Uninvited House Guests

This afternoon I find a cricket on the floor in my kitchen. I retrieve the glass and folded magazine page I keep handy on the dining table for removing the occasional bee or stink bug that finds a way inside. I’m allergic to bees, and my dogs hate them, so much so that they come find me to show me if they’ve found one inside, which I appreciate. Stink bugs? The dogs couldn’t care less, but I hate them. The stink they emit if disturbed is acrid, awful; keeps me awake at night and can take days to dissipate, no matter how much air freshener I spray. Whole other blog post, stink bugs. For now, just know that you must contain their “fart” as you remove them from the house – killing them by stomping or squashing in a tissue is not an option unless you enjoy a long-lasting assault to your olfactory nerves.

cricket under glass
Process of moving cricket from kitchen to yard.

As I cover the cricket with the glass and slip the magazine page underneath so I can transport it outside, I notice another much larger cricket on inside of the screen to my sliding glass door, stuck between the screen and the outside side of the glass. Transporting the smaller cricket through said door to freedom outside, I make sure the larger cricket doesn’t gain entrance.

This dance with the insects that have recently inundated my yard and field (see video at end), providing a constant chorus of enjoyable chirping, reminds me of a dance of a different sort a few years ago, with an amphibian.

May 20, 2015

I don’t have any trees close to my house; it sits in the middle of a five-acre field that after the snow melts off remains dry through the summer. I do water the lawn in the dog yard close to the house, and some wildflowers along the driveway. Otherwise, this is a fairly dry environment in summer.

Having lived most of my life in and around Seattle, I know the sound of tree frogs, the classic “ribbit” sound. The coastal climate is perfect for them. Here? I’ve rarely heard the ribbit of a frog. So imagine my surprise when I find a Pacific tree frog (aka Pacific chorus frog) clinging to my sliding glass door. The inside of the door. How did he get in the house? All of the windows have screens, as does the sliding door.

frog on window
Tree frog clinging to the inside of my sliding glass door, next to the kitchen.

Fearing he might be found by the dogs, I carefully collect him in my hand and gently place him into the tall grass on the far side of the dog yard fence.

frog in grass
Frog removed to the field grass, where he’s nicely camouflaged.

May 23, 2015

frog on counter
Frog on kitchen counter.

My visitor from three days ago is back. I picked up a bread knife on the kitchen counter and there he was, hiding under the blade. I nudged him into a plastic cup, then took him outside and turned him loose into the field grass, just as I did three days ago.

frog in glass
Frog awaiting transport outside. Again.

I think he’s hiding from all the hungry song birds that have arrived after long migrations. He’s just lucky Conall hasn’t found him, like the poor caterpillar this morning….

May 25, 2015

I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. This afternoon for the third time in just over a week I’ve found the frog huddling in my kitchen. I get that it’s been really stormy and wet lately, but I thought frogs liked moisture? This is crazy!

I noticed a little dirt on the kitchen window sill next to a potted Christmas cactus. Investigating how it got there led to finding the culprit hiding among some decorative pottery I brought home from Peru. Like the previous two times, he was ushered outside and let go in the field grass twenty feet from the kitchen window.

I’m hard pressed to believe that suddenly, this spring, after years of never hearing or seeing a frog, three different tree frogs have decided to take a tour of my kitchen. It has to be the same frog. I’ve checked all around the kitchen window, inside and out; there are no leaks or places he could squeeze through, at least that I can detect. I even checked for openings in the cupboard below the sink, finding none. Is this like mice in the garage? If you catch and release them anywhere close to where you found them, they simply return?

June 19, 2015

Michigan J. Frog has made another appearance.

[I’ve decided he deserves a name, and chose that of a cartoon character I remembered from my childhood.)

I was out of town for the weekend. Upon returning, I noticed an odd pellet-like “deposit” on the kitchen window sill, and a little dirt from the potted plant. Could it really be Michigan again? I looked all over the kitchen for him, but no luck. I figured I was crazy, imagining he had returned a fourth time, but secretly hoping he had.

bottle, sink
Upturned pop bottle in disposal side of sink.

This morning I put an empty two-liter pop bottle upside down into the side of the sink with a disposal opening. I put them there to drain before moving them to recycling. As I got ready to leave the house, movement caught my eye: Michigan had jumped up into the bottle and crawled up near its bottom! Before I could grab my camera, he fell back down into the disposal, which is apparently where he’d been all week.

Good thing I rarely run the disposal.

But how to get him out? Using a flashlight, I could see him sitting calmly on the bottom of the disposal, next to the blade. I was afraid to put my hand in, thinking I might hurt him because I wouldn’t be able to see what I was doing. I tried scooping him gently with a big spoon; it didn’t work. I doubted there was a YouTube video on how to remove a tree frog from your disposal. I left for a meeting and hoped he’d find his own way out by the time I returned.

Alas, four hours later, he was still in the disposal. I put the two-liter bottle back in, just as before, and within five minutes I saw Michigan perched in the neck of the bottle.

frog, bottle
Michigan in pop bottle, ready for another ride outside.

I pulled the bottle out gently, and he stayed put. Success! I cupped my hand over the bottle end and ushered Michigan out to what is now his familiar release spot in the field grass just beyond the dog-yard fence. I gave him a little pet on the back with my fingertip, admonished him to stay outside and wished him well.

I’d still like to know how he gets inside.

I don’t think I’ll ever run the disposal again.

July 11, 2015

Michigan J Frog returns! I confess, I smiled big.

I should have guessed he’d make an appearance given yesterday’s gully-washing downpour and thunderstorm; this frog clearly prefers to be indoors when it rains.

mop sink
Mop sink in garage, used for rinsing dirty dog legs after trail runs.

The boys and I went for a trail run this morning, and they got dirty. Arriving home, Finn got into the mop sink in the garage for a rinsing of legs and belly. Rinsed, he jumped out and I started to remove accumulated dog hair from the drain when I felt something jump against the palm of my hand! Startled, I pulled back and saw…a frog next to the drain.

Michigan!

I dashed into the house to retrieve my phone and as I crouched down for a photo, Michigan squeezed through the drain cover to hide. He’s still there now, perhaps waiting out this evening’s thunderstorm.

frog in drain
Michigan J Frog hiding in mop sink drain.

Silly frog. I admit, I’m rather fond of him now. Just a couple days ago I wondered what had become of him, if I’d ever see him again.

August 25, 2019

I never did see Michigan again, or any other frog for that matter. If only I could know what was going through his frog brain, why he kept finding ways into my house and garage, what he thought of me constantly putting him outside when clearly all he wanted was to be inside. Stupid woman, he must have thought, I’d hiding from danger and you keep putting me back in the thick of it.

Or maybe there’s a deeper, cosmic message and meaning that I’m simply too dense to grasp.

End note video: scaring up crickets as I walk through a corner of the yard on August 23, 2019. They’re everywhere; no wonder they occasionally end up inside the house.

Crickets flying out of my path.

Feature photo: big cricket on inside of sliding door screen, hoping I won’t notice he’s scheming his way inside.

2 thoughts on “Uninvited House Guests”

  1. I’m sorry, but I’m laughing. You clearly need to admit defeat and make the frog a pet.
    And there’s that beautiful view again.
    Ahhhh…. lowers my blood pressure even from here.
    😉

    Like

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