Garden lights after dark

Last night I closed up the duck house after dark, and took some pictures of some of the lights around the garden. It’s unusual for us to wander the garden after dark, but it’s quite pleasant.

A spinning garden ornament in the flowerbeds, with a color-changing light. This picture was taken with the flash; you can see the motion blur of the back blade spinning quickly (there was a bit of a breeze):

Garden ornament

The same ornament with my headlamp:

Garden ornament

One more without illumination:

Garden ornament

An animated GIF, showing the spinning and color changing:

GIF of garden ornament

A light next to a bridge over the stream:

Light and bridge

Light and bridge

A flame-like path light:

Flame light

A GIF of that:

GIF of flame light

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll.

Aerial photos in June

It’s been a while since I flew my drone over our homestead. I felt an urge to do so today, so did, and took a few pictures. I thought I’d share some.

Let start with a top-down view of our flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, veggie garden, and driveway:

Flowerbeds, pond, veggie garden, etc

An angled view of the flowerbeds etc from lower down:

Flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, etc

Flowerbeds, back lawn, pond:

Flowerbeds, back lawn, pond

Flowerbeds:

Flowerbeds

Back lawn and pond:

Back lawn, pond

The two chicken runs, the veggie garden, and greenhouse:

Chicken runs, veggie garden, greenhouse

A closer look at the veggie garden:

Veggie garden

And the berry cage:

Berry cage

Finally, a glimpse of Mount Hood:

Mount Hood

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:

Weeder

Root and all:

Weeder

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:

Weeds

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.

Transplanting volunteer trees behind the shop and pond

This afternoon I dug up some smallish self-seeded fir trees from behind the shop, and transplanted them around that area, and in a couple of places by the pond.

Previously I’ve transplanted volunteer trees from the “back 40”, what we call the wilderness area on the east side of our property. There are lots of self-seeded trees there, but when I surveyed them today, they were all either too big to dig up, too small, or too hard to access due to blackberry vines.

So instead I went to another seedling nursery, near the south boundary behind the workshop. There are lots of seedlings of various sizes there, so I dug up a bunch that were too close to more established trees.

Here is one of those areas, after I dug up the seedlings. There are actually piles of rocks under the grass and dirt; this area has been left to naturalize, so is rather overgrown:

Dug up trees

I put the trees to plant elsewhere in my cart:

Trees in cart

While I was there, I transplanted five small seedlings into the adjacent grass area behind the shop. I used to mow this area, but have decided to extend the wilderness area by several feet, as I want to encourage trees around all of the boundaries:

Trees behind shop

Part of me thinks there isn’t much point in doing that, since we’re unlikely to be here long enough for them to get to a decent size, but you never know. As the allegedly Chinese proverb goes, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

I transplanted four of the tallest seedlings in a gap left of pond, where we can see a neighbor’s house from the duck house. If they all survive, they should eventually provide good screening:

Seedlings left of pond

Another angle of the seedlings left of pond, plus existing trees (I know it’s hard to see green against green):

Seedlings left of pond

I added two of the shorter seedlings in another gap behind the pond, replacing a taller one that died:

Two seedlings behind pond

Finally, I was pleased to see a bunch of small self-sprouted seedlings popping up in the slope of the back 40:

Seedlings in back 40

Fountain garden stream

Now that the overnight temperatures are (mostly) above freezing, I’ve turned on the garden water, which means I could also turn on the pump in the small pond for the stream next to the fountain garden. It needs the water to be on to top it up via an automatic filler valve.

Here is the small pond; you can see the pump underwater, and filler valve on the edge (I might be modifying that soon):

Small pond

Going upstream a bit, the lower stone bridge:

Lower part of stream

Looking downstream, with the upper stone bridge in the foreground, the lower bridge barely visible through the tree, and the cat house in the background:

Stream and cat house

A couple more shots of the upper bridge:

Bridge

Bridge

Just beyond the bridge:

Stream

A GIF of the upper stream cascade (captured from a video):

GIF of stream cascade

And a closer GIF of the cascade (captured from a Live Photo):

GIF of stream cascade

A GIF of the upper falls pond, where the pump pipe ends with bubbling water:

GIF of upper falls pond

A static photo of the upper falls pond:

Upper falls pond

I hope you enjoyed this look at the stream. I’ll do the big pond waterfall in the future.

Aerial mowing

Yesterday I mowed the lawns and field.  Just for fun, I flew my drone while doing so, and got some photos and video.

Here’s drone picture of me on my zero-turn riding mower, having just completed the back lawn (just a boring circular pattern). My beard is doing a fun three-way split from the wind:

Drone picture of David on mower

An animated GIF from the drone video of me on the mower:

GIF of David on mower

A top-down aerial shot of the flowerbeds partway through mowing:

Aerial shot of flowerbeds and mower

Another GIF, showing a much sped-up mowing of part of the flowerbeds:

GIF of mowing flowerbeds

Aerial pictures of the gardens, pond, greenhouse, mountain

It has been nice and sunny this week, so I did a little drone flying, and captured some more aerial photos.

