Frog-a-rama

One of Lee’s recent projects around the ranch has been to build a little pond for the dogs to play in, and to conveniently keep water from draining into our driveway and making puddles where we don’t want them. The new pond is like a puddle on purpose.

Thank you for the swimming pool! We love the frog toys!

And as you can easily see, the dogs do like it! The water is remarkably clean, for such a small “pond,”and both Vlassic and Carlton are frequently seen wading in it. Lee has further plans for water features, which are fine with me as long as there’s something in them to eat mosquito larvae.

That’s where the frogs come in

As I was wandering around the pond on Sunday, I noticed movements. First I saw a LOT of little bugs swimming around or on the surface. Then I realized tiny frogs were jumping into the pond whenever I or a dog startled them.

Waiting for bugs.

Careful observation and standing still a while brought the delightful realization that heads were poking up out of the water! The first head was of a small brown frog or toad, about four inches long. It suddenly snapped up a flying bug (scaring the bejeezus out of me) and disappeared.

Next, one of my favorite sights on the ranch greeted me. The “eeping” frogs have a representative in the pond. These are large frogs that are bright green with striking orange eyes. I’m guessing they are green frogs, though I can’t get close enough to get a good photo.

EEP!

Anyway, when frightened, these guys yell “eep” before jumping into the water. They were favorites of Brody’s. He’d run along the big pond and you’d hear a series of frog sounds all in a row.

So, it made me happy to see so much life in a pond that is really not much more than a large puddle and has only been around for two weeks!

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A Dog and His Frog

[Note: that should say “toad,” as you will see later, but I like that the title rhymes.]

Last night, while our merry community members were sitting on our porch watching the weather, we noticed that Vlassic, the little black dachshund mix was looking at something else. He was very intently observing the water trough that the dogs drink from and swim in (one that will soon hold some fish).

Hey, what’s in there! It looks fun! It’s swimming.

We soon realized he had spotted a frog-like creature in the trough, who seemed to be trying to get out, but with little success. Upon further examination, it appears to be a Woodhouse’s toad, but I’m waiting for confirmation on that. We had a long discussion about the difference between frogs and toads, but hey, they all go rivet rivet.

Let me OUT of here. There’s nothing to eat but mosquito larvae. Wait, I like that.

Meanwhile, Vlassic was running up and down, sticking his feet into the tub to try to reach his little buddy. It was really entertaining, so we let it go on.

Continue reading “A Dog and His Frog”

Creatures Great and Small

My potted Texas mountal laurel is going to bloom! I didn’t kill it.

Yesterday the weather was beautiful, so Anita, the dogs, and I spent the late afternoon outdoors in Austin. Honestly, I just wanted to get some exercise and enjoy the air, but I just can’t stop with the nature observations. I guess iNaturalist is the winner there!

Trailing lantana, invading our hillside. Can you see ants on it?

As we walked the dogs, Anita asked me what a pretty white flower was. I could see it was a type of lantana, but it was not in a spot where anyone would have planted it. So, I submitted it to iNaturalist and hoped for the best.

Continue reading “Creatures Great and Small”

Dogs and Toads Don’t Mix

vlassic1
Not much room for common sense in that brain.

We have been trying to get used to having five dogs here at the Hermits’ Rest. It’s quite a circus when they are all awake and wanting to play or tussle. Luckily, it’s quite calm when they are all zonked out from playing.

Our newest buddy, Vlassic, has really been fitting in well with the pack. He is playful, especially with Carlton and Harvey, but also cuddly in the extreme. Quite the lapdog he is.

He is also very much a dachshund. We’re guessing he may be more than half. And it’s his doxie heritage that got him in trouble this week!

vlassic2
You can tell by the mud on his face that Vlassic likes to put his nose into things!

It’s so cute, but…

Lee was out walking the dogs in the late afternoon, as is his practice. It’s beautiful and not so oppressively hot once the sun is behind the trees. The puppies found one of the toads that lives around here. I do wish I had a photo to ID it, but it’s the usual toad.

Carlton and Vlassic were fascinated, especially Vlassic. He was jumping straight in the air and then poking it, like a doxie going after the vermin it’s bred to go after. Lee was really enjoying the antics of the dogs as they played. Vlassic even play-bowed to the toad, to try to get it to play back.

Then, Lee realized that the black bouncer wasn’t just poking. He was nipping at the toad. Whoops. Toads have secretions to keep animals from doing just that. They are NOT good for puppies.

As Vlassic began to foam at the mouth, Lee rushed the dogs back into the house and proceded to do his version of first aid, which, according to him, consisted of basically water-boarding the pup. The idea was to rinse all the toad secretions off his face and, is possibly, from inside his mouth.

Vlassic was not thrilled. But he did stop foaming. He ate all his dinner and fell asleep.

About 5:30 am, all that food came back up. But, once that was taken care of, he seemed okay.

Poor Lee was so relieved that he hadn’t let our little friend get poisoned to death.

Moral: keep dogs away from toads, even if they look friendly and playful.

carlton1
Carlton says he is too smart to eat a toad. Yeah, sure.

Keep Vlassic in your thoughts. Tomorrow he loses his favorite body parts. Doing our part to be good citizens and not create more unwanted pets.