Duck house: starting painting

Over the past few days I started painting the duck house.

But first, I removed the roof, so I could paint to the edges of the walls:

Removed the roof

The roof will be screwed to the walls on installation; it is kept separate for now to make moving it easier. Here’s the underside of the roof:

Roof

Some more caulking:

Caulking

Then it was time to start painting. I started with red paint on the walls. This is the same red as on the cat house (leftover paint):

Red paint

Then blue paint on the doors; again the same as on the cat house:

Blue paint

Then white paint on the trim around the doors:

White paint trim

And the trim and interior of the walls etc; here’s the south and east sides:

White paint

East and north sides:

White paint

North and west sides:

White paint

Inside, looking at the treat door and nesting boxes. I didn’t paint inside the chicken coop or cat house, but ducks are very damp, so I wanted to paint everything here, using outdoor paint, to help protect against moisture. Note that this is only the first coat of white paint, so is still a bit patchy; it’ll get a second coat later:

White paint

Inside, looking at the west wall with the duck door:

White paint

Next up: the second coat of white paint, which will conclude the painting.  Then I can attach the door hardware, and do the roofing. Once I buy some drip strip and shingles.

Transplanting fir trees

Last Sunday I transplanted five volunteer fir trees in various places around the property.

This one self-sprouted in the southwest corner of the property, in the middle of a shrub-sized tree, so I dug it up and moved it to a grove of leyland cypress trees in that corner of the field, where it’ll eventually do more good:

Transplanted fir tree

This one sprouted next to a rock by the pond, which would have been fine, except it’d eventually block the view of our weeping willow. So I dug it up:

Dug up fir tree

And transplanted it to a better location a little further from the pond:

Transplanted fir tree

I then headed down the slope on the east side, which is left wild. There are a bunch of tall and not-so-tall trees there; a nursery of baby fir trees amongst the weeds:

Trees

I was pleased to see many little seedlings sprouting up in the uncut grass; I’ve been hoping for that, both to fill out the wilderness with more trees, and provide a supply of more young trees to transplant to useful places in the future:

Seedlings

You win some, you lose some; further down the hill, I saw a fallen tree that took out a section of fence:

Fallen tree

Plus some fallen tree limbs, though many of those have been there for years.  You can also see the road below our east boundary:

Fallen tree limbs

They came from this tall tree:

Tall tree

Back up the hill, I dug up three decent-sized young trees. Here’s the first in the cart:

Tree in cart

I transplanted that one behind the white gazebo. It’s currently next to another mostly dead tree that we’ll cut down… once our chainsaw is done being serviced:

Transplanted fir tree

The final two fir trees I transplanted to the bank behind the pond; you can also see a portion of the north fence:

Transplanted fir trees

Cat update for week ending March 30

About half as many photos this week.

A cute cat:

Cute cat

Scratching the wall carpeting. That’s fine, that’s one reason it’s there (also for more comfort & warmth). It is glued and screwed in place, so should be pretty resistant to their attentions:

Scratching cat

A possum & raccoon encounter on the deck (no cats home at the time):

Possum & raccoon encounter

A pile of three cats, when another arrives:

Four cats

Five cats inside:

Five cats

Five cats downstairs. I love how they lay on top of each other:

Five cats

A couple of cats waiting for more breakfast to be dispensed:

Cats waiting for more breakfast

Cat hugs:

Cats

The alien gray cat now has a collar with a bell; definitely owned by someone:

Alien gray cat

The twins arrive together for dinner:

Twins arrive

The twin cats:

Twin cats

Duck house: last of the battens

Last Saturday I finished off adding the battens for the fake board-and-batten siding.

Here’s the front (west) wall:

Battens

A closer view of that wall.  There’s a gap between the bottom of the battens and the loose board above the awning, as it will be attached after the roofing shingles, which will raise it up a bit:

Battens

The north wall, with new battens to the left of the maintenance doors:

Battens

The east wall, with the cupboard doors, and new battens below the doors:

Battens

The south wall, with the sliding vent.  The wall behind the vent cover is recessed enough to allow for the battens (almost like I planned it, eh):

Battens

I drilled a hole through the wall from the cupboard for power cords (power to the house, and from the house to the pond pump).  To make them tidier, I added a conduit with a removable cover for the wires to travel down the wall:

Power cord conduit

Here’s the inside of the power cord hole, and the cover for the inside, with a notch for the wires:

Power cord hole & cover

I also added a surround to screw the cover into:

Power cord hole surround

And a similar surround for the power cord hole between the cupboard and main part:

Power cord hole surround

Finally, I added a couple of boards to the back of the cupboard to enable adding screws to mount the power strip and light timer:

Mounts for electronics

That concludes the construction phase, at least until I build the floor joists and ramp. Next up: starting painting!

