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Umberto the turtle

Last Saturday, we had a big rainstorm sweep through and afterward, Joy backed the Outlander out of it’s spot to go somewhere and found someone had been sitting underneath, sheltering from the storm we imagine:


He’s a pretty good sized Eastern box turtle, shell maybe 5″-6″ long, and his shell looked like it had taken a bit of a beating at some point. We put him up in one of our raised beds that didn’t have a current crop growing (we ate all the lettuce) for a few days until we were sure it wasn’t something he needed care for.



After he’d gone around the perimeter of the enclosure and determined that there wasn’t a way out, he settled in to his temporary captivity. He made himself at home under a cardboard box, and ate bits of leaf lettuce that were still on the stalk (that long thing in the picture is actually a lettuce plant). He also seemed to also like the ‘baby bella’ mushroom we gave him. But what he really LOVED was bananas! He seemed very unfazed by our presence, and we almost wondered if he was someone’s pet they had released, but wild turtles can be pretty laid-back like that, from previous experience.

Solstice morning we decided it was time for the turtle, whom I had named Umberto, to be returned to the ‘wild’, and we took him across the street to an area alongside one of the subdivisions. It had a creek, a pond, a wooded area, and a grassy area and was far back from the highway so we figured he’d be happy there .  He sat there a moment, looked around, and then began ambling off towards the woods.

We were happy to have sheltered him a few days and then be able to return him safely to his natural habitat, but we were also a little sorry to see him go. He was a really cool little guy. Joy put it best, when she posted on her Facebook account about him: “I’m going to miss his banana-covered face.” she said.

Thanks for visiting us, Umberto! 🙂

The 2011 garden final list (I swear I am not bringing anything else home!)

Keep in mind that all this is in addition to our various perennials that came back up from last year, like the rosemary, oregano, daisies, roses, blueberries, etc. I need to get some good pictures of the garden, it seems to rain every time I try – NOT that I am going to complain about rain!


  • purple Cherokee
  • Matt’s wild cherry
  • Pineapple
  • Costoluto Genovese
  • Italian tree tomato (a friend grew this from seed, it’s actually 2 plants growing too close together to separate)


  • 2 Clemson Spineless
  • 2 burgundy (planted these because first two aren’t thriving)


  • winter savory
  • french tarragon
  • dill
  • 3 sweet basil
  • 1 curly basil
  • parsley
  • chives
  • 2 more thyme plants (in addition to last year’s two)
  • wormwood
  • rue
  • mugwort
  • holy basil/tulsi
  • 3 calendula
  • cuban oregano


  • Golden Marconi
  • Jupiter
  • Jalapeno
  • ‘Fooled You'(mild jalapeno)
  • Pimento
  • Orange Bell
  • Poblano (2 because first one isn’t growing well so we bought a second)

Other Veggies and Fruits

  • 2 black zucchinis
  • 1 Waltham butternut squash
  • 2 cantaloupes from seed
  • 1 ‘mystery’ squash or melon that had sprouted in our compost bin, as yet unidentified
  • rainbow chard from seed
  • leaf lettuce
  • arugula
  • 4 nasturtiums (this is an edible flower)
  • 2 strawberries
  • rabbiteye blueberry (for helping pollinate the existing two plants)


  • 8 giant zinnias
  • 2 violet queen cleomes
  • 2 gardenia bushes
  • Assorted daffodills, tulips, narcissus, and hyacynths
  • 1 tasmanian violet (viola) *we brought this in as a houseplant
  • 3 pots of wildflower mix from seed
  • 1 giant Russian sunflower

This one’s a ‘keeper’

I finally finished my Celtic knotwork bracelet:

This one was a bit of a challenge, because the pattern I had was for bright blue and green intertwined knotwork on a black background, but what I really wanted was the look of stone on green grass,  so when I was following the word chart I had to mentally convert the seven color codes in the chart to my four colors. Generally,  anything that looks like numbers just turns into the equivalent of Charlie Brown’s teacher talking, in my head, so it took a while to really get into the flow of the pattern.

It’s a little wider than I am used to but I really like it. It’s the first beadwork project that I made for myself, and the colors came out exactly how I’d pictured them in my mind. 🙂

I bought a little brand-new Weaver Deer Ridge dog collar cheap at a local thrift store, and I guess that will be my next beading project. It’s for a medium-small dog so it wouldn’t fit either of our girls, but it would be good practice for learning to bead on leather.