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.
Pulled in at 7:00 with Jake and Hannah. After Josh’s solo overnight last weekend, Jake was ready for his own. We surprised four deer eating acorns in the south yard as we drove in. One bolted right away, one left after I parked the truck, another took off after I revved the engine, but the final deer was enjoying her snack too much to be bothered to move. It wasn’t until I pulled up to the pole barn that she decided it was time to join her friends. Jake, of course, got a big kick out of this.
I set my boy up with one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and he had his A&W dinner at the keep’s kitchen table. I joined him after unloading the truck by the pole barn. Since we arrived kind of late, I don’t have much to tackle projectwise tonight and we can just relax.
Pulled in at 4:00 pm with Hannah and Josh. This is his first solo overnight up here without his big brother and he’s excited. We unloaded the truck and Josh headed to the swing. I opened up the shack and turned on the ceiling fans to help freshen it up. I think I’ll start doing that every trip up to keep mildew at bay.
My next stop was the outhouse. This year, we’ve had several hatches of little black flies in there. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before, honestly. Between them, the spiders, moths, and crickets, it’s getting a little too crowded in there for my tastes. I brought up a four-pack of bug bomb with me today, so I grabbed one can, tied it to some twine, and lowered it down to just above the, uh, “waterline” in the pit below before tying the line off. I placed another can on the bench next to the seat, raised first can, and activated them both before dropping it back down below. I held my breath and shut the door. I’ll give this a few hours to sort itself out.
Hannah, the boys, and I pulled in at 5:30 towing the ATV trailer full of furniture. I’ve already had a busy weekend shuffling couches and chairs around. My folks got new living room furniture a few weeks ago, so yesterday afternoon, Dad and I headed up to Presque Isle with the old couch, loveseat, chair and recliner from their house. We stayed the night up there and swapped out all four pieces earlier this morning. Back in Oshkosh, we swapped the recliner for the one in Dad’s basement, then headed to my house to swap the couch and loveseat for the ones we had on the front porch. This is the final leg of the journey. The chair from Presque Isle will end up in the keep. The couch and chairs from my porch, along with the recliner from my folks’ basement, are destined for the shack. Finally, the furniture currently in the shack has a date with the burnpit.
For now, that’s all got to wait; we narrowly avoided the rain on our way in, so I backed the ATV trailer into the pole barn to keep everything nice and dry. There wasn’t much to the front and the rain let up within 20 minutes. The boys kept busy with their fort, Power Wheels, and the swing while I headed over to the shack.
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.
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.
Hannah and I rolled in at 2:00 with very little in the truck. Most everything we need for Puckaweekend has already been brought up, but I received a mysterious package from Sean’s friend Darius earlier in the week. I was instructed not to open it until everyone arrived. Darius, who couldn’t make it this year, is a fearsome sysadmin; the box makes me nervous.
I turned up the heat in the keep, hooked up the plumbing, and headed to the big trailer. It smells much better now; the AirWicks and DampRid have done a great job. I set out two new containers of DampRid, turned on all the electric heaters and ceiling fans, then fired up my propane sunflower heater in the living room. Shouldn’t take long at all before this place is nice and toasty.
Back outside, I hopped in the truck and went down the road to Lynn and Carol’s to get the pop-up camper out of their pole barn. I parked it along the brick garden and took a few minutes to fill the bird feeders. Almost ended up starting the weekend with an injury by placing the ladder over a mole tunnel. I hate those burrowing vermin. Once that was done, I headed back to the pole barn to blow the leaves away from the buildings and the pit. It was 3:15 and I was just getting started when Red and Gunner showed up.
We unpacked some of his supplies and provisions, set up his cooler by the deck, and settled on a spot to set up the pop-up camper. It’s going up on the other side of the three tall cedars to the east of the big trailer. Sticking to the same spot as last year would put him uncomfortably close to the new outhouse location. I got the mower running and mulched all the leaves around Red’s new yard, then we towed the pop-up over with the green ATV. Had it set up in no time and plugged into the power pole. Red unpacked the rest of his stuff and I tested the pop-up’s propane heater. Works like a charm and should make for comfortable sleeping arrangements.
Came up around 3:00 with the whole family and the ATV trailer in tow. It’s full of treated lumber destined for the marsh; this weekend, I shall rebuild the deer stand. With the scaffolding no longer viable, I looked up some other tower-based stand construction methods and settled on an option that uses a wooden deck mounted on cross-braced 4x4s with purpose-built compound-angle brackets. Here’s hoping I can actually get the thing put together by tomorrow night.
Hannah was happy to be back and got right to sprinting around the yard. I think I broke her by coming up last weekend without her; she’s been acting weird all week. The boys went straight for their Power Wheels and began exploring the edges of the yard, Lyssa started setting things up in the keep, and I got right to work putting together the deck platform.
Rolled in with the whole family after a 10:30 Aunt Judy’s breakfast. The truck’s full of paneling, lumber, and shelves for the Keep Furnace Space Reclamation Project, the only thing on my to-do list for the day.
The boys made a beeline for the pole barn and their Power Wheels, but they needed to be charged up. They seemed equally happy to make use of their new work gloves by gathering all the big fallen branches throughout the yard from last month’s storms. They did a great job of it. Lyssa fed the birds for me while I started in on the keep renovations.