Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Salad, Anyone?

Looks good doesn’t it?  It’s a little different than your normal garden salad though.  It’s got apples, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, bananas and grapes.  It’s very colorful.

But, to be fair, I wouldn’t recommend eating this salad.  Why?  Well, I should probably list the rest of the ingredients.  Dandelions, meal worms, shrimp, crickets, white fish and chicken.  To be clear, Tara and I don’t eat this salad and no, we don’t feed it to Bert.  It’s for Cash, our turtle.  You can take that sigh of relieve now.

If you’ve never met our red-eared slider, here’s a little background.  We bought Cash at a local fair about five years ago.  He cost 15 bucks and was about the size of a quarter.  When we brought him home he was in a tiny tank and ate only store bought turtle food.  We figured he would only make it a week or so but I have a thing about taking care of pets.  I figure, I’ve made a commitment and it’s only fair to the animal. 

As Cash grew, he continued to need larger tanks.  First a five gallon, then a ten, then a twenty.  Now, he’s in a 65 gallon tank and he could just about swallow a quarter whole.  All that growth took more than just store bought food.

About a month after we bought him I started researching about how to best care for a red-eared slider.  I know what you’re thinking but better late than never right?!  I discovered that turtles need more than just the store bought pellets.  They need real food.  So, I decided I would make meals for Cash.  But, I certainly wasn’t going to make meals for him twice a day, that’s crazy talk.  Once or twice a year sounded more like it.  Fast forward to the present.

I spent a recent weekend making food for Cash.  I cooked the fish and chicken and the meal worms, crickets and shrimp were bought at the pet store (canned).  The fruits and veggies came from our local farmers market and got steamed to soften them up.  The dandelions came from our very own yard – a benefit of not spraying our yard with weed killer. 

I mixed all of the ingredients together, sprinkled the not-so-appetizing mixture with a powdered calcium supplement and packed a few freezer containers.  Last year’s mixture, according to the dated label I put on the package, was made on May 8, 2011 – just shy of a year.  I made a bit less this time but I think it should easily last six months.


They say red-eared sliders can live 20 years or more in captivity.  Cash is five now.  That’s a lot more food!  Tara’s a great cook so I can’t even make the joke that the turtle eats better than I do, but you have to admit, he does eat well for a turtle.  And, to be honest, the money we spend on making real food for Cash amounts to much less than it would cost if he ate only store bought food.  Real food; better for Cash, better for our cash flow.

I should note that we learned our lesson and did extensive research on caring for children before Bert came along.  Eh, he didn’t eat real food for months anyway. 

Speaking of real food, want to stop over for dinner some night?  I promise we’ll skip the crickets.  I can’t promise anything about the shrimp though.

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