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A couple of days ago we found these guys in one of our rain water barrels. They are tiny little tadpoles - probably offspring of one of our local tree frogs. We've moved them out of the rain barrels and into a good sized plastic garden pond where we'll babysit them as they grow and transform into adult frogs.
In this video they are in plastic buckets, taking a little break on the porch as we moved them from the rain barrel to the new tadpole pond. They are funny looking little things - kind of like really big commas with faces.
I'm so glad we moved them when we did. We had another strong gully washer downpour again today and the rain barrels would not have been a safe place for baby frogs.
We had so many tadpoles in the barrel that we moved some of them to a little natural pond area in the creek bed. I'm afraid that those ones have taken a very wild ride today. Hopefully they all made it safely to a nice new home somewhere downstream. Our new creek ran deep and fast today and those tadpoles are probably a few miles away by now.
We are really pleased to have found such a nice crop of young tadpoles in the rain barrel. Amphibians can be quite delicate animals and a good population of amphibians is an indication that the local environment is healthy. We don't use garden chemicals that could harm our local amphibian populations and in return they grow, prosper, and provide us with a natural form of insect control. You know your garden is a healthy place when it can be a good home for animals like frogs, toads and salamanders.
I sure hope the tadpoles that got washed away end up in a safe, pollution free environment too. Downstream locations can be such a dangerous place for amphibians. Who knows what kinds of chemicals have washed off of other people's land in this storm - and how that runoff will affect all of the animals that live in the marshy areas where the streams finally come to rest.
Coneflowers (Echinacea) are the stars of my Mid-July perennial garden, but there are a lot of other flowers in bloom as well. We also have Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), all sorts of bee balm (Monarda didyma, Monarda fistulosa and Monarda citriodora), rootbeer scented agastache, blackberry lilies, butterfly bush and Malva sylvestris (French hollyhocks) blooming right now.
We're still getting more rain than normal, but the frequency of the rain storms has tapered off and the soil in the garden is getting quite dry in between showers. That's OK - the perennials are mature enough that they have deep root systems and the dry ground is giving me a chance to get caught up (again) with my weeding.
I'm going to show you this week's blooms in two videos so you can get a feel for the abundance of flowers. As you look at the blossoms in the foreground, be sure to also notice the expanse of flowers in the background.
Many of this season's flowers are the sort that have blooms and petals that last for weeks before they start to get raggedy and fade. Eventually the individual flowers do start to look a little worn, and I really need to get out there with my clippers and harvest big bushels of blooms to feed to Connie the Cow and her goat friends.
Wow, time zooms by quickly when you're busy! Sorry for the lack of garden updates lately. We've been a little tied up making preparations for a new addition to the household.
Here he is - Danno the rescue Rottweiler! He's been here almost two full days now after traveling over 13 hours to get here.
Rescue dogs come in all shapes, sizes and breeds and each one has a different story. Danno is a smart, intense dog with fine temperament who was living in a home that didn't provide the sort of consistent, fair, firm training that he needed. His breeder intervened after she saw this promising young dog start to show high levels of uncertainty and anxiety which she knew could lead to big problems down the road.
Rescue dogs often have complicated personalities. Breeders and rescue organizations take great care to match up rescue dogs and new owners so that they have a real chance of having a successful lifetime home. Danno very much needed a home with people who could handle the high level of training, exercise and attention necessary to channel his intensity and uncertainty into confidence, obedience, and mentally stimulating work.
We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but he's doing great so far. He likes his new sisters a lot. Oldest sister Diva is a rescue who came from a home where she was attacked by other dogs in the household. (We think that her drive to steal toys from other dogs may have contributed to that situation.) Georgia Rae (6 months older than Danno) is a special needs dog with a severe heart murmur. As healthy as she appears today we have no way to predict whether she will have a shortened lifespan or a more normal length one. Georgia Rae came to us with her litter mate Luther who died on his 6 month birthday from a heart attack.
Before that we had Guinness, my first rescue dog. He was a very good dog, turned into a potentially dangerous dog because the owner didn't have the skills to train a Rottweiler. He was a lot of work - and we were able to retrain him into a loving, stable and safe dog. But wow, was he a lot of work!
Now that the flurry of activity with making Danno's travel arrangements and first adjustment days is taken care of, I'll be back to garden and flower talk in no time. Tune in tomorrow for a good look at what's currently in bloom in the July perennial garden.