Cat update: snuggles, staring, stretches

It’s time for more cat snuggles!

And a bunch of staring off into the distance:

And playfulness:

But let’s not forget the (disappointed) possum menace:

Interestingly, there was a cat sitting in the doorway, and just watched the possum walk by, without retreating:

There is a water dispenser inside the feeder area, but since it has been below freezing lately, I decided to add a heated water dish outside. This dish warms up the water just enough to prevent it freezing, and only comes on when cold enough to be needed (I have a larger version of this for Rory’s dog water on the deck):

Hey there:

Breakfast queue:

Another visitor, this time a raccoon; again, was watched from inside by a cat:

Stretch and snuggles:

Can’t have too many stretches (watched from the window):

A meeting outside, and an observer inside:

Porcini staring at the camera. Oh, and if you look closely, you may notice an addition to the images from now on: I’ve added a watermark as a copyright notice and URL of this blog. I use the excellent Retrobatch app to convert the large BMP images from the cameras to a more compact HEIF format for importing into the photo library, so I now also add the watermark to ensure the images have proper attribution if shared:

A pile of three cats snuggling, and another greeting with a lick:

Snuggle pile:

Staring off into the distance again:

Chickens morning

I post cam pictures of the outdoor feral cats every Caturday, but we also have chickens. So here are some pictures from the cameras watching them, from this morning.

The older Rhode Island Red and Leghorn chickens emerge from the old coop first, since the automatic door opener on that coop gets more sunlight (it has a light sensor to open and close the pop door), and come over to the new run:

Meanwhile, the chickens in the new coop are waking up, and having their breakfast:

Then their door opens, and they start to emerge into the run:

Then the old chickens go into the new coop to eat that food (even though they have their own):

Here’s me doing the morning rounds, about to give the chickens a treat (leftover pasta):

They were very excited:

Chicken butt:

I hope you enjoyed this post, that’s a little different than the usual ones.

Cat update: raccoons, playtime, snuggles

An invasion this past week: a couple of raccoons went inside the shelter, and one even went onto the upper level (which I hadn’t seen before). Fortunately, no cats were present at the time:

Snuggles:

A couple of cats peering out the shelter windows:

Another raccoon visit, this time with a cat in the shelter doorway:

I added a second screw to each of the thermal mats on the upper level, to stop them flopping down over the edge:

With the sub-freezing temperatures overnight, the cats have been spending a lot more time on the lower level recently, directly on the heating pads:

Kisses:

All five cats inside:

A sequence of three stills of Portabella falling down while playing; always impressive the way cats twist around to land on their feet:

Did you watch her playtime in the YouTube video?

A deer walks by, watched by a cat in the doorway:

More playtime:

And more snuggles:

Portabella looks at the camera while waiting her turn for breakfast:

And Porcini:

Porcini and Pommie (or Spud… but I think Pommie?):

Portabella is ready for her close-up:

Sleepy cats:

That’s it for this week!

Berry cage: poles and rails

The weather last weekend wasn’t great, and it’s going to pack in again next week, so I decided to spend some days this week on building the berry cage in the veggie garden. An advantage of being self-employed is that I can shift my time around as needed, in this case to take advantage of decent weather during the week.

I ended up doing four days (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), which is equivalent to two weekends, so all works out. I’m working on the weekends to offset that time.

Anyway, I started by making a simple wooden stand out of scrap wood, to help support the 10′ lumber when cutting it with my table saw:

Then I continued installing the poles and roof beams, starting work in rather frosty mornings (and the highs were only around 45° F / 7° C):

Here’s a pole in a hole. The 10′ poles are about 2′ underground, 8′ above ground:

As before, I used boards and clamps to hold the poles straight:

I also added a post level, that is tied onto the pole, which is much more convenient than using a straight level, plus a string to line up the posts:

Here’s a view down a pole, showing a temporary block clamped to the pole, making it easier to position each horizontal rail board by myself:

Here’s a board resting on the block, ready to be nailed:

Another new acquisition was another stop ladder; a new 8′ one, in addition to the older 6′ one, very kindly picked up from Home Depot by Jenn. Having two ladders really saved a lot of time when measuring, positioning, and nailing two ends of a rail, and no doubt had safety benefits, not having to move a ladder as often:

The last pole:

I didn’t want to bother with covering my tools with a tarp, or carrying them individually back to the hoop house shelter at the end of each day, so I put them in one of our carts. Including keeping the air nailer compressor in the cart, which makes it easier to move around as needed, too. Here it’s all loaded up, ready to go back to the hoop house for the night (you can see the hoop house in the background):

A view of the roof beams:

Completed poles and roof beams:

Adding bottom and middle rails on the front fence:

I brought the welded wire over to check the position of the middle rail:

An extra rail on the sloped part of the fence:

Fence rails done:

A view of the front and back doorways:

Another view of the finished poles and roof beams:

Next up: adding the welded wire fencing!

Cat update: eyes, teeth, snuggles

It can sometimes be a challenge thinking of a title for the #Caturday posts, since they’re typically an assortment of cats doing cute things, and sometimes wildlife.

This week, no wildlife pictures (a few visits, but nothing notable). But there seems to be a number of pictures of the cats staring at things, and showing teeth while either hissing or yawning… and as always, lots of snuggles.

Here’s an example of the eyes, briefly concerned by some noise outside:

Happy licks:

Having a playful moment:

More eyes, of all five cats this time:

All five again (and a wet back):

Eyes inside:

Another playful moment; Spud-like behavior, but it’s actually Pommie:

All five cats; can you see all of them?

Yawn:

Two on the awnings, two on the deck:

More teeth, this time a hiss, as Poppy was startled from a sleep by Porcini wanting to snuggle:

But she quickly relaxed, as they licked each other:

And snuggled for quite a while:

I hope you’re not getting bored of snuggly cats! Always makes me happy to see that.

Cat bonus: more of the twins

In my latest #Caturday post, I wrote about how I can’t tell Pommie and Spud apart. (Or Pomegranate and Potato, if using their full names.) I thought I’d do a bonus post with several more photos of those two.

In the following pictures, Pommie is on the left, and Spud on the right, as identified by seeing their genders when they arrived. Although there seem to be some minor differences, I can’t spot anything about either of them to reliably tell them apart. Can you?

Berry cage: top beam, first pole

A little more progress on the berry cage project.

I started by moving some of the holes a little, as was mentioned last week, to position them better. Here’s my earth auger, which makes digging holes much easier:

I then temporarily placed poles in the holes:

Next I removed the top course of wire from the existing fence, since I need to add boards to attach the top of the new wire, and the roofing wire:

I also extended some of the poles that were a bit short:

Here’s the new top beam; that will be the height of the roof (about 8′):

Finally, I carefully positioned the first new pole, bracing it with boards and clamps, and attaching the two roofing beams — one with the board in a vertical orientation, attached to the side of the new post and an original fence post, another with the board in a horizontal orientation, 5′ from the old fence (for the width of the fencing wire):

Here’s a closer view of those roof boards:

Next time I will continue placing posts and their roofing beams.

Cat update: twins

For those in the US, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Among other things, I am thankful that Poppy chose our property to raise her kittens, and thankful that they continue to enjoy the shelter & feeder I spent many hours building for them.

One thing I’m a little embarrassed to admit is although I can recognize Poppy, Porcini, and Portabella, based on face and paw markings, I still can’t tell Spud and Pommie apart, unless I see their nether regions (since Spud is male, and Pommie is female). Their fur markings seem pretty much identical to me.

Here’s a picture with Spud, Portabella, and Pommie. I know that Spud is on the left only because I saw him jump down from the top of the camera, so I could see it was a male cat; otherwise I’d have no way of telling the left and right cats apart.

Here’s another shot, showing Spud coming out of the feeder:

Compare with this one, of Pommie coming out of the feeder:

They do look a little different, but I think that’s mostly differences in pose; watching video of both, I can’t identify any noticeable difference in markings.

Oh well, I’ll keep looking, and may spot something eventually. Most of the time it’s easy enough to tell who is who, based on behavior. Spud is more active and playful, as is common with boy cats. He also often snuggles (and play-fights) with Porcini:

Stereo yawns (Poppy and Porcini — Poppy has only a little white on one paw, and Porcini has a white stripe on her nose):

Snuggling inside, when alerted by some noise:

Stretch! (See the white stripe? Yep, Porcini.)

Porcini (again) looking at the camera in the feeder:

Porcini on the awning, Poppy on the deck, enjoying some sun:

Spud or Pommie; who can tell?

A non-cam photo of the shelter side, showing the “Cat House Saloon” sign:

And the “Mercantile” feeder side:

A cute cactus ornament inside the feeder window:

Porcini watches someone (probably Spud) on top of the camera housing:

Two mushroom girls looking at each other at breakfast time; probably negotiating who is next in the queue:

Pommie and Spud again; spot any differences? I know that Spud is on the right.

A cat watches through the window as a disappointed raccoon visits:

Watching from the doorway as a deer walks by:

Porcini and Spud snuggling:

Double-decker cats as another walks by:

That’ll do for this week!

Berry cage: new bed, back doorway, moving tap

Last week I posted about the start of a new building project: a berry cage in the veggie garden.

This past weekend I continued work on it, starting with a bit of prep stuff: taking the table saw, circular saw, air compressor, nailer, and various other tools to the hoop house and veggie garden, and re-stacking the delivered lumber to access the bits I need first.

8′ and 10′ 2×4 pressure-treated boards:

10′ treated posts, and welded wire fencing:

Next, I took the new untreated lumber to the veggie garden, and built a new garden bed in what will be inside the berry cage. I decided it’d be easier to do this before the enclosure is built, rather than after. In progress:

This bed is the same size as the others, 10×4′, though is on a slope, so has extra lumber shaped to the contour of the ground, to make it level:

Thusly:

The veggie garden is fenced, and had only one entrance, which was fine, but a little inconvenient at times. Especially now that there’s a greenhouse behind the garden. As part of the decision to place it there, I planned to add a back door to the veggie garden, to make it easier to get to the greenhouse.

So I started adding the new doorway; removing the fencing wire, and adding a new pole:

I then cut the fence boards to make the doorway (3.5′ wide):

The opposite view, showing how convenient it’ll be for the greenhouse:

One issue was that there was a tap in the doorway, so I also moved that (I do enjoy the garden plumbing!):

The new tap position:

Hole filled (a little mounded at present, but it’ll settle flat):

I also placed some boards on the ground to help visualize where the roof beams will go. You can see two short vertical posts marking where the poles will go, boards standing on their edges that will be attached to the posts, and boards lying flat between those, that’ll be spaced for the roofing wire. Basically the same design as in the chicken run.

I do need to move some of the holes a little for optimal placement. I had measured the holes based on centering them between the beds, but this arrangement will work better, having the poles in the center of the cage next to a bed instead of in the middle of the walkway:

Finally, I temporarily closed the back doorway with a spare gate panel; I will build a proper gate later (in the same style as the chicken run gates):

Next up, I will tweak the holes, and start installing the poles and beams.