Friday, May 22, 2009

Ornamental frogs & toads

Our weather has been weird this week -- the Central Highlands have been damp, covered by clouds for more than three days. In May. May is the month you expect the hot winds and the sun dry everything to a crisp. It's made me feel like Al Capp's Joe Btfsplk, whose life was forever under a small private cloud. All of which might explain why the subject of frogs came up when I considered a subject for tonight's post -- frogs like the kind of weather we've been having. (So do toads.)

For starters, you were probably not aware that there is indeed an Arizona State Frog -- it is the Arizona tree frog, who beat out the spadefoot toad (above) 11,866 to a mere 3,486 in a vote of school children. I think that's a freaking shame, as the spadefoot guy is a lot more interesting and deserving for his perseverance. Besides, he's a desert critter. Guess the tree frog is a lot prettier (below). More to the point, the spadefoot guy in that picture is the only amphibian I've ever seen in the Prescott area. Our state frog lives up above the rim where, at least, I've seen a tank or two lined with bull frogs.

Being as how we have few frogs or toads hereabouts, I'm surprised at how many amphib themed items I've found to photograph in my local meanderings. For example, above is one of my favorite modern stained glass windows and, below, a neighbor's fine Tshirt.

Froggy items for the garden abound, whether you're going upscale at Tuesday Morning or shopping at WalMart.

This fine fellow decorates a corner of my niece's front porch. The frog king rules a yard a few doors down the street.

Some frogs would be lost among all those plants in a garden and are meant for the knickknack shelf.

Mexico is source for the more colorful indoor frogs (above, below). A very dear friend spent several summers in Mexico (Acatlan) working with a local artisan producing large ceramic toads for the tourista trade, an experience she described in her thesis and book.

I am quite taken with friend Patty's leap frogs, but the handsome fellow below means the most to me -- he was made by my Mom many years ago when she took up ceramics. As you can see, everybody loves frogs! I love both frogs and toads, having known more toads than frogs in my lifetime, probably because toads show up at lighted porches to chow down on the insects that head for the light.

Links: Interesting -- DaveG just linked to my post about Quonset Huts here in Prescott; in addition to a fistful of blogs, he maintains a page devoted to all you ever wanted to know about those versatile, semi-tubular structures. And, I hate to admit it, my frogs are but nothing compared to the Genuine R.E.D. Griffin in a streetscape down in Tucson. I want it so very badly.


Anonymous said...

Nice colection of frogs and toads. I don't suppose your toads hibernate, too warm there.

Granny J said...

steve -- that's precisely why the spadefoot toad spends most of its time in hibernation, coming out only when there's been that rare summer rain in the desert. On the other hand, I recall catching toads when I was a little one down in Phoenix, but we lived in an area of orange groves which were irrigated on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

GJ, makes sense. If I would have followed your link I would have read it. I went back and checked the links.

Steve in Germany

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

Ah, the nights of 'Ted the Toad' on the back steps at Marquette St.


Anonymous said...

Children love frogs (and tadpoles).

I remember the awe I felt as I watch the tadpole-to-frog transformation.

Amazing... and they're cute!

Never could bring myself to chew on frogs' legs when offered at a southern restaurant.

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

steve -- the toads need those short-lived ponds & puddles for a new crop of toads.

bro -- I guessed that you would reminisce about Ted the Toad!

anon av -- I recall seeing the mid-Hassayampa up in the Bradshaws in spring, with the edges black with little polliwogs.

The Frame and I said...

This is too fun - I have been listening to the toads at night (in Paulden) and really enjoying their "song".

Granny J said...

frame -- my evening music is a pair of crickets somewhere in my house. I don't think I've ever heard a frog or a toad hereabouts. Heard them a lot when I was a teenster down in Florida.

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