Some photos of the koi in our pond:
A capture from the pond cam:
Also from the pond cam, some raccoons wading in the pond:
Some photos of the koi in our pond:
A capture from the pond cam:
Also from the pond cam, some raccoons wading in the pond:
A small update on the duck house project: adding stick-on vinyl tiles.
Although the entire duck house (inside & out) is painted with exterior paint, I thought I’d add vinyl tiles to the floors and base of the walls to make it even more waterproof, since ducks are very damp.
I chose self-adhesive vinyl tiles that have a beachy look, to fit the theme of the duck house.
Here I’m adding them to the inner floor, marking where they need to be cut on the backing paper:
The tiles are in nesting boxes too:
And the base of the walls:
Here’s the inner floor in place; both floor levels are tiled:
Other than a few minor tweaks, that concludes the construction of the duck house!
Next up: some earth moving at the pond edge where it’ll be installed.
Yesterday we did another beehive inspection and mite treatment.
Here’s the yellow hive pulled apart to inspect and treat the bottom brood box:
A bunch of bees on top of some frames:
Jenn inspecting a frame:
A closer look at at that frame, which has lots of capped honey on the sides, and uncapped honey in the middle:
Inspecting another frame, with a practice queen cup aka swarm cell visible hanging off the bottom. If the bees ran out of room, they’d use these to grow a new queen, and the old queen would take half of the bees and go find somewhere else to live, aka swarming. The bees make these as an insurance policy when things are going well, so isn’t usually anything to worry about:
We did see the queens for both hives, which was gratifying. Though I didn’t get good pictures of either.
A bunch of bees on the edge of a frame:
Inspecting a frame with a lot of drone brood (the lumpy cells):
And a frame with worker brood (the flatter cells):
A closer look at bees on a frame:
Smoke across the top to get the bees to go down, so we can add another box without squashing them:
We added a queen excluder and the Flow super, to start collecting some honey. It’ll probably take them a while to start up there, since they have space below, but it’s good to make sure they have plenty of room when there is good nectar flow:
Another closeup; you can clearly see the pollen sacs:
It’s that time of the week again!
Three cats arrive for dinner:
They often travel in groups, though can be independent too. I sometimes see one run ahead, then wait for another to catch up. Cats get a reputation for being solitary creatures, but they are really social ones, on their own terms.
Porcini waiting for breakfast, with a smile on her face:
Four cats inside, enjoying the heating pads:
A couple of cats looking out the back door (which they only use as an emergency exit):
The alien orange cat arrives, with a cat peeking out the door of the shelter:
They exchange words at the entrance of the shelter, before the orange cat departs:
Hey look, more snuggles:
Pansy in the back of the shop, reaching for food:
A cat watches as a deer walks past; there were several in the field, too:
One cat eating, looking back at another cat arriving:
Me mowing the field near the cat house. No cats home at the time, unsurprisingly:
Pepper walking over floor joists of the duck house (I did leave a clear path next to it, which she usually uses):
Can we have too many snuggles? I think not:
Scratching; I did recently give the cats a flea treatment in their food, though only one or two of them ate it; it’s hard to ensure they all get a dose, so all I can do is put it out and hope it helps:
Sometimes the pipes for the garden taps will freeze or get cracked over winter, despite turning off the water supply and draining them. I often don’t discover that until I turn the water on again in the spring.
So, when I turn on the water, I examine each tap (we have lots) to see if there’s any leakage. This year, the only damage was from the two-headed taps next to the new chicken coop, which had cracks in the top of the vertical pipe, and above the T-junction:
So yesterday I removed the damaged portion:
Then replaced it with new pipe bits (reusing the taps):
Here’s a view a bit further back, showing the pipe cutter, silicone tape, primer, and cement (and my plumbing toolbox):
A little more on the duck house project: electrical stuff, and floor joists.
I added a strip of LED lights to the central ceiling beam, plus a temporary heat lamp for the first few weeks of the ducklings:
The heat lamp is only needed when the ducklings are very young; they need about 95°F for the first few days, dropping about 5° per week until fully feathered. The lamp is red as that keeps them more calm.
I tested the heat lamp temperature with a couple of thermometers, to measure the temperature directly under the lamp, and a bit further away:
I mounted the power strip and the timer for the LED lights in the cupboard. There’s another mount point for the timer for the pond pump (which is currently outside). The power strip also has an Eero Beacon to help extend the Wi-Fi range to the duck house (for the camera). The wires aren’t arranged tidily yet; I’ll add some hooks to make them a bit tidier later:
Next, I built the floor joists; beams that will go under the floor, resting on concrete footing blocks:
The cutout in the foreground is to allow for the plywood panel that the maintenance door roller catches are mounted on.
I also included an angled mount point for the ramp from the duck door into the pond, which will be added later:
The ramp mount is angled at 20°, which seems a nice gentle slope, but I can tweak that when installing the ramp if necessary.
The ducks won’t be able to go into the pond until they’re old enough to swim without limits, so I could add the ramp after they’re living there, though will probably do it after installing the duck house.
Next up: vinyl floor tiles (I would have done that first, but they were only just delivered).
Next on the duck house project: roofing.
But first, a delivery of materials from Home Depot:
This was mostly lumber for future projects, but also stuff needed for the duck house, including roofing shingles, drip edge flashing strips, and treated lumber.
