Jun 01, 2023

Possumhaw: It’s all good

"Nights can never be real and enjoyable without the croaking of frogs and the chirping of crickets." – Michael Bassey Johnson- author, poet, nature enthusiast (1994-)

"Leap frog over the ladybug. Leap frog over the bee … then leap back home to me." – Lauren Thompson-children's author (1962-)

The weather is warming and that's a good thing for the growing plants. Two cherry tomatoes are on the vine. That's a good sign too.

The rose bushes have bloomed though they needed a little snipping. The lilypond also needed some work on the torn lily pads. I lifted the leaves from the water with a rake and snipped the leaves needing removal. It hurts me to say all my goldfish have departed due to a water snake.

I’ve decided to simply have a lilypond. Maybe frogs will come. Once we had a bullfrog. On a few occasions I saw his big eyes above the waterline, but what you couldn't see you could certainly hear. Their calling just before nighttime sounds like the mooing of a cow. It's a deep and very loud bellowing. Thus, the name "bullfrog."

My very favorite frog is the tiny tree frog that comes every night under the lantern by the door. This is where he feeds on the flying insects drawn to the light. I don't know where he spends his days, he just appears at night when the light comes on. By morning he will be gone. Last year I had half-a-dozen tree frogs at the lantern. I do wish I had more but having this one is good. He's a tiny thing, I thought to name him Theodore – a big name for a tiny tree frog. Male tree frogs are smaller than the females.

It is good to have him. Theodore gets misted nightly. Frogs need moisture. Early in the season I had two tree frogs jump on my shoulder while coming out of the greenhouse. I didn't know what it was and swatted them away. I regret that as I never saw them again. Perhaps they are happy somewhere in the perennial garden.

There's a difference in frogs and toads. Frogs usually have longer back legs; they can jump high and far, they need water nearby, and predators like them. I like them. I like the way they spread all four legs as long and as wide as they can on the window beside the lantern. I like they do not see me as a predator.

As for toads they have shorter back legs and wider bodies. They release a bad smell and taste so most predators avoid them. Both frogs and toads consume a lot of insects so it can be good to have them around.

Last week I looked up tree frog houses. You can buy them ready-made but there were also some do-it-yourself ideas. All you needed were PVC pipes and a few other items depending on where you wanted your tree frog houses. The pipes could be attached to a tree, they could be stuck in the ground, they could also be stuck in a clay flower pot. We had everything we needed.

Sam cut three lengths of pipe, fastened them together, and anchored them in a flowerpot. I added a bit of water and now we wait for the new occupants.

Shannon Bardwell is a writer living quietly in the Prairie. Email reaches her at [email protected].

Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.