Heron, raccoon, and me in the pond

Some pictures from the big pond.

I recently added a camera that has a view of the pond, in anticipation of having ducks there. It has been interesting to see some of the wildlife that visits the pond.

Apparently raccoons can swim:

Swimming raccoon

We were pretty sure that herons visited the pond, but hadn’t seen one till a couple of days ago, when it was captured via the camera. Here’s a heron landing:

Heron landing

And strolling around in the shallow part of the pond:

Heron in pond

The heron visited again that night; I didn’t realize they were nocturnal hunters too. Here it has a frog, which it ate (sorry about the spiderweb in front of the camera):

Heron with frog

Yesterday I waded into the pond and righted the fountain pump, which had fallen (or was pushed) over, and switched it on:

David in pond

The fountain helps aerate the water. We also have a waterfall and stream, but that tends to make the pond level drop, so we usually don’t have it active.

Here’s the fountain pump:

Pond pump

I noticed one of the water lily baskets on its side, so righted that too, and found several sacs of salamander eggs on it. Interesting how the stalks were trying to compensate for being on its side, too:

Salamander eggs

Here’s a salamander:

Salamander

The pond level was low, so I also turned on the water to the pond taps, and turned on the tap to top up the pond:

Filling pond

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

New chicken & duck cams

A couple of days ago I set up four new cameras around the homestead.

Two were for the chickens. We have two coops, each with a run (that are separated by a fence, but with an open hole so the chickens can go between them, for now). The old coop had an old low-quality camera mounted in the ceiling, and the old run didn’t have a camera at all.

So I replaced the old coop camera with a new one, mounted on the wall for a better angle.  This camera has a wide field of vision, about 100°, so can see most of the coop:

Camera

Here it is in context on the wall behind the door. The coop is very cobwebby!

Camera in coop

This is me looking at the camera viewing app on my phone, to check the position during installation:

David and chickens in the coop

And here’s the view from the camera once the angle was tweaked:

Chickens in coop

Another example, with a bunch of chickens roosting:

Chickens in coop

As evening sets in, most of the chickens roost in the new coop, but a few roost in the old one:

Sleepy chickens

The chicken pop door automatically closes after dark:

Pop door closed

As mentioned, I also added a camera in the old run. Here you can see the old camera for the new run on the left, and the new camera for the old run on the right (confused?!):

Chicken run cams

Here’s an example of the view from this camera, showing the old coop:

Old run cam

A screenshot of the camera app, showing all four chicken cams.  I like how the two run cams line up to a panoramic view of both runs (with a little overlap):

Screenshot of cameras

I also set up two cameras to watch the (future) ducks. Here, I’m installing the outdoor camera to watch the pond. I have the camera running so I can check the position:

David by pond

Here’s the pond cam, mounted on the pond deck:

Pond cam

The view from the pond cam; it can see most of the pond:

Pond

Finally, I also set up an indoor cam for the duck house, though since I’m still building that, in the meantime I’ve placed it to watch Pepper’s bed in the front of the shop:

Cat in shop

(I’ll have a few more pictures from that cam in tomorrow’s Caturday post; stay tuned for that!)

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

Sunny snow

We haven’t had any more snow for a couple of days, but it’s been below freezing most of the time, so what’s here isn’t significantly melting. The forecast calls for more snow this weekend, so the current stuff will solidify into a layer of ice, with fresh snow on top.

Here are a few more snowy pictures, from yesterday and today.

Gobs of snow on a dogwood tree:

Snow on dogwood tree

Snow on the beehives, with icicles hanging off the roof. The snow is melting above the brown one in the foreground, which is a good sign of warm bees inside. It isn’t melting as much on the other hive, which may mean they aren’t doing so well, or the roof might just be a better insulator:

Snow on beehives

Looking up at the ceiling of the berry cage. It’s holding up nicely so far, though I worry about its capacity to cope with lots more snow. But I’m not going to try cleaning it off; I want to see what it can handle, and will repair later if needed:

Snow on berry cage

A close-up:

Snow on berry cage

Some interesting graupel patterns on the frozen pond:

Pond

The pond and snow-covered trees beyond:

Pond & trees

Me shoveling the snow from the driveway, so Jenn could go out (the car is parked inside the shop, for now, though she’ll start parking it in the breezeway next to the shop, so I can work on the duck house in there):

Clearing driveway

Snow shovel:

Clearing driveway

Icebergs sliding off the hoop house:

Snow sliding off hoop house

Morning sun through the trees:

Sun

Sparkly snow:

Sparkly snow

Frozen garden ornament, with the brown gazebo in the background:

Garden ornament

Interesting morning light, with sparkly snow, and snow-covered trees beyond the field:

Sparkly snow

Frozen small pond:

Frozen small pond

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:

First snow of 2019

Although much of the country has had lots of snow this winter, we haven’t had any… until now. Yesterday morning we had a brief dusting of snow, then overnight we got about three inches, with a forecast of more throughout the day.

Naturally, I took a bunch of photos while on my morning rounds.

Here’s the brown gazebo and trees covered in snow:

Snow on brown gazebo

The pond wasn’t frozen, yet anyway:

Snow on the banks of the pond

The flowerbeds, with the pond deck on the left, the brown gazebo in the distance, and the veggie garden on the right:

Flowerbeds under snow

The chicken coop:

Chicken coop with snow

As usual, the bird netting on the roof of the chicken run collapsed under the weight of the snow. I plan to replace that with welded wire, like the berry cage, but was hoping to defer it; now I guess I need to either repair the netting, or do the wire after all:

Chicken run

The welded wire on the berry cage held up just fine:

Berry cage with snow

The beehives:

Beehives with snow

The cat house, somewhat sheltered by the trees:

Cat house with snow