Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Hah! Look who was on the front deck when I put the dog out first thing this morning...

Big Fat Toad (The First). I checked the spots on the deck toad photos going back to the first post of a toad in a pot; it's definitely BFT I.

By midday, she'd settled down once again into the toads' favorite pot. Uh-oh. I hadn't expected either of them back, and had watered the petunia... Seems she couldn't dig herself in. Oops. She disappeared when the dog and I started going up and down the steps a little too frequently for her peace of mind, but I'm assuming she's close by. (I prefer to believe Big Red Toad is, too.)

And then, while I was bringing in hummer feeders to rinse and refill (must remember: finish that), I heard a *plurp* from a prefab pond liner I had tossed in the front "garden" years ago that I have yet to dig in (or build a raised bed around). It collects a bit of water, and I've heard birds splashing in it, but this was a different sort of noise, and I had looked over in time to see a sort of *blurp* at the surface. Curious as to what was in the mess of plant debris and water, naturally I gave the thing a shake. Truly, the human brain must be programmed to recognize patterns, for I immediately picked out one from the mish mash.

I screamed with glee (no neighbors, remember?) and ran into the house to put down the feeders and grab the camera, raced back outside and down the walk, around the shed, and across the just-as-cluttered and debris-filled excuse for a patio (note to self: acquire power washer) to get a better view from the opposite angle (and to avoid stepping into the garden tangle where a big black wasp was flitting).

(The violets are doing fabulously, by the by, if any other fritillary caterpillar would care to visit.) I would not have thought this was much in the way of habitat, but it is apparently just enough for....

Snap! See the shape that stands out? Using a photo is cheating: always look dead center or thereabouts first. There, just above dead center. No? Let's zoom in for a close-up...

Whatta face! Whatta glare... I do believe someone isn't very happy with me. Baby snapping turtles are some of the coolest looking beasties. And this isn't a hatch year baby, either. I should know, having kept one in the house some years ago. They are about ping pong ball sized; this one is approaching tennis ball width.

So now what do I do? Get that pond put in (and make sure there is gunk on the bottom for winter hibernating), leave it alone on the assumption that Snap has been there at least a year or two already? Put netting over it so I don't suddenly have a mess of one-legged songbirds flying around?

...Oh, the drama! While waiting to reconnect to my dial-up that so ungraciously kicked me off while trying to upload turtle photos, I put out the cleaned and filled hummer feeders and checked on Snap. Ack! No turtle in sight, but wait, one--no, two frogs instead. Aaaahhhh! No, not there, you suicidal amphibians, there's a snapping turtle in there!

And earlier, when I had just returned home from shopping and had an armful of purchases (cat food and rescued plants, mostly) but no camera to hand, the biggest, reddest, most beautiful Velvet Ant (in actual fact a wingless wasp, I believe) was running around near the end of the walk. Naturally she was gone when I went back out to look for her... But I know she's out there somewhere.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love living in the sticks...?