Toads

Honest to god, I thought these things getting into the swimming pool that are about thumbnail sized were frogs.  Nope; they’re baby toads.  It actually makes sense.  Oh, they look like frogs at that size, but if you think about it, tadpoles, or polliwogs (whatever you prefer to call them), are already larger than these things, before they grow limbs.  Today, I fished a dozen dead ones out of the pool, along with a real, rather large frog.  The frog wasn’t quite bullfrog sized, but it was up there.

All the toads were dead.  Evidently, they can’t handle calcium hypochlorite and chlorine.  The frog was alive, and swimming faster than I could chase it with the leaf skimmer.  I finally herded it to the seating shelf at the deep end, where it took the initiative to hop out onto the surrounding patio.  It really wanted back into the pool, but I kept nudging it with the skimmer toward the fence.  When it hopped as far as the fence, it refused to jump through.  By then, I was ticked off, so I whacked it pretty hard with the skimmer.  That did the trick.  Not sure whether it made it back down to the pond, but it did jump through the fence as though it had been hit by lightning.  Perhaps one of the blue herons made a meal out of it.

Last year, frogs would get into the pool after a thunderstorm.  Some were only a few inches long; some were larger.  I had never seen toads outside the foundation plantings by the annex until a couple of days ago.  Toads like damp, shady places, and there is nothing remotely shady around our pool, during daylight, anyway.  This is new, to me, at least.  The good news is that they can’t handle the pool chemicals, so they just float around, dead, for me to scoop out.

It sounds a little disgusting, scooping out dead fauna, along with the flora, but it also means my chemical levels are okay, without reeking of chlorine.  If the pH gets too high, it’s easy to adjust with some HCl.  This revives my chemical engineering training, which makes me think “Hell, yeah, I can do this!”

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