The Return of The Buckthorn Man

It was a bit reminiscent of The Return of Tarzan when The Buckthorn Man returned to his Shangri-La on the shores of Ottawa Lake.


Like the buckthorn thickets of the kettle moraine are ‘a bit’ like the jungles of Africa, The Buckthorn Man is only ‘a bit’ as noble and virtuous as the mighty Tarzan.  Yes, yes, if only I could be as self-possessed as the king of the jungle, how liberating that would be.

Imitating the lord of the apes, I aspired to noble contemplation of ethics and aesthetics as I bent over the spotted knapweed on the sand prairie and listened to The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas.  Sweet freedom.  Paradoxically, I do love my servitude to The Creator, which is my free choice to labor at The Springs, because it enables me to manifest my version of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic, and satisfy my desire to make the world a more beautiful place.


I finally did read A Sand County Almanac, which includes Leopold’s thought provoking essay, “The Land Ethic”:

A land, ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of the land.

Much of what he said resonated with me, but, and I hope you won’t think that The Buckthorn Man simply must have a buckthorn spike stuck in his butt to quibble with Aldo, like other careful readers, I found myself disconcerted by some of the things he said, or, as the case may be, did not say.  He fails to mention the highly evolved Seventh Generation Earth Ethics of the indigenous people, while hoping that “we”, homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man”), who violently and rapaciously “conquered” the land, have learned a lesson.

A nation spawned from empires built on the backs of slaves is not easily weaned from gluttonous exploitation.  Lest you think my ranting hyperbolic, consider this example from Donald Culross Peattie’s fine work,  A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America:

Until almost the turn of the present century (1900), pecans reached the market largely from wild trees.  The harvesting methods in early times consisted in nothing less heroic and criminal than cutting down gigantic specimens — the bigger the better — and setting boys to gather the nuts from the branches of the fallen giants.  It seemed to the pioneer then, as it did to every American, that the forests of this country were inexhaustible.  Thus it came about that the wild Pecan tree had become rare before men began to realize how much was lost.


Before I proceed with the riveting story of what happened when The Buckthorn Man returned to Shangri-La, I must complain about another, subtle perhaps, line of Leopoldian thought.  He espouses a moral relativism that positively rankles me: “An ethic, philosophically, is a differentiation of social from anti-social conduct.”, and later: “The mechanism of operation is the same for any ethic: social approbation for right actions: social disapproval for wrong actions.”  No Aldo, NO!  There is an objective difference between right and wrong, independent of the whims of society, which Mark Passio eloquently and passionately explains in his Natural Law Seminar.

If you have any doubts, please check with Fredrick Douglas.

I arrived at the Ottawa Lake campground on Friday, August 22, excited to setup camp at the walk-in site #335, only to find that it had been let to another party an hour earlier.  It reminded me of that scene where Jerry Seinfeld complained to the car rental company that knew how to take his reservation, but not how to hold it.  Undecided about what to do, I took a walk downstream in the Scuppernong River to inspect the work that was recently done to improve the channel.


Here are some views of the stretch of the river just upstream from the gaging station bridge that still need some channel remediation.


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While wandering the trails I met Eliot and his son Isaiah, and they graciously invited me to stay with them at site #388, which is a beautiful site on the bluff overlooking Ottawa Lake.  Thanks again guys!

Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday were dedicated to digging and pulling spotted knapweed on the sand prairie.  Most of the seed is still firmly attached and, since I did not mow the prairie this year, there is a ton of it.



I didn’t care if it rained.

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It was hot, humid and buggy, but beautiful nevertheless.

The Hillside Springs.

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The Indian Springs.


Ottawa Lake sunset.




On Tuesday and Wednesday I was determined to finish clearing the buckthorn along the trail that follows the east shore of Ottawa Lake between site #380 and #335.  I was concerned about the bar oiling mechanism not working properly on my chainsaw and, sure enough, it was kaput.  So, I carried a little pint bottle of bar oil in my chaps and stopped every couple minutes to manually apply some lubrication to the bar and chain.  No problem!

Tuesday, before…

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… and after.

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The sights and sounds of The Springs:

Buckthorn seedlings along the cut-off trail.


The cut-off trail.


Giant thistles that I should have positively identified as friend or foe a few months ago.IMG_3882

The Hidden Spring.

The area of phragmites that I poisoned near the Emerald Spring deck is finally coming back to life.


The Emerald Spring.

The Scuppernong Spring.


