Sunday, September 25, 2011

What a bunch of bull...frogs!

I went outside earlier today with Oscar and happened upon our two resident frogs - Bandit and Squirt.  Both were sitting out along the rocky edge of the pond soaking up some sun.  I quickly retrieved my camera from my desk and set out for a frog photo shoot.  

Bandit and Squirt were surprisingly cooperative today.  They usually leap into the water as soon as we get close.  Not this afternoon!  I managed to capture several good images of them.  And I was finally...finally! to make a positive ID on the type of frog they are.  Ladies and wonderful Pineapple Ponderings readers...we have North American Bullfrogs, or Rana catesbeiana.  

As you may recall, we got Bandit and Squirt as tadpoles back in May from our local garden center.  Up until this point, they've kinda sorta looked like Green Frogs (Rana clamitans), but today I got a glimpse of their brown and white speckled throats and bellies, which I knew was not characteristic of Green Frogs.  A little research in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians, coupled with some supporting evidence from the grand ol' Internet and I made the ID. 

Armed with this new knowledge (and speaking of being armed...a group of Bullfrogs is called an army!), I read more about the habits of Bullfrogs.  I was particularly interested in how they overwinter.  This is what I found out:
Aquatic frogs such as the leopard frog(Rana pipiens) and American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) typically hibernate underwater. A common misconception is that they spend the winter the way aquatic turtles do, dug into the mud at the bottom of a pond or stream. In fact, hibernating frogs would suffocate if they dug into the mud for an extended period of time. A hibernating turtle's metabolism slows down so drastically that it can get by on the mud's meager oxygen supply. Hibernating aquatic frogs, however, must be near oxygen-rich water and spend a good portion of the winter just lying on top of the mud or only partially buried. They may even slowly swim around from time to time.
I shared this information with Chris and said, "You know what this means, right?!?"  He said, "That we need a bubbler for the pond for the winter?"  I replied, "Exactly."  I want to give Bandit and Squirt the best chance of survival for the winter, so we'll be heading to PetCo in the next month or so to get our pump set-up for the winter. 

Here are some shots of Bandit (the bigger one on the right) and Squirt (the smaller one on the left).  Enjoy!

Squirt (L) and Bandit (R)







Squirt and Bandit with the waterfall in the background.

All fours frogs - Squirt and Bandit, plus our two "biker frogs" from Chris' parents.
(Side note...if they are biker frogs, does that make them "Wild Frogs?!?")



Monday, September 19, 2011

Save me, San Francisco (Part 3)

Are you all caught up on Part 1 and Part 2?  OK, good...let's go!

On Monday, we decided to do the hop-on/hop-off open-top sightseeing bus tour.  With the package we picked, we would be able to do three tours in one day - the Golden Gate Bridge/Sausalito tour, the downtown tour, and the evening tour.  Monday also wound up being our totally unplanned let's-all-dress-alike day!  The outfit du jour was jeans with a black top.  

Our first tour was the Golden Gate Bridge/Sausalito tour:

Looking back on the rest of the passengers on top of the bus.

Oh, hey!

Twin Victorian houses built for Adolph Spreckles' daughters.

Mel's Drive-In

The Palace of Fine Arts - might look familiar...part of "The Rock" was filmed there.

These ladies showing their rears was a statement by the architect.  Classy.

Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.

Driving along the Golden Gate Bridge...

...while looking up...

...still looking up... on the backside of one of the bridge towers.

'Twas a bit windy (hence the errant sleeve)...GGB in the background.

Rachel and Karen

Hi Rach!

Karen and me

Heading into Sausalito.

Casa Madrona hotel

Lou Dursi's long lost brother - Sal from Brooklyn

I don't know what kind of trees these are, but I LOVE them!!!

Muir Woods

George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic

Ana Mandara is Don Johnson's Vietnamese restaurant

The ships at the Maritime National Historical Park.
After the GGB/Sausalito tour, we hopped onto the downtown San Francisco tour bus.

Ready to see the downtown sights!

Our tour guide...Dean?  Derek?  Something like that!

Pier 35

There were TONS of motorcycles in and around San Francisco!

The Ferry Building at the Embarcadero

The Oakland Bay Bridge

That's one way to tour the city!  (Not the way I'd go...but only because of traffic.)

The famous Hibernia Bank

San Francisco City Hall

Giddy up, cowboy!

The entrance to Chinatown.

I thought this sign was really cute.

Looking back at the Transamerica Pyramid Building.

I managed to get a good shot of the Fishermans Wharf sign on our way back.
When the downtown tour ended back at The Cannery, we decided to return to Fishermans Wharf and go in search of fish tacos.  We found them!  After snarfing on some fish taco-y noms, we walked back to Ghirardelli Square for another round of ice cream before we had to return to The Cannery for the nighttime city tour.

Another Anchor Steam?  Um, OK!

Back at Ghirardelli Square for dessert!

"As Pure as the roses that glow upon the cheeks of little children." - Ghirardelli's Cocoa!

This time I went with the dark chocolate sauce on my chocolate ice cream...
it was a good choice!

Awesome name!

Rachel and Karen in their matching fleece jackets.
So many wires for the trolleys and buses!

Things were wrapping up in Chinatown for the evening.

Notice the "olive" in the martini.

Whoa!  I never knew!!!

I really like the shopping cute!

And thus begins the tour of all of the super cool houses in San Francisco!

The "Full House" Park

The "Full House" houses with the city in the background.

A close-up of the "Full House" houses.
The backside of City Hall.

It's just a mansion...nothing to see here.

There was a protest at the BART station -
the BART station where Karen was supposed to go later that evening!

That doesn't bode well for Karen's trip to the airport!

Another shot of the Oakland Bay Bridge.
Once our tour ended, we snagged a cab back to our hotel where - thanks to the kerfuffle happening at the BART station - we made arrangements for Karen to take the Super Shuttle to the hotel.  Once those transportation arrangements had been made, we went down to Elephant & Castle for a late dinner.  Karen's shuttle arrived and we bid her safe travels.  (She left us a day early because she and her husband were flying out the next morning to Florida to visit Joe's daughter.)  Once Karen was safely en route to the airport, Rachel and I made our plans for Tuesday and turned in for the night.

And then there were two...of us left; and then there was left in the city.  Stay tuned for the last day of our San Fran Adventure!