The Scout Report

While construction on the new shop is progressing Sage and I are keeping an eye on things.  I, for one, couldn’t be more excited…

The siding is going on and the crew might just finish up this week or early next week…


While the shop is progressing, Mr. Fifty Shades decided that he needed to start a new project.  Then, he decided that the project needed a project.  The first project is building a deck underneath the little balcony on the west side of the house.

Sawdust is flying!

The deck will be enclosed on three sides and will hold different types of yard equipment.

But, this just didn’t seem like enough of a project.  So, Mr. Fifty Shades decided to expand the deck out about twelve feet…

In addition to the construction work, the last couple weeks have been busy in the kitchen trying to use up some of our garden produce…

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

Greek Cucumber Salad

Zucchini Muffins


Chocolate Blackout Cake

Woops – the Blackout Cake did not contain any vegetables whatsoever.  It was made to celebrate someone’s birthday and it was amazing.  Mr. Fifty Shades cannot eat a whole slice because it’s so rich.  Mrs. Fifty Shades thinks that is crazy talk.

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team


As The Cement Drum Turns

The trusses are in place.  The metal roof is attached.  What’s next?  Of course…it’s time for the cement floor to be poured.  You would think this would be kind of like watching paint dry, but things got a little exciting for us….As The Cement Drum Turned.  It’s early morning – the cement truck arrives and the driver lines up the truck at one end of the building.  The drum rotates…

…and then the wet cement is released down a chute and into this cute little motorized cart with a hopper.  Once there is enough cement in the hopper, the driver hops (is that why they call it a hopper?) on the back and guides it to where the cement needs to dumped.

Our driver is doing pretty well getting the cart into the exact place it needs to be – you can see in the pictures below the cement has been dumped and they are starting to flatten it out.  The only thing…in case you ever find yourself needing to operate one of these little babies…

…is that you need to keep it on the track and not let it go too far….

Because…if you don’t….you get stuck…

…and it’s all hands on deck to help Puuuushhh and Puulllll.  Everyone tried to help because they needed to get the cart out of the way so that the cement could be flattened out before it started hardening.  You can see Mr. Fifty Shades in the bottom of the picture below placing a piece of wood underneath one of the wheels to help them get some traction.

At last, success.  Lots of team work there.  Yay Team!

Now they flatten  and level out the cement into all the spaces.  It’s hard and messy work.

The crew boss watches as more cement is poured.

Now the boss goes to work using this float that smooths out the surface.

The crew worked most of the day – they were all in constant motion making sure it was all flattened out and smooth so that it could dry properly.  It looks great!

Up next – Mr. Fifty Shades of Green Acres finishes up the mower garage and embarks on a new project.

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Crew




…and Drama Ensued

With the construction of the new workshop, the activity level spiked in our little piece of the world – we’ve had lots of stuff happenin’ here!  The dimensions of the workshop are 24′ by 50′.  Mr. Fifty Shades of Green Acres drew up the plans and then hired the builder who built our house for the construction.  Within a couple days the framing was completed and gravel dumped to provide a base for the cement floor.  Then – time for the trusses to go up.

Truss me on this – watching the last truss get installed made me go weak at the knees…

Here are the four guys working on it – they first walked it up…

There’s a lot of switching positions in order to make sure there’s somebody in the right place to raise it to the next point.

Once the truss is in place the guys on each end use monster nail guns to secure it..

It was quite the dramatic, nerve wracking scene for me to watch.  They proceeded with great calm as they completed this part of the job.  Phew!  While all this was going on, our quiet little country road turned into Grand Central Station…

A logging truck drove by…

BB, the beagle, wandered over to see what was going on

And our neighbor and his nephew came over to borrow a jack.

We haven’t seen this much action since….well…Ever!

And, if you think this was exciting – our next installment involves a cement truck!

Until next time,

Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team


The Big Drill…and Other Stories

Hello Everyone.  Here we are in the middle of summer and it’s been a busy time.

First, Mr. Fifty Shades needed an excuse to buy a Big Drill…so he decided he needed to a make a big hole in our basement wall…

Of course, he would tell you that he was only trying to drill the hole to insert a pipe that would lead from the basement to an outdoor hydrant right next to our chicken coop and square foot garden.  Here he is explaining to me how the hydrant works.  It is very sweet that he thinks I would understand this.  But, it is pretty nifty – there was mention of a piston that keeps the water out of the vertical pipe, which will ensure that the water won’t freeze the pipe in winter. Digging a ditch from the house to the pump – hot, grueling work, but the result is way cool!

Back to the basement…

You may have noticed this in the previous pictures – 

This is a water softener system that Mr. Fifty Shades installed.  It was a bit of an intricate process hooking it all up.  Our 15 year old friend from last year was here to assist and I heard him say to Mr. Fifty Shades before they “threw the switch” to turn it on, “I’m a little nervous.”  Mr. Fifty Shades admitted he was, too.  Although Mr. Fifty Shades is still tweaking a few things here and there it appears to be working well.

