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The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are among the worthy topics.

 Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.

I am working in my garden every single day, whistling the Volga Boat Song, in time with my shovel hitting the soil. To my surprise, as I uproot weedy ornamental plants, and split fussy lilies, I keep discovering tiny frogs who hop swiftly to new shelters after I destroy their original digs.

I feel guilty about inconveniencing frogs. Please continue reading below the orange Flore De Lee for the solution to my guilt.

If, like me, you ever have to read government-written environmental assessments (EA), I share your pain. And you know that when a project destroys valuable habitat, the EA will often propose "mitigation." Since I recently rousted frogs from the sodden dirt beneath my dug-up Lamb's Ear and Day Lilies, said areas soaked from poorly functioning irrigation systems, I decided to implement a mitigation project of my own, to benefit the frogs.

Mitigation Area #1 will be a restored forested wetland of about .0002 acres (9 square feet) underneath a dozen arborvitae trees of dubious character.  A 4 foot high artificial waterfall will oxygenate the pumped water that will fall into the foot-deep water body.
 As you can see, the subject water body in the foreground, this side of the waterfall, is completely silted up, with no open water. At best you can see the spiky iris stalks where water should be.

Colorful helleborus and bleeding hearts, both shade-loving ornamentals, decorate the prospective wetland's shoreline, along with opportunistic, doomed weeds.

The Applicant (Me) will have to dredge out Arborvitae leaves, branches, and sawdust from the pond, including the removal of residues from historic tree trimming practices. I will also remove most of the arrowhead and non-blooming irises,  to restore water depth and open water.  I won't put any fish in that pond, so hopefully the cannier frogs can lay eggs there and their tadpoles can grow up, unmolested by hungry goldfish.

The Mitigation Area is adjacent to an unkempt area to the south, on the other side of the fence, which contains a bushy untrimmed pine tree with unmowed grass underneath it.  Vicious roses draw blood from anyone approaching the pine. This additional .002 acres of upland habitat will be left in a natural state as long as possible to provide the frogs with some extra adjacent territory.

Please note the rose blooming on the vicious bush.

I wanted to memorialize these existing, prior-project site conditions with photographs, so that after I get this corner of the yard looking spiffier, hopefully I can post some better-looking "after" pictures and brag a little, again hopefully, next month.


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