I expanded my backyard pond a few weeks ago. It was traumatic for both my wife and the frogs that were inhabiting its smaller version.
My wife got over it, mostly because our older son, the engineer, kept her dire warnings of foot-high flood waters from happening during the expansion.. Now, she wants to put more landscaping around the bigger-and-better pond and suddenly acts as if she is in charge of this work in progress.
So I started calling her Frau Froggie.
The frogs, meanwhile, took a little longer to embrace the changes. All three skedaddled when the shovels and wheelbarrow came out. I hate to say but I look at them as pets, even naming them — Biggie, Greenie and Tiny. I know, not very original. But then Frau Froggie doesn’t like her more original nickname, either. Actually, she just said never to use that name again — or else.
Biggie hopped back into the drainage pipe he had lived in before I built the pond last year. He came back first.
My wife isn’t a big fan of Biggie’s. “Big, brown and ugly,” she says. “When he’s sitting on a rock, he looks like a dog doodoo. Actually, she used the t-word, but it won’t be used here in print. I still remember getting spanked as a kid for calling my sister the t-word — which she pretty much was back then.
Biggie looks more like a miniature hippo to me with the way his eyes crest over the pond’s surface.
I later saw Greenie hopping through the yard. After quite a chase, I caught him and threw him into the pond. He jumped out. I caught him again and threw him back in. He apparently didn’t like me meddling in his life and did three quick jumps before disappearing under our deck. Eventually, he returned, too.
I thought something had eaten Tiny. But just the other day, I saw him up on a rock above the pond. He dove in when I tried to welcome him back.
I like having them. Before they showed up, I even tossed a toad into the pond to see if he would stay. Nope. He was excited, though — his “excitement” soaking my hand.
Last year, I lost a frog courtesy of a Great Blue heron who showed up out of nowhere. I didn’t even have time to name him — the frog, not the heron — as he was carried to the top of our roof and then later dropped back near the pond half-eaten. Very sad.
I like frogs. I’m not sure why. But if not for their limited lifespans (2 to 10 years), I might prefer to be turned into a frog instead of a prince after a kiss with the way our modern-day princes behave.
i have a framed picture of frogs, ornamental frogs and a ceramic frog that serves as a planter.
I even have a statue of three frogs who are posing like a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” totem pole. My wife absolutely hates these guys. Even though they are in my little study, she hides them any time we have company.
“They’re ugly,” she says. “They’re ridiculous. They’re … they’re … they’re creepy scary.”
Then maybe I should set them out by the pond and frighten away the uninvited.
Yesterday, a band of turkeys wandered through our back yard. Now, we’re talking ugly. One of the adults straddled the little waterfall that leads into my pond. After taking a few drinks, it looked as if it was ready to do some fishing — or frogging.
A Great Blue heron might be excused — just once; a rubber-necked turkey is another thing entirely.
Despite 17 turkeys mulling around and me not all that keen in getting close to them, I went out, shouted some insults and waved my arms. They moved on with their awkward gait and the one in my waterfall slipped and slid its way out.
“And stay away, Big Uglies!” I yelled.
Then I had this thought. “No, not you frogs,” I shouted in the direction of the pond. “Stay put.”
I put in the pond and waterfall for their psychological benefits and for helping my peace of mind. I’m hoping that talking to animals is part of that package. I’ll let my wife do any worrying about that.