Frogs

oldculvertAbout a year and a half ago the culvert under the road by our mailbox gave up the ghost. These things can fail in various ways, and this one chose to rot out from underneath. I think it had been rotten for a while, but we really didn’t notice it until the spring runoff of 2014, when about 1/3 of the road washed away. The road was still passable, but if you missed, your car would have fallen into a 4′ hole in the road.

The guys from the county road commission were very good about coming out and replacing the old culvert with a shiny new plastic one that probably won’t rust out in our lifetimes. The problem that still remains regards all the dirt that had been part of the road. It washed through the broken culvert and into another one that goes into our front pond. It deposited yard after yard of road dirt into the area of the pond where only water usually flows. It was a mess.

culvertAll that summer, I floated the idea to my friends with appropriate machinery that I’d be willing to pay them to dig out this mess. I must not have been forceful enough, because I had no takers. This summer I worked at it a bit harder, and did find a friend with an excavator with enough of a reach to do the job. He was too busy to do the work himself, but I found an operator the owner of the equipment trusted, and he agreed to do the job for me.

One thing led to another, and getting the equipment moved over here was delayed. I spoke with my operator friend the other day, and we talked about the possibility of still getting the job done this year. Note that we have had a very warm fall, so the possibility did exist.

As we talked about it, he asked me if I thought the discharge into the pond would handle 2016’s runoff. I told him I thought it probably would. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at.

Then he said, “I was thinking that in all that soft dirt, there are probably a lot of frogs hibernating.”

Not at all sure what this had to do with anything, I agreed with him that this might be a distinct possibility. Then it dawned on me. He was concerned that all that digging would probably kill all those peacefully sleeping frogs. He wondered about the next year’s spring runoff because he was thinking it might be better to postpone the operation until the frogs had awoken and gone about their froggy lives. When I understood, I wholeheartedly agreed to postpone the project. Who says heavy equipment operators don’t have tender hearts!

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