Our flowerbeds are looking quite nice at present.
Our flowerbeds are looking quite nice at present.
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:
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:
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:
Here’s the adjusted pond edge:
I then dug in the concrete footings, using the level to make the floor joists flat:
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:
A view 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:
The hardware cloth was stapled onto the inside of the boards, for tidiness, and buried a bit underground:
The final footings & floor joists:
Next up: bringing over the house itself. Stay tuned!
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:
In order to make a path to the duck house, we also wanted to take out a very leaning and half-dead tree:
So I used our chainsaw to chop it down and chop up the pieces:
The tree removed, and starting to excavate around it:
I moved the irises and such to next to the path location, as indicated by marker spray paint:
To get the wheelbarrow over the stream, I made a temporary bridge out of a pallet:
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:
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:
Here’s a camera view of me digging:
Getting close to the desired level. I marked the planned location of the duck house:
Excavating the path:
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:
Contoured dirt for the path; we’ll wheel the duck house down this slope when moving it into place:
More of the path space; later I will add gravel to the path:
Looking down towards the pond:
The flat(ish) area next to the pond, with the duck house location marked:
Next up: installing the duck house!
We got a couple more inches of snow this morning.
Beehives and trees with snow:
Berry cage with snow:
The shallow (foreground) end of the pond is frozen, but the deep (back) half is liquid:
The back lawn covered with snow, with the brown gazebo in the distance, and the old chicken coop on the right:
The flag is snagged on a branch, with a little snow on it:
We got some about an inch of unexpected snow yesterday. Some pictures from this morning.
Chickens in the veggie garden with snow:
Beehives in the snow:
Snow sliding off the greenhouse:
Brown gazebo with snow:
The pond isn’t frozen:
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:
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:
Happy Caturday! Only 17 pictures this week.
Here’s Poppy by the heated water dish:
Two cats inside:
Not a cat: a raccoon dared to go inside the shelter:
Poppy is waiting for breakfast:
Me refilling the food dispenser. It sits on a drawer for easy filling:
I spilt a little food on the ground, so the cats were happy to help clean it up:
All five cats inside:
Another not-a-cat: a raccoon turned up during breakfast time. I let Rory out onto the deck, which scared it off:
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:
A close-up of the “Cat House Saloon” and “Mercantile” signs:
A side view, with the white gazebo and pond deck just visible in the background:
Straight on, from further away:
A disappointed possum in the feeder area:
All five cats outside:
All five inside:
That’s all for this week.
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!