February snow and aerial photos

This morning we woke up to some surprise snow. It wasn’t in the forecast (other than for a much higher elevation), but we got about an inch of snow overnight. Which is melting quickly on a sunny day.

So, of course I felt an urge to fly my drone to capture the winter wonderland in the early morning.

Here are the pond, snowy trees, back lawn, chicken runs, and veggie garden:

Snowy pond, trees, veggie garden

Looking down a bit to see the whole veggie garden:

Snowy pond, trees, veggie garden

From above the veggie garden, looking towards the pond:

Snowy pond, trees, chicken coop

Looking straight down to the chicken runs, veggie garden, and berry cage:

Snowy veggie garden

A bit lower down:

Snowy veggie garden

Snowy covered chicken run:

Snowy chicken run

Above the back lawn, looking back to the grove, and chicken coop:

Snowy grove, chicken coop

Some pics of the pond:

Pond

Pond

Pond

Part of the field, flowerbeds, back lawn, and pond:

Flowerbeds and pond

Higher up to include veggie garden etc:

Veggie garden, pond, etc

From the opposite direction:

Pond, flowerbeds, etc

Looking up a bit at the trees:

Trees, pond, etc

Lots of snowy trees:

Snowy trees

This one might make a nice background:

Snowy trees

Mount Hood and snowy trees:

Mount Hood and snowy trees

Mount Hood, snowy trees, etc

Lower down, with the fountain garden in the foreground:

Snowy trees, fountain garden

Back on the ground (via my iPhone), the path to the chicken coop:

Path to chicken coop

Inside the chicken run; the new(ish) roof netting is holding up well:

Chicken run roof netting

The back lawn:

Back lawn

The pond and ducks:

Pond

Pond

Pond island and ducks:

Pond island and ducks

Sunrise through the grove, with the brown gazebo and the chicken coop:

Sunrise through grove

Sunrise through grove

Sunrise through grove

Finally, the cat house:

Cat house

Flock Friday for February 19

It’s been an interesting week, with an ice storm, snow, and days of power cuts. The ice and snow is all gone now, and we have power again (albeit with an hour outage yesterday evening). But things still feel unstable, and I know other parts of the country aren’t faring so well.

If you missed them, check out the previous two posts on the ice storm, including pictures of the chickens and ducks.

Here’s an aerial drone shot of the pond and snowy environs; you can see the new island in the center, and the ducks nearby:

Aerial pond

Duck prints in the snow:

Duck prints in snow

Duck prints in snow

Despite the days of freezing weather, the pond didn’t fully freeze at all; the closest it came was a slushy crust:

Slushy pond

Ducks in slushy pond

The hummingbirds were very hungry with no other food sources:

Hummingbirds

Ducks on pond bank, with melting snow:

Ducks on pond bank

Ducks on pond bank

Ducks on the island:

Ducks on pond island

Ducks on pond island

A cam shot of sleepy ducks on the edge of the pond, and on the island. It’s got a bit of a tilt due to water pooling on it, but the edge is still above the water line, so that’s okay:

Ducks on pond island

Hungry hummingbirds again:

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Ducks on the lawn:

Ducks on the lawn

Ducks on the lawn

Ducks on the lawn

Ducks on the lawn

Ducks on the lawn

Let’s finish with a couple of token chicken pictures:

Chickens

Chickens

Ice storm: generator, chickens, ducks, bees

Our electricity is still off due to the ice storm a couple of nights ago. Fortunately we have a portable generator, and fortunately I recently got it serviced so it actually works. I had it running most of the day yesterday, and expect to keep it going all day today (I turned it off overnight). It is providing power to our kitchen fridge/freezer, and currently slowly recharging the UPS for our internet router and Wi-Fi, and can be used to recharge other devices as needed:

Generator

Since we’re on a well, when the power is off, we don’t have any water, so we are using water jugs:

Water jug

Though weirdly when we flush a toilet it does refill; I know there’s some water in the pipes and pressure tank, but I would have expected that to be exhausted quickly, but hasn’t been yet. Upstairs, what’s more. Could water be coming up from the well without the pump?! We don’t want to push our luck, but are glad we don’t have to refill the cisterns the hard way yet.

