Because we’re going to be in Missouri for the cheesedoodle’s first birthday, I asked our friendly neighborhood photographer if we could do his one year portrait a little early, and while we were at it, if we could go to the river for the pictures because it’s one of our favorite places, and we wanted to remember it. So this morning found our family driving our van down by the river so Jawan could photograph our cheesedoodle.
One of the great things about Jawan, is that she keeps everyone moving, so the kids don’t get bored just sitting still and staring at a crazy lady and her friend the photographer. About 45 minutes after we arrived we wandered down to a stone wall that looked over the river and while Jawan photographed the cheesedoodle throwing pebbles up some stairs, Jonathan took the mackerdoodle down the ramp behind the wall to throw rocks in the water. Shortly after disappearing behind the stone wall, his head popped up again with an excited look on his face.
“Hey, come down here. There’s a turtle down here.”
Sure enough, at the very foot of the ramp, right were anyone who wasn’t paying close attention to their feet would easily step, was a good sized turtle building a hole with her back feet. She would push her back flipper deep into the hole, prod it several times and then change feet. After watching her for several minutes we concluded with our combined expertise (meaning: two children, a religion degree, a teaching degree and a college drop-out) that the turtle was building a nest. Between Jawan and I, we’ve been in labor five times, so we decided to give the turtle some privacy and photograph two of the cutest children to ever throw rocks into water.
After completely failing to fill the river with stones on hand, and, despite the cheesedoodle’s desire, completely succeeded in keeping the children out of the river, we returned to the stone wall, and found the turtle still poised at the base of the ramp, and proving our predictions correct. While we watched, she laid an egg, covered it in mud with alternating feet and then laid another. Even the mackerdoodle was completely fascinated by this process. She kept saying, “eggs! The turtle makin’ eggs.” When asked what was going to come out of the eggs, she answered, very excitedly, “Baby turtles!”
At some point we all realized that the base of a walking ramp was not the best place to incubate a new generation of turtles. We also didn’t recognize this particular turtle (see stunning lack of science in aforementioned educational backgrounds) and began to wonder if it could be endangered. Clearly this was a job for experts. So we called them.
And they came.
And even though the turtle *wasn’t* endangered, they were just as concerned about the location of the eggs as we were. They thanked us for calling. They wanted copies of Jawan’s turtle pictures. They dug up the eggs to take them somewhere safe and they let Jonathan help them carry the eggs back to their van.
And we got some great pictures of the cheesedoodle – some of which contained a turtle in the throws of labor.
Over all, it was a pretty cool day. Check Jawan’s blog for the visual element of this story, which is NOT to be missed.