Frog and Toad |

Frog and Toad

I’m sick of it.

Sick of the cold.

The snow.

The raw rain and dreary damp.

I’m sick of it all.

I just stumbled upon a folder full of yard photos I’d taken over the past couple of years, and it put me in the mood for summer.

Because I sure as hell have had enough of this:

Frog and Toad |

And I don’t want any more nights like this:

Frog and Toad |

No more mornings like this:

Frog and Toad |

No more days waiting for the snow to melt.

Frog and Toad |

And waiting some more…

Frog and Toad |

Nope. I want summer.

Frog and Toad |

I want to see the Earth stretch and yawn and blossom.

Frog and Toad |

I want to see little things growing in all the wrong places.

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And little things crawling in hidden spaces.

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I want to see big things pecking.

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And I want my frogs and toads back…

Frog and Toad |

Barish found the little guy pictured above one summer while he was engaged in his absolute favorite activity: pulling weeds.

“Dad!” He called from the patio. “Come look at this toad! It’s really cool! Come on…check it out!”

I grabbed my camera and went to see what all the fuss was about. “Eh, what’s the hubbub, bub?” His blank stare informed me that my Looney Tunes reference had fallen on ignorant ears.

He pointed.

I looked.

Frog and Toad |

“Wow, that is cool!” I said.

What The Boy had found was a Gray Tree Frog, not a toad. We usually have hundreds of these guys around our property. They breed in our pond and grace us with several large gooey egg sacs each spring. I love these frogs, but they drive me nuts during mating season with their incessant and intrusive pleas for sex. For a couple of weeks each spring, usually during the best nights to sleep with the windows open, legions of these sex-starved amphibians take to the airwaves just outside our bedroom window to demand relations with the fairer sex. Hear for yourself:

Now multiply that sound by 100, and you’ll have a sense of what it’s like trying to sleep in the spring and early summer around here.

What I love about Gray Tree Frogs is their ability to camouflage themselves. I’ve seen countless hundreds wearing green, but only a few wearing white like the one above. The first white ones I found were in the swimming pool – two dead and one alive. I thought they had succumbed to chlorine bleaching and poisoning. I treated the survivor like a burn victim, gently transporting him to the healing waters of the koi pond.

He was probably wondering why the hell I was taking him away from his morning constitutional.

The Gray Tree Frogs are all well and good, but my favorite summertime sound comes from my favorite summertime creature – the American Toad. These guys are more elusive. They live out in the woods at the edge of our property. When they sing for sex, it sounds like an army of aliens has surrounded our house. I love it. They are far enough away that the noise doesn’t disturb. It’s just a beautiful, soothing, alien drone. Have a listen below:

As I said before, I’m done with the cold.

I’m done with this relentless winter that keeps throwing snowballs, long after the fight has ended.

I’m ready for long days and warm nights. I’m ready for bugs and birds and bats.

And I’m ready for this:

Frog and Toad |

I’m even ready for this:

Frog and Toad |

What are your favorite sounds of summer? What are your favorite summertime creatures? How about your least favorite? Share them in the comments below, and let’s get in the mood for summer!

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  1. I went out this afternoon and trimmed out the almost-budding Japanese fingerleaf maple on our patio’s edge. Of course he who sits in his recliner is certain I am going to kill it because the haircut was desperately needed. But said tree and I have been buds for a long time….and I send it my thoughts! “You need this, little buddy… do your little owey bleed now and you will feel better when you can really breathe. “ I have tree frogs too. They climb into our patio umbrella. Had to tell one to get out because they were misbehaving at night. Told them to go get a room!! And stop crapping on my table! We make our own wine, so getting out into the air with it is good….but so are the Polomas and the vodkas with soda water…..JUST GETTING OUT IS THE BEST THING. Yesterday was Feb 75th. Today is April. At long last!!
    So enjoy your blogs…..they are hilarious!!

    1. “He who sits in his recliner,” LOLOL! Handan will probably start calling me that now! Okay, so tell me about your winemaking endeavors, Susie. I used to manage a wine bar/wine shop in San Francisco – wine is one of my great passions in life!

  2. Hi! My favorite sound is our mourning doves…the most beautiful (ever!) sounds in the world to me with the exception of the cooing of my now-grown babies. I love getting you in my inbox!

  3. I love the sound of tree frogs. They remind me of my childhood on the farm before air conditioning with the windows open to nature. Thanks for the nostalgia trip.

