Even though I am something of a girly-girl, I grew up outside doing outside things like catching frogs and snakes and making mudpies. Since part of the Family Farm property is swamp, then frogs abound, and for a variety of reasons frogs are fun for catching. We kids always let them go again--albeit, some worse for the wear--and only on one occasion do I remember my mom actually cooking up a frog so my brother could try eating frog legs (I opted out of that particular culinary adventure).
My girls hadn't yet been initiated into the frog catching club, although they have certainly seen frogs up close and personal. A recent trip down to the overfull frog ponds inspired an impromptu frog catching lesson.
I suppose I could have taught the frog lesson myself, but Andrea, who is home for the summer before leaving in September for grad school, took it upon herself to help her nieces with some froggin'. I figured my job would just be to document their adventures.
Pay no attention to the fact that both girls are in dresses and tights. They have their boots on, and that's what matters when you're catching frogs in soggy territory.
While they were scouting on one side of the pond, I was hoping that an old bullfrog was hanging out in his favorite spot.
Sure enough, Mr. Bullfrog was in his spot. Not the least bit inclined to jump back into the pond.
His laziness/bravery worked to my advantage because one of the things that makes frog tricky to catch on land is that they are notoriously skittish. They feel even the slightest of vibrations, and they jump into the pond with an annoyed "croak!"
But time and time again, this particular frog won't budge unless he's really provoked.
As in, "Prod him with a stick" provoked. And even then, he'll snap at the stick before jumping in the pond. He really is a cranky old frog.
Fortunately, cranky old frogs are reliably easy to catch.
And catch him I did. Then I handed him off to Andrea, so I could continue to take pictures.
It's not quite an official catch for Sydney, but it's pretty close. She was there. She provided moral support. She held the net only moments afterwards. She's got some pride showing on her face.
The girls were a little less interested in actually handling the frog after he had been caught. But I bribed them.
Touch the frog, I said, and I'll give you a piece of licorice.
One piece or two? they asked.
Let's get a close-up to see if the play is good.
There is definite contact there, so Sydney gets her licorice. Good job, Syd!
Now Jules' turn.
She may have the sweeter tooth, but she is less brave.
Does it count if I just put my hands under Aunt Andrea's hands?
No, sorry. No licorice for that. (And don't worry about those tears on her face; that's from an earlier sobfest about not being able to walk fast enough.)
It's a true testament of her love for licorice that motivated Jules to touch the frog.
And now for the close-up:
Super duper, Jules! Aren't you so proud of yourself?
Yes, I am.
Were you afraid?
No. Now where's my licorice?
See, all that terror on her face was just for show.
Licorice treats bestowed, I thought I'd test Sydney's true bravado: will you kiss the frog, Sydney?
Maybe he'll turn into a prince.
I'll give you more candy.
Just a pretend kiss?
You're my hero, Syd.
Eventually, we set Mr. Frog free, but not before the girls named him Freen Collie--"freen" for "frog green" and "collie" because Jules liked that name--and not before my sister had tried to extract from Freeny a promise not of a Prince Charming but of sunshine.
The moment Freen Collie's little webbed feet touched the ground, he bounded twice and then splashed into the pond, the whole while muttering under his breath about the crazy neighbor kids who are always up to no good.
Until we meet again, Freen Collie.
Until we meet again.