Turtle gardening | TheFencePost.com


Folks, it’s amazing that when you’ve lived in rural areas for as long as I have, you can expect to see something on a regular basis that you’ve never seen before.

Last week, for the first time in my life, I saw real “turtle gardening” by an undocumented and quite alien gardener. As our esteemed President likes to say, “Here’s the deal.”

A generous friend, old Givitt Tway, invited me last week to pull all of his pea tendrils from his garden and harvest any leftover green peas for old Nevah and me. So I got to his garden early the next morning, set my pickup truck near the row of vine pea tendrils, and pulled the tendrils.

Then I spied the undocumented gardener’s actual “turtle gardening” out of the corner of my eye. The gardener actively planted “turtle seeds” in a hole she had dug with her own appendages.

Okay, kidding aside, here’s what I saw about 10 feet away. A female turtle – not a snapping turtle, a softshell or a tortoise – with a shell about a foot long had dug its hind legs through the dry, crusty topsoil, lowering its hind legs to wet mud, and somehow wuz in a trance and eggs into it Lay a hole. It had dug at least six inches and was sloping about 45 degrees down into the hole.

The strange thing is the closest natural water that’s at least half a mile away in the Cottonwood River. The next unnatural water was in the neighbour’s sewage lagoon about 50 meters away. I suspect the turtle is making its summer home in the lagoon, but that’s pure guesswork. Maybe she was a traveling turtle.

The next time I saw my generous neighbor, I definitely thanked him and told him I hope his “turtle seed” is all sprouted and that his undocumented “gardener” is quite limited in her gardening skills.

He laughed a lot and I got about 2 liters of frozen peas for the next winter. Nevah frozen them along with some of ours. I also got half a liter of dried peas that were too ripe to cook. I’ll use them in a soup next winter.


Sticking to the turtle topic, my most recent column about how I cut my thumb when I fell IN my Jon boat led to an email response from my friend, old Dub L. Downer, who had a friend who liked to fish and who had an experience similar to mine, but the results were different.

“Dub” wrote: “Milo, your story of falling into your Jon boat and flapping helplessly like a turtle on its back sounds like a friend of mine.

Big Lee loves fishing. He and his friend went out on the lake in their little fishing boat. Big Lee isn’t too sure of his feet, said he got up, lost his balance, and crashed backwards into the boat.

“He got caught in the little boat and said the same thing about the appearance of a turtle on its back – he couldn’t get up. His friend got up in the boat to help Big Lee straighten, but his standing in the stern caused the boat to take in water through the stern.

“In the end, they sink the boat, but close to the bank. Even so, they ended up having to pull it out with their pickup truck.

“On another subject, I see your favorite relaxer is a good bourbon, then scotch. You are a man after my heart, although I prefer scotch bourbon.

“I’ve always wanted to ask you how far south of Highway 50 is the little town of Saffordville? While driving and delivering auto dealership Fords across the Midwest, I made many trips to the Kansas City area and St. Joe, Missouri, to track and deliver vehicles. I drove past the Saffordville sign often, but never took the time to turn and look.

“We turned 78 a few months ago, so we’re the same age. Take a sip for me. “

Thanks for the story, Dub. I can answer your question about Saffordville. All that remains are three houses and the old brick Toledo Township High School, which is used as a community building and where we old boars have our breakfast every Wednesday. The great flood of 1951 destroyed the town.


The day after I cut my thumb, my Pratt fishing buddy, old Claude Hopper, returned for a few more days of fishing. One day we fished the bank and the second boat. We caught a lot of fish, just not big ones.

While we were fishing by boat, an annoying thing happened. We had a lot of crappie and small perch in a wire fish basket attached to the side of the boat. When we were ready to leave the watershed, I turned on the trolling motor. The raging water rushing over the top of the basket opened the spring-loaded trap door and let out all but five of our stupid fish.

I’m now trying to think of a better way to keep fish alive in a Jon boat with no live wells. Maybe I have to build a sturdier fish basket myself.


We haven’t smelled of rain since the wet weather stopped two weeks ago. Now the soil is cracked, the garden needs regular watering. The temperature during these two weeks rose from 49 degrees for the low to 103.5 degrees for the high.

But people have planted their soybeans and are off to a good start into the cool season of grass baling hay bales. Typical Kansas summer weather pattern.


Wisdoms for the Week: “Every loaf of bread is a tragic story of a group of grains that could have turned into beer but didn’t turn into beer” Enjoy.