Don't do what I did yesterday. I almost lost my Cholla.

SKOLsuper

Active Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
156
Location (City and/or State)
Essex
Yesterday afternoon I did something that Tom and other experienced tortoise keepers have repeatedly warned against : I took my 3 year old desert tortoise out of her enclosure and into yard. My intentions were good: to provide her with excercise and stimulation while he permanent large enclosure is being built. I was determined to keep my eyes on her every second: but guess what.

Something distracted me; I went to attend to it, and when I came back to the place where Cholla had been, she was gone.

For fear of stepping on her my husband and I took off our shoes, and we searched and searched until dark. Then, still barefoot, we brought out a mag light and a lantern and searched for hours more. No Cholla. Around 10 pm we went to bed, me in a state of high anxiety and great remorse.

At 7 a.m. this morning my daughter and grandson came over to help us look. On our hands and knees we searched under every bush, every leaf, in every crevice and depression, no Cholla. I cut down several small bushes, ripped up grass and weeds, etc. etc. We hoped she would come out from wherever she was once the yard was warm and sunny, but no.

We even went into the neighbors' backyard just in case she had somehow found a way under the fence, but their yard is such a jungle, and with so much stuff piled up along the fence line, it was pretty hopeless. We did all we could there, which wasn't much, and went back to searching our yards, back and front. No good.

I can't express how heartbroken I was, and how furious I was with myself

I loved her so dearly, but I had behaved stupidly and endangered her safety and her life. What really killed me is that just before I stupidly walked away from her yesterday afternoon, I had been sitting with her while she contentedly nosed around within a 2 foot radius around m, then crawled over my feet and into my lap. That I might never experience her sweetness again was practically killing me.

I prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, and . . .

. . . God was merciful. At 1 pm I was lying on my stomach under a big rock rose, carefully pruning out the lower branches in an attempt to create more visibililty under there just in case cholla was hiding there.. After about ten minutes of this suddenly my Cholla appeared from somewhere in the thicket of the bush. I didn't see where she emerged, but she was walking very fast with her little neck stretched out and body language that looked frightened, or at the least, confused.

I may be projecting these emotions on her, and I may doing the same about the relief she seemed to feel when put her back in her familiar enclosure. She checked out every part of her enclosure several times. I fed her; she chomped her food down vorcaiously. I sat in the enclosure with her as she checked around one more time, then waddled happily into her little hut.

I sat there sobbing with gratitude and relief. I'm still thanking God with all my heart.

The moral of the story is to follow the advice of the experienced people on this forum: Don't imagine that you can't be distracted from watching him/her walk around. You can be distracted, as I was, for just a few minutes, and as a result lose your tortoise for twenty hours like I did. Or worse, lose her forever.
I’m so glad u found her it’s so sad to lose something that you love ❤ Xx
Yesterday afternoon I did something that Tom and other experienced tortoise keepers have repeatedly warned against : I took my 3 year old desert tortoise out of her enclosure and into yard. My intentions were good: to provide her with excercise and stimulation while he permanent large enclosure is being built. I was determined to keep my eyes on her every second: but guess what.

Something distracted me; I went to attend to it, and when I came back to the place where Cholla had been, she was gone.

For fear of stepping on her my husband and I took off our shoes, and we searched and searched until dark. Then, still barefoot, we brought out a mag light and a lantern and searched for hours more. No Cholla. Around 10 pm we went to bed, me in a state of high anxiety and great remorse.

At 7 a.m. this morning my daughter and grandson came over to help us look. On our hands and knees we searched under every bush, every leaf, in every crevice and depression, no Cholla. I cut down several small bushes, ripped up grass and weeds, etc. etc. We hoped she would come out from wherever she was once the yard was warm and sunny, but no.

We even went into the neighbors' backyard just in case she had somehow found a way under the fence, but their yard is such a jungle, and with so much stuff piled up along the fence line, it was pretty hopeless. We did all we could there, which wasn't much, and went back to searching our yards, back and front. No good.

I can't express how heartbroken I was, and how furious I was with myself

I loved her so dearly, but I had behaved stupidly and endangered her safety and her life. What really killed me is that just before I stupidly walked away from her yesterday afternoon, I had been sitting with her while she contentedly nosed around within a 2 foot radius around m, then crawled over my feet and into my lap. That I might never experience her sweetness again was practically killing me.

I prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, and . . .

. . . God was merciful. At 1 pm I was lying on my stomach under a big rock rose, carefully pruning out the lower branches in an attempt to create more visibililty under there just in case cholla was hiding there.. After about ten minutes of this suddenly my Cholla appeared from somewhere in the thicket of the bush. I didn't see where she emerged, but she was walking very fast with her little neck stretched out and body language that looked frightened, or at the least, confused.

I may be projecting these emotions on her, and I may doing the same about the relief she seemed to feel when put her back in her familiar enclosure. She checked out every part of her enclosure several times. I fed her; she chomped her food down vorcaiously. I sat in the enclosure with her as she checked around one more time, then waddled happily into her little hut.

I sat there sobbing with gratitude and relief. I'm still thanking God with all my heart.

The moral of the story is to follow the advice of the experienced people on this forum: Don't imagine that you can't be distracted from watching him/her walk around. You can be distracted, as I was, for just a few minutes, and as a result lose your tortoise for twenty hours like I did. Or worse, lose her forever.
 

MenagerieGrl

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Tortoise Club
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Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
El Sobrante
My mom's aunt had a sulcata they let roam around in their extremely large backyard. One day it disappeared and they guessed it was stolen by one of the workers or it escaped.

Two years later it came back. They think one of the workers stole it and returned it but I think it was just hiding out for two years.

Its crazy how good torts are at disappearing
Yes, my old room mate has a Sulcata that was about 12 in. in Diameter, He was so big he we had a dog bed heating pad for him to sleep on. He would wake up come into the kitchen Eat, then knew how to wander through the house to the back yard where he would graze & investigate. come evening when the sun would start retracting he would come out and start wandering back to the house, to eat again & hit his sleeping spot on the heating pad. Occasionally he would not come in and as big as he is, we would take 30 to 45 min to find him. Got to the point, I knew all his hiding spots and it was not as bad finding him
 

MenagerieGrl

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Tortoise Club
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Joined
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Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
El Sobrante
Been there. My Sulcata Django was able to squeeze out under a gate that was much lower than his shell height, and walk across the street into a neighbor's yard before they found him the next afternoon. Same - searching until late at night with a flashlight etc. Talk about a sickening, nauseating feeling. So grateful he made it safely home. For animals that seem to move kinda slowly, boy they can really disappear fast!!
So True!
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
3,208
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
I had a Sulcata who was over 100 lbs. Once was in PetCo :eek: and once when I thought he would like to graze on the really healthy front lawn. I started walking around pulling weeds and other stuff. And I simply forgot about him, so he took a walk up the street. The neighborhood kids drove me nuts most of the time, but they all loved Bob and knew where he belonged. They brought him back more than once. They knew how to make him follow them. "OK Bob come on Bob come on come on lets go Bob, they made it a chant. So fricken sweet
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
3,208
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
I had a Sulcata who was over 100 lbs. And I lost him twice. Once was in PetCo :eek: and once when I thought he would like to graze on the really healthy front lawn. I started walking around pulling weeds and other stuff. And I simply forgot about him, so he took a walk up the street. The neighborhood kids drove me nuts most of the time, but they all loved Bob and knew where he belonged. They brought him back more than once. They knew how to make him follow them. "OK Bob you go Bob come on you go Bob lets go Bob, they made it a chant. So fricken sweet.
I am glad you got your tortoise back. I think one of the reasons you did was because you actually looked very hard, and on your hands and knees getting down to tortoise level Good job on your part!
 

MenagerieGrl

Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
El Sobrante
I had a Sulcata who was over 100 lbs. Once was in PetCo :eek: and once when I thought he would like to graze on the really healthy front lawn. I started walking around pulling weeds and other stuff. And I simply forgot about him, so he took a walk up the street. The neighborhood kids drove me nuts most of the time, but they all loved Bob and knew where he belonged. They brought him back more than once. They knew how to make him follow them. "OK Bob come on Bob come on come on lets go Bob, they made it a chant. So fricken sweet
Good Ole BOB!
 

DesertGirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
366
Location (City and/or State)
Fabulous Las Vegas, NV
Yesterday afternoon I did something that Tom and other experienced tortoise keepers have repeatedly warned against : I took my 3 year old desert tortoise out of her enclosure and into yard. My intentions were good: to provide her with excercise and stimulation while he permanent large enclosure is being built. I was determined to keep my eyes on her every second: but guess what.

Something distracted me; I went to attend to it, and when I came back to the place where Cholla had been, she was gone.

For fear of stepping on her my husband and I took off our shoes, and we searched and searched until dark. Then, still barefoot, we brought out a mag light and a lantern and searched for hours more. No Cholla. Around 10 pm we went to bed, me in a state of high anxiety and great remorse.

At 7 a.m. this morning my daughter and grandson came over to help us look. On our hands and knees we searched under every bush, every leaf, in every crevice and depression, no Cholla. I cut down several small bushes, ripped up grass and weeds, etc. etc. We hoped she would come out from wherever she was once the yard was warm and sunny, but no.

We even went into the neighbors' backyard just in case she had somehow found a way under the fence, but their yard is such a jungle, and with so much stuff piled up along the fence line, it was pretty hopeless. We did all we could there, which wasn't much, and went back to searching our yards, back and front. No good.

I can't express how heartbroken I was, and how furious I was with myself

I loved her so dearly, but I had behaved stupidly and endangered her safety and her life. What really killed me is that just before I stupidly walked away from her yesterday afternoon, I had been sitting with her while she contentedly nosed around within a 2 foot radius around m, then crawled over my feet and into my lap. That I might never experience her sweetness again was practically killing me.

I prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, and . . .

. . . God was merciful. At 1 pm I was lying on my stomach under a big rock rose, carefully pruning out the lower branches in an attempt to create more visibililty under there just in case cholla was hiding there.. After about ten minutes of this suddenly my Cholla appeared from somewhere in the thicket of the bush. I didn't see where she emerged, but she was walking very fast with her little neck stretched out and body language that looked frightened, or at the least, confused.

I may be projecting these emotions on her, and I may doing the same about the relief she seemed to feel when put her back in her familiar enclosure. She checked out every part of her enclosure several times. I fed her; she chomped her food down vorcaiously. I sat in the enclosure with her as she checked around one more time, then waddled happily into her little hut.

I sat there sobbing with gratitude and relief. I'm still thanking God with all my heart.

The moral of the story is to follow the advice of the experienced people on this forum: Don't imagine that you can't be distracted from watching him/her walk around. You can be distracted, as I was, for just a few minutes, and as a result lose your tortoise for twenty hours like I did. Or worse, lose her forever.
So happy this story had a happy ending! Anytime we take Ms Shell outside, she is always in her harness and lease. Not necessarily for her, but in case we get distracted just like you which happens. So happy for you!!😊
 

SJTort

New Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
26
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
A similar thing happened to me with my Greek. I was so upset because it was 100% my fault. We ended up finding him by chance as he had buried himself under a pile of dead leaves that were under a hedge. Smart tort, dumb mom. After that, I trained our golden retriever to find him for us. She has always adored him and loves to lay near his enclosure inside so it was pretty easy to get her to go look for him.
I don’t let him loose outside of his outdoor enclosure anymore, but he’s very good at hiding in that large space so I still ask her to find him pretty regularly. Since it’s pretty cold during the day now, he just stays inside all the time. Even though he has a 16 sq ft enclosure inside, he needs the exercise of wandering around. If we don’t, he will literally spend hours trying to climb out (even though he can’t see out) and often ends up on his back after tipping over or is way too high in his enclosure after climbing one of his plants (see picture). We turned our living room and adjoining dining room into a safe space for him to wander around once a week or so. We block off the one doorway to the rest of the downstairs so I feel ok about him wandering for an hour or so. I scatter snacks around so that he has some enrichment activities to keep him entertained.
 

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mylittlecholla

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
208
Location (City and/or State)
Fillmore, California
Thanks for your kind note. :<3::tort::tort:Twenty hours was awful enough, those five days you experineced. must have been horrendous. Thank God our beloved torts were restored to us and to safety. I'm wondering how your Russian escaped her enclosure. Do you know how your Russian escaped her enclosure?
Been there. My Sulcata Django was able to squeeze out under a gate that was much lower than his shell height, and walk across the street into a neighbor's yard before they found him the next afternoon. Same - searching until late at night with a flashlight etc. Talk about a sickening, nauseating feeling. So grateful he made it safely home. For animals that seem to move kinda slowly, boy they can really disappear fast!!
Yes, the speed at which they can move is astonishing. And how in the world did your Django squeeze out from under that gate? I'm so glad that he made it home to you!! :<3:
 

AZGirl

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
63
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Yesterday afternoon I did something that Tom and other experienced tortoise keepers have repeatedly warned against : I took my 3 year old desert tortoise out of her enclosure and into yard. My intentions were good: to provide her with excercise and stimulation while he permanent large enclosure is being built. I was determined to keep my eyes on her every second: but guess what.

Something distracted me; I went to attend to it, and when I came back to the place where Cholla had been, she was gone.

For fear of stepping on her my husband and I took off our shoes, and we searched and searched until dark. Then, still barefoot, we brought out a mag light and a lantern and searched for hours more. No Cholla. Around 10 pm we went to bed, me in a state of high anxiety and great remorse.

At 7 a.m. this morning my daughter and grandson came over to help us look. On our hands and knees we searched under every bush, every leaf, in every crevice and depression, no Cholla. I cut down several small bushes, ripped up grass and weeds, etc. etc. We hoped she would come out from wherever she was once the yard was warm and sunny, but no.

We even went into the neighbors' backyard just in case she had somehow found a way under the fence, but their yard is such a jungle, and with so much stuff piled up along the fence line, it was pretty hopeless. We did all we could there, which wasn't much, and went back to searching our yards, back and front. No good.

I can't express how heartbroken I was, and how furious I was with myself

I loved her so dearly, but I had behaved stupidly and endangered her safety and her life. What really killed me is that just before I stupidly walked away from her yesterday afternoon, I had been sitting with her while she contentedly nosed around within a 2 foot radius around m, then crawled over my feet and into my lap. That I might never experience her sweetness again was practically killing me.

I prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, and . . .

. . . God was merciful. At 1 pm I was lying on my stomach under a big rock rose, carefully pruning out the lower branches in an attempt to create more visibililty under there just in case cholla was hiding there.. After about ten minutes of this suddenly my Cholla appeared from somewhere in the thicket of the bush. I didn't see where she emerged, but she was walking very fast with her little neck stretched out and body language that looked frightened, or at the least, confused.

I may be projecting these emotions on her, and I may doing the same about the relief she seemed to feel when put her back in her familiar enclosure. She checked out every part of her enclosure several times. I fed her; she chomped her food down vorcaiously. I sat in the enclosure with her as she checked around one more time, then waddled happily into her little hut.

I sat there sobbing with gratitude and relief. I'm still thanking God with all my heart.

The moral of the story is to follow the advice of the experienced people on this forum: Don't imagine that you can't be distracted from watching him/her walk around. You can be distracted, as I was, for just a few minutes, and as a result lose your tortoise for twenty hours like I did. Or worse, lose her forever.
This was me in early October. Lost my Parker DT in my yard on two occasions. Can’t believe how fast he can be when he wants. How Infound him next day was running a little water from hose, waiting for it to warm a bit and going out and calling his name. He does respond to hearing me, not like a dog, but like a tortoise. I was freaking out and didn’t sleep. It was going to get very cold on those nights, not Freezing tho. I was afraid he would dig in somewhere for winter and I’d never find him. Thank God I did. Bc it has been 23-28 lows this week. He would not survive the high desert temps of AZ for the winter. I’m happy you found Cholla!!, 💜
 

DLF

New Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
SPRING VALLEY ca
Yesterday afternoon I did something that Tom and other experienced tortoise keepers have repeatedly warned against : I took my 3 year old desert tortoise out of her enclosure and into yard. My intentions were good: to provide her with excercise and stimulation while he permanent large enclosure is being built. I was determined to keep my eyes on her every second: but guess what.

Something distracted me; I went to attend to it, and when I came back to the place where Cholla had been, she was gone.

For fear of stepping on her my husband and I took off our shoes, and we searched and searched until dark. Then, still barefoot, we brought out a mag light and a lantern and searched for hours more. No Cholla. Around 10 pm we went to bed, me in a state of high anxiety and great remorse.

At 7 a.m. this morning my daughter and grandson came over to help us look. On our hands and knees we searched under every bush, every leaf, in every crevice and depression, no Cholla. I cut down several small bushes, ripped up grass and weeds, etc. etc. We hoped she would come out from wherever she was once the yard was warm and sunny, but no.

We even went into the neighbors' backyard just in case she had somehow found a way under the fence, but their yard is such a jungle, and with so much stuff piled up along the fence line, it was pretty hopeless. We did all we could there, which wasn't much, and went back to searching our yards, back and front. No good.

I can't express how heartbroken I was, and how furious I was with myself

I loved her so dearly, but I had behaved stupidly and endangered her safety and her life. What really killed me is that just before I stupidly walked away from her yesterday afternoon, I had been sitting with her while she contentedly nosed around within a 2 foot radius around m, then crawled over my feet and into my lap. That I might never experience her sweetness again was practically killing me.

I prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, and . . .

. . . God was merciful. At 1 pm I was lying on my stomach under a big rock rose, carefully pruning out the lower branches in an attempt to create more visibililty under there just in case cholla was hiding there.. After about ten minutes of this suddenly my Cholla appeared from somewhere in the thicket of the bush. I didn't see where she emerged, but she was walking very fast with her little neck stretched out and body language that looked frightened, or at the least, confused.

I may be projecting these emotions on her, and I may doing the same about the relief she seemed to feel when put her back in her familiar enclosure. She checked out every part of her enclosure several times. I fed her; she chomped her food down vorcaiously. I sat in the enclosure with her as she checked around one more time, then waddled happily into her little hut.

I sat there sobbing with gratitude and relief. I'm still thanking God with all my heart.

The moral of the story is to follow the advice of the experienced people on this forum: Don't imagine that you can't be distracted from watching him/her walk around. You can be distracted, as I was, for just a few minutes, and as a result lose your tortoise for twenty hours like I did. Or worse, lose her forever.
Omg I felt utter panic reading your story. So happy she’s back safe and loved so much 😍
 

Skip K

Active Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
247
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Yesterday afternoon I did something that Tom and other experienced tortoise keepers have repeatedly warned against : I took my 3 year old desert tortoise out of her enclosure and into yard. My intentions were good: to provide her with excercise and stimulation while he permanent large enclosure is being built. I was determined to keep my eyes on her every second: but guess what.

Something distracted me; I went to attend to it, and when I came back to the place where Cholla had been, she was gone.

For fear of stepping on her my husband and I took off our shoes, and we searched and searched until dark. Then, still barefoot, we brought out a mag light and a lantern and searched for hours more. No Cholla. Around 10 pm we went to bed, me in a state of high anxiety and great remorse.

At 7 a.m. this morning my daughter and grandson came over to help us look. On our hands and knees we searched under every bush, every leaf, in every crevice and depression, no Cholla. I cut down several small bushes, ripped up grass and weeds, etc. etc. We hoped she would come out from wherever she was once the yard was warm and sunny, but no.

We even went into the neighbors' backyard just in case she had somehow found a way under the fence, but their yard is such a jungle, and with so much stuff piled up along the fence line, it was pretty hopeless. We did all we could there, which wasn't much, and went back to searching our yards, back and front. No good.

I can't express how heartbroken I was, and how furious I was with myself

I loved her so dearly, but I had behaved stupidly and endangered her safety and her life. What really killed me is that just before I stupidly walked away from her yesterday afternoon, I had been sitting with her while she contentedly nosed around within a 2 foot radius around m, then crawled over my feet and into my lap. That I might never experience her sweetness again was practically killing me.

I prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, and . . .

. . . God was merciful. At 1 pm I was lying on my stomach under a big rock rose, carefully pruning out the lower branches in an attempt to create more visibililty under there just in case cholla was hiding there.. After about ten minutes of this suddenly my Cholla appeared from somewhere in the thicket of the bush. I didn't see where she emerged, but she was walking very fast with her little neck stretched out and body language that looked frightened, or at the least, confused.

I may be projecting these emotions on her, and I may doing the same about the relief she seemed to feel when put her back in her familiar enclosure. She checked out every part of her enclosure several times. I fed her; she chomped her food down vorcaiously. I sat in the enclosure with her as she checked around one more time, then waddled happily into her little hut.

I sat there sobbing with gratitude and relief. I'm still thanking God with all my heart.

The moral of the story is to follow the advice of the experienced people on this forum: Don't imagine that you can't be distracted from watching him/her walk around. You can be distracted, as I was, for just a few minutes, and as a result lose your tortoise for twenty hours like I did. Or worse, lose her forever.
Glad it was a story with a happy ending!
 

mylittlecholla

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
208
Location (City and/or State)
Fillmore, California
This was me in early October. Lost my Parker DT in my yard on two occasions. Can’t believe how fast he can be when he wants. How Infound him next day was running a little water from hose, waiting for it to warm a bit and going out and calling his name. He does respond to hearing me, not like a dog, but like a tortoise. I was freaking out and didn’t sleep. It was going to get very cold on those nights, not Freezing tho. I was afraid he would dig in somewhere for winter and I’d never find him. Thank God I did. Bc it has been 23-28 lows this week. He would not survive the high desert temps of AZ for the winter. I’m happy you found Cholla!!, 💜
Thank you so much! And I'm so glad you found your Parker! :D
 

mylittlecholla

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
208
Location (City and/or State)
Fillmore, California
A similar thing happened to me with my Greek. I was so upset because it was 100% my fault. We ended up finding him by chance as he had buried himself under a pile of dead leaves that were under a hedge. Smart tort, dumb mom. After that, I trained our golden retriever to find him for us. She has always adored him and loves to lay near his enclosure inside so it was pretty easy to get her to go look for him.
I don’t let him loose outside of his outdoor enclosure anymore, but he’s very good at hiding in that large space so I still ask her to find him pretty regularly. Since it’s pretty cold during the day now, he just stays inside all the time. Even though he has a 16 sq ft enclosure inside, he needs the exercise of wandering around. If we don’t, he will literally spend hours trying to climb out (even though he can’t see out) and often ends up on his back after tipping over or is way too high in his enclosure after climbing one of his plants (see picture). We turned our living room and adjoining dining room into a safe space for him to wander around once a week or so. We block off the one doorway to the rest of the downstairs so I feel ok about him wandering for an hour or so. I scatter snacks around so that he has some enrichment activities to keep him entertained.
Yes, it's awful enough to lose your tort, let alone when it's your own fault. How great about your retriever!!!
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,158
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
This was written last year...

 

mylittlecholla

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
208
Location (City and/or State)
Fillmore, California
This was written last year...

Deo Gatias!
AMEN!
 

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