I have been remembering the days of farming when it was finally warm enough to leave the barn doors open while milking the cows. The clean fresh spring air would drift in and entice me to go over and stand in the doorway for a minute. The night air felt soothing on my face and no longer had the harsh bite of winter.
I remember listening to the spring peepers singing in beautiful harmony from the farm pond behind the barn. To this day I canít get enough of this wonderful frog music. Finally I would pull myself away from the hypnotizing frog songs and return to the soft yellow glow of the barn. After milking a couple of more cows Iíd be back in the doorway for another dose of springtime magic.
After the chores were done I would often sit on the back porch with grandpa and listen to the peepers. We would talk for a while then listen for awhile. Then we would talk some more, then listen some more. I think we did more listening than talking.
That was a long time ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was life on a small farm in southern Wisconsin. We worked and lived with nature and her wonders.
I still spend a lot of time listening to the springtime choruses of the spring peepers. Their high- ascending peeping still mesmerizes me as they all seem to sing as one. Itís pretty impressive when there may be hundreds all singing at once. The cold quiet nights of winter are just a memory. From now until fall natureís music will play in many forms, 24 hours a day.
The tiny spring peepers are about the size of my thumbnail and are light brown with a dark X across their back. They belong to the tree frog family which means they like to climb, holding on with little suction cups on the undersides of the ends of their toes.
They begin to sing as the sun sets and continue through most of the night. If you decide to take a flashlight and try to spot one, donít look in the water, look in the reeds and blades of tall grass around the pond. Donít be surprised if you donít see one even though there might be many all around you. They are very small and their camouflaged colors help them blend in with their surroundings.
The loud peep comes when they force air into the pouch under their chin, puffing it out in a bubble nearly as large as the frog itself. When the air in the pouch is forced out through the frogís throat, out comes the peep. Itís the first of many frog songs to come as the spring wears on. As it gets warmer, other frogs will start their spring songs. This chorus of peepers is followed by the leopard frogs, green frogs, American toads, gray tree frogs and the bullfrogs.
Itís spring and the frog music is finally more than just a memory!
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