The Cornfields of Hartland

The Cornfields of Hartland

Where have all the cornfields gone, long time passing?

The Village of Hartland 1937

The Village of Hartland 1937

One “Smart Growth” plan after another over the years has resulted in the elimination of any agricultural land in the Village; the Sanctuary of Hartland being the last to undergo the zoning alchemy.   Local developers know that the Village will be more than happy to annex any neighboring land to add another subdivision, as we saw with Four Winds West and Windrush.  The Corporation needs to survive and what better way to do it than by increasing the municipal tax base.  To that end, a large part of the Village bureaucracy appears to be dedicated to the care and nurture of subdivision developers.

Yet, if you recall the analysis I did of the Village of Hartland Comprehensive Development Plan: 2035, the responses to the community surveys that served as the basis for the plan were overwhelmingly for the preservation of natural areas and open spaces.  Given the relentless development that has ensued since the plan was adopted in 2010, and the fact that much of the data referenced in the plan was pre-2000, the Village should honor the commitment they made to review the entire plan within 5 years; not for the purpose of undoing any of the development that has occurred, which would be impossible, but to highlight the need to balance the scales by applying Village resources to the protection and preservation of the environmental corridor and natural spaces.

Since my appointment to the Village’s “Environmental Corridor and Open Spaces Task Force”, I’ve been trying to learn what is actually happening on the lands in the Village.  No less than 5 new subdivision developments have commenced, or significantly advanced, since 2010: Sanctuary of Hartland, Windrush, Homestead, Four Winds West, and the North Forty.

HartlandDevelopmentSmartGrowthPlanThe image above is from the 2009 “Smart Growth” plan in which the Village planners made no secret of their intentions regarding the Sanctuary, Homestead and North Forty subdivisions; Windrush and Four Winds West were just twinkling in the eyes of the developers back then.  Where have all the cornfields gone?  They are still visible on Google Map, but you better hurry as I’m sure it will be updated soon.

HartlandDevelopmentThe Sanctuary of Hartland was farmland before they planted the pine plantation in the 70’s.  You can see the new subdivision plat laid over a 1941 aerial image below.

SanctuaryOfHartlandTo the existing home owners surrounding this area, some of whose homes date back to the 1937 era, this area was literally a sanctuary in their backyards; maybe that is why they showed up at Village Board meetings to protest — in vain.  I haven’t heard of any protests against any of the other new subdivisions, and it will be too late when residents see the new assessments for water and sewer services.

“Unless a productive use can be found for woodlands or other upland open spaces in and around the Village, they may as well be developed.”: 65% strongly disagreed, 27% disagreed.  Comprehensive Development Plan: 2035 Appendix B

Well, that’s the response Hartland residents gave in the community survey and below we see what they got in return:


"Concept Plan for Windrush Subdivision" Jim Siepmann of Siepmann Realty said he expects to have the 57-lot Windrush subdivision built by the end of the year. The subdivision, located south of Highway K near Winkleman Road, is considered part one of a three part development plan.

“Concept Plan for Windrush Subdivision” Jim Siepmann of Siepmann Realty said he expects to have the 57-lot Windrush subdivision built by the end of the year. The subdivision, located south of Highway K near Winkleman Road, is considered part one of a three part development plan.



North Forty

Who am I to question the powers that be?  A nobody, but, isn’t it obvious how out of balance the Village of Hartland is?  After extolling the value and importance of the environment and natural spaces, and the need to protect and preserve them in their Comprehensive Development Plan: 2035, the Village’s Boards, Commissions and Departments have spent relatively little time or resources following through on those goals.  Developing subdivisions is very complicated; it absorbs a lot of attention within the Village Bureaucracy.  Imagine if even a fraction of that effort were dedicated to the environmental corridor — starting with Village owned land?

So, where have all the cornfields gone?  Well, there is still a cornfield in Hartland!

HartlandCornFieldYup, it’s right smack dab in the primary environmental corridor on a parcel of Village Land that is zoned parks and recreation.  Some Village Board members would like to see a Community Center or some other public facility built here.  This has been debated for a long time and the prospects are uncertain.  In the meantime, why not make this land The Hartland Prairie — fitting in with the environmental corridor — instead of The Hartland Cornfield?


The Hartland Cornfield


A living museum


Don’t worry about the weeds; this GMO corn is Roundup ready!

