Hannah and I arrived at 6:30 pm and I pulled up to the pole barn to unload the truck. I opened up the keep and it was wonderfully cool and comfortable. I had turned on the AC remotely a few hours before driving up. It’s only in the upper 70s out but very humid.
I called Hannah inside and then headed to town for some A&W. I brought her back a cheeseburger and we dined in the keep while watching some episodes of Voyager. I turned off the AC briefly so I could take care of something that’s been bothering me for a while.
Pulled in with Hannah and a truck full of tools at 5:45. The pooch ran around while I unloaded the truck by the pole barn and grabbed the two empty gas cans to fill up later. I noticed last trip that the big heating oil tank by the power pole seemed to be dripping at a decent pace so I walked over to check it out. This was nearly empty anyway and probably had more water than oil in it over the last few decades. Today it was completely dry.
For grins, I tried pushing it over. It took a few tries, but I managed to rock three of the four stand legs out of the ground. The remaining leg just bent and the whole thing toppled over. Arrivederci, eyesore! I headed back to the pole barn, returned on the blue ATV, and used a tow strap to tug the tank free and haul it over to the scrap pile. I’ve only been here 20 minutes and already altered the landscape for the better.
This is my second quick trip to Puckaway this week; I was just here on Tuesday to take down the screen tent and grab some accessories for the pop-up camper. Hannah and I drove in around 4:15 pm and I headed straight for the pole barn to start pulling things out of the back corner. We’re meeting a potential buyer today for the old Larson boat.
While I would have loved to restore this thing myself one day, it takes up a ton of room in the pole barn and hasn’t run since before I was born. It would take a lot more time, money, effort, and knowledge than I have right now. Last week, I put the boat on craigslist and got a few non-spam responses, but one person had a lot of interest and said he’d be able to pick up right away if he was going to buy.
The whole family made our way up around 5:00 in sultry conditions. The first thing I did was start up the AC and fans in the keep and shack, as well as the shack fridge as the Voights will be making use of it this weekend. Lyssa started unloading the truck while the boys wandered the grounds and I got out some penetrating grease to address the obnoxiously squeaky hinge on the keep’s screen door.
A little after 5:30, the Voights arrived with the blue utility trailer in tow and full of brush to burn. I got the boys’ Power Wheels out and they were all off exploring. Even Allison got to ride along. I gave Red a hand unhooking the trailer while he and Jenny settled into the shack. Gunner’s excited barking over the Power Wheels prompted a response from Buck next door. Glad Danny was able to find him again.
Pulled in at 4:30 pm with Hannah and got right to work cleaning up the keep’s fridge so I could get it turned on for the year. The goal this weekend is to get everything cleaned and prepped so we can all come up next week for June Dairy Days.
Once the fridge was ready, I unloaded the truck and started a project I’ve been waiting to work on since Christmas. Lyssa gave me a really cool carved owl statue for up here but it needs a few coats of lacquer before it can be left out in the elements. I brushed on the first coat and trained a fan on it to keep the bugs away while it dried.
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.
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.
First family trip of the year! Lyssa, the boys, Hannah, and I made our way to Aunt Judy’s around 11:15. Hannah had to wait in the truck. Judy was happy to see Jake and Josh and couldn’t get over how much they’ve grown.
We ended up sitting next to Danny and Jan, who have a late breakfast there every Sunday. Jake inhaled an omelet and Josh gave his best try at a giant chocolate chip pancake, making it about halfway through. Felt good to be back; it’s been about six months.
Rolled in at 3:15 in a new truck. Picked up a brand new 2018 Silverado in Sparta today and stopped in on the way home to pick up the summer tires for Lyssa’s car. The 2005 Silverado that served dutifully for over 10 years—and contributed to many a Puckaproject in that time—is gone but not forgotten. Farmer Joe bought it from me; it’s likely we’ll see it again at Puckaway in the future.
I didn’t stay long; just enough to check on things and load up the tires. I’m hoping to get back up here again soon to mulch some leaves as long as the weather cooperates.
Just a quick visit today to drop things off and enjoy the sunshine. Hannah, Lyssa, and I pulled in around 12:15 pulling the blue trailer. The boys are up at Presque Isle this weekend with my folks.
Hannah hit the ground running; I think she’s been feeling cooped up lately. I unloaded the ATV and plow from the trailer and maneuvered them into the pole barn. It’s getting pretty tight in there with the pop-up camper but the grounds are still too squishy to pull that out.
I parked the blue trailer along the side of the pole barn and we made our way over to the keep to check on things. Lyssa filled the feeders while I did my walkthrough and downloaded the latest timelapse videos. No signs of critters, water damage, or any other obvious problems, so it looks like we’ve made it through another winter intact. The deck could certainly use a new coat of stain, though.
It’s time once again to take a look back at the projects and progress that defined another year at Puckaway. This now the fourth year-in-review post in the series, and it’s pretty incredible to binge-read these and see just how much we’ve accomplished.
This year’s first trip was all about getting work done. Peter, ever the helpful neighbor, was borrowing a SkyTrak and brought it over to trim the trees leaning over the pole barn. This put a welcome hole in the sky and helped me feel a lot less nervous about storms and high winds taking out a building.