Tag: Dad (page 1 of 2)

The History of Puckaweekend

With A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker

Puckaweekend, in recent years, has been a well-documented phenomenon. Last year’s introduction of the Colorado Crew, 2017’s debut of Jeremiah’s tractor, the 2016 demolition of the woodshed, and our first real efforts at lumberjackery in 2015 have all been logged and uploaded. But Puckaweekend has been around much longer than this site. I’ve collected the digital equivalent of an oral history–emails, Hangouts conversations, texts, and photos–to tell tales of Puckaweekends past. Wistful reflection, rambly musings, and coarse language await below.

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Log: September 27 – 29, 2019

Friday

Arrived at 4:45 with Hannah to some light rain. We spooked some deer by the woodpile on our way in. Before I even got out of the truck, I drove around the yard targeting mole tunnels. Man, do I hate these things. I’d leave poison out but I don’t want my dog to get into it, and the mid-tunnel traps don’t do much good unless you’re up here regularly enough to keep checking them.

I unloaded the truck and headed into the keep. Watched some TV while I put clothes away in the bedroom and ended up dozing off for a bit. I woke up around 7:00, hungry. I ordered a pizza from Christianos then went out to the pole barn to work on a project so as not to feel completely lazy.

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Log: September 24, 2019

Preamble

I left work at 2:00 pm today and drove over to my folks’ house. From there, Mom and I drove down to Forest Mall in Fond du Lac, where we parked her car, met up with Dad, and got in his truck. Our destination? Cleveland.

Let’s back up a bit. A few weeks ago, I was talking with my mom about Puckaway projects. Specifically, I was describing the condition of the shack. Windows are broken from uneven settling, it’s mustier than ever, signs of critter infestation are everywhere, the doors are in rough shape, and the roof–that is, the wooden roof built over the actual mobile home roof–is rotting apart. My recent cleaning efforts and furniture rearrangement have made it more habitable than it’s been in years, but it’s an unwinnable war.

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Log: June 13, 2019

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.

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Log: Deer Camp 2018 (November 16 – 18)

Friday

Ready to hunt!

Jake and I drove in around 4:00 pm and were the fourth vehicle here. Dad made it up around 12:30, Steve followed a half-hour later, and Sammy rolled in a little before 3:30. Temps are just below freezing but there’s no snow. I unloaded our gear into the keep and fired up the propane sunflower heater and two electric heaters while Jake ran to the big trailer to show Papa his new blaze-orange jacket. I also took a few minutes to install the storm windows.

We all hung out in the big trailer for the rest of the night. I showed the guys how to work the new Kodi box to stream all the movies and TV shows off of the PC in the keep. Even with all the new options available, we still ended up watching a bunch of Seinfeld. Dad started getting dinner ready and Steve kept busy trying to solo a bottle of Crown Royal Maple.

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Log: November 11, 2018

Pulled in with Dad, Jake, Josh, and Hannah at 12:30. It had snowed last night but most of it already melted this morning. Temps were hovering just above freezing. We unloaded some of Dad’s stuff into the big trailer before moving to the pole barn and loading up the ATVs and a yard trailer with gear for the battlement.

This was the first time Dad got to see his new stand in person and he was effusive with appreciation. I gave him a hand stapling some camo netting to the outside of the plywood walls and he tried out his homebuilt risers for his collapsible chair. We also secured a tarp to the roof frame; using the metal roof panels will have to wait until next year.

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Log: Deer Camp 2017 (November 17 – 19)

Friday

Pulled in at 3:30. No pooch; don’t want to risk someone mistaking her for a deer. Temperatures were hovering just above freezing with on-and-off rain and I was looking forward to heading into a nice, pre-warmed keep. It was not to be. Apparently, there was a power outage between Tuesday and today; microwave clock was reset and the heater wasn’t running. Lovely. I went to the pole barn to get my propane sunflower heater to kickstart the keep thawing process, but it was nowhere to be found. Frustrated, I headed into the big trailer and saw Dad was using it in the living room. He, Steve, and Sam were already plenty warm and had electric heaters going anyway, so I grumbled, stole my propane gear back, and headed out to the keep again.