  4. You know….I don’t mind the “songs of frogs”…and I kinda like katydids, too. Although, I think birds…that what I so wait for their songs of spring. franki

    1. I love katydids! We also have a lot of songbirds, but the birds we hear the most are ravens. We live at the summit the tallest hill in town, and the ravens just love it up here. So do the hawks, and they often brawl with the ravens, lol!

  5. favorite sounds of summer … waves lapping at the beach, cicadas (they remind me of my childhood and my grandmother), loons, frogs and toads, crickets
    favorite summertime creatures … wood turtles, painted turtles, red efts, spotted salamanders, tree frogs, Baltimore orioles
    least favorite summertime creatures … red squirrels. But they are annoying year-round!
    AND A NEW ONE FOR YOU GREG: favorite summer smells … cut grass, blooming lilacs
    I don’t think we will be hearing any waves lapping at the beach any time soon. There is still 22 inches of ice on the lake!

    1. Ooooh, Cristine! How could I forget the sound of loons? By far THE BEST animal sound on planet earth. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear them at our house. Someday I will live on a loon-filled lake and hear their mournful calls every evening as Handan and I fish for bass. 🙂

  6. I played the frog videos as my cat lay sleeping on me. She perked up at the first sound and was mesmerized by the videos. I have never seen her watch anything (other than a bug on my ceiling!) so intently! Lol! I’m with you on being sick of winter! I just bottled a batch of reisling and look forward to enjoying it on the deck. As for sounds I miss the sound of birds chirping. Oh, and the hum of my a/c! ??

    1. My dogs did the same thing, Giselle! Okay, wait a minute…are you a winemaker too like Susie who commented above? As I told her, I managed a wine bar/wine shop in San Francisco 10 years ago. Did you know that Riesling is my favorite grape? There is no finer sweet wine, and when done correctly, even the off dry and dry Rieslings are off the chart awesome! Tell me more!

  7. I love listening to the snick-snick-snick of the irrigation in the fields across the road from the farm house and the bull frogs in the creek about 1/4 mile away. In the fabulous silence of the country, they are the backdrop to the singing of the coyotes. I love sitting on the front porch late at night and listening to my sounds of peace and smelling the newly-mowed hay.

    1. You’ve painted a beautiful mental image there, Susan! We hear the occasional coyote and fox family around here, but I’d always love to hear more! (though that would mean a lot more missing pets around here, unfortunately)

  8. I never complain about the weather and always say how great it is. It pisses so many people off…it’s just fun! We have a pond also. We have a large chlorine pool. The frogs hide in and around the pool. One summer about 3 years ago our chlorine pool filter died. We did not want to replace the filter immediately so we planned to get a salt water filter at the end of the se on sale. Fast forward 2 weeks….Our pool had frog spooge and THOUSANDS of tad poles. Did I mention I AM TERRIFIED of frogs & toads!!! We ran to the dollar tree and purchased 4 butterfly nets. We had a bunch of 5 gallon buckets in the garage. Scooping began. 10 FULL buckets later we dumped them into the pond. After husband drained the pool, the only way he could…. a shop back. Remember, always take care of your pool.

  9. Yes, I love springtime, because it let’s me know that this loooong awaiting summertime, is right afterward. Buuuuut, I hate the birds chirping early in the morning in the trees right next to our bedroom window, because they wake me up very early. Especially, on weekends when I could sleepin, but these litte bookers says, “no way!” Thanks for saring the different frogs mating sounds. It would be hard for me to sleep to with those sounds, and me being a very light sleeper. I too, am so tired of cold, snow, just overall bad weather. So ready fr summer, or just nice temps with sunshine.

  10. Here, in Poland, we too had a long winter this year. But not the white snowy version I can see in your pics, rather the deary, grayish, low-daylight, lot-of-sleet-not-enough-snow kind of winter I really hate, with real snow only around Easter (why not? snow bunnies a new Easter tradition :)). And then spring exploded. Three weeks ago there was thawing snow everywhere and now everything is crazy in bloom, the weather is almost summer, with temps around 20 deg. Celsius and more. The nightingale under my bedroom window did not start its night concerts, but the birds are giving their best and there are blue frogs in the pond by my plot (moor frogs, the male is turning blue in the mating season – with dozens of frogs in the pond, the sight is incredible). But by far my favorite summer sound of nature is the whistling of swallows – they make me think of holidays somewhere on the Mediterranean…

    1. I used to think that snowy winters were better than cold and rainy ones. But considering our heating oil bill these past few years, I’d take cold and rainy any day – at least it’s above freezing! I’d love to see those blue frogs, Maigwen. Take a picture if you’re able and email it to me. Thanks!