Freddie's Back in Town

Update: Last spring I had a problem with some ever so noisy and annoying crickets screeching outside my bedroom window. So I went in search of a solution. I learned that frogs ate crickets and so began my quest to populate my garden with cricket eating frogs. Not quite as easy as I imagined, pet stores don’t seem to want to sell them and they are mighty expensive too.

So, I opted to created a frog pond and spa in hopes of enticing some frogs to move into the neighborhood. Well, to my delight and surprise about a week after the launch of the spa, I did in fact have three froggies move into the garden. Yay, I was going to be cricket free soon. Well not so much, these were some mighty tiny little frogs and they laid some mighty tiny little eggs in the pond and I had visions of little gremlin froggies everywhere.

The taddies are still there and don’t seem to be becoming frogs, though I’m not sure why maybe they like being the peter pan of tadpoles. Anyway….Freddie my first and main frogasaurus hung out quite a bit and I often saw him around sunset cooling himself in the pool or hanging in the bamboo plant – then one day. Nothing. Gone. Didn’t see him anymore.

It was a little sad because I thought he had moved onto bigger and better ponds. Though I did hear some froggy serenades at night, so I suspected he still came by to hang out. But, the other day, I finally dragged myself out to the garden to confront the jungle it had become. It was not a pretty sight folks, what a mess. Lots of hacking and pulling and weeding and pruning going on. When I finally worked my way to the end of the garden I picked up a trampled eggplant plant and guess who was there? Yep, Freddie! But my oh my how he has grown! He’s an absolute monster now, bigger than a pack of cigarettes and beefy too.

I was so happy when I saw him I oo’d and ahh’d and told him how proud of him I was for having grown so big and beastly and then I put him in the pool for a swim while I finished the garden. He even let me pick him up and pose him for some pictures.

Isn’t he gorgeous? Makes me a little teary eyed too because my little frog has grown up. I suspect he’ll find a wife and move to the Wash where the big pond is – though he is a tree frog and we have lots of trees so maybe he’ll stick around.

So, I guess the moral of the story is, that if you want a frog bad enough, you can grow one, eh?

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(Are Those) Cherry Tomatoes – or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

Not really sure what is in the soil in Roomie’s backyard but there must be some plutonium because I’ve never seen cherry tomatoes this big, have you? I kid you not, those are cherry tomatoes and yes they are not much smaller than a Trader Joe’s extra large egg. And, the dang thing is like that perpetual wine bottle in The Bishop’s Wife, never-ending and always full.

Right now, I’m waiting for the other tomatoes to come in – I have seven other varities growing – Early Girl, 4 types of heirloom tomatoes, Sweet Cherries 100, Romas and another mystery cherry tomato plant.

The mystery squash is thriving both front and back – though the zuchinis aren’t cooperating too much. I suspect they are a little jealous of the squashes and flower. Also looks like the black eyed susan flower heads I planted are propagating flowers too. I have one huge one that will open any day now. Still looking for the primroses to come up and does anyone know why my nastursiams won’t bloom? I’ve never had that problem before and I don’t know what’s up with that.

But, the really big news is that the Frog spa & pool has turned into a frog swamp and nursery. Yup, I’ve got hundreds of little teensy tiny tadpoles in that thing. At first I wasn’t sure what the heck was in there wriggling around but now I’m sure of it, thanks to hours of watching them, a fish net and a magnifying glass I can see I will be an auntie soon. I’m feeding them goldfish food, which they seem to love. I worry though because I have no idea if that many can be supported in such a small swamp and in the end, I suspect only a few will survive.

And, apparently…I was wrong about Freddy – who probably is really Fredwina.

She comes every day around sunset and hangs out by the swamp, perched on her favorite rock and watches the babies. I discovered that she and her husband or significant other, we’ll call him Ollie have been canoodling in the bamboo plant.

Apparently, when Ollie is done, he’s done and off to the bar.

Anyway, the garden and swamp has become its own universe and is thriving. Meanwhile, I’ll be donning my white lab coat and continuing my study of frog life on planet earth.

The Frog Hotel Caper

frog
As many of you know, I’m a bit of a gardening nut – or maybe just a nutty gardener – but suffice to say that I like my nature pretty darn well. I have managed to find every vacant plot of dirt on Roomie’s property and stick something in there to grow and in fact, things do grow, magically.