The Village leadership views this parcel as extremely valuable land, and while they try to figure out what to do with it, they have been leasing it to a farmer to grow corn and soybeans — ignoring their own zoning ordinance.  Never mind all the supplicants who appear before the Architecture and Planning Commission and the Village Board to request zoning changes or variances, they rightly fall under the jurisdiction of the Village of Hartland (I love the etymology of that word: jurisdiction, juris/law + diction/to speak  = To Speak the Law).  The law applies to you, not the Village!

Well, I really needed to pull those weeds out of my mind.  Are you still with me?  Thanks!

I’ve been focused on garlic mustard and dames rocket lately.  Here are a few pics from my recent weed pulling adventures at The Hartland Marsh.

Back at The Springs, I had the pleasure of leading a Natural Resources Foundation Hike at The Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail on National Trails Day with Dr. Dan Carter from SEWRPC and special guests Pati Holman and Lindsay Knudsvig.

Later that afternoon, per advice from Dan, I transplanted some roundleaf monkeyflower (Mimulus glabratus) that I had harvested a couple days earlier from Mckeawn Spring and Bluff Creek to the spring just below the Scuppernong Spring.

I hope the transplants root!

Then I went to the Indian Spring to pull watercress and plant some more roundleaf monkeyflower.  It would be great if we could replace the invasive, non-native, watercress with a native plant like roundleaf monkeyflower.

Some parting shots from The Springs and Ottawa Lake.

See you at The Springs!

Village of Hartland Creates Environmental Corridor Task Force

Village of Hartland Creates Environmental Corridor Task Force

Merriam-Webster defines Infidelity primarily as: a lack of belief in a religion, while Dictionary Dot Com defines it primarily as: marital disloyalty; adultery, and doesn’t mention religion until its third meaning.   I like Thomas Paine’s definition of the word in The Age of Reason, which presumes a Common Sense usage per its infidel root:

Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

And he goes on to say:

It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society.

Words like these force me to face the contradictions between my own thoughts and actions.  “My own mind is my own church.“, Paine said, and for me, there is discord in the sanctuary.

I profess to not believe in government — the idea that anyone has a right to rule another, whether asserted via physical violence or “legal authority”.  I refer you to my Freedom post for more on the true meanings of the words freedom, anarchy and government.  I put my ideals into practice challenging the jurisdiction of the cops, prosecutors and judges to threaten my liberty and property in their traffic courts.  You can listen to the blow by blow of my courtroom battles and armchair analysis by the masters of The No State Project chat room via this youtube playlist.

Our national government is a disgrace and those who believe in The State‘s right to rule us have empowered a monster, the reigns of which are held firmly by a financial oligarchy via: their ubiquitous, privately owned, central banking cartels; their Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg Group, Royal Institute of International Affairs and other globalist organizations; their technocrats at the UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and various think tanks; their control of the education system; their control of the mainstream media; and their muscle in the CIA, NSA, MI5, MI6 and their ilk in the interconnected, world-wide “intelligence” and “security” web.

Indeed, the words of Thomas Paine: “THESE are the times that try men’s souls.”, ring as true today as they did back during the crisis of December 23, 1776.  Crimes like the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy are covered up leading to even more heinous crimes like the Iran Contra scandal, the 9/11 false flag attack and the 2008 Wall Street crash.  There is no morality, justice or accountability in government; rather, government is simply a tool, implemented and supported — often with religious fervor — by its true believers, and used by the elites to control the masses.

Yet, despite all this, I am working closely with the government of the Village of Hartland to try and preserve and protect the woodlands and wetlands within their “jursidiction”.  I profess to not believe in government while working hand in glove with people who assert they are “the government”.   Is this not infidelity?  How can I work with something I don’t even believe in?


This grandmother oak at the Hartland Marsh never fails to inspire me!

In an appearance before the Village of Hartland Board back in January, I  pointed out how The Board was not honoring the will of the people — or their own will for that matter — as expressed in the Comprehensive Development Plan 2035, that they adopted back in 2010.  Using aerial photographs spanning 1941 to 2015, I showed them what was happening to village land at Penbrook Park, hoping it would stir them to action.  I have mixed emotions when I report that, at the Village Board meeting on May 9th, they approved a “Resolution creating an Environmental Corridor and Open Space Task Force“.  I will be serving on the task force and I sincerely hope that we can produce a right, powerful, creative and liberating recommendation.  Amen.

Well, with that unresolved contradiction in the church of The Buckthorn Man laid bare, it’s time to see what that hypocrite has been up to!

Way back on April 21 I made a bold move to squeeze in one more day of buckthorn cutting and burning at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail.  I was determined to finish clearing the northern edge of a little wetland just north of the marl factory ruins.  The ground was wet and I kept the fires relatively small.  (Note, click any picture in any of the galleries to open them full size and read the accompanying text.)

