Saturday, May 12, 2007

the frog stalker

Today I had the opportunity to take what I think is one of my best blogging photos yet--thanks to Calvin.

He came up to me while I was taking a break from gardening--it was a great day for it--and asked if I wanted to see some cool frogs. At first I said "Well, I'm kind of busy gardening..." But then I thought there is nothing in the garden that could justify my not taking a break and engaging in some discovery time with my son.

So I grabbed my camera and walked out to the ditch that is the outflow channel for the pond. This ditch has always been a low spot on the land, and before we had the driveway and culvert, very troublesome to get across. The pond excavation uncovered a few springs that I think made this a more or less perennial spring fed stream. It flows even when there is no outflow from the pond culvert.

The above is my older son, caught in one of the true acts of Being A Kid: frog catching. He caught a nice green frog (that's the actual species name, and very descriptive) here the other day. So he led me out here, but at first we didn't see any frogs, which is because this little spring fed outflow has some great hiding characteristics for frogs and minnows. You might notice that the water in the stream is very red. Groundwater in this area typically has a high iron content, and when this groundwater meets the surface, some chemical reaction occurs that causes the iron to flocculate and settle out of the water, causing a reddish fluffy stuff that is great for frogs to hide in. I remember the term "flocculate" from some chemistry class and from taking water samples in grad school; the dissolved oxygen test we did caused "flocculation".

Anyway, I told Calvin if we kept still for a few minutes, a frog might poke its head out of the...err...flocculation. So we waited, I turned my camera on, and...

I was ready, and there it was.

Amazing they can live in that stuff.

Thank you, Calvin, for showing Mom there is always time for frogs.


MojoMan said...

If Calvin likes chasing frogs, read him the story in John Steinbeck's 'Cannery Row' about the time the bums went frog hunting. It's a hoot!

elise said...

That's what its all about! I'm fortunate to have a son who loves to garden so I get to spend a lot of time digging in the dirt with him. Happy Mother's Day!

arcolaura said...

Oh, the Cannery Row frog hunt! I've watched the movie several times just to see that scene again. (Oh, and maybe the dance lesson, and the dinner date, and the presidential dilemma...)

Happy Mother's Day, Deb!

Katrien said...

Great picture, what a treat!

Deb said...

mojoman and arcolaura- Thanks, that's one of those classics I should have read/seen (there is a movie?) but haven't. I started reading The Grapes Of Wrath once, but life must have gotten in the way.

elise- I did a little gardening with my 5 year old son today. He insisted on planting seeds so I gave him a couple pea seeds and he was happy.

katrien- You're welcome! As in, welcome to Sand Creek, and feel free to stop by again and comment! I looked at a bit of your blog and I think our goals for life are very similar. I will definitely be reading more.

I have noticed lately that there have been a few new commenters, and I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with all you fine folks out there! I'll be reading your blogs shortly, if I haven't already.

Larry said...

Cool photo and I learned a new word-I would have thought it had something to do with eating too many beans.

Floridacracker said...

Our water is loaded with iron too. Weird since our rock is all limerock ... probably some ancient red marine clay down there.

I wish more parents knew of the frog-kid-quality time continuoum.

Good for you.

... and COOL frogferrousflocculantyfoto.

Deb said...

Larry- I had to look it up myself to make sure.

FC- Thanks! You don't run across the opportunity to photograph one of those ffff...too often.

greg said...

great post Deb. How wonderful to have a curious child around to help keep things in perspective!

I was fishing a month or so ago and every puddle of water was just full of the loudest frogs I've ever heard. And they did a similar thing, whenever I got near they just disappeared into the muck at the bottom.

very cool.

Lynne said...

I can honestly say I haven't read about flocculation in a really long time!! I clicked to enlarge your frog and that is one COOL picture!

pablo said...

No, it is not often that one can use the word "flocculation" in a sentence. Even better when, like now, it is used correctly.

Jim said...

Hi Deb-

I was having a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale last night when, lo & behold, you started singing 'I Wish It Would Rain' from my iPod. It reminded me that I haven't checked in on you lately, so here I am.

And what a sweet post for an unrepentant frog-stalker like me to stumble upon this morning.

I must admit though, in all my years of frog-stalking, I never encountered flocculation before. I sure hope I didn't catch anything! ;~)

Did you ever find any Bigfoot this year?

Deb said...

Greg- this guy wasn't singing yet; I think the green frogs wait until a bit later in the spring.

Lynne- Flocculation is not one of those eminently bloggable topics. :)

pablo- I'd been nervously wondering since I posted this if I was indeed using the word right. Thanks for the confirmation!

Jim- Great to see you here again!!! The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and my song were certainly beyond mere coincidence...actually, that song title applies to many of my blogging friends around the nation who could use a little rain.

No luck on the Bigfoot this year. :( Partly my fault I guess, the local liquor store owner I'm sure would have ordered it for me if I had asked.

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