Yesterday, I decided to venture forth into the jungle that is my garden to see what kind of damage the weeds have wrought, unchecked as they have been, lo these past three months.  My herbs have managed to hold their own against the weeds (some of them being weeds themselves), and I’ve been helping them along by “pruning” (okay, eating) them occasionally.

A friend had given me some of her extra tomato plants back in April, and they have been thriving, thanks to the red mulch and tomato ladders (oh yeah, and that super something in the NJ soil).

They’re almost ready to eat, but not quite yet.  As I was tying back some unruly branches, some green tomatoes fell to the ground, so I decided to have fried green tomatoes for dinner.  I cooked up some dandelion greens to go with them and topped it off with some fresh purslane, which is an absolutely delicious weed growing in our lawn.  Mmm. The only thing that would have made the dinner better might have been a little chèvre.

On my way back to the house, I passed the pond, which has COMPLETELY overgrown.  Last year I had planted some Anacharis to help filter out some of the decomposing material in the pond.  It’s cheap and apparently a very efficient oxygenator, and I figured if my one frog was still alive, he’d want some oxygen in the pond, no?  One of the common names for Anacharis is “waterweed,” and now I know why!  This stuff has taken over!  The good news is that it’s highly nutrient-rich, so all I have to do is harvest it and throw it on the compost pile for some bangin’ compost…if only I can GET to my compost pile through all the weeds.

I had given up on my one little froggy, since I hadn’t seen him all spring.  I figure he had lived in that pond for well nigh five years, and that’s pretty long for a frog.  But as I passed the pond, instead of hearing the huge croak-SPLASH I’ve gotten so used to hearing when my frog jumps into the pond, I heard eep!-splish! splish!

TWO frogs!  Two little frogs!  So the big frog has gone to the great pond in the sky, but left behind his/her(?) spawn.  I’m surprised there aren’t more frogs (maybe there are, and I just didn’t see them), but I guess my pond is kinda small…plus it’s sort of crowded, what with all the Anacharis about.

I managed to capture one of them with my camera (although in this shot, you can barely see him).  You can see my floating frog house on the left-hand side, which I’ve kept in the pond since winter.  The Anacharis is everywhere!

This shot is a little better.  He actually stood still, eyeing me while I took multiple pictures with my camera, trying not to fall into the pond.  When I got too close, he slipped gracefully into the water.

I know the cats enjoy catching and eating frogs; when I originally bought a bag full of tadpoles back in 2003, I was horrified to find vivisected frog carcasses every so often littering the pathways of the garden.  But perhaps that’s because there were too many frogs for one pond, and they were leaving the safety of the water.

Perhaps it was just nature correcting the balance.  Because recently, the cats haven’t seemed too interested in the pond, other than as a place to snooze.  I sure hope they leave the frogs alone right now, because they’re doing their bit to remove mosquitoes from the environment, and I’m all for that.

Backyard Habitat
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