Recent dusting of snow

Now that the snow has all melted, and we’re probably not getting any more this season (though might), I thought I’d post some pictures of the light dusting of snow during the past week. The weather forecast was suggesting we might get several inches, but it was more like half an inch. A little disappointing, not enough to break out the snow shovel, but at least it didn’t outstay its welcome.

Here’s the brown gazebo, tree grove, and new chicken coop:

Brown gazebo and chicken coop

The mostly frozen pond, with duck paths through the thin ice:


Beyond the pond, with snowy trees down the bank:

Beyond the pond

Our back lawn, with the pond off to the left, and brown gazebo in the background:

Back lawn

From a little farther back, the path to the pond deck:

Path to pond

The stream (behind the shrubs, and currently off) and cat house:

Cat house

Fountain garden, with the white gazebo in the background:

Fountain garden

A bonus cat picture of Pumpkin drinking from the heated water dish:


In front of the cat house, with Pumpkin by the dish:

By cat house

The fully frozen pond, with snow drifts on top of the ice:

Frozen pond

Our front steps and driveway circle, looking towards the veggie garden, hoop house, and beehives in the distance:

Driveway circle

The beehives; the melting in the center of the roof of each hive indicates that the bees are still alive, at least as of now; still got a few months before they’ll be able to resume operations:


Cat update for week ending January 18

This week, the trials and successes of Bella, birds making poor life choices, and cold wet stuff.

Portabella and Pumpkin continue to not get along; Pumpkin seems to feel he has to chase her off whenever he sees her:

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

She came back, and again was chased off:

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

In that encounter, Pumpkin kicked the decorative barrel off.  It was glued to the deck with the smaller ones; apart from helping the old west vibe, the barrels help hold the shelter’s maintenance door closed:


A Steller’s Jay grabbing some cat food:

Steller's Jay

Two cats arriving, with Pumpkin in the house; he’s fine with the other cats, just not Bella:

Two cats arriving



Pumpkin watching me from under the main deck:


A bunch of small birds drinking from the heated water dish:


Pumpkin and Pommie hanging out on the cat deck:

Pumpkin and Pommie

A bird tried to have a drink when cats were nearby, and Pumpkin suggested that might not be wise:

Pumpkin and a bird

Pumpkin and Paladout seem to be getting used to each other; the latter saw Pumpkin peeking, but kept on eating instead of getting upset like in the past:

Pumpkin and Paladout

Pumpkin and Paladout

Pumpkin in the garden:


Snowy cats:

Snowy cats

A Steller’s Jay arrives for more food:

Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay

This time, not so lucky: Pommie was in the cat house, and heard the bird:

Cat and Steller's Jay

Cat and Steller's Jay

Cat and Steller's Jay

Though I guess the bird was actually very lucky: it got the food, and narrowly escaped becoming food.

You may have seen that I added a new heated shelter in the breezeway next to our workshop. Subsequent to that, I modified it a little to make it more sheltered, by putting some old hanging baskets next to it:

Modified breezeway cabin

Bella found the cabin, and tried it out. She has spent most of the past two nights in there, which makes me very happy:

Bella in cabin

Pommie and Pumpkin:

Pommie and Pumpkin

A cat in the breezeway:

Cat in breezeway

Pommie has spent a fair bit of time in the cat house, too:

Pommie in cat house

Pommie in cat house

Bella in the breezeway again, from another angle (this camera is only there temporarily):

Bella in breezeway

Bella inside the breezeway cabin last night:

Bella in breezeway cabin

Bella having a stretch in the morning:

Bella by breezeway cabin

I’m glad that she has a comfy shelter away from Pumpkin’s usual haunts.

Flock Friday for January 17

This week, the ducks get to practice walking on the ice again, and more snow.

Let’s start with a couple pictures of most of the chickens in the new coop:



The ducks carefully walking on the frozen pond:

Ducks on frozen pond

On the ramp into the duck house:

Ducks on ramp by frozen pond


Ducks in their house

Mealworm treats on the frozen pond:

Ducks on frozen pond

A bunch of crows in the field, making quite a racket; there were many more elsewhere on the field, too:

Crows in field

Crows in field

Ducks slogging through the thin ice on the frozen pond:

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Chickens with some snow:


Ducks in the partially frozen pond:

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in partially frozen pond

An early morning shot of snow pooling in the middle of the frozen pond:


The snowy path to the duck house:

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in the slushy ice:

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

That’s probably going to be it for snow for this season, though it could snow again. It’s melting now, and will probably turn to rain over the coming week. Looks like the temperatures won’t be cold enough to freeze the pond either. It was fun while it lasted.

Breezeway cat cabin

Since we’re having freezing temperatures at present, and Pumpkin has been hogging the cat house and cabins, I thought I’d get another heated shelter for the other cats, and put it further away.

At first, I had the notion and wrote up a design to build a shelter on top of a new enclosure for our well, since the current one is kinda ugly and falling apart:

Well enclosure

Here’s inside; the well head, plus an electrical outlet that powers the chicken coops and an Eero to help spread the Wi-Fi mesh (amusingly named “Well Actually”):

Well head and Eero

But I had some misgivings with that concept, as it’d take a while to build, by which time the worst of the cold would be past, and I’m not sure they would use it there anyway, among other issues. So I decided to put aside that concept for now; I might revisit it in the future.

