Homestead pending sale

For those curious about the progress towards our next adventure, I thought I’d post a quick update.

That previous blog post was published on June 23, the day our homestead went on the market. (Read that post again for details.)

A few days later, on June 28, we got a couple of offers, and on June 29 we accepted one. So the house sold, contingent on the buyer’s house selling. We then did the usual inspections and such, and the buyer’s house sold on July 21, so our house went pending, locking down the closing date on August 31, as mutually agreed between the parties.

We have 30 days after that before we need to be out of here, at the end of September, though may be out sooner, depending on how things work out.

As discussed in that previous post, we plan to buy a large RV and travel the country. So we need to downsize. We are working with a professional estate sale company to sort through our stuff and prepare it for sale. We’ll have a four-day sale on September 9-12.

We have narrowed down our search for an RV to a few (used) models, and are keeping an eye on the availability. The RV market is pretty crazy right now, much like the house market. We hope to reserve one mid-August, and pay after closing on the house at the end of August.

We also have a big extended family trip to Yellowstone on September 6-14, which was booked ages ago, so we have multiple plans for how to handle that, depending on which RV we decide on. So the estate sale will be conveniently while we are away, since we’ll be selling our bed, amongst other stuff.

It’s been a busy month! And still much to do — sorting our stuff into leave/take/store/sell/trash categories, continuing to research RVs and learn about their systems, installing the towing components on our truck, getting various health checkups out of the way, getting a storage unit, and more.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Our next adventure

Jenn and I like to make big changes every 7-10 years. Jenn sold most of her stuff and moved from the US to NZ to be with me. Seven years later we sold most of our stuff and moved to the US. After a little while in an apartment, we bought a townhouse. Then a decade later we made the big jump from that small townhouse to our current homestead on over five acres. Changing countries, changing from a suburban lifestyle to a rural one, etc.

Now it’s time for our next big adventure. We have put our homestead on the market, and will be selling almost everything yet again, and will be buying a large RV and touring the US for a number of years!

Shocking, I know. We’ve enjoyed the homestead lifestyle, but are feeling the itch for a change yet again. As much as we enjoy the ducks, chickens, feral cats, landscaping, etc of our homestead, we’re feeling the call of the road. We’ve long dreamed of getting a motorhome and exploring the country, perhaps as a retirement plan, but why wait? Better to do it now when we’re still somewhat healthy.

Our house went on the market today, via our friend Jenny Turner of Lovejoy Real Estate — highly recommended if you’re selling or buying in the Portland region:

Lovejoy Real Estate sign

We’ve always been private about our house — this blog has shown lots of pictures of the landscaping and animals, but I’ve avoided showing the house itself, or identifying where it is. But that changes now: here is the real estate listing page. You can see lots of pictures of the house and grounds, and even walk around it in a virtual walkthrough. Check it out!

The real estate market is really hot right now, so we expect it to sell within days. If you’ve enjoyed our homestead and want to live the life yourself, get in quick! After the sale finalizes (“closes”) we’ll buy a suitable RV, move into it, store a few things, hold a professionally-managed estate sale to get rid of our remaining possessions, then hit the road.

We are planning to buy a 35-40 foot (10-12 m) motorhome. Since we’ll be living in it full-time while traveling around the country, we want a fair bit of space, and mod-cons like washer and dryer, and preferably dishwasher; yes larger units do have such things. Something like this:


We plan to stay in one place for a couple of weeks at a time, since we’ll continue to work remotely, sightseeing on weekends. I can, of course, work from anywhere. Jenn has been successfully working remotely for the past year, and has received permission from her manager to continue working remotely as we travel. As long as we have an internet connection, we’ll be fine. (Space for two desks is one of the criteria for a RV.)

We’ll probably initially mostly stay in campgrounds, but over time I expect we’ll do more “boondocking”, i.e. staying in wilderness on public land, without any electrical, water, or sewer hookups. So we’ll want an RV with a generator, solar, and big water and waste tanks.

Our dog Rory and cat Paladin will be coming along with us. It’ll be a bit of an adjustment for all of us!

We’re excited about our next adventure, though are nervous and second-guessing ourselves too. We’ve done a bunch of research, and our trial trip, but actually doing it full-time will be different.

We don’t have an end time for this next phase of our lives; as with the previous ones, we’ll continue doing it until we’re ready for our next change. Which may be settling down in Hawaii or southern Oregon or somewhere else we find in our travels, or perhaps even moving back to NZ. Who knows. One thing at a time.

In the meantime, this blog will continue with cute pictures of ducks, chickens, cats, etc. And I plan to start a new blog for our new adventures, with lots of photos of places we visit. Still brainstorming on the name, though.

Again, check out our house if you’re curious, and stay tuned for updates.

