Jake, the pooches, and I pulled in a little after 6 pm for the first overnight trip of 2022. Sure took us long enough. It’s been a pretty miserable spring with lots of overnight freezing temperatures into late April, so I didn’t want to de-winterize things prematurely.
It’s ridiculously hot today, however. Temperatures are hovering near 90° and the humidity is unpleasantly thick. Good thing I started the Keep’s AC remotely this morning; indoors it’s pleasantly dry and in the low 70s. Jake and I made quick work of unloading everything Keep-bound to limit how much time the door needed to be open. The screen door is sticking and misaligned worse than ever–I really need to see what’s going on with the door frame.
I plugged in the Keep’s fridge to get it ready, then backed the truck up to the pole barn and unloaded all of my tools. I should make an updated Tools of the Trade post to cover all my new DeWalt goodies. The stackable, waterproof toolboxes make it so much easier to mobilize my gear.
With the truck empty, I headed for the water pump and got it primed and running as distant, long, low thunder started getting closer. Last year’s new hose reel and 75′ Flexzilla hose make it much less of a chore to get the water tank filled up. Shame I can’t do anything about the slow flow rate. I’ve been down a few YouTube rabbit holes about driving your own well and it’s something I’d like to try in the near future, probably close to the pole barn.
Pulled in with the dogs a little after 4:30 pm. So far, this year’s Spring has failed to impress; temps are in the high 40s with drizzly, intermittent rain. Today’s trip is a short, goal-oriented one: I’ve come to collect all of the disappointing riding mowers from the pole barn.
Two weeks ago, I came up pulling dad’s trailer with a 2011 John Deere X320 as cargo. This, friends, is quite the mower. Hank Hill himself would weep at its beauty. Whomever owned it and traded it in at Riesterer and Schnell’s Chilton branch took exquisite care of it–the plastic parts look washed and wax and not a single piece of trim is damaged, missing, or out of place. Really, the only signs of its true age (apart from the 320 hours on the engine clock) are some minor paint flaking and rust spots on the 48″ deck. Hell, it’s even got a brush bar on the front so the hood will hold up to my inevitable piloting ignorance. Oh, and the mower came with a Power Flow bagger unit, which means it’s ready to tow around the NASCAR trailer from day one.
And, honestly, it’s been pretty hard to get back into the practice of posting. I suppose I could blame the obvious villain–after all, whose life hasn’t been irrevocably affected by the global pandemic? It damn near killed Puckaweekend 2020, after all. But the pandemic hasn’t stopped me from going to Puckaway and working on projects. I just haven’t wanted to write about it anymore.
As I write this, I’m several months behind in posting Puckaway logs. I haven’t stopped posting–and I certainly haven’t stopped going to Puckaway–but I’ve been in a weird headspace lately and can’t seem to get in the mood to write.
In the meantime, here’s a Puckaway-adjacent video project I just put together. Mom, Lyssa, and I recently took Jake and Josh to the Mitchell Park Domes, a place I’d regularly visit with my grandparents as a kid. I’ve always really liked that place, but It’s probably been nearly 25 years since I had last been there. Walking through that place with my kiddos gave me the same feeling I get when I share Puckaway with them; it’s geography linking two generations of people I love dearly.
The boys, the pooch, and I pulled in at 6:45 pm. I unloaded the truck and we headed into the keep to get out of the rain. I then did… nothing. It was great! I just relaxed the rest of the night in the keep with my two little buddies. We watched one of the Harry Potter movies and some episodes of Mythbusters and shared some microwave popcorn. The boys were both asleep by 10 and I headed back to the bedroom and read for a bit before dropping off.
Flying trip! Pulled in with Mom and Hannah at 5:15 pm. Mom wanted to get some more stuff out of the shack’s back bedroom before Puckaweekend and I had a bunch of supplies to bring up. She headed to the shack and I pulled up to the pole barn.
For the first time since I dropped it off this summer, I powered on the new pole barn fridge. I then proceeded to fill it with $200 worth of assorted craft beer, along with a six-pack of “Shitty Lyte Beer” which I can’t wait for Red to try, and 24 cans of PartyAid courtesy of Sean. I think having a beer fridge out here will serve us well at Puckaweekend.
Arrived at 4:45 with Hannah to some light rain. We spooked some deer by the woodpile on our way in. Before I even got out of the truck, I drove around the yard targeting mole tunnels. Man, do I hate these things. I’d leave poison out but I don’t want my dog to get into it, and the mid-tunnel traps don’t do much good unless you’re up here regularly enough to keep checking them.
I unloaded the truck and headed into the keep. Watched some TV while I put clothes away in the bedroom and ended up dozing off for a bit. I woke up around 7:00, hungry. I ordered a pizza from Christianos then went out to the pole barn to work on a project so as not to feel completely lazy.
I left work at 2:00 pm today and drove over to my folks’ house. From there, Mom and I drove down to Forest Mall in Fond du Lac, where we parked her car, met up with Dad, and got in his truck. Our destination? Cleveland.
Let’s back up a bit. A few weeks ago, I was talking with my mom about Puckaway projects. Specifically, I was describing the condition of the shack. Windows are broken from uneven settling, it’s mustier than ever, signs of critter infestation are everywhere, the doors are in rough shape, and the roof–that is, the wooden roof built over the actual mobile home roof–is rotting apart. My recent cleaning efforts and furniture rearrangement have made it more habitable than it’s been in years, but it’s an unwinnable war.
Pulled in at 7:00 with Jake and Hannah. After Josh’s solo overnight last weekend, Jake was ready for his own. We surprised four deer eating acorns in the south yard as we drove in. One bolted right away, one left after I parked the truck, another took off after I revved the engine, but the final deer was enjoying her snack too much to be bothered to move. It wasn’t until I pulled up to the pole barn that she decided it was time to join her friends. Jake, of course, got a big kick out of this.
I set my boy up with one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and he had his A&W dinner at the keep’s kitchen table. I joined him after unloading the truck by the pole barn. Since we arrived kind of late, I don’t have much to tackle projectwise tonight and we can just relax.