This morning I pulled the patio furniture out from storage. We enjoyed our first morning coffee of the year on the deck and discussed how the grass needed to be cut. During our coffee time, two finches came by to bathe in the birdbath.
Melissa went inside to fetch a pitcher of water. She washed out the basin, then filled it with clean water. Since our water is from a well, it’s not chlorinated. The birds like that, and it wasn’t long until another finch came by to splash about in the cool water.
Later I mowed our yard. After sitting through the winter the John Deere, had three flat tires, a dead battery and the blades need to be sharpened. It had plenty of white polka dots left by birds, on the green hood and yellow seat. On a brighter note, it had one good tire, it jump started easily and the blades were good enough to get me by this time.
The lawn really wasn’t that bad - more shaggy than tall. There were some patches that were about nine inches tall, mostly around the septic tank. As will happen when cutting the grass for the first time of the season, I came across critters that have claimed homestead; living in that taller grass.
I let the snake slither away unscathed. I told the mice and voles, “You better run for your life! If the mower doesn’t get you, that snake will - and the ravens will take what he misses!”
I let off the gas when I saw something hopping in the grass. A big fat handsome toad - well, as handsome as a toad can be.
An old 70’s song immediately started playing in my mind: Jim Stafford, I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes. Especially the part where he sings, “I got silly and I found a frog, in the water by a hollow log, and I shook it at her and said, ‘This frogs for you!’” I had an idea.
I turned off the mower and chased that toad. Picking him up in my right hand I assured him, “I’m not going to hurt you, little fella. I just need you to help me with a little fun.”
We went in through the kitchen door - the toad and me. “Melissa,” I called, “Can you come to the kitchen.” She replied, concerned, “What is it? Are you okay? Did you injure yourself?” What a vote of confidence. “No I didn’t injure myself. I’m fine, I just need you to come to the kitchen.”
She called out with her second concern, “You didn’t run over a family of baby bunnies, did you?” “No I didn’t run over any bunnies. Just come out here.”
Melissa walked into the kitchen. I was holding my hand behind my back. When she got within arms length, I presented the toad. I shook it at her and I said, “This frog’s for you!” I laughed my fool head off!
Melissa, looking directly into the big eyes of the little amphibian about four inches from her face, screamed! The toad screamed, then wet himself in my hand. June jumped up to see if it was something that could be used to play catch. Edgar sat on the kitchen bench unimpressed with it all and said, “People are so weird.”
I started to run for the door, with the toad. Once a safe distance from the angry woman, I asked, “Do you like it?” “It’s not even a frog - that’s a toad, now get it out of this house!” “But I got him for you...” I pleaded. “Out! Now!” It didn’t seem like she was going to change her mind, so we left - me and the toad.
I took him outside and set him on the edge of the birdbath. “You might want to stay up here while I finish mowing.” I told him. He sniffed the water. “Hey, the water isn’t chlorinated!” He said. “Nope. It’s well water.” I replied. He smiled. “I like that.”
As I finished mowing, with each pass I kept looking over at the birdbath. The toad was still there, just watching me. When I was done I put the mower away, then went back to check on the toad. He was gone.
Most likely he found his way back to his home. From the taller grass between the septic tank lids where the mower doesn’t reach, I heard a small voice telling someone, or some other critter, “After an ordeal like that, it’s good to be home.”
I climbed the steps up onto the deck where I found the kitchen door locked. I must have bumped the lock in my hurry to get out. I walked to the front door, it was locked too. Hmm. The garage door was also locked and the spare key wasn’t in it’s hiding place.
I returned to the front porch and knocked on the door, “Honey?” There was no answer. I knocked again, a tad bit louder, “Honey! The doors are all locked...Melissa? Sweetie? Are you in there?”
It’s good to be home.