Tag: landscaping (page 1 of 4)

Log: September 13 and 14, 2019

Saturday

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.

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Log: August 30 – September 1, 2019

Friday

The whole family pulled in at 6:15 with some hot, carry-out pizza from Christianos. The boys were still talking about the huge buck we saw along Reetz Rd. on the way in. I couldn’t count points, but given the spread, height, and density of the tines, I’d guess it was in the mid to upper teens. We ate in the keep, then I unloaded the truck in(!) the pole barn. The increased real estate in there is still jarring. The boys showed Lyssa their fort and took turns getting pushed on the swing while I unpacked.

To make it a little more welcoming for my wife, I took the shop-vac out to the outhouse and cleared out the spiderwebs, sand, and other unpleasantness. While I was sucking out the stinkhouse, Jake and Josh walked Lyssa out to the battlement to enjoy the view and Hannah padded along after them.

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Log: July 12 – 14, 2019

Friday

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.

Another one bites the dust.

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.

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Log: May 11, 2019

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.

The new and improved water supply system.

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.

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Log: April 28, 2019

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.

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Log: September 9, 2018

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.

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Log: August 31 – September 3, 2018

Friday

Hannah and I pulled in at 5:00 pm. Lyssa and the boys are down in Kenosha to see their new cousin this weekend and I’m going to be helping my folks make a major push to clear out Mayville while spending my nights here.

My truck will finish what the storm started.

After unloading the truck and getting the keep set up, I grabbed the green ATV and small yard trailer and aired up all the tires. I got the chainsaw out and fueled up, then started work on downing the apple tree that was partly uprooted by Tuesday’s storm. It took three trailer loads to feed the tree remains to the pit, but after an hour, I was left with nothing but a tall stump. I figured that since it had been twisted and snapped by the storm, I’d have a decent chance of pulling it out instead of leaving a flush-cut stump to trip over and mow around. I got my tow rope out of the truck, wrapped it around the remains of the trunk, set my gearbox to 4-low and started tugging. I ended up having to pull from three different angles but eventually got the tree out.

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Log: August 25, 2018

Jake, Josh, Hannah and I pulled in with the pop-up camper in tow around 2:15. I was going to store it in Lynn and Carol’s pole barn, but Lynn is still in hospice and Carol just had a rummage sale so their building was full. After parking the pop-up behind our pole barn, the boys got out their Power Wheels and roamed the yard while Hannah chased them. I got the tires on the mower aired up and got to work taming the yard. We’re in for a lot of rain next week, so I wanted to get this done before the storms hit.

Much better.

The grass was taller than the cameras led me to believe. It’s really filling in nicely by my bird feeders and along the ruins of the wood shed. The trench lines are getting fainter, too. Once the boys’ batteries ran low, they decided to help me out by gathering fallen branches for the burnpit. This got cut short when poor Josh got stung by a hornet on his ankle. I checked him out and carried him into the keep where I set the boys up with a movie and got back to mowing.

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Log: June 2 and 3, 2018

Saturday

We pulled in around noon in two vehicles; Lyssa’s on call at the hospital this weekend and may need to go in on short notice. Jake and Hannah rode in the truck with me, Josh kept Lyssa company in the car. The boys finished eating their Culver’s and were quickly off playing with their trucks and tools in the sawdust pile “quarry”. Lyssa unpacked our stuff in the keep while I set out to put the finishing touches on the Outhouse Relocation Initiative.

A vastly improved view.

First, I wanted to address the old outhouse location. I certainly didn’t need Hannah messing around in there. I grabbed the green ATV and small yard trailer to collect all the bricks around the pit. Then I dug around the outside of the buried metal retaining ring and piled the dirt in the middle. Once I was about four inches below ground level all around the ring, I got out my sawzall and sliced the ring as far down as I could reach. I levelled out the dirt as best I could and with that the site was retired. I’ll need to fill in with more dirt later to even out the area, but it looks much better than it did.

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Log: May 25 – 27, 2018

Friday

Hannah and I pulled in at 6:00 pm pulling the blue trailer full of brush from Red’s house. The boys are at Presque Isle with my folks for the holiday weekend and Lyssa’s working late tonight. It’s just as well, this weekend is 100% project-focused. Miraculously, my back is completely better from the freak tweak I gave it last Sunday, so I’m ready.

The pit was starving. I let it feast.

I hauled my clothes and supplies into the keep, which was pleasantly pre-cooled thanks to my remote-controlled air conditioner. It’s in the mid 80s and only supposed to get hotter as the weekend goes on, so it’ll be essential to have somewhere to beat the heat. Back outside, the mosquitoes were in full force. I loaded myself up with DEET and started stacking Red’s brush on the burn pile. It’s all evergreen that’s had a year to dry out, so it should catch fire pretty quickly. Once the trailer was empty, I moved it out of the way and double checked the DNR site to make sure it was OK to burn. Confident I wouldn’t attract the authorities, I grabbed my propane torch and started lighting the brush. In less than a minute, I had a raging fire, the first one of 2018. I didn’t even need any gasoline.
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