Jason, Patrick, and I first made Fred's acquaintance last year on our front porch. He wasn't very big but we liked him anyway. We got a kick out of his ability to show up and leave with hardly any fanfare, and the fact that he was content just to sit around with us. He didn't seem to need much from us other than some admiration, which we were happy to provide. Since then, Fred has shown up repeatedly: several more times on the front porch, twice on the back porch, and even one time in my greenhouse. Melkamu has met him as well, but seems less impressed with Fred than the rest of us.
Fred is a toad.
We only get to see Fred when he chooses to show up. Until recently, the strangest place Fred had chosen to show up was in a flat of flowers in my greenhouse, when a large clump of "dirt" hopped halfway across the flat as I started watering it and startled me so much that I dropped the watering can. Thankfully, we knew Fred by this point, and he us, and was happy to hop into a cup so that I could tote him out of the greenhouse, in which he probably would have otherwise died (it gets very hot in there).
A few months ago, though, Fred decided that only seeing us upon occasion was wearing thin and he'd like to make a more permanent committment. He chose to inform us (read: me) of this at a few minutes before midnight as I was, uh, indisposed.
I had heard a gentle thump on the closed bathroom door a few minutes previously, but just assumed it was one of the dogs settling down outside the door. I didn't even look up. Several minutes passed. Then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. And then Fred hopped a good foot into the guest bathroom. He had crawled under the door.
Well, despite Fred being a friend of the family, this was a little too much. I suppose he did try knocking, though he didn't exactly wait for an invitation. But he hadn't been invited into the house in the first place.
Oh, and there was one other matter. The guest bathroom is ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE HOUSE. I have no idea how Fred got there. He came in from the hallway.
Needless, I quickly became less indisposed and
After taking pictures, of course.
With a dustpan and Tupperware dish in hand, I found Fred again. He was completing his tour of the guest bathroom with a look behind the trashcan. I popped the Tupperware dish over him, slid the dustpan underneath, and brought him out to the front porch. He hopped down into the ivy, clearly affronted at the rude ejection from our house.
It will be interesting to see where Fred shows up next. I can only request of him that he choose a lively cucumber or tomato plant next time, preferably in the light of day.
***Update: it was months before we saw Fred again. I was sure he was so insulted by my lack of hospitality at midnight in June that he was off to find a new family to surprise at strange times. A couple of weeks ago, though, I lifted a box off a chair on our back deck--and lo and behold, there was Fred! I thought he was a leaf at first, so his hop took me by surprise and I jumped. We all had a hearty laugh--well, Fred just hopped again but I know he meant "Surprised you, didn't I?"
Oh Fred, you kidder you.