Rage Against the Raccoons

The raccoons have been frolicking in the pond all week but this is the fourth day in a row that they’ve knocked over the pots and shredded plants. And that’s it. The net is going back on the pond. Sorry toads and frogs.

My primary concern is not the fish, it’s the plants. That one calla lily cost ten times more than all the cheap comet goldfish in my pond. The waterlily that Pam/Digging shared with me was just about to bloom. Now it’s partially torn from the pot and the bud has been bit in half. And the raccoons ripped through the canna leaves that the hail left undamaged.

raccoon damage
Shredded calla lily.

Ultimately, though, what I can’t put up with is the way the raccoons stir up the pond and turn the water all mucky. After we bought the bio/mechanical filter and the water cleared, we discovered how much we really enjoyed the water and being able to watch the fish in it. Now it’s murky and dank. If there are any fish left, I can’t see them. Sitting by the pond has lost its charm.

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Poor Richard’s Almanac: Raccoon 1, Gardeners 0

Bog Garden Comes to Life

Imagining the bog garden is a much easier when we get a month’s worth of rain in about 15 minutes. Even without any roof runoff the holes I’ve been digging to collect water fill quickly. The water overflows into the lawn and is slowed temporarily by the berm before rushing around it and flooding the garage.

Note to self: dig deeper holes.

This morning’s downpour was intense. I cringe to see all that precious water running off. My rainbarrels were already full from the rain the other day.

Note to self: get bigger rainbarrels.

My rain-catching terraces are having some effect in slowing down the runoff. The amount of rain pouring off the place where the roof forms a valley by the front door looked like someone had opened a fire hydrant. I think it would have overwhelmed any guttering system. Must check to see how VBDB’s new rainwater collection system handled this storm.

Gulf Coast Toad

Although the new pond attached to the garden house isn’t ready for fish or plants, wildlife has already discovered it. Feral cats and grackles both drink from it. Dragonflies or damselflies (I can’t tell them apart yet) hover over it, alighting on potted plants nearby. And the last two nights we’ve heard the deep croaking of some toad.

While skimming leaves from the surface, I discovered this stringy ick, which AJM (raised in far wetter clime than I) recognized immediately as toad spawn. This morning I saw a toad creep out of the pond and hop off to the back forty. It was barely dawn so I couldn’t get a very good photo. I think it is Bufo valliceps, the Gulf Coast Toad.

Gulf Coast Toad

When I Googled “frog spawn” I got a lot of sites in the UK. Do Americans call it something else? The UK sites are aimed at helping children protect frogs and toads and raise them to release. One site said that toads only mate where they are spawned. But that can’t be true since this toad mated in a pond that didn’t exist a year ago.