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Bonne Journee! (Have a Good Day!)

Mr. Fifty Shades and I just returned from a few wonderful days in Montreal.  Montreal entertained us with all sorts of weather and beautiful sights…

The Jean Talon Market was bustling with people buying local fruits and vegetables.

During an afternoon rain we decided to find the Underground City where there are lots of shops and some familiar establishments…

No, we did not eat here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walked to the Old Port on the St. Lawrence River.  The ferris wheel-like structure in the picture below is called La Grande Roue de Montreal (the Montreal Observation Wheel).  It was built for the 375th anniversary of Montreal and there are 42 climate controlled compartments where riders enjoy panoramic views of the city.

 

Near our hotel was a lovely park in a residential district where we took frequent walks, enjoying the sights and the different architecture…

Breakfast was here two days…these butter filled pastries were amazing…

We also were fortunate to be able to meet up with some of my cousins for lunch one day.

Before we left, I worried that our cucumbers were looking kind of puny.  When we returned…well, let’s just say, I worried for nothing…these things are insane!

We’ll be pickling soon!!

Until next time – Bonne Journee!

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team!

 

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What’s Been Happenin’

When the hay bales dot the field near our house, it’s a sign for us that spring is here and summer is fast approaching.

 

We’ve been busy, working on our garden:

This little guy supervised me as I was working in the garden. I think he has his eye out for an upcoming tasty morsel or two.

 

We planted 75 strawberry plants!

Lettuce in containers

Cucumbers

 

Future Tomatoes! We are optimists.

Baby corn stalks.

 

Peaches!

 

And, we’ve also been busy with other activities.

A few months ago, Mr. Fifty Shades picked up a special delivery – a new item for his shop:

Exciting new projects await this new table saw and its owner:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shop Fox – do they mean the saw or its owner?

 

If you didn’t think things could get any better – well, they could because Mr. Fifty Shades installed an aerator in our pond.  If you live in the big city, a pond can also be referred to as a water feature. 🙂 This was needed to reduce algae, provide more oxygen for the fish (bass and blue gill) and in general create a healthier pond:

 

First, he laid out and constructed a deck near the spring.

Next, he built a chest to house the motor and wired up the electrical system.

The chest sits on top of the newly constructed deck.

Finally, time to paddle out…

…and gently place the aerator in the water…

The aerator runs on a timer and we have it on a schedule of about 12 hours overnight and once for about 15 minutes during the day.  You can see the surface of the pond bubbling away.  So far, it’s made a big difference in the way the pond looks and the fish have given it a two fins up approval rating!!

That’s it for now, but more to come soon.

Until next time,

 

 

 

 

Hello!

Greetings from Fifty Shades of Green Acres!

Mr. Fifty Shades has been working on finishing up some projects.  The Mower Garage has been usable for a while but not complete.  Mr. Fifty Shades wanted to enclose the ceiling on the porch so the birds could not get in and make nests.  A handy new piece of equipment made that job much easier.

Here it is.  When I look at it, I think it looks like one of these…

But, Mr. Fifty Shades is not trying to fly.  He just wants to put up a ceiling on the porch.  Lifting the plywood above your head isn’t a cinch when you’re working on things by yourself.  So, this lift assistant machine makes this type of project a bit more doable.

It’s pretty nifty.  Now, the ceiling is in and a light fixture installed.

It looks great!

Yesterday work started on driveways to the shop.  It’s going to be so fancy that we’ll need to call it The Shoppe.

Finding someone to work on this job was a little challenging so we’re very happy that the work crew arrived.  They won’t be able to pour the concrete for a while due to rainy weather here.  We’re pretty sure they’ll come to finish, though, since they left their equipment here.

In other news, our new barred rock chicks are over four months old.  They grow up so quickly.  Sniff, sniff.  They are nearly as big as the other hens and should start laying eggs in a couple months.  Yay girls!

That’s it for now.

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Sage Words

Hi.  It’s me, Sage.

Mr. Fifty Shades has been working on a project that was started in August.  He decided that there was space that was being wasted underneath the west deck.  So, he began to work.  First the area needed to be leveled a bit so that a floor could be built to store push mowers and other important things, or at least Mr. Fifty Shades seems to think they’re important.

Then framing and floor installation for the new “mini-deck”.

 

As long as we’re at it, let’s add a wall and a new deck too!

You can’t have a wall without house wrap.  Mrs. Fifty Shades calls Mr. Fifty Shades “The Rapper.”  (For those of you younger than 60, that’s a joke)

You can see that the new wall is going to connect to an existing one so I told Mr. Fifty Shades he had better make sure everything matched or Mrs. Fifty Shades would make him live out there.  So, he went to work on it:

Mrs. Fifty Shades said it was fine, for now, since it looks like it was part of the original house, but Mr. Fifty Shades better get to work and paint the gray part soon.

I’m glad he did a good job building it because I kind of had a problem the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I was out minding my own business while on a walk around the property, like we do several times each day, when Mrs. Fifty Shades decided that checking for eggs in the chicken coop was more important than what I wanted to do.  I showed her!!.  Off I went, straight down, then up the hill.  She let go of the leash, but that was after I pulled her to the ground and broke her wrist.  I went running and playing along.  (I still beat Mrs. Fifty Shades back to the house.)  I think that new storage area is the doghouse where I might have to stay for a while.  When I get out, though, there will be plenty of room for Mr. Fifty Shades the next time he does something stupid.  (I bet I won’t have to stay long since it isn’t big enough for 2)

(By the way, since Mrs. Fifty Shades only has one arm to type with I asked Mr. Fifty Shades to type this for me.)

Until next time:  Let’s be careful out there.

 

Hurricane Irma

Dear Friends and Family,

You are in our thoughts as Irma makes her way through Florida.  Most of you are staying put and banding together with friends and family.  May your experience result in minor damage and little disruption to your lives.  Please let us hear from you as it is possible to let us know you’re ok.

Mr. & Mrs. Fifty Shades of Green Acres