Sunday, May 13, 2012


Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Springtime means renewal, and at the Beneda "farm" there are baby chicks, seven of them.

In time, they'll produce eggs of varied colors, something Evy, and now her boys, will look forward to in the months to come.

Shown are Zander with Nerf gun, Atlas holding his chick, Henny Penny, and Evy with Zander's chick, Penny Henny.  ("Ya, it's confusing," Zander says.)   Cousins Aidan and Magnus also have chicks, which they named Nothing and Goldie Miner.

Keeping chickens is one step in moving from a city environment to the island country side, a learning experience for all of the boys.

Down on the Bayou

When warm weather came along in March, the snapping turtle population buried in the mud of the bayou came to life, much earlier than we've typically seen.

The turtles were sluggish at first, some with a five-inch cake-layer of muck on their backs as they emerged from winter's hibernation.  The turtles warmed themselves each day in the sun, if the sun was out, floating on the water's surface or crawling into the nearby grasses, warming to a point where they might exhibit fairly brisk movement in the latter hours of the day.  When nighttime and cold temperatures came on, they ducked back into the mud, or under the weedy banks where they've created underwater dens.

On the warmest, sunny days, we witnessed males briefly clashing, and males and females in a reproductive attitude.  These creatures have been living in muck, reproducing in mucky water, and perpetuating their species much as they've done for the past three million years.  Reptiles that have not perceptibly changed over such a span of time are to be admired for their ability to survive, and the bayou harbors a sizable population of perhaps several dozen adults that winter in relatively close quarters.

-  Dick Purinton

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