Posted by: Marie | December 8, 2009

(197) For the sake of Alice, Jr.

Post #197
[Private journal entry written Sunday, July 26, 2009]

My housemates, Susan and Erik, bought this house a few years back. They have been fixing up the inside and the outside. They have created a wonderful oasis in the backyard – a 12-foot by 18-foot pond (3.7 meter x 5.5 meter) – four feet deep (1.2 meters) – with fish and tadpoles and lily pads, and a rushing river and waterfall feeding into it – and stone slabs and grass and rose bushes all around the pond. There are a couple of tall evergreens that provide shade, and a framework for the hammock. It has taken them a couple of years to build this – the end is in sight.

So, anyway, we water the yard via a neighborhood well that is located adjacent to our property. (We humans drink city water, but the yard gets untreated well water.)

Anping Harbor by Martin Chen

Last summer, they found a large toad living in the well. Since toads can’t jump very well, it couldn’t get out. So, they helped it out and it lived in the garden for quite some time. They named it Alice.

This summer, I kept getting startled, while I was sitting on the “john” in my basement suite of rooms, by the sound of rustling leaves just outside my bathroom window. All of the basement windows are the old-fashioned style where they are up against the ceiling and are only 20 inches (51 cm) high and 30 inches (76 cm) wide. (Fortunately, all my windows face west and south and I get plenty of sunshine, so my rooms are very bright and sunny.)

At first, I thought it must be a human looking into my bathroom window (a very freaky thought). But, given our neighbors, I just could not imagine that happening. Plus, there aren’t dead leaves on the ground outside my window – only grass. I finally figured out there must be something in the window well.

I climbed up onto the toilet seat and looked out my window – sure enough, there sat a toad looking back at me. She had been living there for about six weeks.

When I told my housemates, they immediately ran outside to the window well and took off the cover – they wanted to see if it was Alice. They happily announced that, while it couldn’t be Alice (she wasn’t large enough), it must be her offspring because “they look exactly alike!”

Now, before you start thinking my housemates are ignorant, I’ll let you know that they were joking – they are famous for their silly fun-ness . . . they were just being corny. We decided to name her Alice, Jr. Then we had to have a big house meeting to determine if it would be better for her to stay in the window well or to move her into the garden. We decided to move her and we voted that it was my job to climb into the window well and get her.

Guess what? A few days later, I was sitting on the “john” and started hearing that familiar rustling over my head again. After finishing my business, I climbed back up on the toilet seat to take a gander . . . yup, she was back!!!

I raced upstairs to make the big announcement to Susan and Erik . . . and, giggling, we all raced outside to the window well . . . Susan pulled Alice, Jr. out this time . . .

That’s when Susan told me that one of her friends had brought her a bucket full of toads (maybe 20 of them) earlier in the day for her garden. She had turned them loose all over the garden and yard. So . . . . I have a feeling there might be a few different Alices in my window well before fall arrives, LOL.

Quotes 109_1


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