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My Midsummer Night’s Dream

My midsummer night’s dream…

Getting ready for our evening walk with our well behaved dogs…

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…Mr. Fifty Shades went outside before me.  A few minutes later, he stuck his head in the door and said, “Honey bunch, you better get a sweater, it’s a bit chilly out here.”

…And, then I woke up.  It was all a delirious dream.  It’s hot and steamy here and has been so for FOREVER.  Has it been hot where you are?  Part of our desire to move up here was to enjoy the cooler weather.  In wishing for a cool down, we know we’re not alone – the whole country has been enduring the high temps. The heat must be due to the nonexistent climate change.  That’s all I can think.

Just for something fun to occupy his time, Mr. Fifty Shades began a new project.  This mower has earned its keep and should not endure the indignity of having to share space in our garage…see how pathetic this is?…

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After it was determined that this tough little mower deserved a building of its own, Mr. Fifty Shades designed the building and began laying it out. The Deere’s new digs will feature a garage door and two additional doors, electricity, three windows, a 50 inch television, and a spa.  Ha!

Coincidentally and concurrently with the planning, our 14 year old (soon to be 15) friend was looking for a way to earn some money this summer.  Wow – don’t you love coincidences?  Mr. Fifty Shades and his young assistant tackled the job…

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…and the rest of the summer is kind of a blurry, humid, impossibly scorching span of time.

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Here is the status as of today:

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…still some work to be done, but Mr. Fifty Shades believes it will be move in ready in about six weeks or so.  We are all so happy for Mr. Deere.

In milestone news, these are the three little chicks that hatched on June 12th.  They grow up so fast…

Time will tell if they are hens or roosters (they aren’t saying).

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Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres

 

 

 

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Summer!

It’s felt like summer for a while.  Officially, though, summer arrived in all its sweltering glory on June 20 at 6:34 p.m. (thank you Farmer’s Almanac) and this picture was taken about 30 minutes following the start of summer.  It looks pretty steamy out there!

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Random Happenings at Fifty Shades of Green Acres…

  • We are expanding the chicken coop…

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…because two of our hens hatched some adorable chicks.

Aren’t they cute?

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Oh, wait.  The pictures come out better if you remove the lens cap first.

Here they are!  Two Momma Hens are taking care of three little chicks.  They are a week old here.  They were a bit camera shy for their first week and the Momma Hens were quite protective.  We learned that the Momma hens need to be kept apart from each other while they tend to their chicks, as well away from the other hens and rooster for about a month, so they are in temporary quarters for now.

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  • The hummingbirds are back!  They stay busy sipping nectar all day.  We often see four or five of them vying for position around the feeders.

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  • I managed to get into some poison ivy.  It was an itchy mess, but, I only complained a little…only once, really…for a three week period of time.  🙂  I’m all recovered now.

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres

 

The Chicken or the Egg

First we had a chicken problem.  Or, was it an egg problem?  The chicken problem began as a good intention – wanting to let our chicks be “free range” – letting them roam all around our property throughout the day and then shutting them in to their coop at night where they would be safe from predatory critters.  That worked for a while, but, last spring we lost a couple to a wily coyote, leaving us with only two hens.  While this may seem like plenty of hens to supply two people with eggs, we had to keep in mind that two hens are not enough for one rooster (we’ll leave you to ponder that one on your own) especially one as virile as our Murphy.

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To save our remaining hens, we ordered new chicks and received them on July 1st.  It takes about four to six months for new chicks to develop, reach their full weight, and begin laying eggs.  In the meantime, the five new chicks enjoyed learning the ropes from the two older hens.

Unfortunately, in October, we lost one of the original hens to natural causes (we think).  During the month of December, we noticed that hawks began circling all around the property from miles high, scoping out what must have looked like a nice buffet.  One day, I heard a racket outside and opened our front door.  This startled and scared off a hawk with one of our hens in its talons.  The hawk dropped the chicken, but, did not forget where a fine feast awaited.  The sad ending is that hawks took two more chickens and we finally said – that’s it – we need to stop providing the hawks with an easy meal ticket.  So, our chickens now reside in the coop full time.  There is actually plenty of room for them and Mr. Fifty Shades has already started to plan an extension.  For the record, we have four chickens now and Murphy, the rooster.

Beginning December 24th, the new chicks began laying eggs.  They started producing one egg a day and then….

…we had a two egg day

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….and then a three egg day!

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Can a four egg day be far off?

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We think not!