Ice on a tree by the chicken runs:

Ice on tree by chicken run

Ice on the chicken run roof netting; it’s survived much better than the old netting I had previously:

Ice on chicken run roof netting

Chicken coop icicles:

Chicken coop icicles

The chickens are quite happy to stay inside, thank you very much:

Chickens

Chickens

I took a look at the beehives this morning:

Beehives

They each have a sheet of ice on their roof, which could be concerning, as the heat of the hive should have melted it, though the feeders on top of each hive may have insulated the roof from them:

Beehives

Levitating ice:

Beehives

There are a bunch of dead bees on some of the hive entrances, which is actually a good sign — it proves there are some bees active to clean out the dead ones. There are thousands of bees in each hive, so a few dead ones is normal and not concerning. I did see a live one walking around, too, probably on the cleanup crew:

Bees

More on the ground:

Bees

The chickens reluctantly came out for their treats:

Chickens

I refilled the food for the ducks, and tossed some over to them to enjoy:

Ducks

The pond isn’t frozen; after starting to get slushy yesterday morning, it hasn’t been quite cold enough to maintain that:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Flock Friday for February 12

It’s currently snowing; some snowy duck and chicken pictures towards the end of this post. Plus some pictures of the ducks using the new island, which makes me happy.

But first, a funny picture of a stretching chicken; such a long neck!

Stretching chicken

The ducks in the pond:

Ducks

On the edge of the pond:

Ducks

To see the new island, I moved the second camera to further back:

Camera

This is just a temporary placement, to check that the location works; at some point I’ll mount it more permanently:

Camera

The view from that camera, showing the first duck to go onto the island:

Ducks on island

Several ducks on the island:

Ducks on island

Ducks on island

Chickens in the veggie garden:

Chickens in the veggie garden

Chickens with leafy treats:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

In a nesting box:

Chicken in nesting box

Coming into the coop to get mealworm treats:

Chickens in coop

Ducks on the lawn:

Ducks

Ducks

Sleeping ducks:

Sleeping ducks

When approaching the pond, I noticed some ducks on the island; my first non-cam photo of them using it:

Ducks on island

Of course, as I got closer, most left it and swum towards me (swum/swam… grammar is hard):

Duck on island

Just Bert left on the island:

Duck on island

It snowed overnight. Here are some ducks on the island, and the older upturned pot islands, with snowy banks:

Ducks on island

Ducks going after leafy treats while it snows; they don’t care about the snow:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Yes, the pond hasn’t frozen yet. It takes a while for it to cool down enough, but considering the high temperature today is about freezing level, I expect it to start to freeze in the next day or two.

Here are some ducks sleeping on the ledge at the edge, and some on the island:

Ducks

Ducks are very cold-hardy, but it’s probably warmer in the water than on land right now.

The chickens aren’t such fans of the snow. They came out to get their treats this morning:

Chickens in the snow

Chickens in the snow

Then headed inside:

Chickens

Flock Friday for February 5

It’s quack and cluck day.

Here are the quackers beyond the pond:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

And the cluckers in their run:

Chickens

Chickens

The ducks in and next to the pond:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

The chickens are ramping back up laying eggs; they slow down in fall while molting, but are back up to about five per day at present:

Eggs

I often include screenshots from the cam viewing iPad app in my Caturday posts, but don’t tend to do so for the chickens and ducks, since it’s more easy to take better photos of them. But here are some samples.

