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Pug

Pugs and other short-nosed dogs have more difficulty on hot, humid days.

Of course you know better to leave your dog or cat in a car.  And that you need to provide water and shade for dogs who are outdoors.  But do you know what to do if you find a pet with heatstroke? The Humane Society of the US advises:

Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.   Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.

If your pet is exposed to high temperatures:
• Look for signs of heat stress—heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.
•  If your pet is overheated, move him to a cooler area and take these emergency steps:

  1. Gradually lower his body temperature by applying cool (not cold) water all over his body or soaking him in a cool bath.
  2. Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin area. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Direct a fan on the wet areas to speed evaporative cooling.
  3. 3. You may offer fresh, cool water if your dog is alert and wants to drink. Do not force your pet to drink.

•   Take your pet immediately to a veterinarian—it could save his life. Call ahead, if possible, to be sure your veterinarian is available.

During a heat crisis, the goal is always to decrease the dog’s body temperature to 103° F in the first 10-15 minutes. Once 103° F is reached, you must stop the cooling process because the body temperature will continue to decrease and can plummet dangerously low if you continue to cool the dog for too long.

Even if you successfully cool your pet down to 103° F in the first 10-15 minutes, you must take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible because consequences of heat stroke will not show up for hours or even days. Potential problems include abnormal heart rhythms, kidney failure, neurological problems and respiratory arrest.

•   If you see an animal in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress, call your local animal care and control agency or police department immediately and take the following steps:

  1. Get the vehicle’s tag number and enter the nearest store or business to request an emergency announcement be made about a pet left in a hot car.
  2. Go back and wait for police at the vehicle.

Remember that  humidity makes it more difficult for dogs to cool off by panting. Young or old pets are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke.
For more information about responsible pet care, contact
Check humanesociety.org/pets.

Watch Out For Fertilizers and Deadly Plants

Plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. In addition, more than 700 plants can produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals.

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duckies 008

In the midst of selling loam and mulch, lime and fertilizer, grass seed and crabgrass preventer — our chickens and ducks arrive. We always wait until after Easter so they are not bought as throw-away pets. It’s a bit of a hassle for us as we are busy at this time and the chicks require some tending. Still, it’s a rite of spring here and we though it is probably not worth it to us, it’s a bit of tradition.

And, no, we don’t keep them in a cardboard box.

They are fun to watch grow. If you’re serious about having your own fresh eggs some day, the children and grandchildren will love them! We have all you need to raise your own… everything from feed to waterers to chicken coops.

Support Grows for Historic Renewable Energy Legislation in Massachusetts

As buyers and sellers of wood chips, often trucking large trailerloads of chips to biofuels plants, we are delighted to see our home state of Massachusetts getting on board with renewable energy. The Massachusetts Forestry Alliance, of which we are a member, has been a strong promoter and consultant on this legislation.

Yes, cheap mulch can be good mulch. But it is not usually bark mulch. Bark is chiefly a by-product of lumber milling. Wood chips are often sourced from land clearing.

We recommend that you use wood chips as a substitute for bark mulches only if in an area away from your house. Bark is used not only for its beauty, but because it is insect-resistant. You don’t want to be feeding termites and carpenter ants.

Wood chips will pretty quickly weather to a silver colored mulch. OK, to be honest it is really a gray mulch. (It’s in the eye of the beholder.) Whole tree chips will generally suffice, even if used to suppress weed and brush growth along a road. This is useful in more rural neighborhoods, or along the tree line at the back or sides of a yard.

In the Brockton and Plymouth Massachusetts area we have seen many good examples of the use of chipped or ground wood, even clean mill chips (no bark or twigs) for the fussier customers in the “better” homes. The latter are mill sourced though and will cost almost as much as the cheaper bark mulch.

Bridgewater Farm Supply offers both retail and wholesale delivery and has whatever you need.

Ah, ’tis spring and the gardens and lawns are coming to life again. Large trucks are coming daily to get our loam and compost mix to haul off to places that need it to add to sandy soil in the many Cape Cod and Southeast Mass. towns. We are proud of our soil because we know it has a wide mix of organic sources that add humus. And that, not just “dirt”, is what makes for good plant growth.

For building a lawn or for garden soil starting with a high organic content in soil provides better aeration, good, natural nutrients and better fertilization hold. At some garden stores or national chain stores (or at guys who just sell “dirt cheap” from a pile by the side of the road) when you buy loam you are buying a nearly dead soil product. It was scraped off some used dirt patch and piled up. It’s old, tired and not ready to grow seedlings with any sort of vigor. Some of us older folks know that feeling well 🙂

Small girl picks dandelions.

Tired of weeds? We sell weed killers and mulch, but not this weed killer

It’s the peak time for mulching. We see it every year. Folks want the place looking great for Memorial Day. The earlybirds have been out on cold days to clean up, mulch the beds, lime and “Step 1” fertilize the lawn. They’ve already mowed a bunch of times. Most of us, though, are procrastinators. We mean well, but it takes some good weather when we can’t resist being outdoors, or the pressure of the long holiday weekend with its approaching visitors (and perhaps a nagging spouse?)  to get us out raking, fertilizing, and spreading mulch. Besides, the Celtics and the Bruins were in the playoffs, and the Sox are playing every day now.

All right, so maybe you picked up some fallen branches between sports periods and maybe even raked.  But… soon the weather will turn hot and steamy, making weed control tasks much more unpleasant.  Get out there now! (or get your spouse out there.  Apply Step 2 Weed and Feed and rake that mulch and add some more where needed.  Seems every time I do that the Red Sox go on a streak. No, really. Don’t wait ’til the All Star break. It’s too hot then.

Call us now at 508-697-0357 or buy some mulch online. You’ll be glad you did.

Bridgewater Farm Supply is in Bridgewater, MA, proudly part of Red Sox nation.

Why use straw mulch?

Photo by Sebastian Kasten (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t mess with my straw bale!

Straw  provides a lightweight airy mulch,  which lets rain through, smothers weeds, and adds organic matter to the soil, improving its structure. It is a cheap mulch compared to many commercial mulches.  Hay mulch is cheaper but straw is the proper choice because it has few if any seeds.  Straw also doesn’t use up as much nitrogen in the soil as some wood-based mulches such as wood chips. Straw also works well on steep slopes where erosion might be a problem. You can “crimp it in” to the soil using a shovel.

Straw, with its light color, reflects light to your plants and helps to keep heat from the soil, keeping soil temperature steady… while of course doing the main job of a mulch–conserving moisture.

Straw just “feels good” in a garden. It generally stays clean-looking during the season and feels good under foot. Also — is there a better “natural” garden seat than a straw bale?

Problems using straw mulch

Many people find that various tunneling garden pests like moles, shrews, and voles love a good straw mulch, too.  Some of these critters are vegetarians and may enjoy feasting on your tulip bulbs or other off-limit foods.

Using straw mulch

Best practice involves applying a new layer of straw mulch in the summer for heat protection and moisture retention. Use gloves and pull 3-inch-thick sections off the bale, fluff them up and apply them. Keep the mulch layer “fluffy” for best results. Many people find a thin layer of newspaper added underneath works well.

In the spring the straw will have begun to decompose and can be pulled back to allow the soil to warm. When the soil becomes workable you can work any soft, rotted straw into the soil along with fertilizer.

If bought in the fall (maybe as part of your autumn decoration) it can be applied and left after on vacant beds or where rodent damage is not a threat.  Otherwise let the straw bales begin to rot and they will be fine to apply in late spring.

Hey, if you’re in Massachusetts, come visit us!