Cat update for week ending October 26

For today’s Caturday, I had 359 photos to wade through… though it wasn’t as bad as that sounds, since most of them were shots for the three animated GIFs I made this week. If you didn’t see them (or want to enjoy them again), check them out:

  1. A night in the cat shelter
  2. Afternoon meal in cat feeder
  3. Four cats outside

Anyway, on with the regular photos from this week. There are a bit more than usual, due to some interesting events, plus a series of photos of the cat house with fall foliage. Hopefully not too many!

Pumpkin surrounded:

Pumpkin surrounded

Poppy on the deck, another cat eating, and a third stretching:

Three cats

A new alien cat turned up; at first glance could be mistaken for one of our ferals, but the markings are different, no cropped ear, and looks a bit younger:

A new alien cat

A new alien cat

Three cats:

Three cats

Two cats by the front steps:

Two cats by the front steps

Enjoying the heating pad:

Enjoying the heating pad

Enjoying upstairs:

Enjoying upstairs

Pumpkin vs Paladout:

Pumpkin vs Paladout

The twins on the deck, and Porcini on the awning:

Three cats

Three cats

I was enjoying the fall foliage, so thought I’d take some photos of the cat house and its leafy environs:

The cat house and fall foliage

The cat house and fall foliage

The cat house and fall foliage

A couple shots using the new wide-angle lens in the iPhone 11 Pro Max:

The cat house and fall foliage

The cat house and fall foliage

You can see why I have a cover over the small pond! (I brushed away the leaves from the cover after taking this picture).

Back to the cats… four of them:

Four cats

Two cats on the bench by the field:

Two cats on the bench by the field

A cat walking from the bench to the stream for a drink:

Cat walking from the bench to the stream

Back to the bench:

Back to the bench

A cat on the bench by the fountain; I should put those cushions away for the winter, but they are enjoying them so:

Cat on bench by fountain

Poppy and Pumpkin inside:

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Pumpkin in the feeder:

Pumpkin in the feeder

A screenshot of my iPad cam viewer app, showing Pumpkin on the deck, Poppy in the shelter, and one of the twins in the feeder:

Screenshot of Pumpkin and two others

Three cats:

Three cats

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

Poppy and Pumpkin happily sharing the shelter again:

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Poppy and Bill the Cat, I mean Pumpkin:

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Bella peeking around the corner at Poppy on the deck (and another eating):

Three cats

Duck house: pond edge & floor joists

Over the weekend we installed the duck house! That seems like such a momentous milestone, I’m going to split it into two separate blog posts.

Firstly, I took the footing blocks and floor joists to the site, and determined the positions by temporarily resting the blocks on top:

Determining footing positions

I then dug out the bank of the pond a bit, repositioned the pond liner, and moved some of the rocks, to work better with the duck house:

Adjusting pond edge

Here’s a view from the pond cam of me wading in the pond, moving rocks. The pond is about 2 feet deep at that point, with a steep slope up to a small shelf at the edge:

Cam view

Here’s the adjusted pond edge:

Adjusted pond edge

I then dug in the concrete footings, using the level to make the floor joists flat:

Footings & floor joists

Here’s the footings & floor joists in their final position, with the footing holes filled in. There’s only about an inch of clearance between the joists and ground, as I wanted it to be as low as possible so the ramp into the pond doesn’t have to be any longer than necessary. The ramp will later be attached to the angled board at the front:

Footings & floor joists

A view from across the pond:

From across the pond

Next, I added scraps of wire hardware cloth to help keep small animals from going under the house. It won’t stop burrowing creatures like moles, but it’ll help:

Adding hardware cloth

The hardware cloth was stapled onto the inside of the boards, for tidiness, and buried a bit underground:

Hardware cloth

The final footings & floor joists:

Footings & floor joists

Next up: bringing over the house itself. Stay tuned!

Duck house: landscaping

Over the last week or so, in between paying work, I’ve been doing a different aspect of the duck house project: landscaping and earthmoving at the pond edge.

Here’s where the duck house will go, between these two rocks. So of course all these plants needed to be moved:

Plants

In order to make a path to the duck house, we also wanted to take out a very leaning and half-dead tree:

Leaning tree

So I used our chainsaw to chop it down and chop up the pieces:

Chainsaw

The tree removed, and starting to excavate around it:

Ex-tree

I moved the irises and such to next to the path location, as indicated by marker spray paint:

Moved plants

To get the wheelbarrow over the stream, I made a temporary bridge out of a pallet:

Temporary bridge

Later, I will make a nice arched bridge over the stream. Stay tuned for that project!

(The stream pump is usually turned off, since it loses a lot of water, but we turn it on occasionally.)

