Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris) Breeders


In the spring of 2023, I purchased 200 Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris) tadpoles from a breeder for the purpose of restoring the local wild toad population.

I raised the tadpoles in the patio breeding tanks used by my neighborhood’s tree frogs.

I transferred the tiny toadlets to one of four plastic barrel bottoms that had been set up as open-top terrarium habitats, also located on my patio.

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baby-tree-frog-grass-on blade of sedge

This tiny frog is too small to eat a mosquito.

Gnats and aphids and ants and baby spiders are probably what she can get into her mouth at this point.

She has to watch out for everything that might want to eat her, everything from dragonflies to spiders to birds to frogs.

Tree Frog Tadpoles 2023


In 2023, I managed to keep the juvenile green frogs (L. clamitans) out of the breeding tanks, and so the tree frogs (H. chrysoscelis) were able to reproduce without interference.

There was an eight-week drought in April and May, and so I suspected the year might be a disaster for wildlife, but when the rains came in June, the tree frogs started spawning and spawned most nights into July.

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Baby Tree Frogs 2023


This year was a hard year with no rains coming for 8 weeks during the months of April and May. Virtually the entire peach crop of Georgia was lost due to drought drop, and the rabbits in my yard ate zinnias and other plants they normally left alone.

This meant that most tree frogs in my neighborhood would not have a place to lay eggs and that my breeding tanks would be critical for that population.

This put a tremendous amount of pressure on me because last year when I set the tanks up, they were monopolized by Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans), which eat the small Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis) and overloaded the tanks with thousands of tadpoles.

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Patrolled by Owls

barn owls at Yalobusha Farms on August 20, 2023

When you sew native pollinator seeds, stop mowing, and allow natural meadow to emerge an replace a lawn, you will have many visitors.

I’ve noticed that since my yard now has many songbirds and chipmunks and shrews and rabbits, there is usually a hawk or owl watching it hungrily.

Needless to say, I see many types of wildlife at night, but never rats. When I see rats, I see them making bee lines from the storm drains to the birdfeeders in the more conventional lawns around me.

Also, since I installed my mosquito fish ponds, I can go out in my back yard without a shirt for hours. When it was a standard lawn of Saint Augustine grass, it was swarming with mosquitos, mostly invasive Asian tiger mosquitos.

Native ecologies work.

Pictured above are joe pye weed and cup plant in the foreground and Mexican sunflower in the background.

Mississippi Valley Chert Gravel Fossils


The chert gravel deposits of the lower Mississippi River valley were formed by glacial and alluvial processes, which tumbled and smoothed stones from all over the drainage of that great basin, from Montana to Minnesota to Pennsylvania and every place in between.

The fossils found in the chert gravels of the the lower Mississippy valley make great finds because they are chert that has been tumbled over the eons.

Chert is a microcrystalline silica mineral that forms when organic material (or their anhydride castings) are replaced by the action of groundwater over the ages. Chert is fairly hard and polishes nicely. The semiprecious gemstones such as agates and jaspers are examples of chert.


A good fossil in crumbly sandstone or limestone is nice and all but not nearly as nice a good fossil made of a nice hard gemstone that was polished by glaciers over eons.

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Seed Harvest 2022


Each year I feel anxious until I have some seed gathered for next year.

The tangles I have growing in the front an back are pretty dense in terms of the number of species of vegetables and flowers.

The vegetables include tomatillos, groundcherries, peppers, squash, pumpkins, okra, and several varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

The flower seeds also have to be gathered, although the birds leave very little of the sunflowers seeds to harvest.

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