Weekend in review: Meeting a blogging friend and taking care of Darwin, a very cold tortoise.

I know I go on a bit about the weather. But this weekend the temperatures were freezing. Literally.  Los Angeles had a record low and although I don’t know how records are established when we have so many individual microclimates, I do know cold when I feel it. So before we took off for a Sunday in Santa Barbara, once again we rolled out the frost cloth.

I also had some concerns for Darwin. It may seem a little odd, but I worry about that guy! When it’s this cold, an African Sulcata Tortoise doesn’t come out to play. Sulcata’s don’t hibernate, so when he gets very still, how do I know if he’s in distress?  He isn’t eating, he doesn’t move about, and his shell feels cold, despite a belly pad and overhead heat lamp.  So I persuaded my bemused husband that it was best if we brought him into the house!

Darwin in kitchen

I promised it was temporary. I still wanted to give him a confined space to allow the spotlight to provide maximum exposure and to hold in the heat.

For the first 24 hours he still didn’t do much. I poked at him just a little bit. I gently knocked on his shell. But into the second day, this is what we found.

Darwin tipping box Darwin spilled box

Seems he is fine after all. He must have warmed up. If he was active enough to move about the box, it was time to go back outdoors and catch a quick meal.

Darwin coming out of box

Darwin eating broccoli

Back to the comforts of his heat lamp. I will try to resist the need to go out and poke him just to see if he moves. A tortoise is very good at hiding his feelings!

Darwin with heat lamp

Garden plants and Darwin all taken care of, we were off the curb!  In December I read about a concert series in three of the missions, and since Santa Barbara is less than two hours from home, we said “all aboard.”

We had plenty on our agenda, but meeting a friend for breakfast was the first order of the day.

Debra and Lori 1

What fun for me to find myself in Santa Barbara with my blogging friend, Lori! Lori is host to Slow Happy Runner. I have enjoyed reading Lori’s blog for more than a year and was delighted to learn that she was going to briefly leave her Pacific Northwest home for a quick visit to Santa Barbara. How about that?

Click the link I’ve provided and you’ll go directly to Lori’s “about” page. I couldn’t begin to introduce her to you nearly as well as she does in telling about her interests and life experiences. She is a tremendously well-rounded and balanced person with such a positive outlook on living and experiencing the fullness of everyday experiences.

Lori has a second blog as well, Slow Happy Living. Slow Happy Living stems from  the first blog with some new additions resulting from more recent and very nice changes in Lori’s life. I hope you’ll pop over and get to know Lori, and I am sure you’ll find a reason to stay and get to know her better.

There is something very special about a personal encounter with a long-distance friend. Jay and I were so pleased to have met Lori for breakfast. And after a couple of hours of good conversation, sharing about ourselves and looking forward to keeping in touch, it was time to go our separate ways.

There were so many things still on our agenda. Santa Barbara is a beautiful city, but I will need to tell you more about that later. I have dozens of photographs yet to organize.

Now it’s time to take on the rest of the week with the same enthusiasm I hold for weekend activity. A little cold, but enthusiastic. That’s me!

57 thoughts on “Weekend in review: Meeting a blogging friend and taking care of Darwin, a very cold tortoise.

  1. That Darwin is such an inscrutable little fella. Your instincts, though, are sound, Debra. Glad he found his way to your home, where he’ll always be treated well. Sounds like your meeting Lori went very well. What fun and good for you all!

    • I did enjoy meeting with Lori, John. I enjoy meeting new people…and this was easy since I felt like I already knew her from her blogs. 🙂 I do fuss over Darwin. I think because I’m cold I decide that he must be, too! He’s patiently waiting for Spring, I think!

  2. I can confirm that it’s cold in L.A.. When I walked the dog this morning at 10:30 there was ice on the sidewalks. I have never seen ice on the sidewalks before even when I walk at 7 am.

    I love the synchronicity that you and Lori were in SB the same weekend so you could meet up. I’ll be over to check out her blog.

    As I scrolled down to look at the photo of Darwin in your house I thought you were going to show us that he’d done something naughty… You are so thoughtful to think of bringing him into the house. He’s getting so big.

    • It was so fun to meet Lori, Rosie. It was really amazing that we both had our time in Santa Barbara on this particular date! Darwin is getting larger all the time. He is finally so heavy that I really have to think before I pick him up…I can still carry him, but it’s awkward! Let’s have lunch again soon! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Activity streaks, blogging friends, and other wonders of life « Slow Happy Living

  4. Now this has peaked my interest… as a tortoise is a reptile do they not become dormant when temperatures drop??? We have so many in this country that are found in semi desert areas that experience sub zero temps in winter yet they survive… is it not, like snakes they become semi dormant slow down there metabolism and wait out the cold.??? I find this very interesting and will have to do a bit of research… but that is one lucky fellow that he found you to artificially warm up his world… good on you….

