Tag: family (page 1 of 3)

The Mitchell Park Domes

As I write this, I’m several months behind in posting Puckaway logs. I haven’t stopped posting–and I certainly haven’t stopped going to Puckaway–but I’ve been in a weird headspace lately and can’t seem to get in the mood to write.

In the meantime, here’s a Puckaway-adjacent video project I just put together. Mom, Lyssa, and I recently took Jake and Josh to the Mitchell Park Domes, a place I’d regularly visit with my grandparents as a kid. I’ve always really liked that place, but It’s probably been nearly 25 years since I had last been there. Walking through that place with my kiddos gave me the same feeling I get when I share Puckaway with them; it’s geography linking two generations of people I love dearly.

Log: October 11 – 14, 2019

Friday

Kings of the keep.

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.

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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: June 7 – 9, 2019

Friday

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.

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Video Log: 1999 Puckagrounds Tour

You’ve seen my first major Puckaway project from 1999, so here’s another video to help give a better idea of what the place looked like back then:

I don’t know what drove me to do this, but I took these long, panning shots of the yard and marsh in April and November of 1999. I’m glad I did. The difference in the landscape between then and now is astonishing. So much has been cleaned up! And this was shot before we moved the keep to its current spot. And would you just look at the front of the pole barn?! One of these days, I should try to match this shot for shot in a comparison video. If I ever feel like I’m not making progress at Puckaway, I can always watch this for a clear reminder that I most certainly am.

Video Log: Summer 1999 Trailer Tour

It’s been a while since I dug through the archives and posted a video log. Here’s another, hosted by 14-year-old me, edited by 17-year-old me, and cleaned up for HD by 30-minutes-ago me:

That was a fun summer. Puckaway used to play host to all sorts of vehicles and mobile homes. There was a truck camper up on jacks that my dad used to sleep in during deer camp. There was also a small travel trailer owned by Jeannie, a friend of my grandparents. It had been sitting here since the early ’80s and she had no plans to ever use it again, so it became my project. I cleaned out the cabinets, gutted the old water tanks and furnace, cleaned down every surface, and tricked it out in proper teenage fashion.

I always loved coming to Puckaway, but the summer of 1999 marks the first time I felt any real ownership of the place. Watching this now, I can see what a lost cause this trailer was. But I can also see how proud I was to make my claim here. This is the trailer that launched 1,000 projects.

Log: June 8 – 10, 2018

Friday

Ready for action!

Drove up with the whole family and a fully loaded pickup truck at 3:30. We brought Josh’s Power Wheels UTV, and the only place it would fit was on top of the tonneau cover. The bed was full with our clothes, cooler, stuff for the boys, and the last big-ticket items I needed for my upcoming electrical project. We also had the boys’ new ATV helmets, which they couldn’t wait to put on. I took Josh’s UTV down from the truck and he and Jake went racing around the yard in their new gear. I unloaded my generator, a spool of 320 feet of underground cable, and a tote full of extension cords and stashed everything in the pole barn, then gave Lyssa a hand getting all our stuff into the keep.

We were taking rides with the real ATV when the Voights pulled in. This is Allison’s first time up. Gunner and Hannah immediately took turns chasing each other around the brick garden. The boys were happy to see Emmett and the three of them each grabbed their own Power Wheels and went off exploring the grounds. Red and Jenny took turns on baby duty while setting up the big trailer for themselves. I organized the pole barn for a bit while they settled in and Lyssa was getting things ready for dinner. We got the grill going around 5:45 and each family took turns on it. We ate on the deck; the weather is perfect for this time of year.

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Log: May 18 – 20, 2018

Friday

Free-range Hannah.

The whole family arrived around 6:45 pm with a truck full of tools and goodies. The weather is beautiful, the apple trees are blooming, and we’ve come up for the weekend to enjoy it all.

The kiddos did some exploring while Hannah ran her laps. The gophers / groundhogs / whatevers are sure busy around the driveway entrance and bedroom end of the keep. I wish I could find their tunnel entrances so I could try to do something about them. For now, I just have to settle for flattening their mounds with the truck.

Before it got too dark and everyone came in for the night, I wanted to get some small, indoor projects out of the way. Lyssa and the boys fed the birds and spread some corn for the deer while I worked inside. I bought a Yamaha soundbar to replace the aging Sony receiver. It had a good long run, but it has no digital inputs and is starting to act up. I took down all the speakers from the living room, unsnaked the wires, and got the receiver out of the entertainment center. The soundbar looks a lot nicer by the TV than the old center channel speaker did anyway. It has a subwoofer output, so I kept the sub from the Sony setup. They sound really good together.

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Log: October 13 and 14, 2017

Friday

Rode in with Jake, Josh, and the pooch at 6:30 pm to some intermittent rain. I wanted to get some time in with my boys before Puckaweekend. I set them up at the table with the dinner we had picked up at Culvers in Ripon, then headed out to unload the truck before the next downpour showed up.

Just look at this thing!

After eating my own burger and starting a movie for the kiddos, I got to work unpacking. I stocked the pantry for Puckaweekend, then decided to hang my new sign. My wonderful wife got me an amazing anniversary gift this year: a custom-made, LED-backlit steel sign in the form of my Puckaway Motor Club owl logo. It’s huge, too: about 30″ in diameter. I love this thing.

It came with four post mounts for hanging it on the wall at the proper depth for the backlight, so I picked a spot right by the door and screwed it into the paneling. I was able to hide the wire for it behind the trim between wall panels, so it’s a really clean looking installation. I lit it up and the boys were thrilled to have a new Puckaway nightlight to watch over them.

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Log: September 2 – 4, 2017

Saturday

Lyssa, the boys, and I enjoyed a late Aunt Judy’s breakfast at 11:30 while Hannah waited in the truck. With no other plans for Labor Day and a promising weather forecast, we’ve decided to spend a night at Puckaway. We pulled in the driveway around 12:15 and had to stop about a third of the way in. A huge fallen birch was blocking our path.

This beast was almost two feet in diameter at its base.

I let everyone out of the truck and backed out of the driveway, turned around, and backed in up to the tree. I walked up to the pole barn, fired up the green ATV, and hooked it up to the small yard trailer. We used it as a bellhop’s cart, filling it with our bags, the cooler, and my tools from the back of the truck. Lyssa started unloading and preparing things in the keep while I gathered some tools to clear our path.

I was filling the chainsaw with gas and chain oil when Lyssa’s parents came walking down the driveway. It’s been a few years since they’ve last seen the place, so we showed off some of the recent improvements. Peter gave me a hand clearing the megabirch from the driveway while Lyssa and Val kept an eye on the boys and filled the bird feeders. We used the ATV trailer for all of the smaller branches and threw the trunk sections in the back of my pickup. After about 45 minutes, we had just about everything collected and enough room to let our vehicles pass.

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