Last night during a break in the storm, I heard them. At a distance at first, then in the backyard and soon right beneath my window. The rain had been deafening just minutes before, so it’s no surprise they waited. Now with just the whistling sound of the wind in the pines, they began their chorus. The frogs were croaking. Despite their small size (around an inch or so when seated) Pacific Tree Frogs can create quite a ruckus. They seem to really enjoy rain and it does seem to bring out their frisky side. Every year about this time, they begin their mating ritual. First they must find a partner. This seems to be no easy feat since they put quite a bit of effort into it. These tiny little creature try to get as much vocal range as possible. I often find them in buckets and empty pots where their voice gets amplified just ever so slightly. Once I even located one down the pipe of a chain link fence, each croak reverberating in the metal.
In areas closer to the coast, small spring ponds and mud puddles would fill up with these tiny little Romeos and their song would be almost deafening. That is until a neighborhood dog or cat wandered into their little party. Then it was lights out! No one’s home. But soon they would begin again. Since there is only a small water feature in my backyard, I don’t draw nearly the crowd. But it has been enough at times to have roommates complain about the noise. Noise? How could they complain about such a wonderful sound? Didn’t they know what it meant? I did.
For me the croaking of the frogs in late winter signifies that the season is about to change. Spring is almost here. As a gardener, even in mild California, winter always seems a bit too long. Anything that even hints that warmth is on its way is well received. The frogs announcement of the change in seasons is also my queue to start my tomato seeds. With a recommended indoor starting date of 6-8 weeks before the last frost, my little amphibian friends have never failed to remind me of what I need to do. And they are never wrong.
So last night when I was lying awake listening to the frogs, I pondered the coming veggie season. Would this be a good tomato year? Would we have another cold summer with lack luster results? What about early or late blights? Who knew? I don’t think the frogs do. Or if they do, they don’t care. They go about their mating season the same way each year. With the joy that comes with a new season, a new start and undefined potential. The season would be whatever it would be. All they cared about is the very next step. So like the frogs, I stopped worrying about the entire season and focused on the next step. What seeds would I sow tomorrow.
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-21512730-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);