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Why our fish pond makes me jumpy

The worst rumbling starts at dusk, right about time to unwind and read a book or watch TV. It's loud enough to rattle the rocker on the front porch. Bullfrogs have invaded our porch-side fish pond. The koi puddle that was supposed to promote peace and relaxation suddenly sounds like teenage dragsters on Main Street all revved up and detonating their sound systems.

"What in the world is that?" I asked the first night of the ruckus.

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My son explained that a dozen or so bullfrogs had taken up residence in the pond. This was their mating call.

Thank goodness we've evolved into after-shave and chocolates.

If it were Andy Williams crooning "Moon River" outside my front door, I could hum along, but there is nothing melodious about this convention of one-note whistlers accompanied by "jug-a-rum, jug-a-rum" over and over for 45 minutes.

We also have toads, so my son says, although I cannot distinguish one jumping species from another. I do know that these amphibians used to be skittish and yield the right-of-way to the resident mammals, but they're getting downright brazen. Today the pond; tomorrow the family room.

One of the 'phibs blocked my passageway into the house the other night. It had plopped smack in the middle of the sidewalk.

"Move it, Romeo!" I said as I stood over it, my arms bulging with groceries.

Maybe it was Juliet. I don't know, but it sat as motionless as a door stop, daring me to leapfrog it.

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I hissed at it. I barked at it. Finally, I picked up a stick and nudged it.

It sprang into the pond. I yelped and sprang into the house.

Several times a day I peek out the dining-room window at the mini-pond, and it looks so peaceful – just as we'd envisioned. Only the swirling orange Japanese ornamental goldfish ruffle the tranquility.

But I know that the croakers are out there, cloaked in algae and saving their vocals for the evening show. I know that they'll be convening again tonight on the sidewalk and hopping around the porch. It wouldn't surprise me if they sat in my old oak porch pew after I'm asleep.

This is what we deserve, I suppose, for trying to cozy up to nature and siting a pond right beside the front door.

So far, I'm one jump ahead. Until I can persuade my husband to relocate "nature" or until the music dies down – shucks, I'll just use the back door.


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