The Indian Spring.


A beautiful, unidentified flower near the Hotel Spring.


The valley of the headwaters.


Wednesday morning and I had a date with buckthorn.



… and after.


You can follow the lakeshore trail all the way from the beach to the north end of site #334 and enjoy wide open views of the lake and fen to the west the whole way.  It’s lovely.

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IMG_3912Thanks again to Carl Baumann, for splitting and restacking my stash of firewood!.


And thanks to Dave and Lindsay for coming out to visit; I really enjoyed it.  I had a couple of uninhibited and inspired guitar jams by the fire and, despite all the rain, never had to setup my tarp at camp.  It was excellent.

See you at The Springs!

The Indian Spring Garden

Ben Johnson and I shared one of those special days yesterday at The Springs, that make it all worthwhile.  We ignored the intermittent rain and incessant mosquito attacks to plant a garden at the Indian Springs.  Watercress and quack grass are out: native sedges, grasses, ferns and flowers are in.  When these plants take hold this will be an even more magical place than it already is.


We started the day with empty wheel barrows, just down the trail from the main parking lot on Hwy ZZ, in the buckthorn alley.  The emergence, or should I say, explosion, of a wide variety of native plants along this trail makes referring to it as an “alley” a misnomer.  I’ll have to come up with a new name.  So we arrived at the Indian Springs with our diverse loads of plants…


… and surveyed the void left by the recent removal of watercress and quack grass.

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The profile of stream bed has changed significantly since I removed the mud dam in the narrows of the picture above, and we furthered that process along by cleaning the debris from the literally dozens of springs that emerge here.  I don’t have scientific data to back this claim up, but it appeared that the volume of water flowing from each spring increased significantly as the obstructions were removed.

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Although I try to live in the present moment, I can’t help but look forward to next spring, when the transplants have settled in and we should have the deck repaired.  We spent the later part of the afternoon cutting and poisoning sumac and pulling spotted knapweed amongst the lupine patches on the west side of the sand prairie.  Thanks for your help Ben!

Pati and I are going on a short vacation (back around July 15th), so I got some licks in at The Springs this past Tuesday, cleaning up the areas around the hillside springs.  I mowed the spur trails that lead to the hillside and hidden springs, as well as the trail that leads to the emerald springs and the unnamed springs just to the north.

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In what will become a semi-annual event, I pulled loads of watercress from the headwaters at the Scuppernong Spring down to the first bridge downstream.  When my fingers encountered the planking they installed way back in the days when this stretch of the river was a trout factory, I couldn’t help but pull this garbage out.  I found huge 6×8″ beams spanning the river bed from bank to bank onto which the planks had been nailed.  These unnatural impediments to the stream flow must be removed.


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… and after.

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After removing the planks shown below, the height of the river noticeably declined.  The channel is now much deeper and more distinct.  When I showed the area to Ben on Wednesday there were two ducks, normally very skittish when humans are near, who refused to leave.  I think they liked the change.


Along with the aforementioned beams embedded in the river bottom, there are still more planks and pipes left over from the old days that we plan to remove in the coming weeks.  This will go a long way toward facilitating the river’s return to a natural steam bed in this area.

Again, the late afternoon was spent digging and pulling spotted knapweed along the main trail on the sand prairie.

I thought it was going to be a classic Scuppernong Sunset as I bathed in the river, but this bank of clouds came up fast from the northwest.  I can’t remember a spring and summer where we have gotten so much rain so consistently.


See you at The Springs!

SEWRPC Surveys The Springs

I love to landscape the landscape at the Scuppernong Springs.  This distinguished tract of land deserves our love and attention for the sake of its beauty.  So please, come out and help me dig a little spotted knapweed from the sand prairie!


The lay of the land at The Springs was evoked beautifully by John Muir, in his classic: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, and I had to pinch myself last night as I walked alone behind the Scuppernong Spring and thought: ‘this is my garden’.


I’m intrigued by how others experience my garden.

Here is a great image from Landscape Photographer Byron S. Becker: “The photograph was taken in the spring of 2008 along Suppernong River near sundown. The camera was a 4×5 with a 90mm lens, using TriX 320 film and the exposure was 2 minutes; the developer was Pyronal.”

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Below is an example of Kristen Westlake’s Fine Art Photography.  You can see more of her images of The Springs, and all of her other outstanding work, here.


