Flock Friday for September 27

It’s Flock Friday time.

Here are a couple of ducks heading up the ramp into their house:

Ducks heading into their house

Duck butts, looking through the pop door into the duck house:

Duck butts

Some pictures of the ducks in the pond, scooping up treats, and going between sunlight and shadow:

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Another day, I went over to the west side of the pond, and the ducks followed me:

Ducks in pond

The chickens have been roosting above the window in the coop, which isn’t entirely approved, since jumping down from that height could injure them, or cause other chaos:

Chickens roosting above window

Like this: a chicken using another as a step on the way down:

Chickens roosting above window

So I trimmed the hardware cloth above the window to be less roost-like. One still managed to perch above the window, but the others took the hint:

Chickens roosting above window

A couple of pictures of the new chickens outdoors:

Chickens

Chickens

A chicken pecking at zucchini:

Chicken pecking at zucchini

A steller’s jay bird flying off with a peanut from the tray:

Steller's jay with a peanut

Cat update for week ending September 21

Time once again to take a peek in the cat house.

One of the twins playing inside:

Cat playing inside

About to jump onto the camera housing:

About to jump

Startled:

Startled

Two for breakfast:

Two for breakfast

A raccoon visited soon after breakfast was dispensed:

Raccoon

So I decided that since it was getting light later, I should change the feeder schedule to dispense half an hour later.

Three cats:

Three cats

One arrives while another is eating:

Two cats

Playing:

Playing

Poppy is sleeping, and another cat arrives:

Sleeping and arrival

Another unwelcome guest, a possum; fortunately with no food left:

Possum

Porcini waiting for breakfast; she didn’t get the memo of the later breakfast time:

Waiting for breakfast

Pepper in the shop:

Pepper in the shop

Spud on the front steps:

Spud on the front steps

A couple of days later, Spud hanging around again, on the kitchen lawn:

Spud on the kitchen lawn

A Steller’s Jay making poor life choices:

Steller's Jay making poor life choices

Went back for several more bits of food:

Steller's Jay making poor life choices

Looking out the window:

Looking out the window

Three cats on the deck:

Three cats on the deck

Flock Friday for September 20

Hi there. It’s me again. Doing the Friday thing.

Ducks in their house:

Ducks in their house

Paladout (what we call the alien gray cat, if you missed that in the cat updates) visited the ducks one night; they were both startled to see each other, but he wandered off without any drama:

Cat by ducks

I doubt cats would go after ducks, being similar size. And the ducks were safe behind the fencing around the duck house ramp. I’ve seen them resting there overnight several times.

Ducks exploring the back of the pond:

Ducks at the back of the pond

I went back there, and they looked at me quizzically:

Ducks at the back of the pond

A view of almost the entire pond; you may be able to make out the ducks still at the back:

Ducks at the back of the pond

The heron visited again, and knocked the mobile camera out of alignment (it isn’t permanently mounted, but just resting on top of a boulder, with some bricks loosely anchoring it; one day I’ll buy a permanent one for there). Here it’s just jumped down from the rock:

Heron knocked camera

The culprit:

Heron

The heron taking off:

Heron taking off

The ducks exploring the grass between the duck house and waterfall. One more place for me to check for eggs when they start laying:

Ducks exploring grass

The ducks and fish scooping up treats:

Ducks and fish

Three ducks, three big koi:

Ducks and fish

(Yes, the fish are bigger than the ducks.)

Ducks circling:

Ducks

The new chickens pecking at some tomato treats:

Chickens with tomatoes

Chickens through weeds:

Chickens through weeds

Again with tomatoes:

Chickens with tomatoes

Hey there:

Chickens

The older chickens with tomatoes:

Chickens

We have a lot of tomatoes from the veggie garden right now; Jenn is canning 20 pounds or so of them, but the chickens get the split ones, and the ones the bugs got to first… if they’re really lucky, with tasty insect bonuses.

Hanging out with Merida, giving her pats:

Chickens

Fuzzy butt:

Chicken

Domino and Buffy:

Chickens

Lastly, a shot of some hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds

Did you see today’s YouTube video of hummingbirds and a wasp on that feeder?

Added cat house, electrical, shop, beekeeping, plumbing, and chicken run project summaries

I’ve added several more project summaries to the Yellow Cottage Homestead site, for my project of summarizing homestead projects. Still a few left to go, but I’m getting there.

This is a summary of the project summaries (replicating the summary post). Each one includes links and pictures from posts on the Yellow Cottage Homestead blog. You can read the summaries for an overview of each project, and click through to the individual posts if you want more details.

Visit the Projects page to scroll through all of the projects, or pick individual ones below. Click or tap on the photo to visit that summary.

More project summaries will be added over time. Here are the ones available so far:

Cat House

A project to build a shelter and feeder for the family of feral cats that adopted us.

House Electrical

Electrical work in our house.

Shop

Projects related to our workshop.

Beekeeping

Various construction projects related to beekeeping.

Garden Plumbing

Various plumbing projects around the homestead.

