Jeepers Peepers!

Hello Farm Friends!

Did that just really happen?  Was that weather real?  Whatever was going on there, we made hay while the sun shines and snuck in a whole bunch of early crops: potatoes, peas, carrots, beets, spinach and herbs.  We’ll see how they take to the reality check.

The cows liked the sunshine… initially… and sprawled out on the warm, dry ground in a state of extreme relaxation.  So extreme, and so relaxed: with their heads knocked back and legs splayed out, that they almost look like they could be dead!  Given our cow’s prominent position at roadside, we have already had a few people politely knock on our door and insist we’ve got an animal in critical condition that needs attention.  Although we always go and check, they’re actually just vibing that hard.

But by the time Friday and Saturday rolled around they (just like me) were looking for shade – we had temperatures of 31c here both days.  It wasn’t just that we were soft and unacclimated to it; it was actually hot-hot!   So life goes in Ontario. 

It’s amazing how quickly the environment can transform with just a few days of sunshine and warmth, isn’t it?  The world turned greener by the hour here over the weekend and all sorts of perennials poked out of the flower gardens.  Our garlic is growing well, and the strawberries look lovely and eager to please.  The bush has a nice palette of pastels from the tree buds and flowers, and the freshly turned earth looks black and rich. 

As pretty as it is, you can also just close your eyes, and still hear that the world is suddenly wide awake.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be daylight – and perhaps that’s when it’s loudest – as our small amphibious friends crowd recently thawed pools and waterways, noisily clamouring for romantic encounters. 

The sound of the spring peepers signals the end of maple season, and they are roaring now.  But have you ever seen one? They’re very very hard to spot!  Despite the racket they make, they’re the tiniest little guys: only an inch or so long, and weighing just a few grams.  Although you can hear them from kilometres away, and their roar can be deafening when nearby, they will all suddenly come to an immediate, still silence when they detect your presence (as though we might not have noticed they were there).  I imagine most of us will never see one.

Such is life when you’re a tender, tasty snack for birds, racoons, snakes and countless other creatures: life as a frog is about camouflage and stealth.  You want to be heard and not seen.  And so, I was quite startled by what I witnessed on Sunday evening…

The day ended with a nice warm rain shower.  We were treated to a double rainbow and I noticed that the fragrance coming off of the land was not the normal smell of spring.  After preparing supper and helping put the nuggies down for the night, I went out to the porch for my evening cigarillo.   I was not alone for very long.  The biggest Bullfrog I have seen in a while hopped out of the darkness and joined me on the porch.

Not being able to help myself, I picked him up and put him in a pail with some wet grass so that I could show the kids in the morning.  “Wow, that’s pretty funny…” I thought.  Then a Leopard Frog hopped up onto the porch with me.  “What the heck…”  Into the bucket he goes.  Then a Green Frog, then another, and another, then an American Toad, then another Leopard Frog and so on, until in all, after about fifteen minutes – astoundingly, bizarrely – 14 little green guys were piled in my bucket.  Did that just really happen?

(Following AM: some of them either escaped or wound up in the Bullfrog!)

Now, I have spent enough time smoking on the porch to know that stuff like that doesn’t just happen, and so naturally, being a superstitious and fatalistic person, I have to ask: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Surely this is some sort of sign and omen.

The frog is universally regarded as a symbolically significant animal and is featured in many mythologies.  Although often associated with fertility (a little spring peeper will lay one thousand eggs, after all) it is the amphibian’s unique life cycle: the visible and dramatic metamorphosis (which normally occurs within the womb or an eggshell) that makes it such a poignant symbol.  A perfect representation of transformation, growth and change.

We had celebrated my 40th birthday the evening before my frog friends showed up (no doubt they were watching from the bushes) and between the birth of the twins, and Hiram’s rapid development, I’ve been dwelling a lot on transformation, growth, and change.  I suppose, personally, I am finally at Adult frog.

I’ve been thinking about the farm this same way as well: it’s matured a lot.  As a business we’re still really only at Tadpole (early stages), but we’ve gone from a bootstrap, seat-of-the-pants effort, to assuming our own landbase, to developing into a full fledged part of the community.   Salt of the Earth is a long way from its mature form, but all of the growth and change we’ve accomplished has been a direct result of your ongoing support and investment in the farm. 

To look at a tadpole for the first time, you’d never guess what it was going to turn into. 

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