May 6, 2011

Fooling the Frogs

Fooling the Frogs

We, that is my wife, the garden manager, and myself, the horticultural dreamer, spent yesterday, the third ‘nice’ day of the year, browsing a couple of plant nurseries. We made a day of it, [that means stopping for a cup of tea and a scone or bagel at some remote café (this time on Sauvie Island)], as all the ‘real’ nurseries are at least 70 miles distant, and so our visits become mini vacations of a sort.
Of course today the temperature dropped ten degrees and the sky looks like the belly of a pregnant Humpbacked Whale (this weather may become the norm for those of us residing in the northwest). That we also live in a frost pocket on the north side of a glaciated peak does not particularly encourage gardening even in good weather, but we persist, as at least one of us seems quite mad at times.
On a typical day I spend 8 -12 hours struggling/dancing, cursing/singing, planting/weeding, gazing at, marveling at the vortex of life exploding from the earth beneath me, mixing soils for transplants, concocting liquid, organic diets for marginal plants in the infirmary, or those I have recently exposed to the vagaries of our rugged climate. This grubbing in the earth produces, for me, accompanied by a glass of wine or two, true bliss.
Today I transplanted 9 dozen Hosta seedlings and innumerable lettuce, chard, heuchara, various herbs, and many other plants grown from seed or disturbed by our new plantings, and all to the music of the spheres.
So what about the frogs?
Yes, I’d almost forgotten, the frogs. Well, when making potting mix [peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, compost and other materials] in the wheelbarrow, the tip of the trowel/soil scoop I use, scraping against the steel apparently produces a frequency that excites a frog’s libido. The faster I scratch the tip of the trowel against the bed of the wheelbarrow the more the frogs croak. I am getting to the point where I can almost conduct them like an orchestra. These are Pacific Tree Frogs, about 1½ inches long, who make their home in a small pond outside the potting shed. I'm sure they are becoming quite frustrated by now, and growing hoarse.

Though small, their ‘ribbit’ can be heard for several hundred feet, especially at night. I wonder what a chorus of Bullfrogs would sound like?


Lord Wellbourne said...

Oh, I know that look of the underbelly of a humpbacked whale! Been like that for weeks here, too! The Pacific Northwest and the Atlantic Northeast seem to be on the same wavelength. Our 'peepers' are quite frolicsome of late. I might just go out and try to frustrate a few of them for the fun of it!

Oldfool said...

I don't know how I missed this post but I did.
The frogs have been quite active here and I can't seem to disturb even the smallest pile of leaves or compost without scaring up one.
SWMBO interprets their ribbits and croaks. It is very ribald and suggestive.