Archives August 2017

Boat Lift + Boat Shopping

Now that the dock is complete, I’m setting my sights on having a covered boat lift / boat house built, and buying a boat to go in it. Here is a (poorly Photoshopped) rendition of where I am planning on putting the boat:

Boat Lift

I’ll post more updates as I go through the planning stages for the boat lift with Deano Docks. In the meantime, I’m starting to casually shop for boats. I’m looking for a cruiser in the 26 to 30 foot range, with a nice cabin. Ideally, I’d go bigger than that, but I don’t think we’ll be able to accommodate a boat longer than 30 feet. Here are some that I am looking at:

These boats have pretty nice cabins, and would be the right size for cruising on Lake Wisconsin.

It’s too bad that we can’t fit a bigger boat though, since when you jump up to the mid-30’s in length, the boats start to get incredibly impressive. Here is an example that I found with an incredibly gorgeous cabin:

We Finally Have a Dock!

At long last, we finally have a dock. It took months of work for the dock installation company, Deano Docks, to get the dock designed and fabricated, but it finally has arrived. It’s a floating dock, so it attaches to the stairs via a hinge and is able to move up and down with the water levels on poles that are anchored into the bottom of the lake.


In the spring, we’ll be adding a boat lift, so that you’ll be able to get onto the boat from the end of the dock section that turns to the right. For now, it’s awesome just to be able to sit on the dock, and see the gorgeous Lake Wisconsin views:


The stairs and railing that the dock is attached to have now been stained as well, so the project is complete!

Stained Railing

After building the railing, the final step in the project was to stain everything. I used a semi-transparent redwood stain from BEHR, which worked well with my paint sprayer.



I went through a little over 8 gallons of stain (there is a lot of wasted stain when you’re using a sprayer on railing, but it still beats hand brushing it). In the end, the stain did a really good job of bringing the old railing that was still in place closer to the water together with the new railing, so it looks like a cohesive set of railing and stairs.

Railing Project Nearing Completion

I’ve almost completed the first round of railing construction, which has involved building new railing with treated lumber to make a walkway down to the lake from the lake house.


The closer to the water you get, there are already stairs on place and fairly intact railing, so my new railing will join up to the old railing for now. In the future, I may fully replace the old railing, but for now it works well and looks totally fine. I will be staining both the old and the new railing a reddish brown color to match the color of the lake house’s deck, and painting the metal brackets of the old railing a similar color so that everything matches. Right now, there is a fairly stark difference in color:


Building the new railing hasn’t been extremely difficult, although the constant trips up and down the stairs has definitely been a workout. I’ve used a gas powered auger to dig the post holes, which helps power through some of the roots and rocks in the dirt.



With this past weekend’s progress, I’m probably only one additional week of work from meeting up with the old railing on both sides and being ready to stain the wood.

Looking down from the stairs, you can see where the old railing continues all the way down to the water:


One final note from this last week’s construction is that my trusty impact driver is now resting at the bottom of Lake Wisconsin after taking a tumble down the hill and literally falling off of a cliff. I replaced it with a brand new version, but will remember the old one that gave its life for this project.


Riding Mower Winch

While I’ve enjoyed the John Deere zero turn mower that I purchased earlier in the summer, especially after all of its initial problems, I’ve occasionally had issues with it getting stuck. It has trouble generating traction on hills because of its weight distribution, and it also has a habit of getting one tire stuck in divots in the ground when mowing some of the trails and paths on my land. I am planning on getting more off-road friendly tires for it, but in the meantime I installed a manual winch that I can use to help pull it out of predicaments by simply attaching the winch line to a tree and turning the crank. I went with a worm gear hand winch, so that it could be mounted low on the mower’s foot deck and cranked from above.


I bolted the winch’s enclosure to the mower, and it works great! It is easy to operate, and provides enough force to help the mower out of jams when it gets stuck.


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Hardin Access Pipeline: Completed

The digging for the Hardin Access Pipeline is done, and the excavators have done a good job of fully regrading the land. Later today, I’ll be planting grass seed to start the process of restoring the lawn, and gradually restoring the yard back to normal.



In the guest house garage, the drain pipes are set for the sink, toilet, shower, and utility room floor drains, and the water pipes flowing into the garage are ready to be hooked up to a whole-home filtration system before installing a water softener and water heater.


Lake House IKEA Run + Move In

This is a little bit of a past project post, but I realized that I hadn’t posted much about the interior of the lake house. Since the house has a midcentury modern style, we went with a lot of midcentury modern style furniture (much of which was from IKEA, although some was from higher end brands), complemented by more “lake house style” decorations. This involved a run to IKEA that filled an entire trailer, plus the back of the F250, with furniture:


The upstairs has several sectional couches connected together that are pointed outside, allowing everyone to have a nice view of the woods and the water. There is also a TV area (even though we keep TV to a minimum at the lake house, Game of Thrones still calls occasionally). The master bedroom has the bedroom set that used to be in the master bedroom of our main house in Verona, which fits the space and style well.

Downstairs, there is a sleeper sofa and some other seating around a large TV mounted on the wall, which will create a great space for watching Badger away games in the fall. We go to every Badger home game, but for Saturdays when the Badgers are away from Camp Randall, it will be nice to come up to the lake house with friends and watch the game on Saturday morning and then hang out on the lake afterwards.

Finally, we have a full bar setup upstairs, which again fits the style of the house well and fits a lot of nice glassware and bottles.


The excavation of the Hardin Access Pipeline is underway! Cooper Plumbing has begun digging, first excavating dirt around the well and the septic system using a backhoe and a Bobcat. They have cut a pretty large six-foot deep canyon through the hill, but were able to minimize damage to the trees en route to the septic tank.

The septic tank has been exposed:

As has the well head:


Ultimately, the digging will make its way to the back of the guest house, where it will go under the foundation and allow pipes to come up through the garage floor.


I’ve marked out where the wall between the bathroom and the utility room. The water into the guest house will go into the utility room. There will be drains in the bathroom for a shower and a toilet, and a floor drain in the utility room below the water heater and water softener.