Preparing the veggie garden

Yesterday I evicted the chickens from our fenced vegetable garden, and prepared it for planting — which Jenn subsequently did.

Here’s a wide-angle photo of the veggie garden as the chickens left it, mostly bare of plants (and dirt strewn everywhere):

Fallow veggie garden

I started with a layer of homemade compost, from the three old plastic compost bins:


Here’s the veggie garden with piles of compost:

Veggie garden with compost

Then a layer of soil on top:

Veggie garden with soil

And with some of the beds planted:

Veggie garden with plants

There are tomatoes in this bed, plus some sunflowers in the potato planters on the right (we’re not going to bother with potatoes this year):


Pumpkin and zucchini in here (a few chickens visible in their run in the background):

Pumpkin and zucchini

Finally, tomatillos, jalapeño, cherry tomato:

Tomatillos, jalapeño, cherry tomato

We’ll probably add some more sunflowers in the fourth bed, plus some lettuce and kale (which are primarily as treats for the chickens).

The plants are all very small at present, but they’ll grow fast!

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

Flock Friday for September 25

A big Flock Friday today, with 33 photos of ducks and chickens, plus a GIF with those and 31 more at the end, as if 33 weren’t enough. But I took lots of nice shots of the ducks, so wanted to share them.

Firstly, via the pond cam from while we were evacuated, a wild duck visitor:

Wild duck visitor

Our ducks with the wild duck visitor (left); much smaller than ours:

Ducks with wild duck visitor

The ducks discovered the other upturned pot islands in the pond:

Ducks on islands

Ducks eating:

Ducks eating

When we got home from our evacuation, I collected eggs. Several under broody Martha:

Broody chicken with eggs

And a bunch in another box:


That would be about one day’s worth in the peak of summer, but they are slowing down for fall, so are from several days. Currently they’re down to about 5 eggs per day.

Chickens waiting for treats:




Yay, rice treats:




We let them into the veggie garden while evacuated (after our mid-evac visit), and they denuded the kale, except for the high leaves out of their reach, though left most of the pumpkins and tomatoes:

Veggie garden

I’ve continued to have issues with the ChickenGuard pop door opener on the new chicken coop:

ChickenGuard opener

So have had to go out to the coop each night to manually close the door. Here are the four chickens that prefer the new coop at night:

Chickens at night

From outside (on another night):

Chickens at night

Back to the ducks, with a bunch of pictures; the males are putting on their colorful feathers now, so they’ve changed a bit since you last saw them:
















GIF of ducks during a rainy night:

GIF of night ducks

Betty has been hanging out in the grasses, maybe thinking of nesting, though a bit young for that:

Betty in the grasses

Here’s a GIF summary of 64 photos from this week, including the above and a bunch more:

GIF summary

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

Veggie garden irrigation addition

The other day I noticed that the soaker hose for one of the beds in the veggie garden had burst, as they are wont to do:

Burst soaker hose

Burst soaker hose

So on Saturday I replaced that hose with better irrigation, like I did earlier for a couple of other beds:

New irrigation

Veggie bed with new irrigation

Veggie bed with new irrigation

Veggie bed with new irrigation

Veggie bed with new irrigation

There is now one bed remaining with a soaker hose in the main part of the veggie garden, plus the ones in the berry cage. I’ll replace those over time when their soaker hoses fail. We’re slowly phasing out the soaker hoses; irrigation tubing and emitters work much better, as they are more reliable, and the irrigation can be more focused and adjustable as needed.

Aerial photos in June

It’s been a while since I flew my drone over our homestead. I felt an urge to do so today, so did, and took a few pictures. I thought I’d share some.

Let start with a top-down view of our flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, veggie garden, and driveway:

Flowerbeds, pond, veggie garden, etc

An angled view of the flowerbeds etc from lower down:

Flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, etc

Flowerbeds, back lawn, pond:

Flowerbeds, back lawn, pond



Back lawn and pond:

Back lawn, pond

The two chicken runs, the veggie garden, and greenhouse:

Chicken runs, veggie garden, greenhouse

A closer look at the veggie garden:

Veggie garden

And the berry cage:

Berry cage

Finally, a glimpse of Mount Hood:

Mount Hood

Berry cage bird netting

Yesterday I added some bird netting to the veggie garden berry cage fences.

