Sunday, July 26, 2009

Let's talk toad...

Can you have a 'bumper crop' of toads? Maybe a bounty, or a plethora, or just plain lots.

I've enjoyed coming across the occasional toad in the garden or mulch over the years and they are always so welcome! I used to have 3 or 4 that I knew of spread over the 1.25 acres.

Not last summer but the summer before the sunroom and front stoop were invaded by carpenter ants. And while I try to avoid using chemicals around here, there was no pussy-footing around. But I didn't call in the 'big boys', but instead found a professional insecticide formula and then sprayed the exterior of the house myself. I used half-strength and did not re-apply as frequently as listed. Within 8 weeks I was ant-free. Instructions said to keep applying to prevent future invasions. Now that would just be overkill to my mind. Why keep poisoning all the GOOD bugs just to 'maybe' get some baddies.

Besides, I just knew, in my heart of hearts, that my foray into extermination put toads, birds, and other creepy crawlers at risk. I was so concerned about the effects of the insecticide that every morning (it was in June) I would get up before dawn and go out and sweep up all the dead and dying June bugs under the security lamp and bury them in the compost pile so the Jays and other birds didn't eat them. I even put trays under the light so that the June bugs didn't fall onto the ground so the toads wouldn't eat them. As careful as I was, I only had one toad that year -- and eventually it dissappeared.

This year, however, all is well. Better than well! This place is hopping with toads! It seems that every bed or corner has a resident toad. They tend to stay in a small area and claim it as their own. The toads measure maybe 3" long and (like this guy in the pic) spend the day backed into a cool hole to keep their skin from drying out. I've counted at least 13 toads and thought I was lucky. But yesterday I was really surprised to see several new ones in the mix. These are this year's toads probably come up from the pond over in the golf course. They are small, maybe the size of the end of my thumb.

Apparantly the drought is not affecting them. It may be that I use lots of mulch and there are still places where last years leaf mold is deep enough to shelter them during the day. And I know there are at least 3 under the deck. What a treat to have them around!
On other topics, Trixie (the rescued Yorkie) left for her new home yesterday. She will be missed, but we're just glad that she has a new 'forever home' now.
And while I don't post here as much as I'd like to, I do keep up with my great tomato adventure. Click on over to the Vegetable Page and check it out.


  1. Congrats on finding the yorkie a home!

    I (well, actually the cat) found a toad today by the front steps. I moved him to underneath the lilac bush where it was cooler than on the concrete (he was huddled behind some perennials). I saw one out between the yards last year, I was pretty surprised to see a toad out here in such a dry area.

  2. Amy, some of the toads around here do that...they find a shaded corner of concrete and settle in during the early morning, sort of sitting on a cool patch of dew. They stay in that spot all day unless I accidentally startle them away.

  3. I'm so happy for Trixie. I sure hope her new owners will love and care for her the best they can.
    Back about toads, we have plenty here in my hot garden. In our legend, whenever we hear their cries, it will rain. And they are pretty accurate. So, they serve as our weather forecast-er!
    Some nuisance they cause, though, that they would dump annoying black waste on our porches during the night!
    Also, just recently, the media reported that several Vietnamese have been eating toad's liver raw to cure them of their cancer! Can you believe it????

  4. Ha Xuan - The toads here do not make noise. Only frogs make noise - from the little spring 'peepers' to the great big bullfrogs. That 'black waste' is excellent garden fertilizer! ;-D

    Yes, we are all happy for Trixie in her new home. Yay!

  5. We always have bunches of toads, too! I just love it when I come across one. Many times they scare me, because I'll be working away in the garden and I didn't notice one all hunkered down in the soil and/or mulch until it hops away.

  6. Kylee - oh yes indeed. I've been startled many times. They sure keep up the ol' heart rate, that's for sure. ;-D

  7. I think it's a "gaggle" when you have that many. ;-)

    I consider myself lucky to have so many toads, and even some frogs, as well this year!


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