Hannah and I pulled in a little after 11:00 with the keep’s water tank in the back of the truck. Back home, I had pressure-washed it inside and out, added a spigot to the side of the tank near the bottom, and built and installed a new enclosure for the pump, filter, and pressure tank. I did some testing, and it looks like this is going to solve a lot of the problems we had with air getting into the lines and causing the water heater to cut out.
I wrestled the tank back to the platform behind the keep and hooked up the supply lines, propane, and power cord. Then I headed for the pole barn to fire up the mower. That’s the main reason I’m here today; I want to collect leaves before it’s too late to get any grass to grow. I made a few passes around the keep and brick garden, then gave it a rest so I could start the pump and begin filling the water tank. I sprinkled some pool shock in the bottom and set up the hose. It’ll take several hours to fill.
First family trip of the year! Lyssa, the boys, Hannah, and I made our way to Aunt Judy’s around 11:15. Hannah had to wait in the truck. Judy was happy to see Jake and Josh and couldn’t get over how much they’ve grown.
We ended up sitting next to Danny and Jan, who have a late breakfast there every Sunday. Jake inhaled an omelet and Josh gave his best try at a giant chocolate chip pancake, making it about halfway through. Felt good to be back; it’s been about six months.
Rolled in at 3:15 in a new truck. Picked up a brand new 2018 Silverado in Sparta today and stopped in on the way home to pick up the summer tires for Lyssa’s car. The 2005 Silverado that served dutifully for over 10 years—and contributed to many a Puckaproject in that time—is gone but not forgotten. Farmer Joe bought it from me; it’s likely we’ll see it again at Puckaway in the future.
I didn’t stay long; just enough to check on things and load up the tires. I’m hoping to get back up here again soon to mulch some leaves as long as the weather cooperates.
Just a quick visit today to drop things off and enjoy the sunshine. Hannah, Lyssa, and I pulled in around 12:15 pulling the blue trailer. The boys are up at Presque Isle this weekend with my folks.
Hannah hit the ground running; I think she’s been feeling cooped up lately. I unloaded the ATV and plow from the trailer and maneuvered them into the pole barn. It’s getting pretty tight in there with the pop-up camper but the grounds are still too squishy to pull that out.
I parked the blue trailer along the side of the pole barn and we made our way over to the keep to check on things. Lyssa filled the feeders while I did my walkthrough and downloaded the latest timelapse videos. No signs of critters, water damage, or any other obvious problems, so it looks like we’ve made it through another winter intact. The deck could certainly use a new coat of stain, though.
It’s time once again to take a look back at the projects and progress that defined another year at Puckaway. This now the fourth year-in-review post in the series, and it’s pretty incredible to binge-read these and see just how much we’ve accomplished.
This year’s first trip was all about getting work done. Peter, ever the helpful neighbor, was borrowing a SkyTrak and brought it over to trim the trees leaning over the pole barn. This put a welcome hole in the sky and helped me feel a lot less nervous about storms and high winds taking out a building.
Quick run today. Got here at 1:15 pm pulling an empty ATV trailer. I parked this to the southeast of the pole barn to keep it out of sight from the road but in view of the cameras, then drove down the road to Lynn and Carol’s. Lynn passed away last month after a long battle with cancer, but he made it years longer than his doctors expected him to and spent the majority of them at home and doing what he loved. I hope he was buried with at least one of his many caps.
Carol will be moving to a retirement home and they’re selling the property, so we need to get the pop-up camper and pontoon boat out of their pole barn. I took the afternoon off of work to handle this today as temps are warming up and I’d much rather move things around in snow than mud. I didn’t see anyone home but the pole barn door was open so I hooked the truck up to the pop-up and hauled it back. It just fits in the pole barn.
When I went back for the pontoon, one of Lynn’s sons was there and Peter was pulling in their driveway on his tractor. He’s helping them clear some debris from the back half of the land. If our new neighbor ends up half as decent as Peter, we’ll have it made. With Peter’s help, I rolled the pontoon out and into the driveway and coupled it to the truck. I pulled this next to the ATV trailer where it’ll have to stay until we find some other storage solution as it’s too big to fit through our pole barn doors. I headed back out around 2:00.
Happy New Year! Hannah and I pulled in at 2:30 for a quick supply run. We got around 6 inches of snow yesterday and I certainly don’t feel like clearing it all by hand. I backed up to the pole barn and hooked up to the ATV trailer, pulled it out of the barn, and rolled the mower from Mayville (which, by the way, finally sold last month!!!) off of it. I then fired up the blue ATV and drove it on, dragged the plow up behind it, and pulled Dad’s snowblower on as well.
Jake and I drove in around 4:00 pm and were the fourth vehicle here. Dad made it up around 12:30, Steve followed a half-hour later, and Sammy rolled in a little before 3:30. Temps are just below freezing but there’s no snow. I unloaded our gear into the keep and fired up the propane sunflower heater and two electric heaters while Jake ran to the big trailer to show Papa his new blaze-orange jacket. I also took a few minutes to install the storm windows.
We all hung out in the big trailer for the rest of the night. I showed the guys how to work the new Kodi box to stream all the movies and TV shows off of the PC in the keep. Even with all the new options available, we still ended up watching a bunch of Seinfeld. Dad started getting dinner ready and Steve kept busy trying to solo a bottle of Crown Royal Maple.
Pulled in with Dad, Jake, Josh, and Hannah at 12:30. It had snowed last night but most of it already melted this morning. Temps were hovering just above freezing. We unloaded some of Dad’s stuff into the big trailer before moving to the pole barn and loading up the ATVs and a yard trailer with gear for the battlement.
This was the first time Dad got to see his new stand in person and he was effusive with appreciation. I gave him a hand stapling some camo netting to the outside of the plywood walls and he tried out his homebuilt risers for his collapsible chair. We also secured a tarp to the roof frame; using the metal roof panels will have to wait until next year.
Hannah and I rolled in at 2:00 with very little in the truck. Most everything we need for Puckaweekend has already been brought up, but I received a mysterious package from Sean’s friend Darius earlier in the week. I was instructed not to open it until everyone arrived. Darius, who couldn’t make it this year, is a fearsome sysadmin; the box makes me nervous.
I turned up the heat in the keep, hooked up the plumbing, and headed to the big trailer. It smells much better now; the AirWicks and DampRid have done a great job. I set out two new containers of DampRid, turned on all the electric heaters and ceiling fans, then fired up my propane sunflower heater in the living room. Shouldn’t take long at all before this place is nice and toasty.
Back outside, I hopped in the truck and went down the road to Lynn and Carol’s to get the pop-up camper out of their pole barn. I parked it along the brick garden and took a few minutes to fill the bird feeders. Almost ended up starting the weekend with an injury by placing the ladder over a mole tunnel. I hate those burrowing vermin. Once that was done, I headed back to the pole barn to blow the leaves away from the buildings and the pit. It was 3:15 and I was just getting started when Red and Gunner showed up.
We unpacked some of his supplies and provisions, set up his cooler by the deck, and settled on a spot to set up the pop-up camper. It’s going up on the other side of the three tall cedars to the east of the big trailer. Sticking to the same spot as last year would put him uncomfortably close to the new outhouse location. I got the mower running and mulched all the leaves around Red’s new yard, then we towed the pop-up over with the green ATV. Had it set up in no time and plugged into the power pole. Red unpacked the rest of his stuff and I tested the pop-up’s propane heater. Works like a charm and should make for comfortable sleeping arrangements.