I can’t quite emphasize how much I LOVE critters in the garden. Seriously, if you want to see me get insanely excited, just ask me about starting a worm farm or building a frog pond. Toss around the idea of building a chicken tractor or constructing a lizard hotel. See my eyes light up and be prepared for an excited tirade on the benefits of having such critters in your garden.
Yes, I’m from small-town Iowa, and I use the words critter. And yes, I may have some redneck blood in me.
Anyways, this term my school has built a few lizard hotels and a frog pond. Now, before you get too impressed, a lizard hotel is essentially a pile of rocks. The lizards sleep inside and sun on the rocks during the day. Before you don’t get excited enough, the frog pond is seriously impressive, considering I live in the Kalahari Desert.
Actually, the frog pond is even more awesome because it is made of 100% found and recycled materials. No money invested whatsoever. We took an old basin, some rocks, empty feed sacks, a few bamboo branches, and some bricks and constructed this beautiful frog pond. And since we wanted to recycle water runoff from the garden tap, we constructed this beautiful swale to channel water into the frog pond. Plants will grow around it to shade the pond (notice the little peach tree and spinach…other things will soon be planted as well).
My counterpart and I had asked some learners to collect frogs from the temporary watering holes (they have finally filled up with the rain!), but none of the learners had brought them. Last night, after I had locked my burglar door and was settling down to read, I hear a knock on my door. My host brother and sister had found a frog in the yard, but we too scared to catch it. Oh I laughed! So the “little white girl” had to catch the frog and find something to keep it in. I caught him without so much as a squeal-I am proud of myself! I did have fun scaring my host family and teachers the next day, and now I’m 100% certain my host family thinks I’m crazy.
So now I have a pet frog, and will hopefully capture 1 or 2 more. My worms are happy and I need to harvest their compost soon. I haven’t seen any lizards, and I might have to catch some of those-as long as I can determine they aren’t poisonous.
Critters are awesome in the garden because they eat bugs, but not the plants. Since most of the bugs eat our plants, I am super excited to have nature be our pest control. And frogs are pretty cute after all. I kinda want to keep one as a pet, but I don’t have a good home for it. And maybe someday we can have a chicken tractor at school, though I think they villagers would steal the chickens.
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