Hope all is well in your part of the world!

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

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My Spa Weekend

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This weekend, Mr. & Mrs. Fifty Shades took off together (apparently this was a big deal) and visited friends and family for a couple days.  This enabled me to enjoy a well earned retreat away from these two…

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My spa weekend included eating my favorite nibbles and enjoying some power naps and then just regular long sleeps, interspersed with roaming through the house soaking in the peace and quiet.  I also basked and preened.

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It was a terrific weekend.  When they returned yesterday afternoon, Mr. & Mrs. Fifty Shades said they had a wonderful weekend, t0o!  Here are pictures of the family and friends they visited.

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Mrs. Fifty Shades drew the likenesses above since she FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES with her camera.  She was MAD at herself for not remembering to get her camera out, so this will have to do, she said.

I can report that while they were gone, the new chicks and the old more mature chicks bonded beautifully…

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…and that one of the two apples fell.  As you might expect, it did not fall far from the tree…

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Even though it might not yet be ripe, Mr. & Mrs. Fifty Shades are going to eat it and will let us all know how it tasted.

This morning, I was informed that I should enjoy the quietude because it was about to end.  This didn’t please me…

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….however, I guess there is some pleasure in realizing that things are getting back to normal.

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Until next time…

This entry was posted on August 24, 2015, in chickens, Pets.

Moving Day

Today was Moving Day!  Yes, this afternoon we received a Certificate of Occupancy for the Chicken Coop Mr. Fifty Shades has been building since….the beginning of time.

Here’s a look at the Coop before the chickens were moved in…

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The coop runs from north to south.  The open area on the north is kind of like a screened in porch where the chickens will be able to run before we let them out in the mornings.

The area that has siding on it (the same siding that’s on our house) features a small window that can be opened to give the chicks some ventilation.

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Here is a view of the back (south) side of the coop where there is a ventilation door propped open and below that the nesting boxes.

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Here you can see the three nesting boxes, each box with its own door.  This is where the chicks go to lay their eggs.  Somehow they just know this is where they need to go.  We’ll be able to just open the door, reach in and grab the eggs, and omelets here we come.

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Here is a door that opens into the enclosed part of the chicken coop.  This door will only be used by the humans that live here in order to check on things and clean out the coop.  This is the part of the coop where the chicks roost at night.

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Below is what you see when the coop door is opened.  There are three roosts here – they are 2 X 4 boards that the chicks hop onto at night.  I didn’t really get a good close up of these, but Mr. Fifty Shades smoothed them off at the edges so the chicks will be able to easily curl their little chicken feet around them.

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In addition, please take a look at this next picture.  Sometimes, if the chicks have trouble falling asleep at night, this light in the coop will allow them to read a little chick lit to help them relax and doze off – either that or it’s a receptacle for a heat lamp that can be turned on when the temps get below freezing!

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Here we are inside the screened in area – the run – and you can see Mr. Fifty Shades installing the ramp up into the coop – one of the last touches before we moved the chicks.  They will walk up and down the ramp to get into the coop and also into the nesting boxes.

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The door to the coop is operated by a pulley.

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There’s a light at the entry way…these chicks have got it made.

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The five chicks we moved in today are about seven weeks old.  Here’s one as she was being transported in my arms…this is kind of a selfie except it’s not myself – it’s the chick in my arm.

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Here they all are trying to get used to their new surroundings…

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And, here are some curious onlookers…

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Tomorrow we’ll move the two chickens we’ve had since 2013 and Murphy, the rooster.  We were advised to move the new chicks in first and then the older ones a day or two later.

Mr. Fifty Shades is resting tonight, however, he told me earlier that he’s thinking about five or six projects (that doesn’t sound like enough, does it?) to begin – starting tomorrow!

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres

 

 

 

Recently at Fifty Shades of Green Acres…

  1.  Hummingbird 911

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A few days ago, Mr. Fifty Shades came in to let me know that a hummingbird flew into our garage and could not find its way out.   We both went out to take a look and see what we could do.  The little bird flitted from one side of the garage to the other, remaining within six inches of the ceiling and always looking up.  He did not understand that there was a big beautiful world out there, if only he’d fly out the garage door.  I tried a few things….I went outside the garage and called it, buzzed, clapped my hands.  Hmm…for some reason those ideas didn’t work.  Mr. Fifty Shades went back to working on the chicken coop and I decided to do a little research.  The wonderful internet (what did we ever do without it?) revealed a site that described exactly what to do.  It would be simple and quick.  I walked down to our garden shed to retrieve the necessary equipment…