I had a wonderful week of beautiful weather for landscape gardening at The Springs!  Last Monday, June 9th, I tried something new, per the advice of Jared Urban, and burned the first-year garlic mustard off the cut-off trail with my blow torch.  Below is where the cut-off trail joins the main trail at signpost #13.

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And after…



I got the worst patches and now the trail is officially “burned in” as Don Dane would say.  I spent the afternoon digging spotted knapweed from the sand prairie and was glad to have Ben Johnson’s help with this seemingly Sisyphean task.  We focused on cleaning up the lupine patches.


On Friday, June 13, I was joined by Dan Carter, Senior Biologist with The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC).  Dan was continuing SEWRPC’s ongoing effort to document the vegetation at The Springs and invited me to come along.


SEWRPC has divided The Springs into 4 areas for their vegetation surveys:

1) The dry prairie at the springs (aka, the Indian Campground)
2) The dry woods
3) The springs, immediately adjacent wetlands, and upper reaches of the creek
4) The fen and sedge meadow in the vast open area immediately to the west (includes trench where marl was mined).

The first three areas listed above are located in the blue circle on the right below and the fourth is in the larger blue circle to the left.  Click the links above to view SEWRPC’s preliminary vegetation surveys.

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As we walked through Buckthorn Alley on our way to the hotel spring, Dan and I stopped frequently to make notes and take pictures.  Dan recently completed his PhD in Biology at Kansas State University and he has a wealth of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  Here are just a few of plants he identified.

Lady Fern


Sensitive Fern


False Solomon’s Seal


True Solomon’s Seal


Be careful at The SpringsPoison Hemlock.IMG_3210 IMG_3211



Forked Aster, a state threatened plant!






We visited the Ottawa Lake Fen State Natural Area and Dan showed me two new springs that I had never seen before.  They emerge from the east side of the wetlands and you can find them by walking across the fen from campsite #334 towards the north until you come across their outflow channels.

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Of course, there were lots of interesting plants here too.

Bracken Fern


Lake Sedge


And the carnivorous Pitcher Plant


Thanks Dan, for showing me around the place I love!


I spent the afternoon pulling and digging spotted knapweed on the sand prairie.  There is a bumper crop of this noxious invader!

A soothing sunset at Ottawa Lake.

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A “Honey” moon at the Lapham Peak Tower.


I had the pleasure of spending yesterday, June 14, at my favorite spot again.

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The Indian Spring is being quickly overrun by quack grass and water cress so I spent the morning pulling these invasive plants.  Before…


… and after.

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Then I moved up the hill to the sand prairie and continued pulling and digging spotted knapweed.  It’s going to take years to get rid of this stuff unless I get a whole lot of help.

Speaking of which, my good friend Carl Baumann, who has been harvesting black locust on the south end of the trail, split all of the logs in my woodpile setting the stage for some cozy fires at My Shangri-La.  Thanks Carl!


And Andy Buchta noticed the freshly cut buckthorn by the main entrance on Hwy ZZ and he has commenced to piling.  Thanks Andy!

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It was a great week!

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See you at The Springs!


The Sauk Spring

After a couple days, I start to miss The Springs.  They draw me away from the present moment into a dreamy future, which became reality for me last Thursday as I worked, wandered and wondered in a Garden of Eden. This place is flowing with living waters and I drew some for the day at the Scuppernong Spring.


I crossed the Indian Campground on my way to an area at the bottom of the slope to girdle some Aspen trees.

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It wasn’t until I started working with real Indians, I mean people born in India, that I started to become frustrated with the common use of the term here; a case of mistaken identity.  Language is so powerful!  Who were the “First People”, the “Native Americans”?  If only we could have learned from them how to live in harmony with the land and honored them with their own names.

Watercress and quack grass are two non-native plants that can really take over an area.  Lindsay pulled a ton of these invaders from the Indian Spring, or maybe we should call it the Sauk Spring after the tribe, along with the Fox, that ceded over 50,000,000 acres of their tribal lands to the United States in the Treaty of St. Louis back in 1803. Cede — to surrender possession of. We didn’t expect these deeply rooted plants to disappear and I thought it would be a good time to clean the spring again.




After girdling aspen for a while, I donned some rubber knee boots and pulled the new batch of water cress and quack grass that were rapidly spreading. Here are a series of videos and photos taken later in the day that give a tour of the Sauk Spring.




I love the sound of the water.

This view is a bit downstream from the source where an earthen dam was blocking the channel.

