Toad usurper

This very short post is proving very difficult and frustrating. That bloody new editor has appeared and is absolutely impossible to use. All I want to do is stick in a photo from my gallery and it won’t do it. I’m back on the old old editor going through WP admin which is a pain.

So…On August 9 I posted a photo of the toad, named Terry by our youngest, who had taken up residence inside the Mimosa Hostilis (the Vicious Mimosa tree).

We had a big storm a few nights ago and Terry hadn’t come back in the morning. For two days the hole was empty, then yesterday evening this appeared.

This is not Terry. Meet Theresa.

Toad in a hole

We have a couple of big trees that nobody can identify with any certainty. I call them crown of thorn trees because one of them possesses long spikes on the branches and around the trunk, like the things people put around lamp posts to stop burglars shinning up them. They are lethal, the longest around 25cm (10″) long, shorter along the branches.

crown of thorns

The leaves and flowers are similar to a sort of mimosa.

Okay. I have done a bit more research, global this time and have discovered what this tree is. It’s not native at all, it’s Mimosa Hostilis (figures) and it’s native to Brazil and the equatorial rain forests. What it’s doing here is a mystery, but it must really hate this climate.

crown of thorns tree

The specimen by the woodpile is inhabited by great capricorn beetles, massive, scary-looking things that devour the tree from the inside. They are a protected species so it’s forbidden to kill them. I personally wouldn’t get close enough to take a swing at one anyway.


There is a hole at the base of the trunk hollowed out by the insects and there are often larvae buried in the sawdust. Yesterday I noticed that the fine red sawdust had been dug out, and looking inside found a toad in residence.


Toad is still there today, keeping cool. It’s a good place to be, living in the larder.


climate changes

wars and revolutions in the streets

corrupt kings flee to friendly palaces

even those who ask nothing

will be swept away



A toad sits


Night flies on out-flung turquoise wings

folding feathers of fucshia and the taste

of pressed gold into cloud shapes and the

roaring of the poplars in the wind.


Grass shadow stretches earthwards and

upwards grey as dusky earth and the colour

of the toad waiting for the light music to fade

and the tranquil dark sea to rise and fall.


Cool seeps from well and water, earth turns

slow and stately as moonbeams, and life walks

on slender bufonid legs into the leaf-rustle

hush of the star-dimpled night ocean.

Daily Shadorma: Deep tracks

There are a lot of frogs and toads around here, and we sometimes see dead toads on the road. They don’t move very fast, and the road is so quiet they probably don’t suspect anything unpleasant is about to happen to them. A couple of mornings ago I found a toad by the side of the road. I didn’t realise it was dead at first. It seemed frozen in mid movement, one of its front paws raised as if to ask a question, it’s head held high, eyes wide open. I’ve no idea what happened to it, there hadn’t even been a frost in the night.


Deep tracks dug

in the fallen leaves,

muddy pools,

no longer

crisp with frost. Dead toad, frozen

in mid gesture, supplicates.