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“Turtle Highway” On The Ozark Prairie

Ozark Box Turtle

There’s a rural highway on the Ozark Prairie (in Missouri, just a little northeast of the Lake of the Ozarks) that I will always think of as “Turtle Highway”.  I have a love for all animals, but think the common box turtles are really remarkable creatures.  And, this one highway seems to often have one or two in just the few miles that it spans.  It encompasses only about 10 miles, at best, and winds through lots of farmland mixed with deciduous woods like one will typically find in Missouri.

Anyhow, I do have a story to tell about this “Turtle Highway” , one that will stick with me for a long time.   It’s a true story, although it may sound like a tall tale, lol! : )

I was traveling on “Turtle Highway” this spring, about a month ago, and came upon a turtle in the highway.  But, lo and behold, there was a pretty large moving van size truck approaching from the opposite direction.  Of course, I wanted to miss that little guy (or gal) and knew that it would be very tricky to do with that large truck coming.  As luck would have it, I didn’t crunch the little bugger!  Instead, my car tire must have grazed it’s  hard shell “just right” that it SHOT it across the highway.  Anyhow, I realized that that had happened and also knew that little box turtle might be laying at the side of the road – UPSIDE DOWN.

So, I decided that the most humane thing I could do was to turn around and go back the very short distance to check him (or her) out.  I mean, there could be a turtle family waiting somewhere, even?  And, how would it be to be left upside down only to be eventually smashed, for sure?

Just as I had thought, that turtle WAS on it’s back at the side of the road. legs and head tucked inside its protective shell and no way to see if it was dead or alive.  I placed it a good distance along the shoulder, far from the road, and left – feeling that I had done all that I could to help the little turtle.

I went home and didn’t think much more about it…

…until the next morning when I traveled down “Turtle Highway” on my way to the city.  When I rounded the bend in the road where I had the turtle encounter – what did I see?  Can you guess?  A turtle in the road, walking like turtles often do …a happy walk, sort of jaunting about,…perhaps, just happy to be alive?  It was so bizarre – was that the SAME turtle?  It was almost like it was there to say, “I’m doing just fine, thank you”.   Okay, so this is believable, right?  It’s a true story and not over, yet…

…that night I was returning from the city, going down the same stretch of road on “Turtle Highway” and can you guess what I saw?  Would you believe it?  This is true – I saw a TURTLE in the SAME PLACE. walking about in the road.  That turtle…I mean, could it be the SAME TURTLE?…that turtle just looked happy to be alive, so happy for spring and walking about on the warm pavement like we’ve all seen before.  But, was it a little bit more exhilarant?  I guess I will never know the answer to that question, only to remember how strange it was.

So, the ending of the story?… I imagine it’s a happy ending since I haven’t seen a smashed turtle anywhere on “Turtle Highway”.  And, I really do think that turtle may have been the “one and the same turtle” each time!? – very happy for a second chance at life.

Photo Credit:  David DeHetre

AFTERTHOUGHT:  To any out there that may read this, it is important to remember that SAFETY is #1.  Never swerve to miss a turtle and endanger your life or another human life.   This turtle was not in the roadway when I turned it over.  I would also like to add that I often run alongside a rural highway with my dog and exercise many safety precautions, even though I may never even see a single car the whole time out there.  BE SAFE WHEN BICYCLING OR RUNNING/WALKING ALONGSIDE  ANY ROADWAY!!


9 Things You Can Do To Make Your Skin More Elastic (& Youthful!)

Youthful skin habits for more elastic skin (younger skin)

Starting good skin habits at an early age

What can we do to prolong our youthful appearance?  Many will think about avoiding wrinkles, but so many products are out on the market that can battle these, women today do not have to worry about these until much, much later in life.  But, what can help with elasticity is a bigger problem and not many products will have the same success as our anti-wrinkle ones.

What is the definition of elasticity?

According to the University of Maryland’s website, skin elasticity is better defined as skin turgor.  And, skin turgor is, “the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal  (elasticity).”
Following are NINE practical and inexpensive ways to promote better skin turgor:

  1. Avoid the sun and/or use a good sunscreen.  Sun damage is well-known to wreak havoc upon the best of skin.  All sun worshippers that do not take heed pay the price with lax, leathery skin before their time ~ not to mention the risk of many dangerous skin cancers.   The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:
  2. Drink plenty of water.  Water is what nourishes our cells…it is present in EVERY cell in our bodies.  But, many people do not drink enough of this elixir!  And, without proper hydration, skin will appear dull and listless ~ lacking the turgor that gives us our youthful appearance.  What is the proper amount of water to drink per day?  This is a controversial subject, but the American Dietetics Association recommends 9 cups for women and 12.5 cups for men.
  3. Do not bathe in hot water since this has a harmful effect on the skin integrity, damaging it and drying it out.
  4. Use a good moisturizer!  Consult an aesthetician or dermatologist for the best one for your skin type.
  5. Partaking in regular exercise can improve skin elasticity.  It is recommended to have 30 minutes of aerobic exercise to improve circulation for the skin.  This gives the benefit of feeding the skin and removing any waste products more effectively.  Hence, you will have a more youthful skin.
  6. Proteins make up the matrix of our cells and thus are very important for good collagen and elasticity.  Eat these top proteins for good elasticity:  almonds, peanut butter, salmon, sardines and eggs.
  7. One remarkable finding (from recent studies) found by dermatologists is evidence that lutein, an antioxidant  found in egg yolks, spinach, and other leafy greens may improve skin elasticity  by almost 20%. Lutein is also found in topical face products.
  8. Fish oil capsules taken on a daily basis can do much for skin elasticity.  This is very important if you are on a diet or have already lost a lot of weight…fish oil is one of your best weapons to combat laxity and looseness of the skin.  But, be sure to follow the dosage directions on the label (and consult a physician before taking anything) since the wrong dose may be harmful or dangerous in bleeding disorders (or other medical conditions).
  9. Also, it’s important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for good skin elasticity.  And, of these ~ the best ones to eat are as follows:
  • Red Peppers
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Mango
  • Apricots
  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocados

So, if you have lost elasticity due to poor habits or weight loss ~ the above list should give you a guide on how you may improve your skin starting TODAY.  Or, if you are needing a preventative treatment against aging…these habits can take you down the road to a much happier, youthful skin!   We don’t have to give in to mother nature, there are always variables we can manipulate to fight back against what our mothers and grandmothers had to endure ~ loose, sagging skin.

Photo credit:  Gloria’s Health