|Project by mmh||posted 10-10-2013 01:43 PM||1583 views||0 times favorited||8 comments|
This spring I had thought that I would add a few buckets of water plants to entice some wildlife such as frogs and dragonflies. This source of water would also give the many birds a drink, as we have an wide variety of different species of wild birds and feed them regularly so we can enjoy watching them. The first few large barrel type buckets were planted with water lilies and arrowroot. I also purchased a lotus plant, but I’m afraid that it perished due to not being properly planted in mud, as the bucket that I put it in when it arrived from shipment, was immediately occupied by a frog whom I did not want to disturb. I then decided to put a smaller pot next to this one to entice it to move so that I could finally plant the bare root lotus plant. This plan was altered when another frog immediately occupied the smaller pot full of water.
We enjoyed our new visitors, despite the inconvenience for my planting efforts and named a large black frog “Maurice” and the smaller, green and yellow one, “Kermit”. Maurice and Kermit learned to tolerate our movements around their new homes, as they trained us to catch and throw live bugs into their buckets. They even taught me how to make funny froggy noises as if to let them know that it was Dinner Time. It’s fortunate that we live in the woods, away from immediate neighboring ears, as this is not what one may consider normal behavior, but this could be a blessing in disguise, as it may keep away the nosey or neighbors who want to borrow tools or need “extra flour to finish a cake” away. [Charitable efforts are good, but sometimes they don’t stop coming over!]
Meanwhile, I now have an array of 5 buckets of water plants, each with their own population and variety of frogs. Every morning and evening we would try to sit on the porch to enjoy the garden and watch our prized frogs. We would try to decipher if the frogs were attacking each other for territorial rights, or if they were being amorous. Eventually we found two buckets containing several batches of eggs that had been laid after a spurt of unusual activity. Unknowingly, we had witnessed a Frog Orgy.
After a few weeks we began to miss both Maurice and Kermit. It was quite a puzzle, as they would both perch on the floating plastic nursery pots that I had put in their domain so that they had something to hide in and also perch on. After a few days they were replaced by other frogs who were also well adapted at training us to feed them, but we were still longing for the original two frogs and were saddened by their absence. We have had to come to terms that the hawk may have caught them for her brood, as my husband said that he saw the hawk with a large frog in it’s mouth while flying through the woods.
We have learned how to catch stink bugs in plastic drink jars and feed our hungry group that await for something to venture too close to their domain. There are tiny tadpoles and more than a dozen different sized and colored frogs that peak out from under the leaves of their bucket. When a bug is dropped into the water there may be three or four attackers, as for each set of eyes we see, there are two or more sets lurking nearby. We’ve even witnessed a few ninja type moves of a frog leaping into the air and landing several feet away and ricochet off a plant or adjacent planter to catch a nearby insect.
When the sun goes down they are quite active and if you are patient enough to sit nearby you can see them popping out of their hiding places and hopping off to new territory to hunt for dinner. One has to be careful to not step on them when coming outside, as they are quite camouflaged and what you thought to be a leaf is not a leaf at all, as it jumps away if you are too close, but sometimes that is not the case.
Now that it is October and the temperature is cooling down, the water lilies are less robust but we still see the many frogs vying for a bug to land nearby. We wonder were all of these frogs will go when it truly gets too cold to surface and eat. I am currently building a new pond and will cover it with a greenhouse structure, so a few pots of water plants will go inside, so we will see just how many of these frogs will be occupying the new pond!
-- A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.