Tag: progress (page 1 of 3)

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: 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: August 23 – 25, 2019

Friday

Rolled in at 5:30 with the boys, the pooch, and a bunch of food from A&W. I set them up at the table in the keep with their dinner and opened all the windows. It’s finally nice enough out to air out the keep! Temps are in the low 70s and there’s no humidity to speak of.

The pole barn has a hemorrhoid.

I started up The Goonies while we ate and Jake and Josh wanted to watch the rest of it. They stayed inside while I headed out to the pole barn and towed the pop-up camper out. Walking around the pole barn, I noticed a basketball-sized hornets’ nest on the west wall up near the roof. That thing is gonna have to go.

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Log: August 16 – 18, 2019

Friday

Hannah and I arrived at 6:30 pm and I pulled up to the pole barn to unload the truck. I opened up the keep and it was wonderfully cool and comfortable. I had turned on the AC remotely a few hours before driving up. It’s only in the upper 70s out but very humid.

I called Hannah inside and then headed to town for some A&W. I brought her back a cheeseburger and we dined in the keep while watching some episodes of Voyager. I turned off the AC briefly so I could take care of something that’s been bothering me for a while.

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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 22 – 25, 2018 (Electrical Upgrade Project)

Friday

Hannah and I pulled in at 2:30 with a rented trencher in tow. I picked this up at Kitz and Pfeil in Berlin on the way up. This weekend is dedicated to running new power lines to the keep and pole barn straight from the new service panel we installed last fall. After opening up the keep and getting my clothes and other supplies put away, I unloaded the trencher from its trailer. This is the same one I rented back in 2011 when I made the first buried electrical runs. While that project was a significant improvement from previous methods of getting power to the keep and pole barn—stringing extension cords through the trees—the limitations were starting to show.

This is my trencher. There are many others like it, but this one is mine (for the next 24 hours).

When I first did this seven years ago, I used 10-gauge, 2-conductor direct burial copper cable…mostly. Power was supplied from two 20-amp breakers in the big trailer and run to an outdoor service box using 12-gauge romex. The thicker 10-gauge wire was only run underground to each building where it was spliced to 12-gauge romex in conduits. I also didn’t have subpanels at either building. In the pole barn, I just spliced the incoming connection with wire nuts. In the keep, I gutted the contents of the old fuse box and spliced everything together from the feed, and this was after a spliced stop at the water pump outside. In retrospect, this was terribly kludgy. When you consider the system it was replacing, however, it was revolutionary. Still, the time had come to revisit this project and do it right this time.

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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 6, 2018

Riverside drive?

Flying trip today. Came down a very wet driveway at 2:45 pm with a truck bed full of tools and building materials from Mayville. My folks are making the final push to sell that place, and I’m happy to help just to be rid of it. I made some room in the pole barn for all the sheets of OSB and panelling from the Mayville garage and had the truck emptied in about ten minutes. As long as I was here and heading back to Mayville, I figured I’d make the most of it. I backed up the truck to the scrap pile and heaved the burn barrel into the bed. Farmer Joe expressed some interest in this a while back, so today he’s getting it delivered. Rolled out around 3:30.

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