A tiny  toad has taken up residence in my back garden, I think in the rosemary which borders my bedroom patio, but I don’t know if it’s a spadefoot or a Sonoran Desert toad, both of which come out during our monsoon season.    The Sonoran Desert toads are the hallucinogenic ones.1  Must look it in the eye; the pupils are vertical in the spadefoot, but the Sonoran Desert toad has golden eyes with horizontally elliptical pupils.  I see it out at night when I open the sliding door to the screen.  But the other night I saw something dark go under my rocking chair cover, and assuming it was a cockroach, pulled back the chair so that the cat would catch it.  It was the tiny toad.  How in the world did it get in?  I know that cockroaches can slither under doors, but the toad was the size of a large marble when it tucked in its extremities (although it looked like it was a poorly-made leather marble).  The cat wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

Couch’s spadefoots have a skin secretion that may cause allergic reactions in some humans.2

If picked up or mouthed by a predator, Sonoran Desert Toads will exude a potent, milky white toxin from their parotoid glands. If ingested, their toxin is capable of seriously sickening or killing potential predators.3

So I grabbed the toad myself.  It was wet (with poisonous secretions?), so after I put it outside I washed my hands.  Twice.

Sacred Datura

The leaves of the myriad sacred datura plants4 which have cropped up all over my backyard are covered with tiny holes.  So bugs eat only that much and then get high?  Do insects hallucinate?   No leaves have large bites taken out of them, like the tomato leaves, eaten to the nub by the grasshopper I missed catching.


My cousin had given me this web site5 to see which vegetables I really must buy organic.  (They list 48; I’ve listed only the first 12.)

Fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue data
EWG analyzed pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to come up with rankings for these popular fresh produce items. Foods are listed below from worst to best.  (lower numbers = more pesticides)

1. Applesapple


strawberries 2. Strawberries


grapes3. Grapes


celery4. Celery


peaches5. Peaches


spinach6. Spinach


pepper7. Sweet Bell Peppers


nectarine8. Nectarines – Imported


cucumber9. Cucumbers


cherry tom10. Cherry Tomatoes


snap peas11. Snap Peas – Imported


potatoes12. Potatoes


In my last blog I mentioned that I shall only buy organic potatoes from now on, because of all of the pesticides and herbicides that the potato field are drenched in.   But there are eleven vegetables and fruits that are worse!

Last week I bought organic milk and orange juice from Safeway (its O Organics™ brand) and from Albertson’s, organic eggs, strawberries, canned diced tomatoes, apples, flax seeds, red grapes, mushrooms, and, of course, potatoes.

Word of the Day

Fungible – (especially of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind.

This from an interesting column in last Sunday’s New York Times, Useless Creatures:

…In some cases, conservation groups or other interested parties actually put down cash for these ecosystem services — paying countries, for instance, to maintain forests as a form of carbon sequestration. The argument, in essence, is that we can persuade people to save nature by making it possible for them to sell it. They can take nature to the bank, or at least to the local grocery. They can monetize it. (The new revised version of Genesis now says, “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, and he said, ‘Let them be fungible.’ ”)6

Flash floods

Flash floods predicted for the week were a dud.



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3 Responses to “Hallucinogens”

  1. Mitch Says:

    another great post. tomato hornworm should actually also be called datura hornworms….. do they get high… good question.

  2. Jim Says:

    We have one large toad who lives under a huge upside down clay pot home I provided for her. At one time we had many of them living around the house. But then tragedy stuck, when a great horned owl came at night to prey on them. She ate everything except for their heads, feet and skin.

    Hey, Mitch, in the Amazon they eat chonta palm worms. You could experimentally barbeque a hornworm to determine if they get humans high, and if so, what kind of trip it gives.

  3. Jim Says:

    From experience, I learned that the New York Times is fungible, nearly exchangeable for Pravda. I read Pravda daily, in my second year of learning Russian, during the sputnick era when Russian science seemed so promising to physicists. I also read the New York Times, which seemed equivalently full of incredible propaganda about leaders, governments and history. As Lincoln famously put it: “You can fool some of people all of the time, and all of the people some of time, but you can’t fool all of people all of times.” “You” is this case refers to editors of the New York Times and Pravda. Today, I only read The Economist, which should be called: The Opinionated Economist.

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