There is a second spring source that merges with the main channel on its way to the Scuppernong River.

The Sauk Spring is a relatively quiet place to hang out with a great view of the prairie.

Next, I headed to the old barn site, which is quite a bit noisier, to pile some buckthorn. Garrett and Jenny, two new volunteers, joined me and we did some stacking. I’m hoping to work with them again soon!




Finally, it was time for some fun and by this time the clouds had been blown away by a refreshing north wind.




This vernal pool as at the south end of the loop trail.


The Sauk Campground is a sand prairie that really comes alive with color in the spring. The Hoary Puccoon is in full bloom.



And so are the Wild Lupine!




On my way to the marl pits at the north end of the Sauk Campground…



At the pits looking east towards the Sauk Spring area.



May Apple on the cut-off, aka “lost”, trail.




It was a lovely, cool, bug-free, full-moon evening and I watched the sun go down from the Marl Pit bridge.








See you at The Springs!

Buckthorn Alley

“Thats all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” 


When I visited the land that time forgot on the north end of the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail, I reached into my backpack for a can of spinach and realized I had left it at home.

I rarely walk the section of trail marked in blue below because it is so dark, damp and uninteresting compared to the rest of the trail.


At the end of the day yesterday, I walked this section of the trail to make sure there were no trees downed across it and review just how badly degraded it was. Here is a tour of the first hundred yards or so.

After passing through this buckthorn thicket, I thought “Thats all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” I’m changing my priorities to focus on this section of trail. I’ve been reminded of my old hero, Popeye, by my recent diagnosis via MRI that I have torn the head of the long biceps tendon on my left arm. I got whacked there by the branch of a red oak tree that I was clearing off the trail back in October of 2012. One solution offered by the orthopedic surgeon was to sever the head of the biceps tendon completely; apparently the Creator was confused when deciding to join this muscle with the scapula and we don’t really need it. The only downside he explained was that my biceps muscle would bunch up reminiscent of Popeye The Sailor.


My rotator cuff is torn as well, but after three months of physical therapy and Feldenkrais Lessons with Pati, the pain and discomfort has subsided and I can live with it.

Yesterday morning, Rich joined me as we continued our efforts to spray the spotted knapweed on the sand prairie that covers the Indian Campground. The site listed above explains “Apply selective herbicide clopyralid during bud growth in early June for best results (48 oz per 100 gal water).” hmmm, we don’t have any clopyralid and it is only April; so our use of glyphosate at this time of the year is not the preferred technique; nevertheless, since glyphosate attacks any green plant, I’m hopeful we will see good results (we focus the spray as much as possible to reduce collateral damage).

Next, we continued the effort to control aspen around the Indian Springs girdling the rest of the clonal colony in that area.

Roberta “Berta” Roy-Montgomery joined Rich and I and we finished girdling the aspen in this bowl.

Rich and Berta had other commitments for the rest of the afternoon and I headed over to the area north of the old barn site to continue cutting buckthorn between the loop trail and Hwy 67.

This is probably as far as we’ll get in this area for now as our focus is shifting to the Buckthorn Alley.

Here are a couple of views of the area just cut. You have to walk amongst the oak, cherry and hickory trees in here to really appreciate their size and beauty.




I couldn’t stay for the sunset but did grab these parting shots.



See you at The Springs!

Trout Stream Therapy

An elite team of DNR River Doctors paid a visit to the Scuppernong River to see how their patient was doing. Over the last 20 years, since DNR veterans Sue Beyler, Randy Schumacher and Ron Kurowski initiated the “healing” of the river in conjunction with the Scuppernong River Habitat Area restoration project, the health of the Scuppernong River has steadily improved. Nevertheless, the River Doctors advised that more “trout stream therapy” is in order. Let’s meet the doctors.


From left to right starting in the back row we have Josh Krall, Andrew Notbohm, Steve “Gus” Gospodarek, Ben “Benny” Heussner and in the front row, trail boss Don “Double D” Dane. Check out the DNR contact site for more information. You can review their most recent work on the Scuppernong river at the end of this Interview With Ben Heussner. By the way, on the first leg of our recent Journey Down the Scuppernong River, I expressed disappointment that water from the river had spilled over into the channel, which they had endeavored to segregate from the river last summer. Ben and Steve explained this was to be expected for 3 reasons: this is a flood plain and it is perfectly natural for the river to overflow its banks, there are water sources to the North of the channel that still feed it, and finally, they would have had to excavate the old river bed to an unacceptable depth, basically turning into another canal, to enable it carry more water. “Time heals all wounds” as Gos said, and the area in question will take many more years to completely heal.

