I got the idea in my head that Mr. T and I needed to raise tadpoles this summer. It’s something we’ve never done before. I was already thinking about it when Lori of In Heywood’s Meadow wrote about her son finding frogs’ eggs and raising tadpoles. She recommended the book Pets In a Jar: Collecting and Caring for Small Wild Animals by Seymour Simon, which we handily found at our library. Armed with the proper know-how, we set out to a local small pond where I’d years ago seen frog eggs.
We didn’t find any eggs in the first pond, so we moved on to a second, and lo and behold I saw a jelly-like cluster right off. We scooped it into a jar and studied it.
I’m not entirely sure these are frogs’ eggs. It’s definitely a cluster of some sort of egg. The dark bits you see are actually algae; I don’t see the dark spot in the egg that frogs’ eggs are supposed to have, but perhaps these were freshly laid and the dark area is still quite small.
Mr. T enjoyed the egg cluster, but he was much more interested in the small creature we’d inadvertently captured along with it.
We identified it as a backswimmer in our little pond guide.
Mr. T wanted to keep it, until we read that backswimmers like to eat tadpoles.
We brought the cluster home, where we’ll keep our eyes on it and see what happens next.
Being at the pond with Mr. T was a little bittersweet for me. Call me slow, but I’m finally starting to realize that once kids like my older two reach teenage-hood, they prefer to learn on their own. I’m sure that’s not true of all teens, all the time–but for the most part, my older kids aren’t so interested in exploring parks with me. Can you imagine: thirteen and seventeen-year-olds would rather hang out with friends than go to a park with their mother? Shocking! But Mr. T is still happy to explore ponds with me for an afternoon, to stalk frogs’ eggs, to read field guides. I know these times together are fleeting, so I’m relishing them like the last bites of a pint of ice cream. I’m scraping the bottom of the carton with my spoon, and I’m not going to miss a drop.
I’ll keep you posted on our mystery egg cluster.