When I built the berry cage, I used a fairly narrow gauge welded wire for the fencing, to keep birds out, without excluding bees, but it turned out that some birds could still squeeze through.

So, I added an additional layer of lightweight bird netting to prevent that.  The roof doesn’t have the bird netting, on the theory that they won’t be able to go in that way as easily as horizontal access. Time will tell if I’m wrong about that too!

Berry cage

Berry cage netting

Berry cage

Berry cage netting

Potato planters prep and irrigation

Yesterday we started the potato planters. I added some scoria and dirt to the planter frames, Jenn planted the seed potatoes, and I added new irrigation for them.

Here is a base of scoria (for drainage) and a wheelbarrow load of very damp dirt (3-way mix):

Scoria and dirt

Previously we had a soaker hose for the potato planters, but that didn’t do a very good job of delivering water to the plants (and not all around them). So I added better irrigation, starting with a convoluted pipe off the tap of the nearby bed:

Irrigation piping

The underground pipe to that tap actually goes right by the potato planters, complete with an expansion point, so one day I might add a separate tap for the potato planters, instead of splitting off this bed. But I decided to take this approach for now.

Since I mentioned that, a minor digression: here’s an old picture from 2014 showing that portion of the veggie garden pipes; the potato planters are just beyond my toolbox:

Veggie garden pipes

Another old picture, showing the aforementioned pipe expansion points:

Pipe expansion point

One day I should do a post with plumbing projects like this one from before I started this blog.

Anyway, back to present day.

The irrigation pipe goes behind the potato planters, with emitter leads for each planter, so they can be moved as more dirt is added:

Potato planters with irrigation

I used a new kind of emitter that has a wider coverage than the sprinkler kind I’ve previously used, so one emitter gives even coverage of the whole thing:

Potato planter with irrigation

Hey why not… here’s a GIF edition of that picture, showing it working:

GIF of irrigation emitter

Here’s a wider view of the planters and piping:

Potato planters with irrigation

As the potatoes grow upwards, we’ll add more dirt and retaining boards, resulting in several layers of spuds.

Planting veggie garden and adding irrigation

Yesterday we did our traditional Mother’s Day activity of preparing and planting the veggie garden. I also added some improved irrigation.

Over the winter, the chickens get to enjoy going in the veggie garden, providing a helpful service of clearing out the plants and keeping it weed-free. So the first thing was to close the gate and hole in the fence from the chicken runs, so they no longer have access, which always confuses and frustrates them for a little while.

That done, Jenn brought the veggie plants out of the greenhouse, while I used a mattock to break up the compacted soil:

Breaking up compacted soil

I also added some fresh soil. Here’s a prepared bed:

Prepared bed

While Jenn planted the veggies, I added improved irrigation on a couple of the beds:


We had previously used soaker hoses, which don’t really provide the water in the best spots, and tend to fail regularly. This irrigation tubing and emitters should work better:


Here’s a view of the whole garden from the west gate:

Whole garden

We rotate the crops each year. This time, the southwest (SW) bed contains roma and cherry tomatoes:


The NW bed is still using a soaker hose for now, though I’ve bought some irrigation emitters for it and other beds yet to be converted. It contains a single pumpkin plant (since one is enough to take over half the garden), plus lettuce, kale, and a couple of corn sprouted from seeds:

Pumpkin, lettuce, etc

The NE bed contains corn (a different variety) and onion:

Corn, onion

SE: tomatillos, jalapeños, and zucchini; the second bed with the new irrigation:


One of the reasons for the berry cage is to keep the chickens out, along with wild birds, so the plants don’t get eaten each winter. The SW bed contains everbearing strawberries:


The NW berry cage bed has Hood strawberries:


The SE bed has gooseberries, red currants, and huckleberries:

Gooseberries, red currants, huckleberries

The NE bed has blueberries:


And the north bed has hops:


This morning I briefly flew my drone for an aerial view of the veggie garden and berry cage:

Aerial view of veggie garden

A closer view of veggie garden side:

Aerial view of veggie garden

And part of the berry cage side:

Aerial view of veggie garden

An angled view of both (and part of the chicken runs):

Aerial view of veggie garden