Twenty Seven Toads.

The local news media predicts that today will likely be the hottest day of the year with temperatures rising into the triple digits. I keep four fairly large, Rubbermaid storage containers outside as they just tend to come in handy for all sorts of day-to-day tasks.  I’ve been filling one or two up with water for the ducks & other birds to splash around in & cool off through out the day. Today I’ll be filling up all four in the hopes that it provides them with some sort of relief from the heat.
These chickens & ducks & turkeys, it’s sort of like managing a group of toddlers. They spend most of their days exploring, eating things off the ground & pooping a lot. They walk around aimlessly, squealing & squawking & making all sorts of amusing sounds. Sometimes, out of nowhere they just have mini panic attacks where they let out a loud cry & then dart like a bat out of hell in one direction for no apparent reason. Then they’ll just stop & look around like they have forgotten why they were so freaked out to begin with. Who knows what frightens them. I can’t ever figure it out. Maybe they see a snake or hear an unfamiliar sound. Maybe they see ghosts for all I know. Regardless, it’s especially entertaining to watch Margo. She’s sort of speckled, black & white. She has this fancy, shmancy, foofy shock of feathers atop her head, which makes her look particularly posh, compared to the other girls. She can shift from a perfectly peaceful vegetative state at the Spa (that’s how I refer to the flower bed on the side of the house which they’ve completely taken over) into a raging, neurotic state of madness in seconds flat. I have witnessed her rise up out of a dead sleep with not so much as a peep of warning & literally leap over two other snoozing birds, only to begin frantically clucking around the yard as though she’s desperate to get her point across about something terribly critical. I always find myself contemplating what in the heck she could be going on about, but then I realize I’m thinking way to deeply about the mind of a chicken.  In the beginning, she could get the other birds all riled up right along with her during these little episodes, but now they barely acknowledge her existence, other than glancing her way from time to time like, “oh here she goes again. Margo’s on a another tangent.” I always think to myself, “Ladies & Gentlemen, it’s time for the daily Madness Matinee, brought to you by Margo!” It’s all so humorous & puzzling to me.
So Jasper & I counted 27 toads on our walk yesterday! They. Are. Everywhere. We find them in the garage, on the patio, deck & in the garden. They live under our hoses & in our boots; they especially love squeezing into door jams – which doesn’t typically end well. One of the girls found a paraplegic toad in the sliding glass door the other day. It was very disturbing. But it was still alive. Being the keeper of a bleeding, loving, little girl heart, our daughter took the toad outside & tried to save the poor little guy. I think she made a bed for him out of pine needles & tried feeding him a dead fly. His little legs didn’t look so good, but do you know that somehow, that tiny dude found a way to escape the mini medi-clinic & carryon with his life! (Surely it was the tender loving care he received.) Toads have much larger poops than one would ever expect to see coming from such a small creature.  Grandma Mauer pointed out the size of the turdlings during her visit last week. First of all, I had no idea that those gooey blobs everywhere were indeed toad turds. Secondly, they are incredible! What are they eating, mice? Huge. I mean in contrast to the size of their bodies, these sticky, cocoon-like poos are quite massive! Toad bodies are so plump & cool & squishy. Jasper took one for a ride in his wagon yesterday & it jumped up so high that it actually bumped him under the chin, scaring the absolute buhjeezus out of that boy! Of course, he immediately threw an imaginary spider web at the toad & I laughed & laughed & laughed. My son is forever Spiderman at heart!
And that’s a day at Wildwood Acres.




ABOVE: Margo, so full of drama!



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