Consequently, much of my garden or a large section of my many little gardens, is very near my bedroom window. Well, warm weather and happy, thriving plants attract more than butterflies and bees. They also attract crickets. Loud crickets. Very loud crickets. In fact, horny crickets, if I’m to believe what Roomie says. While the hot crickets are screeching out there in order to find the hot cricket chicks, I’m trying to sleep. Closing the window is not an option, unless I want to suffocate, so I began looking for solutions….

Cups of beer nestled into the garden so the hot cricket dudes will be lured over to the bar section of the garden to have a cold one, whilst they wait on the ladies to appear, and incidentally drown in their beer literally, while waiting, was my first attempt. Nope, that didn’t work – I assume they were christian crickets, perhaps Quakers? Cricket hotels, where they check in but they don’t check out – apparently, they couldn’t find any cricket chicks who were willing. Watering the garden at night – only good for producing mold in the squash leaves. Making loud noises – doesn’t scare crickets but does make the neighbor dogs a little cranky. Drugs for sleeping seemed my only option…

Then someone casually mentioned that frogs eat crickets. “What’s that?” I asked, perking up almost instantly. “Really?” To say I was delighted at this ever so simple solution doesn’t begin to describe my joy. The next day I would go to the pet store, buy a few frogs, explaining to them that I have a never-ending, all you can eat, smorgasborg in my garden and there was no limit to what my little warty friends could have. I thought this pitch was sure to not only cause them never want to leave, but also that they would text all their other froggy friends and I would get a good night’s sleep as well. A real win-win. Now, I can just hear some of you saying that frogs make noise too – well, that’s true, but I like the sound of frogs, maybe it’s the non-screeching – but I digress…

So, the next day, off I go to the pet store – only to discover that no, they don’t actually have frogs in the store and they are a special order item and then the pet store lady showed me a big poster of all the many frogs one can buy and have as a pet. I had a feeling she’d freak out if I told her I was looking for a few mascotts for my garden, so I politely left, hoping I’d find another store who would just have frogs in stock and sell them to me.

While I was at it, I thought it would be good to g**gle what kind of frogs hang out in gardens, lest I purchase the wrong. The info was even more overwhelming – in addition to the fact that there are several religious sects which worship frogs, there are breeders with odd names and scary website and so that approach began to look hopeless and expensive. So, I did another search on how to tempt frogs into your garden. It was so simple I couldn’t believe it.

You make a little resort for them. I did just that. Nothing fancy, mind you, an old bowl, some water and rocks and floating plants and viola – a froggy pool. Since they need shade I got my potted bamboo plant and took it out there and positioned it so it would shade the area for them. And then…well, I crossed my fingers.

So, Friday…I finally managed to drag my butt out my blogging chair and went out to the garden to do some much needed weeding, tying, staking and fertilizing. After a couple of hours, things looked much better and I got the hose to water the thirsty devils that are growing like Triffods gone wild. As I sprayed the water over the cherry tomato section I saw something move. A little brown/yellow/green something, which I thought was a moth or butterfly that had lit on a leaf and flew off when the water got too close. But it moved again and I knew it wasn’t a moth, so I bent in closer to take a look. It was a teeny, tiny, little froggy. My heart skipped a beat. Had word about the froggy hotel spread already? I couldn’t believe my luck.

I chased him back and forth for a minute or so and finally caught the little fellow. He looked deeply into my eyes and I’m pretty sure, we had a moment. Then ever so gently I took him over to the hotel and put him in the pool. He swam a few strokes and then hopped onto a rock, then out of the pool and then he sunned himself for a sec before he hopped over to the big tomato plant and went for a climb.

Hopefully, he’s emailing all of his friends and they’ll have a summer of fun in the froggy hotel and I’ll get a good sleep through the summer. Crickets, beware!! Muwahahahahahahahahaah 😉

Update: Today, my little Freddy frog bounded out of the squash plants, let me chase and catch  him and take him to the pool again. What was really amazing was that he let me take some pictures of him too! He even waited while I ran in the house to get the camera. So, if you want to see pictures of Freddy and the Froggy Hotel & Spa, go to my gardening page. Woo Hoo, we’re having fun now. 😉