Planting the front garden

Another garden project was to plant our front garden. It used to have a tall hemlock tree, but it died and had to be cut down several years ago — some large rounds of that remain at the back of the garden. We had a grand plan to add a stream and such, so left it empty for years awaiting that, but we finally decided to not bother with that, and do a simpler design.

Here’s the garden cart with the green Japanese maple tree, barberry, nandina, and Japanese forest grass, plus the empty garden:

Cart with plant and empty garden

We planted the Japanese maple tree in the center of the garden, then laid out the other plants around it:

Laying out plants

While Jenn did the planting, I installed irrigation pipes and emitters. Here’s the result:

Planted and irrigated

Manual water timer:

Water timer

Another angle, showing an overview of the finished plants and irrigation; the pipes will eventually be hidden under bark:

Plants and irrigation

A closer look; irrigation for the green Japanese maple:

Plants and irrigation

Wide-angle irrigation for three triangles of Japanese forest grass:

Plants and irrigation

Individual irrigation for barberry and nandina plants:

Plants and irrigation

The view from my office window upstairs:

View from my office window

Much nicer than the empty garden!

We might add a few more plants to fill in some holes. And as mentioned, later we’ll add a layer of bark to give it a finishing touch.

Another stroll through the woods

The east side of our property is a slope down to a valley, mostly covered in trees, about an acre in size. Earlier this week, as the snow was melting, I hiked down the hill, and took a bunch of pictures of the trees. I typically only go down there around this time of year, as it gets a bit overgrown in the summer, plus there are a lot of blackberry brambles, which aren’t much fun when wearing shorts in the warm weather.

But first, I surveyed the fir tree seedlings that have self-seeded on the grassy slope:

Tree seedlings

Including a random lone pine tree:

Tree seedlings

I will soon transplant some of those to more useful locations, e.g. next to the pond. Over time, the ones I leave will grow too big to transplant, like the smaller trees in the middle of this picture (may be a little hard to make out against the taller ones behind them):


Looking up at the tallest tree on our property:

Tallest tree

Heading down the hill, there are nice groves of ferns:


And lots of impressive trees:



A mossy clearing:

Mossy clearing

More big trees:



Fallen branches crushing the fence at the bottom of the property:

Fallen branches on the fence

More trees:




There are a fair amount of blackberry brambles, too:


More ferns:


Looking up the hill towards the tallest tree again, with a couple of shorter ones in front of it:


Those tall trees keep the underbrush fairly clear; could be a nice spot for a picnic, perhaps, if we were into that sort of thing:



The forked base of the tallest tree:


A vertical panorama of looking up at that tree:


But wait, there’s more:





Emerging from the trees behind the future bee shed:

Emerging from the trees

Speaking of, I will be starting that project soon. Stay tuned for that!

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:




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 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

January snow and aerial photos

Last night it snowed a little for the first time this season. Less than an inch; just enough to give a winter wonderland feeling around the homestead.

So this morning I flew my drone to capture the snowy landscape from the sky, plus some ground-level pictures on my morning rounds.

Here’s my DJI Mavic Mini drone hovering in front of me on our deck:


An overview of much of the snowy homestead:

Snowy homestead

Angling up a bit to capture the lightly dusted trees and mist:


Closer to the trees:


Our pond from above the back lawn:


Another angle of the pond, and a better look at the ducks:

Pond and ducks

Looking straight down:

Pond and ducks

From further back, you can see the pond, back lawn, and flowerbeds:

Pond, back lawn, flowerbeds

Back a bit more, adding the shop, hoop house, veggie garden, and chicken runs:

Pond, back lawn, etc

Looking down on the white gazebo and dormant flowerbeds; the cat house is also visible in the top-left corner:


The back lawn, brown gazebo, grove, and veggie garden:

Back lawn, grove, veggie garden

Down on the ground, here’s the greenhouse, with a sheet of snow sliding off the roof:


Our beehives; they’re all huddled inside, keeping themselves warm. We’ll see in a few months whether or not they all survive the winter:


By the pond:

By the pond

The duck house and pond — the water maintains its temperature well; it needs to be cold much longer to freeze:

Duck house and pond

The white gazebo and flowerbeds, with a glimpse of ducks on the back lawn in the background:


Finally, looking across the fountain garden towards the cat house:

Cat house and fountain garden

Aerial photos in November

I flew my drone today. Previous flights this year included OctoberAugustJuneApril, and March.

This time, we’re done with the fall foliage, so there are just the millions of evergreen trees around us.

