I looked for the dude every day after that, but never saw him again.
Until now! I was outside this morning, pulling up a soaker hose to move to a new spot. It was staked down with metal pins. I was pulling on the hose to loosen the pins as I made my way down the row, when suddenly a big clump of dirt or mulch(?) popped up and landed in front of me. It wasn't either of those things. It was a turtle! And no, I didn't hurt it. I immediately picked it up and checked out his markings. Looked like the Dude to me. The Dude had a chip on his shell just like this one. It's a possibility that it's not him, but I'd like to think that it is.
So, I put him down and started to go in the house to get the camera again , when I noticed a dark blob in the weeds right next to where the Dude was. It was another turtle, but this one was a lot bigger than the Dude.
Oh Crap! Was the Dude doing it when I pulled the hose up and flung him through the air? I really hope not!
I got the camera and took a few photos. Then I put the turtles back in the weeds and went back to what I was doing. About thirty minutes later, I checked on them. I only saw one turtle, but decided not to look around for the other. I already disturbed them once.
I don't know enough about turtles to know if the male is bigger than the female, but I do plan on googling it. I'd like to know if my Dude is actually a Dudette.
Well, I won't be tilling that area as planned. I'm hoping the Dude will be laying eggs somewhere in the garden.
I now know what's been eating our tomatoes. I thought that we were losing an awful lot this year to some critter, but ruled out the Dude because I didn't think he could eat that much. But two turtles could. I always plant more tomatoes than we can use and this is one of the reasons why. Seeing a turtle with a face full of tomato seeds and juice dripping down his chin is priceless. Until next time.....