“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



When I first put the young chickens out in their coop,  I would lock them in for most of the time for a week.  This was so they would learn that the coop was safe and that it was where you go at night to sleep.  They learned this lesson with very little problems.  But, now that the weather is getting nice, they have decided to sleep in the run on the high roost.  OK, by me, the run is secure, chain-link dog run with chicken wire buried 18 inches in the ground.  I say they are camping out.  They did sleep in the coop the night we had a very close and severe thunder storm.

Chickens roosting for the night in the run.  5/22/13

Chickens roosting for the night in the run. 5/22/13

One of my favorite movies is “Julie and Julia”, part of the reason I blog.  For Christmas last year my mother-in-law gave me a new copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Childs.  I should add that it is now a two volume set.  I’m not going to “cook my way through it” like in the movie but I will cook from it.  So last Monday I had a lot of fresh asparagus that was to be supper.  I made (I’ll use the english name) an Asparagus Mold from Julia Childs famous cook book.  It was great, fresh asparagus and backyard fresh eggs.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but, close enough.  My wife says I never follow any recipe exactly.  She liked it too. Sorry the picture isn’t great and I should have taken a picture before I served some of it.  The whole mold looked very impressive.  Just my opinion.

Asparagus mold from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"

Asparagus mold from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”



I live about 6 miles from the starting line, in Hopkinton, of the Boston Marathon.  Many times I have gone and watched the masses on their run to Boston. I didn’t go yesterday, I was too busy.  I was out in my garden when my wife came out with tears in her eyes and told me there was a bombing at the finish line in Boston.

I’ve lived in Holliston all of my life, it was a boring town when I was a teenager, but a great place to bring up children of your own as a parent.  Safe, quiet, friendly, insulated from the people that are on the evening news.  Not yesterday.  I was angry, why?  why?? why???  We may never know.

I’m sad today.


I’ve been keeping track of my ladies egg production by writing it in a pocket calender.  This has not been the best way to keep track of the numbers.  I found an egg production sheet from the early 1900’s on another blog.  My computer skills aren’t the best, I could not figure how to print out this sheet.  Fortunately I am married to an amazing woman, one with skills on a spread sheet that I am just in awe of.  I explained what I wanted the yearly sheet to contain and it appeared.

Back to my computer skills.  I tried to get that spread sheet to attach to my blog so anyone could print it.  I failed.  So I took a picture of it.



I’m going to ask my very talented wife to add an average eggs per day row to the bottom.  Some of you probably think this whole thing should be done on the computer, my wife does, but I like filling it out at the kitchen table at the end of the day.  I really like the average eggs per day tally, 4.93 eggs per day for both September and October from 5 hens, not bad ladies.  Even the 4.35 eggs per day for the cold winter month of February is quite something.  They are good chickens.  If you might want the spread sheet, let me know and I think I can e-mail it to you.


Here in New England, the middle of January, and this weekend was 52 degrees F (16 C) for a high.  It was so nice I decided to clean the run and coop because it isn’t frozen solid.  I start by shoveling out the run, this took 3 trips with the wheelbarrow over to the compost pile.  Then I scrap out the shavings and poop in the coop and spread them in the run.


run with coop shavings


scrapped out coop

I then spread the shaving from the nesting boxes into the coop, refill the nesting boxes and add more shavings to the coop.  I will add more shavings to the coop as needed to cover the poop and keep it dry.  I’m hoping this will get me through till spring.


cleaned nesting boxes


coop with clean shavings, board at door to keep shaving in

The run then gets a layer of fall leaves, about 5 to 6 inches.  The ladies (and Jack) will scratch this up and turn it into almost ready compost for my garden.  If they could handle the wheelbarrow they  could help out even more.


some of the ladies checking out my work

The ladies (and Jack) are liking this weather, the snow is just about gone and they are roaming into the woods again.  They even found a couple of small frogs that they played keep-a-way with before  enjoying them for lunch.

I find it hard to get a good picture of Jack, he’s always moving his head, but I did get this one this weekend.

Jack on the deck

Jack on the deck

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