On April 22, Pati and I joined Ben and Karen Johnson at the Milwaukee River Keepers Annual Spring River Cleanup event, where we worked on the stretch of the Menomonee River between Burliegh Street and Hwy 100.  Ben and Karen organized the volunteers on our segment (Thanks!).  Pati and I worked on pulling garbage from a log jam just downstream from where the Menomonee River passes under Hwy 100, and I had one of those delicious moments where I just knew I was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

On April 25, I joined Herb Sharpless, Maggie Zoellner, Gerry Peterson and others from the Kettle Moraine Land Trust and the Elkhorn Area High School on a workday at the Island Woods Preserve.  This beautiful property is right in Herb’s back yard!


Herb has been involved in protecting and preserving the waters of the Lauderdale Lakes area since the 1980s.  During a guided tour of the property after the workday, he taught me a lot about how to use government to accomplish good of everyone.  Yes, I know, how can I say that… We had a very productive workday with the young people from the Elkhorn Area High School.  Herb does a great job summarizing the day in the short document linked here.

On April 30, I joined the force of the Kiwanis of Hartland, led by Dave Cox, and we worked on a short stretch of the Bark River in downtown Hartland between Capitol Drive and Haight Street.  I thoroughly enjoyed working with this group!  The Village of Hartland Department of Public Works complimented the effort by hauling all the brush away.

Pati and I got way  for a little anniversary break at Newport Beach State Park up in Door County.  We camped at sites 14 & 15 and delivered our gear there via canoe — a first for us.

newportIt was beautiful, but so cold in the morning that my left hand literally became numb as I was preparing breakfast.  I could not pinch my thumb and any other finger together with enough strength to hold a feather.  An old skiing injury come back to haunt me.

And last, but not least, I pitched in on the first cooperative event between the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the Village of Hartland since the village became the first “Ice Age Trail Community” in the state.  Pat Witkowski pulled it all together and organized a brush clearing workday with some young people from The Hartland School of Community Learning.  We worked in an area along the Ice Age Trail just east of where it crosses Cottonwood Ave.  The kids hauled a lot of brush out of there and again, the Village of Hartland DPW picked it all up.

Stay tuned for more adventures of The Buckthorn Man.

See you at The Springs!

Wisconsin DNR: Super Mow Champs

Wisconsin DNR: Super Mow Champs

Time was running out at The Marsh.  Since I punted back in 2011, the Buckthorn’s offense had rallied back to take the lead and we were stymied by their impenetrable defense.  Ice Age Trail Alliance coach, Kevin Thusius, got the call from the booth: offensive coordinator, Village Administrator Dave Cox, said the only hope to save The Buckthorn Man’s efforts was a “Hail Mary” pass.  Kevin looked to the bench for the DNR’s special teams players Don Dane and Mike Spaight, who hadn’t seen action in the game since last March.

Don, the wily veteran, called timeout.  He suggested we rent an ASV machine, mount a DNR forestry mower head on it, and then throw it to Mike, waiting upland in the end zone.

As the last seconds ticked off the clock, I snapped the ball to Don and blocked the rushing buckthorn, holding them off just long enough for him to get the pass in the air.  Mike, surrounded by a thorny thicket, caught the ball and mowed the defenders down as he cleared a path into the end zone.


Here is a look at the field before the big play.  Note that you can open the gallery and see the pictures full-size by clicking on any of them, or, you can hover your mouse over a picture to read the narrative in the description.

I was working at the Scuppernong Springs this past Monday when Don called to say that he had lined up the ASV machine and they would be ready to start the next day.  We had just enough funds left in the kitty, contributed by the Village of Hartland, and we had made the decision that its best use would be forestry mowing; that was a good call, as you can see by the amazing and outstanding work that Don and Mike accomplished.  But our dance in the end zone will be merely a gaudy display if we don’t get more funding to treat the cut stubs.  We are debating whether to do a basal bark treatment before they get covered with snow, Don’s recommendation, or, wait until the cut stumps bush out in the late spring to treat them with foliar herbicide spray.  In either case, we don’t have any money right now.   We’ll get flagged with a penalty, and the touchdown will be called back, if we don’t come up with something.  Here is a map showing the area they mowed in blue, followed by an “after” gallery displaying the results.


Long time followers of The Buckthorn Man were probably stunned when they read this statement at the bottom of the presentation I made to the Village of Hartland Board on January 25:

The preservation, restoration and protection of the primary environmental corridor in the Village of Hartland is too vitally important to leave in the hands of ad hoc groups of volunteers, especially when considering that the Village is one of the primary land owners in the corridor.

