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.

Pulled in the driveway a little before noon. It’s a beautiful day with clear skies and temps in the mid 50s. I unloaded Lyssa’s snow tires from the back of the truck and hooked up to the pop-up camper to make some room in the pole barn. Having a backup camera pointed at the trailer hitch is a welcome change; no more braille hitch hunting! I positioned the pop-up next to the pontoon boat and ATV trailer and got back to work picking up in the pole barn.

Lyssa relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine while Hannah chased after the boys. They wanted to go back to their climbing tree, but things were still fairly wet out there, so they settled on picking up sticks and playing soccer with a kickball for a while.

I brought up some more UPS battery backups and installed one each in the pole barn and big trailer to keep the network switches and access points up during a power blink. The big trailer is smelling surprisingly fresh, especially considering the disturbing amount of mouse droppings on the counters and tables. They must have nested in here over the winter.

While I was working inside, Lyssa started cleaning up outside. She got the leaf blower out and started clearing around the wildflower garden, birdfeeders, and keep deck. The boys were more than happy to help her out and each got turns with the blower.

Over the last few years, I ended up with quite a collection of cables, connectors, and electrical and network equipment scattered throughout the drawers and cabinets in the front of the pole barn. There’s no order or reason to it, so I gathered everything up in a big plastic tote to evaluate back home. I hooked the pole barn laptop back up and made my way to the keep, starting the pump along the way and letting it run for a bit.

I dismantled my makeshift UPS heater setup and cleaned things up in the network closet/food pantry, then hooked the NUC and media hard drives back up. The Puckanet is fully functional once again.

Back outside, I checked on the keep’s water supply. Lots of scum lining the bottom and sides and it’s hard to blast it off with the minimal pressure I can build from the yard pump. After the issues I had last year with air getting in the lines and causing the water heater to cut out, I wanted to revisit the supply hookup anyway, so I lugged the IBC out from behind the keep and loaded it onto the blue trailer.

I’ll use my pressure washer back home to thoroughly clean it inside and out. Then I can try to create a new fitting near the bottom of the tank to reduce the amount of suction required from the water pump. I’m also hoping to build a better housing or mount for the pump, bladder, filter, and water heater, and maybe get a quick-disconnect for the propane supply.

We had the truck and trailer loaded for home, but I had promised the boys an ATV ride. They got their helmets on and we made our way to the boat landing. The water’s still high, but nowhere near as bad as it was last month when Lyssa and I stopped out. We looped back down to the end of Wicks Landing and came back through Peter’s woods. While the yard and near trails are dry, you can see that the marsh is still soaked and probably will be for a while.

I parked the ATV and closed up the pole barn and we were headed for Oshkosh around 4:00. I spent the whole ride home grinning over how well the new truck tows; it’s like there’s nothing back there at all.