Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Amphibians do it vernally

It has, as I may have mentioned, been raining a lot. Finally, it got sunny on Holy Thursday and hotter than hell on Easter Saturday, when my parents came up to help tidy a garden or so. One way and another, we ended up trying to repair 18 months of neglect (I didn't garden last year, at all) in the heat of the day. My father, who is a bit like me only not as fat or menopausal, and I just about had heatstroke and crawled off to die. My mother, who is a lizard, kept trying to rally the troops until she got tired. They left and as the sun set gently to one side I started shovel-and-sifting the former mint-and-oregano bed, which last year went to more grass than usual and the delphinium died no reason after 4 years of apparent happiness.

Anyway, more digging needs to be done. I also received a big pile of loam, probably ripped off from somewhere full of endangered species (although it had no apparent human body parts, as sometimes happens. Honest). I have tried to use the soil around my house, but the fact is, my house-lot was bulldozed into an esker and I don't have much soil. And Enthusiasm is thinner on the ground than it used to be, so I will do doubtful things in pursuit of my own tomatoes. If Gardeners Supply would send my damned raised bed kit and Doug would ever stay home and be exploited I could get more done. I have been working, mostly driving around from one elementary school to another, which cuts into my spare time.

So today, after I drove for about five hours, I was pulled over to be told nicely that I had forgotten to get this year's license tags when I got it inspected. I know one year I got the tags and forgot to get it inspected. At least I was not speeding. Nor was the policeman upset when I explained that I hadn't seen my license since I was carded in Massachusetts at Conbust. It could have been worse. But I was not terribly happy. It is an expensive ticket.
But I was happier whenSarah called after an intense board meeting to say she would be coming over with wine. I made macaroni and cheese, and Sarah ad Doug and I watched last night's Castle. Afterward, Sarah wondered if either of us would go for a walk and look for salamanders even though it wasn't wet enough. It had rained all day in southeastern Vermont, and it was drizzling here on and off. It was largely off when we left.
Halfway down the driveway, we came across a spotted salamander and Sarah proclaimed her night made, possibly her year. We ended up seeing four spotted salamanders, 13 red-backed salamanders, four Eastern red-spotted newts, 16 peepers, and a wood frog.
Then I said, before we went inside, we might as well look at my little pond in the back yard. Where there were at least seven spotted salamanders Doing It, several wood frogs in compromising positions, and a newt looking for action (I assume). It was very fine. We were all pleased. Doug was proud that he had dug the littler pond by hand (about 3 square feet, as opposed to the maybe 9 square feet of the one we tried to make with a tractor) and I was still delighted, as I am every time I see anything swimming around (except for the mosquito wigglers. Who are already out there, too). There was already a ball of someone's spawn there from a couple of days ago; I hope that some of these unions bear fruit. And eat mosquitoes and perhaps blackflies.

I hope you can reach the pictures, which are in Sarah's Facebook album.

I tend to think Big Night was a couple of days ago, when it was raining hard and Doug swore it was over 50 degrees. But there was evidently some action left. Last year I noted it as being April 3. It was a fine time and the only casualties we noticed were two unlucky peepers. I am lucky to have frogs and people who make me go out and enjoy them.

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