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This is the story of how, after decades of waiting, I finally caught a bullfrog. For anyone who knows even the most basic of things about me knows that I am an avid animal lover. It’s written in my genetic code or something, because animals have always been fascinating–I can’t get enough of studying them, holding them, learning about them, drawing them… But why a bullfrog? Catching one has been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I don’t remember how old I was or where I was visiting with my grandparents, but I remember taking a stroll along a lakeshore with them and watching the bullfrogs hop into the lake when we got too close. Try as I might, I could not outmaneuver them. That’s when I made my vow…I was going to catch a bullfrog someday.

I’ve had plenty of other opportunities to catch frogs and toads. Indiana has its share of peepers, treefrogs, warty toads, and slippery leopard frogs, all of which have grace our property at one time or another. One amazing side effect of having a pond is that it is a central hub for all sorts of amphibians. It was a few years into moving here that Jack and I were out one spring evening when we heard the distinct croak of a bullfrog. I’d all but given up on my goal of catching a bullfrog, but with one living IN our pond, those springy, slimy legs were within reach again. Dreams DO come true!
Do you see what I see?

Having hunted many frogs (to catch and hold them, not eat them, to be clear), I know how quick they can disappear, especially if there’s water nearby. So, I patiently waited to find the resident bullfrog. Waited for TWO YEARS. No luck. We have a forest of cattails and patches of lily pads and mini pastures of horsetails that make the perfect hiding spot for a frog. I could hear the frog mocking me every night, but never once saw him even splash into the water.

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Then, one day, while I was out getting groceries, Jack sent me a picture that I didn’t find particularly interesting. The shallow end of the pond? I’ve seen it before. I had to zoom in to see what he was trying to show me. Ah-ha! The bullfrog!
It shouldn’t have surprised me that when I came home, there would be a bullfrog detained in our kitchen. Jack told me that he’d grabbed the frog after taking the photo, and it must’ve been in a deep slumber because it didn’t even fight back until he was halfway to the house. Then, when it realized what was happening, it put in the fight of its life. They don’t have claws or teeth, but those back legs are magnificently powerful. They can kick and wriggle like nobody’s business.
A bullfrog AND a baby midland water snake? I might open my own wildlife sanctuary in my house.

So, yay! After years of waiting, I was able to hold a bullfrog. SUPER thoughtful of Jack to indulge me in my ridiculous whims. The only downside? I wasn’t the one who caught the bullfrog. There is a difference between holding and having caught. Could I truly cross it off my bucket list with that little detail derailing my goal?

Oopsies.

Funny enough, another unexpected opportunity to catch a bullfrog presented itself. We’d kept the bullfrog in an empty pretzel tub to observe for briefly before its release, except the morning we were going to let the impressive amphibian go, we woke up to discover it’d already made a break for it.

That meant, somewhere in our house, was a disgruntled bullfrog looking for a pond to dive into. Since we don’t have an indoor pond (we don’t even have any bathtubs, for crying out loud!), that frog had limited time before it’d shrivel up and become a husk of his former glory. We searched high and low, eventually spotting it underneath Kate and Zoey’s bunkbed. I sent Henry and Zoey in after it, yet even though the bullfrog was desperately thirsty from out from being out of water for so long, he was still feisty. He jumped and dodged the little kids until…
…I caught him. All those years I’ve spent going after frogs paid off. On land, in a bedroom, he couldn’t escape me. Not at all how I assumed my dream of catching a bullfrog would happen, but in that moment, I could actually cross that goal off my bucket list. Celebrating briefly, I ran him back to the pond.
Next goal? Catch a bullfrog outside, when the playing field is more even.
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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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