    • I suppose that that is what is happening with Darwin, BD, he is certainly dormant, or so slowed down that he isn’t requiring much nourishment. Most of what I know I’ve either read or learned from talking to a few people I’ve met who also have Sulcatas. He doesn’t technically hibernate and he is supposed to be kept warm or he runs the risk of pneumonia. However, I’m sure I overcompensate and he has enough protection with what we’ve given him outdoors–shelter and a heat lamp! The other day it warmed a bit and I came home and found him walking around the yard. Then as the sun went down he went back to his little house. I tend to be overprotective…with people, too! 🙂

    • I’m glad to share a photo of Darwin in his little nest and he really does have a great personality. He’s quite funny when he tries to follow us around the yard. Maybe that’s why I’m watching him so closely in the cold. I miss his walkabouts! 🙂

  5. I’m so glad Darwin was okay; that was a great idea you had about bringing him inside with the heat lamp. I’ve always liked the idea of meeting a blogging friend someday, and who knows – maybe it’ll happen yet! 🙂

    • I do hope in time you will have the opportunity to meet with a blogging friend. I have really enjoyed the two opportunities I’ve shared. It’s really comfortable to be with a person you’ve never met, who isn’t really a stranger! And thanks for caring about Darwin. Our little critters, furry or otherwise, are so dependent on our care. And I sometimes surprise myself with how much I concern myself with his comforts. If he were in his natural habitat he wouldn’t have any of the perks we provide him! LOL!

  6. I know that LA has been unseasonably cold. Although i wasn’t alarmed for Darwin, I know you had to do what you could just to make sure … just like a good mom. Cheers to your meeting with another blogger. BTW – we considered a fall cruise that would have stopped in LA … but no offense, we scratched it from the list. 😦

  7. Sounds like a great day and I’m glad Darwin is OK. I know a tortoise too, named Gulliver, but he’s a California Desert Tortoise, so he hibernates. He belongs to my friend Rachael, one of her many critters.

    • Aren’t these tortoises fascinating, Inger? I’d love to meet Gulliver! Years ago we briefly had a California Desert Tortoise. He escaped someone’s home and we found him in our yard. We tried to care for him, but we eventually had to give him to someone with more property. The big guy just wouldn’t stay in our yard either! I guess technically Darwin doesn’t hibernate, but he eats very little and hardly moves…I call that almost hibernating! 🙂

    • I think Darwin is just patiently waiting for spring! He isn’t very active again…but at least now I know that when he sticks close to his lamp he’s doing what he needs to do to take care of himself, and I just have to trust he’ll be fine! Moving him indoors made me feel better, but I don’t think he liked it very much! 🙂

    • Wow, Andra! Who says there is no climate change! 🙂 I hope you’re enjoying your very early spring. Or is it summer? I will gladly let you have it and we’ll take our cold for now. That’s what friends are for! 🙂

  8. I’m so pleased Darwin is okay. That’s so kind of you to bring him inside out of the cold. I’m sure that’s all he was looking for – some TLC and time by the heater. It’s wonderful when you have the opportunity to meet up with people you’ve previously only met through the internet xx

    • Yes, Charlie, poor dear Darwin is just tolerating the cold. It will be spring soon…at least here in California winter isn’t too long. And I really enjoyed meeting Lori in person. It really is amazing how well we bloggers do get to know one another through our electronic communications, isn’t it? 🙂

    • I think that Darwin is just holding out for spring. I am keeping an eye on him and trying to keep him warm, but he won’t leave that lamp! It won’t stay cold very long. I am sure he is feeling all the warm support from you and others who care about him! Thank you! 🙂

  9. From what I’ve seen on the news, it has been almost as cold there as it is here, Debra. We are having such an odd winter, this being our first real cold spell and something like 325 days of less that an inch of snow. That is newsworthy here.

    How lovely that you and Lori could meet up. Isn’t it fun when this happens?

    As to Darwin, poor fellow. Such a cold snap for him to endure. Lucky for him he has you to care and fuss over him. You are a good soul, Debra, of that I am certain. Keep warm.

    • I think we are finally warming up a bit, Penny. I’m sure that my biggest downfall is not taking the time to purchase a few warmer items of clothing. Sunday while we walked around Santa Barbara I noticed how many other “smart” women were wearing boots! I don’t own any, but I’m sure I need to change that. I need to have an emergency winter wardrobe!

      I didn’t realize you’d had such a long spell of little snow. I don’t know whether that is welcome or not, but I do think the degree of change we are all experiencing in weather patterns causes us to wonder what the long-term implications might be. I hope we warm up a bit, and I think we are, but I’m not at all sure I can wish you a return to your normal weather patterns. Maybe you can have a little more snow, but just avoid the blizzards! 🙂

    • Thank you, Marie, for mentioning our compassion for Darwin. I can’t imagine having an animal and not caring for it totally and completely. The more we watch him, the more tuned in I am to nuance, but I still don’t think I’d really know if he was in distress. That is a concern, but we do what we can! 🙂

  10. What fun to meet up with a blogging friend! I always thing that would be so fun, but then worry that it would also be awkward. It seems odd to “know” so many people through our blogs, but I do feel as though I do know many. It would be interesting to see how an in-person meet-up would go. It sounds like yours was fabulous. And I just love Darwin. That big guy has such a personality. Glad he’s staying warm.

