Cat update for week ending September 19

We plan to go home today. We’re still at evacuation level 1 (“be ready”), but things are looking sufficiently contained near us, and improving, so hopefully we won’t need to evacuate again. The air quality has significantly improved, too.

Like yesterday’s Flock Friday, I was able to capture some pictures of the feral cats via the remote connection to my cameras.

Here’s a cat in the feeder:


And another, with a bunch of leaves for company:

Leafy feeder

A cat coming out of the feeder:

Cat outside

Two cats:

Two cats

And again (I think this is Poppy and Porcini):

Two cats

Cozy cabin time:


Porcini waiting for food; I remotely dispensed some moments later:


Poppy, Pommie, Poppa:

Poppy, Pommie, Poppa

Fall doesn’t officially start till Tuesday, but the trees are getting a head start on that.

More ducklings day 38

It’s raining a bit today, which is helping to clear out some of the smoke. Depending on how things look in the morning, we’re thinking we’ll probably head home tomorrow. So this might be the last duckling update from the excellent trailer pen that Mom and her partner provided for the ducklings.

The ducklings won’t enjoy the three hour drive home (and neither will my ears, now that some of them are quacking loudly), and they probably won’t like being back in the duck house and run, being a bit smaller than the trailer. But they need a couple more weeks before they’ll be old enough to go in the pond. It’ll be good for the older ducks and the ducklings to get used to each other again through the fence, too, before they merge.

Today, as I have each day, starting the day by adding more water to the kiddie pool, and refilling their food and paint tray pool:


I also added some fresh straw, including some further back, added by sprinkling on top of the wire, which left a few bits as fun things for them to snag:

Snagging straw

Treat time:


Treats in the pool:

Treats in pool

Only a couple of them wanted to swim while I was there; the others reached for the treats from outside:

Treats in pool

She’s happy to swim around, though:


Flock Friday for September 18

We’re still at Mom’s place (current thought is maybe heading home tomorrow; continuing to evaluate the smoke). But I still have some chicken and duck pictures for you.

Here’s another picture of the chickens from when we visited on Monday:


And a couple of previously-unpublished duck pictures from that visit:



One of the things I did while there was turn on the UPS for my Camect camera server, so I can now see several of the cams. Here is a capture from the pond cam from yesterday:


And from this morning; everyone still there:


Also from inside the new chicken coop. There’s an issue here — the pop door opener is stuck partially open, so at risk of raccoon invasion. Hopefully they won’t notice the opportunity:


The old chicken coop; still lots of food:


More ducklings day 37

Today I increased the depth of the duckling kiddie pool by another few inches, to the point where they can no longer touch the bottom — so they are actually swimming for the first time.

But first, I refilled their paint tray pool and food:


Deeper water:

Deeper water

Really swimming; they took to it like ducks to water, unsurprisingly (female ducks seem more comfortable in water; previous male ducklings were more hesitant to swim at all, or made a big production of it):


Still enjoying the paint tray pool too:

Paint tray

More swimming:




Leafy treats:



Swimming for treats:

Treats and swimming

More ducklings day 36 (start of week 6)

Today marks the start of the sixth week of these ducklings, which is when they are officially old enough to swim, plus no longer need heat (though they’ve been without that for the past week anyway). Still a couple of weeks before they are ready to go into the pond, though… not that that is an option while we’re evacuated, anyway.

So, now that they have the kiddie pool, I’m slowing increasing the water level. They can still touch the bottom, but in a day or two they’ll be actually swimming; that’ll be fun.

(Did you see today’s video with slow-mo and splashes?)

Pool time:

Pool time

Pool time

Also tray time:

Tray time

Fun splashes:






Evacuation update: level 1

Today the fire officials announced that they have 3% containment of the “Riverside Incident” fire. Which may not sound like a lot, but means that they are confident that the fire won’t spread any closer to the threatened city of Estacada. With a fire currently covering 135,956 acres, 3% of the perimeter is quite a distance. See this map, which shows the containment line in black:

3% containment

They also notified us of further reductions in evacuation levels. We are now in the level 1 zone (again, I don’t publish our exact location for privacy reasons, but if you know where we live, you can see where the zones are relative to our homestead):

Evacuation and fire map

The smoke is still rather thick near home, in the 300 – 500 air quality range, compared to merely 150ish up at Mom’s place:

Air quality map

So we currently plan to hang around up here for another couple of days, and see how things improve. If the state of the fire and air are about the same or better by Friday, we might head home then; we’ll decide then.

