Posts Tagged 'Sedgefield tortoise'

Tortoise Time!

The last week has seen the emergence of the tortoises after months of hibernation – harbingers of Spring for sure!

In January I did a post on tagging tortoises – a way that we could keep track of reptilian numbers and movements in the garden. Today, the boys found one of the paint-dotted critters under the Plumbago.

The re-appearance of Blue-dot made me feel a bit like David Attenborough starring in a Sedgefield version of the Life series. Just for a moment.

First sighting of Blue-dot in five months.

Tiniest tortoise ever

This little chap crawled our from under a bush today. It’s pretty late in the season for such a tiny tortoise, hope he’s going to make it through the winter.

Tagging Tortoises

We call this one blue dot. . .

This summer has seen a tortoise population explosion in the garden. I’m not sure if  it’s due to all the indigenous vegetation we have planted, or if Bob is simply an exceptionally fecund reptile.

So far we’ve counted 7 babies, they all look identical so to avoid recounting we have tagged each one with a dot of poster paint. It will wash off after a few rains (and we could do with those), but in the meantime we can keep count and follow the critters movements around the property.

. . . and this one Mulberry.

Dude looks like a Lady

Our compost heap tortoise Bob is more of a Babs.  This tiny reptile crawled out from under a banana skin a few days ago, still soft-shelled it must have just cracked its way out of the egg.

Son of Bob

Son of Bob

Tortoise Time

Our garden has five feuding wild tortoises. Each jealously guards a juicy indigenous patch, turning summer into a tortoise war zone.

Come winter, peace returns as the critters hunker down in a hard won section. Bob lives in the back near the compost heap and has been AWOL for months, but today he made an appearance, marching around aggressively and munching tortoise buffet.

Good news for Bob, and good news for me. If he’s out and about, spring can’t be far off – and that means it’s nearly compost time!



Tasty Tortoise Recipes

One of our garden residents

One of our garden residents

In Sedgefield we’re a bit obsessed with our tortoises. We even have street signs specially made to remind people to drive slowly so as not to flatten these plodding road crossers.

It’s not unusual to see someone screech to a halt on the verge, rush out, and carry a reptile to the other side of the road (ok, I’ve done it myself – more than once).

 So I was a bit surprised when reading a book on Cape Cookery to see four recipes using tortoise meat. The recipes are by our famous Afrikaans poet C Louis Leipoldt, and were written close to a century ago, making it unlikely that we’ll see Tortoise Kebabs at the local butchery any time soon.  But, just in case you and your tortoise are the only things to survive Armageddon I’ll post one here.

Tortoise In Jelly – extract from Leipoldt’s Cape Cookery

‘A rich jelly is made with seaweed boiled in a strong bouillon; a greased mould is coated with this, and sliced hard boiled eggs are set in the coating when it is nearly stiff.

There follows a layer of braised tortoise meat, with pepper and salt, and preserved pickled gherkins, sliced lenth-wise.

The remainder of the jelly is poured over and the mould is put in a cool place till the contents are firm. It is then turned out on a layer of lettuce leaves, garnished with young radishes and carrots and served with a sour sauce.’

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