29 September 2021

A Happy Toad

I have just got home from a blustery walk around the village with Rick; I am on double dog walks this week while Paul is working on the oak flooring for the sitting room.  In theory this should have been a relatively straightforward process but the level concrete floor is not so level after all.  The straight walls of the room aren’t so straight either!  But he is making good progress and I am pleased with the result so far.

Where's my nice fluffy carpet gone?


 

Earlier this morning I went outside to pick some raspberries and strawberries.  The strawberry crop has just about finished but I lifted the net and swept my hand through the plants to discover any berries hiding under the leaves.  The sun was shining directly in my eyes so I didn’t realise at first that the strange object I was touching was actually a large toad!  I gave a girly shriek and then realised that the poor creature was totally tangled up in the net.  The more he struggled the more the net tightened around his neck.  Paul came to the rescue and managed to cut the net and gently free the toad.  He appeared unhurt and hopped off towards the compost heap.



 

The garden is starting to show signs of autumn but we were surprised to see the Berberis bushes giving up their leaves so early.  On closer inspection we realised that the branches were covered in small caterpillars and they had stripped the two bushes completely of their leaves.  

 

These caterpillars were the larvae of the Berberis Sawfly, an insect that only attacks Berberis and Mahonia and will completely defoliate these shrubs.  It only became established in south-east England in 2000 but has since spread throughout the country.  We have sprayed the Berberis (too many larvae to hand pick them off) and hopefully the bushes will recover.

 

17 comments:

  1. Glad you managed to free the toad - I love them.

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    1. I quite like toads, he just took me by surprise.

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  2. Your wide board wood flooring looks great. Toads are very good for the garden and it is good that you and Paul were able to release the toad from the netting. I had caterpillars on my dwarf Mugo pine shrubs and they were eating the needles leaving wood branches. Google told me to use soapy water on the shrubs to eliminate the green caterpillars.

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    1. He was lucky I went strawberry hunting and found him all tangled up.

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  3. A couple of days ago I decided to tip-over, and empty, my garden incinerator. Underneath I found a huge knobbly Toad. I put him in the undergrowth.

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    1. We used to have a lot of toads in France hiding under the stone walls.

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  4. The only toads I know anything about are disgusting Cane Toads that we have here. They are an introduced pest and we kill them whenever we can - often by putting them in an ice cream container in the freezer which is supposed to be a humane way to kill them !
    The new flooring looks great. Nice colour.

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    1. That could be a bit of a shock if you go to the freezer for some ice cream!!! Your Cane Toads don't sound very nice at all.

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  5. The floor is looking good.
    A couple of weeks ago I found a toad in the pool, just as I was about to have a swim. Not fancying the company, I netted it out and put it in a bowl of water. Afterwards I put it back in the pool and off it swam. It was still there next morning so I repeated the process but put it in a corner of the garden, and haven't seen it since.

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    1. Perhaps you offended him by not swimming alongside!

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    2. Since then, on our morning walks, we've seen several squashed toads on the road. Something new for Inca to investigate!

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  6. When the warts form on your hands through touching the toad you can always apply some "Warticon" (available from all branches of Lloyds).

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    1. Thank you for that tip. (I tried kissing him but he didn't turn into a prince.)

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  7. I rather like Toads - they visit our garden every year and one seems to live under the decking, coming out for a croak and a wander at night.

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    1. I don't mind toads, as long as they don't surprise me!

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