Here’s our fountain garden area, with the bird feeders on the left, cat house under the tree at the top-left, various paths, and the defunct fountain (likely to become a planter soonish):

Fountain garden

A couple angles of the pond (with the ducks visible):

Pond

Pond

A bunch of new plants in one of our flowerbeds:

New flowerbed plants

A shot from 400 feet (the legal height limit for drones) of the flowerbeds, pond, veggie garden, hoop house, shop, etc:

Flowerbeds, pond, etc

The berry cage, veggie garden, and chicken runs:

Veggie garden

The greenhouse and environs:

Greenhouse

Closer to the greenhouse, showing the bee water pool and recent excavations for greenhouse plumbing:

Greenhouse

Looking more horizontally, some distant hills:

Distant hills

Trees and hills

Mount Hood is visible:

Mount Hood

Zoomed:

Mount Hood

Zoomed more:

Mount Hood

Aerial snow

We recently had a couple days of light snow… a bit unusual for March, but not unheard of.

I always enjoy taking pictures of snow, but now that I have a nice drone, I was able to take some aerial photos of it, too.  The only downside was I needed to wait for the snow to stop falling, since the drone isn’t waterproof.

I’m looking forward to next winter if we get several inches of snow, for even better pics, but this is a nice start.

Let’s begin with an angled view of the snow on the flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, and chicken runs:

Back lawn etc

A top-down view of the field, flowerbeds, and pond:

Field and flowerbeds

A bunch of snowy trees in the mist:

Snowy trees

Just below the cloud layer:

Cloud layer

More snow-tipped trees:

Snowy trees

Snowy trees

Our tallest tree with the double trunk (as featured in a recent post):

Snowy trees

From lower down:

Snowy trees

Not from the drone, the gazebo and grove (I love that you can’t tell a difference in quality between the drone and iPhone cameras):

Gazebo

The next day, it snowed a bit more, about an inch, so I flew again to capture that:

Snowy aerial

Snowy aerial

Snowy trees:

Snowy trees

Snowy trees

Snowy trees

Snowy trees

Back on the ground, walking to the duck house:

Snowy bridge

Snowy trees

Snow

Ducks in the pond

The daffodils weren’t enjoying the snow:

Snowy daffodils

Snowy daffodils

I hope you enjoyed those snowy pics as much as I did.

Flying high and low

As was foretold, some more photos of and from my new drone, as I practice flying it. Gotta put in that flight time to become proficient!

Firstly, a shot of the drone on the (rather mossy) driveway, with a bee on the nose (I didn’t take off until she left):

Drone with bee

(I probably shouldn’t attempt beekeeper humor by saying it’s not that kind of drone.)

A shot from higher up of the pond and landscaping; beehives in the upper-left, greenhouse, hoop house, veggie garden, chicken runs, etc:

Pond and landscaping

From another angle:

Pond and landscaping

Looking straight down:

Pond and landscaping

The pond, from lower down (with a duck in the middle):

Pond

The main deck, with Rory sprawled out:

Deck with Rory

The chicken runs, veggie garden, and greenhouse:

Veggie garden and chicken runs

Miles of trees:

Trees

Trees and a glimpse of Mount Hood in the distance:

Trees and Mount Hood

I then flew around at a lower level, practicing my flying precision. Here’s the drone flying through the breezeway, as seen by the cat cam there (I did check that there weren’t any cats present before flying though):

Breezeway

And inside the brown gazebo:

Brown gazebo

Those pictures were from yesterday. I did a little practice today, but it was too windy to go very high, so I just did more low-level flying. Here’s a shot of the flag from flagpole height, showing the breeze:

Flag

No doubt the first of many posts of aerial photos

As mentioned on my personal blog, I recently bought a new drone: a DJI Mavic Mini. It’s a huge improvement over the old Parrot one I’ve had for years, and a couple of smaller toy ones I’ve tried. I haven’t really wanted to use those, as they lack a GPS to help navigation, so tend to drift away without actively managing the positioning, and the cameras are low resolution and fixed in place, so photos and video are poor quality.

While this new drone is very lightweight and lacks more pro features like course plotting, following, object avoidance, etc, the Mavic Mini does have a GPS to anchor it in the sky and let it return to the takeoff location, a gimbal for the camera to keep it straight and steady, and a camera resolution (4000×2250) comparable to modern iPhones (4032×3024).

See that Dejus post for pictures of the drone while setting it up. Here are a couple of pictures of it in the sky:

Drone

Drone

I probably won’t keep the blade guards on long-term, but thought that they’d be helpful “training wheels” while I practice flying it.

Anyway, the drone will be fun when we go on trips, where drone flight is allowed (which is quite restricted). But I expect I’ll mostly use it to take aerial photos of our homestead.

So you can expect more posts like this one over time. Let’s take off, starting with a top-down view of our fenced veggie garden and berry cage:

Veggie garden

From a lower angle:

Veggie garden

The old chicken run (you can see some chickens by the hole in the fence between the veggie garden and their run; I don’t think they were fans of the strange noisy bird hovering above; it sounds like an angry swarm of bees):

Chicken runs

Turning a little to the right, the new chicken run and coop:

Veggie garden, chicken run, coop

Top-down to both chicken runs:

Chicken runs

The pond:

Pond

Another shot of the pond, with the pond deck in the foreground, and duck house on the right:

Pond

Another angle of the pond:

Pond

Flowerbeds on the left, back lawn on the right, pond in the background:

Flowerbeds and pond

Flowerbeds, with the white and brown gazebos visible:

Flowerbeds

Flowerbeds and white gazebo:

Flowerbeds and white gazebo

Closer to the gazebo:

White gazebo

A top-down view of the flowerbeds (could be useful for planning planting):

Flowerbeds

I hope you enjoyed seeing this unusual perspective on some of the homestead. I’m sure I’ll show other angles and changing seasons in future posts. Let me know if you liked this!