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!

The Springs and Islands of the Hartland Marsh

The Hartland Marsh, aka Ice Age Marsh, aka Ice Age Wetland, is an important wetland in the Bark River watershed. It filters runoff water from the commerce centers on its north and south and the roads and subdivisions of the Village of Hartland to the east and helps prevent flooding downstream.  It’s diverse landscapes include Oak and Hickory uplands and three islands.  And bubbling forth from the labyrinth of rock formations below, are many crystal clear springs that join the Bark River.

Please refer to the About Paul page on this site for a Google Map showing the location of the Hartland Marsh.  I love to show people around the marsh, but since we may not get a chance to meet there, here is a little tour.  We’ll start at the old Parker brothers home site on the south side of the Bark River.  This is just north of the detention pond and farm field on the west side of Cottonwood Ave.  I’ll be referring to this map; note the numbers of the springs in blue to correlate with the text (click the image to view full size).


Upon their return from World War I, John and Jim Parker built a cozy home on top of a “low finely modeled hill” surrounded by springs and mature oak trees.  John Parker carved this totem pole, which I found laying on the hill above the river completely obscured by a buckthorn thicket.  Marlin Johnson, who was instrumental in acquiring this property for the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, and Brian Engel stood the pole up.



To west down river and across the marsh we see the Mystery Island.


And passing silently by to the north is the Bark River.


The first spring marked #1 on the map above is just east of the home site near the base of a huge willow tree.  You will often catch a glimpse of a great horned owl here.

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At the base of the hill on the west side of the home site at #2 is another spring.  The outflow of this spring used to pass through the mouth of a turtle that was chiseled out of stone.  We used to keep the Bark River search and rescue canoe docked alongside the channel for easy deployment.


Crossing the bridge we encounter springs #3 and #4.

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I’ll never forget the time the bridge almost got washed down the river.  It was hanging on by one corner with the span pointing downstream.  The water was so deep that Mike Fort and I were barely able to reposition it.  Later, Pati and I laid a fresh deck of 2×6 planks on it.  I’m always amazed to consider how high the river got.

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Can you make out the “J. Parker May 2, 1948 on the concrete foundation above?  I wonder if it was John or Jim?

Crossing the river we find spring #5 on the west end of Parker Island.

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And around 2/3 of the way east on north side of the island is #6.


The Fire Chief, Augie Wilde told me there used to be a pond here where people caught Northern Pike.  They must have made a dam trapping the outflow of springs #5 and #6.


The seventh spring is just off the east side of Parker Island.


There is a beautiful oak, hickory, cherry and pine woodland on the island.

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Leaving the Parker Island, we follow the south side of the Bark River downstream to the Mystery Island. Winter is the easiest time to visit.

Here is the view along the trail connecting the Waukesha County Land Conservancy property with the Village of Hartland and Ice Age Trail Alliance properties.


There is a nice picnic site and parking lot at the Cottonwood Gazebo and this sign.

Here is the view from the sign above looking west down the loop trail. You can see the charred remains of burned buckthorn piles.

The daylight was fading as I made my way to the John Muir Island via the excellent set of boardwalks that the Ice Age Trail Alliance built.

The southwest side of Mystery Island as seen from the boardwalk leading to the John Muir Island.





There is another set of springs at #8 at which I have seen muskrats chomping on water cress in the dead of winter. And finally, right along Cottownwood Ave. at #9 is another set of springs.

I hope this little taste of the Hartland Marsh will motivate you to pay a visit and see for yourself.

Hartland Marsh Carpe Diem

It’s a new day at the Hartland Marsh and we aim to seize it! The Village of Hartland is taking a fresh look at the natural spaces within its borders and exciting new developments are in the offing. One of the first steps initiated is the removal of all the brush piles, and we are making great progress on that front.

On February 12th and 13th crews from the Village of Hartland Dept. of Public Works and the Ice Age Trail Alliance burned another 123 brush piles at the Marsh. This is a great relief for me since I’m the one responsible for making the piles! On the 12th we focused on the island north of the Bark River on the Waukesha County Land Conservancy’s property. Dave, Jake, Josh and Tom, from the Village DPW and Mike Fort, John Mesching and Glenn Ritz, from the IATA joined me. We had many distinguished visitors!

Here are a couple of videos showing the area in question.

Marlin Johnson has played in instrumental role in the evolution of the Hartland Marsh (The Bark River Chronicles, by Milton Bates, includes a good summary) into its current state and he joined us in the early afternoon. Augie Wilde, the Village Fire Chief and Dave Lamerand, the Village President also came out to show their support.

Marlin and Augie.

Glenn and Mike taking a break.

Josh and Jake had way too much fun.

Here are a couple of videos after the burn.

After we were all done I took Dave, Jake and Josh to see The Biggest Oak Tree for miles around. You have to get right up next to this beauty to really appreciate it.

Yesterday, the 13th, we were back at it; this time continuing were we left off last time on the Village land down the trail from the Cottonwood Gazebo.

It was the same cast of characters including Jack and Bob from the IATA. Dave Cox, the Village of Hartland Administrator visited and we discussed the situation at length. It is clear that the winds of change are blowing through the Village of Hartland bringing good things to the Marsh.

Lastly, we have many stacks of excellent Buckthorn firewood on the Village property shown above. Please do come and take this wood and make use of it. You can contact Mike Einweck, the Director of Public Works to get permission. You can drive your vehicle down the trail from the Cottonwood Gazebo and load the wood directly.

Tell your friends about the Hartland Marsh and let the leadership team at the Village know that you support their efforts to take care of the land!