Friday, July 21, 2006

A Toad in Hand

There is no picture of the toad today, because I didn't have a camera in the pool with me.

109 degrees, and I was just getting out of the tepid pool to return to what would feel like an icy 78, when I spotted something swimming along beside me. Yes, it was the toad. I waded through the chest-deep water towards the toad, thinking it would see the monolithic predator approaching, turn tail and swim like mad in the opposite direction. The toad swam towards me instead, so I held out my hand, and the toad swam to it, climbed onto it, and relaxed.

I stood there a while, thinking captions and lines for the scenes.

"Yup, just went swimmin' with ma toad."
"Sand Swims With Toads."
"Sand and Toad Together."
"The Toad Whisperer."
"Toady In The Water."
"How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Toad."
"Someone is going to come out of the house and think I like this toad."

Eh. What's not to like about a toad who manages to traverse 80 feet of overgrown shrubs, a papyrus labyrinth, a patio cluttered with chairs and barbecue stuff -- and find the swimming pool again? This is a toad with guts. When the heat wave breaks, I may relocate Toad to the river; if I can catch the little toad, I may try to convince him (God, I hope it's a him, I don't want toadspawn in the pool -- yechh!) once again to live by the water garden out front. Maybe by then the water lily will be in there. I could even make a little toad house on the shady side of the pond...

Before the heat got ugly this morning, I was out at the ranch to clean the horse's paddock and take him for a 40-minute hack through the orchards. By the time we got back, the sun was up and hitting the fenceline.

The people who own the ranch planted a "perennial morning glory" on the fence. I've watched it grow, wondering how long they would tolerate the invasive and exponential growth of the beautiful but damnable plant. They don't seem to mind.

Interestingly enough, the color that you see in the digital photograph -- a lovely blue -- is not what the flowers look like. They're purple. Deep, royal purple.

Is that something in the nature of photography that I don't know about, like how I can never get a good focus on bright, bright reds?

I played with Photoshop and color enhancements until I got a pic that looked more like what I saw ... that would be the second photo.

The plant is called ipomoea indica, by the way. If you have a space in your temperate garden that needs everything else for fifty feet covered up and killed, this is the plant for you.

Looks nice on Carol's fence, though.

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