Saturday, August 12, 2023

Marshmallow the narrow-mouthed toad

To celebrate my successful thesis defense, I took the kids to the pool. We stopped by at a neighbour's house to pick up some science-y stuff she was giving away...and ended up walking away with a million old copies of National Geographic magazines and a bucket of figs. 

"I thought you'd be out celebrating," she said. 

And...I mean...we were headed to the pool, were we not?

We're not huge on big celebrations over here. An afternoon at the pool—not worrying about anything at all (except potential drownings...because y'all know I can't help but worry about something, right)—sounded lovely to me. 

First we ate the figs because we didn't want to attract wasps. 

Funny thing—and this is all anecdotal evidence, so keep in mind that I have no idea what I'm talking about—but my kids who spent time in the Middle East (Rachel and Miriam) gobbled up the figs, even though we only had one good fig year in North Carolina, and they haven't really had figs since then. 

My littler kids, who hadn't really been exposed to figs before, were a little skeptical about the fruit. Phoebe ended up eating about six of them, but she wasn't quite sure about that first bite.

Most of the little kids only had one fig each.

We had a lovely time swimming, though I'm a little sad to see evidence of fall approaching. It's still so strange to me that the trees and things down here are always so eager for autumn—it's still as hot as can be! But they're letting their leaves flutter down into the pool in ever-increasing numbers, which is how we know summer is waning (because the temperature sure isn't giving any indication there's a switch in seasons coming).

Benjamin rescued a little narrow-mouth toad from one of the pool filter baskets. Little critters are always getting in there and dying and...I appreciate when they are rescued before they die...because I prefer swimming with live frogs than with dead ones. You'd think that frogs would have a hard time drowning, being aquatic creatures and all, but they actually often drown in swimming pools (if the number of dead frogs we've found in the pool filters is any indication).

Don't let me tell you about the time Zoë found a dead salamander in the pool filter, insisted it was still alive, and played with it the entire time we were at the pool! It was so gross!

Anyway, here's the little toad on a kick-board rescue raft:

And here it is at home:

It rode home in the empty ice cream bucket, that previously held the figs, and is now living in an empty animal cracker bin. Its name is Marshmallow, and though Benjamin seems to be keeping Marshmallow fairly happy on a diet of crickets and beetles and worms, Marshmallow will soon be returned to the wilderness area surrounding the pool (and will hopefully stay away from the pool this time).


  1. Hey! I was 6 or 7 then!*

    *when I played with the dead salamander.😳

    1. We all do weird stuff as kids! :) No shame in that!