She’s run aground.

Hannah and I rolled in around 1pm hauling a cleaned-up pontoon boat behind us. The pooch would have to wait before she got to run some laps, though. I picked a spot in the south yard to park the boat where it would be off-level enough to help prevent rain from accumulating on the deck. It would also get plenty of sun to ward off more mildew formation.

I opened the pole barn and checked out our fuel situation. One of the 5-gallon gas cans was almost empty, so I topped off the mower’s tank with what was left in it and threw the can in the back of the truck. It’s almost 80°, so I popped into the keep to fire up the AC before heading into town for lunch and fuel. Hannah’s patience was rewarded with a burger from A&W.

Resilient little fella.

Once we got back, I ate in the keep while Hannah patrolled the property. It’s already comfortably cool inside; the new AC is a welcome upgrade. I changed into some yard work clothes and set my sites on taming the yard.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the mower. Grass was knee-high in places and is starting to come in pretty thick between the keep and brick garden. It’s good to see the yard can bounce back now that I’m able to clear leaves in the spring again. I was done with the driveway and entire yard by 6:30 pm. I called Hannah into the keep and ventured down the marsh trails to gauge their squishiness.

For the first time this year, the trails are dry enough to mow. I pinned back the discharge flap on the mower deck, set it as high as it could go, and started making marsh hay. It was slow going at first as I traced the outer edges, but once I had some clear lanes to discharge into, things sped up. I love this mower, it’ll gobble up 4-foot-tall saturated summer marsh grass without complaint.

It was getting dark by the time I called it quits. I don’t have all of the paths mowed like I have in years past, but I made a pretty good dent and could accommodate both ATVs side by side for a good stretch from Peter’s woods all the way to Dad’s deer stand. Not bad for a day’s work. I parked the mower, closed up the pole barn, and headed into the keep for a much-needed hot shower.

Clean and refreshed, I debated dinner options. I didn’t feel like waiting for delivery and sure didn’t want to go anywhere, so I made a frozen pizza and shared the crusts with the pooch. I watched some Netflix but started nodding off in the recliner almost immediately. Shuffled back to bed around 10pm.


Spotted some turklets on the way into town.

Woke up around 7:30 and let Hannah out. She had spent the night sprawled out on the futon. I spent some time getting the Logitech Harmony Hub set up and on the Puckanet. My hope is to be able to remotely control the AC and pre-cool the keep before visits on hot summer days. By 9:30, I was on my way to Aunt Judy’s to meet up with Lyssa and the boys.

After breakfast, Hannah was happy to see the rest of her family and did some more yard sprinting. Lyssa set up some watercolors for the boys at the picnic table and I started filling the pool for them. Jake and Josh kept busy alternating between painting pictures, splashing around, and riding their Power Wheels while I started in on some tree trimming.

So many less obstacles to duck when mowing now!

While the grounds are looking the best they have in years, there are still some trouble spots I wanted to address. Most of the issues are in the south yard. A lot of the smaller fruit trees are dead or dying and there’s nothing growing on either of the two trellises in the garden back there. I spent the rest of the morning with the chainsaw trimming and removing a bunch of dead plant life. I also got out the extension ladder and dispatched the large lower branches of the big black walnut tree. Finally, I trimmed the bottom six feet of the fir at the edge of the yard. Between that and the black walnut, it really opened things up.

Once the chainsaw was put away, Jake and Josh were eager to help me collect branches to bring back to the pit. They got a kick out of riding on the trailer behind the ATV. Lyssa was getting ready to take the boys back home, so I took them on a long ATV trail run before they had to go. Once it was just me and Hannah again, I got right back to work clearing all of my downed foliage.

The pit hungers.

There was so much brush that I ended up having to start a reserve pile off to the side of the burn pit. One of these days, we’ll have a mighty bonfire from all of this fuel. By the time I was done collecting, both piles were taller than me. I headed back to the south yard with the ATV and trailer and gathered the trellises and fence posts. I also picked up the pipes and few remaining bricks from the pile that we polished off last Puckaweekend. I stacked the paver bricks with the rest on the new pile next to the pole barn. The metal stuff went straight to the scrap pile.

An auxiliary offering.

The south yard is looking much less neglected now. All that’s left is to take several passes with the NASCAR trailer and collect the years of shredded leaves and pine needles. We might start seeing good grass growth here again. That’ll have to wait for another trip, though. Mom’s got dinner for all of us at her house tonight, so I started packing up and hit the shower. Hannah and I were on our way around 5pm. It’s nice seeing clean mower lines in the grass up here again.