With the plants out of the way, I started excavating. I want the duck house to be as close as possible to the pond water level, so the duck ramp doesn’t have to be too long or steep. So there was a lot of dirt to dig out:

Excavating

More excavating. I did it all by hand; I could have hired someone to do it, either manually or with heavy equipment, but there’s a certain satisfaction to doing it myself, as silly as that is:

Excavating

Here’s a camera view of me digging:

Camera view

Getting close to the desired level. I marked the planned location of the duck house:

Excavating

Excavating the path:

Excavating

Those many barrowloads of dirt had to go somewhere. I put some in the chicken run grazing box, and some elsewhere, but the majority of it went onto the back lawn, to fill in the numerous holes and bumps, left from when the veggie garden used to be there, before a previous owner moved it. Once I’ve finished the excavations, I will add grass seed to the dirt:

Dirt on lawn

It’s me!

David

Contoured dirt for the path; we’ll wheel the duck house down this slope when moving it into place:

Contoured dirt

More of the path space; later I will add gravel to the path:

Contoured dirt

Looking down towards the pond:

Contoured dirt

The flat(ish) area next to the pond, with the duck house location marked:

Contoured dirt

Next up: installing the duck house!

Yet more snow

We got a couple more inches of snow this morning.

Beehives and trees with snow:

Beehives with snow

Berry cage with snow:

Berry cage with snow

The shallow (foreground) end of the pond is frozen, but the deep (back) half is liquid:

Half frozen pond

The back lawn covered with snow, with the brown gazebo in the distance, and the old chicken coop on the right:

Gazebo & coop with snow

The flag is snagged on a branch, with a little snow on it:

Flag with snow

Bonus snow

We got some about an inch of unexpected snow yesterday. Some pictures from this morning.

Chickens in the veggie garden with snow:

Chickens in the veggie garden with snow

Beehives in the snow:

Beehives in the snow

Snow sliding off the greenhouse:

Snow sliding off the greenhouse

Brown gazebo with snow:

Brown gazebo with snow

The pond isn’t frozen:

Pond with snow

Another snow day, and no power

We got a few more inches of snow overnight. This morning we lost power… still off a couple of hours later as I write this, though predicted to be back on soon. Hopefully. We have UPSes powering our internet, but no water, since we’re on a well. One day we want to get a whole-house generator, or Tesla Powerwall, but those are expensive. We do have a portable generator, but that doesn’t help with the water, and isn’t needed unless the power stays off for a long time.

Anyway, this morning Jenn and Rory joined me on the rounds, and I took a few more snowy pics.

This is the tree by the chicken run. The branches are usually high enough to walk under, not touching the ground:

The pond is frozen today; unsurprising with the temperature below freezing:

The brown gazebo and chicken coop:

Jenn taking a picture of the snow by the pond arbor:

Rory:

A view of the frozen pond from the pond deck:

Rory enjoyed some off-leash scampering in the field; she loves to run in the snow:

The apple orchard in the field, with the white gazebo in the background:

Rory sniffing deer tracks by the bird feeders:

Cat update for week ending January 26

Happy Caturday! Only 17 pictures this week.

Here’s Poppy by the heated water dish:

Poppy

Two cats inside:

Cats inside

Aww:

Cats inside

Not a cat: a raccoon dared to go inside the shelter:

Raccoon inside

Poppy is waiting for breakfast:

Poppy in the feeder

Me refilling the food dispenser. It sits on a drawer for easy filling:

Refilling food

I spilt a little food on the ground, so the cats were happy to help clean it up:

Cats eating spilt food

All five cats inside:

Cats inside

Another not-a-cat: a raccoon turned up during breakfast time.  I let Rory out onto the deck, which scared it off:

Raccoon in feeder

Since I got a number of nice comments that people enjoyed different views of the cat house, here are a few more. Looking across the small pond:

Cat house

A close-up of the “Cat House Saloon” and “Mercantile” signs:

Closeup on cat house signs

A side view, with the white gazebo and pond deck just visible in the background:

Cat house

Straight on, from further away:

Cat house

Stretch:

Cat stretching

A disappointed possum in the feeder area:

Possum

All five cats outside:

Cats outside

All five inside:

Cats inside

That’s all for this week.

A bit of gardening: flowers & shrubs

Today we did some gardening. Firstly we cleared out one of the flowerbeds, moving things we wanted to keep to other beds, then spraying and hoeing the remainder (mostly weeds and dead flowers), then marked positions for planting with stakes, string, and spray paint:

We then planted some daylilies in triangle patterns, with each triangle the same color. We only have three colors for now, but will be adding another three later, for a nice rainbow sequence:

We also planted some shrubs around the back of the cat house, to give them a bit more privacy (and the back isn’t super attractive; it was originally going to be somewhere where the back wouldn’t be visible).

They are Oregon Grape & Red Flowering Currant shrubs:

Finally, we planted some Ivory Halo Dogwood shrubs out the front by the dogyard, to help fill in a previously useless corner of the field, and give more privacy for the swimming pool. I’ll closely mow and bark this area later:

A productive day!