When Life Gives You Berries

I was driving home when I saw a handwritten, cardboard sign by the road, “Free Raspberries.” As a big berry lover I was not one to pass up this deal (especially when the sign uses my favorite four-letter word).

It didn’t bother me one bit that the berries were not, in fact, as advertised (black instead of red). After some washing and pureeing (with a bit of sugar) I ended up with four large jars of blackberry syrup. It’ll be perfect over ice cream or pancakes, as the base for bbq sauce, or even as a fruity mixer for drinks.

Berry-licious!

Helpful Hopper

I disturbed this Southern Toad’s (Anaxyrus terrestris) daily routine with one of my recent digging projects. I was pleased to discover this nocturnal hopper in my yard since they are known to devour roaches and other nighttime creepy crawlies.

As a true toad it is toothless, covered in warts, and sports two parotoid glands. An effective defense mechanism, the toad can secrete a toxin from these glands that deters predation.

Thankfully for dog owners, the Southern Toad’s poison is not nearly as powerful as that of the non-native Cane Toad (now found throughout Florida) or the Sonoran Desert Toad out west. Years ago, I had to rinse out the mouth of a dog that made the terrible mistake of trying to chew on one, Shelby never did that again!

Welcome to my ‘hood, little one. May you live long and prosper!