Sunday mornings, in bed with a cup of coffee, or late at night in bed again, are my moments writing for the blog, with a silly kitten jumping on top of the computer, me saving my post every minute, as a loony (very important if you don’t want lost words, caused by a silly jumping kitten on your keyboard!).
We are actually “dog” people, but we do have cats. I present you “Point”, “full stop” in English, kitten aquired from the neighbours (sadly the French don’t believe in sterilizing). She must think she’s the biggest toad in the puddle!
We also have “Virgule” (comma in English), an eight year old cat, always at ease, adopted by us from the animal protection in Carcassonne. Virgule is “tricoloré “ as the French call a cat with three colours. She had cancer on her ears, so they were amputated and hence she was considered ugly as toad here, she was not wanted by anybody but us.
Often in the evenings, there it is, only one sound to be heard (except me telling Point off): the sound of the toads in our backyard. We have a water pit, in the beginning assumed to be a well, full of toads. Do you know the poor female often carries the lazy male on her back, bringing him to their breeding ground? Each year they return to where they were born, to breed again. Nocturnal weather predictors they are, singing their hearts out in the evenings when rain is to be expected the next day.
When I was still living in Belgium, the kids and I were volunteers in the city program to bring toads safely from one side of the road to the other side. Extinction was luring in our region, so one does what one can to help.
Great was my surprise when sitting here in the South of France on my terrace, after trying to locate the weird sound we heard all evening, to discover it was a tiny toad. Late at night, with bats flying around the house, the toads provide us with their concerts. Summer nights also give us nightingales’ concerts and early springtime mornings offer the specific whistle of two pairs of golden aureoles (a bright yellow nearly extinct bird arriving at the end of spring and being the bringer of sunny days). Yeah I know, spoiled sods, that’s what we are!
The toads we have in our garden are the normal ones, meaning from this region. Some years ago we had the American species, God knows how they got in the field. You don’t want them around! When they sing it is as if there is an enormous giant toad somewhere close, yelling at you!
Did you know that toads have four fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot? They’ll never bite you, they don’t have teeth, but frogs do! They are our saviors, known to help our garden grow, by keeping the insect population down: they can eat as many as ten thousand insects in a single summer.
We recently found some tadpoles in the old bath tub, used as a water through for our horse and donkeys, in the field. So close near the start of winter, we wondered?
One must keep in mind that, in the Middle Ages, the toad was a witch’s animal, giving me sewing ideas for Halloween!
Are toads common where you live? Do you hear them? Do you like their song?
By this I gave you a bit of an insight to what I hear and have around me when I’m busy writing to you!