The Legendary Peeper

The following is by Hal Borland:

“The scientific name of Hyla crucifer, the tiny tree toad with the shrill, bell-toned April voice, reaches back into Greek legend. Hercules, says the legend, was fond of a boy named Hylas. While they were adventuring with the Argonauts, Hercules sent the boy to bring water from a spring, but the water nymphs captured Hylas and thereafter he lived in the water, calling for Hercules in his sweet young voice. Ever since, that voice has been heard in swamp and bogland in the Spring of the year.

There is really nothing very strange about the hyla we know except that it is a very small frog with a very large voice. It lives and grows much as any other frog, from egg to tadpole to adult frog. It hibernates, and it emerges in the burgeoning Spring hungry for food and a mate. It belongs to a family very old upon this earth, and in a sense it represents the very Springtime of life.

We usually call this small tree frog the Spring peeper, but there are other common names. On Martha’s Vineyard it is the pinkle-tink, and on Cape Cod it is the pinkwink. Both names are, to a degree, imitative of the hyla’s call. But no name can more than hint at the sound, which is at once clamorous and exultant and stragely musical and yet quite unmelodic. A chorus of Spring peepers close at hand can be a din of disorganized sound; yet from a little distance this same chorus can be pulse-lifting and rich with the warmth of Spring itself. There’s nothing else quite like it. That is why we listen for it year after year, personify it into legend, cherish it as the very voice of another Spring.” –from Sundial of the Seasons 1964

More Sunday going-ons

I went to see my friend Anna in her play this afternoon – she was in Urinetown with Nena Productions, a local community theater group. She played Soupy Sue and did a really great job. It was fun to see this quiet, unassuming girl up on the stage singing and acting her heart out. I loved the character of Officer Lockstock! Very funny guy. It was a fun afternoon, but that “Don’t Be the Bunny” song is stuck in my head now!

A few of us went for pizza afterwards and then I roamed around Ocean Grove for a while with my camera and went straight to the beach. It was a beautiful day, but it was still chilly by the water.

Ocean Grove has an interesting history with the Methodist Church and the town is full of beautiful Victorian homes that I would love to photograph one day. The photo at right shows part of the massive Great Auditorum which can seat 10,000 and is the size of a football field. I can remember going there for Sunday services as a kid with my dad a few times.

The town was settled as a sort of spiritual haven by a few Methodist preachers and for many years cars were banned from Ocean Grove on Sundays – a gate at the entrance to town kept them out. The photo at left shows a few of the hundred or so summer tent buildings that are situated around the Great Auditorium. People still live in these during the summer. A canvas tent is placed over the wooden frames you see in the photo and the resulting *room* is filled with couches, rugs, and lamps. Rustic!

In the spirit of April Fool’s Day

My friend Michelle sent these along and I just couldn’t resist sharing. Things to do when a co-worker is on vacation: Kathy V. – would you write me up if I did this to your office?

Hmm… thinking of a victim.

Linda: Look at all those reflective surfaces!

Deb: Your office could use a little more greenery. Just need to figure out how to do it!

First feeding and playing in the mud

April Fool’s Day is usually when we resume feeding the goldfish, using cheerios at first, because they’re easily digested. We started cleaning the pond last weekend, so my husband caught most of the fish and transferred them to this 100 gallon metal tub. We set them up with a bubbler and they’re safe while we clean out the pond.

Because we didn’t clean the pond this fall and never got a net over it, we really need to do a thorough clean-out. It’s full of leaves and muck. The shallow end of the pond and the beach area have small river rock over the liner and this accumulates a huge amount of yucky stuff. It’s a really dirty job, so I supervise and take pictures. 😉

My husband decided we should take all the river rock out and rinse it. It needs a good cleaning, but there are gazillions of rocks to wash. He got his April Fool’s surprise this morning when he was scooping through the pebbles and came up with a handful of frog! Said he nearly tumbled backward into the water and muck he was so startled by it! We don’t know where this frog came from, but as they say, “If you build it, they will come”.

We lost track of the frog for a while after it jumped out of the bucket he put it in for safekeeping. We found him again later way down at the bottom of the pond trying to hide in the muck. Not sure what type of frog it is, does anyone know? I don’t see the ridge on its back that green frogs have, so I’m guessing it’s a bull frog. We had a bull frog last summer that was eating our fish, so this guy may be dangerous; although he’s not nearly as big as the last one. I feel kind of bad for disturbing him, but he needs a new place to hide while we drain the pond.

Once we’ve got the rocks clean enough, we’ll refill the pond, add dechlorinator (the only chemical I use) and let it sit for a week or so before we put the fish back. We’ll have to buy all new plants this year because all the lily tubers turned to mush over the winter. It’ll be fun to shop for new plants. The photo at right is our biggest goldfish, given to me by a friend from work last fall. It had grown too big for her indoor fishtank, so we added him to our pond. I was concerned he wouldn’t make the winter, but he seems to be doing okay – not quite as fat as he was in the fall, though!