Tuesday, May 29, 2012

zen moments in the great outdoors

I spent some quiet time yesterday reflecting on the courage and sacrifice people have made for me and my family.  We sure don't deserve it, but I am thankful soldiers put their life on the line to protect us. 

In my puttering around I found FOUR baby oak trees growing in various flower beds.  I've no idea how they got started in such random spots, but what a great surprise.

While walking along the path by the prairie at night I was dazzled by the fireflies.  So many, so early.  Between the fireflies in the fields and the stars in the sky my evening walk was well-lit.

All new stuff blooms right now, I have to get outside with my camera.  Irises, various shrubs, daisies, columbine and coral bells.  I am pleased to finally have fresh blooms all growing season.  Back when I started gardening, I was a dolt about bloom seasons and had "dead" weeks in my flower beds. 

We've got the most diversity ever in our yard since moving here.  When we built our house, we built on an alfalfa field, so we had prolific amounts of alfalfa and flies.  Now we have butterflies, fireflies, crickets, moths, beetles, worms and spiders.  Robins, sparrows, finches, hummingbirds, cardinals, doves, crows, blackbirds and hawks circle and dart overhead.  We've got so many snakes and frogs and toads--even a bullfrog the size of my fist lives by the sump pump hose on the side of the house.  It's wicked loud outside this time of year, buzzing, chirping, humming.  The catalog of species is enormous and it pleases me--a diverse ecosystem is strong and healthy.  I'm proud to have helped replenish this corner of the planet.  We steer clear of most chemicals, put out bird seed in the winter months, plant native species and have a "live and let live" attitude about nature. 

This brings me to the frogs.  For a week now a few frogs have been belting out their songs all night long and it's incredible how LOUD they are for such small critters.  Truly miraculous how something barely two inches long requires us to shut our windows at night to get some sleep.  Last night while I rambled, I peeked out a window where the frogs' song sounded the loudest.  A tiny movement caught my eye.  "I think I see it!" I exclaimed to Mr. D and I shuffled outside in bare feet down to the pool.  Sure enough, by the light of the stars, moon and fireflies I saw two frogs, amplified by several decibels by their spot beside the pool, backed by a brick retaining wall and concrete floor.  No wonder they sounded so loud--they'd picked the best spot for their song to carry.  I tiptoed up to the first with a skimming net and captured it.  The other frog jumped plop! into the pool.

I carried the first frog to safety beside my garden where a swamp of sump pump water would provide a good habitat--greenery, moisture, bugs and other frogs.  Then I returned to the pool to find the other frog.  Staring at the water's surface, I tried to spot any movement.  Suddenly a ripple and I went after it with the net.  He dove below the surface, a shadow of frog darting out of reach.  Sure, I could let this frog spend the night in the pool, but the chlorine would kill him.  I patiently waited for his froggy face to peek out of the water and each time he surfaced, I'd approach with the net.  I played hide-and-seek with that darn frog for almost 7 minutes before I finally scooped him into the net and carried him to the vegetable garden/sump pump water swamp where I'd gently set down his froggy pal.

They spent the rest of the night echoing each other--croak!  croak! but it was kind of quieter. 

Nature sure is loud and busy.  I'm loath to kill any of it, including frogs.  Except for the tick crawling on Mr. G's arm this morning and the giant horsefly that flew into our house.  I killed them without remorse.

15 comments:

  1. Lillie says she misses the fireflies in Chicago (they're not a west-coast treat.) Even in my city neighborhood (we're near a little green belt) there are plenty of critters. A block away near a little creek the noisy frogs keep the neighbors awake. We have relatively peaceful doves in the yard, but they coo all day long. Don't get me started about lizards!

    Thanks for the lovely mental picture...I love my yard in spring, too.

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  2. Ugh, the ticks are brutal this year.

    Love that you helped out the two frogs. :-)

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  3. I have baby oak trees growing in very inappropriate places. I need to move them to better spots. I love how they volunteered, though.

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  4. I'm of the same live and let live notion...honestly, we've been so busy this spring that I haven't had a chance to do a thing to our flower beds, but thankfully they're full of blooms and not so many weeds!

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    1. And..I'm right there with you on the noise level of such tiny little creatures!!!!! Our bedroom window is clear on the other side of the house from our pond and they're still horribly annoying!

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  5. When we first moved into our place, we had a small grassy area surrounding the house and then barbed-wired surrounded horse pastures. But the pastures hadn't been mowed, and it was really just tall weeds with a dirt path near the fence, where the horses had walked. We've since reclaimed those areas, planted gardens, trees, and bird-feeders. After a few years, we noticed that we had many more birds and bats, and fewer mosquitoes. I do love the fireflies too --we didn't have them in Michigan, where I grew up.

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  6. I can loan you about 100,000 cicada for your yard if you like? They are deafening here! I wish they would all CROAK and die!!

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  7. I can only kill bugs that aren't crunchy, but that is because I'm squeamish about crunchy bugs. Flies and mosquitos, no problem, but ticks and other nasty crunchy things are outside of my jurisdiction.

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  8. We're in the smallish city but we are close to Wekiva Springs State Park. We have lots of little peeping frogs and some nights I hear an owl outside in the trees.

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  9. In Trinidad, some frogs realised that croaking in the hollow metal corner posts made the LOUDEST noise. And the smallest ones are the noisiest, which was weird. We'd creep down to the ex-pool to see them courting and there would be a sudden and annoyed silence... all these frog couples in mid-bonk, clinging to each other and looking very annoyed at the disturbance! I miss them.

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  10. I've spotted some fireflies as well. Love this time of year -- even though we are getting into the heat.....

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  11. Wisconsin does have it over San Diego when it comes to fireflies!

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  12. Your garden sounds like a wonderful place to be!

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  13. I am so like you. Even the spiders (which I loathe) we carry outside that's where they belong...in the garden

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  14. I love this post. I wish I lived nearby so I could come hang out in your garden.

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