Wild ducks visiting pond, and more pond wading

This morning a pair of wild ducks visited our pond for a pitstop of about half an hour.

Wild ducks in pond

Wild ducks in pond

Wild ducks in pond

Wild ducks in pond

Wild ducks in pond

The pond pump fell (or was pushed) over again, so I added a wider pot to hopefully give it more stability:

David in pond

Me in the pond next to the pump:

David in pond

I waded a bit deeper to clean out more debris (and just for the fun of it); this is about two-thirds of the way back towards the deep end:

David in pond

Bee inspection & treatment; queen sighted

On Sunday we did an inspection and treatment of the beehives.

Here Jenn is pulling out a frame from the yellow beehive; notice the white rack that holds a frame, to make space to pull others out more easily:

Jenn inspecting beehive

We checked for mites via a sugar shake test, where powdered sugar is added to a jar of bees, shaken, water added, then mites counted:

Powdered suger on jar of bees

The bees are unharmed by this; they are returned to the hive, where others will clean them off (tasty sugar!):

Sugary bees

Adding an oxalic acid sugar water mix, that should kill mites without harming the bees:

Bee treatment

A frame with some honey on the left, and capped brood (baby bees) on the right:

Bee frame

Lots of honey (or sugar water from the feeder):

Bee frame

A couple of hive boxes; the bees had very little activity in the bottom box, so we swapped them; they tend to want to move upwards, so would continue to ignore the bottom box if left there:

Hive boxes

Some closeups of bees:

Closeup of bees

Closeup of bees

Closeup of bees

We spotted the queen in the Flow hive; I’ve circled her here:

Queen sighted

A classic beehive frame, with capped brood in the center:

Bee frame

A bunch of bees hanging out at the entrance:

Bees

The Flow beehive:

Beehive

The yellow beehive:

Beehive

Pond pump tweak

A quick pond update.

The pond pump fell (or was pushed) over again, so again I waded into the pond to right it. This time, I moved it from the lightweight plastic pot it was in into a heavier ceramic one, with some rocks for extra weight:

Pond pump

Here it is in position:

Pond pump

I waded deeper in the pond to clear out some floating debris. It’s hard to tell from the camera, but I’m only about halfway back; it gets much deeper in the back half:

David in pond

We saw the smaller fish this week; great to see lots of little ones. Only a few visible in this picture, but there are many more. They’re about two years old:

Fish

The heron visited again early this morning, and wandered around for about two hours, but didn’t seem to catch anything this time (the streaks in this picture are motion-blurred raindrops):

Heron

Cat update for week ending March 23

There have been regular visits by raccoons and possums, but nothing too dramatic, so I’m not including any pictures of them this time.

Four cats inside the shelter:

Four cats inside shelter

A queue waiting for more breakfast to be dispensed:

Waiting for breakfast

A brave/stupid jay in the cat feeder:

Bird in cat feeder

Three cats:

Three cats

The front shop cat, Pepper, sitting by the duck house:

Shop cat

Two cats in the shelter:

Two cats

Very relaxed cats:

Two cats

Another joins them:

Three cats

A very Poppy face at the water dish, with Porcini relaxing on the ground:

Three cats

Poppy is the mother of the kittens, but she can still be kitten-like at times:

Psycho cat

Too close!

Up close

Cat snuggles:

Cat snuggles

Two cats climbing the tree next to the cat house.  I removed the heated water dish, now that it’s getting warmer; we probably won’t be below freezing again:

Climbing tree

A sequence of three images of jumping down from the roof:

Jumping down

Jumping down

Jumping down

Poppy greets her kids:

Three cats

I saw a new alien cat when reviewing the footage this morning; I don’t think I’ve seen this one before:

New alien cat

Finally, Spud came and stared at me in the office, from the front steps:

Cat on steps

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