Over my years as a pool owner I have discovered far too many creatures in my pool or skimmer basket, mostly dead, some lucky few alive. Toads, frogs, birds, chipmunks, squirrels and even a possum once. But the other day I found something I’d never encountered there before.
It’s walnut-tree-shit-dropping season – well, every week is a different walnut-tree-shit-dropping type of season, but this specific one is the tiny pea sized flower balls which are incredibly buoyant – and far too prolific. They litter the patio, drop in your hair when you’re not expecting it, and clog up the skimmer basket. The little suckers are even small enough to make it through the skimmer basket and clog up the filter basket in the pump!
The other night Stephen left the lid off the skimmer basket hoping that instead of being sucked into the pump, the natural buoyancy of the flower things would make them puff out the top of the skimmer rather than being forced down and sucked in. It worked. When I went out the next morning there was this massive poof of walnut shit floating on top of the water in the skimmer. Good idea, Stephen! I set to work removing it. Quite simple, really. You just slip your hand underneath, scoop it out and plop it into the waiting garbage can. Until you see something in the flowers. Something sleek and shiny.
Crap, I thought, a dead bird. Sigh. Oh well, I can handle this. And I continued removing handfuls of crud. Then it moved. And a little face peeked up at me.
Oh! I see. It’s not a dead bird, it’s a toad. No problem, I’ll just slip my hand under him, like this….lift him out like this….and set him on the patio. And then all the crud fell off him and I realized it wasn’t a toad, but rather a turtle! A small specimen, about the size of my hand, with an adorable little turtle face that was looking up at me in some alarm. I stood up and looked down at him.
“Never had one of you in here before!” I informed him. “What am I supposed to do with you?”
In response the turtle turned and scuttled past my feet to the edge of the pool, where he promptly launched himself into the deep end. Don’t let anyone tell you turtles are slow! That little guy wasted no time getting right back where he wanted to be!
So there I was, standing at the edge of my pool watching a small turtle doing the front crawl away from me. Now what? Remember the neighbour with the pond? The one who took my multitudes of frogs off my hands last year? Well, she was out in her yard, so I went to the fence.
“BARB!” I hollered.
“WHAT?” She hollered back.
“DO YOU HAVE ANY TURTLES?” I yelled.
“ANY WHAT?” She yelled back.
“TURTLES! THINGS WITH HARD SHELLS THAT SWIM!”
It should be noted that we were yelling at one another over two fences with a yard between.
“YOU HAVE A TURTLE?” She yelled.
“YES! IS IT YOURS?”
“I DON’T KNOW. MAYBE! I’LL COME OVER.”
Long story short, she came over, we netted the turtle out, it wasn’t hers, but she happily carried it home with her and deposited it in her pond. I haven’t heard from her how it’s doing, but it hasn’t returned to my pool, so that’s a good thing! I’m not a fan of sharing my swimming space with critters….