Pulled in at 5:00 pm to a 55° cloudy and damp evening. Intermittent showers and possible storms are in the forecast all weekend, so I reluctantly left Hannah at home, figuring she wouldn’t have too much fun if she was stuck in the keep all weekend listening to thunder. My truck was full of Puckaweekend and project supplies, so I got right to work stocking the keep with soda, sparkling water, snacks, frozen pizzas, and other goodies. The beer and perishable items will come up in a later trip.
I also had 32 8-foot 2x4s in the bed of the truck. My goal this weekend is to frame out behind the workbench in the pole barn so that the pegboard has something solid to mount to. Right now, it’s just being hung to cover the space between posts and isn’t very useful. I stacked the boards on some sawhorses but had a smaller project I wanted to finish before tackling the pegboard. I brought up some new Kwikset SmartKey door handles for the big trailer because I’m tired of not being able to unlock the back door from the outside and having to fish around my truck for the key to the front door. I replaced both handles and now the keep, pole barn, and big trailer can all be opened with the same key.
While I was in the big trailer, I hooked up my HDHomeRun, a device that takes a digital TV antenna signal and converts it into a network stream. Now that all the buildings are hardwired with gigabit Ethernet, this seemed like the best way to get live TV in the keep (and everywhere else other than the main TV in the big trailer). I let it boot up and configure itself while I opened up and placed two jars of DampRid, plugged in four AirWicks, and turned on some fans. I’m hoping this will help air out the big trailer for Puckaweekend.
I locked up the big trailer and cleaned in the pole barn for a bit to get things ready for tomorrow’s project, then headed to the keep for the night. I made a Lotsa Motza pizza and had some of the last of Lyssa’s margarita slush out of a bowl while watching Ant Man and the Wasp. Truly, I’m living the high life. The heater’s keeping things nice and toasty in here. I started falling asleep a little after midnight in the recliner, so I found my way back to bed.
Finally found my way out of bed a little after 9:00. The flannel sheets were just too comfortable. I took some time to clean and reorganize the shelves in the kitchen and front closet and got the HDHomeRun set up for use on all my Kodi installations. The way the antenna’s pointed right now, I can get FOX, ABC, CBS, PBS, and all their various digital subchannels. NBC would require some re-aiming, but this will work for now as it’ll cover 90% of the football games this fall.
Last night’s pizza kept me full most of the morning, so I didn’t make it out to Aunt Judy’s until around 11:30. I celebrated my birthday by making some Breaking Bad bacon numbers. Full of coffee, eggs, bacon, and hash-browns, I headed back to Puckaway ready to spend my afternoon in the pole barn. I made an effort to get the burn pit going, but everything’s soaked and it wouldn’t stay lit. It’s probably for the best; Red’s coming up tomorrow and we can burn then.
I’ve had pegboard behind the workbench for years now but haven’t been able to use it because there’s no actual support behind it. I unscrewed the corners and set the pegboard and workbench backboards aside, then started cutting 2x4s to frame out the walls behind the bench. It didn’t take long to get this together thanks to my air nailer. I put the panels back up and covered what used to be an open gap between them with a section of OSB. On top of this, I hung some LCD wall mounts for the 42″ TV and 22″ touchscreen panel that will be connected to the jukebox laptop.
I headed over to the other front corner of the pole barn and started disconnected the receiver and laptop setup. With this gone, I decided to remove the front shelves completely as they weren’t very deep and kept the side door from opening all the way. I took a minute to tidy up the Ethernet cables to the cameras, access point, and other buildings and now there’s no equipment over there except for the network switch.
Back at the bench, I got out my spool of speaker cable and Romex and made some wire runs back to the outdoor speakers and service panel, respectively. I went outside and drilled a hole through the wall panel for another outside light like the one I installed back in September. I got this mounted up and wired just as it started getting dark enough out to need it. I really like these things. They’re cheap, bright, and easy to install.
With the wiring runs done, I started setting up equipment. I mounted the TV and monitor and hooked them up to the laptop. I set up the Sony speakers that used to be in the keep to be the indoor speakers for the receiver. I mounted them high on the posts to ether side of the work bench, and put a second pair on either side of the receiver itself to serve as sort of a center channel. Sounds good! I got the giant subwoofer set up under the bench, configured Kodi to work on the new screens, and the equipment was ready.
It was dark and I was feeling lazy, so I headed in for the night around 8:00. Got another pizza going while I took a shower and had myself a repeat of last night: pizza, booze, and TV. It’s a lot cooler outside than last night, but the keep stayed a cozy 70° all night.
Another slow morning thanks to a very comfortable bed. After some cold pizza breakfast, I headed outside for the day a little after 10:30 to do some more pole barn cleanup. It’s much colder today with temps in the mid 40s.
Red got here around noon. After sharing a couple beers while showing off some of the improvements and changes since his last trip up, we grabbed some tools, hooked up a trailer to the blue ATV, and headed out to Dad’s fallen deer stand. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look salvageable. All of the scaffolding pins are either severely pinched and bent or have snapped off entirely. All the wall panels are rotten, a lot of the planks are iffy, and the screws holding everything together are too rusty to back out. About the only things worth saving are the 4x6s and steel roof panels.
Between the sawzall and some adjustable pliers, we got everything apart and loaded onto the trailer. As long as we were out here with tools, we trimmed back some of the creeping scrub growth as well. After all, in some form or another, the stand shall rise again.
A light rain started around 3:00 just as we were finishing up out in the marsh. We tossed the scrap wood onto the burn pile and set everything else aside by the scrap metal to the side of the pole barn. Found a few blue-spotted salamanders as we unloaded. Once the trailer was empty and the ATV was put away, I got some gas and made another attempt at lighting the pit. Now covered in heat-trapping, wind-blocking paneling, it wasn’t long before we had a raging fire.
We hung out, drank beer, listened to some music, and watched the fire for a while before the rain picked up and we headed into the keep for the night. There, we hung out, drank beer, watched movies, and ate garbage. A fine end to a weather-shortened but productive day. I got Red set up on the futon and I started dozing in the recliner a little after 11:00. After my own snoring startled me awake, I moved to the bedroom.
Red popped in by me a little after 6:30 am saying he had to head out. His little girl was sick again and his wifey needed him back home. I thanked him for his service and fell back asleep for a few hours. It had been raining when Red left and was still going when I got up for the day around 9:00. Kind of a bummer.
I spent the rest of the morning and the early afternoon cleaning up my tools and building materials in the pole barn and organizing the shelves and drawers. I plugged in the boys’ Power Wheels because I’m hoping to get up here with them for an overnight between now and Puckaweekend.
Around 1:30, I closed up the pole barn and headed back to the keep. After doing the dishes and cleaning the table and countertops, I grabbed the dirty sheets and towels, took out the trash, and was on my way home by 2:30. I would have liked to get more projects done this weekend, but at least I got a lot of R&R.