Thursday, June 2, 2011

On Suzanne's and Frogs and Stuff I Want

Suzanne's Pool House*

There's no such thing as a free tadpole. Suzanne has swarms of them, millions probably, in the little pond beside the pool at Bear Haven, her country house near Sperryville, Virginia.  "Take some," she said. So we did, or rather, The Prince did, scooping a dozen or so into an empty bottle for the drive back to the city and a new home in our pond; currently naked save for the statue of the headless woman, pointlessly pouring water in an endless stream over the rocky ledge. 

Ah, Frogs.

We've had frogs before. The night noise is evocative of something. Coons got 'em. Eviscerated and stinking remains left on the white wicker sofa--well, shouldn't he be comfortable while dining? No doubt he snickered as he and his blood-soaked whiskers skittered away to where ever he lurks in the daytime. 

He got the fish too. First the costly koi and then the gold and black splotched "feeder fish" that pet snakes are so fond of. We bought them in batches, ten for a dollar. Feeder fish, ha.

The trick, Suzanne says is to set a pot on its side on the pond floor so the fish and the frogs have somewhere to hide from marauders. It also helps to put the fountain on a timer, night critters are attracted by the sound of running water, she said.

Actual useful sounding tips, take note!

So we packed our tiny new pets and our soggy bathing suits and returned to the city where I considered how visiting Suzanne always costs, even when it's free. There are all of these ideas one has, rocking on the porch at dawn, watching the deer graze down by the stream at the edge of the meadow.

I want a picture railing in the dining room, I scribbled in my notebook. Something waist high, a foot or so above the not currently existent sideboard, where I can mount an ever changing show of photos and paintings and photos and such -- and it won't matter that the sizes are assorted and the frames a hodgepodge, because it will all be very artful.   

I want a red vase, no maybe a purple, in the hallway, something that vibrates against the grass green walls. I need solar powered Chinese lanterns, three different-sized white ones for the garden -- before they show up at Target or Ikea and become common as dirt. I want pale pink petunias massed in a pot in the corner of the aviary/greenhouse and my moonflowers (vines just now emerging) twining up from the center to curl along the molding above the French doors...

The mind bumps along like that. As long as I don't move, this costs nothing but ink. But the tadpole harvest forced a stop at a garden center for pond plants -- something for our embryo-sized croakers (I mean, at this stage they look like they could develop into anything)  to feed on. So we buy bulbous green stuff to float and frilly green stuff to sink and stalky things to rise above the water and maybe flower (if we're lucky).

Free tadpoles. $50 in plants. And so it goes.

*Having no foresight, I didn't take a picture of the pond. But this is cool, isn't it?

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