs and Anne and James from the Kettle Moraine State Forest — Southern Unit soon had the sign ready. I brought out a 20lb bag of charcoal, and was even prepared to use my torch, but, like I said, Old Man Winter had loosened his grip, and I had no problem digging a hole for the post.
I took a minute to secure the 4′ deck we positioned where the Fish Hatchery Springs join the river, by toe nailing the deck onto its support beams.
By 10:00am I was repositioned north of the old barn site to work on the last stretch of buckthorn along Hwy 67 in the Scuppernong Springs Nature Preserve property.
There was a nice brush pile left over from the last time we worked in this area and, as soon as it was lit, I commenced to cutting buckthorn.
I think we’ll be able to finish this area with one more workday.
My sweetheart Pati came home on Friday and we took a very nice walk on the Ice Age Trail in the Loew Lake segment. I must say, I feel pretty lucky to have had a heart warming week like that in the dead of winter.
See you at The Springs!
Aloha Paul, How ironic to be sitting here in a Honolulu Hotel bed recuperating from surgery and just after reading the chapter entitled Ice in Stars, Snow, Fire by John Haines I take a break and check my email. Paul’s Scup…post is the first I check out and low and behold he has written about some of the same impressions John had so beautifully written. What a delightful surprise from an friend in the out doors of Wisconsin.
Thanks Greg. You have a big heart and I hope your triple by-pass surgery will keep it ticking for many years to come.
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Hey Paul! I thought I had commented ‘way back when’ on our tour of the Springs with you as our guide. Knowing me I did everything but click ‘Post’… ha ha. Just want to say that I loved getting together with our gang of siblings and seeing first hand the beautiful Scuppernong Springs and the work you have done and are doing. I can really identify with your satisfaction of pursuing something worthwhile, where you can see your progress. There are so many issues & problems surrounding us that we can’t control, yet affect our lives. I get discouraged too… Thanks for all this restoration work you are doing. We are all the recipients of your hard work!
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