The Year of the Toad

I have lived out here on the prairies of Illinois for about nine years now. Not

But in all that time I have never seen so many toads. They are on the road, in the ditches, in the gardens, everywhere. On my daily walk to the West Barn and back I search the path like a beach-comber, making sure that I do not step on one. Often I am ushering them back into the long grass just as the dogs rush past half way to no-where in a hurry. The toads are just everywhere.


I am not sure what kind of toads these are. But isn’t he beautiful. This particularly cheerful specimen  posed for his picture yesterday.  He even waited for me to run inside to get the camera.


The turkeys stay in their new run when they feel like it. Hugo and I are going to have to make some adjustments. The fences are very high but I think I will have to cover the top as well. They can come out into the garden in  the evening but they cannot live on the verandah for the day every day.


Naomi and Aunty Del. Lovely girls.

The men arrived yesterday and opened up the field. I suppose they will finish today.  It will be a small crop from these fields this year. All the flooding took a massive toll. Though some of the fields on more sandy soil have bumper crops this year.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love you friend on the farm




65 Comments on “The Year of the Toad

  1. It’s great that you have lots of toads – amphibians have been having a tough time with a nasty fungal infection killing them off. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with pesticides or other man made toxins 😦

    • Yes, frogs and toads are our ‘canaries in the mines’ these days, letting us know the health of our ecosystems. I’m hoping that seeing many of them is a good sign! And the wet spring and summer probably has something to do with it too!

  2. Is the amount of toads an indication of the winter to come or a summary of past seasons?

  3. Beautiful portrayal of your dog…
    Love today’s title very much. Reminds me to an old song of the late 60s – In the year of the cat…. (Al Stewart) – Toads: I have some nice childhood experience with them (they were living in a damp rock cavern and we “played” with them) and I learned that they’d be very useful (or beneficial) animals (been told at school). But forgot in which way. Have to google it. Just remember that they can stink very much and hurt with their burning and sharp exudations. Maybe the cumulative occurrance is due to the wheather, the total wet you have had?
    What a nice house the turkeys have got. – And wow, what huge machines are they out on the fields??

    • Ah, and not to forget a Jethro Tull song: (Just let me be your) Toad in a hole. – So many associations with your post today…

      • As well as this joke: Did you know that licking a frog is a good tool against depression? But once you stop licking, the frog gets depressed again. Heheh. Or not. Lots of love, Gayle

  4. I have a feeling the local maize crop will be enormous. The vast machines have made a start on fields the other side of the village, and when we came back this morning there was a gaggle of chubby red-faced Norman farmers with brooms and shovels ready to clear away the inevitable mud following the torrential rain yesterday.

    Why is Boo looking so wistful in that picture? Does he snuffle the toads?

    Lots of love,
    ViV xox

    • Yes, I wonder why too. The term ‘mournful’ came to my mind when I saw the photo, but I suppose not much difference between that and wistful. Poor Boo! I just want to hug him and let him know it’s no matter, that he is loved regardless. ~ Mame

  5. I love toads! That’s an excellent sign, plus they eat slugs for you. That big aristocratic one must be a few years old.

  6. Bless you, bless you. Hope the harvest is completed soon 🙂 Beautiful toad indeed. My neighbours are complaining about a toad (bullfrog?) singing very loudly in my pond each evening, so I have made a deal with them ….. they stop their yappy dogs from barking all day every day and I’ll relocate frog to the river. I guess my frog might just raise a very big family here 🙂 Beautiful pic of Boo. Laura

    • Good grief Laura, sounds like you have some very kooky neighbors! Just love the deal you made with them! 🙂

      • I love the frogs, their nocturnal chorus is my lullabye 🙂 City slickers living too close to each other in a security complex has its pitfalls I guess. Laura

      • I agree, would rather listen to a frog than a yappy dog, hope they keep their side of the bargain. I have a kooky neighbour behind me who wants me to stop my chickens making a noise in the mornings, not a rooster, just lovely soft morning chicken songs….apparently it disturbs them!

    • Frogs don’t do well in fast-moving water. Is there another pond it can relocate to? How can they not love frog calls? If you move that one out, another will stake a claim on the real estate. It’s a losing battle unless you put a bunch of fish in the pond.

      Bullfrogs sound kind of like light-sabers (zhooom-zhoom). Green frogs sound like a deep rubber band snapping (duhm). American Toads sound like a looooong trill.

  7. We have noticed more toads and frogs at our pond this year. I wonder if it’s because we had so much rain early?? They sing at dusk ….let one start and they all chime in! Although sometimes I think it is a mating call too. The smaller kids love the sound when they get wound up!

  8. Same here, so many that they’re impossible to avoid. It doesn’t help that they sit in the middle of the road and try and stare down the cars and trucks. I have at least 4 living around my little pond (very dry just now), and more tiny green tree frogs than I can count. And there’s one that lives in a metal pipe under my sun porch who sings loudly in a deep baritone voice which can be quite deafening. We’re lucky, not too many cane toads round hear, the nasty poisonous things…

    • Oh, you hate them? Or let’s say better you don’t love them? Ok, they don’t look that nice and their odour is nasty and, you’re right: poisonous… I remember that we once had special road signs to protect them in their “wandering”-seasons. Too many of them had been driven to death. Don’t know whether that signs still are erected today, don’t drive anymore. – In general though, toads still are strongly protected animals.
      Celi’s capture shot is stunning – it seems to be (or looks like) an example of the so called midwife toads. Isn’t it great? Tima comes to mind of course! – But maybe I’m wrong, wiki says that this special kind of toads is just European.
      Wiki says: “Shy, nocturnal animals, they give away their presence by their ringing call. During the day, the midwife toad hides under stones and logs or in underground tunnels. It often hides in dry, sandy soil, which it finds easier to dig into using its forelegs and snout. It emerges at dusk to forage for food, but always returns to the same hiding places before dawn. During the winter, the common midwife toad hibernates in its hole or in a burrow that has been deserted by a small animal.” – I think this is concerned to all kinds of toads. Their meals consists of beetles, crickets, flies, caterpillars, centipedes, ants and millipedes (caught with their long, glibbery, gluey tongues) and – as Selka mentioned above – slugs.
      Oh, what an exciting and interesting animal that is … – Never seen one again since my childhood experiences.

      • And I found this, relating the poison you mentioned, Kate (sorry for turning up again):
        “They secrete a fatty, white poisonous substance which acts as a deterrent to predators. Ordinary, handling of toads is not dangerous, and does not cause warts in contradiction to folk beliefs [it just burns a bit as I remember and is truely very uncomfortable – to animals, e.g. cat and dog snouts too]. The poison of most if not all toads contains bufotoxin; the poison of the Colorado River toad (Bufo alvarius) is a potent hallucinogen containing 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin [LSD like]. The poison’s psychoactive effects are said to have been known to pre-Columbian Native Americans.” – See “Bufo” at wiki.

        • Ha! Perhaps that’s why Kate’s toads are trying to stare down cars… they’re tripping out! hehehe I was never aware of toads producing hallucinogens… really interesting. Thanks Irmi! ~ Mame 🙂

      • Cane toads are invasive in Australia. They were introduced to control populations of sugar cane beetles. They’re actually from Central and South America, and are big baddies. No natural predators, and most animals that try to eat them die shortly afterward. That’s possibly why there’s no loss of love between Kate and the Cane Toad.

        • You are right. I must admit that I’ve never heard of them before today. I read the whole and very informative wiki-article (Cane toad) just this afternoon and I am impressed. That’s a terrible plague. Grrr… I would just fear them coming close to one of those awful coevals. Oh my…
          Didn’t we all agree the other day that we learn a lot here? It’s great!

          • I learn TONS in the comments lounge! I only know about Cane Toads because I work in a zoo. 😀

            Since I am not plagued by Cane Toads where I live, I heart them. We have one here at the zoo that we use as a program animal. . I have a funny story about one that I could share one day.

