The boys, the pooch, and I pulled in at 6:45 pm. I unloaded the truck and we headed into the keep to get out of the rain. I then did… nothing. It was great! I just relaxed the rest of the night in the keep with my two little buddies. We watched one of the Harry Potter movies and some episodes of Mythbusters and shared some microwave popcorn. The boys were both asleep by 10 and I headed back to the bedroom and read for a bit before dropping off.
Had a lazy morning. Jake and Josh were up typically early but kept busy with their Switch and 3DS respectively. I stayed in bed and did some reading until about 8:45, then got ready for the day. After letting Hannah run around the yard for a bit, the boys and I got in the truck and made our way to Aunt Judy’s. Josh made a valiant effort toward eating an entire chocolate chip pancake and Jake had his usual ham and cheese omelet.
After we were done with breakfast and had boxed up the remaining third of Josh’s pancake, we headed west to the Germania Marsh Wildlife Area. I brought the boys out here a few years ago and have wanted to go back for a while now. The weather even cooperated; it started warming up and the sun poked out from the clouds. We stopped at our “Pooh Sticks” bridge along the way for a few races. The water was really flowing thanks to all the recent rain and it made for some fast heats.
Once we got to the Wildlife area, we walked the trails and bridges around the reservoir. The boys really liked being able to stand over the spillway “waterfall” and see down through the steel grate walkway. We didn’t see much in the way of actual wildlife outside of a few farm cats hunting vermin in the tall grasses. I just loved watching my buddies running around and getting into nature, pointing out milkweed and cool bugs to each other.
We made it back to Puckaway around 2:00 and rewarded Hannah’s patience with a big piece of pancake. The boys played outside for a bit while I worked in the pole barn, but it wasn’t long before the wind picked up and it started to rain again. We spent the rest of the afternoon inside, snuggled up on the futon.
My dad pulled in the driveway at 5:15 on his way home from Presque Isle. In the back of his truck was over 50 feet of triangular antenna tower that he bought from someone up in Ironwood for surprisingly cheap. It seems like it’s in great shape and I’m looking forward to getting the base set in cement next spring and assembling it. With the shack on its way out, we’ll need somewhere else to mount a TV antenna, and this will do perfectly. If anything, we’ll get better signal than before; I don’t think the current setup is any taller than 30 feet.
Between the rain and just wanting to get home, Dad didn’t stick around long. After unloading the tower sections, I did a little more work in the pole barn. Aside from general cleanup, I ran an ethernet cable to the laptop since I was sick of the random WiFi issues it seemed to be prone to having.
I went back in by Jake and Josh who were busy with their video games and tried to figure out what to do for dinner. I was getting sick of the A&W or pizza coin-flip, so I looked up places to eat. I guess the trick is to look at the “bar & grill” category on Google Maps, because that brought up a ton of results compared to just “restaurants.” At 6:30, we headed into Princeton to grab a bite at Buckhorn on Water St. Jake had a cheeseburger on a ciabatta bun which he described as amazing, Josh got some chicken tenders, and they split an order of fries. I opted for the pulled pork sandwich and coleslaw. We’re going to have to consider this place more often; everything was delicious.
Back at Puckaway, we had another comfy, lazy night. The boys were both asleep much earlier than last night, though. I stayed up and read for a while but was out by 11:00.
Another lazy morning in the keep. Boys kept busy with video games and I watched some TV in the bedroom before getting dressed and ready for the day. We left for Aunt Judy’s at 9:30 where the boys both had and finished some omelets.
We made it back to Puckaway around 10:45. Hannah kept an eye on Jake and Josh while they played in their fort. I spent the rest of the morning in the shack. I heated some water on the stove and did all the dishes, then cleaned up the kitchen counters, walls, and floor with bleach. I also made some room in the back bedroom by putting totes in the closets, then sprinkled some carpet powder throughout the bedroom and back hallway. Satisfied, I left the kitchen and living room fans running but closed up the shack.
I headed over to the pole barn and grabbed the ladder and my power drill. By each of the pole barn-mounted cameras, I installed one of the new IR flood lights. I ran the power cables inside and hooked them up through some extension cords. Ideally, I’ll add some close-by outlets later. Shame I can’t just piggyback off of the camera power connector and leach a little more power from the PoE connections. While working on the camera over the main garage door, I also installed a rain shield. It’s just a big plastic semi-circle but it’s got a small gutter all around it and the inside is coated with matte black paint that won’t reflect the IR light from the camera.
I also placed some IR floods on the keep’s deck railing and the post by the pump. This should ensure each of the cameras has a nice bright flood light at night.
My projects done for the day, I packed up the pole barn and gathered the boys’ things from the keep. One of Josh’s friends has a birthday party this afternoon, so we had to head out a little before 2:00. I’ve got tomorrow off (Columbus/Indigenous Peoples’ Day, depending on who you ask) so I’ll be back in the morning for some final Puckaweekend prep.
Hannah and I pulled in at 8:30. I had about a dozen frozen pizzas to drop off in the keep’s freezer but then I turned my attention to the pole barn. I started cleaning and organizing, making sure all my tools were still accessible but out of the way once we start cleaning things out this weekend. I brought over the larger of the two yard trailers to try to fix it up. I had planned on just replacing the rotting deck boards with some plywood from the back of the pole barn, but as I was removing and burning the old boards, I could see the frame was rusted out and broken in a few places. I got my sawzall and cut away the wide extensions from either side where it seemed to be the worst, but it wasn’t enough. The main frame will either need some patch welding or we’ll just have to sacrifice it to Scrapper Paul. Either way, nothing I’d be able to accomplish today, so I moved on to lawn maintenance.
I spent the next few hours cutting grass and mulching leaves. I ran out of gas while cutting around the marsh entrance and the cans were empty, so I ran into town a little before 2:00 to fill them up. Once I finished cutting, I hopped on the green ATV and towed the pop-up camper out behind the cedars. I used our new Lynx Levellers for the first time and was able to plant it almost perfectly level. I set it up, ran an extension cord out to it, and strung some lights along the awning. I tested the heater just to make sure it’d be available for Puckaweekend and closed it up.
I took a dinner break a little after 5:00. Had some delicious homemade soup and bread that Lyssa made yesterday. Really hit the spot. It was starting to get dark, so I hooked up the NASCAR trailer to start collecting the leaves that I had blown into long, skinny piles with the mower. I feel like I’m getting more efficient with this every year; it didn’t take long at all to have everything sucked up and the yard looking really nice. Happy with the state of the Puckagrounds, Hannah and I left at 6:40. I’ll be back in less than 48 hours for Puckaweekend 2019.