The projects, from left to right, are: greenhouse shelving (some of the 1x2s, plus some spare), spare 2x4s (handy to have), duck house floor joists (treated 2x4s), duck house ramp (treated 2x6s, though most are spare), and bridge over the waterfall stream to the duck house (2x10s and some 2x4s):
When I get a delivery, I always order more than I need, to allow for errors, replenish my stocks, and make the most of the delivery (since they charge a flat fee no matter how much I get). Fun fact: this was the first order from Home Depot for the duck house; all the plywood and boards I used to build it were stuff I already had on hand, spare from the cat house project.
Speaking of plywood, here’s the roof again, back on top:
The first step for roofing is to add tar paper (also on hand from the chicken coop and cat house projects):
Then the new drip edge flashing strip; it goes under the paper at the bottom, but over on the sides, so any moisture that reaches this level can run off:
Me attaching the drip strip with my air roofing nailer:
Next is a starter strip, which is an asphalt strip with an adhesive backing, which helps secure the bottom course of shingles:
On to the asphalt shingles, installed at 6.5″ offsets:
One side of the roof done:
I actually did the roof and the awning simultaneously, but I’ve grouped them separately for the blog post. So let’s take a look at the awning process, which is like a mini version of the roof.
Firstly the roofing paper:
Awning drip strip:
First course of shingles:
Second course, trimmed a bit at the back:
The third course is much shorter:
Finally, I used construction adhesive to attach the trim board at the back of the awning, which hides the nails and prevents water from getting under them at the back:
Here’s me attaching the trim (with the air compressor and hose in the foreground):
Back to the roof, the final step was the ridge cap, a series of small overlapping shingles along the peak of the roof:
For the last shingle to cover the nails, I used construction adhesive to hold it in place. Once the roof is exposed to sun, the black sealant strips will melt and seal the shingles together, but this will suffice in the meantime:
To hold it in place, I used a bag of cat litter as a weight:
The roofing is now done! That was quicker than I had expected… I guess prior experience, and the right tools, makes all the difference.
Let’s take a look around it; from the northwest corner:
The northeast corner:
The southeast corner:
Finally, the southwest corner:
Next up: vinyl floor tiles for extra waterproofing inside (ducks are damp!), and electrical outfitting. Definitely getting much closer to being done! Good thing, too; it needs to be finished, installed, and ready in about a month.
More progress on the duck house project.
I painted the underside of the floor. It won’t be seen, but the paint will help protect it from ground moisture:
And painted under the awning:
Righting it again, captured by the duck (aka Pepper) cam:
We bought a custom-painted sign from Etsy, from the same person that did the chicken coop sign. The sign says “The Boonducks, est. 2019”, with yellow duck images. Jenn chose that as the name of the duck house, as a duck pun on “boondocks”, since the duck house will be in the area of the homestead we refer to as “beyond the pond” or “the back 40”. I also installed the duck door opener:
The opener with the door closed:
The opener with the door open:
Pepper strolling past the duck house while I was having lunch:
I then stapled wire hardware cloth over the two vents:
Here’s the hardware cloth on big vent:
And the hardware cloth on the small vent above the maintenance doors:
The view from outside:
The big vent closed:
A closer view of the vent and cover, showing the bolt and holes to enable opening to various levels:
The power cord cover, which is held in place with small tabs:
Next up was attaching hardware to the doors, starting with the small treat door; hinges, handle, and a roller catch to hold it closed:
The same for the two cupboard doors; it has roller catches mounted under the shelf. I’m not going to add a bolt or gate latch on these doors, unless the roller catches prove inadequate (raccoons can be very clever, but I think this should be sufficient):
Attaching the four maintenance doors:
Me attaching the maintenance doors:
The maintenance doors installed and closed:
They are in four parts to allow a variety of access. Here’s one maintenance door open, by undoing one bolt, enabling a quick peek or dropping in treats etc:
The top two maintenance doors open, by undoing two bolts, which will be useful when the ducklings are young, preventing them from escaping:
The left two maintenance doors open as a single unit, by leaving their bolt closed, and just undoing the lower bolt. This will be useful for quickly reaching eggs not in the nesting boxes (ducks tend to lay anywhere… though admittedly so do our chickens):
All four maintenance doors open, enabling full access for cleaning out etc:
I then put the inner floor in place, added the waterer, and installed the camera mount. Here’s the view from the camera:
The camera & waterer, with the doors closed, and wires routed via hooks into the cupboard:
Next up: roofing!
Happy Caturday. Read on for the usual cat cuteness, plus a fun GIF.
Here’s Porcini looking at the camera in the feeder:
And Portabella (and another behind her) waiting for breakfast:
The alien orange cat:
A different alien cat:
A good stretch:
Cats looking out the window & door, and another on the deck:
A screenshot of my camera app, showing all five cats (two on the deck, one in the shelter, two in the feeder):
The front shop cat, Pepper, looking at the camera (plus a sneak peek of some progress on the duck house; an update on that probably tomorrow):
It’s hard to see, but all five cats are in this picture; can you spot them all?
Finally, a fun GIF of a cat scratching a tree:
10 seems like a nice number of photos for this Caturday.
Looking out the window, I saw one of the feral cats sitting below a hummingbird feeder on our deck, watching the birds:
Pepper in the shop:
Four for breakfast:
Two cats; notice the cat behind the shelter?
Snuggles & kisses: