Frog Pursuits

As a little girl, I never had the opportunity to pick up a frog. I was involved in bird-rescues with my father, and encounters with small furry creatures, but reptiles and amphibians were not in my sphere. Never did I ever imagine that as an adult I would hold a frog in my hands.

Since moving to the country, this has become a regular thing. We live across from a piece of land that has a small creek filled with rushes and loads of birds and frogs. Somehow the froggy inhabitants find their way across the road, and inevitably some of them end up in our window wells.

We have covered the deeper egress-well to our bedroom, but have left the others open so the light is not obscured. It is a regular routine now, to wander round the side of the house and check the wells for frogs of all sizes.

I have picked up tiny ones, and big squirmy ones, dashing to the bottom of the garden where I have set up a low bird-bath, amongst the Astilbe in the boggy patch where the swales run. I have also placed the toad house in behind, in the hopes that one or more will use it as a shelter. Who knows if any of them are actually in there?

This fellow makes his home in the front garden under the window and while I was dead-heading the petunias, he hopped out of his green-space and around the side of the house. I didn’t want him to fall in the well, so I cornered him and put him back. He obligingly waited on this rock in front of my garden gnome (rather the worse for wear, the gnome is) while I got my camera to take his photo.

The Frog Zone

Night-shift: A Rescue

Life in the country is full of surprises. Take last night for example. We had gone to bed at our usual relatively early hour (for a Saturday) just before 11:00 p.m. It took some time to get to sleep since the air conditioner was running to keep my mom cool, and it is already cool enough for us in the downstairs quarters we inhabit.

Our bedroom is a finished room off of the family room in the basement, and our bedroom window is considered an “egress” window that easily accesses the outside in case of emergency. We’ve been having some unique drop-ins to this window well, which is quite deep and becomes rather a trap for anything that finds itself inside it. We rescued a few frogs and a meadow vole when we’ve heard tiny scratching noises coming from inside the well, or up against the window. We never expected what happened last night.

After we had finally fallen asleep, we were suddenly awakened by a commotion in the well. My side of the bed is next to the window and I immediately jumped out of bed, grabbed my glasses and shoved them on my face, and snatched the small LED flashlight that I now keep on my bedside table for just this sort of thing.

I pulled back the drape and trained the light on the inside of the well. There, I thought I could make out the back end of a big rabbit, but when I flashed the light the animal turned around and I could see it was a cat! The cat leaped out of the well, gave me a dirty look, and when I banged on the window, it tore off into the darkness.

I was unconvinced that the cat had been in the well and made all that racket over nothing, so I pushed aside the large wooden poster board that we use to keep out the light and again trained my torch on the inside of the well. To my astonishment, on the opposite side, in the corner, was a baby robin.

At this point I rousted Kevin to get up and take a look because I fully intended to go outside and get the robin out of the well. So, we got some clothes on, grabbed the flashlight and a paper bag, opened the sliding doors to our deck and stepped outside.

Of course, it was raining. In this drizzle, wearing my crocs, I stepped down into the well while Kevin shone the light on the poor, petrified bird that was now flapping and trying to no avail to get out of the well.

I bent down and managed to capture the bird gently between my palms and quickly dropped it into the paper bag. I had seen this tactic once on a nature program about birds in cities, and had used it a few times to save stunned birds who had hit my kitchen window at my old house. The bird immediately calmed down once in the bag, and Kevin and I stood there, looking around the dark backyard in effort to come up with a plan for where to put the bird. We needed a place where it would be out of harm’s way, but also accessible should the mother come to find it.

I scanned the yard, and the deck, and then my eye landed on the hanging basket of hot-pink geraniums on the opposite fence. I knew this was the ideal place.

We walked over to the hanging basket and I tipped the bag into an opening between the stems. The baby held on to the bag, scared to come out to the unknown on the other side of its paper walls, but eventually, I turned the bag upright and it dropped out. Immediately, it settled into the space and I reached out and very gently stroked its back to reassure it.

When I went back to bed, it was after 1:30 a.m.  The rest of the story can be told in the photos that I managed to take last night and this morning. I’m still smiling when I think of it.

Safe in the geranium pot.

Waiting for Mama
Mama appears.
Hunting for grub.
A good meal.
Any second now…
Mama to the rescue!

A short time later, I realized that Mama was having difficulty getting a good angle to approach the baby for more feedings. (I couldn’t get any good photos of her doing this because she was so speedy. She would fly in, land, shoot the food into the baby’s waiting open mouth, and buzz off again.) I decided to intervene by sacrificing a couple of my geraniums, so I got a pair of kitchen scissors, stepped out onto the deck (in the pouring rain) and put on my sopping wet crocs, but by the time I got out to the fence, they had flown the coop – baby and all!

Mission accomplished.

Nature’s Wall Art

Started off the day with a Lazarus rescue.  He was trapped in our window well, but Kevin got down in there and helped him out.

While doing the dishes, I was treated to an unusual artistic display, four finches landed on my neighbour’s wall to give their beaks a sharpen.

I’ve enhanced the colour for artistic effect.
The grackles were striding through the tall grass, as if they had some important meeting to get to.
My Shastas are doing well.

Off to get a Buddleia today.  The Butterfly Bush will attract, bees, birds and of course, butterflies.  It will beautify the corner near our dining room window.

Lucky little lady.

Waterpool, of St. Charles, Missouri, has the hippest, brightest, cat pillow I’ve ever seen. She’s come a long way from being one of a litter of feral cats.  She’s really “landed on her feet”, as they say.
To see more photos of this charmer, visit Brenda’s blog at “Days of My Life”.

Midlands Menagerie – Rosy the Rescuer!

If you think I’M animal crazy, have a look at this lot!
This is my cousin Rosy’s animal family.

Tigger (r.i.p.) 
A Mollie (r.i.p.) 
Dan (r.i.p.)

Billie ( a very timid rescued puss who would not be petted until she was 12)

Mickey ( a three-legged amputee who had been struck by a car)

Eric ( Mollie’s Brother)

Paddy (adopted from folks who were emigrating) 
Seamus ( a lucky stray who followed my cousin’s grand-daughter home)  

He’s a gorgeous Russian Blue by the looks of him!

Bertie ( a cancer survivor ) 
Bonnie ( was found lying in the gutter with 13 stab wounds – my cousin and 
her family nursed her back to health)

Happy Days! ( Bertie and Bonnie on their hols!) 
Dan, Bertie, Lucy and Gemma  (only Bertie is left)

I am confident in saying that love of all animals is an element of my family’s blood!  Here’s a photo of my grandmother, MaryAnn Polland when she was a young woman, with one of her dogs. 

Life at Landsbyhus: Rescue 519

What’s Outside?  

A gale is blowing.  Seriously, the wind is whipping around the house like a storm at sea.  Southern Ontario is heading back into winter, rather than enjoying the sweet smells of spring!

What’s in my head? 

Theme music from the Food Network T.V. show, “Chopped”.  We watched all four of the Chopped Champions Tournament over the weekend, and the pulsing opening music is what’s swirling around (rather like the wind).

What am I grateful for:

I made enough supper last night that I don’t have to cook tonight. Yay!  I found a bottle of Thai Red Curry Paste at my local grocery store (these things don’t always crop up in a small town) and I made (see below)

What’s cooking?

I sauteed some sliced onion with some soy meat strips, the curry paste, some sliced granny smith apples, shredded cabbage and chunks of sweet potato.  I deglazed the pan with a bit of red wine, added some brown sugar, and some dried cranberries and lots of black pepper and served it over jasmine rice.  YUMMY!
Of course, you carnivores can feel free to use the real thing if you have to.

What’s in my glass/cup?

My cold beverage of choice – PC carbonated water with lemon.  No sodium and no sugar.  I can drink the bottle if I feel like it!

What’s my “get-up”?

Brown velour track pants with beige stripe down the legs,  dark brown “Joe” t-shirt and my favourite, cinnamon-coloured wrap sweater.

What’s on the monitor?

A photo that shows the view from my front doorstep – field, farm and water tower.  I live in a “Water Tower Town”.

Where am I off: 

nowhere, in THIS wind!

What’s in my library?

