Double Check Ranch

  (Winkelman, Arizona)
Grassfed Beef Family Ranch--The Way It Used To Be
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Torts could teach us a lot

Today we ate lunch outside, partly to enjoy the incredibly nice weather and partly because we wanted to watch our desert tortoise meander through the yard.  

It is terribly fun to watch Dizzy eat and walk about.  He does everything so deliberately - I was trying to explain that word to my 3 year old daughter - whew, what a concept!  It's not slow exactly.  It's more like every movement is done with a precise objective in mind, as such it must be done correctly and precisely, which is often slowly too.  

Dizzy has so much that he could teach the children of today.  Kids who demand microwave-fast lives because of the training they've received, thanks to t.v., video games, microwaves, automatic ice makers, cell phones, etc.  I wish that more kids could get to watch him, like mine get to.  That they could see how he puts his mind to something and will not be dissuaded from his goal.  

He spent a good 45 minutes trying to wedge himself through wooden lattice that edges our stairs, and that was amazing to watch.  He would work himself up onto two legs so that he could fit into the diagonal gap.  We imagined him grousing back at us, "Don't laugh, try to do this with a volkswagon on your back!" 

And then I remember, most kids may occasionally see a tortoise or a turtle, but these poor animals are in cages that are maybe 4 by 2 feet.  No wonder the torts or turts display learned helplessness - is it a behavior that society is unconsciously trying to impart to the future generations? 

Somebody asked me why we let the tort that we rescued from the highway go, and I responded somewhat confused that they couldn't grasp the concept, that seeing the beauty of the tort walk off into the wild, with such a can-do attitude and a determined-swagger to his gait, it was really a beautiful experience and I wouldn't have had that if I forced him to live in a kiddie-pool in our backyard.  

Now, I will admit that we were given two desert tortoises and they are intended to remain in our yard, which is a big romping area for them.  However, the person who bequeathed these hard-nosed torts on us, didn't mention that they are little diggers and jail-breakers!  They exhibit the behavior you would imagine of Alcatraz inmates--trying to get out of the yard at every turn, even though it is 50,000 times bigger than a kiddie pool.  They wedge themselves under the picket fence, under the house, over huge logs in their path.  It's really amazing.  So amazing, in fact, that one of the lovelies is missing.  But I imagine that she's staying close by since we have the goods here - water and fresh green vegetation.  The AZ Sonora Desert Museum said that the torts generally stay within 2 miles of where they were born.  I am hopeful that our torts, Dizzie and Tizzy, came out of hibernation believing that they were born again in heaven and want to stay close here for a long time.  

Our partner, Jim, told us that when he was a little kid, he would keep a log of every tort he encountered on his family's ranch - with number (that he wrote on their shells) and location where they were found.  So we are planning on doing this with Dizzy tomorrow, along with measuring his length so that Katherine and Timothy will get some numbers practice and start their own tortoise logs. 

Anyways, the torts are very fun! 

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