Cat update for week ending May 30

On this week’s Caturday, camera replacement, Poppa, Rory cameo, and sunshine.

The camera inside the cat house stopped recording, so I slid open the rarely-opened maintenance door to investigate it:

Opened cat house

I couldn’t get it to work, so I swapped the cat house camera for the spare one that was previously in the old chicken coop. Here’s a closer look at the camera enclosure:

Cat house camera

The cat house cam is mounted upside down on the ceiling, so here’s the view just after replacing it:

Cat house cam upside down

I then told the camera to rotate the view 180°. Here’s a cat looking at the cam:

Cat looking at cam

It’s hard to tell, since the inside is symmetrical, but that picture is actually horizontally mirrored; I forgot that I also needed to un-mirror it to get the correct orientation.

Here’s Porcini and Pommie in the cabins, visited by Poppa:

Porcini, Pommie, Poppa

After a while, Pommie left to go eat or something, and Poppa went into her cabin. Here’s Pommie returning to find it occupied:

Porcini, Pommie, Poppa

A few minutes later, Poppa emerged; he’s such a big boy:


On evening rounds, Rory spotted Paladout on the path to the duck house:

Rory watching Paladout

Hard to see in that picture; here’s a closer look at Paladout:


Two cats under our car:

Two cats under car

The sun shining down the breezeway, with a cat silhouette:


Pepper on her nest in the shop:


An animated GIF of Poppy, Bella, and Porcini playing:

GIF of Poppy, Bella, Porcini

Poppy, Bella, Porcini:

Poppy, Bella, Porcini

Pommie oozing out of a cabin on a hot day:


Poppy inside:


Porcini relaxing in the shade under the bird feeders on a sunny day:




Poppy and Porcini:

Poppy and Porcini

Too hot to be inside last night; Spud and Poppy in front of the cat house:

Spud and Poppy


A week of our pond

A time-lapse video of a week of our pond, including our duck swimming around, me cleaning out the duck house in preparation for new ducklings, and a heron sighting.

Thanks to Camect for generating this summary video.

Flock Friday for May 29

On this week’s Flock Friday, lots of pictures of chickens, a couple of GIFs, and a bonus frog.

The chickens hanging out by the old coop:


Bert with a droplet on his bill:


Bert “helping” the koi eat their food:

Duck and fish

The chickens watching me expectantly just before I gave them their morning treats:


An animated GIF of the chickens spinning around waiting for afternoon treats inside the new coop:

GIF of chickens

And waiting for treats again in the old coop:


Broody chickens:


Another broody chicken:


You may have seen the pond deck box frog on my personal blog; here it’s on the edge of the box, just before hopping out:


Lonely duck. Hang in there Bert; new ducklings will arrive soon!


A bunch of pictures of chickens enjoying bonus water on a hot day:





I also turned over some logs, revealing tasty bugs:




Finally, a GIF of a week on the pond:

GIF of a week on the pond

(You can see me cleaning out the duck house on the 23rd, and the heron on the 25th.)

The new ducklings should arrive sometime next week, so there may be some baby duckling pics in the next Flock Friday!

Beehive inspection: new roof, a couple more boxes, etc

After lunch we did an inspection of the beehives, to check for queens, replace the lid on one of the new hives, and add some temperature sensors.

Yellow hive honey frame; they’re building the cells rather deep, which isn’t ideal, but not really a problem:

Yellow hive honey frame

Yellow hive very nice new comb:

Yellow hive new comb

Yellow hive honey frame:

Yellow hive honey frame

Turquoise hive getting some smoke:

Turquoise hive

Turquoise hive brood frame:

Turquoise hive brood frame

Turquoise hive frame with some interestingly colored bees; brighter yellow from pollen:

Turquoise hive colorful bee

Purple hive brood frame:

Purple hive brood frame

Purple hive queen spotted; the non-stripy bee on the edge a bit above the shadow:

Purple hive queen

Hot pink hive brood frame:

Hot pink hive brood frame

The hot pink hive had a weird thing where a dome of bees gathered underneath the bottom screen. Bees naturally form a globe, so this is just the bottom of the globe, though they’re usually smart enough to do so inside the hive. Here’s a picture from May 13:

Hot pink hive bees underneath on May 13

Over time, they have slowly reduced it; here’s a couple of days ago:

Hot pink hive bees underneath

Today, we brushed the remaining ones off, and installed a wooden base, that should prevent this:

Hot pink hive base

Cedar hive brood frame:

Cedar hive brood frame

Here are all six hives from the right side; the roof on the turquoise hive (second-from-right) is new — still waiting on the proper base — plus we added a second brood box on that hive, as they were ready for more space:


From the other side; we also added a second brood box on the hot pink hive, the other new nuc:


Weeding and mowing

Yesterday I spent the day doing landscaping stuff.

I started by spraying Roundup weed killer around much of the property. To be clear, only on paths and non-food gardens — the veggie garden is weeded by hand. With 5 acres, and much of it landscaped, it just isn’t feasible to control the weeds without a spray, especially at this time of the year when I can practically watch them grow.

Roundup is nasty stuff, so I always wear gloves, boots, overalls, long-sleeve shirt, and hat. This time, I added a new hat that includes flaps on the back and front for extra protection from the spray and sun:

David with cover hat

(Paladin cameo in the closet.)

Here’s me spraying around the flowerbeds:

David spraying

And by the front door:

David spraying

After lunch, I pulled a bunch of weeds in the kitchen and front lawns, which I try to keep weed-free (and don’t spray to avoid killing the grass). This weeder is an excellent tool for this; you just poke it in the ground over the weed, then tilt it and the weed pops out:


Root and all:


Here’s me pulling weeds on the front lawn:

David pulling weeds

Lots of weeds that have been pulled; I just left them there and mowed them, since the mower has a mulcher, though I know it would have been better to remove them to reduce risk of re-seeding:


Next, I mowed the lawns, starting with the two small lawns with which I use the walk-behind mower — the kitchen lawn and dog run:

David mowing

Then I mowed the rest of the lawns with the zero-turn riding mower:

David mowing

All of that takes several hours — a great opportunity to listen to lots of podcasts.

