Bushes and Turtles

Picture of ERNEST ANDREAS

Busy afternoon removing a partially dead, low ground cover, creeping evergreen. It was being overgrown by a thriving, taller evergreen bush, blocking it’s resource sunlight/water. Most of it’s root source had been overgrown years back. I followed the tangled mess of growth surrounding the flowering bushes for several feet while cutting away the dead ‘stuff’.

Finally opening a clearing resulting in a large pile of unhealthy, tangled ground cover, I began cutting the pile into smaller sized chunks to fit into the city provided, homeowner trash receptacle we have set near the gate. I set up a ladder near the ‘dumpster’, climb into the pile and stomp around until room to pack in more. Repeat as needed until ‘dumpster’ is loaded :>)

Wife noticed my pile of cuttings and voiced her opinion against first consulting her. She was upset for my removal efforts. The rose bush and other flowering bush next to the rampaging evergreens would be happy though? Oh well, so it goes. Men make mistakes that the wives remember…forever. The bushes will grow back as fast as the years pass. The low ground cover root will put out new growth as well. Within time, all will look the same….. or worse.

The Steer manure I packed around the bushes couple of weeks ago, is doing it’s nutrition job. The rose bushes that received the first ‘meal’ of manure, are thriving, producing lots of flowers and look healthy. Bought more today from Lowe’s and Home Depot. Will keep feeding the bushes and flowers until fall.

Son and his family are in Italy for a few weeks. They are enjoying the culture, educated by the thousands of years of history where his wife was raised. Before leaving ABQ, they left us with a baby Turtle to care for. Their neighbor found it in his yard and gifted them with the half dollar sized baby before they left on their trip. We feed it Friskies Turkey and Giblets (rich in Vit A needed by Turtles) topped with one or more live ‘Meal Worms’. The wriggly worms attract the novice Turtle.

Discovered it was Female. One of our (the young one) male turtles rushed over and took a sniff. He figured it out and tried (failed 0f course) to mate with the female baby. Sick Turtle mentality to even attempt to mate with a baby. …Animals! :>)
The family of yard Turtles are now visiting the back door daily for their Friskies cat food ‘shreds’ Turkey and Giblets. Early morning and late afternoons, cooler part of day brings out Turtles. Juicy stuff, Friskies, looks almost good enough to eat. Kept refrigerated after opening, all together they eat about a can of cat food every few days. Fat Turtles, that totalitarian govt mayor Bloomberg of NYC would put on rations. They don’t even drink ‘Big Gulps’ of Soda… :>)

While digging through compost pile, I found a dozen or so Turtle Eggs. They had been bored into by bugs and ants that ate the the yolks. Now I have a 1′ by 2′ tub to place level into the ground for a nursery. Filled with sand (3.14 cubic feet), it will Not have bugs. Now to train the female turtles to lay their eggs (8″ deep) in the sand. 90 days of warm (temperature determines sex of babies), moist sand will produce babies… we hope.

Added sad note. ‘M’ who was our most promising female, the fattest, had tried to climb up the sloping side of the compost pike. She always retreated to the compost pile all of her life. It was her retreat and winter safety. She toppled over and landed on her back, bottom up, unable to right herself…in the brutal New Mexico sun. I found her too late.

Heated way past survivable temp, she was no longer alive. I read on the net about placing dead turtles in a compost pile for  the microorganisms to clean out. The shell will apparently survive the natural cleaning. I buried her into a compost fertilized pit near a rose bush that is watered often. Now we wait for a few weeks then dig her up to see the results. She may just survive as a memento to her once glorious self…

We have been feeding and caring for a small female turtle left in our care. You may ask how we know? The male turtles told us. They ‘recognize’ the females immediately. Only a bit larger than a quarter, barely a month old, she is growing rapidly. She is currently living in a box and taken out for feeding every other day. After two years in our care, she may be large enough to survive the natural yard and it’s hazards. Maybe take on the role of a mother some day :>)

Such is the ‘wild life’ side of life in these United States of America, One nation under God

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