Saturday, October 25, 2014
Spring in New Hampshire is an awesome, nasty, sloppy mess especially if you live in the woods, half way up a mountain. Spring was also noisy. Yes, noisy. You would not believe how noisy it could be. The mud that made our dirt driveway impassable (the truck sat stuck in it for weeks) did not make any noise. The leaves sprouting on the poplar trees that surrounded the house made no noise. Neither did the small patches of leftover melting snow. The noise was from the FROGS!
That small ditch pond we so happily skated on through the winter was now the mating and nesting grounds of thousands of frogs. You would never have guessed such a small pond (maybe 30 ft x 20 ft) could produce such sound but it did every spring.
It was impossible not to hear then. It was a loud, steady drone the whole day through. I had walked down and seen that the pond was covered in frogs but I didn't know that my father had taken notice as well. He never mentioned it and he didn't walk down there to check them out like I did. Just one day he took his pole. This caught mine and my brother's attention immediately. I was a girl but I was such a tomboy and I loved fishing. However, my father didn't take bait. He went to the ragbag where we kept the leftover fabric scraps and got a small piece of red felt. He didn't tell us what he was doing but we got poles and followed him as he knew we would. My father wasn't a secretive person but he liked to surprise us and I think he believed in teaching by example.
Once we were down by the pond you couldn't hear to talk anyway. That was how much noise those frogs made. We watched him cut off a very small square from the red felt, put it on his hook, dangle it in front of a frogs face, and SNAP! a second later the frog had snapped it up and he was caught. My father hit its head on a stone from an old stone wall bordering one side of the pond and put it in a plastic bag he had also brought.
Both my brother and myself asked for a bit of red felt and we were off catching frogs. Oh we knew they were for eating, we had had frog legs once before but one frog set of frog legs does not make much of a meal. We were out there for hours, my father went in before we did but we kept catching frogs. We caught 47 the first day and went out again the next day and caught 54. This didn't even make a dent in the frog population or noise level of our little pond.
My father cut and skinned the frog legs and put them in a cast iron frying pan. Then quickly slapped the lid on it. He then lifted it a bit and showed us how the frog leg reflexes would make the legs jump if he didn't have the lid on and they did, they jumped like they were still a attached to the frog!
We, my brother, my father and I, happily ate the frog legs after they were cooked (yes, they taste quite a bit like chicken) though my mother and sister thought it was gross and would not eat any.