Monthly Archives: June 2013

Just a quick update on our deer tick problem.  My wife and I inspected all 6 chickens this evening and removed about a dozen deer ticks.  Gods little creatures are plentiful.  Most of the ticks were around the eyes some on the waddles and combs.  Happily no swelling to report.

deer ticks on a folded paper towel  6/23/13

deer ticks on a folded paper towel 6/23/13

Click on the picture to enlarge it, you might be able to enlarge again with a second click.

This is not a fun chore. But it is one that needs to be done.



My chickens are spoiled, pampered and have a pretty good deal here.  Well, I think so.  I try to set up feeders and think of ways to keep the treats that the ladies and Jack get  from getting dirty.  I wouldn’t want to eat my treats off of the ground.  They love watermelon on a hot day just as I do.  Have you ever seen  watermelon that has just been thrown into the run ??  It is quickly covered in dirt, a dark brown mess.

Corn on the cob is very much the same, it quickly becomes a dark brown mess.  To fix this I stuck 4 short dowels into a short slab of pine, drill a hole into the end of the corn cobs and slide them onto the dowels.  The ladies love it.  They pick them clean.

corn cob feeder  6/13

corn cob feeder 6/13

I’m trying to grow turnips for the first time this year.  I’ve grown rutabagas with limited success in the past and they are pretty much the same thing.  I plant a lot of different things but not a lot of one thing.  So I thinned my turnips to 10 plants and they were doing well.  Then one of them started to wilt and then another.  I dug them up and the root was eaten into a honey comb by ants.  I’m trying DE (diatomaceous earth) sprinkled around the plants to see if this will get rid of the ants.

young turnip eaten by ants 6/13

young turnip eaten by ants 6/13


Jasmine is better, the swelling around her eye is gone and she has been evicted from the kitchen.  If that is all you wanted to know you can stop reading.  If not, this is the longer version.

Jasmine’s swelling was caused by a tick or perhaps more than one tick.   Deer ticks, they are the size of a poppey seed and they carry Lyme disease.  Weston Nurseries had an expert on ticks June 8 th.  He was very informative.   But, he didn’t know that chickens can be bitten by deer ticks.  I didn’t either.  I got chickens to eat ticks and I haven’t had a Wood Tick on me since the ladies are free-ranging.  When we looked closely at Jasmines eye there was a small darkish dot attached to the tissue around her eye.  We pulled it off with tweezers, put it under the microscope and there was a tick.  We then looked closer at all of the ladies and Jack.  Jack had 3 or 4 around his eyes and the other ladies had some too.  Jack’s eye swelled up as did Mo’s .

We continue to check for ticks , have changed the shavings, cleaned the run and sprinkled DE ( diatomaceous earth ) where the chickens dust bathe and in the coop.   We think we have it under control but continue to watch.  At this time all of the ladies and Jack are fine, no swelling.  Holding on to a chicken while trying to get a tick off of their eye is a challenge.  I need a helper, my wife ( the chicken whisperer )  does pretty well by her self.


We have a sick chicken, Jasmine’s left eye has been swollen for a couple of days .  My wife and I have been watching it and this morning it looked worse to me.  So, from what my wife read on we decided to separate her from the flock.  We had picked up a large used dog crate at the Holliston High School Seniors Yard Sale last year just for this purpose.

Jasmine is back in the big house, in the kitchen, all by herself.  Now we wait and watch.  She seems normal.

the slammer in the big house 6/4/13

the slammer in the big house 6/4/13


Jasmine's good eye 6/4/13

Jasmine’s good eye 6/4/13

Jasmine's other eye 6/4/13

Jasmine’s other eye 6/4/13

We did enjoy having her company for lunch.  I’m afraid my wife will like this and give them turns visiting the big house.  Jack and the rest of the ladies were outside and I knew Jasmine could hear Jack.  I wonder what she is thinking.



“New England Plant Swap Planned for June 1st in Walpole”  This was the headline in the local paper that caught my eye on May 1st 2013.  I did a post about it   and have been looking forward to it since then.  Yesterday I dug up some rhubarb, wisteria, siberian iris and transplanted 3 black cherry tomato plants to bring to the Swap.

The GPS said it was 35 minutes away and off I went.  It was a little more than 35 minutes but not much, I got there just after 9:00 am and they hadn’t started yet.  There were three rounds of plant taking, round one was everyone who had brought a plant could go and take one plant, round two was you could go and take half as many plants as you brought, ( so if you brought 10 plants you could take 5 in the second round) and the third round was you could take the balance of your plants. This worked very smoothly, probably because gardeners are nicer and more patient than non-gardeners.  Just my opinion.

I had a ball.  All of my expectations were met and exceeded.  Jim, with his official looking New England Plant Swap shirt, pointed out Lance Robinson as the master-mind behind this Plant Swap.  Lance started this last year and the day was cold dreary.  Today was sunny and bright, actually HOT. I thought it was well attended, well organized and location, location, location.  Adams Farm is a beautiful piece of New England.  The Walpole Garden club has a butterfly garden there that is stunning and there is a community garden with 62 plots.  Good sized plots.

Spending the morning talking to people with green thumbs and dirty fingernails, was most enjoyable.  Marcia and I swapped stories about chickens.  Peggy offered me strawberry plants from her community plot.  I can’t say enough good things about this.  Thank you Lance, great idea and job well done.  I will try to give my new plants a good home.  This is what I got  strawberry plants, 2 types of hosta, 1 day lily, some Sedum autumn joy and 1 red hibiscus.  Quite a haul if you ask me.

I didn’t count how many tables were set up for the plants, all were covered and there were plants on the floor around them.  I have 2 pictures that were taken after the first round and maybe after the second round, I was busy picking out plants.

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

Did I mention that I had a good time??

Thanks Lance


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