Anyway, I thought that a more immediate, cheaper, and easier option would be to just buy another prefab heated shelter like I have for the cabins. And that I could put it in the breezeway next to our workshop, where the cats often walk, which would also protect it from the elements:


Some of the cats walk through there every day, on their way to other haunts in the trees on the east side of our property.

I put the shelter on the lower shelf of the (largely unused) heavy-duty shelving in the breezeway, and (me being me) also got a camera to watch it:

Cat cabin and cam on shelf

So far, the camera has shown only a couple of cats (one of the twins, and Bella) investicating it, including going inside, but nobody has stayed for long:

Investicating new shelter

Investicating new shelter

Investicating new shelter

Investicating new shelter

Investicating new shelter

Time will tell if that is a successful location. If they don’t end up using it, I could try putting junk around it to make it less exposed, or move it elsewhere. We’ll see. At least now they have the option of another heated shelter if they want it.

Cat update for week ending January 11

This week: using the cat house a bit more, Paladout becoming accepted, Pumpkin and Bella not so much, a little snow, and more.

But first, a Steller’s Jay on the cat house deck:

Steller's Jay

Pommie (I think) and Bella:

Pommie and Bella

One of the twins inside the cat house; not sure if Pommie or Spud, though probably Pommie. They have spent several nights in the cat house, since Pumpkin has mostly vacated it in favor of the cabins:

Cat inside

Poppy entering the feeder via the back door:

Poppy going in feeder back door

Poppy and Bella:

Poppy and Bella

Porcini and Paladout seem to be getting quite comfortable with each other. Here Paladout approaches Porcini fairly closely:

Porcini and Paladout

When she turns around, he backs off a bit, but they seems happy enough; not even a warning hiss:

Porcini and Paladout

Pumpkin arrival:

Pumpkin arrival

Using the back door:

Pumpkin arrival and exit

The twins on the deck:


Pumpkin is still using the cat house a bit, typically just before breakfast, while waiting for it to dispense:

Pumpkin inside

Our dog Rory inside, watching Pumpkin by the gate (look closely… and a hummingbird visible too). She can react to seeing cats on the deck by jumping up on the window, which is strongly discouraged; we’re worried that one day she’ll break it:

Rory watching Pumpkin

The cabins with their typical occupants, Pommie and Pumpkin:


A twin on top of the camera housing, watching Paladout:

Watching Paladout

The cat house façade and signs:

Cat house signs

A fun detail; a cactus ornament in the feeder cupboard window:

Cactus ornament in window

When I do my morning rounds, and refill the bird feeders, Pumpkin often retreats, but sometimes he stays in the cabin and watches me warily; here he was slowly blinking (cat smile) while I reassured him he was safe there:

Pumpkin in cabin

Bella and Pumpkin really don’t get along.  Here she is entering the feeder, and Pumpkin is way over by the bird feeders:

Bella by feeder, Pumpkin by birds

As soon as Pumpkin saw her, he came running up:

Pumpkin running up

And they had a bit of an encounter in the feeder:

Bella and Pumpkin

Followed by a rapid exit out the back door:

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

A tail sticking out the back door:

Tail sticking out door

Two cats watching a bird:

Watching a bird

Paladout, with Porcini peeking around the corner:

Paladout and Porcini

Paladout eating, Porcini watching from the back door:

Paladout and Porcini

More Porcini peeking, this time on our main deck, watching me inside our house:

Porcini on deck

My first hint that it was snowing the other day was seeing some white flecks on a cat in the feeder:

Snowy cat

As mentioned, a twin has been spending the night in the cat house, but Pumpkin likes to turn up in the morning to wait for breakfast. That of course led to them having a face-off, with Pumpkin outside and the twin growling and hissing to defend the house:

Pumpkin and a twin

After a few minutes, Pumpkin decided to wait in the feeder instead:

Pumpkin and a twin

A sneak peek of snow:


Cat footprints in the snow on the bird box:


We’re expecting much more snow next week, so you can look forward to more snowy pictures if that eventuates.

Flock Friday for January 10

This week: some treats, some snow.

But first, pre-dawn ducks:

Pre-dawn ducks

Chickens enjoying rice, their second-favorite treat (after mealworms):

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Ducks enjoying mealworm treats:

Ducks enjoying treats

Ducks enjoying treats

We got a sneak peek of snow this week.  Here’s the tree by the chicken runs, laden with snow:

Tree by chicken runs laden with snow

As usual when it snows, the chicken run roof netting collapsed under the weight. Someday I’ll get around to replacing it with welded wire:

Run roof netting collapse

Run roof netting collapse

Chickens with a little residue of snow:

Chickens with snow

Snow on the duck house roof:

Snow on duck house

Snowy pond bank:

Snowy pond bank

Me tossing treats to the ducks:

David giving treats

The ducks in the pond (which isn’t at all frozen), surrounded by snowy banks and trees:



Cat update for week ending January 4

Some more feeder back door tweaks this week, among other things.

