Click on the icons below to access photo albums. You will get a feel for our charming property and get a closer look the Big Red Barn & Creekside Cottage. Also, check out Dave & Catherine’s extensive international travel- get a head start on your next vacation planning via their tips, or live vicariously through their grand adventures!
The Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 discouraged our usual vacation travel and gave us the time to make fun additions to One Mound. We are quite pleased with the projects and the results. Our various home improvements made 2020 quite exciting for us!
One of the first projects we undertook was planting these gorgeous Japanese Maples welcome guests to 1 Mound!
This one is on the right side of entrance...
We also planted Maples in a few key spots around property. Here you can see one in our new built Petanque Court.
Maddie keeps getting taller and taller and more grown up!
We got a large piece of art! On May 22nd, our long time friend and noted Sonoma artist Nora Russo finished and presented us the Cow for our home.
We had given Nora the authority to paint the Cow however it mooooooved her. She certainly did not disappoint us in the least.
The Cow found her home on the island in the front of the house, but has been moving around a bit, to obtain better grazing.
Nora asked us what we thought the theme of the cow "should" be. Since we didn't come up with anything particularly interesting, she decided to use African patterns because of our wine farm in South Africa (Silkbush).
She cheerfully welcomes our guests!
2020 also gave birth to our new hobby as Chicken Fanciers. We decided to build a Chicken Coop and raise chickens for eggs. Here is the coop going up on May 27. It's footings are 18" deep x 5" wide, and there is hardware fabric that goes down the middle of the footing and is then wired to the sides of the run all the way around. The coop is similarly enforced.
We chose to put hog wire fencing over our hardware fabric. Initially, it was a design feature. We then realized that it further reinforces our predictor proof coop and run.
In this picture you can see Catherine decided to use dishpans in the nesting boxes. This way they can be taken out and really cleaned. In the nesting boxes, instead of hay or other bedding, what you see is an aspen shavings mat with a paper bottom. It can be shaken out or replaced. Catherine sprinkles a diatomaceous earth in the nesting boxes and dishpans.
First three pullets arrived May 16th. This photo is from June 6 when the coop was almost complete.
Chickens must be kept amused and given adequate space, or they can develop bad habits. They just love the mirror you see in this picture. They enjoy seeing themselves, and we think they think there are more girls inside the mirror.
June 6- Almost there, but still need roof installed!
June 13- Notice that this white framed window can open and close. However, since this needs to be really predator proof, on the left you can see the hardware fabric wire screening. What we did was to build a screen with a frame that we mounted inside the coop- that way you can open it and then open or close the prefab window, then lock it up tight.
Here you can see the window from the inside providing fresh air for the girls... and you can see the windows are fortified to shut at night so no predators can come inside.
We started off with "pretend" eggs...
the fake eggs are used to show chickens where to lay. It plays on the psychology of chickens as they prefer to lay in a nest that already has an egg in it. This is not really a trick but more of a "suggestion". We soon had plenty of real eggs following this photo. It worked great!
Hoping for Real Eggs Soon! We expect eggs of many colors in the coming months.
Catherine made curtains by hand to give the girls privacy while laying.
Here they are all finished.
Nearing completion, Doty has painted the interior a nice clean, fresh white. Catherine has decorated with lavender that makes the coop smell great.
Another View inside the Coop- it is a cozy home.
Catherine has different feeders and feeding processes. This particular feeder makes the chicken stick its head inside to eat so it stays clean.
Richard found the very first egg!
Fall of 2019, we asked our handyman Richard to move into the cottage so he could help us with more of the operations around this big place. We love his cheerful disposition, and his ability to do nearly anything inside or outside, as well as help take care of our animals. We are lucky to "have" him.
Richard takes great care of our chickens. We sometimes tease and call him the Egg Man!
June 13- ta-daa! The roof is on.
We hired our friend and contractor Tom Holland to build us this fabulous chicken coop in April 2020. We actually started to get chicks before the coop was finally finished (the 1st three chickens came the third week of May). The coop turned out to be much, much more grand than we originally intended so it took a few months extra to complete. We now have 11 hens, all unique and beautiful.
We love our pretty coop. And so does our ever growing flock. It is nestled on the bank above the Sonoma Creek. It looks like the coop was meant to be here.
This is Lucille Ball, a New Hampshire Red. She is loud and friendly and a "ball" of laughs!
This is Bessie Smith. She sings beautifully. Bessie is a Black Oustralorp.
Goldie Hen is a beautiful Blonde gal! She is a Buff Orpington, the favorite breed of Queen Elizabeth and the royal family.
Late June we bought four new 3-day-old chicks who we called Flock Two. We raised them in a "brooder", a large box with bedding, food, water, and a heat lamp, and took good care of them until they were seven weeks old in the laundry room.
