And Then the Tornado Came…

Our new Barred Rock Chickens are growing.  As baby chicks, they need to get settled into their new environment and require protection from the weather extremes, so we kept them inside the little building where the riding mower is usually housed.  When they are about eight weeks old, the chicks are ready to begin experiencing the great outdoors.

We moved them to a portable cage outside near the chicken coop that will eventually be their permanent home.  The new birds need to be carefully introduced to the already existing flock or there will be problems.  Let’s just say that pecking order is a real “thing” and the older flock of hens would not welcome the new birds with open wings if they were just thrown into the coop.  We’ll move the Barred Rocks into the coop in about four to six weeks and even then they will only be able to see each other (and smell each other) until they’ve all become acclimated to their new living conditions.

The young chicks received a rather extreme exposure to the outside world on their very first day.  Mr. Fifty Shades moved them in the late afternoon.  Later on, it became Dark.  And Stormy.  And, then it was Night.  Yep, it was a dark and stormy night…and then the tornado came.  It was a bit scary for a while.  Sage and Mrs. Fifty Shades huddled in the bathroom as they were both a little freaked out by the wind.  Mr. Fifty Shades and Scout stayed in the bedroom to monitor the weather.  The tornado blew threw in about 15 minutes and we considered ourselves lucky to have no damage to the house although the bluebird house got a little wind tossed…

…and a few trees branches fell…

We lost electricity from about 9:30 p.m. on Friday until about 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.  So, our generator came in handy.

We appreciate our generator so much we just had to take a picture!

And, for those of you who’ve never been through a hurricane with Mr. Fifty Shades, rest assured that we had plenty of coffee to help us get through the day!

We’re all back to normal now and Mr. Fifty Shades is continuing on with this newest project – a “pavillion” that will allow us to work on all sorts of projects under a roof near our square foot garden and chicken coop.

We’ll leave you with a few pictures of our hummingbirds who are going crazy feeding on the nectar we make for them.

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

 

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A New Toy

About a week ago, we acquired a new toy.   A Cement Mixer!  Wow!  Whoopee!  Yay!

This cement mixer made the completion of Project 42.A.(4)f(25) possible and we are so happy to include it in our power tool and equipment family.

Since you are breathlessly awaiting the description of our little endeavor, let’s get to it….

About a year ago, Mr. Fifty Shades of Green Acres installed a hydrant near our chicken coop and square foot garden to make it easier for us to clean the coop and water the garden.  To be expected, the area around the hydrant began to get a little soggy and muddy whenever we worked around it.  So, Mr. Fifty Shades decided he needed to learn how to pour concrete so that he could make the hydrant location sturdier and less messy.

To start, there are directions right on the mixer – and only five easy steps.  This looks like a cinch to do – might be easier than putting a veneer finish on furniture, which is pretty easy to do (according to my mother-in-law who saw it done on Martha Stewart – the veneer, that is, not the concrete).

Once you have read the directions, you get down to business…

Turn on the mixer, add water in the drum and then several 50 pound bags of premixed concrete…every 20 pounds of dry concrete mix yields about a bit over 1/7th of a cubic foot of poured concrete.

Let it get nice and gooey, and then…

…pour it in the mold.   Although, Mr. Fifty Shades says it isn’t gelatin so it’s pour it in the forms.

Spread it evenly into the formed area then repeat several more times.  You must do this when it’s at the hottest point of the day – because – well – just because!   Throughout the process, the concrete gets tamped down with this tamping down tool.

Once you’ve got all the concrete in, you use this handy tool called a float that Mr. Fifty Shades made because he did not want to (yes, you guessed it) spend the money to buy one.  You pat down the concrete and this tool helps to work the rocks down into the mix and bring some of the cement, sand and water to the surface.

 

After the cement sets for a while, you can come back and do this..

and then sweep…to create texture and prevent slips and then trips to the hospital

This pad needs to set for a bit and in a couple days the forms can be removed.

Of course, as with all projects, cleaning up is a must…

Now that we’ve tackled this one, other cement projects await!

In other news,

…our first tomatoes have emerged…

and we are trying out reflective tape (a gift from our VIC – very important cousin!) to see if it keeps the birds away.  We love the birds but we don’t really like to share our vegetables with them.  We’ll let you know if it works!

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

 

Life in the Slow Lane

We’ve been here for a little while now and thought it was time to install a few amenities…maybe a screened indoor pool would be nice…

….Mr. Fifty Shades thought it would be a good idea to add some chicks...

He always said he was a chick magnet…and, well…after a trip to the post office, he returned with proof!

Each of these little fuzzy little creatures needs to be taught to drink water first thing…

…and then they kind of figure things out from there…

Gathering at the water cooler

 

Ah…here’s where the food is!

The heat lamp is attached to a thermostat that is on its way to a temperature of 95 degrees, keeping these chicks at the warm and cozy temperature they need to thrive for their first few weeks.

