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Farming Foibles: Flat Toad Road

Nothing makes me happier than to see fat, happy toads in my garden (or elsewhere in the yard). Mr. Toad seems to be an indicator that things are okay on our property (I could be making that up, but I like to think it's true). We try very hard to make our property a place where nature can thrive. This means there is some untidyness. We have piles of brush, and a little strip of woods that we let go feral, two acres of what I shall romantically call pasture, and tall growing plants here and there. All of these things together create what I like to call Habitat. Habitat fosters biodiversity. Biodiversity is a sign that we're doing something right.    

It's hard to quantify biodiversity. It appears fleetingly as the fox trots across the front yard, the pheasant ducks into the tree line, the possum wanders across the deck, the skunk babies tumble in the yard, and as Mr. Toad hops through the garden. We try to support the local wildlife the best we can (mouse bits for Mr. Possum, habitat for everybody else). Sadly, I have no photos of Mr. Toad, so you'll have to settle for skunk babies and Mr. Fox.

A year or so ago, Mr. Toad joined us in the garden shed during a brief cloudburst. He immediately hopped under some shelving and well out of reach. Our shed gets hot when it's closed, and this was August, so I put a dish of water on the shed floor to lure him out from behind things (of which there are a lot) and keep him alive. After 4-5 days of periodic checking, we finally found Mr. Toad (somewhat lethargic but alive) near the water dish. He was relocated out into the shade and hopefully survived.  

One interesting way I've come to measure the biodiversity of our property against that of the surrounding land is by looking at the road. Ben and I like to take walks down the road during not-winter. Over the past few years I have noticed that the only place on the one mile stretch of country road where there are flattened toads is in front of our property. This would indicate that the only place where Mr. Toad lives is at our house. It makes me happy that we have enough toads for some of them to be flattened, but it also makes me sad that there is so little habitat and biodiversity along my road. Mr. Toad, I understand you have an adventurous soul and a yen to travel (especially when it is wet out), but please stay on this side of the road, it's so much nicer over here. This is the land of bugs and happiness.

If you can, make a little spot of untidyness in your yard to support biodiversity. Mr. Toad will thank you.

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