Thrivin’ Tadpoles

When I opened the box full of potential tadpoles from the pond supply company, I expected to already be a little disappointed. It was 80 degrees out and 5:00. The mail had to be sitting on the front steps for hours. Casualties were not a possibility, but a certainty.


What I found was a bag of awesome. I counted eight tiny swimming spermy critters sealed in a bag like an ill-fated goldfish. Obviously, they give you a couple of extras “in case.”
American Toads are extremely resilient creatures, but I didn’t expect a 100% survival rate. Nearly 2 weeks in to tadpole ownership, I really did not expect that.


My “taddies” as my daughter calls them, have exceeded expectations. They’ve already grown. They swim with the vigor of a sober Michael Phelps. Watching one wiggle it’s way through a lettuce leaf piece three times it’s size was hilarious.


Still, I am not sure how to make these guys into art. I mean they are TINY. Even the smaller adult toads I have drawn could be measured in inches. These guys not so much. Taking photos of them is quite difficult – they zoom around like little torpedoes. My camera lens is a notoriously good prosumer lens but it can’t dream of focusing fast enough.


Still, what a fun adventure! If these little guys do well, I may make toad raising a tradition. Their energy and the amazing transformation they will partake in is cause for celebration. When I do finally get to drawing one of them, I think it will be a very large drawing to convey just how great these little guys are.


taddie3 taddie1

Why toads?

I had a very good experience at the LoLa Art Crawl this past weekend. I was at Glacier’s Cafe on Minnehaha across from the Hub. We had great weather, good traffic, and really good frozen custard and sandwiches. Thanks to Ben and everyone at Glacier’s for a great time! My only complaint would be that I wished I could have gone out to crawl some of the other spaces myself.

I had a lot of interesting conversations with people about many different topics. Some wildlife rehab volunteers told me about rehabbing snapping turtles. I directed a young artist to Wet Paint in St. Paul for the best selection of truly artist quality colored pencils. The question I got most was “why toads?”

I know I gave a different answer every time. Sometimes I talked about the wonder of frogs and toads in fairy tales, other times I just said that they make me smile. I do  think there is more to it than that ; I identify with their ugliness and their ordinariness.  Their individuality is lost on the people they come in contact with. They are defined instead by the odd place where they were found or how close they got to your lawn mower blades. Instead of the princess, I feel like the toad. Perhaps there is some magic behind this toad skin; perhaps not. I just know that this really does make me smile.