Monday, February 22, 2010

Backyard Finds

The other night I had a dream about a backyard find. (If you want to get technical the find originated in our front yard, but who needs to get technical about such things?) Remember digging for buried treasures? I recall spending hours roaming through Wilton Town Forest behind our house, flipping over rocks and raking aside leaves in hopes to find an ancient artifact. Ah, the joys of childhood.

A beautiful pond took up most of our front yard. My dad had creatively built a raft out of an old fence so my sisters and I could Huckleberry Finn-it around the pond. Some of my favorite memories are from floating on that gray raft. I paddled out there whenever I wanted to be alone or when my overactive imagination kicked in. On that raft, I provided guided tours for the numerous “passengers” behind me anxious to learn about the flora and fauna of our property. On one such tour I discovered something unusual I’d never seen before in my years of navigating.

Beyond unusual.

Gelatin brain-like creatures suctioned to a dozen rocks under the water. Holes pocked the surface of these alien beings. And of course, like any good tour guide would, I investigated the find. Having made my way around the pond, aware I was surrounded, I did what any kid with an overactive imagination would—I took it upon myself to rid our pond of these vile intruders. One by one I exorcised each hardened jellyfish-like creature, plagued with bad acne. And this was not an easy task. I shimmied the duck-billed end of my paddle between the rocks and the aliens to dislodge them, keeping them from doing more harm. And so what came of it? Twenty or so of these floppy, destroyed beings drifting with the ripples to the edges of our pond.

My dream the other night brought me back to my war with the aliens in our pond. In my dream they really were aliens implanting themselves in a small New England pond. What a story for a science fiction writer (of which I’m not, so I won’t be attempted it)! Clearly I’ve not lost my insane Pop Rock-inspired imagination.

Since, I believe I’ve unraveled the mystery of the aliens in my pond during my youth (funny how I’m the only one in my family who remembers these visitors). After doing a little research, I’m convinced the frogs I thoroughly enjoyed catching each summer, were attempting to procreate.

I, my friends, sorrowfully admit I think I just might be a frog killer.

That confessed—did you ever find anything unusual in your backyard (or front yard, since we’re not being technical)?

*I apologize that frogs were harmed during the making of this post
**If you look at picture #1 closely, it looks like the “frog eggs” are now trying to make their way up that weeping willow…


  1. Look how far that imagination has brought you!

    When we first moved to this house, the outside was a wreck. Just like the house needed remodeling, its yards needed to be cleaned up and landscaped. Much to throw away. But there were finds hidden around bushes: an old and worn birdhouse, a rusty iron "Welcome" sign (now hanging in my basement), and my girls have found a small trinket or two. Love the hunt!

  2. We had a house in the Poconos. It was like living in a wildlife refuge. We were the crossroads for deer, wild turkeys,black bears, foxes, pileated woodpeckers, turtles, possums, skunks, bald eagles, hawks, songbirds, snakes, salamanders, and more.

    One morning I took my coffee to the front porch and was greeted by two tiny fawns under a tree where their mother had put them down while she went in search of breakfast.

  3. Well, Wendy, you did make me chuckle. I think I probably did something along the same lines when I was growing up. At the very least, I upset countless ant hills trying to rid our sidewalk out front of sand and dirt. Just think of where your adventurous spirit has taken you!
    Have a wonderful week,

  4. I loved having those kinds of adventures in my childhood living in the country. We too had a pond and some of my happiest memories of floating about in our blow up boat.

    I took pics this summer of some minute yucky looking creatures scurrying around on one of my bushes. After much investigation and research I found they were some kind of scale...icky!! So instead of being excited that I discovered a new species, I found that I had become an exterminator!

  5. Science Fiction for sure!! I don't remember aliens in my back yard, but it's fun now watching my children explore the woods behind our house and coming out with their own discoveries (or at least they will once our "forever" winter is finally over!)

  6. For whatever reason the boys who lived in the house I grew up in before me buried all their toys. Over the years I had quite the marble collection among other boy toy oddities.

  7. When I was treasure hunting around I found an army parachute guy stuck between a wire fence and a tree. I spent many hours trying to "rescue" him but only succeeded in accidentally snapping one of his plastic legs off. Last time I checked the parachute army guy was still there.

  8. I get a lot of my story ideas from dreams, so you just might write this scifi yet! And the strangest thing we found in our suburban back yard was one summer when the kids were playing in the sprinkler right in the middle or our manicured lawn, the grass started to move, up and down like it was breathing. we all crept up to it wondering what lurked below, a snake, a mole...we carefully pushed away the wet bunnies! About five of them and they looked like they would drown if we kept the sprinkler running. What a cool find. We ended up recruiting my husband to take them to the vet, but we couldn't believe how small they were and that the mother dug a whole in the middle of our backyard instead of in the bushes. Sorry so long...but it was a cool find!

  9. Science fiction if out of my realm too! Something about a creative mind that notices everything! That's why you are such a wonderful storyteller.

  10. No, but my son found a hat on the street and a funky mask.

    I dreamed the other night that Frankenstein was coaching my soccer team, do you think there's a book idea there.

  11. Oh my goodness! Poor frogs, but still, I don't think I would have known what they were either, and would probably have done exactly what you did. :S

    I've always had dull, ordinary backyards. :(

  12. You are so funny! And I forgive you for killing the frogs, as you were just a kid and knew no better. Is that a phrase, "Knew no better?" Now it is.

