Life on the Edge

The Scuppernong Springs Nature Preserve is a crazy quilt of wetlands and uplands but the beauty of the pattern has been hidden beneath a blanket of buckthorn for years.  Last winter we cleared the perimeters of three or four distinct wetland areas in the northeast section of the preserve thus creating more open “edge” habitat — the kind that bluebirds prefer.

This winter we have been opening the woodland along the left side of the trail roughly between signpost #1 and #2 and this past Wednesday we arrived at the wetland across the trail from the marl plant ruins.  The wetland is marked in blue below and the area we cleared is shown in red.

SSTrailMapMarlFactoryWetlandsA couple inches of fresh snow had fallen the day before and temps were in the single digits when I arrived at the Hotel Spring to get some drinking water for the day.

IMG_2157The hoarfrost was spectacular.  Check out this gallery of early morning pics.

This was going to be my last day working at The Springs until Pati and I return from South Africa, and likely the last real winter day of the season, so I was really looking forward to it.  Andy Buchta, Lindsay Knudsvig and Chris Mann would be joining me and it promised to be a very productive day.  I tried to arrange the pictures with before and after images side by side for easier comparison (click any photo to open the gallery).  If you subscribe to get these posts via email, you may have noticed some inconsistencies in the way that gallery pictures are delivered: sometimes they come as medium/large images, and at other times they arrive as jumbled thumbnails.  I have reported this issue to the folks at WordPress…  You can double-click any photo embedded in the email to view it full size on the website.  Better yet, visit the website to take full advantage of the gallery feature.

We almost connected the open space on the north side of this wetland with the space we opened coming from the other direction back in January.


Some of you may know Paul Sandgren, the former Superintendent of the Kettle Moraine State Forest — Southern Unit, Lapham Peak Unit and Glacial Drumlin Trail — East, who was forced to retire last spring.

IMG_1150Yes, Paul is a giant of a man.  He is having a rough go of it with brain cancer.  I got this update from his Caring Bridge from Anne Korman, the new superintendent.

Next step
By Paul Sandgren — 1 hour ago
As of Tuesday, March 1st, Paul now resides at Angel’s Grace Hospice, Cty. P, Oconomowoc,

This was our plan all along…it was just a timing issue and what could not be handled at home any longer.

The MRI on Tuesday at the cancer center confirmed what we suspected.  Paul’s decline in the last two weeks included balance loss confirmed by the tumor growth at the back near the 4th ventricle that inhibits balance and causes nausea.  The mobility loss is from the expansion of the edges of the main tumor extending more into the motor skills area.  The two small tumors near the front also grew and it has spread into the right hemisphere…something we knew would happen eventually.

So no infusion on Tuesday.  No blood thinner shots into the belly.   We stopped the Optune system…so he has some hair fuzz coming back.  We continue with the steroid to keep down inflammation and Keppra to stave off seizures.

Angel’s Grace is beautiful.  Paul, of course, is teasing all the staff–those poor unsuspecting people!!!  Food is great.  We recommend the French toast.

Continue with thoughts and prayers. If you want to do a short visit with him there are no set hours but he may be sleeping.  Even with his eyes closed, he does carry on some conversation.  Of course you want to know the big question..how long.    Dr. Krouwer said weeks, not months.  RN Carol has been amazed at the large support system Paul has and this long length of battle time.  That is by far not what the cancer team sees.

Judy has been having breakfast and supper with Paul and adjusting at home this week.  There are so many emotions ….some are better taken with happy hour.  Oh, and speaking of that….it’s 5:00 somewhere so we are signing off for now so Judy can pack up some snacks and beverages and head back to hospice.

Smile…just imagine Paul’s hair coming back with a little red tint!!

More posts later,  Judy

Thinking of you Paul…

IMG_2657

Burn the Scuppernong!

Burn the Scuppernong!

IMG_2706 IMG_2701 IMG_1276

See you at Bluff Creek West on March 12!

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