Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Okay, enough feline stuff. I almost forgot to write about Sunday, the afternoon spent lounging out at the pond while the kids splashed about and caught tadpole/frogs. Russ was feeling a bit better, enough to be out and about building new quarters for our rapidly growing poultry. The guinea keets are already resembling mini adults but with camouflage brown feathers. The Rhode Island reds already have enough wing feathers to fly up to the edges of the pens and roost. We have so many different breeds of layers, it's interesting to compare growth rates and habits. Hopefully the guineas will help to reduce the deer tick population...these tick borne diseases are scary!

Sunday was hot and sunny, too hot to do much in the garden during midday. I washed a week's worth of dishes with Nina and Vincent's help, then made a chicken salad for lunch. Then it was off to the pond. I mostly do lifeguard duty, sitting in my lounge chair watching the kids. There is a steep dropoff so I have to keep constant watch, but the kids seem to know where it is and how to avoid it. I initially swam across the pond a few times to cool off, but that was enough water time for me. The water is cold in the middle; I'd say its cold enough to raise trout, but too cold for me to spend too much time swimming in it. When I was Nina's age I could spend all afternoon in the water, and she is even more so--a regular mermaid. She has even gone swimming in Lake Superior at Park Point beach in September, not bothered one bit by the water temperature! So I suntanned and read a bit of On the Road while she swam, Joe played with the Tonka heavy equipment, and Vincent caught tadpole/frogs.

At what point does a tadpole become a frog? Does it just spontaneously go to the water surface and take its first breath, trusting that its lungs are ready? Does it go back and forth between lungs and gills for a while? We now have a minnow bucket containing several leopard frog/tadpoles in various stages of metamorphosis. They are more frog than tadpole, breathing on the surface and propelling themselves with newly developing legs, but they still have tails. I had never really seen frogs in that in between stage before.


Erich said...

Some amphibians (frogs maybe?) can breathe a little through their skin when under water.

They look pretty cool when they're half frogs. I saw a bunch this time last year in the Savanna Portage State Park north of McGregor. There were a fair number of cripples and a snapping turtle cruised the shallows, gobbling them down.

the dharma bum said...

cool post... sounds like a pretty nice sunday.

erich, do you have a degree in science of some sort? always impressive knowledge of... everything in nature.

Erich said...

My formal education completely diverges from my personal interests.

I've learned a lot more from this group of people than I've imparted. It’s nice to have this international almanac where we can freely exchange observations and knowledge. Even though you, Deb, and I are relatively close we still notice and report different things.