Preparing the duck house for ducklings

As a fun birthday activity yesterday, I spent the afternoon cleaning out the duck house and setting it up for ducklings, plus building a ramp for their swimming pool. Read on for more on that.

Firstly, a shot from the duck house camera of before cleaning it out:

Duck house before cleaning out

Here’s the duck house with open doors, while I was cleaning it out (and a cameo of Bert on the island):

Duck house with open doors

Empty duck house; I also removed the inner floor, a second floor layer that I made on the theory that it’d make it easier to clean out, by pulling it out like a drawer. But I never did that, since that’d freak out the ducklings, and stuff would fall down the back anyway, and it was easy enough to clean out without that:

Empty duck house

Me sitting in the duck house, adding hooks to arrange wires:

David in the duck house

I repaired and re-added the feeder tube, a new Brinsea EcoGlow brooder, a new heat lamp, duckling feeder, and shelf liner for grippy flooring (for the first couple of weeks):

Outfitted duck house

The Brinsea EcoGlow is a heating plate on adjustable-height legs that ducklings can go under like a mother duck, giving them intimate warmth. I put it in one of the nesting boxes, to further that impression:

Brinsea EcoGlow

I also added a new ceramic heat lamp; unlike previous ones I’ve used, this doesn’t emit any light, and should last much longer, while using less power:

Heat lamp

I added the temporary barriers to close the vents above the maintenance door, to help retain more warmth:

Closed vents

Next, I went to the workshop and made a ramp to make it easier for the ducklings to get into the paint tray I use as a swimming pool. Here are some routed sides for the ramp:

Ramp sides

And some rough routing of traction grooves:

Ramp traction

The completed ramp, next to the tray:


Underside of the ramp; it hooks onto the handle of the tray:

Underside of ramp



The ramp and tray in the duck house. I will remove it before adding the ducklings, as they won’t be ready to use it until about the third week, and only for brief supervised swims initially, but good to have it ready now:

Ramp in duck house

The duck house is now almost ready for the new ducklings, arriving in just over a week. The last steps are to fill the food and water dispensers, remove the tray and ramp, and turn the heat back on (I tested them for a few hours today):

Duck house

I also changed the LED light strip to red, as seen in this cam shot; red is a more soothing color for ducklings (and chicks):

Red light in duck house

Stay tuned for lots of pictures of ducklings in just over a week!

Cat update for week ending May 23

This week, a number of animated GIFs, including a 30-second summary of the last week inside the cat house, and more.

Let’s start with a GIF of Bella chasing and catching a bug in the feeder:

Bella chasing bug

And a GIF of her playing in the cat house:

Bella playing

A still of that:

Playful cat

Cats in cabins:

Cats in cabins

Poppa and Pommie in the breezeway:

Poppa and Pommie in breezeway

Three cats in the cat house:

Three cats in cat house

A screenshot of my cams app, showing four cats:

Screenshot of four cats

Refilling the cat food:

Refilling the cat food



A few minutes later, the raccoon must have got close to the cabins, as Pommie emerged from a cabin and hissed before retreating, though I didn’t see the raccoon on the camera:

Cat hissing

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

A screenshot my iPhone showing several cams:

Screenshot of cams

Cat house snuggles:

Cat house snuggles

Cat house snuggles

Another day, a raccoon nabbed a bit of leftover food:


And a possum showed up, too late:


Up close and personal:


A GIF of the possum going inside the cat house with Porcini inside; fortunately it left without incident:

Possum inside cat house

Porcini reaction GIF:


Poppy playing:



A GIF of Pommie and Porcini in the cabins, and Spud joining them and going into Porcini’s cabin:


Three cats:

Three cats

A sped-up GIF of Poppa arriving at the cabins with Porcini and Pommie, and hanging out for five minutes; it continues to amaze me how much they accept him:


Pansy in the back of the shop:


Three cats for breakfast:

Three cats

Finally, a special GIF summarizing the last week inside the cat house:

Week inside cat house

Flock Friday for May 22

This week, GIFs of birds swooping, chickens fighting, and the duck flapping his wings, plus more pictures.

Here’s an animated GIF of a bird swooping over the pond; I think this is a female red-winged blackbird:

GIF of bird

A still from that; nice wingspan:


Our remaining duck, Bert, in the pond:


And on the bank (which is rather weedy at present):


A GIF of a male red-winged blackbird swooping over a heron, no doubt telling it to move along:

GIF of bird

GIF of male and female red-winged blackbirds by the duck house and over the pond, watched by Bert:

GIF of birds

A still of that:

Two birds

Broody chickens:

Broody chickens

The chickens can get feisty sometimes; here’s a GIF of a chicken fight; fascinating how they fluff up their feathers:

GIF of chicken fight

Last GIF, of Bert standing on the “island” and flapping his wings:

GIF of duck

The pond is very full at present, with all of the rain recently, so the island is slightly below the surface. Which is fine with him; easier to get onto it. Here he’s starting to flap:


And just standing on it:


Notice that the duck house door is closed now; I noticed that he wasn’t going in anyway. I feed him next to it in the mornings, as previously mentioned. I’ll probably clean out the duck house this weekend, in preparation for new ducklings in just over a week. Looking forward to that!

Let’s finish up with a couple of chicken pictures. All eyes on me as they wait for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

No eyes on me after I toss out the treats:

Chickens eating treats