Pulled up to the keep a little after 9:15 am, fired up the AC, and turned right back around. We’ll let the place cool down while we’re at Aunt Judy’s. This was slated to be a “camping” weekend up here with the Voights and Saucedas, but work schedules and a forecast of highs in the 90s with plenty of humidity combined to shut that idea down. Instead, Lyssa, the boys, and I are joined today by Kent, her sister Christine’s husband. As a high school teacher, he’s got summers off and is up visiting from Houston. This’ll be his first trip to Puckaway.
Shortly after we were seated at Aunt Judy’s, Jake got a big, loud greeting from the proprietress herself. “There’s my waffle baby!!” He cracked up and got a big kick out of that. Kent was impressed that we were recognized regulars at such a fine establishment. After breakfast, we made a quick stop at the feed store to grab another deer block. The one I put out last month is already almost completely gone. They seem to have all found the new clearing in the yard.
Working hard at the quarry.
Back at Puckaway, the boys showed their uncle around while Lyssa and I got the pump started and filled the pool. It’s already hot enough to break a sweat standing still. The boys and I got on the blue ATV and Kent followed us on the green one for a tour of the marsh trails. Even with the heat and lack of rain, there’s still a fair amount of water out there. Lyssa smartly relaxed in her hammock while we were out exploring. Jake wanted to show Uncle Kent the bird feeders he and his brother painted me for Father’s Day, and we got a little surprise—both of them are full of sticks! Must be wrens.
Pulled in the driveway at 5:45 am to turn on the AC in the keep. The forecast is calling for humid days with highs in the 90s all weekend. I wanted to make sure we’d have a comfortable place to get out of the heat and I figured our only shot would be to give the air conditioner a head start. I headed back to Oshkosh as I still had to work a full day. Throughout the day, I kept an eye on the temperature and humidity readings from the Raspberry Pi server in the keep, and was pleased to see that it was able to maintain a 10 to 12 degree difference from the outside temps with humidity hovering around 55%. We’re certainly pushing the limits of that little 5,000 BTU window unit by asking it to cool a 40-year-old mobile home, but it’s making a valiant effort.
Arrived for the second time around 4:00 pm with Lyssa and the boys. Jake and Josh went off on their Power Wheels to explore the yard and were particularly interested in the new area by the bird feeders. The heat and humidity are pretty intense, but the keep is a nice little oasis. I’m not a fan of waking up early, but I’m definitely glad I did today.
We had a dinner guest!
We brought up a small pool for the boys and I set it up by the picnic table and swing. I drove a pipe into the ground next to it and hung the hoze nozzle from it, giving Jake and Josh a makeshift sprinkler as the pool filled. Lyssa worked on stocking the fridge and prepping the keep while I headed to the pole barn. The replacement starter solenoid for the blue ATV finally came, so I took a few minutes to install it. No more pull-starting! The ATV fires up with the turn of a key again, just as God intended. I drove it out to show the boys and was signalled to come in for dinner. We had grilled burgers and veggies at the keep’s kitchen table; it’s way too hot and humid to enjoy a meal on the deck today. While we ate, I brought up the live stream from the bird feeder camera on the living room TV. This let us keep the shades drawn to keep the heat down while allowing the boys to keep an eye on the animal traffic. Just as we were finishing up, Jake spotted a deer. Good to know they’re taking advantage of the food block out there. The doe was being pretty cautious but stuck around a good 15 minutes or so. It’s crazy how bright and colorful their coats get this time of year.
Arrived at 4 pm pulling the two ATVs on the aluminum trailer. Gorgeous day; sunny and in the upper 70s. In short order, I dropped the trailer, parked the truck, and got on the mower. The focus of this trip is going to be lawn maintenance. I plan on trying out the new lawn/leaf collection trailer at some point, but first I just need to mow again. Grass is nearly waist high in some spots, and the leaves on the ground could use another good mulching before they get picked up. I cleared around the front of the pole barn, the brick garden, the keep, the marsh entrance, and most of the big trailer’s front yard. I also ran through the area I cleaned up by the bird feeders earlier this year. The view from the deck (and the bird feeder camera) is now vastly improved.
I put away the mower around 8:00. The wind was picking up and the clouds seemed to threaten rain, so I got the ATVs into the pole barn for the night. The blue one still needs to be started with the pull rope. I figured out what was wrong with it back in Oshkosh—the starter solenoid is shot—but I won’t have a replacement part until next week. At least it’s an easy part to get to.