    • Kristy, if you have the opportunity to meet with a blogging friend, I don’t think you need be at all concerned about it being awkward. You probably won’t find it happening between anyone who isn’t already quite comfortable with the idea. And I don’t think there are any true strangers in the blogosphere. We get such a good sense of who people are on the other end of the screen…maybe not details, but a sense of values and purpose, and it’s an easy conversation. You’re so personable, you’d enjoy it! Thanks for loving Darwin with me. He does have personality, which is a little hard to document, but we notice little things and laugh all the time that we never would have anticipated finding him good company. Maybe that’s why I’m so concerned about the cold for him. He’s inactive and I’m missing him! 😉

  11. What a good mom you are.. I think it’s great you’re tapping on Darwin’s shell just to make sure he’s ok:D He’s probably just like a teenager.. rolling his eyes and thinking you need to let him sleep. What fun it must have been to meet Lori.. I’m off to visit her blog! xx

    • That’s so funny, Barbara, but you’re probably right. Here I am pushing and prodding trying to make sure Darwin is “breathing” and all he wants to do is sleep. I’m sure he’s thinking, “Mother please, I can take care of myself!” Hahaha! Hope you enjoyed what Lori shared about herself. She is a very accomplished and fascinating person. She writes a lot about resilience and self-care, two things I think we need more of in our busy, hectic lives! 🙂 oxo

  12. I’ll be meeting a blog friend this weekend, and really looking forward. It isn’t my first but still, I’m quite shy. Hehe 🙂 Glad it turned out well for you.
    Santa Barbara Mission is one of the five missions I went to last month. 😀
    That turtle, so adorable. Quite something else for a pet.

    • I wouldn’t ordinarily think of you as shy, Rommel. Your comment surprised me, but I know you’ll enjoy visiting with your blog friend. No one is a stranger in the blogosphere. Lovely! The Santa Barbara Mission really is the jewel in the chain, don’t you think? Did you enjoy the grounds? If you have time to read what I posted last night I think you’d enjoy the mini-history lesson. And you’re such a great photographer I think I need to encourage you to explore the Channel Islands! I’m not sure I’m agile enough to complete the adventure, but I’m thinking about it! 🙂

  13. I am behind in the blogs due to my daughter’s wedding and need to “settle down” but indeed, it has been FREEZING here. It was 30F the other morning. And I am glad Darwin weathered the freeze well. Their metabolism adapts, I’m sure, as temps in a desert will fall to much lower temps? And Santa Barbara! Nice! Where did you eat if I may ask?

    • Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding, Koji! That is a big event in the lives of the whole family. I think we are starting to warm up just a little bit, and I’m glad for that. So is Darwin! 🙂 It’s true that the tortoise acclimates, but we have been told that an African Spurred Tortoise doesn’t do well and can get pneumonia in cold weather. What hasn’t been clear to me is at what temperature are we to be concerned. So I just baby him! And we met Lori at Sambos right on the Pacific. It was close to her hotel and we used to go there when our kids were small. They were accommodating to us as we possessed the booth for much longer than we would normally require–very hospitable.

    • It warmed up just enough today, Martin, so that Darwin took himself on a little walk around the yard. I came home from work to see him putting himself back to bed in his little health. I was so glad to know he’d been outdoors! It meant he was happy. 🙂

    • It warmed up a little bit today, Kate, and I came home to see Darwin taking a little walk! And he ate some of his broccoli! And it was so nice to meet Lori, Kate. I’ve been so fortunate to have now met two friend “in person” and I’m looking ahead and hoping for more! I could never have predicted that I would enjoy social networking this much. I’m completely surprised! 🙂

  14. It seems to be cold all over the northern hemisphere, Debra, so i’m glad you were able to give Darwin a change of surroundings that suited him. It is SUCH fun to meet fellow bloggers in person and I can so easily imagine how much you and Lori enjoyed the experience. now to go and explore her blogs….

    • We have warmed up a bit, Perpetua, and Darwin poked his head out of the greenhouse today and walked around in the sunshine for a little while. It was so good to see him happy–of course, you now see how I am–I am presuming my tortoise is happy! LOL!

  15. I see a few friends here 🙂 We had a turtle in Southern California . He was named Gus. He lived in our pond and hibernated during the winter. One day I said where’s Gus? He usually climbed up on a rock to sun himself and get out of the water. My husband said oh he decided to take off and walk – last saw him walking down the street. Yikes!

    • Oh my goodness, Carla! Poor Gus! Ha! But we guard our gates closely because Darwin would definitely wander off. We found that out the hard way, and fortunately a neighbor intervened in time to prevent disaster. He was in the middle of the street! Now we go through ridiculous measures just in case. Fortunately he doesn’t dig, and he is now so large there aren’t any other obvious ways we could lose him. Aren’t these creatures funny! We often remark at his rather prehistoric features. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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