Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Spring has arrived at Dog Trot Farm. Unfortunately along with spring comes Black Fly season. Black flies are those teeny tiny gnats that love to torment we humans as we attempt any outdoor activity. They fly in your eyes, up your nose, buzz in your ears, get caught in your throat. They crave the warmth of the human body. A gnat bite will usually cause a welt- sometimes small, sometimes large, accompanied by relentless itching. Plain and simple black flies can drive you CRAZY. "Is it buggy out?" some of the most repeated words you will hear in New England at this time of year. It may be a wonderful warm spring day, you have a chore list a mile long to attend to, but if there is no breeze- just forget it- nothing will be accomplished with those "buggers" buzzing around. Some of us have resorted to DEET, Avon's Skin So Soft, and even old "bug dope" recipes. Nothing really seems to deter these nasty creatures. Then there is the option of hats with netting, which help protect head and face. There is also a full body suit made in the same manner which zips up the front- not much of a fashion statement but I am told it helps tremendously. This may just be the year that I invest in one. Peas, lettuce, spinach and carrots have made their presence in the kitchen garden. Pumpkins, bottle gourds, and flower seeds have been planted indoors and are waiting for warmer conditions before being transplanted. The remainder of the vegetable garden will be planted by late May or when there is no longer a threat of frost or snow.

My girls, well they feel as though they are being treated like prison inmates. I am the warden and Winslow Homer the prison guard and they are in lock down. Since Georgia's death the girls have had one weekend furlough. I dare not leave them out for long, even with my presence in the yard the fox is just lurking waiting for the right opportunity. My neighbor informed me of a fox heading across our field with a white hen in it's mouth.I do not own any white hens. Poor little white hen I hope it escaped the jaws of death and found it's way home.
It is tough on my chickens not being able to free range, they led such a bucolic existence, but this is reality.
So with that being said on Saturday DH began the coop yard extension. Their outdoor space will be doubled in size, with an area for bathing and more perches.
And Gladys, sweet Gladys she appears to be improving each day. She is not capable of flying to the roost at night so I keep her inside in the "infirmary". She has not been laying, but that is the least of my worries. She appears happy with her environment, eats, drinks. She allows me to pet her, however, is not ready to be held. Having a chicken in the house is such lovely company. Gladys is beginning to find her singing voice once again. She is such a love and I am so grateful she is alive. Gladys and I thank you all for your kind comments, concerns, and e-mails. My girl truly is an amazing chicken.


Linda said...

Nice to hear that Gladys is recuperating, and will have a bigger yard when she rejoins the flock. We have tightened up our hen security as well, since the mama foxes, etc are out looking for take-home meals for their families this time of year.

And didn't anyone tell the black flies that it's too early for them? I had one bite on the inside of my elbow last weekend that looked as though I had blood drawn!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear Gladys is on the mend. I have been worried about her! I'm glad your DH is expanding the roaming area. Is there any chance of a fence around a larger area?

We are adding a few more chicks to our flock, 3 Barred Rocks came home to us today! They are so very cute!

Kim said...

Those black flies are brutal but the only thing worse is the june-bugs. Oh how I hate those. At least they don't last long. Glad to hear an update on Gladys.

Spring Lake Farm said...

I'm so glad that Gladys continues to recover!


Farm Girl said...

I was worried about Gladys so I am glad to see her feeling better. Black flies, I guess we all have our native bugs. I have never heard of black flies before. I guess you need a bee suit. Do they go away in the summer?
Your new chicken yard looks wonderful. I do feel sorry for the girls not being able to be free range.
Thank you so much for updating about Gladys. I have always enjoyed your posts about the girls.

Boggy Creek Primitives said...

Oh my gosh! I had the same problem with a fox not too long ago, it was horrible! I always thought fox were nocturnal but I was wrong. One day I was washing my truck, my girls and two roosters were milling around me ~ all of a sudden they started making distress sounds. I looked over and not 20 ft. from me was the fox!!!! I yelled to it to leave. Oh and your Glady's looks just like my Hester Biddleton ~ just beautiful! I don't know what happened to her but will read further on your blog. Glad to read she's recuperating and it looks like in the lap of luxury, lol!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Aw, I love how you've given Gladys a china saucer underneath her waterer! that little lady is in a 5-star dog kennel (or is that a rubbermaid tub?), that's for sure!
You take such amazing care of your girls - how lucky they are to have an extension built onto their run! My guess is that orange adirondack chair will be spending a lot of time in that run - with you on it! (I know that's where I would be...)

Sorry that stupid fox continues to threaten... :-(

Eve said...'ve brightened my morning Julie! except for the buggy thing. I think I have as many inch worms as you have black flies. I can't go outside without walking into 3 or 4 hanging from their "strings" and they hitch a ride into the house with me. The "baas-tids"!!!
Hugs for Gladys!

Rural Rambler said...

Good Thursday Morning Julie! I am so happy to see this post this morning. Know you are busy with Spring things and life in general but I missed pictures from Dog Trot Farm and "girl" news. I am doing a happy dance over Gladys :) 'A Chicken in the House' Julie, what a great name for a book. And I suppose I have heard of black flies but we don't have anything like that here, they sound downright irritating! We do have our overly fair share of ticks right now and they creep me out so bad I can't hardly bring myself to walk in the grass.

What a sweet hubby you have. And yes that is a rooster you saw on the porch. Found him on one of my outings and he needed a home. He will likely be the only "breed" of rooster I will ever have. I have a pig too on the porch. Wilbur. Same "breed". Imagine Airies :) Suds Bunny is part of that stock too. Enjoy your Dog Trot Thursday Julie!

Brenda's Arizona said...

Your updates on Gladys always bring a smile to my face.

Too bad the black flies don't annoy the fox. It would be just retribution!

A New England Life said...

Look at your husband out there, working his fingers to the bone. What a good guy! And all for the love of chickens : )

Hopefully with some warmer weather Gladys will come around. Poor girl has had enough trauma to last a lifetime.

Here's to warmer days ahead! Oh, and this year I've resorted to Deep Woods Off. I hated to buy it but with EEE being a threat I just can't risk it. Darned black flies though. Yuk!

Peacemom said...

Ahhhh, gotta love those black flies! They are just as bad down here in Cow Hampshire.

I'm so happy to see a picture of Gladys looking cozy and happy in her temporary hotel. She looks wonderful! ~Vonnie, NH

DayPhoto said...

We don't get black flies here. We do have gnats, but they are not biters just annoyers.

I'm glad the run is extending and that your hen is improving. She is one lucky bird.


Anonymous said...

Love that picture of DH working away on phase two of the chicken run while Gladys sits and has her tea--in a very fancy infirmary! Who knew that chickens could inspire that kind of adoration?! I sure didn't, and I'm so relieved to see that I'm not the only to pamper my chicken friends. Can't wait to see the amazing play yard when it's finished!


Ken and Mary of Fancy Fibers Farm said...

We too are glad that Gladys is on the mend. We're also sorry that your girls are on lock-down. Understandable precautions. Is there no chance of doing away with this predator? Ken and Mary of Fancy Fibers Farm

Pondside said...

I'm so glad to hear that Gladys is recuperating in comfort. Our hens are in lock down today too - poor things.
I have a secret to tell you - there are no gnats, midges or black flies and very few mosquitoes here on the island.

miss Potter said...

Black they have arrived also, from the Maine of Jessica Fletcher, to Parma, the city of the Parmesan cheese... or the blacks flies are anywhere or they are passed through our blogs while we were looking at them :D

(Splendid hen-pen!!!)