Drove up with the whole family and a fully loaded pickup truck at 3:30. We brought Josh’s Power Wheels UTV, and the only place it would fit was on top of the tonneau cover. The bed was full with our clothes, cooler, stuff for the boys, and the last big-ticket items I needed for my upcoming electrical project. We also had the boys’ new ATV helmets, which they couldn’t wait to put on. I took Josh’s UTV down from the truck and he and Jake went racing around the yard in their new gear. I unloaded my generator, a spool of 320 feet of underground cable, and a tote full of extension cords and stashed everything in the pole barn, then gave Lyssa a hand getting all our stuff into the keep.
We were taking rides with the real ATV when the Voights pulled in. This is Allison’s first time up. Gunner and Hannah immediately took turns chasing each other around the brick garden. The boys were happy to see Emmett and the three of them each grabbed their own Power Wheels and went off exploring the grounds. Red and Jenny took turns on baby duty while setting up the big trailer for themselves. I organized the pole barn for a bit while they settled in and Lyssa was getting things ready for dinner. We got the grill going around 5:45 and each family took turns on it. We ate on the deck; the weather is perfect for this time of year.
The boys couldn’t wait to get back out exploring and spent the rest of the night wandering the grounds with flashlights. I think having Emmett up here is making our boys a little braver, as they were going a lot further than they usually do, which is nice to see. I made an initial attempt at lighting a bonfire around 7:30 but the big stack of trimmings from the driveway is just too green and loosely packed. Red and I grabbed some gloves and the chainsaw and headed to the west side of the pole barn to gather some more substantial and dry limbs and branches still left from the SkyTrak trimming last winter. After a few ATV trailer loads, we had ourselves a much denser stack to burn. This time, once it was lit, it stayed lit. We all enjoyed the fire until around 10:00 when we put all the boys to bed. Once the kids were settled, the four adults came back out and drank and chatted for another hour and a half before all calling it a night.
It was early mornings all around as the boys and dogs were outside playing by 7:30. After a little coffee and time to get ourselves cleaned up and ready for the day, we called the pooches into their respective trailers and the eight of us set off for Aunt Judy’s. Jake was excited to show Emmett his picture up on the wall and all the boys ate like they were starving. Once we were all sufficiently full, we made our way to the flea market where the boys each picked a toy and I grabbed some Amish baked goods.
We got back to Puckaway a little before 11:00 and the boys were off exploring once again. It’s a lot warmer today, so we dug the pool out of the pole barn and started filling it. Around 1:00, Farmer Joe and Janine pulled in with their two girls, Leah and Raelyn. Leah jumped right in with the boys and was soon in rotation on the Power Wheels, while Raelyn and Allison hung out by the pool with the moms. Red, Joe and I walked around the grounds and I showed off some of our more recent improvements. We also hauled a few more logs over to the burn pit to keep it going.
The Schanens brought ingredients for root beer floats, so we all took a break for a while. Josh didn’t want any, so he and I snuggled in the hammock for a bit. While relaxing in the shade, I took a look over to the deck and saw my wife, my friends, and all our families hanging out together and got a little choked up. It reminded me of the old pictures of this place before I was born with all of Richie and Inee’s friends. We brought this place back to that point again, and it’s an amazing feeling.
Joe and his girls had to get going at 3:30 and we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and occasionally taking the boys for ATV rides. By 6:00, we started getting things together for the June Dairy Days farm parade and were all on the road by 6:30. We staked out our usual spot by the bridge and sat back to enjoy the show. The boys got a ton of candy and some less traditional handouts like freeze pops, string cheese, and a bag of microwave potatoes. Sadly, no beer was handed out for the dads this year. Looks like Red and I are on our own now.
We got back at 8:45 and got the grill going right away. The boys had energy to burn and were excited to do more flashlight exploring. Lyssa even helped them catch a firefly. Red and I gathered some more wood and got the fire going again, and the rest of the night went down just like the night before, except we called it a little earlier at 11:00 or so.
Once again, the boys could not be contained and were out playing before 8:00. Lyssa made breakfast in the keep and we had a pretty low-key morning. Jake and Josh love any excuse to wear their new helmets, so I took them for an ATV ride down to the boat landing and then to Roeder Rd and back. Red and Emmett grabbed the other ATV and blazed some trails through the marsh. Back at camp, we started cleaning up all the toys and tools. The Voights closed up the big trailer and were on the road a little after 1:00. We all took a nap break in the keep for a bit, then Jake and I took the green ATV over to Lynn and Carol’s to pick up our pop-up camper. I guess I was talking to Lynn longer than I thought because Lyssa and Josh soon pulled up in the other ATV to check on us. Both the boys got a kick out of Lynn’s dog, Wiggles, once they found out he was friendly.
I towed the pop-up back to the yard and set it up for Lyssa to practice hooking up. She’s going to be taking it up to Peninsula State Park later this month without me. All my PTO is spoken for this year, so she’ll need to get confident towing with the truck and will start by driving us home today. We got the keep packed up, collected the garbage, and were off by 5:00.