Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Froggie Came A'Courtin'
My parents were both biology majors in college. My mom is now a certified master gardener, and she spends hours and hours a day pottering around in the dirt. And they share a love of all things nature.
Gardens and bird feeders, toad houses and bat shelters abound. Speaking of abounding, frogs abound as well... toads, and leopard frogs and grey tree frogs - even the occasional bullfrog, wandering over from the neighbors' pond - they're everywhere. (Can you see all three in the picture below?)
When I was five, my parents put in a pool. Dad isn't one for small scale, so the pool is inground, concrete and fiberglass, 54000 gallons of water.
In the winter, the water level is lowered to below the skimmers and the winter cover is put on, and weighted down, and lashed to the fence. (The wind at home is fierce.) The easiest way to weight down the cover is to collect water on top of it. The end result of this is that the pool becomes a pond for late fall, winter and early spring.
When you mix many many frogs with a protected part-time pond, you end up with pollywogs. Lots of them. Millions of them - all gathered on the pool cover. Of course we had an aquarium every year full of them, and we'd watch them turn into teeny tiny froggies and then we'd let them go outside - but what of the tadpoles on the cover? Come summer, the pond had to morph back into a pool and that meant the polliwogs had to go.
So, every spring and continuing to this day, we launch one of our Spring Rituals - the Great Polliwog Rescue. We use nets, and friends, and spend the better part of at least one day collecting polliwogs into buckets and transporting them to the neighbors' pond. This is the 30th year of the Rescue and our friends' children are now helping with the netting and the hauling of the buckets. Of course, this year - for the third year in a row, I'll miss it because I live too far away to come home for the weekend. But I know it'll happen, and maybe next year I'll live closer. And in the meantime, yay for polliwogs!