I hope everyone had a good weekend! I spent mine pondering my pond. It is located in my side yard where I like to sit quietly and hand stitch after a long day’s work.
My fish pond–home to goldfish, waterlilies, and Houston toads.
My fish pond can be viewed from both my office and my quilt studio, and is a sublime place to relax. The pond is too small for koi, but there are a variety of goldfish that reside here, as well as “Houston toads,” an endangered species of toads local to the area. (For all of you herpetologists, its proper name is the Bufo Houstonensis.)
Earlier this year I began hearing load noises at night from my pond area, and I worried it was some kind of rabid raccoon. But nope, it was the load trill of a male Houston toad. (Have a listen to a male Houston toad here.)
As a new pond owner, I have learned a lot about water plants, how to keep this pond clean, and the fish fed and healthy. What I wasn’t prepared for were predators!
This past Friday morning I woke up to let my dogs out and found one of these creatures just outside on the ledge of the pond, looking intently into the pond’s murky depths…
I had never seen one of these before, and as I was staring at it, mouth agape, all of a sudden–to my horror–it dove into the pond, plucked a Houston toad, and carried it high into a tree. I felt so bad for that little toad, and when I flew out of my French doors in my pajamas and screamed at the bird to DROP IT!, the heron looked down at me and promptly ate it.
I then decided there was no way I was going to be outsmarted by a bird. But this guy was persistent and had a friend, and they didn’t want to leave anytime soon. So I took my fish net, and thrashed it about like a sword above my head, trying to scare them away. But eventually I had to put the fish net down and go to work.
Two mama toads with their babies on their backs in my pond.
This weekend I went to a water garden nursery to ask their advice about how to handle the herons, and I learned a few things that will help me protect the toads and fish from predators. For instance I need to invest in Blue Heron decoys, underwater fish caves for hiding, and more water lilies to protect them from view.
Quilters: Friends of Frogs?
I know I am not the only quilter who has a love affair with frogs, toads, and amphibious creatures in general. I’ve come across a number of quilted frogs in my day.
Take for instance this pieced quilt that was touring the International Quilt Festivals two years ago:
“Sunset Ceremony at the Pond”
44 x 44″ by Susan L. Griffin of Mossomin, Saskatchewan, Canada
This quilt was featured in our “O Canada 2010″ exhibit.
Other famous quilters have used frog imagery quite effectively in their quilts, like Ellen Anne Eddy with her quilt “Balcony Scene” or “The Problem with Princes” that resides in Caryl Bryer Fallert’s Studio.
Oh yeah…I made a frog quilt a while ago, too:
My little frog quilt; whole-cloth painted and free-motion stitched.
And frogs aren’t just featured in quilts, many folks have named their quilt businesses after frogs, like the quilt store The Purple Frog in Jefferson, Oregon, or the online business The Quilted Frog (not to be confused with the long-arm machine business, quiltfrog.com).
I also noticed that at last year’s Spring Quilt Market, it wasn’t just owls that were the trend of the season, lots of frog quilt patterns and fabrics were hoppin’, too.
Maudlin-Free Monday Question:
So my question to you is, what do you think the next big quilt trend will be at this upcoming Fall Quilt Market in a few months? Hmmm…what have we seen a lot of lately: owls, frogs, bicycles, mustaches, chevrons, stripes, and polka-dots. What do you think will be next?
And in good Maudlin-Free Monday fashion, I am giving away 15 fat quarters of the Puppy Park line by Bella BLVD for Riley Blake Designs. Maybe quilting hasn’t gone to the frogs, it has gone to the…. (Ok, I know that was corny.)
Make your quilted prediction in the comments area and I will pick someone randomly and announce in my next post!
Previous Book Winner…
And congrats to Ali M as you are the winner of the Weeks Ringle book! Please email me at pokeybATquilts.com with your address, and I will get your book to you!