Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Ashland Public library for some time has been showing documentary films with subjects about Global Warming, Climate Change, Nutrition, Our Food Supply and others. Last Tuesday they showed “Genetic Roulette” .  It was extremely sobering and thought provoking.  If you can, I would recommend seeing it. Maybe your library has a copy or might even do a showing for the general public.  If you have children, grandchildren, are pregnant or hope to be, I strongly recommend that you see this film.

Then you should write a letter—oops– send an e-mail to your congressman, senator, president and the FDA, thanking them for looking out for your health.


Up-date:  I felt very guilty telling you to contact your various representatives and not contact mine.  So I e-mailed my congressman, senators and the white house.  Thus far,I have received back  an automated response from  Senator Kerry’s office. Nothing else.

Here is a link to find your representative.

Here is a link to find your senator.


I received this action alert from NOFA about  a Monsanto Rider being considered in congress.



In my 2011 garden, I noticed that my beet greens were wilting or just falling over. Digging around where the beet should have been I found it wasn’t there, mice had eaten it like an apple. With my spading fork I turned over some of the fallen beets and out popped a fat mouse with bright red lips.  After they wiped out my beets they moved to my carrots. I turned over a fork full of carrots and out popped two fat mice with orange lips.  God’s little creatures were too fast for me, or they would have been shish-kabobed on the end of my spading fork.

So this past season I built a 3 foot square, 11 inch deep raised bed with 1/2 inch hardware cloth (welded wire mesh) on the bottom.  I split 3 inch PVC pipe and attached it to the top edges making a lip that the mice hopefully couldn’t get over.

I’m happy to report that the beets and carrots grown in this bed were mouse free this year.  Sometimes we win.

The young man in the hardware store looked very puzzled when I asked for hardware cloth, when I told him it was a wire fence type product he led me right to it.  So, why is it called hardware cloth?? Originally it was woven on a loom just like cloth, hence the name.


Mouse proof raised bed

Many people have asked me why I got chickens. I tell them the three reasons why I wanted chickens.

#1 Chicken manure.

I am a gardener and a frugal yankee (one step up from cheap mother of a person). I garden as organically as I can, using compost and manure to replenish my garden soil.  I can get all of the free horse manure I want. Horses never stop making the stuff so most horse owners have an abundance that they are happy to give away.  Horse manure is the least nutritious of the 3 most available manures, one of the reasons you can get it for free.Cow manure is the next nutritious and chicken manure is the best. Chicken farmers know this and sell the manure.  Being frugal, I don’t buy it or any chemical fertilizers.  But, I needed a better fertilizer for my garden, so I started thinking about getting chickens.

#2 They eat bugs

Specifically, they eat ticks.I have fences to keep the deer out of my garden, but the ticks they host are in my grass and woods.  The two previous years I have had 4-5 ticks on me each year from doing yard work.  The U.S. also has been invaded by a Chinese insect called a stink bug.  Actually there are more than one type of this bug, once you squish one you will know how it got it’s name.  I read an article on backyard chickens and the line I liked most was “chickens eat anything that moves slower than they do”.  I’m fighting back against the bugs, I got chickens.

Now that my garden is done for the season, I’m letting my chickens into it and they are scratching up and eating cutworms, grubs and other little creatures. Plus, they are adding fertilizer as they go.

#3 Fresh eggs

I think this might be the first reason most people get chickens, but I’m not that fond of eggs.  I really hated them as a kid.  I’m more mature now.

So, after going to 2-3 times a week for the last few years (I wanted to see what I was getting into), I decided to get chicks.  I wanted 4 chicks, 2 different breeds and all hens.  The Franklin Agway store will order you day-old chicks, so I went down to place my order.  Well they have a minimum order of 5 and they had to be the same breed, OK

I ordered 5 Rhode Island Reds.  The following week I swapped my order of RI reds to Golden Reds and brought home 6 baby chicks April 4th 2012.  They had an extra chick. calls this chicken math. Wanted four, ordered  five and came home with six.

And so the adventure began.


My Garden,

I used the last  leeks from my garden in the turkey stuffing last week.  We had Thanksgiving a week early.  The garden has stopped producing for another season. As usual this garden season had successes and failures.  The 2 biggest failures, well 3 were corn, strawberries and rutabagas, I didn’t get any of them.

Successes were asparagus, spinach, peas, tomatoes, cukes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and rhubarb.  I tried buttercup winter squash for the first time this year, I like the butternut better.  I will give the buttercup another try, I still have seeds.

I have planted my garlic cloves for next year, so am I done??  NO. I still want to add 3-4 inches of horse manure to my asparagus and rhubarb beds, and spread compost and lime over the rest of my garden. Then I’ll be done.

My garden is fenced because of the deer, rabbits and woodchucks, I have all of them.  I’ve been letting my chickens (6, one day old baby chicks April 4th 2012) into my garden now that it is done for the season. So they have been scratching and eating cutworms, grubs and any other little creatures they find.They are eating a lot of earthworms also. When they were 5-6 weeks old I thought they were defective chickens, they would not eat an earthworm. Now that they are laying eggs they slurp them down like spaghetti. I think they need the food energy to make eggs.  I’ve heard some people eat earthworms, I like mine processed, as in the form of a fresh chicken egg.


Chickens roosting in their run.

My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


Writing, Family and More


Helping gardeners get the most bang for their BAWK!

Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

Keeping Track of What's Growing When, Where and How

Karma on the Trail

"'That's good for a beginning,' said Frodo. 'I feel like walking.'"

My Hike, 2014

I don't want to get to the end of my life and regret that I didn't do this


The Adventures of a Girl Without Her Cat

Finding Faeries

My continuing mission to explore ... magic

Adventures with Spice

From the Trails to the Cities, Find Beauty in Everything

Fiesta Friday

Food + Friends = Fun


my backyard garden in holliston


Writing from the heart of Somerset


Just another site

The Chick Roost

"Ain't nobody here but us chickens"

The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Willow Creek Farm

High Altitude Homesteading

Life at Brookwood Shire

Living with Nature