The boys and I rolled in around 11:00 after getting some good Aunt Judy’s breakfast. I’ve been anxious to see how things looked now that the stain has dried, and Jake and Josh just needed to get out and play. Gorgeous day: sunny and temps in the low 70s. I opened the pole barn, hooked up the batteries in their Power Wheels ATV and tractor, and they were off exploring the yard. While the boys were bombing around, I went to check out the deck. Pretty satisfied with the results! There’s only one spot where I notice drip marks and it looks like it generally took the stain pretty evenly throughout. Last night’s rain caused a bunch of pollen to drop off the maple trees, though, so I think I’ll hold off on touching up the cracks between the planks until I can feel confident in hosing it down first.
My main goal today was to build a squirrel/raccoon baffle for the feeder pole. I bought a 5′ section of 12″ round heating duct and a 12″ tee cap. I cut the cap in half and notched out two triangles on each piece. These halves were joined together again around the post using the two cut-off pieces and this assembly was supported by an 11″ piece of rebar that was slid through a hole drilled in the post. The “pipe” section was snapped together around the base of the post, cut down to about 48″, and screwed to the cap. It sounds relatively simple when written out, but this stupid thing fought me every step of the way. The cap kept coming apart once it was cut, the pipe did NOT want to snap together, I had to use ratchet straps to lift the pipe into position to mate it with the cap, and I burned through the last cutting wheel for my Dremel saw and had to finish trimming the pipe with a sawzall. This caused the cap to blow apart one last time so now, after a bunch of swearing and grumbling, the whole thing is held together with fencing wire. I’ll eventually replace the junk cap with one I don’t cut in half and only slide down the pole, but this will work for now.
While working on the baffle, I had to stop and regulate the boys every now and then, but not as much as I expected. They’re playing together really nicely now and Jake helps reinforce the boundaries up here for his little brother. I made sure they were drinking plenty of fluids and had sunscreen on. Thankfully, the bugs weren’t bad at all.
Around 2:30, Josh started getting ornery, so I set up the boys with a movie in the keep. I felt better about spray painting the baffle with them indoors anyway. When I was done with that, I cleaned up my tools and scrap, put away the boys’ toys and vehicles, and brought out the blue ATV so they could get one ride in before we left for home. After I pulled up to the keep, Jake came out and said I should probably be quiet, because he “saw that Josh’s eyes were looking heavy and tired” so he “put him down down for a nap.” I went inside to find a gently snoring Joshua very lovingly tucked in on the couch. He’s lucky to have a good big brother to take care of him. Jake and I took a quick ATV run around the marsh, then I closed up the pole barn, carefully transitioned Josh from the couch to his carseat, and we were on our way home by 3:30. This was the first time just the three of us were up here together, and it was a fun little trip.