Stories on the Barrens

New Screen Door "Finally" for the FNBWA Cabin at the Barrens

posted May 31, 2018, 7:50 PM by Larry Leef   [ updated May 31, 2018, 7:54 PM ]

May 20, 2018

The FNBWA cabin had an old beat up screen door that wouldn't stay closed until you pushed a large rock in front of it. Replacing the screen door has always been a priority of mine as the "rock closure" feature always looked pretty "tacky". So yesterday, Mark, Dave, and I finally installed a new screen door and it
looks great with a window screen that actually works. The old door is on the left, and I'm about to toss the old rock when Mark took this photo. Thanks to Gary for purchasing the new door and Mark and Dave for installing it.


You probably noticed that it was pretty chilly and breezy yesterday. Too breezy to put the metal roofing panels on the picnic shelter so we decided to install the new screen door and Gary and Jerry replaced the wood planking on a picnic table metal frame that was donated. So now we have five great 8 foot picnic tables.

Submitted by Vern Drake

Construction Continues on the Picnic Shelter at the Barrens

posted May 31, 2018, 7:30 PM by Larry Leef   [ updated May 31, 2018, 7:35 PM ]

May 14, 2018 - Yesterday we worked from 9am to 3:30pm on the picnic shelter with a break for spaghetti lunch at my place. As you can see in the photo, we used the DNR tractor to lift the long trusses into place. Gary is running the tractor, Mark is on the left positioning a ladder, and my neighbor Duane Arneson who I recruited is steadying the truss as they tend to swing around a lot. It was a great day for construction, cool and cloudy in the afternoon. As you can see we got a lot done, but 6 hours is about all of us older guys can take in one day. More bracing is needed, but we're getting close to putting the steel roofing panels on. Two more good outings should do it. We want it ready for use for the June 9th event, “Explore the Beautiful, Bountiful Barrens.”


Note to Jed: Thanks for use of the tractor, it would have taken twice as long without it, and it was a lot safer than using ladders.

In the photo below, it's Gary high up on the picnic shelter nailing down a purlin brace to tie the trusses together. Gary is the "brains" behind the project as he's the one with experience. The rest of us are basically helpers.

Submitted by Vern Drake

Isle City Academy Charter School of Cumberland Visits the Barrens

posted May 31, 2018, 6:36 PM by Larry Leef

May 8, 2018 - I met up with Tirzah and her assistant Ms. Johnson (can't remember her first name) after 10am on Tuesday. The teachers drove the bus and there were 27 kids of different ages, I'm guessing maybe 8th to 12th grade as it’s a charter school. I led them to the north sharp-tailed grouse blind where I read some of the notes left by the latest observers and explained the STG mating ritual. They seemed interested in the mating ritual and had a few questions. We then moved to the east STG blind and did the same thing. Tirzah said that she was returning early Wednesday morning with 5 kids; there would be 3 people each in the north and east blinds. She was coming back on Thursday morning with more kids as she had reserved all 3 blinds.

I then led them through the barrens and on to the clubhouse past the recently burned quarter section. Here I had a large map and explained the barrens areas, the importance of the habitat, why prescribed burns were necessary, etc. There were a few questions and all in all the group of kids were well behaved and interested.


Since they were all teachers and students, I thought we should stop at the foundation of the old Forest Home School and I passed out the sheet that explains that the school opened in 1906 and closed in 1933 and that the first teacher earned $45 a month. Note: Here's where we found many pasque flowers and some photos were taken.


Then we proceeded down to the little Evergreen Cemetery as generally people of all ages enjoy cemeteries and some took photos of the nice granite memorial. Then we stopped at the Namekagon canoe landing for lunch as there are toilets and a picnic table. Lastly I led them up the hill to the south unit, and then sent them south on Namekagon Trail to get to Hwy 77. It was a good group and a good outing for all.

Submitted by Vern Drake

Pulsatilla on the Barrens

posted May 31, 2018, 6:29 PM by Larry Leef

On Tuesday, May 8th I went to the barrens and saw many pasque flowers (see my photo below). You can find them right off St. Croix Trail around the old school foundation. As you can see the ones I saw were almost white. Apparently there are many varieties around the world. They remind me of the familiar crocus flower, but the crocus is of the iris family.

Look it up at:

I was surprised to hear that they are very toxic. 

Submitted by Vern Drake

Pulsatilla - Wikipedia

Use and toxicity. Pulsatilla is highly toxic, and produces cardiogenic toxins and oxytoxins which slow the heart in humans. Excess use can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and convulsions, hypotension and coma.

Construction Begins on NBWA Picnic Shelter

posted May 31, 2018, 5:41 PM by Larry Leef

May 5, 2018
 Well, some of you missed an opportunity to start the construction of our grand picnic shelter at the FNBWA clubhouse. As you can see from the photo, it involves considerable work. Gary is the "brains" and a lot of the "brawn" behind the project, but he had two old codgers for helpers, Mark and me. There are ten 12' poles and two 14' poles, all 6" x 6" and treated and were really heavy. Holes are about 3 1/2' deep and 2’ in diameter, all dug by hand with shovel and posthole digger. Of course everything has to be squared up and kept level so there's lots of measuring and checking with several levels and Mark's laser. Menards is supposed to deliver the trusses and metal roofing sheets sometime this coming week.
Submitted by Vern Drake

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