    I once tried to turn our backyard into a carnival. I had big plans to sell tickets and make a fortune. But only one neighbor boy came, and I had to cart all that stuff inside.

    So I decided my life could be a carnival, and I don't even charge for all the goofy side shows.

  13. How sweet--and funny! We had polywogs in our backyard every spring. I loved them! I always scooped them into an old jar and hoped I could watch them turn into frogs, but they died every time! I guess I'm a frog killer too. :)

  14. We used to catch grasshoppers and keep them in mason jars. We poked holes in the lids so they could breathe, but they always died. Hmmm...does that make me a grasshopper killer?

  15. lol...This brought back a memory of when my older brother decided to hide some coins in a hole in our neighbor's backyard. He made a treasure map and "discovered" it, encouraging me and the neighbor boy to help him find the buried treasure. When we finally found the spot, we discovered the coins had been placed in the middle of a hornet's nest. My brother had no clue, and he felt awful! Thankfully none of us got stung!

  16. Well, I found something, if you count....making mud pies in the yard and finding out they weren't chocolate. It was so sad.

  17. Frog killer! Ha ha ha! What a great story. Now I'm wishing I had a raft when I was little. We lived out in farm country (my parents still do) and we'd create circles in the hay fields and lie down and the whole world would disappear. I loved that. Anything was possible inside those hay circles.

  18. Janna, How far? :D The bird house and that sign are excellent finds!!

    Cassandra, So much for lions and tigers and bears, eh? And that morning scene sounds so peaceful.

    Karen, Ah, the millions of ants that have been murdered by youthful hands. To your second comment--where? :D

    Donna, Scale? Call me brain dead, but what is that? A snake? Oh, you've got my mind spinning now.

    Jody, I miss the outdoors. Kids are fantastic finders. I'm definitely a "let 'em get dirty" type of mom.

    T.Anne, Exellent. So, you were able to get in touch w/ your masculine side. I'm sure it helps you write from the male perspective with precision today (that is if/when you do that).

    Bethany, That was awesome. You had me reading quickly until the word plastic. Then I broke out in a smile. Nice.

    Gina, I love that find. Nothing cuter, I imagine. My folks found one in their yard once and we tried to give it milk from a dropper. Not so much.

    Tamika, I'm thinking though that most kids might have the wherewithal to know that those things weren't aliens, but rather some organism in the pond. But you're kind.

    Patti, Most certainly a book and it sounds like you've got a great Halloween costume.

    Danyelle, But lest you forget...the mind is the best backyard/playground of all and from what I've read of your writing...your mind is an amusement park of adventure.

    Jeanette, You constantly make me laugh. I just want to know you in real life. Can I? Can I just know you. And laugh.

    Jill, It feels so good to know I'm not alone in my murderous tendencies.

    Susan, Itty bitty holes, right? :D My kids call my dad grasshopper so I'll try not to think of that when I think of your crime. I know, I come from an odd family...grasshopper!

    Sarah, That is a noteworthy memory. Clever, unaware boy! I love that idea of a treasure map and just might encourage my kids to draw one of those.

    Karen, They're not? I have a picture on FB of my youngest. She obviously thought mudpies were chocolate too. ;)

    Elana, What an image...sprawled out in those hay circles...there's a blog post if I've ever known one. And I've known over 200. How about a book title, "Circles in the Hay Fields." Dang.

    Okay, I've had too much fun responding tonight. I just don't know what gets into me. Thanks for humoring me.

    Oh, and great news...found out last night one of my short stories is going to be in a book. Will share more once the contract is signed.

    Life is good.
    God is great.
    Thank you for frogs.
    ~ Wendy

  19. Nothing unusual here, just an array of wildlife ... finches and hummingbirds and rabbits and wild turkeys, and the occasional toad ;) Quite the menagerie visits us.

  20. Hi Wendy! I had to finish laughing before I could type! Oh, the poor froggies. But I must confess that I did the very same thing to the perch in our lake. My sisters and I tied fishing line to a stick, attached a hook and smushed a wad of bread on the end. And as much as I hate to admit it, we actually dissected a couple out of curiosity. But most of the time we'd throw them back. I love your blog and I look forward to reading more. Have a lovely day!

  21. Wow, what a cool dream!!! Hmmm. Buried treasure always invades my backyard dreams but never found anything like that.

    The only thing that comes to mind was on a hot summer night, we were sitting in lawn chairs in our Texas backyard and saw an AMAZING lime green "shooting star" (some later said it was a comet). Definitely the stuff of dreams!!

    I love your blog. You always capture such a mood.

  22. I'm sure I found lots of stuff when I was a kid. I'm jealous you had a raft! How fun for you!
    My kids and I like to go digging for dinosaur bones. I think it would be so cool if we find one someday. :-)
    Very cute post Wendy!

  23. I grew up in LA County, and I have so many wonderful memories of being in/exploring my yard. I can't remember exact finds, but I remember imagining all sorts of things. It's fun to think about. :)

  24. Now that you bring it up... I grew up on a farm. I used to run and run, pretending that bad guys were after me for some reason or another. I would hide behind trees, climb trees, climb large dirt piles, hide in the barn, you name it. If friends were with me, we turned it into Charlies' Angels. I was Chris.

    BTW, how did you react the day you figured out you were killing little animals? :)


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