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May 21, 2014

Hay is what's up.

It just happen.  I was heading to the back yard to check on Frankie and there it was. I had no idea that it would happen. It just couldn't happen because it never happen before.  I mean there he was. Frankie was sitting there eating hay.

Frankie was eating hay.  He was EATING hay!  Hay!  Not grass but hay.  Hay as in Vitakraft Orchard Grass Soft Stemmed Grass Hay from a plastic bag from Petsmart hay.  Hay.  Dried hay.  He was eating hay.

I stood there for a moment watching him eat hay.  I wanted to be sure it was hay and that he was eating it and that it wasn't an accident.  It wasn't an accident.  Frankie was eating the hay.  Chomping the hay and then swallowing the hay and then eating some more hay.

It was hard believe what I was seeing.  Frankie has refused hay for more than 12 years.  He didn't want to eat hay.  Frankie wanted to sit on hay.

I cut up hay into small pieces, soaked hay in water, tried different brands:  Frankie was not eating it.   If I mixed chopped carrots into the hay to trick Frankie into eating the hay Frankie would pick through the hay and eat only the carrots.

Years and years I've tried.  Frankie eating hay could have solved so many problems like absent grass in the winter or no grass in a new yard and I am trying very hard to get grass to grow in his yard so I have to run out twice daily and pick grass in vacant lots, public meridians, and parks.  

So I am standing there watching Frankie eat hay.  Frankie had nearly finished the hay so I quickly ran to his cave and fetched the bag of hay.  I got back just in time as he finished the last bit of hay.  Frankie was ready for more hay.  Frankie wanted more hay!

I put down more hay while Frankie looked at me with real appreciation on his face.  This was a bit surreal as Frankie has never appreciated hay as food, ever.

Frankie has accidentally eaten hay before.  He has taken a few bites of hay in years gone by but it was just a quirk.  I hesitated to really think this was the real thing, Frankie eating hay and liking it.  Frankie eating hay could be a coincidence.  I knew I would have to wait for tomorrow.  If he ate hay two days in a row, well that would mean something.

All the next day I watched to see if Frankie was up for a repeat performance.  Frankie was all over the yard looking for bits of new grass newly.  He came begging for a carrot.  As the day pressed forward but there was no hay eating.  I was tempted to run out and pick some grass and weeds to mix in they hay but I held back hoping he would be eager for hay, just hay, at the end of the day.

So what do you think happen?  Frankie ate hay!  Again!  Late that day, Frankie just sat down in front of his pile of hay and ate it.

The first time could have been an accident and the second day could be a co-incident.   Maybe I am jumping the gun.  He could just be starving.   Maybe that particular batch of Vitakraft Orchard Hay was exceptional.  I went out and bought a whole brad new bag of Katee Orchard Grass.

I was willing to wait it out.  If Frankie eats hay a third day in a row, well then, it's not an accident or a coincident, it's a rule. 

Day Three.  Frankie ate hay!  Yea!  What luck is this?  Can I reduce the number of times I run out and pick Frankie grass?  Yes, yes I can because Frankie eats hay.  Do I need to feel anxious that the yard grass is growing slow?  No, I don't need to any more.  Frankie ate hay the next day and the next day and the next day.

Frankie eats hay.

Yesterday, after a long day of Frankie-ness, basking on the West wall, walking everywhere, dragging the old ten foot aluminum tower around, napping under the magnolia tree, pushing the blue chair off the porch, grazing the incoming new grass, walking up and down the slope, grazing the older grass, bumping the back house door checking to see if his staff is around (that would be me), dumping the water out of his kiddy pool, and basking on the East wall as the sun was creeping down the West horizon, Frankie made it back to the porch to eat a large amount of Vitakraft Orchard Hay and a cuttlebone.

I am tearing up a little here because it's a rule:  Frankie eats hay.

Frankie eating hay.

May 13, 2014

Pass the Grass

Grass is on my mind.  It keeps me up at night.  It takes up a lot of my time during the day.  No, not "Colorado Grass".  Grass as in Frankie's grass in his yard, or the lack of grass in Frankie's yard.

The backyard grass that came with the house is woefully inadequate.  Regretfully, we moved in the house during the winter and didn't know until Spring that Frankie's yard never had much grass.  What it had isn't enough for a 95 pound sulcata.

Woefully lacking grass.  The rest of the yard has no grass. 

Hey, mom.  No Grass. Do something.
Frankie's been somewhat patient about the situation.  No, I take that back.  Frankie has not been patient about a lack of grass in the yard.  He mopes about with this sad I-can't-believe-you-abuse-me look on his face.

I am starving, mom! Wait, is this a giant carrot?

Since there is no grass then I must pick a bag of grass & weeds for him, twice a day, and we all know how well that is going.  If I don't go pick a bag of grass then I must take Frankie for a walk.

Frankie siting by the gate. Well, more like blocking the gate until I get the hint Frankie wants a walk
Used to be Frankie and I would go on walks but we don't walk any more.  The minute he is out the gate he heads to the neighbor's house where they have real grass. We don't walk, we graze.

Frankie having thoughts of moving in with the neighbors who actually have grass in their yard.

