Flock Friday for March 5

My blog is having issues with uploading images via WordPress at present, so I uploaded these via FTP instead. Shouldn’t make any difference, just a bit more work. Every time I have issues with WordPress, I’m a little more tempted to write my own blog engine. How hard could it be? (Famous last words.)

Let’s start with some sad news: after not losing any ducks for months, we seem to have lost one: we haven’t seen Cora for a few days. I haven’t seen a body either, or any sign of an attack, so it’s a bit of a mystery. I did look around to see if she’s nesting, but didn’t see any sign, and would have expected to see her occasionally. So I assume something grabbed her.

That leaves us with six females and five males. That ratio is getting worse.

Anyway, on with the pictures. Here’s the floating island with some ducks and eggs:

Ducks

Ducks on the bank:

Ducks

Ducks on the grass, with Rory on our evening rounds. She doesn’t go after the ducks; here, she is more interested in sniffing the deer poop than even looking at them:

Ducks

Peeking at some ducks in their house:

Ducks

On the pond:

Ducks

Bert on the ramp into the duck house:

Ducks

Duck butt:

Ducks

The ducks on the lawn near the chicken runs, with some chickens visible:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

The two chicken coops:

Ducks

Some chickens inside the new coop:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

The ducks are venturing a bit further afield; here they are in the grove of trees behind the brown gazebo, and looping around it:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Flock Friday for February 26

This week was an exciting milestone: the ducks started laying eggs.

Firstly, a random picture of the chicken and duck feed:

Chicken and duck feed

Some ducks relaxing on the floating pond island:

Ducks on pond island

And near the edge of the pond:

Ducks

Several ducks coming to under the pond deck to get their mealworm treats, while a couple hang out on the island:

Ducks

Bert and Rémy on the island:

Ducks

A couple of latecomers zooming over from the far side of the pond:

Ducks

Ducks on the back lawn:

Ducks on the lawn

Ducks on the lawn

They continued over the lawn to the old chicken coop, so I got some pictures with both chickens and ducks:

Chickens and ducks

Chickens and ducks

Heading back over the lawn to the pond:

Ducks on the lawn

A cam shot with Bert spreading his wings on the island, and my first glimpse of eggs; more on that later:

Ducks

A bunch of pictures of the chickens:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chicken

Chicken

Chicken

Chickens

The ducks on the pond:

Ducks

Four eggs on the island:

Ducks and eggs

I was hoping they would lay eggs on the island, as a safer place from predators like raccoons.

These probably aren’t fertilized, but now that at least one of the them is laying, we may get baby ducklings before long:

Duck eggs

A bit of snow on the island:

Ducks

The chickens are continuing to ramp up production, increasing the number of eggs laid each day:

Chicken eggs

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

Ice storm: icy branches, icicles, ducks, hummingbirds

We had an ice storm last night. This morning, everything is covered in a layer of ice, with some powdery snow on top. Only about half an inch of each, but it was enough to knock out our power (and for everyone else in the region).

Some icy branches:

Icy branches

Tree branches weighed down; they’re normally high enough to walk under, not touching the ground:

Tree branches

Tree branches

Icy willow branches:

Icy branches

I lifted up a sample, looking edge on: a layer of ice with a layer of snow on top:

Snow and ice

The pond is starting to freeze. Just slushy at present, with some liquid on the edges:

Slushy pond and ducks

Slushy pond and ducks

The ramp into the duck house is icy, but they can make it, so still have access to food:

Slushy pond and ducks

Icicles on the duck house:

Icicles

The ducks:

Slushy pond and ducks

Slushy pond and ducks

Icicles on the bird food box:

Icicles

And the gazebo and deck:

Icicles

The hummingbird feeders were frozen; I brought this one inside to defrost:

Frozen hummingbird feeder

Since we don’t have power now, and thus can’t use the heater, I’m alternating the hummingbird feeders. We can heat water to make the sugar syrup using a kettle on our gas stove. They’re very hungry, unsurprisingly:

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

I’ll go out to the chicken coop every few hours to poke at their water dispensers, to break up the ice.

Our internet is working for now, powered by a UPS, though we’ll probably turn it off soon to preserve the battery. Fun times!

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

Duck island installation via cams

Yesterday I posted about installing the new floating duck island. Today, some additional pictures of that process, as captured by the two cameras that watch the pond.

To start, here’s me easing the cart and island down the bank into the pond, as seen by the cam near the duck house:

Island down the bank into the pond

Island down the bank into the pond

Another angle, from the pond deck cam:

Island into the pond

Island off the cart:

Island off the cart

Adding the two extra buoyancy buckets:

Adding extra buoyancy buckets

Moving it to by the duck house:

Moving it to by the duck house

Removing the upturned boat:

Removing the upturned boat

Removing the upturned boat

A wheelbarrow of dirt (look next to the datestamp):

Wheelbarrow of dirt

Adding dirt:

Adding dirt

Adding grasses:

Adding grasses

Digging up grasses next to the duck house (it was encroaching a bit too close, so I wanted to remove some anyway):

Digging up grasses

Wading in the pond again to plant the grasses in the dirt:

Planting grasses

Anchoring the island:

Anchoring

Ducks investigating the island from a safe distance, an hour after I was done:

Ducks beyond island

Ducks near the island this morning; I haven’t seen any go onto it yet, but at least they aren’t totally avoiding it:

Ducks near island

While on morning rounds, I propped up the old boat with a couple of logs:

Propped up boat

The thought is that they could use it as an additional shelter, e.g. for laying eggs:

Propped up boat

Here it is from across the pond. It isn’t super attractive, though has a certain aged rustic charm. I might move it elsewhere, but that’ll do for now:

Propped up boat

Some more pictures of the island:

Island

Island

Island

Island

A glimpse of ducks on the bank at the back of the pond:

Ducks