Wednesday, July 12 2006
Weeks ago I became aware of mysterious turds being left on the stone walkway to the front door. They were each about an inch in length and always appeared solo. They could have been cat turds, I supposed, but why only one? Was this some sort of passive-aggressive demonstration by one of ours? (I wouldn't put it past Lulu.) But there they were, every morning, sometimes scattered here and there dozens of feet apart. What could be laying them? Most wildlife stays clear of the house because of either the dogs or the cats. But there is one form of wildlife that doesn't care one way or the other about them: toads. We have lots of them. An inch-long turd coming out of a creature no bigger than your fist seems extreme, but I did some research online and that's the way toads defecate. Being cold blooded and having low metabolisms, I can't imagine they head to the can all that often. But when they do, their weight decreases by an appreciable fraction.
I've taken to adding the toad turds (along with dead rodents left by the cats) to the various flowerpots in the yard. I'm sure they're rich in nutrients useful for the tomatoes, herbs, and sunflowers we have planted. When I collect the turds, they often fall apart, revealing the many insect parts of which they're comprised. Based on their contents, it seems that large ants comprise the bulk of toad diets in our neighborhood.
I spent another full day installing drywall in the garage, though my work was slowed by the discovery that three of the intra-stud spaces in the wall nearest the house had been sealed up with drywall without ever having had insulation installed. So I used a hole saw to make a hole at the top of each space and then methodically filled each all the way to the top with styrofoam popcorn. Gretchen had assembled a whole trash bag of the stuff and it was great to finally find a use for all of it. The volume I had to fill was a little over eight cubic feet, and it took hours to stuff it through the tiny access holes I'd drilled. Nevertheless, it was a satisfying experience, particularly each time a wall space filled to the height of my fill hole and could be stuffed no further.
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