Monday, 3 July 2017

Frogs Frogs Frogs, Geocrinia Leai to be precise

My frog research continues.  Last time I mentioned that the frogs that sing their cacophony of tck tck tcks outside the back door each evening are from the Geocrinia family, and that I knew there were only half a dozen varieties and only three on the south coast.  I have been doing an intrepid David Attenborough impersonation, creeping around, trying to find one of the frogs so I could identify it.
Success!  At long last while slowly parting masses of thick Mondo grass, I found a teeny tiny frog hiding at the bottom.  The poor love then had to endure a photo shoot, but was returned unharmed soon afterwards.  That is a teaspoon alongside so as you can see, this is a very small frog.
After hours of research, I now know that our frogs are Geocrinia leai, or Lea's Frog or Ticking Frog.  Common as muck in the coastal southwest of WA.  I was hoping for the rare one, Geocrinia lutea or Walpole Frog which is rare as it is only found in a very tiny area around Walpole.  I had visions of a few that had found their way over to us and imagined the thrill of a new colony of rare little frogs!  Nevertheless, I adore our Lea's frogs, despite their lack of endangered status ha ha.
Now I know who lives here, more research gave me more accurate information about the many masses of frog's eggs laid behind the mondo grass.
Some of the Geocrinia frogs' eggs develop fully into tadpoles within the jelly, so no pools of water needed for development.  I thought that's what our frogs did.  But not quite.  Lea's frogs lay their eggs in grasses overhanging winter waterways where the eggs develop into tiny tadpoles within the jelly, and what happens is that when the rains begin in earnest, the jelly starts to dissolve, and eventually the tiny tadpoles drop through the thin jelly into the waterway below where they develop into frogs over the next three months.  So our frogs' eggs are doomed as there is no water source beneath my Mondo grass, only pebbled steps.  I have been busy positioning some shallow water containers in the garden beds, and replanted heaps of Mondo grass around these, so hopefully the frogs will use this instead.  In the meantime I had a good look around at the bottom of the Mondo grass and found a few sludgy areas of dissolving jelly, with live tadpoles within.... so I've transferred those to the shallow containers in the garden in the hope of saving some of them, and a week later they are still alive so I'm pleased. Okay I shall shut up about frogs now :-)
It has suddenly become wet and cold, winter has arrived with a bang!  The broccolini is growing well and we are eating it every other day.  Steve had a dig around and found some new potatoes, so with that and some fish from the freezer, Breaksea Cod and Orange Wrass from Steve and Laurie's fishing expedition a few weeks ago, we enjoyed a delicious dinner.
On July 1st the creek started running, we love it when the creek runs.  The dug out section at the bottom filled up beautifully and looks wonderful although a little muddy for the first few days.
 I love pools. 
And I love the fungi that pops up everywhere amongst rotting logs when the weather is cool and damp.
My Albany Bottlebrush, Callistemon glaucus, is growing well now and is putting on a lovely show of flowers.  It's been in the ground for 4 years and I reckon it took 3 to settle down and grow well, I hope it continues.
I love watching this statue in the back garden that Michelle gave us.  It changes as it weathers.  I still haven't thought of a name for her.
I was thrilled to bits to see Peg the magpie turn up a couple of days ago, asking for some rolled oats for breakfast.  In the past the magpies warble outside our front door regularly, but I haven't seen Peg for over a year, I thought she might have died.  But no, here she is looking healthy and happy, despite only having one foot.
And with her is the gorgeous Gerald-who-is-a-girl, again, we haven't seen her for ages either.  I love the patterning on female magpies' backs, beautiful scalloping but each bird is very slightly different.  The males have a solid white back.
Mr Peacock and his women also wandered in for a visit, they had a bit of a poke around, decided there was no party here, and leisurely wandered off home next door.
I have been making use of the wet weather to continue on with my crocheted blanket squares, 27 out of 36 finished now.  There have been a lot of hours put into this, I estimate about six hours per square, then I have to join them and do a border.
 It's been a learning curve, I have crocheted off and on for years, but only simple stuff.  I have surprised myself, but have to thank the brilliant Esther who produced marvelous instructional videos for each and every square.  This is the most complex one, isn't it pretty!
As my current embroidery project nears completion, I have decided to try and do an embroidery of our house and where it sits, so I've been taking photos whilst contemplating what to do, I am thinking blackwork so I'll need to do a load of photoshopping to alter one of my photos to suit.  Anyway, it struck me when I was taking photos how our house has now seated itself into its environment, it's 'nestled' now, rather than perched.  I like it.
Here's a comparison photo taken in December 2012, just after the house was finished.  That looks perched.  Now the gardens have grown the house looks like it was meant to be here.  :-)
On that note, it's raining outside again so I shall start crochet square number 28 and listen to my audio book....crochet and audio books are a match made in heaven.  Currently I am listening to book 3 of a fantasy series called Lightbringer by Brent Weeks, pretty good.

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