mardi 28 avril 2009

Toads' warts

My new friend

Why do you suppose it is that toads are a lot more approachable than frogs? All I have to do is walk out the door of the house or come within 5 meters of the pool and I hear "plop, plop" and see the wake of the frogs fleeing my presence, even if I leave the net behind.

The day before yesterday, I went down and frogged two adults from the water and leaves on the pool cover and put them in the basin. I could still hear at least one more in the pool, but judging from past years, there were more. Last evening, Audouin came home and said, "So, and if we removed the pool cover?"

"It's raining."

"I know. We can put put on rain gear." He grinned like it was going to be really fun.

"It's raining really hard," I looked out the window. He had a point, and I did want to get the pool open before we have too many more warm days. It might even be fun to put on our Wellies and rain jackets and brave the elements. "Okay. Let me get my stuff."

He was already outdoors under the rain, trying to balance the big plastic container I had gotten in Brittany for the frogs on top of the already full trash can, placed under the gutters, where the workers had removed the downspout that leads to the town water system, to catch the water that flows from the roofs. He was hoping to get it to overflow toward the yard, and not the ground at the base of the house. We use a segment of garden hose to drain the water from the containers by pressure to the second terrace.

I don't know why, but my second favorite look on him -- after his "blouse blanche", surgical pyjamas and purple clogs (his size happens to be purple) -- is Wellies and a rain jacket. I got my blue child's net that I bought in Portsall a couple of weeks ago and followed him down the stairs.

I netted two baby frogs.

I could still hear at least two more adults, who are experts at escaping me. I'll get them eventually, when they aren't looking.

This guy, on the other hand, I found the first time Sunday afternoon. He was hanging out in the damp grass under the pile of wood I cut from the pruning of the linden trees. It was time to move it closer to my burning pile so I could mow that spot, too. I placed him in the lavender bed, and this afternoon, returning from a failed frogging expedition at the pool by way of the gazebo terrace, I saw Baccarat get all excited while I stopped to admire the Judas tree's blooms.

"Baccarat, sh!" Something jumped at my feet and Baccarat jumped and landed right on me. "Bacs, move." I looked closer where she had turned her attention, a big front paw and her snout trying to stop -- a toad.

"Bacs, ça souffit maintenant. Vas-t-en." I managed to shoo her 10 centimeters further back and leaned down to scoop up the toad. We looked at each other. It was exactly the size of the one I had found and put in the lavender beds on Sunday, and just like both Rapide and Baccarat had climbed up into the narrow raised planting bed to try to get closer to the toad, they weren't backing off now, either. Baccarat jumped in front of me like a three-year-old who wants his toy back from your hand. The rose bush nearest where I had placed the toad didn't fare too well from Rapide's girth, as she squeezed past it to get nearer the toad, looking positively ridiculous in the lavender and roses.

I covered him protectively from Baccarat's enthusiasm with my free hand and went looking for the camera, followed by two very excited Labs. It takes so little. By the time I tried to set it down by the Potentilla and the Euphorbia, it was happy in my palm, in no rush to leave. It must have liked my warm palm.

"C'mon, petit crapeaux. Vas y." He sat in the dirt and didn't move.

Sometime later, talking with Eric Aubrun on the phone about the situation with Joaquim and Georges, I walked back down to the second terrace. The sun had come out after a rain shower, and in the middle of a patch of yellowing grass, I saw the toad, soaking up the sun.

Je sens que nous allons devinir de bons amis.

The toad and I, not Eric. He is coming Monday to show us his contract with Joaquim and Georges and leave us a letter attesting that such exists. That should help shut Joaquim up. If that is possible.

For the frog count, there are now in the basin-in-a-fountain:
  1. The little and the medium frog who remained in the black plastic container.
  2. Two adult frogs.
  3. Two more baby frogs.
I think the female goldfish are minding their eggs, soon to become fry. I mostly see the motley, long-tailed, mostly black goldfish since sometime late last week. They had been spending a lot of time in the root bundles of the reeds, and now I hardly see the females. One was so round with eggs that she was waddling.

I got a photo of the tubercules on his gill covers. See? I made it big so you can't miss them, the sure sign of a male goldfish ready to fertilize a female's eggs. He is about to be a founding father to a newly populous fish nation. Audouin's all happy because they might have long, fancy tails like their father.

If, that is, their mothers don't eat them all.

And how about that Arlen Specter?

I kissed him, by the way. Just in case. The toad, of course. Not Specter. Although every Democrat in the United States probably would like to kiss him right now.

Just keep it up, Republicans, and we'll give you all the credit you deserve for turning America progressive. Once we have health care reform signed, we'll all be feeling very generous.

Enregistrer un commentaire