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August 30, 2008

Getting of the carousel

OMG I am so bored. I finally finished the article for Reptile's Magazine. No more pressure writing.

The box turtles are outside finding lots of worms, slugs and bugs because the rain is gone and everything is nice and damp outside. Temperatures are great for them.

Frankie has lots and lots of grass to graze on. Temperatures at night are cool but he gets plenty of warm up in the morning. Then mid-day is is hot as ever and he takes a rest under the porch.

The baby robin is now flying off into the trees to do its thing so I don't have to feed it every hour. Last night it spent its first night in the trees. I was up at 5:30 am calling to see if it survived. Of course it did.

I've been cleaning the gecko room and enclosures as we are due to have a visit from a AZA member. They are acquiring from our stock and a site inspection is part of the routine. Luckily, this is not the time of year when Frankie comes in the house with lots of pee and poo on the floor. All is ship shape for that.

So what is a girl to do? I guess back to regular maintenance on yard and turtle enclosures. No, really, what is a girl to do? Is there a reward for all this. Oh, I guess so. Nothing like 'ole Frankie coming over for a carrot and butt rub. He and I can sit under the porch (him with a carrot and me with a glass of tea) and watch the world go by.

August 26, 2008

The Worse Job

Taking care of turtles has its down aspects. Yes, it is joyous to watch them munch on delightful foods that we've supplied. Who can resist a turtle stretched out basking in the sun. Our heart melt when they come for a head scratch (or butt rub for Frankie). And baby turtles can turn a Grinch to a cooing, loving parent.

But then turtle care isn't all fun and games.

Cutting up vegetables and fruit to small bitty pieces really isn't such a chore. Nor is snipping up grass and hay into smaller munch-able pieces. But some chores get tough. Giving Frankie a bath can be challenging....and smelly. Picking up poop day after day, year after year can get tiresome. Mopping up urine, especially the 10 gallon Frankie deposit, can be entirely yucky. But the worse job of not picking up Frankie poop. I can handle that. Toss those things without thinking about long as there is a hand washing to follow. The worse I ever did...

The worse job of all happen today. After four days of rain that added up to over 8", coming down in big huge downfalls and then endless sprinkles, I had to clean out Frankie's enclosure. When I opening it up I was overcome by the fumes. First, Frankie had a week of poop deposits there. He had also peed (you can tell by the urates). But that was not the worst of it. Apparently the rain got backed up and was seeping into his enclosure. So four days of rain soaked poop, pee, soil and damp hay all goo-ed together.

I had no choice but start picking the poo by hand. Some of it came apart in my fingers. Yuck. Then I took handfuls of damp soiled hay and tossed that out. Finally I was ready to spread some of the dry hay that had been pushed against the backside of the enclosure. Much to my horror a family of cockroaches -- the BIG ones -- had moved in. I think most people who understand the all natural responses of someone nearly getting a handful of cockroaches in their hand. Well, you can dare to imagine my response. Oh yes, it was THAT bad.

No doubt, this was the worse clean up job ever.

August 25, 2008

Rain Okay

After weeks of no rain now we have days and days of rain. I knew this was probably coming that is if "the Joker" (the tropical storm's nickname) continued its track toward Birmingham. Well, we didn't get the storm straight on but instead we got the upper arm of the storm.

In preparation for the high winds and rain, I brought the box turtles inside the gecko room. Frankie I suspected would be okay but I did turn on his heater so he would get some heat since we were expecting lots of clouds and rain.

Good timing because on Saturday night we got nearly 2" of rain in a short time period. That would have cause the box turtles to get roused. But they were indoors nice and warm.

Frankie did just fine in his heated enclosure until today. I guess three days of no grazing drove him outside to eat even in the rain. Regretfully, as the rain got heavier and heavier Frankie got colder and colder. Eventually he looked for shelter under a tree. Not so good an idea. I watched him to see if he would surrender and go back inside his house. He didn't. After a couple of hours I just went outside, put him on a cart, and brought him into the gecko room. I did expect that he would tear up the gecko room but Frankie went straight to his box for a nap and a warm up. I still got the gecko room fixed up to minimize any trouble he could cause if he did get up and start walking around.

Another day of this. I'm not complaining. We needed the rain.

August 21, 2008

Black Gold

Long time, no blog - excuse: working on article about 'not turtles' and can't hardly write anything else. But its almost over!

So this morning I am outside trying to convince Frankie to get up early and take a walk with me around the block. No happening. Frankie likes his morning rest. He just sits there in his enclosure and watches out the door and that is that. Reminds me of people who relax in front of a TV - it is just some people's way of relaxing and the same for Frankie.

So I sat there on the steps next to the enclosure. Thought about the fact it is dry so all the worms are really deep in the earth so I can't find any for the box turtles or the robin. Then I look down at Frankie's front door entrance. Piles of poop, straw all nice and damp and smelly from me dumping his pool water every couple of days. I pushed back the damp straw and poop (yes, bare handed) and there were worms right at the top of the soil!

So I started to dig up a few worms: there are more and more big fat earth worms. Surprised me to see so many. Then it dawns on me how very black the soil is under all that decaying hay and poop - OMG its a gardener's black gold! Oh, yes, that dear Frankie has been creating rich organic compost soil. I have struck gold. You know its gold when the earth worms move in! But then the big question. Which is more valuable: the worm or the soil?

On the other end of the yard, far away from the overly-sensitive nose of my husband is my five year failed attempt at a compost pile. Yes, I put in cut grass and leaves and garbage but after years of try, try, try all it attracts is those big wood cockroaches. I can't compost but Frankie is a master.

I spent two hours digging around Frankie's house and in the area where he spends hours sitting and pooping. I dug up a big bucket of the stuff and a small bucket of worms. Of course, Frankie did get up to see what I was doing. He sat on my pile of black gold and basked for a while. I guess he was claiming his masterpiece.

August 7, 2008

Not Going Anywhere

It has been soo hot that I am hiding inside the house. I am sorta like that. If I go out it will be very early in the morning and late in the evening. Its just that hot and humid in Alabama right now. And so it is with all the turtles. Guess I am in good company.

Frankie has slept outside in the yard twice this last week. I finally bought him inside a couple of days ago so he could cool down and get a good night sleep. He rewarded me by tearing up the gecko room and eating plants that were bad for him. I have to keep a close eye on him for a few days just in case but I think he is okay. It wasn't big enough a plant for him to eat enough bad stuff.

Box turtles are indoors too. I keep thinking of putting them outside for the rain but we just don't get rain we get torrential downpours that panic the turtles. When those fast hard rains come down the box turtles head for higher ground then run into a fence. I just would rather keep them inside. They get lots to eat when they are inside.

Any other excuse for not blogging? Trapped indoors, too hot to move, humidity like walking through water - oh, I have a writing assignment. I find it hard to write other things when I have an assignment. Guilty for spending effort elsewhere. I feel more like Frankie sitting under the porch - I'll move when it gets cooler out there. At least I got this entry done. Back to the assignment....