Hannah and I drove in at 9:15 pm. I’m taking the day off work tomorrow so I can get all the leaves collected up here before the storms we’re supposed to get later in the week. If I want any kind of lawn this year, the sooner I can get this done, the better.

It’s going to be hot tomorrow with highs in the mid 80s, so I turned on the AC to get ahead of it. This got me thinking of a quick project I could take care of. I’ve got the ability to remotely control the AC with the Logitech Harmony hub, but I can’t really tell what I’m doing or if it’s responding. As long as the AC is set correctly and then turned off when I leave, I just have to hit Power from the remote app and everything will kick on the way it’s supposed to. I wanted more control and assurance, though. I took a USB webcam and mounted it to the underside of the upper kitchen cabinets. It’s pointed directly at the control panel of the air conditioner. This plugs into the PuckaPi, where a program called fswebcam is used to take snapshots. Now I’ll be able to tell exactly what mode the AC is in and can do more fine-tuning remotely.

Content with my efforts, I spent the rest of the night being lazy and watching TV. I was asleep before 11:00.


Up at 7:30 and it’s already pretty warm out. Got dressed and headed to Aunt Judy’s for an omelet and coffee. Stopped across the street at BP to get some Gatorade and a big bag of ice. I still need to stock the fridge and pantry up here, but I’ll save that for another trip. Today is all about leaves.

I got back and let Hannah out, then primed the pump and continued filling the water tank for the keep. This ran all day long.

I fired up the mower and started clearing around the keep, pole barn, and driveway entrance. I did several runs without the bagging trailer, blowing everything inward as I went. Once I had some well-defined long lines of leaves out in the open, I hooked up the NASCAR trailer and blower rig and got to collecting. There was a lot to suck up. I filled the trailer three times, emptying it in the low spots of the trail along the pole barn and scrap piles. It’s too wet to even get out to the parts of the marsh entrance I’d want to fill up, so this works as an alternate dumping spot.

Whoa, slow down.

By 2:00, I was starting to get hungry and had emptied the last of the gas cans, so I threw them in the back of the truck and headed back into town. Saw a big snapping turtle crossing the road on my way out. I filled up and got some A&W, then took a quick lunch break in the keep. It’s very comfortable inside; never got above 70°. I didn’t rest long, though, and was soon back to mowing.

I moved the swing and picnic table and finished collecting leaves in the big area between the outhouse and big trailer. After emptying the trailer one last time, I unhooked it and switched gears a bit. I gathered the limbs and branches from outside the east end of the pole barn and tossed them on the burn pile. I still have a lot on the west side from our trimming efforts back in January, but they can wait. I just wanted to be able to mow by the east garage door. I made a few passes with the mower to mulch things up and get a clear path around the pole barn and by the boys’ swing. It was already 6:00 at this point and I was ready to call it a day. I parked the mower and closed up the pole barn. The water tank was full at this point, so I shut off the pump and gathered the hose, then headed inside for a badly needed shower. I was completely caked with dry leaf dust.

Feeling refreshed, I packed my bag and closed up the keep. I took a minute to admire the grounds; I always get a swell of accomplishment the first time I mow for the year. The driveway entrance looks so much better now with that truck box gone and the woodpiles severely depleted. The pooch and I were on the road by 6:30.