More ducklings day 36 (start of week 6)

Today marks the start of the sixth week of these ducklings, which is when they are officially old enough to swim, plus no longer need heat (though they’ve been without that for the past week anyway). Still a couple of weeks before they are ready to go into the pond, though… not that that is an option while we’re evacuated, anyway.

So, now that they have the kiddie pool, I’m slowing increasing the water level. They can still touch the bottom, but in a day or two they’ll be actually swimming; that’ll be fun.

(Did you see today’s video with slow-mo and splashes?)

Pool time:

Pool time

Pool time

Also tray time:

Tray time

Fun splashes:

Splashes

Splashes

Splashes

Splashes

Splashes

Evacuation update: level 1

Today the fire officials announced that they have 3% containment of the “Riverside Incident” fire. Which may not sound like a lot, but means that they are confident that the fire won’t spread any closer to the threatened city of Estacada. With a fire currently covering 135,956 acres, 3% of the perimeter is quite a distance. See this map, which shows the containment line in black:

3% containment

They also notified us of further reductions in evacuation levels. We are now in the level 1 zone (again, I don’t publish our exact location for privacy reasons, but if you know where we live, you can see where the zones are relative to our homestead):

Evacuation and fire map

The smoke is still rather thick near home, in the 300 – 500 air quality range, compared to merely 150ish up at Mom’s place:

Air quality map

So we currently plan to hang around up here for another couple of days, and see how things improve. If the state of the fire and air are about the same or better by Friday, we might head home then; we’ll decide then.

More ducklings day 35

One of the things I brought yesterday from the homestead to Mom’s place was the duckling kiddie pool, which I set up today in the trailer pen:

Kiddie pool

One of the Rouens was first into the new pool, closely followed by the Khaki Campbell (aka the little brown duckling… not so little or uniformly brown anymore):

First into the new pool

First into new pool

Two in the water. I only filled it ankle-deep initially; I’ll make it a little deeper over the next few days, until it’s completely full, to let them get used to it. They should be able to swim about now, but it’s best to ease them into it:

Two in the water

More in the pool, and splashing about:

More in the pool

All but one in the pool:

All but one in the pool

Since the Blue Swedish has the gimpy leg, I don’t think she would be able or comfortable climbing that far, so I’m keeping the paint tray pool for her (yes, it’s still gimpy; no better yet, but no worse either):

New and old pools

Blue Swedish by paint tray pool

Evacuation update: homestead visit and level 2

Today we took a day-trip down to our homestead (three hours each way) to check on and feed the animals, and collect a few things we regretted not bringing north.

It was very smoky down there, unsurprisingly, being a couple of miles from the nearest fire. I put on a heavy-duty filter mask while outdoors:

David with mask

I started in the workshop, refilling the food and water dispensers at the front and back of the shop, for feral cats Pepper and Pansy there. They weren’t out of food or water yet, so hadn’t suffered. I also ripped open and left half a bag of food as a backup.

Then I went into the veggie garden, and on to the chickens; they were very vocal, and happy to see me:

Chickens

Here’s a wide-angle shot; you can see the smoke. I left the door to the veggie garden open, so they can go in and help themselves to treats. A bit early; normally we’d do that once we’re done harvesting the veggies, but it may have come to your attention that this is not a normal year:

Chickens

They didn’t waste much time in heading in there:

Chickens

The food dispenser in the new coop was empty, as expected, but the flock block was still there, so they weren’t starving. I refilled the feeder and waterer, and dumped the rest of the bag on the floor of the coop:

Chicken coop

I did the same in the old coop, too:

Chicken coop

There were lots of eggs, unsurprisingly; here is one of the nesting boxes:

Eggs

We brought about three dozen eggs back up north.

I then headed over to the pond. The fenceline trees are barely visible in the smoke:

Smoky

The ducks were happy to see me; they’ve all surived:

Ducks

I dumped the remainder of the bag of food from the duck house onto their food bowl, which hopefully will take them a few days to eat. They were very hungry:

Ducks

Ducks

I also opened the pop door on the duck house, so they can go in there; there’s a bit more food in the feeder tube.

Then I went over to the cat house, and refilled their feeder; it wasn’t empty, so they’ve had small meals each day. I powered up the Camect server, so I can now watch the cat feeder (and other cams) remotely, and will feed them more if the cats turn up.

Looking over the flowerbeds from by the cat house; rather smoky, and that fallen tree will be a project for another day:

Smoky

I also refilled the bird feeders, and the hummingbird feeders.