Catherine raised this chicken from a tiny chick. "She" is a Blue Splash Marans. Marans are known for laying dark brown eggs and being quiet, docile birds. Catherine intended to buy only females for the egg laying, but as this one got older, it has started looking more like a grand rooster. It is just a gorgeous bird either way...
This is "Racy Lacy," our Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.
This is a French Wheaton Marans. We are expecting large dark brown eggs from her breed.
Here is Racy Lacy grown up. This Blue Laced Red Wiandotte hen was "created" in the late 1800's by Mr. Heidenbluth of Frankburg, Saxony. There are some who dispute this and believe this variety actually originated in the US.
This Welsummer hen is a heritage breed from the Netherlands. The Welsummer is a large, upright, active bird with a broad back, full breast, large full tail and a single comb. Welsummers have a docile and friendly personality.
This is Marie Currie. She has a copper colored neck.
Here's the Blue Splash Maran all grown up. It was expected to be a hen but "she" gradually started looking more like a he than a she. We We had anticipated dark brown eggs from this bird. Unfortunately, a few months after this photo, "he" became quite aggressive and displayed all attributes of being a rooster. We gave him away in 2021 as he began hurting some of the chickens and then Catherine too. He was sure beautiful, but we could not abide the violence in the coop so we said our goodbyes.
Catherine started making chicken food from scratch for the flocks. They love the variety.
Dave and Catherine are really enjoying being Chicken Fanciers. There are new things to learn everyday. Catherine even found she is allergic to chicken feathers, but that fact hasn't slowed her down a bit.
The hens appear to love their coop so this has been a great home addition.
Here is Maddie feeding the chickens.
The girls are free ranging today!
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!
Here are brothers Tule and Zig Zag. 2020 was a hard year for their relationship. Tule became an "only kitty".
In 2020 we lost Tule's brother Zig Zag to a mountain lion on the property. The "Living With Lions" research group has a live wildlife camera on our creek and it caught a photo of the sad incident. Tule learned to become closer to us after his (and our) great loss. He and his brother were always together so Tule had to experience being alone for the first time.
2020 was such a hard year. Here is Peggy in the hospital with Jess, shortly before she passed. Our lives will never be the same without Mother.
The next project of 2020 was building a swimming pool. Excavation began on July 16, 2020.
Excavation for the footings for the wall around pool on July 16.
Cement mixer has arrived, getting ready to pour concrete!!
The first run of block has been installed on the footing.
Second run of block installed for footing on July 21, 2020.
Darn, looks like this is gonna take all summer to build!
Looking pretty good- hope they are gonna work faster. Photo from July 22.
August 7, pool has been installed in hole.
Another view... see PVC pipes that export and import water to and from pool... a wall will be built around those sleeves.
August 11- Keeping the cover on to keep it clean, just in case we actually get to swim this summer!!
Well, the pool isn't quite complete here on August 9th, but Catherine and Maddie jump in for a dip to cool down anyhow.
Here is the finished Rock Work. It blends with the surroundings perfectly. We are so happy with the results!
The pool is looking great. We are still working on completely finishing it with solar panels and landscaping, but we started to use it before Fall finally came.
Here is Dave with our new firehose that hooks directly up to the pool. As it appears we will now have "fire season" every year, we want to protect ourselves.
Jessie and cousin Nellie who came for a visit.
We took a short driving trip to Reno to visit friends.
Our final project of 2020 was purchasing an RV. We so missed our usual traveling that we decided to take matters into our own hands- so we got this Phoenix Cruiser at the end of October!
We were thrilled to bring her home! We got an RV small enough that we can easily navigate on the road yet it is fully equipped with kitchen, bathroom and sleeping quarters.
The front passenger seat swivels all the way around towards the inside of the RV. This adds to the seating area of the main "room" as it were. This is unusual for a Class C Rig, usually only seen in the huge Class A "Pusher" Rigs.
The RV is cozy, yet quite roomy.
There are two comfortable beds. This one is in the bedroom...
Maddie helped Catherine make up the bed in cheerful colors. It is really a large, comfortable bed, thank goodness!
Making a bed is hard work!
We put Peggy's quilt in the RV and it looks less like an RV and much more homey.
This couch pulls out into a second bed at night. It is actually very comfortable and provides adequate space for Dave and Catherine for longer trips.
Catherine is right at home putting on her makeup while on the road! Maddie is enjoying the girlie space and hanging out with Noni.
We purchased an external toilet, although there is one in the RV. Most places where we will camp have toilets and showers, so we don't have to use "ours". However, it is nice to have our own bathroom if we want to pee, but anything more than that, we'll use this camping potty that can be thoroughly cleaned out.
We went to Occidental on the Sonoma Coast for our first trip and began our plans for a month-long trip in May 2021 to the Four Corners. The possibilities are endless!
No, it's not a stick up. But the expression on her face says it all. Goodbye Pandemic 2020. We are ready for a new year!!!