Take it slow, but remember every single step; you may need a shortcut when there are tomatoes to be had.

We have a few tortoises who visit us from time to time. They roam free, but return regularly to come "harvest" the seasonal delicacy. The biggest, Tuirtz, was brought here from a place where he shared a garden with a big dog. The tortoise was a walking knaw-bone, he was oozing blood through his shell. One of the many reasons why keeping wild animals as pets is such a bad idea, it being illegal is not scary enough for some people. He was rescued (bought at a price the guy could not refuse), and brought to us for treatment. We knew nothing about tortoises, so we cleaned up best we could, and put it in a safe place outside. After a few days, he was healing well, chomping down my garden I just managed to dig in. We kept him safe for winter, by spring he took to the road hungrily, and returned a few months later, probably by accident, but I think it was for the tomatoes.Tortoises go apeshell for a tomato. And dandelions. A tortoise will eat a dandelion patch into the ground before you notice it moved.

in the mean time, Not-So-Tuirtz arrived, together with Tigger. Tigger was half Tuirtz's size, with well defined black specks on a fairly pretty shell. She did show signs of calcium deficiency, if the internet could be believed. Can't believe things you read on the internet, you know... The other newby was dull grey like Toorts, with only slight signs of abuse. We knew nothing about sexing tortoises, so all we knew was that it looks like Tuirtz, it's almost as big as Tuirts, but it is Not-So-Tuirtz. Tigger, the one with the slightly deformed growthpattern but pretty colours, we thought was a different species, but she later laid eggs for Tuirtz. The little ones hatched without us knowing, and by the time the crows got our attention, it was almost too late. Ever since, we take note of the laying, and fence off the egg pit. Comes hatching, we save what we can and put them where they can escape once they are too big to be lifted by a crow.

 Terry Pratchett explains how the tortoise is the single biggest proof again Darwinism: The tortoise has been around forever, so have crows. The one and only enemy the tortoise has, is the crow. The crow grabs onto a tortoise, and flies up high into the air, where it releases the tortoise. The tortoise will, without fail, fall onto a rock, where the shell will split open, and the crow can fly down the feast on tortoise innards. Yummy. Just one thing though: After so many millions of years, and so many millions of crows dropping tortoises to their death, NOT ONE TORTOISE EVER LEARNED TO FLY? Preposterous! Not even a little glide? Flattened elbow scales to assist in aerodynamic deceleration asystemiologification? Damn, that Darwin guy, always a surprise for us, eh what?

What tortoises do have in terms of superpowers, however, may surprise you. A tortoise's eyes are very close to the ground. They can crane their necks rather comically high, but it really is comical more than high. Yet, and this is important, they can remember where to go, how to get there, and how to get back after visiting a place only once. They have the most amazing spatial memory. it is not smell or hormones (same thing, really) because they remember a gap in a fence after a year, even though it had to cross newly made garden, newly stacked rocks and two new fences to find a route around. There was no smell left after digging the rocky earth out and replacing it with soil worth planting things into. The large number of rocks we dig up become fences for tortoises to cross when they are big enough to fend for themselves. Or rather, when they are heavy enough. Even within that fence, the tiny ones live about as free as we can, and every year, the parents come back in over that fence to lay their eggs on my lawn, by the laundry flower box, under the washing line... They are not pets, I promise.