We noticed a circle marking painted on our driveway; presumably from fire or police officials surveying that we had evacuated. A convenient indicator for the looters some locals are worried about (hey, that’s what insurance is for, though we’re not too worried about that):

Driveway marking

After we finished at the homestead, we headed to Costco to pick up a prescription for Rory and other supplies. Just as we parked, we got an official notification of a change in the evacuation boundaries. Our house is now in level 2, though only barely. Here’s a screenshot of the new evacuation and fire boundaries:

Evacuation and fire boundaries

So we could go home, though level 2 is still risky — it could increase to level 3 at a moment’s notice. We left in level 2, so it doesn’t make any more sense to go back at that level. Plus it’s very smoky down there, much better up here.

We will continue to stay at Mom’s place for a bit longer, preferably until it is reduced to level 1 or all restrictions lifted. Some rain in the forecast later in the week, so hopefully that’ll help.

More ducklings day 33

Another smoky day, not quite as bad as yesterday. The ducklings are feathering out nicely, and starting to make proto-quacks. They grow so fast!

Ducklings

Ducklings

Look at all those feathers:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Two in the bigger pool:

Ducklings

Three in the bigger pool, with some nice water droplets:

Ducklings

Splashes:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Treat time:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Cat update for week ending September 12 (plus evacuation update)

The latest news from our evacuation from the wildfires (or more accurately climate fires): last night the power was restored to our homestead, having been off since Tuesday afternoon. Since it was without electricity for over three days, it’s safe to assume the contents of our three freezers and two fridges will have to be thrown out. But having power means that the well is working again, and the waterers in the chicken runs will refill, which will help them survive. The stream to the small pond will also be running again, providing water for the outdoor cats and wild birds.

We remain safe at Mom’s place, though the smoke from the fires is affecting the air quality up and down the west coast, as can be seen in this map (or check the current conditions):

Air quality

The fire boundary and evacuation map hasn’t really changed since yesterday (website):

Fire and evacuation map

The Clackamas county map (website):

Fire and evacuation map

I talked about the chickens and ducks yesterday; today is Caturday, so I’ll talk about the cats.

We care for nine cats: two indoor-only pet cats (Pippin and Paladin), two indoor-only feral shop cats (Pepper and Pansy), and five outdoor-only feral cats (Poppy and her offspring Porcini, Portabella aka Bella, Pomegranate aka Pommie, and Potato aka Spud).

Pippin and Paladin are safe with us. Pepper and Pansy are still in the workshop, and should have enough food and water to last them about a week. Poppy and the others can feed themselves on rodents etc, but now that the power is back, they will get some meals from the cat house. That food should last about a week too. And they can drink from the stream and small pond, plus a waterer near the cat house.

So I’m not as concerned about the cats as I am about the chickens, though the shop cats would be my next concern after the chickens. I do worry that the outdoor ferals might have abandoned us when they weren’t getting food while the power was off. The feeder has a battery backup, but according to the feeder log, apparently it didn’t work while there was no power, so the batteries must be flat. D’oh! They’ll probably stick around, though.

Unfortunately although the power and internet are back on, my Camect camera server is connected to a UPS that is off, so I can’t view the cameras remotely. I won’t know what’s happening until we go home.

Enough text, let’s have some photos. Here are Paladin and Rory snuggling in our room at Mom’s place:

Paladin and Rory

Some pictures of the feral cats from before we evacuated. Here’s Poppy:

Poppy

Porcini having a bath on the kitchen lawn:

Porcini

And relaxing in the kitchen garden:

Porcini

Poppy emerging from the feeder:

Poppy

Porcini:

Porcini

Porcini again:

Porcini

Poppy again:

Poppy

Poppy and Porcini:

Poppy and Porcini

A tail:

Tail

Finally, Pansy in the back of the shop:

Pansy

I hope the cats will be okay!

More ducklings day 31

See today’s Flock Friday post for info on our evacuation state, and the rest of the flock. For the six rapidly-growing ducklings we have with us, they’ve settled into their new reality, and are enjoying their more spacious digs in the trailer pen. When we can go home again, it’ll be a downgrade for them!

Breakfast for ducklings:

Ducklings

Breakfast

Pool time:

Pool time

Leafy treats:

Leafy treats

Leafy treats

Leafy treats

More pool time:

Pool time

Pool time

Pool time

Dinner time:

Dinner time