Autumn at The Springs

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus

I love the menu changes at The Springs and Autumn, like the other seasonings, has it’s own spicy flavors to savor. Maybe it was the weekend I spent in LA at my nephew, Danny Bobbe‘s wedding that accentuated the arrival of Fall back home. It was fun and I loved playing in the surf at El Matador beach


…and the scene on the strip between Venice Beach and the Santa Monica pier, where Route 66 meets the Pacific.

Kama Kosmic Krusader


I squeezed in a workday at The Springs on Thursday, October 16 before leaving on a jet plane, and did some brush cutting near signpost #1 and the marl pit factory. It is impractical to try to poison every little buckthorn stub so this effort is to preserve appearances and give other plants a chance. I don’t want to look at flourishing buckthorn resprouts and seedlings until the next burn. A couple days effort with the brush cutter per year is worth it to hold the line.

Here is the area near signpost #1, where the first views of the Scuppernong River Habitat Area open up, after I did some brush cutting.

The area around the marl pit factory before cleanup.




And after…

Pati road her bike out to meet me and, with the threat of rain, we decided to converge in Delafield and visit the Hartland Marsh on the way home. I lament leaving my work at The Marsh unfinished. Without fire in my toolbox, it seemed futile to continually repeat the brush cutting and poisoning cycle. Now, left unattended, the buckthorn is returning to dominate the understory. I’m hoping that the combination of fire and brush cutting will eventually eliminate the invasive woody species at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail.

I little Hartland Marsh scenery.






I came back to The Marsh yesterday to clear this huge oak branch off the trail.


Then I headed over to The Springs to finish piling brush on the east side of the loop trail just a bit north of the old barn site.



I dug spotted knapweed on the sand prairie and enjoyed visiting with friends passing by. Here are some late afternoon Autumn scenes from the valley along the headwaters of the Scuppernong River.






The spring at the old fish hatchery site.


Sunset at the Indian Spring.


Parting shots from the sand prairie.





See you at The Springs!


I’m celebrating true freedom from the mental chains of law and government! I was recently introduced to the work of Marc Stevens, who stands tall on the shoulders of people like: Lysander Spooner, author of No Treason (audio here), Frederic Bastiat, author of The Law (audio here), and Etienne de la Boetie, author of The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude.

Marc’s book, Adventures In Legal Land,

is an evolution of the principals of true freedom espoused by the aforementioned authors applied to our current political, legal systems. Don’t go to court without reading this book! I have been studying history and philosophy searching for the truth, which is the key to happiness according to Aristotle, and now I finally understand. Our Political “law” is nothing but the arbitrary WILL OF MEN and WOMEN. Government exists to direct and control our minds; the “State” is a figment of our collective imaginations. The Constitution is a “written instrument” that was only witnessed, not signed. It is not a binding contract (which must include an offer, acceptance, a meeting of the minds and consideration) on ME.

If the Catholic Church declared that my home was located in a “parish” that the pope drew on a map and that I must pay tithes to support their god works, I would laugh at them. Government is no different; it’s based on belief, faith and, ultimately, on violence and coercion. What facts and evidence do government bureaucrats have to prove that they have jurisdiction i.e., control, over me, and that their codes apply to me? They will point to the “law”, the arbitrary will of men, as if that were evidence that the laws apply to me. Shame on these sophists and their fallacious circular reasoning! I don’t believe in their “state” and their “laws”. They’re noth’in but a badge and a gun! Free your mind!

Those were my thoughts on Independence Day as I worked the brush cutter at the Hartland Marsh and later, The Springs. I had to visit the “grandfather” oak before I got started. Here is the trail leading from the Waukesha County Land Conservancy property to the junction of the Village of Hartland and Ice Age Trail properties.



The Mystery Island



The Patriarch



Back at the Parker Brothers’ homesite



Looks like a job for the “river rats



Here is the trail on the Village of Hartland property just below the gazebo on Cottonwood Ave.


A couple video perspectives

Out on the boardwalk, which I was trimming.


