Came up around 3:00 with a truck full of tools. Stopped in at town first; the Dollar General is a welcome new asset. Loaded up on cheap Gatorade and a bunch of bottled water. Also got a gallon jar of giant pickles because it looked too intriguing to pass up. Unloaded the truck, drove the ATVs out of the shed, sharpened the mower blades, and set off to tame the yard.

We need a different solution up here for mulching leaves. The sweeper can only go so far in the deep stuff before it catches and drags. Bagging the leaves either clogs the chute or fills the bagger so quick that you spend more time emptying it than you do picking up leaves. Today, my solution was to be a glorified leaf blower. I cleared the driveway, around my trailer, the pole barn, and the burn pit by directing the chute towards the edges of the yard. It’s not ideal, but it works.

I started a bonfire to help clear the leaves and small brush around the pole barn. I had it burning for about an hour when Danny’s wife walked up and informed me that Green Lake County was under a burning ban and she didn’t want me to get into any trouble. This is something I’ve never taken into consideration before. I found the DNR’s website for burning restrictions and discovered that any burning done before May 31 requires a burning permit. It’s free and you’re not required to give the address of the property where you’re doing the actual burning, so I got one. We’ve been burning safely up here for 40+ years without one, but I don’t want to get a fine that’s just as easily avoided. Fun fact: the list of things you’re allowed to burn is laughably short. I’ll just pretend I didn’t see it.

After smothering the fire, I ran to town for supplies: gas for the ATVs and mower, beer and A&W for me. Farmer Joe arrived while I was out and had begun some minor tree trimming. His truck bed was full of manure-rich black dirt from Batterman’s farm. There had to be around two cubic yards. He assured me that he had much more where that came from. Beautiful.

It was getting dark so we didn’t get too much accomplished outside of emptying a few beer cans. We burned a little more under cover of darkness and called it a night. Fell asleep watching The Sopranos.


Up around 7:00 and headed to Aunt Judy’s shortly thereafter. Fueled by bacon and eggs, we got to work spreading dirt. Almost half of it was used to fill the long L-shaped trench in front of my trailer left by a long-gone garden. The rest was distributed throughout the yard to even out some low spots. It didn’t take long to empty the truck bed, and I’m sure we’ll be able to use more. Hopefully the fertilized soil will help kickstart some grass growth. Joe had to head out around 9:30 to make a farm auction and I spent the rest of the day on yard work.

The first order of business was to make sure the coal bed left from the night before was good and dead. I set up the hose to soak the entire pit and let the pump run for the rest of the day.

I trimmed the dead, dying, and low branches from the apple tree at the driveway entrance, cut the small tree that made it difficult to drive up to my trailer, and levelled out some stumps. But the real work was done within the open cement foundation around the brick pile. I cleared out all the scrub growth, climbed the brick pile to get all of the low branches of the established trees, and took out all of the old tomato cages and tripping hazards within the foundation. I took some of the bricks and created a platform next to the pump to store the priming jugs, letting me get rid of the rotting table we had been using. This really opened up the view across the yard. Whenever Farmer Joe can bring up his skidloader we should be able to pull the remaining fence stakes. I’m thinking of moving the bricks to the lot line by Danny. If we can’t find a way to get rid of them, we can at least put them to use and clean up the sight lines a bit.

It was getting unseasonably hot out–upper 70s–so I took a break from the yard by running the chainsaw out to the marsh trails and clearing up some rough spots. We’ve now got quite a few wide, well-established trails.


As the burn ban was still in effect, I built a sizeable brush pile over the still-soaking burnpit. The next trip up with start with a roaring fire.

Last month, when I brought the deck materials up, I also placed the final cement pad beneath the trailer to allow me to level it with stacks of bricks instead of the tongue jack. This trip, I made sure that those brick stacks were perfectly level side-to-side and front-to-back. The nose of the trailer was sinking quite a bit before; now the tub doesn’t pool water anymore.


Before leaving, I wanted to at least get a token start on the deck project for my trailer. While the deck will be freestanding, I need to establish the height relative to the trailer door, so my first step was attaching the rear joist to the trailer. With two rows of three posts, the trailer won’t have to support any of the deck’s weight, but attaching the board will let me cut my posts to the right height and also eliminate some wobble once everything’s assembled. I nailed in all the joist hangers and screwed the joist into the side of the trailer. The deck project has officially begun.

I packed up my tools, picked Lyssa some daffodils from the woods, and headed home around 6:30. Rain is expected for three days starting Sunday, so we should be able to burn again next trip.