Yup, this is coming from the same pen that wrote a post called Freedom that includes this gem:

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.

On one hand, I’m challenging the legitimacy of the government’s claim of “authority”, and on the other, I’m asking the Village of Hartland — the powers that be, who “speak the law (exert jurisdiction)”, in these parts — to step up and take leadership.  You can rightly question the sanity of The Buckthorn Man: is he schizophrenic, or just pragmatic?

I’m still trying to sort out the meaning of Village Board President David Lamerand’s response to my presentation and I have confidence that the Village will act in good faith to address the concerns I have raised.  You can listen to an audio of my presentation to the Village Board on January 25, here, beginning at the 5:55 mark.  Thanks to the Village Clerk, Darlene Igl, for providing the audio.

It has been an exceptionally benign winter so far, perfect in every way for cutting and burning buckthorn in the forest.  On Thursday, January 28, I was joined at the Ottawa Lake Fen SNA by Andy Buchta and Ben Johnson.  We had a flawless day continuing to open up the views to Ottawa Lake from Hwy 67 and the SkyDance Pet Lodge parking lot.

On Friday, January 29, I was joined by a new volunteer, Jeff Saatkamp, a member of the Ice Age Trail Alliance at the Hartland Marsh.  I brush cut buckthorn saplings on the Waukesha County Land Conservancy property and Jeff and I poisoned the cut stubs.  Thanks Jeff!  I’m looking forward to working with you again at The Marsh.   As a bonus, Cheryl White the new executive director of the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, stopped out to visit and we had a marvelous time exploring the property.  Cheryl brings a wealth of experience and skill to the job and I’m looking forward to working with her

On Monday, February 1, I was joined at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail by Andy Buchta and Lindsay Knudsvig in the morning, and Ben Johnson later in the day.  Thank you all for volunteering your time and energy to restoring our Kettle Moraine treasure!

Later that evening, around 6:30pm, as Ben and I were tending the fires, I happened to be looking to the east through spreading oak branches at Orion’s belt in the sky.  Just then a bright light emerged and I called out to Ben, “Look!” and we both watched the meteor expand into a huge white ball before it disappeared at the horizon.

I’m looking forward to joining my friends at another State Natural Area Workday at the Whitewater Oak Opening on February 13.

See you at The Springs!

Friends of the Hartland Marsh

I learned the truth about The Buckthorn Man in Marlin Johnson’s research papers.  By the time I started blogging at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail website, a fog had drifted over the mind of The Buckthorn Man and he began playing fast and loose with the facts regarding when he started cutting buckthorn.  Maybe it wasn’t a fog, rather, it was just me giving into the temptation to inflate my reputation.   After all, cutting buckthorn for 20 years is more impressive than a mere 15, isn’t it?  Well, I had talked myself into 20 years and now I’m setting the record straight.

Marlin loaned me his research papers and documentation related to his role in the development and configuration of the Hartland Marsh into it’s current state, and I am scanning them and plan to publish the interesting items here.  Reviewing the papers related to his forming the Friends of the Hartland Marsh, this one got my attention:


There it is: one of the earliest signup sheets in Marlin’s records for workdays on the John Muir Island (the first was February 6, 2000) and Paul Mozina and John Mesching were there.  How do I know that was the first time The Buckthorn Man used a chainsaw?  I distinctly remember John Mesching and I both popped the chains off our saws at the same time and — together — we figured out how to put them back on.  John was a chainsaw rookie too and he said at the time: “There, now you know as much about chainsaws as I do”.  And there is the corroborating evidence in Marlin’s notes from the first meeting of the Friends of the Hartland Marsh, which took place on July 15, 2000 at the Cottonwood Wayside, in which he said:

July 15, 2000 is going to be a historic day: It will go down in local history as the first meeting of the Friends of Hartland Marsh AND you will be known as a charter member!


I personally am taking on a project on the island. Restoring it to its former condition at time of settlement; Oak Opening or Oak Savanna. Large oak trees still exist on the island but brush has invaded and shaded out the prairie grasses and wildflowers. I want to restore the oak savanna by removing the brush and planting prairie seeds. 375 volunteer hours have already gone into cutting and piling brush. Still work to be done.

There you have it — The Buckthorn Man is a bullshitter.  On July 15, 2000 Marlin was referring to the work done since February 6, 2000 — the first of many workdays he coordinated on the John Muir Island.  That means I’ve been cutting buckthorn for 15 years, not 20!  I hope you will forgive me for falsely puffing up my reputation.  Although certainly not as dramatic a context as the one to which Patrick Henry refers to in this quote, it’s a good excuse to repeat his famous line:

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it.

