Monday, August 24, 2009
I just submitted another letter to the editor. My broken heart is healed! Here's the letter.
Thank YOU turtle Crossers!
A few weeks back I wrote a letter to the editor about helping our native turtles cross roads. I have had so many people who read my letter come up to me and proudly tell me that they had helped save a turtle this past Summer. Sunday evening we were returning from a weekend away, I was able to see fellow turtle crossers in action. We came upon several cars stopped on RT 17A in Florida. A couple of people were out of their cars and looked very upset, as we drove past we could see that a very large Snapping turtle was in the middle of the road. We pulled over and I went to see if I could help move her. The next two cars on either side of the road decided to stop completely and block any further cars from potentially hitting and killing the turtle or injuring those of us that were helping her. A man had a shovel in his car and was able to move her off to the side of the road she was traveling to. I just want to commend all of you who stopped, for taking a moment out of your busy lives to save this wonderful creature from being hit and killed. Watching everyone pitch in to help, was heart warming. Your act of kindness has renewed my faith that each of us can make a difference and save our planet one creature at a time.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It is with a sad heart that I write about this beautiful creature. Tuesday evening I had the great privilege of finding about a half dozen monarch caterpillars in a park that Petey and I visit several times a week. Always such a special find. The caterpillars born this late in the season might be the chosen few that will live up to eight months and migrate to Mexico. Unfortunately they were all killed. Some one with in my town thought it was a good time to backhoe the entire area down, to ready it to plant GRASS?! Taking all the milkweed down and crushing all the creatures who called it home, including these rare special caterpillars, that had a huge job ahead of them to help their species survive another year. Most humans have no regard for nature, they only save what they can see,which are the mammals, the little creatures are all part of the whole, we need to preserve all the creatures of this earth, including insects. They are all connected in the web of life, you crush one strand and it weakens the next one. Sadly I'm pretty sure that all the turtle nests of this year were also destroyed, as where they backhoed it the nesting area for the pond, and it is too early for the baby snapping and painted turtles to have hatched. Walking upon the scene Thursday night, I felt as though I had been stabbed in the heart, sick to my stomach, one small scene of destruction that represents what is really going on all our world. Will nature survive in the wild or will we end up with all the species that remain living and breeding in man made zoos? Will our souls survive if that is what it comes down to? No wild and free places on earth, just tamed fake nature. My soul won't survive it. I need nature to feel alive. I know that I'm going to do my part, just a small part, I will be planting a milk weed garden next year or even this Fall if I can transplant some plants. I will create a small piece of heaven for my fellow creatures. So out of this bad experience will come some good. RIP Caterpillars.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Last night Petey had a midnight need to go out one last time, I was not too happy to be woken out of a rare bit of sleep as lately I haven't been getting too much of it. Once outside I begin to welcome the chance to see another world. During the night the world becomes a completely different ecosystem that what we have during the day. The creatures that roam have their own niche. It has always fascinated me to wonder about all that goes on in my yard as I sleep. Fox, Raccoons, Skunks, Possum, Flying Squirrels, Coyotes, bears, deer all roam more freely and safely while we humans sleep. Last night the stars were out, the air cooled and I felt thankful to have a glimpse into the night. On the way back in the door, guess who was sitting on my step, a toad. He brought a smile to my face, and I really felt like it was worth while to get up. I love toads nearly as much as turtles. My new gardens and landscaping continue to attract more creatures each day. I am happy to have done the work, and can now enjoy the fruits of my labor in my Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I've always been a reptile person, I don't know why, there is just something about them that warms my heart. My first pet was a Anole, the second a water snake and the third was Pee-Wee the turtle, he came into my life when I was eight years old. On an outing to the local pet store my sister and myself each had a quarter. We were going to purchase a baby Red-ear slider turtle. When we walked into the store, there was a tank with a much cooler bigger turtle that cost a dollar. We really wanted that turtle, begged our mom to please give or lend my sister and myself the other fifty cents. She did and Pee Wee came into my life for the next 28 years. Pee-Wee was a Asian Yellow Pond Turtle who was wild caught. Although Pee-Wee got used to life in captivity, he was never