I was joined by Pati Holman and we couldn’t have been more excited as we left the parking lot to survey the river to see what treatments the doctors might have in mind.

We identified 6 “projects”, or areas, where some therapy could be considered. The blue numbers on the map below will be referenced as we travel upstream from the marl pit bridge to the headwaters at the Scuppernong Spring.


Our first stop, project #1, was downstream a few yards from the marl pit bridge where the river splits in two forming an elbow that rejoins the main stream 30-40 yards downstream. I asked them to consider if we should close this side channel, which I made an ineffectual attempt to do last summer before Tracy Hames came to visit.

Then we proceeded upstream to the next bridge over the river where the water flow gauge was recently installed, where Steve explained what state the river was in when they began the “trout stream therapy” in that stretch.

We followed the right bank upstream maybe 100 yards to the site of project #2.

You can hear Steve and Ben discussing whether or not it was a good idea to remove the boards that we see in different areas of the river bed. They ultimately recommended that boards in the middle of the channel, where the water is moving the most freely, be removed, but boards on the periphery could be left in place so as not to disturb the muck. Then we continued upstream another 100 yards or so to project site #3.

You can probably tell from my excited chatter that I’m having a really good time. Then we continued upstream to the site of the dam that formed the upper, larger, of the two Ponds of the Scuppernong.

Then with perhaps the key insight of the morning, Dr. Heussner identified that the river was suffering from a gradient problem and that an elevation study was required (project #4). Take a listen.

As we progressed upstream, we considered that any further efforts would have to be done in sympathy with the establishment of the proper grade as Ben described above. We next arrived at the Emerald Spring where we discussed the idea of dredging the muck from the river to prevent it from going down stream once the improvements in the grade are achieved. This would be project #6.

Finally, we made our way over to the outflow channel from the Indian Spring, where Don had suggested some bio-logs might be useful. The doctors weigh in on project #6.

As Ben mentioned above, they will need to “chew on it” for a while to determine which of these projects they want to proceed with first. Depending on the needs of the project, we may try to enlist the South East Wisconsin Trout Unlimited group to give us a hand.

Pati and I had a great time hanging out with the DNR Fisheries team and “Double D” and we learned a lot! I hope you did too.

See you at the Springs!

Idle No More

Hi.  Thanks again for checking out the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail Posts!

Before I get into today’s incredible adventure at the Springs, I want to shine a light on the Idle No More movement.  I participated in their consciousness awakening event in Milwaukee yesterday and it was very moving.  The singing and speakers were excellent.  The First People elders spoke a lot about the responsibility we all share to take care of the land in preparation for the 7th generation to come, and to be aware that we are the beneficiaries of the love and care of the 7th generation that preceded us.

Here is audio recorded before the march Idle No More January 18, 2013 Pre March Song and Speeches.

We marched down to Veterans Park, where a Pipe Ceremony was held and there was more singing and speeches.  Action on a new mining bill in Wisconsin is heating up!

The other big issue raised is the struggle for sovereignty.

I found Kevin Annett’s documentary Unrepentant: Canada’s Genocide, while researching the Idle No More movement.

And we think we have invasive species problems!  Image how the indigenous people felt about the White European Invaders!

In honor of the Native, Indigenous, First People, we sowed a mix of 20+ Wet Mesic Prairie plant seeds around the Indian Spring and areas to the North marked in white on the map below.


Here is part of the area seen from the Scenic Overlook on the old Indian Campground site.


And a bit closer up.

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Sowing seed is the creme dela creme of restoration work.  I will post a list of all the different plants in the mix and we’ll try to identify as they emerge.

The Scuppernong River water level is holding steady at .026.


Here is an interesting bit of machinery we found near the site of the Marl Plant.  This Spring we’ll do a little excavating around this to see what it is attached to.


After the seed was sown Lindsay and I headed over to the cutoff trail to continue cutting Buckthorn where I left off last time.  Here are some before shots; the first two are looking to the North on the cutoff trail at an old cranberry bog.

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Below we are looking South, towards the river.IMG_0528 IMG_0529 IMG_0530

Around 2:00pm Rich Csavoy joined us and Don Dane, the DNR trail boss, stopped by to drop off more seeds (for more wooded uplands) and we all took a walk around the place reviewing the progress and future plans.  Don is hoping to mow the Indian Campground this coming week.  We cut a bit more after our visit with Don and here is the final result.  The first picture below is looking at the cranberry bog and the next two are looking South towards the river.


