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Before the Leaves Leave

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Cooler temperatures, vibrant colors – delicious!  Before the leaves float away on the fall winds, making their annual descent to cover the ground, here are a few of the sights we’ve been admiring:

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These little guys are taking in the views as well:

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Blue Jay found himself an acorn!

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Do you think the birds will pose for me one day?  I’d like to get some close-ups better pics!

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres

 

 

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

 

This and That

We’ve been up to a few things…

  • I have a new camera (thank you Mr. Fifty Shades!). Yay.  My camera and I have been getting acquainted these past few weeks.  I’m not sure if the feeling is mutual, but, I love my new camera.  

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Here are a few of the first pictures taken with it – just before the fall leaves disappeared…

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  • We’ve got three pear trees and as opposed to our scant crop of apples, we were overloaded with pears this year.  We’re eating them with just about every meal, gave away baskets full, made pear butter, and canned some pears with cinnamon.

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  • Mr. Fifty Shades refinished an oak table that resides on our porch.  He removed the old veneer and put on new – it was a CINCH!  Just ask my M-I-L – 🙂

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Here is the completed project – it looks beautiful…and now we’ve started refinishing the chairs.

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  • We also bought a glider rocker for the porch and, after a coat of varnish, it looks (and feels) great!

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  • A few days ago, as we checked out at the grocery store, our cashier remarked on our healthy basket of food…he named each of the items as he scanned them…broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and so on.  A sample of our shopping basket appears below…

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He remarked how healthy our choices were.  Mr. Fifty Shades and I exchanged smug smiles.  Yes, indeed, we do make good and nutritious choices, don’t we?  Our cashier then decided to really lavish on the praise by adding that he certainly hoped he was going to eat this well when he was old.  

Yes.  He. Said. That.

Hoping all is well in your world.  Until next time…

Maturely yours,

Mrs. Fifty Shades

 

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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We’ve made 36 pints of pickles this year.20150720_153918

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

 

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout….

The birds…

  • Hummingbirds.  Mr. Fifty Shades installed a couple hummingbird feeders and we get to see them outside our kitchen windows.  We get to watch them fly in and grab some nectar while we’re eating.  When they first started appearing, I would say, “There’s a little hummingbird.”  But, as they are all “little,” I have revised my commentary.  🙂

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Here is the bluebird house we built last year – but, instead of bluebirds, a tree swallow family moved in….you can see one peeking out from the house…20150510_115549 20150510_115542

They have almost neon blue feathers and they are beautiful – but, watch out!  Mom & Pop keep a close eye on their home and will dive bomb those who venture too close.

…and the bees

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Our five bee hives remain healthy and active.  We hope to harvest honey later this summer.

….and the flowers

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We haven’t planted any flowers (yet), but, the wildflowers du jour are the Black Eyed Susans – they are all over the place!

…and the trees

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Our first winter here we planted twelve apple trees.  We’ve had no fruit yet until this year.  At last, success!  Yep, you are looking at the one and only apple.  We sure hope it’s good!

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

 

 

 

 

 

Winter

We eased into winter this year…milder temperatures made up the meteorological landscape in December and January.  Then February arrived – and ka-boom!

Snow was far as the eye could see…

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One day, Mrs. Fifty Shades attempted to slide down the snowy hill inside a (clean) trash can lid. Please note the word “attempted” as it did not occur. Someone mentioned something about bottom heaviness (and then ran away).   No pictures, but, your imagination will probably do justice to what a wild ride this would have been.  

We think we may have gotten over 20 inches of snow.  The locals say they don’t ever remember this much snow in such a short period.  For about three weeks, we could not safely drive down the gravel driveway leading from our house.  Actually, for about 10 days, we couldn’t even see the gravel driveway leading from our house.  Our mail didn’t get delivered for five days.  Sometimes, we didn’t know which way to turn…

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But, we stayed cozy and warm inside the house…

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…and ate up a lot of the food we had in our freezer or had canned last summer.  One day, in between snow storms we ventured carefully down the drive and went to the grocery store to replenish our supplies.  Before we left, we realized that even though we would be able to drive out, we probably would not be able to drive back up due to the accumulation of snow.  Mr. Fifty Shades was all prepared for this and I know this is shocking news to all of you.  When we returned, and indeed couldn’t get up the drive, he hopped on the tractor, put our groceries in the front end loader and delivered the goods safely to the house.  Mr. Fifty Shades is a man with a plan for every occasion.  

A week ago, two inches of snow fell.  Since then, we’ve watched the snow melt and then observed (and heard) the icy snow thaw and drop off our roof with some dramatic thuds!

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Fast forward to this week…warmer temps and a couple sunny days gave us a chance to….

…enjoy beautiful yellow (lellow) wildflowers near our spring…

 

….hang a bluebird house…

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…and, play and do the happy dance…

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Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team