We pulled in around noon in two vehicles; Lyssa’s on call at the hospital this weekend and may need to go in on short notice. Jake and Hannah rode in the truck with me, Josh kept Lyssa company in the car. The boys finished eating their Culver’s and were quickly off playing with their trucks and tools in the sawdust pile “quarry”. Lyssa unpacked our stuff in the keep while I set out to put the finishing touches on the Outhouse Relocation Initiative.

A vastly improved view.

First, I wanted to address the old outhouse location. I certainly didn’t need Hannah messing around in there. I grabbed the green ATV and small yard trailer to collect all the bricks around the pit. Then I dug around the outside of the buried metal retaining ring and piled the dirt in the middle. Once I was about four inches below ground level all around the ring, I got out my sawzall and sliced the ring as far down as I could reach. I levelled out the dirt as best I could and with that the site was retired. I’ll need to fill in with more dirt later to even out the area, but it looks much better than it did.

I took the bricks over to the new outhouse site and, with Lyssa’s help, tipped the outhouse forward and rested it on some 2x4s. I laid out the bricks and packed down the sandy dirt until I had a decently level platform to rest the building on. We struggled to get it in place and tilted again so I could finish the front, but eventually ended up with a stable, clean setup. Outhouse 2.0 and Outhouse Site 3.0 are open for business.

The boys were having fun with their “backyard safari” gear and managed to catch a few toads (without having to touch them, of course). I installed a new battery in their Power Wheels ATV and started charging it and their tractor. The battery needs at least 13 hours for the first charge, so they’ll have to wait until tomorrow to try it out. I got the grill out for Lyssa and she started getting everything together to make kebabs. The grill was taking forever to warm up and it turns out we were low on propane. I ran to town to get a fresh tank while Lyssa and the boys filled the bird feeders.

Once I got back and got the grill running, I hopped on the mower to get some cutting done before it started to rain. There’s a big front moving in. I got most of the yard around the keep, outhouse, and main pole barn entrance before Lyssa called me in for dinner. The kebabs were excellent; marinated steak, mushrooms, onions, and red, green, and yellow peppers. Once we were done eating, I headed out and mowed a little more until I started getting rained on. I packed up the pole barn and headed in for the night.

We had a relaxing evening watching movies in the keep and everyone went to bed relatively early. Lyssa and I turned off the lights around 10:00 and fell asleep to the sound of the rain.


Our explorers.

Jake and Josh were up early and itching to get outside. They were dressed and testing out the Power Wheels by 8:00. I took it a bit slower and let my coffee help wake me up. Lyssa and I relaxed in the keep while the boys and Hannah kept busy in the yard. By 9:30 we were getting kind of hungry so we drove into town for some Aunt Judy’s.

We were back by 10:30 and the warm sunshine had already dried the yard up. I got back on the mower and spent most of the morning and afternoon finishing up the yard. Lyssa gave me a hand by blowing leaves out of the wildflower garden and Jake kept busy by building a ramp for his bike out of bricks and some OSB sheathing in between taking ATV rides with his mom and brother.

At some point, we lost track of Hannah and when she made her way out of the woods, she stank something fierce. Thankfully, whatever dead thing she found to roll in was small and it was relatively easy to clean up her neck. She sure loves to find perfume up here.

I finished mowing and mulching in the south yard a little before 2:00. With some time to kill and beautiful weather in the mid-60s, I got out the chainsaw-on-a-stick and headed down the driveway. We’ve got a lot of overgrowth creeping in again with branches brushing the truck every time I drive through, so I wanted to thin things out a bit. This pole saw is perfect for the job. Aside from extending your reach, it lets you get into tighter spots than you otherwise would, so I was able to trim back a lot of the smaller growth to either side of the driveway as well as the branches leaning down over it.

The boys gave me a hand hauling things back to the burn pit, but as they got closer to the end of the driveway, the branches kept getting bigger and more plentiful. They let me finish the job with the ATV and trailer. By the time I was done, the pit was stacked about eight feet high with trimmed limbs.

While we were working on the driveway, Lyssa cleaned up in the keep and packed up all of her and the boys’ stuff. She left for home with Jake and Josh around 3:00 while I stayed back with the stinky dog. I still had a few things I wanted to take care of to prep for the “summer Puckaweekend” coming up.

I opened up the big trailer and turned on the fridge in case the Voights will need it. I also opened a few windows in there and turned on the kitchen and living room ceiling fans in an attempt to make it a little less stale and gross in there. With that taken care of, I moved over to the pole barn and pulled the front wheels off the mower so Dad can replace the balding tires. I also unloaded all of my tools from the truck so we’ll have more room to haul things up next weekend.

I gave Hannah another scrub and rinse, then headed into the keep to shower up. I gathered my stuff, closed up, and was on the road a little after 4:00.