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The view of the work site from the main trail on the South side of the river.


It was a glorious sunset; one of the best I’ve ever see at the Springs.

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See you at the Springs!

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

We called ourselves the “River Rats”.  With our Blue Dolphin canoe loaded with a chainsaw, pruning saw, rake and garbage bags, we were determined to make the Bark River from Hartland to Lake Nagawicka navigable for canoes and litter free.  Mark Mamerow and I took many work trips down the Bark and, after 7 years, its a really nice paddle.  In his new book “The Bark River Chronicles – Stories from a Wisconsin Watershed”, Milton J. Bates describes our stretch of the Bark River in Chapter 5.  Mr. Bates tells the story of The Hartland Marsh in great detail and even mentions Pati and I.  Although he doesn’t mention Mark by name, he does comment on the great improvements to the river in this stretch since his last visit in the 1990s.  Thanks Mark! 


Check out About Paul for more info about the Hartland Marsh project.  Here is a map of the Bark River in the Hartland Marsh area.

That being said, it was great to connect with Mark again today as we burned 50 more piles at the Scuppernong Springs.  The morning was crisp and cold.


Just beyond the row of 12 brush piles you can see below is a remnant of a sedge meadow.


Our DNR friends Don and Amanda gave us a huge bag of seeds, with over 20 varieties suitable for a Wet Mesic Prairie setting, that we plan to sow in the area around the Indian Springs and in other locations.  The transition from Buckthorn thicket to natural prairie or wetland includes a lot of steps and burning the brush piles is one of my favorites.

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We lit another dozen piles farther down the outflow channel of the Indian Springs, closer to where it joins the Scuppernong River.

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The conditions were perfect so we moved to the West side of the Indian Campground Sand Dune and lit another bunch of piles.  By 11:00am we had 50 piles started and we began the mop up process.

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You can see the outflow channel of the Indian Spring below from the Scenic Overlook.IMG_0384 IMG_0385 IMG_0386 IMG_0387

Snow started falling around 4:00pm and it was coming down pretty good by the time I left.  Since there wasn’t much of a sunset today, here is a great shot taken by Tighe House a couple weeks ago.

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See you at the Springs!

Fire In The Sky

It was the coldest morning of the year and the setting moon’s light brilliantly contrasted the deep blue cloudless sky as I made my way to the Indian Springs.  I’ve been meaning to get some pictures of the “Monster Spring“, as the locals used to call it, in a morning light.

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The “Monster”


Here is one of the Hillside Springs.


It’s been a great year working out at the Springs and I want to thank Pati, Lindsay, Rich, Mark, John, Sue, Thomas, Chakry, Sriram, Don, Ron, Paul, Anne, Amanda and everyone else who lent a hand or showed support.

The coolest thing that happened to me this past year was my rediscovery of Philosophy thanks to my good friends at Tragedy And Hope.  It’s never too late, nor too early, nor too often to study Philosophy.

Today though, we are interested in Physics.


The conditions were perfect for burning brush piles and I was able to light 34.  In half of those I just poked my torch into the center of the pile instead of doing the usual chainsaw work to create a consolidated pile to ignite.

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The view from the scenic overlook.


And the Marl Pit Bridge.


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Here is a video of the sunset taken from the scenic overlook.

See you at the Springs!

Light My Fire

My pictures don’t do justice to the beauty of the hoar frost that covered the trees this morning when I arrived at the Springs.  It was cold and my fingers were freezing as I took these pics.

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This was taken from the Marl Pit bridge and shows the hillside above the Indian Springs where we planned to burn.

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Here is a closer look at the piles we planned to light up.

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The conditions were perfect.  A light but steady wind out of West and clear skies.  Lindsay and Pati came out to help and enjoy the beautiful day.


Below you can see where the two forks of the Indian Springs outflow merge on their way to the Scuppernong River.

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Lindsay used a leave blower to help jump start the fires when they needed a blast of air and it worked pretty darn good.

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The view from the Marl Pit bridge. You can see where the channel from the Indian Springs joins the river.


We burned 22 piles today and I think we have 3-4 more day’s work to finish the piles in this area.  I had to leave early so Pati and Lindsay handled the mop up operations. Thanks!

See you at the Springs!