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Then, I walked back up to retrieve Mr. Fifty Shades.  I considered just rescuing the hummingbird and telling him about it later, but, I knew Mr. Fifty Shades would want to be a part of lead the hummingbird emergency team. Sure enough, he did (are you shocked?).  I explained the steps to get the little bird out of the garage.  It would be quick.  The garden rake needed to be held within a few inches below the bird; once the bird lit onto the rake, the rake should be lowered slowly, very slowly so that the hummingbird could see the sky and then fly off to hummingbird happiness.  It is apparently quite common for the hummingbird, seeing the red handle hanging from the garage door  (required so that in the event the electric garage opener gets stuck, it can be opened manually) …

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…to mistake the handle for the little red flowers on the feeder, instead…

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The website indicated the confused bird would continue its pointless flight around the ceiling until it exhausted itself and died.  Yikes – not on our watch!  It also stated the need to be patient, as it could take a few seconds for the hummingbird to hop onto the rake.

Mr. Fifty Shades grabbed the rake and raised it toward the ceiling.  Soon, we thought, the hummingbird would be humming away in the great outdoors.  However, the little bird continued flying near the ceiling, all around the garage, all the while looking up, up, up.  After about 10 minutes with no luck, I thought I’d better check the directions again.  Maybe there was a step I left out.  I brought my computer to the garage and read from the website.  We were following the directions to the letter.  Mr. Fifty Shades continued the rescue.  It was about 90 degrees, even in the garage.  The hummingbird  seemed determined to continue flying around the ceiling.  After about 10 more minutes, I offered to give Mr. Fifty Shades a break.  He said okay, but, he soon thought we might have better luck if we both had rakes.  With two rakes, we alternated hummingbird coverage and commentary.  “He’s on your side now.  He’s getting close.  Oops, no, now he’s flying off.”  Every once in a while, he would light onto one of our rakes, but, as soon as we began to lower the rake, he would fly up to the ceiling again.  Going on 45 minutes now, our sweat was dripping onto the floor of the garage and our heads were about to fall off from craning our necks backward to see if the bird was on the rake.  Clearly, our little hummingbird had not bothered to read “How to Get A Hummingbird Out of the Garage!” My energy waning, I decided to take a break and Mr. Fifty Shades continued the rescue operation.  At about one hour in, the hummingbird gently lit onto the rake and let Mr. Fifty Shades lower it to reveal to him what lay just a few feet away.  Finally, the hummingbird followed instructions and flew out the door.  We gave each other a high five and quickly closed the garage door!  : )

2.  Chicken Coop

We know you want to see the coop.  Mr. Fifty Shades has been putting in some long days and there is a lot of progress.  Here he is laying out the metal roof.

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And, here he is putting the cap on the roof.

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Here is another view with the roof complete.

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In anticipation of the grand opening, we are interviewing chicks to conduct tours of the new facility.

3.  Tomatoes

Tomatoes surround us.  We’ve been picking several pounds every day for the past few weeks.    We are enjoying the taste of our homegrown tomatoes, plus, we’ll canning whole tomatoes, tomato soup, and marinara sauce until the end of summer!  20150811_195640

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Hope you’re having a great summer!!!

The Fifty Shades Team

 

 

Summer

Is it hot where you are?  It sure is here.  The last few summers for us have been a chance to try our luck in our vegetable garden.  We don’t know enough for it to be anything but luck.  We still can’t believe that what started out as this…

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…became this…

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and then, this…20150617_165503

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and this…

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One day, Mr. Fifty Shades picked 23 pounds of cucumbers.  We are eating cucumbers with every meal and I have made gazpacho and two different kinds of cucumber salad.  Cucumber, Cucumber, Cucumber.

Maybe we don’t need to grow so many cucumbers next year. : )

But wait, there’s more.  Here’s a look at our harvest over the last two days…

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But wait, there’s even more going on….

Mr. Fifty Shades has been busy working on the new deluxe chicken coop.

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This is what it looked like a few weeks ago…

 

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…and now

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It’s not quite ready for the chicks, but, before long, we’ll be introducing them to their new home – and five new companions.  Yes, five new egg laying chicks arrived July 1st (pictures soon).  They are too small and young to hang out with the older chicks for now, but in a few weeks, they’ll be moving to the fancy new coop as well.

 

 

 

 

 

That’s about it for now.

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres