Hannah and I pulled in a little after 11:00 with the keep’s water tank in the back of the truck. Back home, I had pressure-washed it inside and out, added a spigot to the side of the tank near the bottom, and built and installed a new enclosure for the pump, filter, and pressure tank. I did some testing, and it looks like this is going to solve a lot of the problems we had with air getting into the lines and causing the water heater to cut out.

The new and improved water supply system.

I wrestled the tank back to the platform behind the keep and hooked up the supply lines, propane, and power cord. Then I headed for the pole barn to fire up the mower. That’s the main reason I’m here today; I want to collect leaves before it’s too late to get any grass to grow. I made a few passes around the keep and brick garden, then gave it a rest so I could start the pump and begin filling the water tank. I sprinkled some pool shock in the bottom and set up the hose. It’ll take several hours to fill.

Fool me once, shame on you…

As I was finishing up with the tank, it occured to me I hadn’t seen Hannah in a while. I called and whistled several times but got nothing, so I hopped on the blue ATV and made my way around the property and through Peter’s woods. Still nothing. As a last-ditch effort, I headed to Danny’s yard thinking There’s no way she’s that stupid… And yet, there she was, once again imprisoned in Grady’s giant live trap. I freed my embarrassed pooch and she made a beeline back to our property.

The last remaining residents of the brick garden.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on the mower. I started with strafing runs, blowing leaves inward from the edges of the yard. I ended up with several long, skinny piles of mostly-mulched leaves by the keep, brick garden, east yard, and burn pit. I hooked up the NASCAR leaf-collection trailer to the mower and began to vacuum them up. I filled the trailer four times over and dumped the mulch into low spots along the trail to the west of the pole barn. I’d prefer to fill in by the marsh entrance, but the ground is too wet and squishy to get anywhere near it with the mower and trailer.

Every time I turned off the mower while unloading the trailer, I heard a pair of owls calling. It sounded like one was in Peter’s woods and the other was across the road. I wonder if I woke them up with all the racket from mulching.

They look good together.

I was finished with leaf collection around 5:30 and starting to get hungry. The water tank was around 75% full at this point, so I turned on the pump and bled the air out of the plumbing. I had some nice hot water to wash up with and the new mount and enclosure seem to make the pump quieter than ever. I headed into town to pick up some A&W, which I enjoyed in the recliner while watching an episode of Drunk History.

I made a few more passes in the south yard with just the mower. I’d like to collect the leaves here as well, but there’s not enough time today and the areas that still need it don’t get much sun or grow much grass anyway. I parked the mower, closed up the buildings, and Hannah and I were on our way out around 6:30. Seeing the leaves everywhere has been bothering me all spring; I love how it feels to leave this place after reclaiming the yard.