Finished the project summaries project

Today I added the last project summary page, Deck, to the Project Summaries pages. The Deck one links to two deck-related projects (surprise surprise) from last year.

Firstly, a project to assemble an aluminum gazebo on our deck:

And another project to build a pool deck extension off our main deck, enabling easier access to our seasonal above-ground swimming pool:

So now my Projects pages are complete, summarizing all of the building projects I’ve done around the homestead, at least since I started this blog.

Over time, I will update those pages for any modifications as needed, and add new ones for new projects. These pages serve as useful references, more easy to find than searching through blog posts.

Summary: building the duck house

I just added a project summary of designing and building the duck house. It is permanently available in my project pages, but here is a copy as a blog post too.


A project to build a house and feeder for ducklings and ducks on our pond. For weekly posts on the ducks themselves, check out the ducks category of the blog, and/or the weekly Flock Friday blog posts, that cover the ducks, chickens, and wild birds.

This is a summary of the plans, design, construction, and installation of the duck house, with links to the individual blog posts about it.

January 2019

We have a nice large pond at the homestead, and enjoyed the occasional visit by migrating wild ducks. In January 2019 we decided we wanted permanent residents, and ordered four ducklings for delivery in May. So, it was time to get started designing a house for them. Here’s where it would be situated:

February 2019

My custom design for a duck house:

Starting construction, one of the first steps was to cut the floor and wall panels:

Lots of progress on assembling the walls and roof:

March 2019

A bunch of tweaks and trim work:

Building the doors, including the innovative four-part maintenance door:

Adding battens:

April 2019

Starting to paint the duck house:

Adding door hardware:


The house includes LED and heat lamp lighting and other electrical features, including Wi-Fi:

I added vinyl tiles to help waterproof it:

May 2019

With the construction complete, I next hand-excavated the location next to the pond:

Installing the floor joists:


Some preparation for ducklings (and chicks):

Introduction of the first ducklings to the duck house:

June 2019

I also introduced a new weekly series on the blog, Flock Friday (that’s a baby Bert on the left):

(Check out the ducks category, or in ascending order, or the weekly Flock Friday blog posts, for more pictures of ducklings.)

July 2019

An addition to the duck house was covered in one of the Flock Friday posts: adding the feeder tube:

When the first ducklings were getting old enough to go in the pond, I made and installed a ramp for them:

That’s it for now. This page will be updated with any future enhancements to the duck house.

Added cats summary page

I have added a page on the Yellow Cottage Homestead website to summarize the history of our feral cats. Here is a copy of that as a blog post, but I will update the page over time.

When visiting the site, you can easily access the Cats page by clicking on the “hamburger” icon to the left of the title at the top, which will slide out a sidebar with links to the about page, cats pageprojects page, projects summary, and post archive options, categories, tags, and more.


We have two groups of feral cats: outdoor-only feral cats, and indoor-only feral shop cats.

Outdoor cats

On August 30, 2017, we saw what we initially thought was a rat on our front steps… but on closer inspection turned out to be a kitten. Watching for a while, we saw that four kittens were living under our front steps. Fortunately we were in the process of adopting Paladin, our pet cat, so we had some kitten food on hand. We put some out for the kittens. An hour or so later, their mother turned up, having caught a mouse for them to eat. She was happy to eat the food too; no doubt she was very hungry, feeding and still nursing her kittens, not to mention feeding herself.

Read the first blog post about the surprise kittens for the introduction to them; here’s a picture of three of the kittens:

Here’s the mother cat, who we named Poppy, with a couple of her kittens:

Poppy and kittens

Over time, we improved the feeding and living facilities for them, with a feeding station, a raccoon-proof feeder, a heated shelter, a custom-designed-and-built combo shelter and feeder, and more heated spaces. For details of those, check out the Cat House project summary page.

An important step with feral cats is to get them spayed and neutered. Otherwise, a family of five cats could grow exponentially to hundreds of cats, breeding out of control. To learn more about that, check out the posts on pre-baiting the cats (i.e. getting them used to eating from un-set traps), the actual process of TNR: Trap, Neuter, Return, and the followup a week later.

The TNR post also introduces the cats’ names, since that was when we first learned what their genders were (other than the mother, of course).

We have Poppy, the mother; Porcini, Portabella aka Bella, and Pomegranate aka Pommie, all female; plus Potato aka Spud, the only male. See the TNR post for close-up pictures of each.

The cats have a comfy routine of turning up for breakfast, often sleeping much of the day in the various heated shelters, with food available throughout the day, then hunting at night. They help us keep the rodent population under control around the outside of our house, and provide daily entertainment with their cuteness, but remain feral cats, wary of humans.

You can read the cat posts in chronological order, to see how it all started. And also read the weekly Caturday blog posts for updates on them.

Shop cats

We got the shop cats on July 20, 2015, from the Multnomah County Animal Services. They have a “kitties for hire” program, where feral cats off the street, that are too wild to become pets, can be given a productive life helping keep workshops and barns free from rodents. They’re basically employees: we provide a comfortable home, food, water, etc for them, and in exchange they catch any rodents foolish enough to venture into our shop.

When we first got them, we kept them in a couple of large dog crates, joined together, to give them a comfortable enclosed space to get used to. After a while, we let them out into the rest of the shop. We decided to keep them indoor-only, in part to avoid wildlife from going into the shop, and in part to protect them.

Since we got them before I started this blog, here’s a picture of Pepper soon after we got her, in the aforementioned dog crate. Her estimated age was about five months old:


Pansy was an estimated one year old when we got her:


Since then, they’ve settled into their routines. Pepper has a cozy nest on top of some shelving in the front of the shop, with lots of padding, and even a heating pad to keep her toasty in the colder months:

Pepper's nest

Meanwhile, Pansy watches over the back half of the shop from her nest hidden behind some chairs, also with a padded bed and heating pad:

Pansy's nest

Each has their own food, water, and litter box. The two halves of the shop are separated by a wall, but there’s a cat door, so they can access the other half if they wish, though they usually stick to their own domain.

They have a pretty cozy life, periodically paying their rent with a dead rodent left as an offering for us.

Added Greenhouse and Trees project summaries

I’ve added a couple 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.

Visit the summary post to see an overview of all of the projects, or 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:


Assembling and updating our greenhouse.


Planting trees around the property, and measuring the heights of select trees.

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.


Projects related to our workshop.


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.