The Little House below The Little House in the Woods

Mr. Fifty Shades started this project last year:  a separate building to house the riding lawn mower.  He is putting the final touches on it.

Inside the new garage, the primer coat is on and the final gray paint is cut in.


Checking for fit – yep, looks good!


Measuring and rolling out the flooring

Flooring cut and working it into the corners.


My (not so) Secret Garden

Mr. Fifty Shades built a square foot garden area right near the new garage.  We grew the tomato plants from seed in our basement this spring and then transplanted them to this garden area.  There are eight different kinds of tomatoes planted and we love some of their names:  Fantastico, Juliet, Mrs. Maxwell’s Big Italian, Paul Robeson (yes, there’s a tomato named after him), Brandywine.  We liked having this garden so close to the house and we’re hoping to build one or two more next year.



The Workshop

At long last…we’ve started construction on a workshop.  The location is where The Trailer used to be.  Here’s a glimpse of it and we’ll post more progress on it soon.

Until next time,

The Fifty Shades of Green Acres Team

It’s June!

Hello!  Official summer is almost here but in the meantime, signs of summer surround us – long, hot days and grass that grows faster than a BMW goes from 0 to 60.  Temperatures began to rise to the 80’s a couple weeks ago, but this morning it was 57 when we took the pups for their first walk of the day.  If only we could preserve that for the rest of the season.

Our garden efforts continue to delight and surprise us (as in – did we really manage not to kill that?):


Mesclun Mix and Romaine…

and some herbs that grow on our porch…


In addition to enjoying the sweet, fresh berries…

…Mr. Fifty Shades experimented with some homemade strawberry ice cream…

…and some strawberry jam

Also, Mr. Fifty Shades built a square foot garden area near the house where we’ve planted tomatoes, peppers, and more lettuce

In non-gardening activities…

We installed this bird house near our house for blue birds but last year and this year, tree swallows encouraged the blue birds to move out.  Here’s the sassy new resident…

I am so weary just taking pictures of all this activity I might have to go eat a bowl of ice cream.

Until next time,

Mrs. Fifty Shades of Green Acres

We’re Back

Hi.  We’re back.  Over the past few weeks, we’ve been reminded  that our last post was over six months ago when we had a little fire in our “back yard.”

Winter and early spring brought lots of rain to our area.  We’re hoping the showers continue as we just planted our spring garden.

For now, we’ll show you our first spring delight, picked just yesterday…

…weighing in at four pounds.  More will be ready to pick today.  We only wish we could share the wonderful smell and sweet flavor…but, not the strawberries.  Ha.  Not really.  Well, maybe.

Until next time…

Mr. & Mrs. Fifty Shades of GREEN Acres


Fire on the Mountain

It’s been a dry fall so far.  Tuesday morning the smell of smoke was heavy.  Our across the road neighbor was burning in his front yard so we chalked the odor up to that.  Later that day the neighbor’s fire was out, but we still smelled smoke.  Yesterday we noticed smoke from an area that appeared to be along the eastern border of our property.  We kept an eye on it and late yesterday afternoon we noticed that the state forestry department had personnel watching the fire from the bottom of our driveway.  Mr. Fifty Shades visited with the forestry folks and the local supervisor gave Mr. Fifty Shades his cell phone number and said the best thing to do was to let the fire burn.  It could not be extinguished anyway and until the fire threatened structures it was best to just monitor it.  However, if the fire got close enough that we became concerned we should call him 24/7.  This morning the fire had crept over the ridge and was working its way across the face of the north and east slopes of our property.  By mid-day the fire had moved close enough that it was time to call the experts to determine what, if any action should be taken.  After surveying the scope of the fire the supervisor from the forestry department said the fire was too big to manually backfire and that a fire line would need to be cut with a bulldozer.  And, to work they went.  One bulldozer and operator together with five other crew members worked on cutting a line around our house and outbuildings to ensure that only the woods burned.  They worked about six hours and when they left approximately 85 acres had been burned, but the fire was under control and adequate protection had been provided for our house.

As everyone knows fire is dangerous and destructive.  However, fire is also life giving in the forest.  In our case, the fire was hot enough to burn off excess fuel on the forest floor and clear underbrush.  At the same time it was not so hot as to damage hardwoods such as oak.  Even though conditions were dry they were not as dry as early spring when the most dangerous of forest fires occur in this area.  In the spirit of silver linings we probably have reduced the danger of the most damaging fires by having this one now.  Most of the visible slopes on our property were burned.  The damage though, was minimal other than to the underbrush.  Nonetheless, it is disconcerting, to say the least, to have your house surrounded by fire.

We are thankful for the hard work of the crew from the Department of Forestry.  We’re all safe and sound.  Really.  

Here’s some of the action:

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Until next time,

Mr. Fifty Shades (with photographic credit to Mrs. F.S.)