Bee shed: design

Having recently finished the duck island project, I will of course take a break from building… nah! I’m already designing my next homestead project: a shed to store beekeeping equipment.

I’ve actually had a plan for this for over a year, and received delivery of building materials for it and other projects back in April last year. But this project has finally bubbled to near the top of my queue. 

Here is a stack of building materials waiting in the hoop house:

Building materials

And more lumber (only about half of these will be used for this project; the rest are spare):

Building materials

Beekeeping involves a fair amount of equipment, which we currently store in the back of our workshop (along with other stuff, e.g. a cider press):

Beekeeping equipment

Beekeeping equipment

There’s plenty of room back there, but it’s a bit of a trek from the shop to the hives, so it’d be more convenient to have the equipment closer at hand if we need to add a hive box or something. 

And hey, we have this old potting shelter that we inherited with the property:



It is conveniently near the beehives:




So I plan to enclose it with more 2×6 boards and corrugated galvanized steel panels, with clear corrugated panels for windows, and double doors. Inside, it’ll have U-shaped wooden shelving in the back half, weed mat and rubber flooring on the ground, and even a mirror and coathooks for our bee suits.

Yesterday, I took that photo above as a background and sketched the boards and panels onto it using Linea Sketch on my iPad Pro with Pencil. The perspective isn’t quite right, but close enough to indicate the design:

Bee shed design

Imagine clear corrugated panels in the gaps of the walls, and U-shaped plywood shelves on top of those supports.

Here is a time-lapse GIF of the drawing process (warning, there are quick flashes of blue as I hid the background layer while drawing, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing):


Since this is an outside construction project, it is weather dependent — with the big snowstorm we’re expecting over the next few days, I likely won’t start for a week or two. But I’m looking forward to it. Stay tuned for updates!

More ducklings day 7

Your daily dose of ducklings. Plus I went to the feed store to get more food for them, since I was almost out.






This is the non-medicated start & grow food I give both the newer ducklings and older ducks. They have this from day 1 until they’re old enough to start laying:

Duckling food

(As the name implies, there is a medicated variety, that I feed to baby chicks, but ducklings don’t need that medication.)

Yes, this is chick food, but suitable for ducklings too, supplemented with some brewer’s yeast for the niacin ducklings need, plus some rolled oats to cut down the protein:

Duckling food

More ducklings day 1

Welcome to day one of the latest ducklings!

In case you missed it, the TL;DR is that we were concerned about having more boys than girls, which can lead to fighting and other issues, so decided to get seven more female ducklings, so we’ll have a total of five males and ten females — two girls for every boy (reminds me of a song).

Today those new ducklings arrived at our local post office, so I headed out to pick them up.

As usual, I secured them on the front seat in the truck:

Ducklings in the truck seat

The new ducklings in their box, with me about to remove them (photos by my wonderful wife, Jenn):

Ducklings in box

Notice the other setup in the duck house (since I decided not to do a followup to my previous prep post): the shelf liner flooring (to give traction to wobbly ducklings), the Brinsea EcoGlow heating panel, the lowered heat lamp, the thermometer, and the duckling-sized waterer and feeder. It won’t look as clean for long.

Ducklings in the box, with their gel food and heat pack:

Ducklings in box

Ducklings in box

Duck info:

Duck info

The first one out, the Blue Swedish:


The Buff. I’m not sure what’s on her head; I’ll have to take a closer look at that (I’d guess either gel or poop):


The Khaki Campbell, about to have her bill dipped in the water to introduce the concept of drinking:


One of the Rouens:


Another Rouen; there are four of them, so I’ll skip the other two:


Everyone out and exploring:




The temperature is too low in these pictures, as the pop door was open shortly beforehand. It should be 90°F initially; it raised later:






A couple of hours later, already starting to accumulate poop, and the temperature is at the ideal level under the lamp:


The Buff sitting under the EcoGlow (which could be a bit lower; I forgot how tiny day-old ducklings are!):

Duckling under EcoGlow

I hope you enjoyed seeing brand-new ducklings again! (And did you see and listen to the video?)

I currently plan to continue with the daily posts like I did for the earlier batch, though I may decide to reduce the frequency or simplify in some other way. It’s almost a rerun of the earlier ducklings, though no doubt there will be differences.

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: more ducklings!

Yesterday I posted some musings about getting more female ducklings, to address the current imbalance of five males and three females, and expected issues that will cause as the males mature.

After sleeping on it, we decided to go ahead with that idea.

So, we just ordered seven new ducklings, all female. (Hopefully there won’t be any errors this time!) To keep things simple, we got the same four breeds as before, so there will be two females for each male of each breed. Not that they care.

