Wrongfully Accused!

My new little turtle friend, peeking out from under the horseradish!

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.

Why is it these turtles always seem to say, “Oh, it’s YOU again. Harrumph!”?

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!

The dastardly squash bugs are back again!

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.

GULP!! One last chomp and the pesky squash bug went down the hatch!

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.

“Please Lady, put that camera away!”

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…


26 thoughts on “Wrongfully Accused!

    1. I do battle with those pesky squash bugs every year. This year we seem to have all sorts of garden insects and caterpillars that have taken their toll. I try to use safe products to deter them but for the most part I do it the old fashioned way and hand pick. I have had potato bugs really bad this year. I pick them and throw them in the chicken pen which is next-door to the garden. Very handy and those feathered beauties just love them!

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      1. I hand pick too, but this year has truly been overwhelming! I think it was the really mild winter weather. I feed my bugs to the chickens too, but I have to put them in a bucket of water and then transport them to the chicken run on the other side of the property. 😉

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  1. I wish I’d read this before we moved the one we found in the garden. 😉 He was slammed shut, so we took him to patio to warm up – and so we could sit down and by quiet while we spied on him. They’re so cool.

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    1. They are cool to observe and each one has his/her own personality. I generally have 5 or 6 of them roaming the immediate yard. They love to burrow up in hidden places. I have some beautiful rocks in my flower beds and they love to burrow up under them in the heat of the day. I also have many tall flowers and herb plants that these box turtles love hiding in.

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  2. Wow, i enjoyed reading your posts especially the latest one 🙂 In singapore, we never encounter rare animals like turtles and deers. We could only see them in the zoo 😦
    I have a feeling that my English would improve if i continue to read your wordpress haha. Enjoy the day 🙂

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    1. You are doing great with your written English as far as I can tell! Keep practicing… reading and writing will make all of the difference! I am so glad you have chosen to visit my blog!

      I went to a nearby zoo a few years back and I felt sad while I viewed the animals. Being caged and fenced in just seemed so limiting. I know zoos have their place as far as bringing education to us, especially when we cannot often visit animals in the wilds of other parts of the world. I try to respect all animals and do my part as a steward of the earth and wildlife to do what is best for them. I do what I can on this little 10 acres to provide a good atmosphere for the wildlife that visits!

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  3. Most of them, I give free reign, except the skunks. I get rid of the skunks. Here lately you could blow dry 150 tons of laundry and still have plenty of wind left over.

    DS

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    1. Ha ha!!! You are right about the wind. I have learned to be thankful for it though. With humidity and heat, it’s often necessary to have some wind to keep us from keeling over with heat exhaustion!! I do not like the sandy soil being pelted against me though when we have gusts of wind. I don’t need a full-body dermabrasion treatment thank you very much!

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  4. Your box turtles are just too adorable for words!

    We have a real slug problem in our garden, so we use organic slug pellets. However, we also have spiders and various birds that will deal with other nasties – plus the occasional hedgehog.

    Our main vegetable enemy is caterpillars, which are a real pain to get rid of. Depending on the type of butterfly they’ll become D either sprays the heck out of them or tries to move them. A few years ago I found my Crimson Glory climbing rose to be infested with fuzzy little crawlers that I couldn’t place, submitted a photo to a gardening community and discovered that they were a very beautiful and very uncommon variety of moth! Naturally, I let them munch to their hearts’ content after that and they didn’t do much damage.

    Although, I was blaming caterpillars one year for all the chomp marks on my rose, until I realised that the incisions were too uniform and perfect. I eventually caught a rare (in this country) Leafcutter Bee in action!

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    1. I find it so interesting to learn about plant and animal life in other parts of the world. Caterpillars are often bad here too. However, like you, I try to hand-pick and relocate them. Daisy deer was the reason we stopped using what little chemical we used to use here for weed control. Daisy loves to eat many of the weeds! Then, while walking with her, I discovered that hand-pulling weeds is very effective. On our immediate 3 acres of yard, it’s almost impossible to keep them under control, but for the invasive bur-type weeds, I am making a good dent. And, it’s awesome exercise to boot.

      Good for you for investigating the type of caterpillar and discovering its importance in the ecosystem! I think we could all be more aware of the value of all life… even if they might be an ugly and not-so-welcome visitor to our gardens!

      Great information… thanks for telling us about your part of the world!

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  5. You’re on a roll, Lori. Love the photos, and the writing just pulls one in. Feel like I’m right there on the land. Like a squash bug nibbling foraging on his leaves, so are we as readers feasting on your words.

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    1. What a nice thing to say MJ!! I have decided to give up some of my “busy” work outdoors now that the heat has set in and the bugs seem to taking over everything. I have decided the insects and caterpillars WIN! I am hoping to spend a little more time writing. I have missed it greatly.

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  6. Ha! I thought you meant I left the “and” out of something in the body of my post. I looked carefully twice before it dawned on me that it was meant for your previous comment! You got me that time!! Sometimes I am way too serious and critical of myself!

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  7. I don’t know what’s going on with WordPress. I haven’t been getting my notices of *lots* of the blogs I follow, and then all of a sudden you’re back, and a bunch of other fabulous blogs are back. I didn’t know I was missing anything! Jip!

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    1. Ha ha! I know… about two weeks ago I had a lot of blog reading to do, but then this past week it has slowed down again. I went through a writer’s slump for a while this spring, but I’m back now! I always wonder that this time of year people are getting outdoors more and enjoying the weather. Of course, in just a few days we will be experiencing the triple digits here in Oklahoma. Egad. I still get out and do my work… I’m already wearing a fabulous “farmer’s” tan!

      I had never heard the term, “Jip”!! I rather like it… I’ll be adding that to my vocabulary! You always give me something new to incorporate into my day… life! What an inspiration you are! (I know, I say that all of the time but it is TRUE!)

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  8. “Emmm Crow”…I myself have eaten so much crow I have learned to appreciate it’s tough and most awful taste 😉 Gotta say, those little guys would be most welcome in my crazed jungle of prospective food. I found a snail in there when I was watering yesterday. He was perched precariously on a non-food leaf (non-food meaning we humans don’t eat that kind of leaf and appreciate other parts of the plant more) and I picked him off with the full intention of hurling him to a nasty crunchy ducky fate but as he sat on my hand while I watered and slowly moved from my palm up to my indext finger I realised that I really didn’t want to feed him to ducky. He had become “something” rather than a pest and his slimy tickle had given him tenure in my garden. I hurled him off into the mass of pumpkin leaves “eat as much as you like Mr snail!” to find his fate whatever it may be. All I know is that he isn’t going to suffer a crunchy fate via land turtle thats for sure! 😉

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