Jake and I came up around 11:30. Sunny but cool, mid 50s. We had stopped in town for some housekeeping and storage supplies and Princeton was packed with people. Didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the opening weekend for the Princeton Flea Market. I pulled Jake’s PowerWheels ATV out of the back of the truck and he set off to explore the yard.


I set up the new outdoor speakers for the pole barn. For now, they’ll just sit out, but I want to make some sort of mini-roof for them and mount them on the side of the building. They’re water-resistant but probably don’t need direct exposure to the elements. Got some tunes going and moved the truck over to my trailer where the rest of the day’s activities would take place.


The first order of business was to remove the old orange recliner from the trailer. I think the mice liked it more than any of us ever did; there was evidence of further nesting activity when I moved it. The chair was unceremoniously dumped in the yard to make room for the new one I had found on craigslist for $20. While it was still on the back of the truck I trained the leaf blower on it and pounded out all of the cushions. I then soaked it with Lysol spray and let it dry out in the sun before setting it up inside. The living room looks much better now.

Brought in and put away all of the linens I had taken home to wash. I ended up getting rid of all of the old pillows and bought new ones on Amazon instead. Everything gets vacuum-sealed when not in use now, so they should stay fresh for a long time.

I checked the DNR burning restrictions site and saw we had the all-clear. Using the old recliner cushion as a gas sponge, I got the pile going in short order. Jake was pretty impressed by the big fire. He was my “fire chief” the rest of the day and would give me updates whenever I needed to move unburnt branches into the center. We burned through last week’s brush in just a few hours and gave the old recliner a Viking funeral.

With everything else taken care of, it was time to start work on the deck. I moved the metal stairs over to the back door and gave the hinges on that door a healthy dose of PB Blaster to try and loosen them up. When the deck is done, we’ll have use of both doors again. I’m just not sure the back door will hold up to much traffic.

IMG_20150425_150351I started by nailing joist hangers on the front ledger and supporting it with two screw jacks. I cut and placed both outer joists and two inner joists on the hangers in the front and rear ledgers and temporarily screwed in the inner joists. After leveling out this freestanding assembly and making sure it was square, it was time to place the posts. I used concrete post support piers buried just far enough for the posts to sit at ground level. This will still be very sturdy while preserving the option to move the deck later on. I attached the front support beam and center post as an assembly and then cut the two end posts after it was lined up and in place. Removed the jacks and started to repeat the process for the rear beam and posts, detaching the rear ledger from the trailer in the process.

Jake was a great helper throughout this process. He was my tool gofer and helped hold some boards in place while I was cutting and measuring. He saved me a lot of time. We took a break for dinner around 5:30 and headed into town for A&W. We ate in the trailer and I set him up on the couch with a sleeping bag and a movie. Once he was all situated, I headed back out to finish the framing.

After finishing up the rear posts, all that was left was to add the remaining joists, check again for squareness, and screw everything together. The rear ledger was also re-secured into the side of the trailer, but for lateral stability, not to support weight. I laid out the deck boards over the finished frame and took the first walk out on the new deck. It’s sturdy, dead level, and a perfect drop distance from the doorway. I wasn’t expecting much from my mostly one-man operation and was pleasantly surprised by the result. All that’s left to do is trim and attach the boards and add the stairs. The railing will come later.

Jake had fallen asleep watching Big Hero 6 while all my construction was going on. I put away my tools in the shed, packed up his 4-wheeler, and loaded my sleepy helper into his car seat. We left around 9:30, spooking three deer out of the end of the driveway on our way out. This was a very productive day trip.IMG_20150425_210936-nopm-