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May 23, 2012

Yard Rules By The Pound

Frankie's yard needed mowing this morning.  I hoped the whole event would go by without Frankie noticing but as I pushed the lawn mower into his yard Frankie was already sitting in his morning basking spot.

He sees the lawnmower.  As the lawn mower got closer to his favorite basking spot Frankie slowly pulled his head back under his shell without the slightest "hisssss."   He never took his eyes off the slowly moving metal object.

Of note is Frankie and the lawnmower are evenly matched in size and weight.

The lawn mower rolls slowly by Frankie.  Frankie’s head is nearly tucked under his shell yet Frankie's stretched out feet don't move.  Frankie is "sitting" his ground in the famous (yet headless) "Superman pose." 
Some precaution is exercised with the head tuck.  Or is it?

The mixed message doesn't escape me. Frankie's not afraid.  Frankie could pounce.  That head-pulled-in-the-shell is a great ramming pre-pose.

Frankie pulls his back feet straight under his shell.  Oh, shells and tails.  Precautions look like preparations for a full out strike.

I proceed cautiously and choose to push the lawn mower twenty feet farther away before I start it.  At the right spot I move to the mower's side to activate the choke.  I glance over to where Frankie is sitting.

Frankie's head is out full.  One false move and Frankie will set the Frankie Yard Rules in motion.

I pull the start cord.  The lawnmower comes to life.  Frankie's state of alert is unchanged. I gently squeeze the throttle and the lawnmower creeps forward.

Frankie lowers his head just a bit:  "I'm watching you."

I am going to start at the far end of the lawn....just in case.

The backyard is a 20-minute-lawn.  There is a big grassy clearing with a maple tree, two solar panels, a weather station tower, a Golden Rain Tree, Frankie's kiddy pool, and an on-the-ground-bird-bath.  The other half of the yard is full of trees and bushes so that the only required mowing is around the sides.

The yard is not flat.  It's like one big gentle slope. Luckily the lawnmower is self-propelled so I don't kill myself getting it up the slope.  The slope is steep enough that the lawnmower runs fast dragging me on the way downhill.

Maybe the reason that Frankie tolerates the lawnmower moving from left to right over and over is its funny watching mom get dragged by the mower as it speeds down the slope.

Not once does Frankie cease watching the lawnmower.  He is allowing the lawn mower to mow.

Once finished I drag out the hose and wash the lawnmower.  Frankie watches.

I push the lawnmower out of the yard and Frankie finely turns his head the opposite way to resume basking.  I lock the gate and return the lawnmower to the garage.

The job is done.  The lawn is mowed.  The lawnmower lives another day.

One of these pounds Frankie isn't going to let the lawnmower be.

I can feel it in my bones.

There will be a reckoning.


May 18, 2012

Poop Magic

Time for tails.....but this is all true.  I've discovered that Frankie is a magician.  Okay, okay, not literally truth but it's true that Frankie produces magic in the form of little dark poops.

I am no farmer.  I suck at gardening.  I have killed more outdoor plants, flowers and vegegetable growing plants than the average Southern woman.  It's not a well kept secret. My husband knows all too well that I've attempted garden after garden.  Every year buy top soil, fertilizer, seeds, plants, cow compost, mushroom compost and so on and so on.  I try. 

Maybe there is faint successes at a few tomato plants and marigold flowers.  I've eaten a few tomatoes that manages to survive my gardening.  I've even eaten a few of my home grown squash harvested before the bugs and worms overtook the plants. Small triumphs.

Frankie grew this squash plant that defied all rational explanations.  I didn't' plant it.  It just started growing just off the corner of his favorite summer basking area.  Within a month of showing up it sprouted HUGE fruits.

Meanwhile, my pathetic squash plants were dying when Frankie's plant was throwing dozens of plump squash. His squash ultimately ended up as cricket food.  Greg wouldn't eat Frankie's squash because the plant was directly down stream of Frankie's summer poop swamp.

Suddenly I looked at Frankie's poop in a whole other light.  I started collecting Frankie's poop and composting it.

That was two years ago.  This summer I put in three tomato plants, three strawberry plants, a few peas and cucumber plants in small plot that is now 10 inches deep in Frankie composed poop.  Several spontaneous Frankie pumpkin plants showed up (I didn't plant them).

The whole plot is going crazy. The tomato plants are over three feet tall and so thick I can barely get in to count what look like dozens and dozens of fast growing little green tomatoes.  The pumpkin plants are spilling over into the driveway.  I've eaten all the early strawberries.  The cucumbers and peas are fighting the tomato plants for growing room.

Frankie's poop is magic! Organic, herbicide free, fertilizer free, home pooped from a naturally fed sulcata tortoise.

Every day I go outside to gather up the magic Frankie poop for composting.

I had to bribe Frankie with a cuttlebone this morning so I could collect four HUGE black steamy poops from underneath his shell.

I need those things so MOVE Frankie.

Go eat more grass, Frankie and next year I will grow corn and carrots.  We split those 50/50.   I get 50% for the kitchen table and you get the rest for snacks.


May 6, 2012

End of the Parade

How I see Frankie:
How Do Dah Day's parade officials see Frankie:

This is how Frankie's fans at Do Dah Day see Frankie in the parade (the following photos were taken by people attending Do Dah Day Pet Parade):

(Thank you, Frankie fans for letting us borrow your great photos taken over the six years that Frankie has walked in the pet parade.)

How Frankie sees himself at the Do Dah Day Pet Parade:

In 2011, Frankie's walk at Do Dah Day Pet Parade went bad.  He was asked to start in the back of the parade or be put in a cart.  Frankie walked about twenty feet before he was told that the parade was over.  He had just crossed the starting mark.
Due to total misunderstandings, Frankie isn't welcome at the 2012 Do Dah Day Pet Parade.  What are the misunderstanding?  It's all based on how parade officials THINK Frankie walks in the parade.  They think he blocks the parade floats, slows the whole parade down, walks the entire parade in the very front, upstages the "king and queen," Frankie cuts in line, and some other things that are totally untrue.

Should I complain.  I have.  Should I fuss.  I have.  Do Dah Day is a non-profit, fund raising affair and I've been told I am ruining the event by being such a spoil-sport.

Cry, cry, cry.  Okay.  I've cried over my spilled milk.  I am a baby about this. 

Mostly I will miss the event: Frankie Fans, taking lots of pictures, writing about Frankie's adventures on the day, and reminiscing about it all.

I'll shut up now.