The cats seem to be accepting Paladout; he has been hanging around pretty much every day, and they’ve walked by without seeming concerned by him:


A different configuration of three cats:

Three cats

Porcini closeup:


Pommie and Pumpkin at the cabins:

Pommie and Pumpkin

Pommie and Pumpkin

Poppy closeup. She always looks grumpy:


Some birds making poor life choices:


Porcini not at all bothered by Paladout:

Porcini and Paladout

Graceful Pumpkin:

Graceful Pumpkin

A long-distance zoomed shot of Pumpkin in the house and two others on a rock:

Pumpkin in the house, two others on a rock

Me refilling the feeder; you can see the feeder drawer out, and I’m dumping excess food into plastic bins that get stored on the top shelf:

Refilling feeder

Pumpkin looking handsome:


Puzzle time; there are four cats here; can you see all of them?

Four cats

A cat peeking out from under the house, while another cat scratched the tree:

Cat under house, cat scratching tree

The cat under the house reached out and tagged the tail of the other one:

Cat under house, cat scratching tree

The latter then jumped a bit:

Cat under house, cat scratching tree

Paladout eating in the feeder, and is blocked from leaving by another cat. He considered using the new back door, but wasn’t sure about it (which is strange, since he’s clearly a pet cat, since he has a collar; perhaps his humans let him out instead of having a cat door?):

Paladout blocked in feeder

He tried to get past, but couldn’t:

Paladout blocked in feeder

Paladout peeking from behind one of the twins, who was ignoring him; the twin eventually wandered off, so Paladout could leave:

Paladout blocked in feeder

So based on that, I decided to help them further, and attached a bungee to hold the feeder door open:

Feeder door held open

Didn’t take them long to investicat the opened door:

Investicating door

Peeking in the door:

Peeking in door

They seem to like it open; they can now freely exit and enter through the door:

Entering door



Going out the door:

Going out door

The original reason for installing the door: escaping Pumpkin:

Escaping Pumpkin

It was still a big step, a bit awkward, so I then added a cinderblock to make it more comfortable to use:


Two cats investicating the step:

Investicating step

Investicating step

Investicating step

Finally, a harder puzzle; again there are four cats; can you see all of them?

Four cats

Flock Friday for January 3

A fairly short post this week.

We went away for two nights during the holidays, and were greeted on our return with 15 eggs in one of the nesting boxes (and a few in another):

Eggs in nesting box

Some of the chickens enjoying treats in the old coop:


The ducks:



I captured a shot of the ducks on the pond at midnight at the new year (see the timestamp); probably not enjoying the distant fireworks:

New Year ducks

Later, some night fish:

Night fish

I haven’t seen much of the fish recently, since it’s been so cold; they’re mostly hibernating in the deep end. Though I do occasionally see a few.

The ducks in their house, having breakfast:

Ducks in house

Back on the pond:


Finally, a few chickens:


Cat update for week ending December 28

Let’s check on the cats.

Three cats from the temporary side cam (aka mobile cam), from before I installed the cat door:

Cats from side cam

Pumpkin peeking from inside the cat house:

Pumpkin peeking

Peering around the corner:

Peering around the corner

Porcini closeup:

Porcini closeup

Between cabins:

Between cabins



Checking out the cat door installation:

Checking out cat door installation

Um, there seems to be a hole in the wall:

There's a hole in the wall

Three cats:

Three cats

Four cats:

Four cats

Poppy and Pumpkin inside:

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Pumpkin between cabins:

Pumpkin between cabins

Heading out, don’t mind me:

Heading out, don't mind me

Another day, both cabins occupied by the same cats again:

Cabins occupied

Paladout closeup:

Paladout closeup

Paladout arriving, watched by two others; they seem to be getting used to him:


Three cats:

Three cats

Jumping onto the camera housing:

Jumping onto camera housing

A sequence of Pumpkin squirming off the deck, while Paladout watches from around the corner:

A sequence of Pumpkin squirming off the deck

A sequence of Pumpkin squirming off the deck

A sequence of Pumpkin squirming off the deck

A sequence of Pumpkin squirming off the deck

Two cats:

Two cats

Flock Friday for December 27

The pictures this week are pretty evenly split between hummingbirds, ducks, and chickens.

The hummingbirds have been very hungry this week; I’ve been having to refill their favorite feeder pretty much every day. There are 11 hummers on this feeder; can you see all of them?


Foggy pond:

Foggy pond

The chickens have mostly kept to their own coops so far, though Lola (the introverted chicken) did spend one night in the new coop:

Lola in the new coop

Lola in the new coop



Pippin in my arms, watching hummingbirds:

Pippin watching hummingbirds

After refilling the feeder (yet again), I stood there a moment and captured them a couple of feet away:

Standing next to hummingbird feeder

Partially frozen pond:

Partially frozen pond


More frozen pond; they struggled through the ice to come see me (or rather Gert struggled while Bert followed along behind; I’m sure one could have gender commentary about that):

More frozen pond

On rounds (see Rory by the coop), the chickens rushing to the new coop, where I was dispensing treats for the chickens there: