Spring Peepers are HERE!

One of the first signs of spring in the Ozarks is the Spring Peeper. Sometimes we hear them on very warm evenings in January, but the first real chorus began this year on Feb. 9. Before, there was just an occasional peeping, but a few nights ago, with the daytime temps being in the upper 50s, these happy little frogs let loose with a Broadway show.

Pseudacris crucifer, the spring peeper, has an average life span of about 3 years. They hibernate during the coldest months, but on warm evenings they come out to play. The nighttime whistles and chirps are made by the males, trying to attract mates, not unlike middle aged men driving red Corvettes. This little frog is so tiny it can fit on a dime, and can be frozen in the mud and still wake up in spring. But it can produce enough noise to be heard through closed windows. (I can hear them right now, late evening, even over the sound of the radio) To hear the peeper yourself, click here.

Armadillos weren't out during the ice of 10 days ago, but otherwise you'll find them the year around. I saw my first one here, on the Missouri-Arkansas border, in 1992. They were unheard of here before that time. But in only 17 years they have traveled and populated northward into Iowa. I've heard reports of them as far north as Des Moines. Without any natural predators, and not bothered much by cold weather, they continue their northward migration. In the garden, they dig anywhere there are grubs, earthworms or other in-ground insects. They can be quite destructive, often "tilling" a substantial area in one night.

The potato seeds have sprouted. As fast as they are growing they will be ready to transplant into pots in about 2 weeks. This is going to be an interesting experiment, growing potatoes from seed. Thanks to Nichols Garden Seed, I'll learn a lot more about growing potatoes this way.

AND, the seed potatoes from arrived from Wood Prairie Farm in Maine today. I think probably getting chewed out by my previous supplier for "asking" for January shipment, was a huge opportunity. Otherwise I would not have learned about Wood Prairie Farm and the nice family who own it. They are wonderful to work with, ship promptly, and the potatoes arrive in very attractive packages. They also sell seed and lots of great potato varieties. Thanks to all 3 people who recommended I try Wood Prairie Farm, including Sharon Lovejoy and Rose Marie McGee.

Just a little over a week ago, the Herb Shop and garden looked like this. Now this week we've had 60s, I have the potato bed ready and the bed for peas almost ready to plant. It's a tradition in the Ozarks to have peas in the ground by Valentine's Day and I'm working toward that deadline every day.


Anonymous said...

Awww! love the little buddy ... so so cute! I hope I can see a live spring peeper when I visit.

Reminds me of the "birds making noise at night" story.

Enjoy, your favourite time of the year!!!


Ellen Zachos said...

Can't believe you have peepers already! We won't hear them in NE PA till March or April, but oh how I look forward to that sound every year. Sometimes we hear them, then get a late snow and we hear nothing for a few weeks. I always wondered if they were killed by the cold but now that you've told me they live for a few years, I wonder if they're able to survive a cold snap by going back into hibernation or otherwise hunkering down.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you like them. I've one single little peeper keeping me up every night. If I can catch the little guy, I am going to squish him and then finally get a decent night's sleep. I had the same thing last year and caught the little jerk and through down the sewer because I couldn't bring myself to kill it. He was lucky because I caught him quickly. It's been 2 weeks now and I haven't been able to track this one down, but if I do, no mercy this year. I can stand the sound of 100's of them in the distance, but 1 single one outside my window is insanity. I am going to start throwing boiling water in it's general direction.