Frogs on the Farm

“Frogs on the Farm” was originally written and published on March 30, 2017, a time when I had very few readers. I have decided to share it again today because for various reasons I haven’t got my usual “Spring is Springing” post ready. Be assured that spring is here: the birds have returned from their winter homes, the trees are beginning to bud, the daffodils, iris’s, lily’s and even the garlic are emerging from underground and the frogs are singing. More on that soon. ūüôā

Original Post published March 30, 2017

Last week on one of our sap cooking days, in addition to helping keep the fire going, I took on the secondary chore of raking the leaves out of the pond. As I came up with one rake full of leaves and shook them into the pile just beyond the beach, this frog hopped out of the leaves.

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I felt kind of guilty about awakening him or her, because I was yet to see or hear any frogs this spring. It did however spend a good deal of time sunning itself on the beach. It wasn’t until one of the chickens came running up behind it that it took¬†a three foot¬†leap back into the safety of the pond.

It was two days later that we heard the frogs for the first time this year. I remember my mom telling me, that her mom had told her, that after you hear frogs for the first time in the spring you will have three more freezes.¬†Although I’m always excited to hear the frogs in the spring, I haven’t really tested this theory.

Frogs and toads lived on our farm before we put in the pond. I remember the first spring there were tadpoles that had hatched in a puddle of water and my husband was dumping buckets of water in the puddle to keep it from drying up before the tadpoles reached their adolescent stage of life.

Our property does provide the perfect habitat for frogs and toads. The pond offers conditions needed for frogs to lay eggs, for the eggs to hatch into tadpoles and for the tadpoles to live until they grow legs and their lungs develop so they can leave the water. This can take over a year for bull frogs. Even mature frogs, who can live out of water, continue to need a wet area to keep their skin from drying out. Not only does our farm have the pond but we have wooded areas where the ground is covered with dead leaves that keep the ground moist even in the hot and dry summer conditions.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources article that I have linked below of the more than 3400 species of frogs/toads only 13 live in Michigan. I am certain we have at least 4 species that populate our farm.

Frogs and toads are wonderful for pest control. The aforementioned article relates that a single frog will consume thousands of insects per year. Last year we discovered that we were reaping the benefits of this.¬†As we picked¬†our bountiful harvest of strawberries ¬†https://donteatitsoap.com/2016/06/30/strawberries-at-last/¬†last June my husband and I spoke several times about the fact that we did not have any slugs eating the berries. This is a problem the we have had with strawberries we have grown at the house in the past. It wasn’t until my husband told me that he had been surprised by a frog hiding in the strawberry patch, while he was picking berries, that I realized that¬†this frog was probably enjoying a regular diet of slugs and any other pests that threatened¬†to consume our¬†strawberry crop. I am hopeful that a frog will take up residence in the strawberry patch again this year.

Frogs are a good indicator of the health of wetlands, ponds, lakes and such as they do not survive in polluted areas. The Michigan DNR article that I have linked below explains that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are a threat to frog populations; not only can the chemicals kills frogs and toads, but the pesticides also reduce their food supply.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_12145_12201-35089–,00.html

The frogs on our farm are also entertaining. In the summer time when we walk around the edge of the pond the frogs jump into the pond one right after the next. It’s kind of funny because there may be 50-100 frogs sitting around the outer edge of the pond. The dogs like to chase the frogs but rarely are they able to catch them. Last year Scout spent hours in the evenings looking for frogs along the edge of the pond, he enjoyed the search immensely even though he never caught any. After dark¬†we are often treated to a campfire symphony, in surround sound I might add, as the several different species of frogs sing from different areas of the farm.

While not everyone has the luxury of being able to put a pond on their property I have included the following link for those who may be interested in creating a frog habitat. I would encourage you to read through the end of the article, as it does explain that the best way to introduce frogs to this habitat is to let them come to it naturally and this may take a year or more. It also explains that not all parts of the U.S. are favorable for creating frog habitats.

https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2000/Want-to-Host-a-Garden-Party-for-Frogs.aspx

23 thoughts on “Frogs on the Farm

    1. Cool! It’s a little early for that here but expect to see it later this sprig. We have seen some bull frog tadpoles in the pond but they are still there frog last year since they take longer to mature.

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  1. I remember tadpoles from when I was a kid. We kids would dip a clean pickle jar or tall jam jar into the water and bring it home – I’d have to sneak it into the basement so my mother didn’t see it or they went straight back where they came from. I saw an article on social media recently about Michigan’s frogs and their noises – I think it was on Crosswinds Nature Preserve/Marsh – I was amazed and didn’t know there were so many kinds … I only hear the bullfrogs here. Spring is around – the shipping season opened today at the Soo locks.

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    1. I can pretty much identify a tree frog, or toad by sight or a bull frog or tree frog by sound but other than that I’m not sure I can tell them apart. I probably would have been like you mom if my kids would have brought them home. LOL!
      Spring is here for sure. I wonder how the shipping industry will fare this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I think my mom pictured those tadpoles getting legs to hop up into the kitchen. LOL! I once had two tropical fish in a fishbowl. I bought them at the pet shop a few blocks away. They were called “Kissing Gouramis” and one chased the other out of the bowl. My mom went downstairs to do the laundry and saw one of them lying on the floor – it had a long drop as it sat on a table. She was not going to touch it but I came home and she said “your fish is on the floor” – she was not keen on having fish. I picked it up with a paper towel and it moved – it had been hours – how was it alive, but it was. I put it back in the bowl and it was none the worse for its adventure!

        Yes, Spring for sure with shipping season opening up, so I wonder how the Coronavirus will affect shipping with their close quarters?

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    1. I have tied to pay attention to when I first hear them and the weather after but haven’t really put a lot of effort into it – like writing anything down. I just know that Hearing them especially in the spring makes me happy. ūüôā

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  2. Froggies! *squeal* Love them.

    I live across the street from a river. We have a Riverwalk and, when it gets dark, the frogs and toads hop around the Riverwalk. I have several pix.

    I’ve had the little buggers get in the house. I try to shoo them back out. I would never want to hurt one. Growing up on my grandmother’s farm, I had a healthy respect for frogs, toads, garter snakes, honey bees, bumbles, the gi-hugic garden spiders (orb weavers) and every creepy-crawly you could think of.

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    1. I love hearing them. The first time I heard a bull frog I was wondering who in the area had a cow. DUH, It took me a while to realize it was a frog. Sometimes it seems like we have a sassy one at the farm because my husband will make a wise crack them the bull frog will respond. It’s happened many times and I always laugh.
      I also love sitting out on a summer night and listening to the chorus – tree frogs, bull frogs and others.
      One year we witnessed toad mating day. We first heard all the singing or calling coming from the pond area then when we went to look at the pond there were hundreds – maybe thousands of toads mating. There were still more making their way to the pond. It was amazing – my pictures didn’t come out to well though.
      I have seen tree frogs on or around our deck but none in the house – yet. LOL.
      Since having our farm I have learned to appreciate so many creatures and their purposes.

      Liked by 1 person

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