Monday, August 9, 2010

Tactical Turtles

Before Barkley I had a Samoyed husky and another lab. The lab was the best duck dog ever, and we spent many an afternoon down in the south bringing home some quackers. I worried about gators, they'd been known to take a dog, but the snapping turtles could be dangerous as well.

Back home, a bit further north, no gaters but still the occasional snapping turtles out by the two ponds on the property, the one the cows used and the one that was right behind the house.

The Sammy wasn't a hunting dog, he was a shedding dog. I once got so much hair off him in one brushing that I filled up a large trash bag with it. It was later found taped it to the stearing wheel of the old Buick with a note " drivers side hair bag." But one thing he would retrieve and constantly. Turtles. Box Turtles. I'm not sure where he'd get them, I figured from around the pond in the back but at least once or twice a month he'd be at the back door with one in his mouth, unharmed, waiting for a treat because of this great gift he had brought me. Box turtles have a moveable hinge on the lower shell that allows them to retract inside the shell and then completely close up, leaving no flesh exposed, but I was afraid his sharp teeth might still do some damage. I'd take the turtle gently from him and go out to the back field and let it go. But one day he kept going back and back and bringing me the same turtle. I was afraid he'd hurt it, so the last time, I decided to just take the turtle back to his home, where the dog couldn't get him. The pond.

I walked on back, turtle cradled in my hands as if he were glass and paused. The sun was high and hot, contemplating us sleepily like a large somnolent yellow cat, and I could smell the water. As I got to the waters edge, I lobbed him out into the center of the pond.

Time almost stopped, as he hung there for a moment, hanging motionless and without physical weight, finally giving over to time and gravity, descending into a perfect arc into the center of the deep pond.

Free Willy!

Sploosh!!! His shell closed up, he sank to the bottom like a stone and with a few air bubbles he was free.

I got home that night and my brother in law came over, returning a tractor and I told him what I did. He started laughing so hard he cried.

Apparently box turtles are LAND turtles, and though they might gently paddle a bit in a shallow warm snippet of water, swimming up from a dive to the depths was not in their repertoire.

I sent Mr. Turtle to his doom.

I hope he at least enjoyed the flight.

So for tonight, something Old Lightning sent me. Turtle Burgers for your dining enjoyment. They don't go with water, but I imagine a nice beer will do just dandy.

Per the directions: Handmade ground beef patties, topped with sharp cheddar cheese, wrapped in a bacon weave, then the next step, add hotdogs as the heads, legs with slits for toes and tail. Next step. Place on an oven rack, covered loosely with foil and baked for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees. A little crispy, not too crunchy, the way a turtle should be.


  1. LOL poor turtle. Those do look amazing tho, I'm sure kids and adults alike would love em.

  2. Oh my, you do have rotten luck with turtles don't you. :-(

    Those turtle burgers look interesting and rather inventive.

  3. Oh. my. stars. Here I thought I was coming over to absorb some more Brigid wisdom and inspiration and I end up laughing my arse off. You are hilarious sister - I just may need to make those burgers for the crew.

  4. Gotta try those turtles. See you made me hungry goodby diet.

  5. I was told by my Army drill sergeant that I ran like a turtle. I'm still scarred to this day...

  6. "bacon weave" - a new great phrase I can borrow! I think these would go nicely with some of my super secret bacon vodka fusion!

    You DO have bad luck with the turtles, eh?


    Thanks again for writing - always a pleasure.


  7. Turtle burgers - fantastic! I nearly shot my beer through my nose when I saw those pictures; I share a laugh with you, your brother-in-law, and your readers, and a tip o' the hat to Old Lightning for such a creative dish.

    At least Mr. Turtle can tell all his buddies in the afterlife that his last moments were getting some excellent flight lessons from a flying ace like you!

  8. LOved that little tale! Read it too my spouse and SHE did the spraying with the Diet Dr. Pepper! All over me! Sigh.

  9. Sammy's are cool dogs, didn't know they were retrivers also, especailly turtle.

    Now gonna have to try some turtle soup to chase the turtle burger.

    Laughing all the way to pond... ker splash.

  10. That reminds me of an episode of the old sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati". The station owner tossed domestic turkeys from a helicopter in a pre Thanksgiving promotion. The turkeys became turkey goo upon impact with the pavement to the horror of onlookers. Later the stunned station owner said "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

  11. The turtle burgers would go nicely with turtle bread!

  12. I'm calling PETA. They need to know about this bacon weaving thing. :-)

  13. Of all the great recipes you feature on your sight... This probably isn't one of them. Heh.

  14. I was laughing like your brother-in-law, even before you gave away the faux pas. Thanks for the joy!


  15. B,
    Thanks for the tip, but I didn't invent these, I stole the idea from elsewhere (which has completely left me mind - CRS syndrome). I just couldn't resist the "bacon weave" meme.
    Thanks for the story too. LOL

  16. ... and with a few air bubbles he was free.

    I have to admit, I laughed. I can only imagine the last thing rush through the turtle's mind was "Where in the blazes am i?"

  17. Oh my Lord.

    That was hilarious. Thanks for sharing that one...

    Reminds me somewhat of my late mother pulling a rope she saw hanging out of an old golf bag in the barn. Turns out it wasn't a rope, but the tail of a possum who'd much rather have been left alone. It hissed at her, and she slung it like Frisbee out of the barn. It hit the ground, turned around and ran back in the barn, screeching like a little marsupial banshee..

    I've never laughed so hard in my life. Mom probably still hasn't forgiven me....

  18. I see the turtle in your first photo is a true veteran. A 30 caliber bullet hole in his helmet. How ever did his shell survive! :-)

  19. A tactical terrapin. A turtle would have been fine with being thrown in the water, turtles generally live in water and have webbed feet for swimming. Terrapins like the Box turtle, too, can deal with water. If it had not been a box turtle, if it had been a tortoise, it would have been boned. As it was, it probably floated to the top, flopped around a bit, and avoided the dog for a while. You done fine. Just don't throw a non-box "turtle" (actually, tortoise) in the water.

  20. You had me with "driver's side hair bag".

    Poor Yertle! Box turtles are actually a tortoise, and enjoy rummaging around on woodland floors for worms and berries and such.
    Swimming, not so much.

    Those other turtles of yours, however, aren't going anywhere but down the hatch. A perfect kid meal, with all the food groups: meat, cheese, more meat and bacon.

    Can't wait till the grandboy's on solid food. He and I are gonna have some fun.

  21. Correction: I am wrong and og is taxonomically correct - the box turtle is also known as the box tortoise, but is a true turtle of the genus Terrapene. It is terrestrial in habit but is closely related to many of the common aquatic turtles that we all know; sliders, etc...

    So maybe your little guy had a moment of tribal memory and swam away. I'm just sayin'...

  22. ROFL!

    Poor turtle! Do you think your Sammy was bringing the same turtle to you over and over again, just to get a treat?

  23. Catch and release and drown never really caught on, thats why they dropped the last part. LOL Funny as all get out.

  24. Good one, B. You're so good at keeping me ROLF-ing!

  25. You know, if he'd read this prior, he might just have described the Vogon constructor shop as hanging there precisely the way a box tortoise doesn't.

    But here we are. Thanks for the laughs. (Thanks for the burger idea too!)



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