There's been some heated discussions as to why there is no grass in our yard and how we're gonna get some grass:  Bad soil, lack of care of previous owners, not enough sun, aliens.  We looked at the biggest sun blocker tree and had it removed.  No kidding.  Took down a perfectly healthy tree so we could grow grass in our yard. Well, okay, it was a Pine Tree and Frankie was eating too many pine needles anyway. It was a good thing to take down.

I started planting more grass.  Bought Tortoise Grazing Seed from Carolina Pet Supply and planted it in three areas of the yard.  It came in great.  Then Frankie ate it.  The grass still exists but as it's kept trimmed to the ground by the hungry Frankie.  So I bought more seed.

Almost ready to be eaten. 
Small sections are planted and then covered with heavy duty screen.  Frankie can't eat the new grass until it grows above the screen. When the grass is ready I remove the screen.

Hey, this isn't fair.  And I ain't eatin' your hay either.

I got really ambitious and planted a really big section with grass seed.  I didn't have enough screens to cover it all so spread hay over it.  It's okay, Frankie won't eat hay even if he is starving.

Back corner is seeded and covered with hay.  Frankie ignores the hay.
Planting seed is a slow process but this way we get the right kind of grass to grow that is best for Frankie.  I choose seed based on Sulcata Station's list of good grasses for sulcatas.

Is the grass ready yet? Not yet?  Then go get me a bag of grass.  I'm hungry.
Right or wrong, slow or not, maybe there is a better way to get grass to grow in this large yard.  Considering the steep inclines, leaf-debris ground, varying soil types and lack of skill on my behalf, I am managing to get it done.

I keep reminding myself that once I get this grass seeded and grown the task will be complete and I will not have to do this again on such a large scale. 

We'll get here eventually.

 Looks like it's time to go pick a bag of grass & weeds for Frankie.  Hurry up and grow grass!



May 1, 2014

Pounds of Posterior

Greg bought me a Fitbit.  It's a little device I wear on my person that tracks my steps, activity levels, calories burned and sleep.  All that information is transmitted to my own personal fitness page where I can also enter what I've eaten.  I can clearly see how food and activity directly effect my bottom know, my weight.  It's been a real eye opener.

Yes, moving from a three story house to a one story house had a huge impact on my fitness:  I gained weight.  So, Greg getting me this Fitbit helps track my heath and fitness.  Since I've started using the Fitbit I have return to my normal weight.

I'd like to say that this miracle is due to a change of diet but I can't really say that.  Since I dropped all hydrogenated oils from my diet nearly 15 years ago maintaining a healthy weight is pretty simple.  I've made just a few adjustments to food intake but still get ice cream and organic peatnut butter nearly every week.  It's activity that has made the difference

Nope, it's not the food.  It's Frankie.

Reviewing yesterday's activity level on my FitBit there was this huge spike of activity at 10:00 am.  That was me raking all the leaves and branches from Frankie's yard.  I gotta do this almost every day if there is ever going to be grass in his yard.  I gotta water it everyday, by hand, to get that grass growing.  Unless it rains.  Then I get a day off.

And since there is so little grass in Frankie's yard I have to drive twice a day (2X!) somewhere and pull up grass and weeds enough to fill a plastic garbage bag. According to Fitbit pulling up grass for 30 minutes every day is "high activity."

Does stress count?  This last week I was at this empty lot next to a shopping center pulling up red clover (huge stalks!) when this beat up old Chevy pulled up next to me.  I realize it must be a strange sight but why would anyone what to bother what clearly must be a scavenging homeless woman stuffing grass in a plastic bag? 

This rough old guy leans out this his window and starts asking some really silly questions:  "What are you picking?"  What you gonna do with that clover."  "You're feeding it to a turtle?"

All these questions were quite distracting from my real worry that I am not carrying a gun or even a knife to protect myself.  I could throw the bag of clover at him if he makes one false move but then I would have to pick another bag of clover for Frankie.  See?  I am burning calories.

And if I don't have a bag of clover for Frankie then I have to take him on a walk.  This is where the Fitbit goes through the roof.

The minute that gate opens Frankie trots toward what promises to be an hour of fun.  Fun for Frankie.  All work for me.

Headin ' out is easy because Frankie anticipates a Big Walk and grazing all around the neighborhood.  All the way around the neighborhood is a battle of left-n-right, don't-eat-the-rock, not-in-the-street, don't-eat-the-flowers, not-under-the-car, not-on-my-foot and finely, please-lets-go-home.  That Fitbit is steaming.

But that isn't everything.  There is cleaning the pooped-in pool and poop-filled-cave.  And poop patrol.

Last week Frankie ate a Nut N' Berry Bird Suet Square.  The whole thing.  Including the plastic built in hanger.  Frankie isn't supposed to eat suet.  He sure isn't suppose to eat plastic.  I scoured the yard looking for the plastic built in hanger and couldn't find it.  That means Frankie ate it.  That means I have to pick through every poop until that plastic hanger shows up in his poop.

Yesterday the first of the seed shells showed up in the poop.  No hanger yet.  I will be dissecting poop for a few more days.

It is amazing how much of my day is taken up with Frankie.  What is more amazing is that nearly 60% of my daily activity recorded on Fitbit is directly related to Frankie.  This shapely body is basically build by Frankie, including the aches and ouchs. 

If my husband bought me that Fitbit to help me stay in shape he really needs to go out to the backyard and thank Frankie.

And I have to thank Greg for the Fitbit, for Frankie, and for 20 years.  Today, happy anniversary, my love.