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.
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)
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
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 predicted for the week were a dud.