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"Brad's Pad"

Since the beginning of this adventure, we have always had the Fourth of July weekend as a family event, with multiple people coming up with us. But this year, with each of our children having new babies in our family, we decided to keep it low-key and just have Lorraine and I going.

There were two primary purposes for this trip; check out progress of the new utility building, and begin to clean up the major debris we have piled up at the water hung up on the boulders.

We departed Friday morning, and it was a pretty un-eventful trip. We arrived in BRF around noon and were on the property by 12:30. We obviously took some time to survey the progress on the building, and it is nice to see what was in my mind showing itself with the concrete and most of the framing in place. It now looks like a building.

After setting up camp, we decided to immediately tackle the cleanup at the water.

Sometime during the winter and one of the heavy snowfalls, a very large pine tree fell (uprooted) from the edge of the bluff and went across the entirety of Hall's Creek. Sometime during the spring ice flow, possibly, the top of the tree snapped off and pivoted so it now ran parallel to the shoreline. Any debris from following flooding just continued to stack trees, limbs and other debris against the main trunk still hung up on the boulders.

So, first step was to start to cut up the top of that pine tree than had pivoted, as this restricted our access to the water via our "beach".

For those of you wondering, I have transitioned using canola oil in my chain saws in lieu of dirty bar oil or even environmentally-friendly bar oils. Vegetable or canola oil appears to be better than any of the alternatives and makes me feel a bit better (but not entirely.... we are still spewing something). The canola oil works just fine. I just need to run regular bar oil at the end of the season as the canola oil can degrade and want to gum up and turn rancid.

Lorraine and I worked on cutting that all up, throwing some of the debris on the bank (for a future flood to take away), and just letting the logs float downstream, on the way they would have travelled anyway. I learned from Nick that Friends of the Black River do this same thing, so I felt comfortable that we were handing this debris the right way.

There is so much dirt, grass, twigs, etc. all tangled up in the debris, that we had to start pulling some of that out, so we did some of that also. I can't cut through all of that with my chainsaws, as that is just like cutting into dirt which will ruin your chain and your bar.

We made good time in the few hours we spent on this, but I had tweaked something in my back and had to stop. We did do some swimming, however, and after working hard the water sure felt mighty fine.

Lorraine did some running, and I went up to the building site to start burning debris. The excavator had taken out the trees, leaving the oak trunks for me to mill into lumber. The rest they mulched, and while they hauled a lot of that away, there was still much debris that needed to be burned.

We had a good supper of bbq and salads, and spent the rest of the night at the building site burning debris. Nick and Maddax stopped by for a visit as we were sitting on our new porch, and we had a nice talk about things. Nick is always good at stopping by to say "hi" when he sees we are up there.

As usual, I had a hard time falling asleep, but once I did I slept soundly.

Breakfast burritos and then back to work at the water. My chain saw would not start, so we focused on manually removing the smaller debris from what looks like a beaver's den.

We wanted to explore a new location for paddling. Our contractor, Dan Schnabel, had told us that they will paddle at Emerson Lake in Humbird, so we headed up that way. It is a small lake, but not many people there so it is a nice place to go. I tried some fishing, but no luck outside of a few good hits/bites. The middle of the day is not the best time to fish, but it looked pretty bountiful considering the fish jumping everywhere. It was certainly a good place to paddle, and I'm sure we'll be back. They also have a nice boat ramp and dock, so will be able to take the boat out to fish.

We decided to go check out Snyder County Park and Snyder Lake. I knew from my past research that this lake was formed by a damming of Wedges Creek, one of the four paddle destinations in the area. The lake is pretty interesting, and you are able to paddle up Wedges from the lake. But it was pretty crowded there. So yeah, we'll paddle this sometime, but will expect having more people that we would wish.

We migrated ourselves back to our property, and after getting my tools loaded up we had a nice dinner of hot dogs and salads. More burning at the building site and another night of good sleep.

I awoke early on Sunday morning, as usual, and headed up to the building site. I love the mornings.... just hanging out and having a little fire. I had company in the form of a doe I named Matilda. She stayed with me almost the entire two hours at the site, coming within 25 feet of me. While I stayed fairly quiet during my time there so as not to spook her, I was moving around and she really only got startled and ran away twice. But then she would come back and hang out with me again. It was really cool, and I couldn't help to wonder what spirit was in that animal and what message they were trying to give to me!

Breakfast burritos and pack up in the morning, and headed for home.

This was a good trip. We could see the building progress and start our water cleanup. And, we found some new cool places for people to go once we open for business!!

BTW, my contractors left me a gift..... "Brad's Pad" poured from the extra concrete from the pour.... nice touch!!


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