Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Answer, Perhaps, to a Mystery

Life is full of mysteries, for sure. Many an unanswered question daunt us from time to time. Why is the sky blue? Where does the sun go when it settles past the horizon. Why do babies stop crying if you stand up with them and begin again when you sit back down? Why do we crave chocolate--especially when we have none available? You know, major puzzlers. And please, don't give me all the scientific answers. I know they're out there. I've heard them, but you know what I'm talking about.

We've had a bit of a mystery around here for several months. And now, I may have the answer--which I'll share with y'all. A few days ago I was looking at one of my potted plants that sits close to a window and noticed a little "present" sitting on the top edge of the pot.

I said to myself, "Hmmmmm. This looks a little like a mouse pellet. But we don't have any mice in the house--as far as I know." Then I looked a little closer. There was another little "present" not far from the first. My feeble mind went to wandering--but not for too long. I had other things to deal with at that time. Still, somewhere in the semi-conscious layers of my mind the "pellet present" question churned, searching for a common thread with other information of parallel significance. A thought was beginning to form--but I put it off.

At some point later that day, I needed to disconnect the phone line to the computer--Hurricane Gustav had begun delivering a few presents of his own. Fortunately for us, none of them equalling devastation, thank Heaven! But just think of my surprise when I found--in the corner of the window just above the phone junction box (or whatever it's called)--a rather thin looking tree frog! Presents + froggie = froggie pellets!! One mystery solved . . . ???

Finding that little critter kinda answered a few questions... But only kinda. This is either the third or fourth tree frog we've found inside the house over the past few months, which of course, I've always kindly returned to the outdoors. The questions this particular critter's presence answered were things like: why after depositing one of its fellows outside a few months back, did I still hear croaking from time to time that was decidedly indoors and not just outside the window?

I'd looked around in all the potted plants for clues then, but found none. Just so you know, we do keep several plants indoors during the winter that usually reside outside on the front and back porches during the warmer months. I'm not excessively particular about examining these plants when we finally haul them in just prior to the first projected freeze, so things could hitch a ride inside in this manner.

Currently I have only 3 potted plants in the house. AND the one this little froggie was closest to is a schefflera, a schefflera I nearly killed with kindness and was about to give away a year or so ago because I didn't want to completely destroy it. When I told my husband what I was about to do, he objected rather vigorously--which surprised me--reminding me that it was his plant and I did not have his permission to give it away!!!!! Okay then.
So I found a different spot to keep it and I quit watering it. (I'd apparently suffered from amnesia about scheffleras not liking much water, or rather frequent watering.) Eventually I did remember: Water it once thoroughly, then leave it alone till it's dry again--that's what they really like. Takes about a month for this little plant to be ready for the next watering.
Earlier this year I was shopping with a friend at Hobby Lobby and they were having a sale on flower pots, and other pots. (One of these days I'll have to tell you about my friend, Mona. She is an absolute hoot! And we have way too much fun shopping together. Our pockebooks aren't safe when we tackle a shopping trip. I really should give her a call. Oh, we could get into so much trouble together...) We found a pot that we really liked and wanted. Fortunately for each of us, there were more than one, and more than one size of each. We discussed, pondered, discussed some more, and finally reached a decision. She'd purchase a small version, I a larger one of the same pot. I wasn't exactly sure which plant it would grace, but it didn't matter. I liked, and still do like, that pot. I brought it home and set it on the floor close to some of the plants that were still indoors. After a month or two, I decided that the schefflera would look good in that pot and that was that. I simply took the pot it was in and effortlessly put it into the new pot! No muss. No fuss. Whew! One problem solved. Now I no longer had to worry about the plant dripping unnecessarily on the top of whatever it sat upon when I did actually water it as the new pot was glazed and had no opening in the bottom! I felt such a sense of satisfaction and relief! Now schefflera and I are much happier.

Back to our unexpected guest frog: Where, when and how had it (or the others) arrived? Where and how had it survived? For how long would it have gone undiscovered if not for Hurricane Gustav? Why, when I placed it outside in a puddle of water on the cover of the gas grill, (It wasn't on. Come on, now!) did it look dismayed and still? Anyway, my daughter suggested I not challenge it overmuch, so I placed it in my lemon balm plant just a few feet away. It seemed every so slightly happier as it hopped somewhere under cover of the rain washed leaves. (Gustav eventually left about 3 inches of gently delivered rain to this residence. Others in the state, I'm afraid, didn't fare as well or so gently effected.)

One possible answer as to how froggie friend remained "undercover/undiscovered" could have been due to the fact that the schefflera has a Spanish Moss covering over the dirt--which I assume was put there to help retain moisture. I suppose it could have a decorative purpose, but simply don't know. (Another of those mysteries in my life!) So, one question answered, I think . . . the croaking I heard earlier could easily be attributed to this one little frog caught in the window. Maybe. Perhaps. Hmmmmm.

However, I still wonder: are there more frogs lurking somewhere in the houseplants? Are they sitting on door handles just outside waiting for a chance to hop inside? Did some frogs somehow hatch from little jelly frog eggs, morph into tadpoles, and then into adultish frogs somehow when I was over watering this poor plant? Who can tell? I don't know! I don't have enough clues...or brain power...or ...

Have you any ideas to share on the subject--or similar experiences, perhaps?


Debby said...

No clue at all. But Tim and I just hauled my scheflerra in from the back deck. It's a huge monstrous thing that I bought for a couple bucks 2 or 4 years ago when it was nearly dead. It survived, thrived, and is certainly alive these days. Now I'm casting anxious looks at it for signs of wildlife.

Pencil Writer said...

I'm tellin' ya', Debby: better keep a wary eye on that plant! You never know what might be hiding in the shadows!

Mary Paddock said...

I've lived in so many older homes and have cats who catch and release, that wildlife in our home is no surprise anymore.

We did have a snake appear under the microwave a few years ago. We're still not sure how he got inside.

Scotty said...

It's all about camouflage, really - we frogs have become adept at staying hidden, it's only when we burp that we give ourselves away.