Sunday, June 5, 2011


This morning the chicks were a bit quicker to rise and fell upon their scrambled egg with enthusiasm. With them squared away, I turned to my own breakfast. But a few minutes into brewing cappuccino and chopping apple I had a sense something was happening in the backyard. I could hear jays screaming, but my mother hen senses told me it wasn't anything too alarming. Not quite ready to venture back out myself, I sent Maddy outside to investigate and report back. Maddy has been very jealous of the chicks, peering anxiously through the fence at them (and us) when we dote on them, but in our absence she mostly ignores them. But she is also very good at observing and reporting any anomalies in her territory so I knew I could count on her to let me know if anything was amiss. Sure enough, a half-minute after I let her out she began to bark excitedly. Now I was concerned. As soon as I stepped out on to the porch I could see the girls were just fine. Maddy was barking and pointing at the western fencerow near the compost bins. My first thought was that there may be a possum, which could be a real threat to the chicks. But as I drew near, this is what I saw:
box turtle
Probably totally unrelated to whatever riled the jays, but fortuitous that their calls set off a chain of events that brought me out to see this visitor! This is not the first time we've seen a box turtle near that spot. Our first sighting occurred shortly after we first moved into the house, 6 years ago. Back then, it felt like a sign that our micro-ecosystem was healthy. Today's sighting feels like confirmation that we've been good stewards of our little plot.

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