Monday, December 24, 2007

Hockey pucks

First off I want to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas. We are almost ready for the season, though I realized today, I forgot to put up the garland in the kitchen-might get to that tonight before I have my annual date with the Pope. We wrap by the light of midnight mass every year. Some years, we get to watch it twice, that is if we don't get some wrapping done ahead of time.

It's an ice rink around here. Lots and lots of snow has fallen in the last week. 10 inches Saturday and Sunday night then winds up to 50 mph. Makes for fun driving to work and thank GOD for 4 wheel drive and my tank of a suburban. Ducks have no interest in going outside, horses look miserable and the dogs, well the dogs are in heaven. Drifts to plow through, snow to eat, new places to pee and frosted faces when I can finally get them inside.

Looking back, thought I might pull up a story from a past blog-David's adventures with our resdient snapping turtle. When I go to the dog shows, I usually leave a couple of things for him to do while gone, nothing major but stuff that I might not have gotten to during the week. So in September it was time for us to head to Des Moines for the big show and supported entry. A couple weekends previous, I had kicked Alec and Meredith outside and they decided to head down to the creek to play. Here's were the fun begins.

I get a frantic Meredith running in flipflops to the house and I just have to come down with her right away. Alec sent her. Please note, I really had to go to the bathroom but from the urgency in her voice, that would have to wait. I ended up running in my wellies almost to the end of the pasture only to see that the urgent message had been missing one piece. Alec just wanted a camera and a person to operate it. He had found our snapping turtle again. She had been previously relocated to the south end of the creek and made it back up about 1/3 of the way in 2 months. Since I didn't have the camera, what would he do with his prize? Lug it back to the barn of course. I taught him the art of carrying it without getting bit or scratched-those are really long ugly claws, btw. She was no little turtle but about 15-20 lbs of hissing, cranky and smelly turtle. Once up at the barn we did take pictures, then she was deposited into the spare stock tank until we figured out where to relocate her. Only then do I finally get the chance to visit the ladies room and then have a talk with them about what is urgent in mom's world.

So now I have a large snapping turtle clawing it's way through the stock tank and getting grumpier by the day. I was nice and went to the pet store and got some feeder fish for it to eat, while we pondered what to do with it. Note-now I have 1/2 a dozen gold fish in the tank in the house, those that were lucky enough not to get eaten by the turtle. Hey, the sun fish isn't lonely anymore. I called the DNR, local conservation dude and local farmers. No one wanted her for their creek, local conservation dude said I could release her any where I wanted but do it soon as she needs to get ready to hibernate. Call the DNR at the local state park and he said nope, but recommended a small public nature area along the Wapsi River. Here's where my honey do list for David comes in.

We take off to the dog show, David agrees to release the hissing beast up the road at the Wapipadica or something like that, nature area. Here's where the fun begins. Thinking like a reptile, David puts a large metal tub in the back of his truck. Fills it full of cold water and inserts turtle. Now cold water should lower her body temperature and keep her quiet for the 4 mile drive up the highway to the nature area. Throw in the leather gloves, large shovel and off they go. David arrives at the nature area. Deep breath, puts on gloves, out of the truck and proceeds to the back of the truck. Similar to the whole horror movie peering around the corner scene, he looks into the back of the truck-no turtle. Jump back, hands in the air(how he describes it) and where in the h**l did that thing go? Carefully look in again, poke around with the shovel, still no turtle. Now he says he leaned on the side of the truck and started thinking, thinking the worst. Turtle speed bump on the road now a smear on the highway. So he hops back in the truck and starts back tracking. He gets all the way to where he turned on to the highway from our road and starts back to the nature area. About 1 mile and there it is-upside down on the side of the road. He's now trying to figure out which side of the pet cemetary we put turtles. Pulls over the side of the road, gloves on, shovel ready and getting ready to heave her in the back and all heck breaks loose as she starts hissing and clawing the air. Momentarily stunned by the fall - David's just picturing her leaping over the side of the truck, landing on the highway then skating down the center of the 4 lane highway on her back like a hockey puck. Just a few scratches on her shell, nothing damaged or broke, we hope. So he picks her up, in the truck bed and this time the metal tub goes over the top of her and the shovel braced on top of that for good measure. Race down the highway, turn to the nature area, park the truck in a good spot, gloves on, hop out and she's face to face with him, almost out of the bed, again. Finally gets her on the ground, into a wet area. Now you would think like all wild animal shows that when released, the animals sprint off only looking back at a safe distance from the releaser. Nope, she turned and hissed one more time, one more snap, then satisfied that she had vented her opinion on the whole situtation, waddled off into the deep.

Beasties beware-nothing is ever simple at Chaosville! Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. Remember the reason for the season......


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