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Frogs and gardens

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I just don’t even know where to begin with today’s event. I mean, I glanced down the list and saw that the Spanish Armada set sail today and that was about the thing with the most comic potential until I scrolled down the list and spotted it. The event to commemorate today, on 19th of May absolutely has to be an event first held on this day in 1928 in Calaveras County, California.

Yes, on the 3rd weekend in May, there’s the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee! Now, I’m not demeaning the Americans in any way, since I have good American friends who are intelligent and civilised, but there IS a stereotype of a certain type of American that just won’t die. You know the one… Sitting in the rocker on the front porch with a banjo and a shotgun, straw hat, piece of straw in corner of mouth, dungarees and bare feet, big ceramic jug next to him with XXX written on the side, uncle called Bubba-Joe who’s also his dad … You know the one. Well, tell me if you believe this event is not perpetuating just such a stereotype:

This year I note that among other entertainment, they have Farmer Earl the ventriloquist with “Milton the talking Milk Carton” among other cast members. A talking milk-carton! In addition, there’s a country group called … wait for it … Kidd Fiddlers. Now I guess that doesn’t have the same connotations in the US as it does in Britain, but they’d probably be chased out of a British Village with pitchforks.

And on the actual Frog Hopping side of the weekend, imagine an event where not only do you have frog contestants with their own names (such as “Lisa Can Do” and “Worthless Chris”) but each frog has a ‘frog jockey’!

I just can’t even paraphrase. Here are the rules:



  1. Qualifying Jump: $6.00 (unlimited entries)
  2. All entries must be registered.
  3. Contestants may only enter/jockey 10 frogs at a time- and then must return to the back of the line.
  4. In all jumps, the length will be measured in a straight line from the starting point to the point of landing on the third jump.
  5. If a frog jumps into contestant’s or team’s equipment, the frog will be disqualified.
  6. If a frog jumps into another person’s or association’s equipment, the frog may have a re-jump or take the mark at the frog’s projected landing spot.
  7. Only the person jockeying the frog may be ahead of the launching pad.
  8. Frog catchers shall be on the right or the left-hand corners of the stage and cannot move until the frog has finished jumping.
  9. The frog must have all four (4) feet, including toes, on the eight (8) inch pad.
  10. Placement of the 1st jump must occur within 30 seconds. Fifteen seconds will be allowed for each of the two (2) subsequent jumps. If the frog does not jump within the allotted time, the frog is disqualified.
  11. Touching the frog after it leaves the pad is cause for immediate disqualification.
  12. NO REFUNDS, on entry forms paid but not used. Entry forms can not be used from previous years.
  13. Evidence of or jumping the same frog twice will result in disqualification and forfeit of prizes.
  14. Participants engaged in this activity assume any and all risks of bodily injury, death or property damage.
  15. By entering/jumping a frog, you agree to be photographed. Any photos will become the property of the Association and may be used in promotional efforts.
  16. The judge’s decision is final. Any interference by the participant or team member with the judge may be cause for disqualification.

*** Hmm. Think I’ll start the North Yorkshire Wombat Sucking championships!

As far as the world of the Moosehunter goes, we’d planned for about the 6th weekend in a row to have a relaxing weekend of doing remarkably little. And as with the previous 5 ‘easy weekends’, we basically worked hard all weekend. Constructed a large amount of fencing and painted same. This time, we splashed out on a good quality, nice-looking preservative and the fence is now a uniform rich brown, rather than the strange multi-hued look of before. Basically we had a stretch of deep chestnut coloured fence that we acquired from Uncle Fester, posts and rails of varying colours and qualities half-inched from my father in law’s field, and slats of untreated rough wood. You can imagine. It looked like a wooden Neapolitan ice cream. And, because we splashed out on good preservative, rather than the cheap bulk stuff like last time, this fence looks like it has been well treated, as opposed to the other two that look like a large creature had an almost fatal bout of diarrhoea over.

Also, we built our rockery. Actually, that’s not strictly true. What we did was take the two piles of earth spattered with broken bricks and turned them into one bigger pile of earth, surrounded by a border of broken bricks, but it’s a start. Once we add stones and plants we’ll have a rockery. I suppose what we officially have right now could only reasonably be termed a hill. Or a mound. Or a lump.

And then there’s the lawn. Oh lord, the lawn. When we finally had a lawn this year, after seeding it last autumn, it was wonderful mowing it for the first time. However, once I’d mowed it, we noticed all the bald spots. You see, our lawn is a little uneven, and the brutal mower we got from a friend, rather than stopping when it hit a mound, just went through it and mowed a large chunk of the Earth’s crust. So… we sewed the bare patches with seed. Then a few days later we covered the lawn with weed and feed. And then, for good measure we sewed more seed in the bald bits and watered them. The result, I hear you ask? The result is that we still have a piebald lawn, but due to the seed and weed and feed, the majority of it (where the grass had actually grown) now grows at the most phenomenal rate. It’s actually a bit worrying. We can’t get the bald patches to fill in, but the rest of the lawn needs cutting about every 3 days! It’s growing almost a foot in a week!! On the bright side, if we go away on holiday and don’t cut it for a couple of weeks, the bare patches can be used by the tribes of pygmies for their villages. I mowed the lawn on Sunday and even Death Mower from Hell had trouble getting through it. It’d only been growing a week since its last cut, but this lawn is, I reckon, about 15ft by 45ft, and I had to empty the grass bucket on the back 5 times on my first stint and 7 times on the second. This is a trifle annoying because that’s enough grass I’ve just taken off to fill in the bald spots a hundred times over, but the DAMN BASTARDING GREEN EVIL STUFF WILL NOT GROW IN THE GAPS!!!!!

Oh and two more pieces of furniture have been moved out into the back yard, ready to be sawn up into firewood.

And I removed the rust and touched up the paint on my Scooter!

My life is so exciting.

Did you know that at the time of writing, it’s exactly 1 week, 1 day, 23 hours, 7 minutes and 11 seconds until I finish work for my trip to Istanbul.




Written by SJAT

January 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

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