Monday, October 09, 2006

Frog Thoughts

Almost 8 PM, dark and quiet. Just in from walking the dog. My shoulder is not dislocated but almost feels that way after a deer snorted close by us and the dog reversed direction and headed for the house with my arm doing an unfamiliar reverse move in the process. How I do love dogs.

This wonder dog, by its nature has very poor vision and very good hearing. This translates to "If it's unfamiliar and you can hear it but not see it, RUN!" That would be "Run" even if the old master (me) is hitched to the other end of the lead and doesn't have the foggiest what is going on.

It was another great day in Vermont as evidenced by the fact that it's still 56 degrees out. The leaves are dropping quickly now after a few frosts and wide temperature fluctuations. The driveway is deep in leaves and they are floating down like rain. The common daylilies, Stella d'Oro and Happy Returns, are still blooming and I noticed today some of the trollius are reblooming. I had hoped for more rebloom from the epimediums but this year things seem slower although they have put on great stem and leaf growth this summer. The last Uchida lily fell apart today so that's it til next July for us. Many of the Olallie daylilies such as Vermont RR Red have recovered from the first frosts and are blooming again.

While waiting for Gail to return home I stacked some wood and spoke with some tourists. A couple from Bear Creek (or was it Big Bear Lake?) California stopped by. I had a quick chat and suggested they walk up Owl's Head as today's cloudless view would be a memory forever. There was a lady from France having a little difficulty with a stick shift car rental and an older couple from Connecticut with a nice Portuguese Water Spaniel. There's not much to see now but the sign Vermont Flower Farm draws people down our road if there's any hope of bloom. Sometimes there is only "flower talk".

By Saturday the weather will look like late fall with dropping temperatures and the possibility of spitting snow crystals. Today was just the greatest. I walked once around the pond, not so much because I wanted the walk but because the Great Blue Heron swallowed a nice trout right in front of me and my level of happiness with him went down like a flat tire on a loaded hay wagon. He jumped into the air and flew away but only after several hard hand claps and a few less than pleasant words. I'm told the natives down south eat these birds but I can't imagine what you would find to eat on something that stands 4 feet tall with a 6-7-8 foot wingspread.

The frogs and salamanders remain plentiful this year like we haven't witnessed in many, many years. There is a chance that all the spring rains diluted the acid rain which prevails around here. One couldn't tell without a better study and less guessing but the crop is plentiful and that is good news. I try to keep track of various little populations because they are all part of the puzzle to me. Once parts are absent, the puzzle may be finished but the missing part is always more obvious than the beauty of the finished product. I think a lot about frogs, toads and salamanders --they are natures signal to me. My friend in the picture (above) spent the summer with us. Today he was sitting on a ligularia leaf which chanced to droop over into the little pond. His job was Chief Mosquito Terminator and he did an admirable job!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where the barred owl has stopped calling, perhaps because he is swallowing a field mouse. Some friends start dinner later in the evening than we do.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

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