Hearing Voices

A tree frog has
been voicing its soft, slow “crrr-i-i-ck” sound in our yard off and on for the
last few weeks.  We heard it several days
in a row, then heard it in a neighbor’s yard one day, another neighbor’s the
next, then for a few days we didn’t hear it at all.  But now it has been back for a few days.  We are sure that it has decided that our yard
is the best yard for a tree frog.

Our home is in the
bustling heart of that megalopolis, Carnation, a 15-mile commute from the
nursery, where tree frog tadpoles in the kiddy pools are getting ready to turn
into frogs.  The voice of the frog at
home reminds me that I haven’t checked on the tadpoles for a few weeks.  Have they already metamorphosed and hopped
away?  I’ve been too preoccupied, doing
my modern human stress-out scramble thing, to pay attention to these creatures
undergoing this wondrous transformation, a once-in-a-lifetime event!  Just think what it would be like if your
whole life was in a bright blue kiddy pool, with some algae to nibble and some
rushes and water parsley and marsh cinquefoil to hide among.  And the one day, everything changes.  These little feet that have been growing
handily enable you to crawl up on a reed, into Another World.  The sky IS the limit!  The whole earth is before you.  It’s a little scary, though.  Danger lurks everywhere.  The garter snakes that hide under the flap of
black plastic are on the lookout for tasty green snacks.  Hiding is an important ability for a tree frog.

Our yard is over a
quarter of a mile from the pond our resident frog must have started out in.  That’s a lot of earth that little frog has
seen!  And it seems to have settled in; Brian
has planted lots of native plants for it to hide among.  Brian owns a landscaping business, Biosphere
Company, and especially enjoys working for clients who use his knowledge of how
to create a welcoming environment for frogs, birds and all sorts of insects. He
puts that know-how to work at our house.
By design, not laziness (!), the Sword Ferns wear a skirt made of a few
years worth of old fronds.  That is a
good spot for frogs and salamanders to keep cool in summer and warm in
winter.  The Redwood Sorrel in the shade
of the three Western Redcedars grows thick and is good cover for a little tree
frog.  In the sunnier part of the yard, shrubs
like Mock Orange, Tall Oregon Grape and American Cranberrybush provide protection
from predators, especially since they are surrounded by native perennials –
Penstemons, Western Bergamot, Western Columbine and Henderson’s Checkermallow.  We have an amazing amount of beautiful diversity
around our house.  No wonder that
invisible little frog is happy here!


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