Chicken Run

A project to build the fence and netting roof of an outdoor run for the new chicken coop.

Chicken Coop

A big project to build a new chicken coop.

Potato Planters

A simple project to build three potato planters.

Beehive inspection with cloths

We added a handy new tool to our beekeeping practices: canvas inspection cloths. These are multi-layered cloths that go over the top of hive boxes during inspection, to keep the bees in the dark, which keeps them more calm. They seem to help quite a bit:

Beehive inspection cloth

Here’s a frame from the yellow hive with the marked queen; one of our new queens. See the green dot? That makes it much easier to spot her:

Marked queen bee

Another angle:

Marked queen bee

A GIF of the queen (as previously posted):

GIF of queen bee

A frame of honey from the yellow hive:

Frame of honey

A partial frame of honey from the purple hive:

Frame of honey

A purple hive frame with brood and the (unmarked) queen; can you spot her?

Frame with brood and queen

Here’s a closer look; I’ve circled the queen:

Queen bee

We switched to an alcohol wash mite test instead of the sugar shake. This is a bit easier:

Alcohol wash mite test

A mostly full frame of honey from the Flow hive:

Frame of honey

 We noticed a bee dragging off another one; they do that to clear out dead ones, but this one wasn’t quite dead yet. It was feeling much better:

Bee dragging off another

The new hot pink hive has a top sugar syrup feeder (visible on the left), and the bees took advantage of the space in the middle of that to build extra comb; that isn’t approved, but we left it for now:

Comb in feeder gap

A problematic frame from the orange hive, where they had previously built cross-comb. They are slowly repairing it, but are still very cranky with us, so we just removed the mite treatment patty and otherwise left them alone:

Problematic frame

You may recall that we have two nucs with the old queens that we replaced. When we checked them, one was evacuated; empty frames and no bees. So we moved some drawn-out frames to the other one, to replace non-drawn-out ones, and removed the empty nuc:

Nucs

Sometime we’ll move the remaining nuc to the hoop house, so the waxed cardboard has more chance of surviving the winter.  The hive probably won’t survive, being so small, but no big loss; it was only kept just in case the new queens didn’t “take”. If it does survive, we’ll move it into a new hive box next year.

Cat update for week ending September 14

Despite my chicken chase video earlier this morning, it’s actually Caturday… so here are some cats.

A cat stretching to the awning, while another eats:

Cat stretching to awning

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

Two cats rather early for breakfast (it dispenses at 06:00):

Two cats

A couple on the deck, and one inside:

Three cats

Three on the deck; Poppy licking her lips (I think there might be a fourth eating, too):

Three cats

Four cats:

Four cats

A cat relaxing on the path next to the stream (the cat house is behind the maple tree):

Cat on path

Enjoying a sunbeam inside:

Sleepy cat

The twin cats watching a bird:

Twin cats

A cat by the pond:

Cat by pond

A couple of cats on the deck, and another peering out from a window:

Three cats

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

Four cats inside:

Four cats inside

Poppy has droplets of rain on her fur, glinting in the light:

Four cats inside

Speaking of inside, did you see the animated GIF of a night in the cat house?

A series of pics of a cat having a moment:

Cat with head under mat

Cat having a moment

Cat having a moment

Stretch:

Stretch

Three cats with tails raised high (unusual for ferals; they’re usually more guarded of their rears):

Three cats

Flock Friday for September 13

Welcome to a wet Flock Friday!

As hinted on my personal blog, we had a heron visit our pond this week. Twice.

Here’s the heron sliding off the edge of the pond (which slopes steeply) and taking a header in the pond:

Heron in pond

After it got out, it fluffed up most impressively:

Heron in pond

Heron next to the pond:

Heron next to pond

It flew over to below the pond deck, and one of the large koi swam up and startled it, causing it to jump back:

Heron startled by koi

Heron eat fish (and frogs and such), but I think the big koi are way too big for it to tackle. I didn’t see it catch anything; the smaller fish were wise enough to stay hidden.

Here it is flying above the pond:

Heron flying

The following night, a rat or similar rodent was spotted near the duck house, with the ducks warily eyeing it:

Rat

Here’s a shot of the ducks that kinda shows the delightful green iridescence of the cayuga duck:

Ducks

Ducks on the ramp:

Ducks on ramp

A few days later, hey look, the heron is back:

Heron again

In the pond:

Heron in pond

Heron startled by a koi again:

Heron startled by a koi again

Heron flying to the duck house:

Heron flying

Like an ornament on the duck house roof:

Heron on duck house

Those big koi are bullies; here’s one chasing the ducks, while another eats their mealworm treats:

Koi chasing ducks

Ducks from inside house:

Ducks from inside house

Ducks

On to the chickens. Here’s Buffy, one of the older girls:

Buffy chicken

Camilla:

Camilla chicken

Kiwi:

Kiwi chicken

Mo, starting to molt:

Mo chicken

And some pics of the young chickens:

Young chickens

Chickens

Chicken

Chickens

Did you see the YouTube video of our young chickens curiously clucking?