Friday, June 12, 2015

in the asparagus

Our asparagus patch is still relatively new.  

We were able to harvest from it a bit this summer for the first time, taking only a few spears from the plants we planted during our first summer here.  And it was absolutely delicious, likely because we have waited three years to be able to take any of it.  But most of it, especially since I have added a few new crowns to the patch each year, were allowed to grow unharvested.  And I have to admit, I kind of love the feathery, delicate green of an overgrown useless, for now, asparagus patch.  

I was out there the other afternoon.  And I noticed the tiny bell shaped petals of the stalks gone to flower.  

And while standing there, admiring, I noticed movement.  

And saw that our honey bees were foraging in the patch.  And that, apparently, asparagus pollen?  Is pink.  Awesome.

And it wasn't just the honey bees in the asparagus.

Wait.  Whaaaaaat?

Yes indeed.  That there, right next to my foot while I was snapping pretty pictures of honeybees on bell shaped flowers in the feathery green?  I could have been killed.  That's a two and one half foot long snapping turtle of unusual size (T.O.U.S.) burrowing in the patch.  

The chickens, who were, of course, hanging out nearby in the sand box (don't yours?) wanted in on the action.

um.  ladies.  that's a snapping turtle on the other side of that burdock.

Eventually, after much exclamation and shock and hand flapping...and interest/horror from the children, followed by a quick Google search by Nicholas, who ran inside for me, to discover that it was in fact a snapping turtle from the river lured up to our garden by our nicely mounded garden beds.  He and I got quite a giggle out of the freshly mounded part.  Apparently garden beds are attractive to mothers needing to burrow and bury their eggs.  So, this is all completely normal, he announced as he came back out the screen door.  She will be gone in the morning!  Slam.  And it is not a sign of a reptilian invasion.  Or the apocalypse.  Mommy!  Get away from that snapping turtle.  You are too close!!

I noted the bowl of ice cream he had helped himself to while Googling. I swallowed a comment on it.  After all, I require snacks while Googling, too.

Elliott ran to the barn to get a pathetically small sand bucket, which I was able to convince him not to try to use.  Julia climbed silently and quickly up high on the swing set and would not come down.

And so, we moved on with our evening.  Because that's how we roll.  We can move on from a snapping turtle the size of my torso, or the size of our Black Lab, in the garden.  Because we are used to garden invasions of many varieties.  Groundhogs, squirrels, skunks, snakes, raccoons and coyo-wolfs.  We have had them all.  So we can be a bit blase about these things (which we weren't).  But eventually, in another corner of the garden, the sprinkler was turned on. 

And wouldn't you know?  That turtle, who had been so immobile all afternoon?  It moved...rather quickly.  Insert screeching and panic and mayhem here.

At first I thought she was trying to get out of the garden.  

Please note, I still haven't quite figured out how she got in actually.  Though I have my tracking skills.  Broken grass blades, trampled ground, sniff, sniff.

But then, garden fencing explored, she headed straight toward the sprinkler.  

And the tomatoes the sprinkler was dousing.

that's her, in the far right of the image 
assessing the level of threat posed by that tall spraying thing.

To my surprise, she set up shop directly in the aim of the sprinkler, in fact.

Clearly, the chickens had no idea what they were dealing with.

Elliott announced, Well!  This makes sense.  They are both relatives of dinosaurs.  Indeed.

Oh, yes.  Many a tomato seedling was lost while she skiddled herself about the freshly planted patch.  Looking for the perfect place to dig another nest.  And lay her eggs.  It was truly a bizarre reptilian scene to observe.  But I was not going to interrupt her process.  Nope.  She could have those seedlings.

She was still out there, face into the sprinkle, as darkness came.  Staring me down.  Doing her thing.  And in the morning, as predicted, she was gone.  I can't say it was without a trace.  I will be heading to the farm store tomorrow to purchase a few fresh tomato seedlings.  Snapping turtle 1, gardener 0.

Elliott:  Yay!  We can raise snapping turtle babies in the garden!  
He ran off for a bucket so he could teach those babies how to swim.

Nicholas threw up his hands in exasperation and headed inside to Google.

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