In other news, our neighbor’s cow and her calf are grazing on a section of our property for a little while and they are always ready for a photo op…  

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

 

First Day, Second Day

Greetings from Fifty Shades of Green Acres!

Yesterday, the first day of Spring… 50 degree temps, sunny skies, and signs of what awaits us as the earth warms up…

Blossoms on Peach Trees

Pear Tree Blossoms

Grape Hyacinth

Daffodils

We also noticed a sign that we are hoping will entice the blue birds to take up residence.

Mr. Fifty Shades built a second blue bird house this year because for the past couple years, tree swallows moved the blue birds out of the one house we set up.  We read that if there are two houses the two types of birds will live happily next to each other.  So – here’s hoping!!!

Today, the second day of spring – the world looks much different…

Even so, we’re working on various projects in anticipation of the season…these are tomato and pepper seeds that have germinated in our basement. These babies will be going into the ground in May.  

Also, Mr. Fifty Shades is working hard in his workshop to enclose his office and he’s making a lot of progress…

Until next time, friends…enjoy your spring!

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

Might As Well Face It….

I’m Addicted to Sun…

I do love the sun and if there’s a sunny spot to find, you’ll find me in it.  So, today suited me just perfectly with the sun streaming in through our front door.

Last week, snow, ice, snowy ice, and icy snow  and it was slippery.  I know this because, during our walks, Mr. and Mrs. Fifty Shades said to each other, “Be careful, it’s slippery.”  Scout and I didn’t have any problems, though.  These pictures look like they’ve been taken through a filter or screen but this was the way it looked when we stepped outside.

On Saturday, Mrs. Fifty Shades tried a new dessert recipe, resulting in Mr. Fifty Shades seeing the dentist on Monday morning to repair a loose crown.  We won’t go into all the details, but caramel was involved.  We’ve tossed that recipe and we’ll be looking at something less dangerous for dessert this week.

Cupcakes, Wallpaper, Paper, Background, Seamless

 

Robins visited for a while this morning…maybe spring is on the way!

Until next time,

Sage & the Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

Snow….and other stories!

The new year started great for us.

We had special visitors…

…who somehow coaxed the hens out of their moody molting marathon.  Yes, it’s true…since January 3rd, our hens began laying eggs again!

Yesterday was the first day we’ve had enough eggs to fill up a carton since October.  Yay!

 

Also yesterday…it snowed.  These pictures were taken after a couple hours of snow.  We love watching the flakes settle and gently cover the trees and the ground.

I tried to get Mr. Fifty Shades and the puppies to pose in front of these fir trees, but this was the best we could manage.  Somehow posing for the camera is not on their agenda.

What seems to be a top priority is eating snow off the deck…

In other news, I am now in a temporary cast.  Mr. Fifty Shades found some exercises on YouTube for me to strengthen my wrist.  The guy who posted the exercises used this routine five to six times a day after his cast was removed and shared that after 2.5 months he was able to do handstands and after 3.5 months, cartwheels.  This is exciting for me to anticipate since I have never been able to do either!

Stay warm, friends.

Until next time,

 

The Scout Report – Winter is here…and other stuff

Hi Everyone from Fifty Shades of Green Acres!

Sage has been re-thinking her role in Mrs. Fifty Shades’ broken wrist and she would like to present…some Alternative Facts.

No we are not kidding…

Alternative Facts – by Sage

Fact:  When the “incident” occurred, Mrs. Fifty Shades was looking here in the nest boxes, which is where the chickens lay their eggs.

Fact:  There were no eggs…because for a couple months the chickens have been molting – kind of like shedding their feathers and growing new feathers (see below how much lighter the new feathers are on their bodies compared to the feathers near their heads).  During this process they stop laying eggs.

The situation is so dire that Mr. and Mrs. Fifty Shades have actually had to Buy Eggs.  Like from the grocery store!

Fact:  If the chickens had been laying eggs like they are supposed to, Mrs. Fifty Shades would have already gotten her egg supply for the day and would have been paying attention to me.  Therefore….the cause of the incident is completely due to the selfish ol’ hens.  So there.

Well – there you have it, folks.  A compelling set of facts and we’ll just leave it there.

Winter has arrived and it has been pretty swell here.  Today, Sage and I enjoyed one of our favorite treats…licking the tiny layer of snow that fell  onto our deck last night.  Yummy.  It did not get above freezing here today, plus, more cold weather on the way.  YAY!

We sure enjoy sharing all the news from our little part of the world.  Used to be we thought readers from as far away places as Florida…and Arkansas – were as remote as we could imagine!  But now, we have a new reader, resulting in an international fan base – a friend from Russia following our blog.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, Mr. & Mrs. Fifty Shades join us in sending everyone our warmest greetings for the holidays and the new year.

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team