New Garden Helper (or Puppy Party)

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I’d like to introduce you to Scout.  She’s the newest member of our family and my latest farmhand.  She’s a 6 week old boxer pup who specializes in wrestling with watermelon vines and herding chickens.

Wendell loves her.

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He’ll even (somewhat reluctantly) share his space with her.

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Welcome, Scout!

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(Slipped on a rock and dunked my camera into a creek in Floyd, VA….so I’m down to my crappy cell phone camera.)

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Chickeny Chick Chick

I haven’t posted lately but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing stuff. I just haven’t had anything to really show for it yet.  We’re working on expanding the garden and my baby plants are growing (yes, even the ones I’ve disturbed by replanting…which is most of them by now). But one area of my farmy endeavors that has some sort of conclusion is the Chickens and their MITES! Yes, mites or lice or something.
For several weeks I’d had nagging guilt about not having a dust bath area for the girls. They don’t get outside of their coop enough and chickens need to dust themselves to control the buggies that like to chew on them. (Writing this post is making me itch…which is another story, but let’s continue.) Last Saturday I was outside working in the muddy saturated earth a bit with the biddies. Rosie looked a little disheveled, a couple of feathers poking out here and there and then I saw her shoot out a nice stream of diarrhea. Great. I thought I’d been seeing too much gooey shit in the coop. So I flipped her over and looked at her vent area and between the feathers on her hind quarters. Critters. Flesh colored and fast moving. Lots of them. Now mind you, mites can actually kill chickens if they get bad enough. So action was needed.
I built a dusting area that very day with bricks and old sand from our dead hermit crab’s tank and ordered a big bag of food grade diatomaceous earth online. I realize that this may not work, but I still think it’s worth a shot before succumbing to poison.
Rain poured all the next day, soaking my dusting area and rendering it temporarily useless. The diatomaceous earth came on Tuesday and Gordon went outside with me when I got home from work to hold a light while I dusted them in the dark. That was an experience.
So anyway, today’s project was to clean out the infested coop, dust the place, put in new bedding, and dust the girls again.

So I did that, after much struggle.  They weren’t really fans, but I think I got them pretty good.

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Dusty Rosie

And happily, they are now using the dusting area!

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But the BEST NEWS of the day is that my disney fantasy is coming to fruition.  Soon enough, the chickens will be riding around on Wendell while they all sing animal songs together and help me with my chores!

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And I almost forgot:  Juniper is now laying as of yesterday!  So we have three healthy laying hens….hopefully the mites won’t take that away.  (They won’t.  I’ll win against those little bastards one way or another.)