Firstly, the page that shows the new chicken coop, the duck house, and two angles of the pond:

Chickens and ducks on cams

Later in the day; you can see how the upturned boat shifts around (I have yet to see the ducks on it; I’ll remove it when I install the duck island):

Chickens and ducks on cams

Another page in the app shows the old and new chicken coops, and the old and new chicken runs. Here you can see them starting to head inside as dusk approaches:

Chickens on cams

Heading up to the roosts:

Chickens on cams

All settled:

Chickens on cams

The pop doors automatically close when it gets dark:

Chickens on cams

Mucking out the chicken coops and duck house

One of my many homestead tasks is mucking out our two chicken coops and duck house, which I do about monthly, give or take.

Today was such a day. I start by using scoop and spade tools to scoop up the dirty bedding, and place in a plastic bin for removal:

Chicken and tools

The bin with dirty bedding, and my supervisor:

Chicken and soiled bedding

A wide angle shot of the coop:

Wide angle

Several containers full of dirty bedding is carried to the compost bins.

Then I add fresh pine shavings; I usually just grab several handfuls and dump in a pile in the center of the coop, and let the chickens have fun spreading it out:

Fresh bedding

I do toss some under the roosts, though, since that’s where it’s needed the most, to collect night droppings:

Fresh bedding

I do the same in the other coop too, though it’s easier there, as most of the poop is collected on poop trays under the roosts. I still replace the bedding on the floor, though not as often.

I also added fresh straw to the duck house:

Duck house straw

I use straw in the duck house as it copes better with getting wet.

Flock Friday for January 29

It’s Friday again. Today, a bunch of pictures of hummingbirds, chickens, and ducks. I know, very surprising for a Flock Friday post.

As mentioned on my personal blog, the hummingbird feeder was starting to freeze overnight, so I added my hacky heater. The heater comes on when the temperature gets down to 35° F, and goes off when above 45° F, via a thermostatically controlled outlet:

Thermostatic controller

The heating pad gets quite hot, enough to melt the ice, but too hot for the plastic base of the feeder, so it hangs a bit below via some paperclips:

Hummingbird feeder heater

Here’s a closer view of the feeder and heating pad:

Hummingbird feeder heater

The first customer approaches:

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

A couple of hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

A cam shot of the ducks on a snowy morning:

Ducks

Did you see the snowy aerial photos? Here’s one picture of the pond and ducks that I didn’t include there; check out that post for more:

Aerial ducks

Snowy ducks:

Ducks

Ducks

A couple more pictures of hummingbirds, with at least 15 visible on the two closest feeders:

Hummingbirds

A closer look at the hummingbirds on the house feeder:

Hummingbirds

A bunch of pictures of the chickens, with new pumpkin and apple treats (and the older pumpkin shells slowly dissolving):

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

The ducks on the back lawn:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Snowing:

Ducks

A GIF of ducks going after mealworm treats while it’s snowing:

Ducks

A couple more pictures of ducks:

Ducks

Duck

We still haven’t decided on a name for that Silver Swedish male duck formerly known as Sassa; options include Stefan, Silvan, Sigfrid, Sigge, and Silvester; what do you think? I rather like Stefan, though am tempted by Sigfrid in honor of Siegfried from the All Creatures Great and Small TV series we’re enjoying at present.

Flock Friday for January 22

Welcome to Flock Friday! I couldn’t help myself, I succumbed to the Bernie meme with a couple of the pictures this week.

But first, here are the chickens greeting me in the veggie garden:

Chickens greeting me in the veggie garden

Bernie watching the chickens:

Bernie watching the chickens

Chickens greeting me in their run:

Chickens greeting me in their run

Chickens waiting for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

Me holding a container with some rice, which gets their undivided attention:

Chickens waiting for treats

They do love the rice:

Chickens with rice treats

Chickens with rice treats

Chickens with rice treats

Chickens with rice treats

Bernie in the pond; don’t sit there too long, the water is rather cold at present:

Bernie in the pond

Ducks:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

A wide angle of the pond:

Wide angle of the pond

More of the ducks:

Ducks

Ducks

A foggy view from by the grove, with the new chicken coop on the left, the brown gazebo on the right, the white gazebo barely visible in the background, and if you look closely, some ducks on the edge of the lawn:

Foggy

A closer view:

Foggy ducks