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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.



  1. I have always enjoyed the tales of Frankie! Frankie the Lawnmowernator.

  2. well you could paint the lawnmower like a tortoise so Frankie maybe see a friemd and not be tempted to fall to the darkside. lol
    he's fighting back the ram urge. haha!
    and i had a good laugh imagining the lawnmower jerking you forward like Frankie sees it. haha again!!

  3. Frankie is absolutely magnificent. I just love Tortoise Tales!