We stayed home all weekend–Darwin needed us!

Magical thinking hasn’t been working.

The last couple of months we’ve been enjoying weekends with friends and family, playing and avoiding responsibilities at home…

And apparently in our absence the garden maintenance genies have not been coming in and helping out.

It might be hard for you to imagine, but the first of the spring roses are already spent and need deadheading. And we won’t even mention the weeds!

So it was a weekend to take care of business.

And apparently someone else was also very glad to have us home.

While we worked in the front yard, quite a distance from Darwin’s backyard sanctuary, he managed to push open a rarely used side gate and came out to surprise us! He’s never done this before, but we think he heard voices and wanted to share our company.

Of course, after a few minutes of eating grass he tired of us and took off down the street.

After relocating him to the backyard, he hovered at the back door.

Darwin at the back door

Darwin has been on a diet. We recently learned that his shell should not have all those beautiful pyramids! Too much broccoli and protein rich greens have created a condition that is not good for his overall health.

He is not thrilled with his new diet of grass and timothy hay and begs for attention–pity is more like it–at the door. He is a persistent little fellow!

I think he really did miss us. Everywhere we went he followed us like a puppy. How big IS that little brain!

Aware he wasn’t getting his preferred goodies, he resorted to being underfoot while we weeded the succulent and cactus garden and then finally resigned, he grabbed a mouthful of grass and a few small pieces of discarded aloe.

Monday morning sends us out the door to work…I’m not sure what Darwin will be up to, but he’s a clever fellow. I hope he won’t go wandering away from home on a broccoli hunt!

I do wonder what mischief Darwin gets into when we’re at work.

Who knew a bunny and a tortoise would require so much supervision? Darwin is at it again!

I am always so pleased when you ask me about Darwin. He has his own little fan club, and nothing could please me more. This time of year we watch him closely.

We may not have snow, but for the first time I got into my car the other day and the sensor flashed “Warning! There may be ice.”

OK…don’t laugh! That really was a the first time I’d seen that message. I didn’t even know the car had the capability to sense potential road hazards.

I don’t worry about the roads, but I do have concern for an African Sulcata Tortoise who needs consistent warmth. This time of year he needs a lamp and belly pad, protection from the wind and burrowing materials. He doesn’t leave the green house for days at a time.

Darwin under heat lamp

Pinky has a nice little condo, and we can easily  monitor her warmth. She has plenty of dry timothy hay, an upstairs covered room with a view and a very small cubby we call “the panic room.” If she’s concerned for safety, or presumably needs more warmth, she can hide out in a totally concealed space.

But here’s the story.

We moved Pinky’s condo the other day to a sunnier spot with the advantage of making her more visible from the kitchen window. We like monitoring her and making sure she’s doing well. (Can you imagine what we’d be like with a dog?)

Out came the sun–and so did Darwin!

“Oh boy! A friend! And a friend with carrots and kale!”

Pinky and Darwin

Oh great! Another engineering dilemma. I’d prefer a less cluttered view, but Darwin can push Pinky’s swinging door wide open!

Pinky behind bars

So now we block the door! There is an umbrella to keep exposed timothy hay dry, and a piece of old wood flooring blocks the door. Are we holding Pinky in, or keeping Darwin OUT! 


He still has a good view, and they can converse.

Pinky is just as interested in Darwin’s chow! She sits in the corner eyeing him with interest, probably imagining his outdoor freedom…and generous diet!

Darwin with broccoli

He doesn’t look wily, does he? He isn’t particularly mischievous. He’s just BIG, and very heavy. And when he wants something, he makes his wishes known.

When he first came to live with us, we never could have imagined how many adaptive measures would be necessary to keep everyone safe–and content!

Darwin joins the family
Darwin joins the family

And don’t let the sunshine in the photos fool you! Today is cold and rainy. Darwin won’t need my supervision, so I have a little field trip planned to follow another one of my interests. I’ll take my camera.

I breathe lighter when I take the time to shift gears from a week jammed with responsibilities and tight scheduling.

A little field trip today will usher in the weekend with a good exhale!

It’s your weekend, too. Don’t forget to de-stressify! 

Darwin and Pinky make a run for the border…we are NOT amused!

Do you think it’s possible that Darwin and Pinky are trying to show their displeasure at being left at home while we spent a week at the beach? They were well taken care of, but maybe they’re more sensitive than I previously understood, because both of them tried to run away this week!

First Darwin tried to make a break for it–and very nearly succeeded! I leave for work early and Darwin doesn’t come out of the greenhouse for his first morning meal until midmorning when the sun is well up.  I typically leave the greenhouse closed until Jay returns from work first thing in the morning, when he then opens the greenhouse and offers breakfast.

I guess Darwin got a little impatient! Jay found the plexiglass doors completely busted out…and no Darwin!

How did that tortoise so quickly figure out that I hadn’t closed the gate? When found, he was already in the front yard and on the lam! But his little plot was foiled! He was returned to the yard, then fed, and allowed to roam as much as he pleases…within the boundaries of a fenced yard, of course.

He certainly looks cool and calm here, doesn’t he? I think he was giving us the cold shoulder. Or is he plotting his next move?

Well, at least disaster was averted this time…until I went to feed Pinky this morning and discovered that SHE had been digging and was very nearly outside of her well-appointed condominium.

Tenacious little thing! Somehow she managed to get through the wire barrier carefully positioned under her home, and had tunneled under grass and dirt. My timing was perfect, because the tunnel was already accessible…I found a carrot outside the cage!

Now let me just say that these are two of the most pampered pets you can imagine. I spend a small fortune on greens for Darwin and Pinky! They eat very well and often! We freeze water bottles and place them in Pinky’s cage for personal air conditioning when the temperatures climb. Frankly, my feelings are hurt!

Well, we spent the day shoring up the offending broken barriers and we had to move Pinky’s condo to a part of the yard where she can’t dig. We’ll try to figure out a way to make a “run” for her so that she has the chance to be a bunny in the wild once in a while.

You may have forgotten we have another tortoise in the family. I don’t share about Rocky too often because a little box tortoise living within the confines of a large terrarium doesn’t create great headlines.

Rocky found us about ten years ago and is a pretty little thing. We felt sorry for him one day in May and created a little outdoor pen on the grass…just for an afternoon of sunning and fresh air. He escaped, too! Three days later a neighbor two properties north of us found Rocky in her backyard vegetable garden.

I think any thoughts of us getting a dog are on hold for awhile!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. And if you have pets in your home, I suggest you include them in your plans. Maybe you’ll be able to avoid a revolt!

Breathing lighter…for the most part! Debra