There is a lot of interesting material in Marlin’s papers and I’ve made a start with his archaeological research, including this sketch by Increase A. Lapham.

AncientWorksAtMertonbyIncreaseLaphamAnd this poetic gem he saved from John Parker, who, along with his brother Jim, built a homestead on “The Islands” (now owned by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy — thanks to Marlin’s efforts).


The Buckthorn Man could never fill Marlin’s shoes, but I am humbly going to try to bring the Friends of the Hartland Marsh back to life.  I have printed a new version of the Friends brochure and distributed them at the trailhead on Cottonwood Ave., and I plan on scheduling some meetings, either at one of the Village’s community meeting rooms or, following in the historic tradition of Marlin Johnson, at the Cottonwood wayside.  Marlin has lists of approximately 100 friends who I will be contacting to see if they are still interested in The Marsh.  Please do contact me if you want to be included in the Friends of the Hartland Marsh.  And checkout my new Friends page on this site.

Our friends at Integrative Restorations, LLC have been hard at work at The Marsh and they did some very nice clearing and brush piling in the area marked in blue on the map below.  They were not able to burn the piles because of the lack of snow cover. HartlandMarshRestorationmap12-20-2015

I am healed up nicely from surgery for Dupuytren’s Contracture.

If want to know what The Buckthorn Man is made of, check out these pics, but, I’m warning you, they are graphic (opening, extracting1, extracting2, extracting3, extracting4, closing)

I’m very happy to get back to work and did some brush clearing at The Marsh last Sunday in the little area marked in red on the map above.  Here are before and after shots:

IMG_6827 IMG_6833








And, I got out to The Springs yesterday to harvest some black locust firewood for my friend Scott.

See you at The Marsh!

The Ides of Marsh

Version 2The fall of 2015 marked a turning point in the history of The Marsh: the return of The Buckthorn Man.  After watching the buckthorn resuming it’s domination over the last four years — and all of my hard work going for naught — I was inspired by my friends at the Ice Age Trail Alliance, the Village of Hartland and the Waukesha County Land Conservancy (the Hartland Marsh Restoration Committee) to pick up the torch again, and try to save The Marsh.

Marlin Johnson has championed the restoration effort since around 1990 and over the years he has played a key role in preserving and protecting this primary ecological corridor and natural habitat area in the Village.  He recently shared all of his records with me and I will be scanning them and posting them here in the near future.  It’s all there: fish counts, land acquisitions, archaeological sites, glacial history, and contact information for all of the Friends of the Hartland Marsh who worked with him.  Don’t be surprised if you get a call or letter from The Buckthorn Man: I am taking over coordination of the Friends of the Hartland Marsh and will soon have a new version of the brochure stocked in the Ice Age Trail Alliance trailhead map boxes on Maple and Cottonwood Avenues.

Please do check out the new Hartland Marsh page on this site for a who, what, where, when, why and how breakdown of the restoration effort.

In 2007, when the Waukesha County Land Conservancy acquired the 27 acre Minogue property that straddles the Bark River, Marlin asked if Pati and I would like to be the caretakers of this property.  Since then, it’s felt more like home than the rest of The Marsh, and that is the first place where I resumed my work.  Thousand of young buckthorn were thriving on the old Parker Brothers homestead site and I began cutting and poisoning them.  Over the course of 4-5 workdays I cleared the area marked in red on the map below.


On September 23, 2015 Lynn, Cindy and other members of The Hartland Business Improvement District met The Buckthorn Man at the Cottonwood Wayside for a discussion about The Marsh followed by a short tour.  I really appreciated the opportunity to share the beauty of The Marsh with members of the community who had yet to experience it.  I’m hoping to partner with The Hartland BID in the future restoration efforts!


On October 17, 2015 The Village of Hartland became the first Ice Age Trail Community partner and there was a very nice celebration at Nixon Park including coffee and some outstanding cake.


With winter fast approaching and hand surgery scheduled (followed by 5-6 weeks on the bench), I was eager to capitalize on the new spirit of enthusiasm in the Village for The Marsh, and I scheduled a workday for November 14, 2015.  Our goal was to continue the brush clearing that the DNR did for us back in March along the hillside below the Cottonwood Wayside.  It’s the area marked in blue on the map shown above.   We had great weather and an outstanding turnout.  So unlike the Ides of March, the future bodes well for the Ides of Marsh.

See you at The Marsh!