After finishing the trail maintenance for this year at the Marsh, I went to The Springs to pull some weeds. I thought the white clover at the marl pit bridge would pull right out, like the hoary alyssum on the sand prairie, but it was quickly evident that I’d need the brush cutter again.



Crown vetch

I’m adjusting my game plan regarding scheduling work and what to focus on to recognize when the best time to strike at the weeds may be. The goal is to reduce the invasive species, using as little poison as possible, by preventing them from going to seed whether by pulling or cutting. Buckthorn alley will have to wait.

Pati peddled her bike out from Milwaukee and we had a picnic dinner at Ottawa Lake followed by fireworks at Pewaukee Lake; a very nice day. I’ll be back around the 15th.

See you at The Springs!

Scuppernong Safari

Come along as Jon Bradley takes us on his recent amazing adventure at the Scuppernong Springs!

If you are receiving this post via email by subscribing to this site, you can click, or double click, the pictures to display them full screen; well worth it for Jon’s beautiful photographs. If you hover your mouse over a picture and a youtube link appears, follow it.

The last time out, I was taking sunset photos from the marl pit canal and noticed someone hanging out on the bridge; it was Jon…

I had a blast at The Springs this past Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday morning. I hit the trail 5 times but only went through the whole thing once, I mostly stuck around the Marl Pits. Admittedly, I wanted to check out the new cut-off trail but couldn’t see a definitive trail.

As you saw, I installed the Tree Swallow house on Thursday afternoon. I saw a ton of Tree Swallows around that area, so it was definitely a fantastic place to put it. (Just an FYI there is a loose nail on the left side of the front, which can be pulled out to swing open the front if it ever needs to be cleaned out. It’s something I never really knew about before but read it online and figured I’d install it on that one since it’ll be at the trail, hopefully for many years to come.)


During sunset I saw this Snapping Turtle and Blandings Turtle on each side of the Marl Pit Bridge.



These Spiderwort plants were everywhere. They sure do have a nice color to them, don’t they?


I’ve never actually been to The Springs during sunset before, it was definitely worth seeing, and thankfully the mosquitoes weren’t too bad around the Marl Pit area, compared to to the first stretch of trail where they were swarming.




Friday morning at the Springs was fantastic. I hit the whole trail and enjoyed watching the springs from quite a few locations along the trail. It was a quiet day with no one on the trail and not too much traffic going by so it was a pretty relaxing stroll.



This muskrat was working all day long on its den in the largest Marl Pit.


I always have a good time hanging around the main spring, though the mosquitoes were so thick around it, I chose to continue on after a minute or two.

A few other photos I took at the trail include Sandhill Cranes at the entrance, another large Snapping Turtle in a Marl Pit (it’s markings seem to match up with the one I saw on the previous day), and a tiny Painted Turtle in the large Marl Pit.




I also got a few interesting photos at Ottawa Lake. I just missed out on this Snapping Turtle laying her eggs by the pier.



During one last bike ride around the park, I found this small Snapper by the beach parking lot and saved it from getting run over. Hopefully it headed straight back to the lake.


I’m already looking forward to my next trip out there!

(ed. note,

Just in, here is a great video tour of The Springs that Jon put together.

See you at The Springs!)

Scuppernong River Bridge Cleared

We got a nice mention in the latest issue of the Scuppernong Journal.  It is published by the Kettle Moraine Natural History Association, S91 W39091 Hwy 59, Eagle, WI 53119  Ron Kurowski editor.  Address questions and comments to the editor at (262) 363-9892.  Please consider supporting the KMNHA and you will receive your very own copy of the Scuppernong Journal in the mail.

On August 7th I spent the day clearing brush and Willows by the 3rd bridge over the Scuppernong River (counting from the first Spring).  This is where the dam used to be that Ben Heussner mentioned that was removed in 1993.  There were a lot of fairly large Willows that were beginning to fill in the area along with some smaller buckthorn and other brush.

Here are short before and after videos.