Geoff McCabe

Frog Versus Cat

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Frog and Cat

Every night now, these cute green tree frogs gather at the swimming pool and make an incredible amount of noise. We’ve had a lot of rain, and the salinity of the pool has dropped considerably. So much so that the frogs are now swimming around in it freely, laying their eggs, and we even see happy tadpoles! Who would have thought this is possible in a salt water swimming pool?

The frogs normally come every year to visit ponds and swimming pools in the area. Most pools are chlorine and the frogs who lay their eggs in them will never be parents. I doubt salt water breeders have much luck either.

We had no frogs last year, and I feel that’s because we’ve added so much LIFE to this place during the last year. Dozens of truckloads of cow and chicken manure, plus hundreds of varieties of seeds and trees are now growing on the 20 acres of Rancho Delicioso, and all this fecundity is being noticed by the wildlife here. That’s not necessarily a good thing for a farmer… we’ve had problems with iguanas, deer, coyotes, foxes, and now possibly a rat or something like it is taking bites out of certain plants. We’ve had invasions of caterpillars too, such as a monstrous horde that had a penchant for arugula, leaving us nothing but stalks.

The jungle will try to reclaim this land, and organic or not, we have to prevent it. I don’t see it as a war against nature, but more it’s more that we must come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. We will allow a certain amount of colonization of medicinal herbs. Many weeds are nitrogen fixers that will help us repair the soil. Other deep-rooted ones will reach down into the earth and help to bring up minerals to the surface. Birds will eat bugs we don’t like, and bats eat mosquitos. Both will fertilize everything here.

There’s a certain amount of temptation to take easy solutions such as using poison, but so far we’ve opted for the more clever methods, such as using planting biodiversity, or simply doing everything we can to coax our plants to simply outgrow their hungry enemies.

We’re only a year and a half into this, and so far it’s working, outshining all our expectations.