really happy. He constantly tried to escape his tanks and every so often did so and spent a day or two enjoying his freedom exploring the house. Pee-Wee went away to college with me, and then after I was married he also moved around for a few years to different states with hubby and I. I always kept him in a decent size tank, but it was never enough. His final escape came when I was 36 years old. I had a house full of kids for the week, my own four and three of their cousins. All under the age of ten. Pee-Wee had been out on the lam...and some how got out a door, never to be seen again. I was heartbroken. I had been with Pee wee longer then anyone in my life. About ten years later I finally found a turtle breeder in Florida that had captive bred baby Asian Yellow Pond turtles, I bought a tiny three month old and had him shipped up from Florida. He was promptly named PJ aka Pee Wee Jr or the initials for my favorite band. For his first three years he seemed so happy. He lives in a heated, filtered 50 gallon pond in my family room. He spends his days basking in his heat lamp and catching live guppies. He would come up to you and take food from your fingers. He didn't even mind Petey giving him a daily poke with his nose. Well all of this has changed, my once happy go lucky turtle started climbing out of his tank too. Several times in the last couple of weeks he has been on the lam, and....it happened again, I couldn't find him. Fearing the worst, I swore to myself, I'm done with pets other then dogs. I felt sad over allowing this to happen again. I was convinced he was gone for good. The other night I was sitting at my ornamental pond feeding the gold fish and all of a sudden guess who rises from the darkness....yup PJ!!! He is alive and well, and apparently wild and happy! I can coax him over to me with food, but the second I move too quickly he is GONE! I did manage to catch him tonight, luring him in with a smelt. I looked him over and he looks great, Petey came up to give him a poke and PJ bit him in the nose and repeated it several times! I put him back in his new Summer home a 1500 gallon pond, I will continue to feed him by hand everyday and when the weather gets cold, he will have to slum through the Winter in his tiny pond. Neat to have a turtle in the pond to watch, he spends his days chasing the goldfish and frogs, basking in real sunlight and getting a lot of exercise.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The thing I love best about living in my town is the bears. It is "common" for me to see them while out hiking, driving or even in my own yard. They add such a wonderful sense of wilderness to even the simplest of hikes close to home. Every time I lay my eyes on one I think....How lucky am I? How blessed has my day just become? Seeing animals in the wild opens my sense of wonder back up to the the way I felt as a young child. Yesterday while out for my daily hike with Petey this young boy of about 3 years old came running right towards me. Petey was ahead of me on the trail and must have caught his scent in the swamp and took off to investigate. I heard what sounded like something large crashing through the brush, and it was making a coughing noise. I thought OMG it's Petey and he must be badly hurt, why would he be making that noise? I looked in the bushes and there was a bear coming right at me...and he was making a grunting noise. He stopped about 3 feet from me, looked me in the eye, turned around and up the tree he went. He was not about to tangle with Petey nor I. He only wanted to get away from us. I took a minute to snap a couple of pictures, and then left the poor scared boy alone. What a thrill. No matter what, every time I go to the woods, I'm never sorry for the time invested, braving the weather be it rain, heat or snow, dealing with bug bites....one sighting of a bear makes all the time worth while. Can't wait to get out there again!!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I've been lucky to share my life with many wonderful dogs, beginning at birth with Lucky the Labordoodle, back in the day known as a Mutt. To my present dog Petey the Doberman Pinscher, whom I hope will take me into old age. Each dog had come into my life with lessons to teach at a time when I most needed them. Some of the lesson I've learned were commitment, responsibility, patience, understanding. I've lived with dogs that had illnesses, mental issues and physical limitations. The biggest lesson I've learned from each dog was to live in the moment. No matter what they were dealing with, from cancer to OCD, all my dogs seemed to love life and enjoy where they were that instant in time. They always expressed their infinite joy over the simplest things. They were there to remind me to "stop and smell the flowers" Petey continues with this lesson on a daily basis, every flower he comes across....he takes a whiff. He lives for today, no thoughts about what tomorrow will bring, a lesson I need to remember everyday. Having Petey in my life is a constant reminder to really LIVE each moment no matter how I feel or what is going on to cause stress. He is a gift that I've given to myself.
Birds are already moving around, lots of warblers coming through my yard. Hawk watch is three short weeks away. This Summer has flown by. Enjoying every moment of beauty.