Lots and lots of trees, to the misty horizon:


Here’s a glimpse of Mount Hood:

Mount Hood

Zoomed in a bit:

Mount Hood

Our pond, flowerbeds, etc:

Pond, flowerbeds, etc

Pond, flowerbeds, etc

From lower down:

Pond, etc

The junk area in the corner of the property; there’s an old dinghy (that I occasionally think about putting by the pond as a decoration and duck shelter), and a bunch of rocks, pipes, wood, and other stuff, mostly buried under weeds:

Junk area

That rectangle near the bottom is an old potting shelter, that I plan to enclose to make a beekeeping storage shed. Here it is again, along with the beehives:


An angled view of the beehives, hoop house, veggie garden, etc:

Beehives, veggie garden, etc

Looking down on the veggie garden, berry cage, and chicken runs:

Veggie garden

One reason for flying today was to investigate a gutter that has come loose:


After flying, I got out a ladder and fixed it; all better now.

Here’s me and Rory on the main deck:

David and Rory

Maple fall foliage

Fall is a colorful time of year, especially from the various maple trees we have around the homestead.

Here is a coral bark maple by the front of the shop, that turns all sorts of interesting colors; right now a sampler as some leaves are still green, some yellowing, and a few red:


A big maple near the fountain garden is well on its way to losing leaves:


Its leaves cover the ground all around it:



Plus decorating shrubby trees:

Shrubby tree

Shrubby tree

An October Glory red maple near the pool area; not a great picture, it can really glow in certain light:


As a bonus, some non-maple leaves covering the pond for the ducks to swim through:

Leafy pond and ducks

Leafy pond and ducks

Aerial photos in October

I flew my drone today; the first time since the end of August. Previous flights this year included JuneApril, and March. This time, some nice fall foliage.

A view of the shop, veggie garden, chicken runs, back lawn, pond, flowerbeds, etc:

Veggie garden, back lawn, pond, flowerbeds, etc

Closer to the pond:


One reason for this flight was to get an aerial shot of the path to the duck house; I have a hose used to fill the duck’s waterer, which is also arranged as a possible edge of the path. Hard to see in this picture, though:

Pond path area

Over to the flowerbeds; you can see a fallen tree from the big storm that contributed to the wildfires earlier (we’ll cut it up and remove it soon):



Flowerbeds and downed tree

Part of the field and flowerbeds. The long grass in the field looks like nice soft velvet:

Field and flowerbeds

From higher up:

Field and flowerbeds

I landed the drone to change the battery, then took off again; Rory wasn’t thrilled about that:


Finally, a few shots of trees, to capture the fall foliage:




Pond and trees

Measuring tree heights

Every year at around this time I wander around the property measuring the heights of select trees, to see how much each has grown. Here’s a post about this last year.

Once again, the incremental growth throughout the year becomes more obvious when compared with measured heights from the previous year.

Here’s my spreadsheet recording the heights (in inches), with columns to indicate the change from the previous year, e.g. the “19 ▸ 20 Δ” column shows the number of inches of growth between 2019 and 2020:

Tree heights spreadsheet

I only took photos of some of the trees this year. Here they are, in the same order and captioned with the name from the spreadsheet. If you compare to last year’s post, you can see some distinct growth in some of the trees. I hope you enjoy some unusual glimpses of the homestead.

Coral bark maple (by front of shop):

Coral bark maple (by front of shop)

Field Leyland NW (corner):

Field Leyland NW (corner)

Field dawn redwood (second row):

Field dawn redwood (second row)

Field tulip (replacement) (second row):

Field tulip (replacement) (second row)

Field scarlet willow (second row):

Field scarlet willow (second row)

Field oak (replacement) (“Thorin 2”, center of field):

Field oak (replacement) (“Thorin 2”, center of field)

Behind white gazebo fir (N of gazebo):

Behind white gazebo fir (N of gazebo)

Next to stream fir (next to pond stream):

Next to stream fir (next to pond stream)

Weeping willow (beyond pond, by cat graveyard):

Weeping willow (beyond pond, by cat graveyard)

Aerial photos in August

I flew my drone over the homestead yesterday. Interesting to compare to when I did so in June and back in April and March.

Let’s begin with an angled aerial shot of the apple trees in the field, the flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, and veggie garden:

Aerial of flowerbeds, pond, etc

The reverse angle, with the shop, hoop house, veggie garden, back lawn, pond, and flowerbeds:

Veggie garden, back lawn, pond

Closer to the pond, with the ducks visible; they weren’t sure what to make of the strange noisy bird hovering and flying nearby:


Another angle of the pond and ducks:


And another:


GIF of flying upwards from the pond:

GIF of pond zoom

One more from lower down; I think this is the first time I’ve hovered over the pond:

Pond and ducks

The flowerbeds and white gazebo:


Beehives, greenhouse, veggie garden, chicken coops, hoop house, back of shop:

Beehives, veggie garden, hoop house

Veggie garden:

Veggie garden

Hops taking over the top of the berry cage:


The berry cage and weather wind speed and direction sensors:

Berry cage and weather sensors

Mount Hood is looking a lot less snowy at this time of year:

Mount Hood

Zoomed in on Mount Hood:

Mount Hood