When the local weather report promised a very breezy day today, I knew that washing our bedding would have to be my task for the morning. I always try to take advantage of a nice breezy day to snap my sheets crisp and dry. I started my load of bedding early, but as I stepped outside about an hour later, it appeared to be a bit more windy than I had anticipated. I decided it would be fine, however, as long as Daisy deer did not show up and decide to have a little hoofing fun (see blog post “Dueling Daisy Deer vs. Slippery Sheex Sheets”). Hanging laundry out has not been the same since we discovered her love of clobbering the sheets as they flap in the wind. I have to keep a close eye on the clothes line, as my laundry has proven a bit too tempting for my marauding yard deer!
While carrying my basket of sheets and pillowcases out to the line, I noticed my new friend, the recently rescued box turtle, peeping out from the edge of the horseradish patch (see recent post “Turtle Time”). I had spied him the day before, wandering across the lawn towards the fence line to the south. I figured he was going to cruise down to the canyon by the looks of things, but evidently he changed course and wandered over to the tempting shade of the lush horseradish plants.
Wanting to get a few photos of my new friend, I ran back inside to get my camera. When I returned to the horseradish patch, he was still peeping out shyly, half in his shell, and certainly not making it easy for me to get his picture. Sure, I could have picked him up and moved him for a better camera angle, but I did not want to scare my little friend away, so I made do with what poses he offered me. After all, he needs to feel safe if he is going to make our yard his new home!
Turning back to the task at hand, I pinned my sheets and pillowcases up, noting it wouldn’t take long at all for them to dry in the wind. Back inside the house, I sat down with a cup of coffee and looked over my email. I also instant-messaged with my Sissy Jo, who always seems to give me an inoculation of “positive thinking” for the day. That finished, I decided to start a couple of water hoses on the new trees. The flowerbeds looked like they needed a bit of watering too, so I leisurely sprinkled the cool well water all around the house, when I suddenly spied my new friend again! The little turtle had found his way completely around the house to my yellow squash plants.
Aha! I thought to myself. There is the culprit of the tooth marks I am finding on half eaten squash plants lately. I had noticed some squash were blemished by a small bite or two, while others were half eaten. Great, now I was going to have to take measures and move this guy to a new location. I’d had enough trouble with yellow squash this year, as the squash bugs were taking a toll on the only two plants I had.
Just yesterday, I planted squash seed in three new places hoping to find a spot where it would flourish without the threat of squash bugs and varmints finding the plants. I had also taken time to sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the existing plants, hoping to deter the bugs. Unfortunately, the wind had knocked off much of the insect-preventing dust and, seeing this, I realized what was really happening to my squash. Squash bugs were running amuck, all over my plants! Just then, I looked down to find my little turtle friend eating one of the small, white, nasty-looking insects. It took him only two snaps of his jaw, and down the hatch went the bug. I could see he already had his eye on another one directly in front of him. I was not able to get any great shots of him snacking on squash bugs, but I was not about to interrupt him while he was busy doing me a big favor, so I backed off after a few snaps of the camera.
Feeling a bit guilty about labeling my new little friend the culprit in the case of the squash vandalizing episodes, I wondered to myself how many times in my life I had jumped to the wrong conclusion about someone or some event. Often times, if I had just waited a bit before reacting, I might have seen that I misunderstood the person or the situation. Many times, unfortunately, I found that my quick-trigger reaction was often completely unwarranted.
I now stood on the porch, observing my turtle friend from a higher perch, studying him, watching him slowly ingest bugs. Finally, he moved on to another, more heavily shaded area of the flowerbeds. Likely, he’d had his fill of squash bugs and was in need of a good nap. Maybe he would stay close by, knowing that he had an easy lunch just around the corner.
Now do not let my moment of guilt give you the idea that I don’t still suspect that the box turtles might just be the little varmints responsible for the half-eaten squash, the nibbled on strawberries, and the chomped up apples, apricots, and peaches that have fallen on the ground. Every year I suspect the turtles have had their part in this, but with rabbits, opossum’s, skunks, squirrels, foxes, raccoons, various birds, and countless other woodland critters around this place, it will be difficult to track down any one culprit.
I suppose it really does not matter much who the guilty party is. Even if I did catch the nibbler, all I’m likely to do is snap a few photos and blog about it. I can never be very upset about the loss of a few vegetables or fruits to my friends of nature. And today, I discovered those rascally critters aren’t always up to no good! They might just be helping or performing a service to us like eating destructive bugs… while I eat crow!
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…