Flock Friday for March 27

This week was a busy one for the flock, with a possible first duck egg, me wading in the pond, broody chickens, and the heron and a flock of geese visiting.

An egg?!  Maybe!  We found this large broken white egg on the edge of the pond; it sure looks like it could be a duck egg, and I am expecting Gert to start laying about now. I have been looking most days for more, but haven’t found any yet:

Duck egg?

Duck egg?

On Sunday I waded into the pond with a large ceramic pot, to make a small island for the ducks:

Adding a pot to the pond

Adding a pot to the pond

The pot island:

The pot island

The main reason for doing that was that the ducks often perch on the pot that encloses the pump, but I also wanted to clean and turn on the pump, which would prevent that:

Cleaning the pump

Here’s the pump going:

Pump and ducks

A bunch of pictures of the ducks while I was standing in the pond:

Ducks

Pump and ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks going into their house:

Ducks going into their house

I’ve seen the ducks sitting below the pond deck on several occasions; I’m wondering if that’s a possible nest location (nothing there yet, though):

Ducks below the pond deck

Let’s not forget the chickens. Here are some having dust baths in the veggie garden:

Chickens having dust baths

Enjoy it while you can, girls! Once the weather warms up enough for us to start planting, they’ll be evicted.

Refilling one of the outdoor waterers; it’s easier to do that in summer, when the garden water is on, but at present I have to turn on an underground valve for one of the pipes, which leads to this tap in the back lawn, plus the pond tap:

Refilling waterer

Domino laying an egg in a nesting box:

Domino in nesting box

You can see the leftmost egg still glistening, moments after being laid:

Domino in nesting box

The heron stopped by briefly:

Heron

An animated GIF of topping up the pond; you can see the water from the hose on the right, and the water level rising slowly (watch the pond edge):

GIF of topping up pond

Ducks following me down the path:

Ducks following me down path

Did you see my YouTube video of eleven geese taking a pitstop in our pond?

Here are some photos of that, starting with the geese landing (look in the upper-left corner):

Geese landing

Geese

Geese

Geese

Geese

The geese taking off:

Geese taking off

Finally, Martha is being broody again, hanging out in a nesting box; here she’s sitting on 15 eggs:

Martha in box

Flock Friday for March 20

This week, the ducks walked across the back lawn to meet me a few times, the chickens got their favorite treat, the heron visited again, and more.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t follow my personal blog, Dejus: because everyone could use a bit more joy at present, I’m posting a moment of cuteness every day. Which will include additional duck and chicken pictures not posted here, plus feral and pet cats, our dog Rory, and other cute things from around the homestead. So you might enjoy following the Dejus blog, or its RSS feed, or cross-posts on Micro.blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Anyway, on with today’s Flock Friday. Here are the ducks in their house:

Duck in duck house

Duck in duck house

The ducks on a frosty back lawn:

Ducks

Eating mealworms next to the duck house:

Ducks by duck house

Ducks by duck house

Chickens having a dust bath in the veggie garden:

Chickens having a dust bath

The ducks on the back lawn again:

Ducks

Quacking and walking back to their house:

Ducks

Ducks on path

A couple animated GIFs of the ducks on the path to the duck house (different than the one posted on my personal blog):

GIF of ducks on path

GIF of ducks on path

Chickens staring at me, waiting for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens waiting for treats

It was worth the wait; rice is their all-time favorite treat, after mealworms:

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Another frosty morning, and again the ducks running over the lawn to see me:

Ducks running over the lawn to see me

Ducks on back lawn

Quacking at me by the chicken runs:

Ducks by chicken runs

Ducks by chicken runs

Did you see the YouTube video of them following me to the duck house and getting treats?

A heron coming in for a landing:

Heron landing

Heron landing

Heron in the pond, watched by the ducks:

Heron in pond

Finally, since Jenn hasn’t been going to work due to COVID-19, and the chickens are laying about a dozen eggs per day at present, we’re accumulating lots of eggs. Here are four dozen, washed and ready to make into a heap of breakfast burritos this morning:

Four dozen eggs

We’ll work on thinking of other meals to eat up the eggs. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Stay safe, stay home, everyone!

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.

Flock Friday for March 13

This week, I bet you could use pictures of cute chickens and ducks, eh?

The chickens going after treats; notice Camilla on top of Merida:

Chickens

Chickens

The ducks coming over the lawn to greet me:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Following me down the path to the duck house:

Ducks

Ducks

Eating mealworm treats on the bank by the duck house:

Ducks

Two chickens in a nesting box:

Two chickens in a nesting box

I feel like she’s giving me a disapproving look:

Chicken in nesting box

A bunch of chickens in the old coop:

Chickens

I’ve got a couple months of chicken feed stacked up:

Chicken feed

The ducks again:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Flock Friday for March 6

A couple of times this week, the ducks walked across the back lawn to visit me by the chicken coop.

Firstly, you probably saw a couple of posts with aerial shots from my new drone; here’s one more of the pond and ducks:

Aerial shot of pond and ducks

On Monday morning, while I was doing my usual rounds to give the chickens and ducks treats, and refill the bird feeders, the ducks crossed the back lawn to come see me by the chicken coop:

Ducks on back lawn

The ducks by the chicken run:

Ducks by chicken run

Ducks by chicken run

Ducks by chicken run

After I left, they followed me onto the driveway, which is the furthest I’ve seen them from the pond:

Ducks on driveway

Ducks on driveway

Ducks on driveway

I encouraged them to go back to the pond:

Ducks heading back to pond

Ducks heading back to pond

A couple of days later, they joined me on the back lawn again:

Ducks on back lawn again

Ducks on back lawn

Ducks on back lawn

Did you see the YouTube video of them? Make sure you turn on the sound; fun to hear them quacking at me.

Once again, I encouraged them back to the pond, for their safety:

Ducks in pond

A view from the hidden path:

Ducks in pond

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!