It was a perfectly wonderful day that started just before 7:00 pm. Just enough sleep for the whole house but not so long that the cat would starve to death waiting for her morning meal. Newt the Cat is first or she will howl and meow and get underfoot until she is fed. Then I make breakfast for Greg and me, pack lunch for Greg, drink a cup of coffee and send Greg off to work.
Frankie is next. First thing I do when I walk into the gecko room is to pull the cover off Frankie's Dog-loo so I can sing "Good morning, Frankie!" It's a fine morning. Frankie is already facing out-front so I watch him waking up. While Frankie stirs in his Dog-loo the geckos are watered. All essential morning chores are completed.
It's a wonderful morning as the sun is already shining and the temperature is already past 50 degrees with promises of 70 degree temperatures ahead. For a March day its warmer than usual. For a sulcata tortoise it's a perfect day.
As soon as Frankie is ready, the door is opened and Frankie gets a glimps at the outside sunshine and warm air. No hesitation on his part. He walks from the gecko room through the garage and right to his morning basking spot by the garage door.
I am lucky that this day is my "free day" and I can spend as much time with Frankie as I want. Cup of coffee in hand, I sit near Frankie who soaks up the warm sun.
After a good warm up, Frankie walks to his backyard. This is not a bee-line walk to the backyard from the garage door. Nope, it's a sulcata-two-step-graze to the yard: walk to the edge of the grass, take a couple of bites of grass then take a couple of steps while chewing. Take another bite of grass, chew, walk. Bite grass, walk, walk, eat the dandelion, walk, walk....
I am enjoying myself as I finish my second cup of coffee. I've gotten my 15 minutes of healthy sun. No reason to hurry Frankie. When Frankie finely passes through the gate, I get up and close the gate behind him.
Frankie is in sulcata heaven. Before him is his yard filled with the first green sprouts of spring. Frankie has waited all winter for this day. There is plenty of green grass and hardy weeds to fill his stomach.
I sit on the back porch with a book while Frankie walks the vast space of his backyard to fill his tummy with yummies. He is on a second bask when I go into the house for a spell.
I return about an hour later and he looks like he has finishing the big sweep across the yard. Not a dandelion is left. He has found everyone.
When he sees me he turns and heads my way. I can tell by the look in his eyes that this will be a special visit.
He tromps his way toward me. I am unafraid. Just as he is about to step on my toes my left foot scoots a bit left and right foot scoots a bit right allowing Frankie to pass under me for a very thorough shell run.
This is not a pat on the shell. My finders dig into his shell and massage deeply. He stops right between my two feet so I can rub the back-end of his shell. He loves this more than anything. As I rub he wiggles left to right and left to right as if to make sure my fingers rub every inch of his entire shell without missing a spot. I call this the Frankie Dance. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
When he has his fill of shell-rubs, he just continues his walk and looks for another patch of green grass. Off he goes. I head inside so I can do some work on the computer which of course sits by the window that overlooks Frankie's yard. I will visit him often.
Thank goodness there is finely a yard of new spring grass. He will eat and eat until the shadow of the house covers his yard entirely. Frankie will walk to the gate signaling his surrender to the setting sun. I open the gate and Frankie grazes his way to the back door where I wait to let him in for the night.
Yes, he could stay outside in his Frankie Hut. It's heated. But I just have to have Frankie inside so I can tuck him in for the night.
It's early for the rest of the house but Frankie always goes to bed around 4:00 p.m. I've enjoyed hanging around him the whole day. Now it's time to feed the cat again, vacuum the living room and prepare dinner for Greg who will be home after 5:00 p.m.
I can't complain. Someday I'm going to look back at this and say, "That was a great day." A Frankie and me day.
Dedicated to Frankie Friend Spring.