A roving gang of turkeys greeted me as I rounded the corner to the driveway.
Pulled in the driveway a little before 2:00 pm. Incredibly windy today and temps are dropping fast. First thing I did was fire up the infrared heater in the keep. Dad was already up here getting things ready in the big trailer. He’s got it cleaned up pretty nicely already. Steve and Sammy showed up about 3:30 and Steve set up his portable stand along the east edge of the yard. Based on the timelapse activity I’ve been seeing over the past few months, he should get some deer traffic there. With the wind gusts as strong as they were, I didn’t need to worry about blowing leaves at all. I got the pump going for Dad and filled the 5-gallon pails we use for wash water in the big trailer. Because of the freezing temperatures, I had to drain the pump as soon as I was done. I also ran the hose over to the pole barn and blew it out with the air compressor so it wouldn’t plug up with ice. I fed the birds, put down a feed block, some corn, and some mixed seed, and headed inside by the rest of the guys. It’s getting damn cold.
Jake and I rode in around 7:00 pm after a stop at Piggly Wiggly to stock the fridge and cabinets. Got all kinds of goodies: brats and italian sausage, canned veggies, chips and salsa, juice boxes and snacks for the boys (Jake picked out some Little Debbie brownies), essentials like ketchup, mustard, horseradish, and butter, and two six-packs of different Wisconsin craft beers. There’s now a whole aisle devoted to smaller Wisconsin breweries at the Princeton Pig—a welcome surprise. I brought in the groceries and goods from Oshkosh while Jake got his trucks set up by the pole barn.
With the fire danger holding at Moderate, it was safe enough to burn in the pit. I started the pump and began to fill a 55-gallon drum as a precaution, pulled the truck around to the pole barn, poured some old boat gas around the base of the pile, and tossed a match. Wasn’t long before we had a roaring fire. I kept an eye on it while unloading tools from the back of my truck. Once the pine boughs and smaller branches all burned off, we were left with a sizeable pile of thick logs and a warm, low flame. Jake and I cozied up on the bench in front of the pole barn and watched it burn down until he decided he was tired enough to turn in for the night.
Jake and I left Oshkosh early with a fully loaded truck towing Enterprise, the 14′ fishing boat. Time to put it away in the pole barn for the winter. We pulled into Puckaway at 9:30 and got to work unloading. I brought up almost all of my tools, my 26′ ladder, and several new pairs of work gloves to prepare for Puckaweekend. Dad had dropped off his larger fishing boat from up north earlier in the week, so space is at a premium in the pole barn once again. Sunny but cool out today, temperature is hovering around 50°.
The older .22 gets some love.
I used my birthday money to dress up the standard-barrel Ruger .22 rifle so I set to work on the upgrades. New composite stock, bipod, and 25-round magazine. I also got polycarbonite recoil buffer pins for both of the rifles that are supposed to reduce drift between shots. Not that a .22 has powerful recoil, but since we use these mostly for target practice and varmint sniping, anything that keeps them steady is a plus. It only took a few minutes to install everything, and now the original .22 no longer has to play second-fiddle to its bull-barrelled counterpart. I got Jake some earplugs and he stayed behind me and watched as I dialed in the scope on another birthday purchase, new high-visibility splatter targets. I thought the rifle might scare him, but he was very interested in it. I made sure he understood that guns are tools, not toys. Never too early to drill that in.
Came up for a lawn maintenance trip around 4:30. Upper 80s and sunny, but at least it isn’t humid. Grass is knee high in areas I cut earlier this year, and waist high everywhere else. I brought the mulching blades for the new mower; this will be a good test for them. I hopped on the green ATV and did a quick perimeter check for any storm damage from the weekend. Nothing new by us, but the Illinois neighbors have a sizeable tree branch down in their front yard. Not that anyone’s been there to notice. I started down the smaller marsh trail loop, once again overgrown, and noticed what looked like a giant ant hill. I slowed down as I approached it to get a better look and was only a few feet from it when it got up and flew away. Turkey. Big one. Scared the hell out of me. Didn’t look like it had a nest or anything there; I think it was just trying to stay cool. It eyeballed me from twenty feet away for a while before strutting off into the woods. I don’t ever remember seeing as many turkeys around up here as I have in the last year.