With the sunflower heater blasting warmth, I finally unloaded the truck. I carried the water jugs over to the big trailer and had a drink with the guys while the keep warmed up. I didn’t stick around long, though. The big trailerĀ reeks. Pretty sure mice have made some kind of home in the oven. The whole place smells like boiled rodent urine. Not sure how the three of them can stand it. I wandered back to the keep and threw on a movie while I started to rebuild the Puckanet. I replaced the router with a Unifi gateway to give me some more remote control and data. And hopefully, if I ever find a way around Verizon’s NAT mess, I can use the gateway for VPN connections to my home network instead of relying on the Pi. The Puckanet is constantly evolving.

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Log: November 12, 2017

Quick note: I stopped in back on October 25 to put away the pop-up camper, but that was such a flying trip that it didn’t seem to merit a log entry.

Drove up with Hannah a little after 10:00 am with all sorts of electrical goodies in the back of the truck. Dad was already here with Jake, who had slept over at their house last night. Also with them was Dad’s brother Cal, a professional electrician. He was here to supervise and give me a hand as I made some much-needed upgrades to power supply here.

Our main outdoor service panel is in rough shape. It’s an ancient 60A “Pushmatic” affair with very reluctant breakers and it’s mounted to a rotten plywood board on an equally rotten 4×4 post. I think the only reason it still (mostly) works is that it can’t decide whether to fall over or catch on fire. Especially since the strange electrical problems we experienced last year at deer camp, I’ve been getting after Dad to talk to an electrician about upgrading the panel. Well, he talked to two of them. His friend Nick helped us pick out proper replacement parts, and now Uncle Cal was going to help me make the swap.

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Log: October 8 and 9, 2017

Sunday

Hannah and I drove in around 5:30 pm with a truck bed loaded with tools and Puckaweekend goodies. The whole Thelen clan just spent a long weekend up in Presque Isle, but the boys have school tomorrow and Lyssa works. I, however, have Columbus Day off. As soon as we got back to Oshkosh, I quickly unpacked from PI and loaded up for Puckaway.

Lynn needs more hats.

Both Red and my dad were here waiting for me. Red and I work in the same office, so he’s got tomorrow off as well. He’s been here since 2:00 pm and has been busy mulching leaves all afternoon in the surprisingly high mid-70s temperatures. My dad got here shortly before me as he came straight down from PI. I helped Dad unload a snowblower from the back of his truck and rode with him to our neighbor Lynn’s property to store the pontoon boat for the winter. I’m glad that Dad was the one backing it in. While my trailering skills aren’t bad, there’s only about 3 inches of clearance on either side of the garage door when backing that big boat in, and I sure wouldn’t want to be the guy to scrape up our helpful neighbor’s garage. Lynn was there and I got to finally meet him. We hung out and talked for a bit, but Dad wanted to get back to Oshkosh and was on the road by 6:00.

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Log: September 11, 2017

Quick trip today. Pulled in around 7:00 with the aluminum ATV trailer in tow and the pooch in the backseat. Dad was already up here with his friend Nick, a retired electrician. Nick’s going to be helping us install a new meter and outdoor panel, replacing our ancient push-o-matic 60 amp service with a brand-new 200 amp service panel. I’ll eventually be able to re-route the pole barn and keep lines to this new panel and bump them each up to 30 amp in the process. I talked with Nick about the specifics of my current runs and he’ll be getting back to us with a time he can come back up and perform the install. This will be a major and long-overdue upgrade; I’m looking forward to it!

Service for eight. We’re fancy now.

Dad and Nick left around 7:30 so I opened up the keep and dropped off some supplies and recent acquisitions. Having on-demand hot water makes it much easier to do dishes, so I bought a set of silverware for the keep. No more eating steaks with plastic forks! I also got a turner spatula, ladle, and serving spoon so we can be ready for anything from chili to fried eggs. I dropped off the freshly-laundered linens in the bedroom, too.

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