            • Our toads here are different to others, ours are nasty introduced pests that were brought in to get rid of the cane beetle. It didn’t work, since the toads are nocturnal and the beetles were not. The cane toads kill our native wildlife, will kill small domestic animals and make larger dogs very sick. There’s thousands where I live, and so it’s important not to leave standing water around, one can lay thousands of eggs. In summer, the local Parks and Wildlife do nighttime walks to cull them, we all wander the streets with our torches and plastic bags and grab whatever we see, then they’re humanely euthanased. It’s quite the party 🙂 Good riddance, nasty things.

  9. Oh Boo, you are so very handsome! I could kiss your face. For the frog, nope, no matter what prince he may turn into. I have my own prince anyway, I’ll leave him for someone else. 🙂

  10. I love the Boo picture today, not so much the toad, although he does look quite happy with himself and his position. The mention of needing to watch where you step has left me with some crazy mental images of toad carnage. I may have to adjust my planned breakfast of eggs/roasted veggies/salsa for something less like toad innards.

  11. It’s hard to identify the toad from just the picture, but I went to my ‘The Frogs and Toads of North America’ guide and think that it is probably either the American Toad, or Fowler’s Toad which is often confused with the
    American Toad, with which it hybridizes. They are both found in your area! That picture of Boo makes me want to grab his head and give him a big hug!!! xo

  12. Your garden borders don’t look nearly as exhausted as mine do. You’d think it was November by the looks of mine.

    • Does anyone else know the song (Tom Paxton???) The Urge for Going? It’s a beaut!

  13. This is interesting because for awhile there we had massive quantities of black moths. Everywhere. I would mow the lawn and they would rise from the grass along the fence like a cloud. I wonder what this all means.

  14. Love the sounds of bull frogs. I have one in the woods but he’s obviously not eating the darn stink bugs. Neither are the birds. They don’t like them either. Everything looks happy on your farm.

  15. Isn’t that interesting about all those toads….. I see one occasionally here but when I was young they were far more plentiful. Last spring I made ‘Toad Abodes’ with my grandchildren by painting upended clay pots, then putting them out in the garden… propped up a bit so the toad could get inside. But I don’t think any toads ‘took up’ in the abodes. I enjoyed your comments about the turkeys loving it a bit too much on your veranda. You’re having enough trouble trying not to step on toads… you don’t want to also have to look out for turkey plops!!

  16. I would guess that torrential rains equal many toads! I bet they help keep down the bug populations! Cheers!

  17. Oh how I love the portrait of pensive Boo! And I love the toad too. Very cute. I’ve only seen one in my entire life…in sixth grade my friend brought him over to my house. We were in the yard. She held him between her thumb and third finger. I was fascinated by all his bumps.

  18. Good morning! I just recently discovered your blog and enjoy reading about daily life on your farm, with my morning cuppa coffee. Thank you, Cecilia!

  19. Here comes another Nanny Boo fan. I love that photo. Not so keen on the toads, but they have their place in the scheme of things

  20. Toads are one of my favorite kinds of animal. They are wonderful! My guess, based on relative size of toad and its bumps, is an American Toad. I love them so!

  21. Up here on our little acreage just outside of Chicago, we have notice an abundance of frogs, toad, and their ilk this year. I rarely walk out to our little prairie plantings without a toad hopping past and pulled a weed the other day with a toad attached to its roots. The tree frogs are still singing their night songs and we even had a fellow hiding in the back door jam (which led to an unfortunate incident).

  22. Wow, you are lucky C. to have all those beauties hopping around…I have never seen a toad here where I live in the Pacific Northwest. Frogs yes, toads no. 😦 We have a resident frog that lives on our porch and actually spends the day sleeping in one of the patio chairs underneath a pillow….Same chair, same pillow…every day! I have a note on the pillow to check under it before sitting down…Frog Habitat! Talk about a cushy life…he’s been a porch frog for several years now! 🙂

  23. We too have had massive toads and even frogs this year. My worst horror is while on the mower. I try to watch for them and also turtles. I never go at a fast clip on the mower lest I run over some critter. Even snakes get a break with me! 🙂

  24. That’s a wonderful portrait of Boo. Surely it will find its way into a calendar?

  25. Nice shot of Boo. That is a good-sized toad. Some years we’ll see one around the porch at night, but haven’t in quite awhile. Lovely ladies, they really are beautiful.

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