Reading, “The Stone Angel” by long-renowned Canadian author,  Margaret Laurence.  It’s a story told by a bitter, 90 year old woman who relates her life and how she came to be who she is.  I haven’t reached the “I can’t put this down” stage, but it is compelling, nonetheless.

What’s that noise?

Towels and stuff are tumbling in the dryer, and the wind is whoo-whooing outside and my iPod is giving off the “sonar” ringtone to signal someone’s read my Magpie Tales poem, “Displaced” see previous post).

What’s happening here?

Well, I was just sitting down here at my desk (having made the rounds of The Mag participants) and I heard a banging noise that I wasn’t sure about.  I thought perhaps one of the cats was in the back furnace room where the litter boxes are kept.   I got up to check, but there was nothing going on in there.
I sat down once more, and the banging came again.  This time I determined it was coming from outside.  I thought maybe the meter-person was out there checking our meter at the side of the house.  Trying to prove my theory, I stood up on a chair under the window and looked out and up over the window well to see if I could make out any feet, or at least see what was going on. Nothing at that sight-level, but when I lowered my eyes, I solved the mystery.
In the window well, was a tiny, baby rabbit!

If you know me, then you know how much I love animals and of course I knew right away what I was going to do!  I had to get the baby bunny out of the well and find a safe place for it.
Fortunately, despite my excitement, I remembered to grab my camera as I headed out the front door.

I approached the window well at the side of the house and the first thing I did was get a decent photo of the little guy (see below).  Next, I got down on the grass and reached into the well and easily scooped up the tiny ball of fur, but when I stood up to take him away, he panicked and leapt from my hands.  Where did he go?  Into the next window well!  I had to start all over again!

This time, when I scooped him up (not an easy feat, since he was on to me now and not particularly willing to be caught), I tucked him into Kevin’s oversized, fleece jacket (I had grabbed it off the hook as I was racing out the front door) and the little guy bolted into the sleeve and stopped at my elbow when he found he had nowhere to go.

Now began the real adventure! Across the road, is a grass verge, then a slope that leads down to a marshy, reedy creek.  I did not want to release my friend there, as he was so little and I felt he might turn around and head back to the road where disaster could occur.  I decided to cart him all the way down the road to where the creek ends and a forested old railway trail runs from west to east.  My destination was beyond the chain-link fence of the end house where I could connect with the path and the woods.

Did I mention the wind?  Oh yes! If you’ve been reading from the beginning, you’ll know that Frank L. Baum would have been re-inspired by the winds that are whipping here right now.  Naturally, my goal had me facing directly into them.

I feared for poor little Blaze (for that’s what I’ve called him, since he has a tiny white crest on his head) as I made my way against the gale-force, tripping over stones in my path and sliding in dog-crap along the way!  I was worried he might have a little heart-attack, but I could feel him breathing under my arm.

At last, we reached the woods, where I bent down to the leaf-strewn ground in a little clearing between some trees.  I made as if to release my arm from the sleeve, and out he tumbled through the hole at the bottom.  He didn’t dash off, but lay there with his paws outstretched like a monk in homage at the Temple of the Buddha.  I stroked his soft little head and tried to console him.  He seemed slightly placated and as I stood to leave him, I said, “Okay Blaze, you go find yourself a nice warm place to sleep.  Good luck, little fella!”

I don’t know if his mother was anywhere around, but I do know that he would not survive in that well without food.  At least in the woods, he has a fighting chance, and maybe one day, I’ll be out in my garden, dead-heading perennials to meet a full-sized rabbit with a white crest on his head, and I’ll know he came back to thank me for saving his life.

I can dream, right?

Gotta love this!

I just discovered sweet potato hummus.  I am in heaven!  A couple of multi-grain Ryvita, a few schmeers and OMG!

What’s up this week?

Got to get to the nursery and order some trees for the backyard.  The robins are here (and mighty fat they are too).  I want birds galore in my yard – and squirrels, lots and lots of squirrels.  Think they’ll like a Mountain Ash, a Schubert Chokecherry and some Cedars?  I think so.

Today’s ear-worm:


A picture from today’s report:

Now for the star of the show:

All together now: everybody say AWWW!