Bee inspection: passing of purple

We did a beehive inspection today.

Smoker:

The yellow hive is still looking great, with lots of honey stored for the winter:

The Flow hive is also doing well, with a decent amount of stored honey:

I mentioned in my previous bee blog post that we were concerned about the purple hive; that it seemed like it had collapsed.

Well, that’s been confirmed. There were no bees, and all the frames had been robbed, i.e. all the honey scavenged by other bees and wasps, leaving just empty wax cells:

We removed the two dead hives:

Disappointing, especially since the purple hive was doing so well earlier.

We’ll replace the frames and get a couple more nucs to replace the bees next year, and try again.

Greenhouse assembly

Over the weekend (and a bit elsewhen) I assembled a small greenhouse purchased from Amazon.

Here are a sequence of images taken from about the same position, showing the assembly (with more detailed pics following):

Let’s go back to the beginning. Here’s the 90 lb package:

I built a foundation out of treated posts I had on hand (concrete would have been better, but this should be fine):

I secured the posts to the ground with some heavy-duty metal spikes:

The base of the greenhouse:

The base is secured to the foundation with several lag bolts:

I added an optional accessory, a louvered vent:

Back corner:

Openable roof vent:

Gutter:

Base of the door, with a magnetic catch:

Inside:

Another optional accessory, an automatic opener for the roof vent, that opens or closes it based on the temperature inside:

The vent open:

The greenhouse feels pretty solid, and hopefully is anchored quite well, but I also added a third accessory, tie-down anchor cables to make it even more secure:

The cables go over the top:

Hopefully we’ll make good use of this over time. It could be very useful to get a head start on spring veggie planting, and more.

Cat update: raccoons, rain, and relaxation

For your weekly feral cat update, a few encounters with raccoons, a spot of rain, and a lot of sleepy cats.

Looking at the camera:

Four cat snuggle:

Face-to-face with raccoons; the cat hissed, and the raccoon wisely backed off submissively:

Watching a bird:

Peeking out the door of the shelter at the rain:

Sometimes ya gotta step over to get to the food:

Ready for her close-up:

Oh look, more snuggles:

Breakfast queue:

Another raccoon visit, and quick egress:

Another breakfast queue; they’re so polite about taking turns (usually):

On rare occasions they have a brief disagreement, but it is always quickly resolved in the cat way (de-escalating by looking away and ignoring the other, until they settle down again):

Looking out the window:

Can you see four cats? Look closely:

Watching a deer walk behind the cat house:

A raccoon invaded the shelter, but retreated after being hissed at by the cat:

Finally, another snuggle pile:

Cat update: snuggle piles

As the weather gets cooler, the feral cats have been spending more time snuggling in the dry warmth of the shelter, as I’d hoped. At least some of them have spent most of the night, and sometimes most of the day in the shelter, though they typically go out patrolling during the day.

So this week, I’ve captured numerous photos like the following one, of several cats snuggled together inside:

But I do enjoy the odd goofy shot:

Nothing like a good stretch after a satisfying meal:

They don’t always snuggle together; here are four cats spread out inside:

Or sometimes some snuggle, but one prefers to be by herself:

But snuggling together can be dangerous:

As you may have seen in this video.

Another cat pile:

A breakfast queue:

This morning we were excited to see all five cats together; usually we only see up to four at a time, but in this screenshot you can see five: one on the deck, two in the feeder, and two in the shelter:

A later breakfast queue, with a bunch of Fall leaves:

Measuring tree heights

Every year at this time I wander around the property measuring the heights of select trees, to see how much each has grown. Here’s a post about this last year.

Once again, the incremental growth throughout the year becomes more obvious when compared with measured heights from the previous year.

Here’s my spreadsheet recording the heights (in inches):

As you can see, some trees didn’t survive, and some got shorter (due to damage by deer), but many grew quite significantly.

Here are a few examples, in the same order as last year’s post; compare to last time to see the growth.

Firstly, the Sweet Gum:

The “behind white gazebo fir”:

The weeping willow is looking really good:

A field leyland:

The coral bark maple:

Cat update: various vistors

Another week, another cat update! Yay!

This past week had visits from the raccoons and possum on most nights, as usual, plus the alien gray cat, and a new alien orange cat.

Firstly, here are a couple of our feral cats in the feeder, disappointed at the lack of food. I remotely dispensed more shortly afterwards:

Three outside:

Post-eating nap inside:

Watching a bird:

As mentioned, the raccoons have visited on some of the nights; about every second one on average. Usually they’re disappointed to find nothing, or only crumbs:

Too close!

The possum visits most nights… and once lucked out with lots of food, when few cats had turned up during the day. It can be hard to get the balance of food right, when the cats are inconsistent in how often they turn up to eat:

Looking at the camera:

Three inside:

Enjoying a morning sunbeam:

Spud on our front steps, where the feeder used to be:

Stretch!

The gray cat visited a couple of times. The first time, nobody else was around:

But the second time, two of our ferals were enjoying afternoon snuggles inside:

One of the ferals went to investigate, and there was some disagreement. The gray cat felt trapped in the feeder:

Here’s a screenshot of the encounter from my iPad:

As usual with alien encounters, there was some hissing and posturing, some threatening eye contact, some ignoring each other, then they separated without coming to blows.

But wait, there’s more! We also had a surprise new visitor; an orange cat that we hadn’t seen before:

Fortunately, nobody else was home at the time:

Finally, let’s conclude this week’s cat post with a funny pic: