Added cat house, electrical, shop, beekeeping, plumbing, and chicken run project summaries

I’ve added several more project summaries to the Yellow Cottage Homestead site, for my project of summarizing homestead projects. Still a few left to go, but I’m getting there.

This is a summary of the project summaries (replicating the summary post). Each one includes links and pictures from posts on the Yellow Cottage Homestead blog. You can read the summaries for an overview of each project, and click through to the individual posts if you want more details.

Visit the Projects page to scroll through all of the projects, or pick individual ones below. Click or tap on the photo to visit that summary.

More project summaries will be added over time. Here are the ones available so far:

Cat House

A project to build a shelter and feeder for the family of feral cats that adopted us.

House Electrical

Electrical work in our house.


Projects related to our workshop.


Various construction projects related to beekeeping.

Garden Plumbing

Various plumbing projects around the homestead.

Chicken Run

A project to build the fence and netting roof of an outdoor run for the new chicken coop.

Chicken Coop

A big project to build a new chicken coop.

Potato Planters

A simple project to build three potato planters.

Beehive inspection with cloths

We added a handy new tool to our beekeeping practices: canvas inspection cloths. These are multi-layered cloths that go over the top of hive boxes during inspection, to keep the bees in the dark, which keeps them more calm. They seem to help quite a bit:

Beehive inspection cloth

Here’s a frame from the yellow hive with the marked queen; one of our new queens. See the green dot? That makes it much easier to spot her:

Marked queen bee

Another angle:

Marked queen bee

A GIF of the queen (as previously posted):

GIF of queen bee

A frame of honey from the yellow hive:

Frame of honey

A partial frame of honey from the purple hive:

Frame of honey

A purple hive frame with brood and the (unmarked) queen; can you spot her?

Frame with brood and queen

Here’s a closer look; I’ve circled the queen:

Queen bee

We switched to an alcohol wash mite test instead of the sugar shake. This is a bit easier:

Alcohol wash mite test

A mostly full frame of honey from the Flow hive:

Frame of honey

 We noticed a bee dragging off another one; they do that to clear out dead ones, but this one wasn’t quite dead yet. It was feeling much better:

Bee dragging off another

The new hot pink hive has a top sugar syrup feeder (visible on the left), and the bees took advantage of the space in the middle of that to build extra comb; that isn’t approved, but we left it for now:

Comb in feeder gap

A problematic frame from the orange hive, where they had previously built cross-comb. They are slowly repairing it, but are still very cranky with us, so we just removed the mite treatment patty and otherwise left them alone:

Problematic frame

You may recall that we have two nucs with the old queens that we replaced. When we checked them, one was evacuated; empty frames and no bees. So we moved some drawn-out frames to the other one, to replace non-drawn-out ones, and removed the empty nuc:


Sometime we’ll move the remaining nuc to the hoop house, so the waxed cardboard has more chance of surviving the winter.  The hive probably won’t survive, being so small, but no big loss; it was only kept just in case the new queens didn’t “take”. If it does survive, we’ll move it into a new hive box next year.

Cat update for week ending September 14

Despite my chicken chase video earlier this morning, it’s actually Caturday… so here are some cats.

A cat stretching to the awning, while another eats:

Cat stretching to awning

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

Two cats rather early for breakfast (it dispenses at 06:00):

Two cats

A couple on the deck, and one inside:

Three cats

Three on the deck; Poppy licking her lips (I think there might be a fourth eating, too):

Three cats

Four cats:

Four cats

A cat relaxing on the path next to the stream (the cat house is behind the maple tree):

Cat on path

Enjoying a sunbeam inside:

Sleepy cat

The twin cats watching a bird:

Twin cats

A cat by the pond:

Cat by pond

A couple of cats on the deck, and another peering out from a window:

Three cats

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

Four cats inside:

Four cats inside

Poppy has droplets of rain on her fur, glinting in the light:

Four cats inside

Speaking of inside, did you see the animated GIF of a night in the cat house?

A series of pics of a cat having a moment:

Cat with head under mat

Cat having a moment

Cat having a moment



Three cats with tails raised high (unusual for ferals; they’re usually more guarded of their rears):

Three cats

Flock Friday for September 13

Welcome to a wet Flock Friday!

As hinted on my personal blog, we had a heron visit our pond this week. Twice.

Here’s the heron sliding off the edge of the pond (which slopes steeply) and taking a header in the pond:

Heron in pond

After it got out, it fluffed up most impressively:

Heron in pond

Heron next to the pond:

Heron next to pond

It flew over to below the pond deck, and one of the large koi swam up and startled it, causing it to jump back:

Heron startled by koi

Heron eat fish (and frogs and such), but I think the big koi are way too big for it to tackle. I didn’t see it catch anything; the smaller fish were wise enough to stay hidden.

Here it is flying above the pond:

Heron flying

The following night, a rat or similar rodent was spotted near the duck house, with the ducks warily eyeing it:


Here’s a shot of the ducks that kinda shows the delightful green iridescence of the cayuga duck:


Ducks on the ramp:

Ducks on ramp

A few days later, hey look, the heron is back:

Heron again

In the pond:

Heron in pond

Heron startled by a koi again:

Heron startled by a koi again

Heron flying to the duck house:

Heron flying

Like an ornament on the duck house roof:

Heron on duck house

Those big koi are bullies; here’s one chasing the ducks, while another eats their mealworm treats:

Koi chasing ducks

Ducks from inside house:

Ducks from inside house


On to the chickens. Here’s Buffy, one of the older girls:

Buffy chicken


Camilla chicken


Kiwi chicken

Mo, starting to molt:

Mo chicken

And some pics of the young chickens:

Young chickens




Did you see the YouTube video of our young chickens curiously clucking?

Honey extraction, comb honey, chunk honey

Over the weekend we used a borrowed honey extractor to get the honey out of a couple of hive frames, plus cut six frames into 24 boxes of comb honey, and one frame into 8 jars of chunk honey.

Here are the frames in the baskets of the honey extractor; it’s basically a centrifuge, where the frames are spun quickly to force the honey out of the wax cells:

Frames in honey extractor

A look at the outside of the extractor; it has a crank handle to spin the baskets, a top chamber with the baskets, and a bottom chamber where the honey is collected:

Honey extractor

This is a comb honey cutter, which cuts a square of the comb, which is then placed in the plastic boxes:

Comb honey cutter

A hive box, and stacks of comb honey:

Hive box, comb honey

The extracted honey was then poured into a bucket with a fine mesh at the top, to filter out the globs of wax (the Flow hive is much easier!):

Extracted honey

Here’s a view from inside of it flowing out:

Extracted honey

We put the extractor outside so the rain could clean it… and a few bees turned up to help:

Bee cleaning extractor

Then they told their sisters, and a large swarm of bees turned up:

Swarm of bees

They did a good job of cleaning it, though!

Meanwhile, Jenn cut the comb from another frame into half-sized portions, put them in jars, and poured filtered honey in to make chunk honey:

Chunk honey

Here are a couple of jars of chunk honey:

Chunk honey

The packaged comb and chunk honey (we’ll add labels later):

Comb and chunk honey