That includes one more female Buff, like Betty (adult duck pictures from

Buff Duck Pair

Plus one Blue Swedish:

Blue Swedish duck

One Khaki Campbell:

Khaki Campbell ducks

And four female Rouens, since we have two males:

Rouen ducks

(Click those links to learn more about each, if interested.)

So, just when I was thinking of winding down the daily duckling posts, I’ll be starting again! It’s good timing, though, since the ducks don’t need the duck house anymore (other than to eat, which they can do outside), but I still have duckling food, and can leave the temporary run in place for when the newer ducklings are old enough for it in a few weeks time.

You can look forward to lots more cute baby duckling pics again starting in about a week!

For a preview, you can review the earlier duckling posts; this link will show them all in chronological order. I’ll use a new tag, imaginatively titled “ducklings 2020 again”, for this second batch of ducklings.

Two new nucs

Yesterday we drove two hours to Eugene, Oregon (and two hours back) to pick up two nucs — nucleus bee hives, i.e. small starter hives.

The bee pickup was quite a streamlined production, with a line of cars, and people loading the nucs into vehicles:

Bee pickup

Interesting plastic nuc boxes:

Plastic nuc boxes

A sign of the times on the way home:

Stay Home, Save Lives sign

We stopped by the feed store on the way home to get some chicken and duck supplies, which resulted in some escaping bees (here our truck is parked on the grass near the hives):

Escaping bees

The straw and other supplies squeezed the left nuc box enough to let some bees escape. The lids weren’t as secure as they could be. It looks like a lot of bees, but isn’t all that many really:

Escaping bees

We’ve ordered components for a sixth hive, but they haven’t arrived yet, so we used a temporary base and a bit of plywood for a lid:

New hive

Opened nuc:

Opened nuc

Frame with queen. Can you see her? We didn’t spot her at the time, but noticed her in this photo, at the bottom just right of center (the long dark bee):

Frame with queen

A brood frame:

Brood frame

The new hive with the five nucs frames added, and a pollen patty for extra food to get them started:

New hive

Nuc for the “hot pink” hive:

Nuc for hot pink hive

Some nice brood frames:

Brood frame

Brood frame

Brood frame

We spotted this queen; the long dark bee on the left of the picture:


A closeup of some bees:


The empty nuc box; we shook most of these bees onto the top of the hive, so they’d find their way inside:

Empty nuc box

We took a look in the older hives. In the cedar hive, we saw their queen (near the top):

Cedar hive queen

Nice new comb in the yellow hive:

Nice new comb in yellow hive

We didn’t see a queen (or sign of one) in the yellow hive, but saw many queen cups, so they’re working on making one. Remember, we recently split the yellow hive to the cedar hive, so now we know which one got their queen, and which one is making a replacement. We’ll check again later to make sure they’re successful:

Many queen cups

A nice honey frame:

Honey frame

We now have six hives:

Six hives

A closer look at the purple, temporary new one, and yellow hives:


A closer look at the cedar, hot pink, and orange hives:


All six from the other side:

Six hives

Home Depot delivery for greenhouse, compost, bee shed projects

This past week I received a delivery from Home Depot of materials for the greenhouse plumbing project, the compost bins project, and the bee shed project.

In normal times, Home Depot delivery is great for materials that are too large for our truck. In these pandemic times, delivery has the extra benefit of not having to go to the store.

Since there’s a fixed $79 delivery charge for any amount of materials, I tend to bundle up multiple projects into one big order, to make the most of it.

I’ll discuss those projects in future posts, but briefly, the greenhouse plumbing is adding taps and irrigation in the greenhouse (currently underway); the compost one is building new compost bins, since our current ones are small and overflowing; the bee shed is enclosing an old potting shelter near the beehives to store beekeeping equipment.

Here’s the delivery truck; as usual, we’re the last order on the delivery route:


The longest boards in the bundle are 16 feet long, so the driver had to lift it high to get above the veggie garden fence to deliver into our hoop house; skillfully done:

Lifted high

The delivery items:

Delivery items

Delivery items

A closer look; pipes for the greenhouse (and lots spare); wood and corrugated steel and clear plastic for the bee shed; other wood for the compost bins:

Delivery items

On the end, a box of smaller bits — roofing screws, PVC adhesive, door hardware, corrugated gap fillers, etc.

Delivery items

On the other end, irrigation tubing and parts:

Delivery items

Stay tuned for more on these projects in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Gas holder & feed store supplies

Before I could mow I needed to get some gas (petrol for non-US readers) for the mowers. Securing the gas cans in the bed of the truck is always a bit tricky, so on a whim I whipped up a wooden holder for them, that contains them securely:

It’s attached to the bed both via a bungee across the top, and a hook directly onto an attachment ring, so it won’t slide around:

I also did my monthly run to the local feed store (15 minutes away; the closest shops to home), where I got several bags of chicken feed, bird seed, and peanuts for the jays: