Once Frank had Nancy in his life, their routine was incredibly stable. In the early days, they ate all kinds of vegetables. But ultimately would only eat lettuce, bananas, mushrooms, cooked broccoli, shredded zucchini and pink hibiscus flowers.
They’d go into hibernation in mid-November and then wake up in March. It took about three or four days for them to warm up before eating and then after about three weeks, Nancy would start digging holes for her eggs. So there were holes all over Joan and Joyce’s garden, some even in the grass, about 8 to 10 inches deep. Frank would always be at her side, but never digging, only Nancy would dig.
During this time, Nancy ate very little, Frank a lot! Once she laid her eggs, usually in July, she started eating a lot and then Frank would get romantic.
But Nancy was always in control. If she didn’t want him on her back, she’d simply walk away from him. And some mornings, she’d come out of their little house early and go to her secret hiding place. Frank would wander all over looking for her until Joyce or Joan would pick him up and show him where Nancy was. Once he saw her, he went back into his house and slept. All was fine in his world.
One winter while Frank was hibernating, Nancy had pneumonia and had to be fed by Joan with an eye dropper. A local candy striper came and gave Nancy an antibiotic shot in the leg. Fortunately, Nancy pulled through and lived many more happy years with Frank.
When Nancy died in September, Frank was grieving and wandering up and down the garden. He is now hibernating in his little house and will not come back out until springtime. We hope he’s dreaming and communicating with his lifelong friend, Nancy.