We Return You To Our Irregularly Scheduled Program…

Alice Had A Bunny, Too.

Ta Da! I’m back blogging. Didn’t mean to disappear since spring. The short explanation: the Universe has been viewing me thusly:

Sniper Target!

‘Nuff said about that.

The owls are fine, we have a very endearing bunny from this year’s gargantuan “crop” of bunnies that we’ve named Dandy, lots of new flowers to enjoy, a woodchuck (!), oodles of chipmunks and squirrels and, thanks to record rainfalls, an insanely huge population of mosquitoes.

Have I mentioned the bats? They are most welcome each evening as they swoop in to feast on the skeeters. We also have the most toads I’ve seen in thirty years, including one that is absolutely humongous who glares at me whenever I poke about in ‘his’ garden beds.

I’ve named him Bartholomew.

Pictures to come.

The Visitor

Official Wildlife Transport Container

“So,” says Michael to me early this evening, poking his head around the door of our storage room, “Wanna see who just came in to warm his little toes in my shop?”

In his hands was the above wildlife transport kit (consisting of a large yogurt container covered by a folded sheet of paper)

Edgar the Toad inside his yogurt container

“Ah,” says I, peering down at a small rather worried toad, “And what’s your little visitor’s name?”

“Edgar.”

Indeed.

Edgar the Toad close up

He does look like an Edgar, don’t you think?

Edgar has been safely transported to a much safer place than Michael’s shop, in a spot of newly turned soil next to the foundation of our house. Last we saw, he was happily burying himself in the damp earth.

I suspect Edgar will stay happily burrowed down in his new digs until spring. For his sake, I hope so – it’s getting too late in the season here for a toad to be out and about.

It’s already snowed.

Testing… Testing…

Found a test this morning that purports to tell me what kind of frog I am. Oh Best Beloved, who could resist finding out? Forget Meyers-Briggs et al: this is my kind of test!

Guess what? I’m not a frog at all. I’m a common toad! Let’s see… rotund body… mostly nocturnal… walks slowly… searches out insects… sensibly digs down deep to keep warm when cold weather hits… this is all sounding so familiar.

Ribbet.


I'm a Common Toad!

“The largest toad found commonly in Europe, the Bufo Bufo species can grow up to 20cm in length with a rotund body. Active mostly at night, this toad will walk about slowly, sometimes making short jumps, in search of insects, worms and other invertebrates. This makes it of great help to farmers. At the end of autumn it buries itself in the soil where it remains until good weather arrives again.”

What kind of Frog are you?
UPDATE: With all my apologies to our European cousins, I’ve decided I really am a common American toad. I’ve changed the photo accordingly; pictured is Bufo americanus, or as we call him, “Ted the Toad,” who lives in our yard.

Toad Hall?

A Rather Handsome Toad, As Toads Go

Word has apparently spread that hopping down the basement stairs at our house garners the local toads an exciting fun-filled free ride in the Critter Catcher. Since August we have spied not one, not two, not three, but four toads of various sizes in the basement stairwell.

They are living underneath the stairs, and have a passageway that they hop into underneath the bottom step when Michael tries to catch them. We’d leave them to their bug catching business if Michael wasn’t afraid he’ll accidentally step on one of them whilst traversing the stairs.

This one didn’t hop fast enough to escape Michael’s determined toad nabbing techniques, and was kind enough to give us a mug shot as he took his ride in the Critter Catcher to his new Toad Abode.

I sincerely hope Mr. Toad catches many a bug at his new digs – and stays there, where he’s safe from an inadvertent misstep ending his bug-munching days!

Now to corral those other two little hoppers…

Things That Go Bump In The Night

In our abode, one accesses our basement, oddly enough, by stepping outside of the house and into an attached garage, making a sharp righthand turn, then marching down a set of steps and entering the basement through its own entry door. This peculiar design makes for some rather interesting experiences, as the steps are frequently used by various and sundry critters that are also trying to access the basement. It gets particularly entertaining when it’s dark, and you catch a glimpse of something scurrying about your toes, or feel little feet run across the top of yours as you are ascending or descending the stairs.

Among the visitors we’ve captured (and released) are innumerable spiders, mice, birds, shrews both large and small, various and sundry beetles and some exceedingly noisy crickets.

So tonight, when Michael yelled, “Jud-eeeeeeeee! There’s a lump on the steps and it’s hopping!” I immediately grabbed our wildlife transport kit, which includes:

  1. a large-sized yogurt container (32 ounce size);
  2. the container’s lid (we don’t want anyone to jump out of the container prematurely and fall to their death, or hit the floor running and look for the nearest bolt hole, which usually happens to be a trouser leg, and a trouser leg, from a mouse-eye view, is a pretty inviting hidey-hole in an emergency. You don’t believe that a wild field mouse will run up your pants leg? Ah, Best Beloved, listen to the voice of experience: when transporting field mice tuck your pant legs into your socks. It’ll prevent an unpleasant experience for everyone involved);
  3. a sheet of paper to slide under the turned-over container until it can be flipped rightside-up and the lid popped on.

Armed with said kit, Michael carefully traversed his way down the steps, flashlight in hand, gently nabbed the little varmint and then brought it upstairs for me to see: t’was a toad, a rather handsome one at that, and good-sized – larger than a silver dollar.

Here’s a mugshot of the fellow, snapped from the side as he was on his way back to the Great Outdoors.

Froggy's mugshot

And here’s another shot of him, with his little eyes firmly closed against that icky flash I was using to get his picture!

Frog on the run!

Once outside, Michael shooed Mr. Toad into a good hiding spot under the ferns. We had a great horned owl hunting close by earlier in the evening, so I hope Mr. Toad keeps a wary eye out on the heavens!

(This might be a frog rather than a toad… but he doesn’t have any webby toes, so unless and until some expert looks at his mugshot and definitively identifies him in a lineup, I’m calling ‘im a toad!)