Friday, April 11, 2008

The march of the toads, again

Picture this--

It's just after dark, That period where the sun has gone down and the after glow of the day has now disappeared from the sky. It is dark out.

We are in our front yard. On three sides are fields. Empty fields. The fourth side is our house. It's to our back.

Coming from the direction of the mountain straight out from our house is the driveway.

But in the dark it doesn't matter. You can't see it.

Out there you know, in our yard, is a gold fish pond. A rectangle. Something like 25 feet long by 5 feet wide. Swimming in the water are a couple dozen goldfish and a half dozen koi of various colors and sizes.

For this -- that's the center of attraction. The gold fish pond and its year round pool of water.

Now look out in the fields.

You can hear them coming. There must be hundreds of them.



One hop at a time. Each jump a few inches closer to the pond.

Who knows where they came from. When it was daylight they weren't there. You could have walked through all of the fields without seeing a single one.

But not now, if you go out there in the dark. Go out with a flashlight and look at the ground, its difficult not to step on one.

But why tonight. Why not last night? There weren't any toads last night. Or how about tomorrow night? Why now? Why here? Who decided?

Who put out the word? Tonight is the night. Over there.

Here they come. They're all coming, hoping, marching, if you will, toward the front yard. Toward the goldfish pond.

In fact if you look in several dozen have already arrived. They are in the water swimming. On the rocks around the edge, croaking.

It's that time of year. This happens every year. Time for the annual toad party and mating event. It's going to go on all night, just like it does every year this time. Just as the last frost has come and gone, its more regular than the calendar.

This year it was Wednesday night around ten, just before the wind brought in all of that cold air. It was still nice, still close to being 70 degrees out and everywhere you went, there were the toads.

Dozens. Dozens of dozens. Hundreds.


Hopping in the same direction. All of them heading toward the one destination.

Other news?

Well, if you haven't sent in your check you need to do it right now. Either that or e-mail me with a plan. By the end of next week if I haven't received a check or a payment plan from those who signed up over a month ago, I will start giving those shares to the people on the waiting list.

Then, Of course, there are the eggs. The hens are now laying almost 8 dozen a day. That's around 60 a week. Again, if you want a free dozen come on out Saturday between 11 and 1 pm. I've been giving a lot away over the week but I still have 20 dozen in the barn and I haven't collected todays and, of course there will be tomorrows. (no egg pick up on Sunday, I won't be around).

Onion seedlings are supposed to arrive Monday and we will get busy planting shortly after. Ten cases of onions. Red, Yellow, and White onions. And three cases of leeks. A case contains 30 bunches and a bunch holds 60 plants. 18,000 onions to plant with about 5400 leeks. Let's hope all goes well.

And then the week after that, after I hope the last frost has finally come and gone, we start planting seedlings. We'll start with the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. We have about 4000 of each in the greenhouse and we'll plant a thousand of each every week, hopefully giving you enough for the first month.

Then comes the pac choi. Followed by other plants that like the cool. sorrel, various flowers (I bought a thousand glad bulbs not for the shares but for the vases in the house. If I succession plant them just right the house should be full of glads all summer long.

But back to the vegetables. After that, I imagine will come a few thousand basil (we are growing as much Italian as we usually do, enough for all you can eat almost every week). A little lemon basil, Enough Thai basil and this year something I swore off half a dozen years ago, a purple basil.

Besides thinking about planting, we have also been tilling the fields. Most of the fields have now been turned over a second time. We're trying to destroy many of the potential weeds. I also looked out where I had planted those peas back in February and decided they wouldn't be ripe anytime soon (I had hoped they would start off immediately growing when we planted them, it having been so warm, but they didn't. They were still a number of weeks away from fruit and we needed the room, so we will not be having pick your own peas this year).

Pick your own asparagus looks like a possibility. Hopefully we will have enough asparagus up and ready to pick that I can ask people out in a week to pick their own. We'll see. Some of the asparagus in our yard is up an inch or two.

The picture that I said I would post last week, the suspected coyote, go to 'the bear and the damage done'. It got put in that folder.

Leigh Hauter


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