Tag: mower (page 1 of 3)

Log: May 13 – 15, 2022 (where we finally open up for the year!)

Friday

Jake, the pooches, and I pulled in a little after 6 pm for the first overnight trip of 2022. Sure took us long enough. It’s been a pretty miserable spring with lots of overnight freezing temperatures into late April, so I didn’t want to de-winterize things prematurely.

It’s ridiculously hot today, however. Temperatures are hovering near 90° and the humidity is unpleasantly thick. Good thing I started the Keep’s AC remotely this morning; indoors it’s pleasantly dry and in the low 70s. Jake and I made quick work of unloading everything Keep-bound to limit how much time the door needed to be open. The screen door is sticking and misaligned worse than ever–I really need to see what’s going on with the door frame.

I plugged in the Keep’s fridge to get it ready, then backed the truck up to the pole barn and unloaded all of my tools. I should make an updated Tools of the Trade post to cover all my new DeWalt goodies. The stackable, waterproof toolboxes make it so much easier to mobilize my gear.

With the truck empty, I headed for the water pump and got it primed and running as distant, long, low thunder started getting closer. Last year’s new hose reel and 75′ Flexzilla hose make it much less of a chore to get the water tank filled up. Shame I can’t do anything about the slow flow rate. I’ve been down a few YouTube rabbit holes about driving your own well and it’s something I’d like to try in the near future, probably close to the pole barn.

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Log: April 7, 2022 (and a history of Puckaway lawn mowers)

Pulled in with the dogs a little after 4:30 pm. So far, this year’s Spring has failed to impress; temps are in the high 40s with drizzly, intermittent rain. Today’s trip is a short, goal-oriented one: I’ve come to collect all of the disappointing riding mowers from the pole barn.

(sips beer) “Yup.”

Two weeks ago, I came up pulling dad’s trailer with a 2011 John Deere X320 as cargo. This, friends, is quite the mower. Hank Hill himself would weep at its beauty. Whomever owned it and traded it in at Riesterer and Schnell’s Chilton branch took exquisite care of it–the plastic parts look washed and wax and not a single piece of trim is damaged, missing, or out of place. Really, the only signs of its true age (apart from the 320 hours on the engine clock) are some minor paint flaking and rust spots on the 48″ deck. Hell, it’s even got a brush bar on the front so the hood will hold up to my inevitable piloting ignorance. Oh, and the mower came with a Power Flow bagger unit, which means it’s ready to tow around the NASCAR trailer from day one.

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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: 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: 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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Log: May 7 and 8, 2018

Monday

Hannah and I drove in at 9:15 pm. I’m taking the day off work tomorrow so I can get all the leaves collected up here before the storms we’re supposed to get later in the week. If I want any kind of lawn this year, the sooner I can get this done, the better.

It’s going to be hot tomorrow with highs in the mid 80s, so I turned on the AC to get ahead of it. This got me thinking of a quick project I could take care of. I’ve got the ability to remotely control the AC with the Logitech Harmony hub, but I can’t really tell what I’m doing or if it’s responding. As long as the AC is set correctly and then turned off when I leave, I just have to hit Power from the remote app and everything will kick on the way it’s supposed to. I wanted more control and assurance, though. I took a USB webcam and mounted it to the underside of the upper kitchen cabinets. It’s pointed directly at the control panel of the air conditioner. This plugs into the PuckaPi, where a program called fswebcam is used to take snapshots. Now I’ll be able to tell exactly what mode the AC is in and can do more fine-tuning remotely.

Content with my efforts, I spent the rest of the night being lazy and watching TV. I was asleep before 11:00.

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Log: April 28, 2018

Rode in with the whole family around 2 pm after a Menards supply stop and late lunch at Aunt Judy’s. Hannah couldn’t wait to get out of the truck. It’s 55° and sunny—finally, some nice spring weather! I backed the truck and blue trailer up to the pole barn to load up Dad’s riding mower for him. Josh sat on the seat to keep the engine running while Lyssa held the trailer in tilted position and I steered it on board. We need a loading dock.

Buck came over and gave Hannah some exercise as they chased each other around the yard. I had to shoo him back to Danny’s after a while, though. He’s too rough with the boys and kept jumping on them and knocking them over. Lyssa set up Josh’s new tree swing for the boys while I unloaded some supplies in the pole barn. We brought Jake’s new utility cart, and he was thrilled to put it to use by cleaning up the big pile of sawdust left from Jeremiah’s mill last fall.

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