The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

My Mum raised Frogs and Toads, whilst I worked in London

When I found the cottage fourteen years ago, Danny had not drifted onto my horizon. Shortly after moving into the cottage, I had to work down in London. I had been offered a free studio in a prime location and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

Even though I have no children, I had responsibilities, one highly intelligent, independent mover and shaker who assured me he could do everything except prepare his food. My old dog, Fly. My Mother obliged with the childminding duties.

My Mother loved staying in the cottage. She explained that it was great to stay when I was away. There was a sense of me around but she could be totally self indulgent. She painted her watercolours in the garden. She wasn’t a slave to the telephone, not even a willing servant. She never passed on a single message.

My Mother was fired by different things. She raised toads and frogs in large aquariums in the kitchen. She bought tropical fish aquarium equipment so as to make sure that her new found babies had every chance of survival. The size of environment must effect the results.

Every year we carried twelve baby frogs to the pond for release. The toads were much more interesting. The spawn and the emerging toads were smaller than the frogs. A fully formed baby toad is the size of half my little fingernail. The froglets were roughly the size of my thumbnail. The toads were energetic, Swimming with faultless bresatstroke and trying to escape the confines of the tank. The baby frogs seemed to be content to accept their environment, they never tried to run.

The slugs were a torment when I moved here. Now we are reaping the benefits of matriarchal projects. Thank you frogs and toads. Thank you very much Mum!


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