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Ohio's Oldest Frog?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It is spring. I am so busy I hardly know which end is up. Every time we turn around there is another track meet to attend, to cheer on our little gazelles. But the good news is that I've done everything. I've weeded all dozen flower beds,   pruned the roses, hauling cartload after cartload of weeds and trash from the beds

mowed the lawn, planted the sugar snap peas (twice!), tilled the garden, potted the geraniums in the greenhouse in hanging baskets and planters, started up the Bird Spa, redone the Heirloom garden and mulched it with newspapers and straw, potted the bonsais and put them on their bench.

My oldest Japanese maple, in the red pot. Probably 32 years in culture, started from a seedling as they all were.

 This fine Japanese maple is over 30 years in the pot. It doesn't look very big here, but it's over three feet tall. I have favorites among my collection, and this is one of them. Its trunk is about as big around as my wrist.

The collection isn't growing. I have enough keeping up to do as it is. The elderly Hinoki cypresses are getting nice (far right, top) as their needles thin out. Showing some character. 

One of the last and worst things I did this spring was to clean the pond. I hate that job more with every passing year. It's hard on my bones.  But I was happy to find Raoul still sitting on his humble throne as King of the Water Garden. 

Raoul is the green frog who moved into our pond sixteen years ago, when he was at least two years old. He took over for Fergus, the bullfrog who ate hummingbirds and warblers. 

So, because I would think that not many people have ever seen a green frog whom they know is 18 years old, older than Phoebe (!), here is Raoul as he appears today. That's a six-inch pot. He's big. 

He is a fine frog, as frogs go, calm but not overly friendly; given to a sonorous GLUNK glunk glunk on warm summer nights, and he has even reproduced recently when two slender females moved in a couple of years ago. Most importantly, I have never found evidence that he eats birds. I'm not sure what he eats, but he obviously gets enough if he looks like this just out of hibernation.

Raoul is landlocked up here. The nearest streams are more than a quarter mile away across mown lawn and field and forest. He migrated to our pond in a very rainy June and he's never left. For that, and for so many other gifts the springtime gives, I am thankful.

Back to painting and packing. I squeezed this post out while the maskoid dried on my latest watercolor. Which I must finish before leaving for Virginia Thursday. I'll be speaking and going on field trips at the Virginia Society of Ornithologists' Annual Meeting in Leesburg from Friday to Sunday, April 26-28.

I'll get to see new friends and one very old friend, someone who knew me as a Proto-Zick when we were both 14, someone who knew my mom and dad (those friends are hard to find) and I am very much looking forward to it all.  I am a little tired from all the work around here, and sitting in the car for twelve hours listening to music and thinking my own thoughts will seem like a vacation by contrast. Not to mention birding and botanizing with friends!


well bully for Raoul! who else resides on your homestead that we have yet to meet?

Yay, birding and botanizing with friends--LOTS of friends you've never met--but we feel like we've met you! Look forward to it, Julie!

Posted by Mary Ann Good April 23, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Love your bonsai, and the silly frog too. He looks like the ceramic frogs you posted about last fall. The real thing is slimier and jumpy.

That is one handsome frog!

I had the pleasure of hearing your talk at the VSO meeting and it was inspirational. Thank you!

Posted by Anonymous April 29, 2013 at 6:17 AM
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