Jake and I rode in around 7:00 pm after a stop at Piggly Wiggly to stock the fridge and cabinets. Got all kinds of goodies: brats and italian sausage, canned veggies, chips and salsa, juice boxes and snacks for the boys (Jake picked out some Little Debbie brownies), essentials like ketchup, mustard, horseradish, and butter, and two six-packs of different Wisconsin craft beers. There’s now a whole aisle devoted to smaller Wisconsin breweries at the Princeton Pig—a welcome surprise. I brought in the groceries and goods from Oshkosh while Jake got his trucks set up by the pole barn.
With the fire danger holding at Moderate, it was safe enough to burn in the pit. I started the pump and began to fill a 55-gallon drum as a precaution, pulled the truck around to the pole barn, poured some old boat gas around the base of the pile, and tossed a match. Wasn’t long before we had a roaring fire. I kept an eye on it while unloading tools from the back of my truck. Once the pine boughs and smaller branches all burned off, we were left with a sizeable pile of thick logs and a warm, low flame. Jake and I cozied up on the bench in front of the pole barn and watched it burn down until he decided he was tired enough to turn in for the night.
Came up around 4:30 with a 16′ 4×4 jutting out of the back of the truck. I intend to deer-proof the bird feeders today. But first, some unloading. I stopped by my folks’ house on the way up to pick up Dad’s snowblower. It’ll stay in the pole barn for the summer. Also brought up a bunch of new blankets and sheets for the keep.
I found the auger in the pole barn and started digging a hole for the new bird feeder pole. Went as far as the handle would allow and then set the post. I had bought this stuff called Fast 2K that promised to deliver the strength and rigidity of a 50-lb bag of concrete in a 2-lb bag of 2-part expanding foam. It had all sorts of colorful warnings, the best of which was, “CAUTION! DO NOT EXCEED MIXING TIME AND NEVER ALLOW THE COMPOSITE TO START EXPANDING INSIDE THE BAG AS BAG MAY RUPTURE, CAUSING CONTENTS TO SPRAY OUT AND PERSONAL INJURY AS WELL AS PROPERTY DAMAGE TO OCCUR.” Sounds like a fine product to me. I mixed the two parts in the bag, sliced the corner, and poured it in the hole. It looked like melted black cherry ice cream; I figured I had done it wrong, or didn’t mix it enough, or something. However, after about a minute, it started rising up in the hole as thick, off-white foam. I held the post plumb for a few minutes while it set, and went to clean up. I grabbed the bag, which itself was inflating a bit, and immediately dropped it—it was red-hot. This stuff has one helluva catalytic reaction.
Lyssa, the boys, and I arrived in the truck around 10:30 am after a family breakfast at Aunt Judy’s. We also got two flats of bottled water, which I was grateful for later—it was unseasonably warm and beautiful out; it stayed sunny and in the mid-70s all day. I quickly unpacked the boys’ Power Wheels ATV and Tractor from the truck bed and they were off exploring. I stacked the snow tires for Lyssa’s car in the pole barn and headed over to the keep to get things ready to unload the rest of the truck. I got out the leaf blower and cleared around the garden shed, bird feeders, deck, and the front of the keep. Once everything was ready, I pulled the truck around and set up the patio table and four chairs on the deck. We got a new set for the house so brought up our old set. It’s a perfect fit. Between the new furniture and the chairs we already had up here, we now have deck seating for ten. I’d still like to get some little side tables, though.
With everything unloaded, I went to tidy up in the keep. I ran the vacuum cleaner through to take care of the few dead flies that had accumulated, sprayed down and wiped out the shelves in the fridge, and cleaned the table and counters with bleach cleaner. Couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes to get things ready for the year. What a difference over last spring. Turned on the A/C so the boys would have somewhere to get relief from the sun. On my way out, I primed the pump and let it run for the rest of the day to clear out the accumulated gunk and sediment.
Another day, another speed run. Misting out, generally gloomy-looking, and damp. We need some sunshine to dry up the swamps around here. Pulled in around 3:00 pm with six 55-gallon plastic drums in the back of the truck. There are always plenty of these at the Cliff’s Oshkosh shop—it’s how they get their wiper fluid. I’m hoping to use a bunch of them for a new bird seed storage solution and the rest just come in handy for various projects. Unloaded the barrels in the pole barn and started stacking broken glass panes and window frames in their place in the bed of the truck. I’m trying to clean up around the old wood shed so we can raze it this year. Filled the truck bed to the top with the last of the glass and other assorted junk around the front of the wood shed. The only things left leaning on the building now are the large chain-link trellises Mom wants for her new house in Oshkosh.
Before heading out, I stopped at the keep to restock the liquor cabinet. I glanced over by the bird feeders only to find that most of them were gone and all of the shepherd’s hooks were bent to hell. I tracked down the three missing feeders at various points along the edge of the yard; they were all empty but none of them were damaged. I didn’t see any big footprints around, but there were some deep depressions with the diameter of a golf ball. I have to think this was the work of some very hungry deer. Building a new, taller pole for the feeders is a project that just moved way up on my list this spring.
Pulled out of the drive around 4:30. Planning to throw out the glass at the tire shop’s dumpster. That place is the gift that keeps on giving.