More ducklings day 35

One of the things I brought yesterday from the homestead to Mom’s place was the duckling kiddie pool, which I set up today in the trailer pen:

Kiddie pool

One of the Rouens was first into the new pool, closely followed by the Khaki Campbell (aka the little brown duckling… not so little or uniformly brown anymore):

First into the new pool

First into new pool

Two in the water. I only filled it ankle-deep initially; I’ll make it a little deeper over the next few days, until it’s completely full, to let them get used to it. They should be able to swim about now, but it’s best to ease them into it:

Two in the water

More in the pool, and splashing about:

More in the pool

All but one in the pool:

All but one in the pool

Since the Blue Swedish has the gimpy leg, I don’t think she would be able or comfortable climbing that far, so I’m keeping the paint tray pool for her (yes, it’s still gimpy; no better yet, but no worse either):

New and old pools

Blue Swedish by paint tray pool

Evacuation update: homestead visit and level 2

Today we took a day-trip down to our homestead (three hours each way) to check on and feed the animals, and collect a few things we regretted not bringing north.

It was very smoky down there, unsurprisingly, being a couple of miles from the nearest fire. I put on a heavy-duty filter mask while outdoors:

David with mask

I started in the workshop, refilling the food and water dispensers at the front and back of the shop, for feral cats Pepper and Pansy there. They weren’t out of food or water yet, so hadn’t suffered. I also ripped open and left half a bag of food as a backup.

Then I went into the veggie garden, and on to the chickens; they were very vocal, and happy to see me:


Here’s a wide-angle shot; you can see the smoke. I left the door to the veggie garden open, so they can go in and help themselves to treats. A bit early; normally we’d do that once we’re done harvesting the veggies, but it may have come to your attention that this is not a normal year:


They didn’t waste much time in heading in there:


The food dispenser in the new coop was empty, as expected, but the flock block was still there, so they weren’t starving. I refilled the feeder and waterer, and dumped the rest of the bag on the floor of the coop:

Chicken coop

I did the same in the old coop, too:

Chicken coop

There were lots of eggs, unsurprisingly; here is one of the nesting boxes:


We brought about three dozen eggs back up north.

I then headed over to the pond. The fenceline trees are barely visible in the smoke:


The ducks were happy to see me; they’ve all surived:


I dumped the remainder of the bag of food from the duck house onto their food bowl, which hopefully will take them a few days to eat. They were very hungry:



I also opened the pop door on the duck house, so they can go in there; there’s a bit more food in the feeder tube.

Then I went over to the cat house, and refilled their feeder; it wasn’t empty, so they’ve had small meals each day. I powered up the Camect server, so I can now watch the cat feeder (and other cams) remotely, and will feed them more if the cats turn up.

Looking over the flowerbeds from by the cat house; rather smoky, and that fallen tree will be a project for another day:


I also refilled the bird feeders, and the hummingbird feeders.

We noticed a circle marking painted on our driveway; presumably from fire or police officials surveying that we had evacuated. A convenient indicator for the looters some locals are worried about (hey, that’s what insurance is for, though we’re not too worried about that):

Driveway marking

After we finished at the homestead, we headed to Costco to pick up a prescription for Rory and other supplies. Just as we parked, we got an official notification of a change in the evacuation boundaries. Our house is now in level 2, though only barely. Here’s a screenshot of the new evacuation and fire boundaries:

Evacuation and fire boundaries

So we could go home, though level 2 is still risky — it could increase to level 3 at a moment’s notice. We left in level 2, so it doesn’t make any more sense to go back at that level. Plus it’s very smoky down there, much better up here.

We will continue to stay at Mom’s place for a bit longer, preferably until it is reduced to level 1 or all restrictions lifted. Some rain in the forecast later in the week, so hopefully that’ll help.