A few days ago the girls tried to count the frogs in our little pond. They caught three with a butterfly net and put them in the wading pool. Two big ones and a little one. Angela said there was another she couldn’t get, so we have at least four, and lots of tadpoles. They have tried to name and identify them, giving them names that Hilaire Belloc specifically said NOT to give them, in his famous poem! But as Angela and I were fixing the stream and Christina and Anna-Grace were watching the frogs so they wouldn’t jump out, Christina said, "Look! One’s trying to get on top of the other!" Angela and I looked at each other. (Now, the younger girls have no idea what the frogs were trying to do – and I’m sure Angela’s knowledge is still sketchy. "Mating." That’s about it.) Now, for some time they had been trying to figure out which are boys and which are girls – not hard to solve, since we could have gone on google and found out easily enough, but the girls did ponder the question. So Angela jumped up. "Which one was on top?" "The little one tried to get on that bigger one." I said I thought telling boys from girls had something to do with the markings around the eardrums, and they determined that one of the big ones and the little one were boys, because they had a dot in the middle of the eardrum that the girl didn’t. Very cool. Now, I’m not sure if they’re right about that, but they were doing their own kind of experimenting, collecting data and drawing conclusions. This is a very good thing – hands-on science! Later I put the question to Mr. Google and found out that the boys are usually smaller, because the girls need room for egg sacks. Good so far. Also, the boys have larger thumbs, and something about there being a black stripe on the inside of the legs. But I don’t know if that’s specific to certain species. No mention of eardrums from my cursory examination. We’ll check for the other characteristics next. But at least we know the little one is a boy, and I think Christina knows certain markings on the girl, so that she will be able to identify her again. She has named her "Barbara Bandy-knees." I think Mr. Belloc would be flattered.
Welcome to Growing Goodness! This website is dedicated to growing good things, both plants and children. It's a gardening blog with maternal overtones, as I discuss the goodness and value of plants, both wild and domestic. In the process I hope to help you pass a love of nature on to your children. Happy Gardening!