before and after

Yesterday, we knocked another job off the “gotta do” list for this season. The fascia boards on the studio roof were looking mighty rough, so had to be taken down and replaced with new boards which I’d painted up last week. There’s a photo of the studio with the new boards in place down at the bottom of this post. For those who are interested, I’ve written about this building a bit before. For the most part, the studio was built single-handedly over a season during which I would come home from work, mix up a couple of batches of mortar, and add another row or two of logs to one of the sections of wall. Gradually, the building took shape over that summer and autumn. It took another year to do the finishing work. But the building isn’t what I meant to write about today. No, what I really want to write about is the Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) that fell out of the eaves while I was tearing down one of the old fascia boards (see above, click on photos for larger views).

A lot of times when we see these frogs, they look pretty green, and I’m sure many people are thinking, “Huh? Why are they called Gray Treefrogs?” Yesterday’s encounter with this particular individual should help to illustrate just how gray these frogs can be. It was about as dark a frog as I’ve seen, but closely matched the colour of the blackened inner side of the fascia board to which it was clinging.

After removing the frog from the roof eaves, I decided to shoot a couple of photos — partly because it looked so dark, but also because its body seemed puffed up in a rather alarming way. I set the frog atop the newel post on the steps that lead down into our laneway. The frog sat quietly while I clicked a couple of photos. The time on the top photo was 5:28 p.m.

A little later, while putting away tools, I happened to think of the frog, and checked to see if it was still around. Sure enough, there it was on the post, now basking in the glow of late afternoon sunlight. The time of the second photo was 6:22 p.m. As you can see, the frog’s colour had change considerably to closely match that of the newel post. The shape of the body had also seemed to have changed, being less puffed up on top. The pupils of its eyes also seemed more dilated — when I first found the frog, they looked very narrow.

So, there you have it — before and after photos of one of these very changeable little frogs — and a shot of the studio looking as though it’s good to go for another winter.

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13 Responses to “before and after”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    What a great look at the changing colors of that tree frog. I am really surprised by how significant the changes are. Our frogs went quiet in late spring and we hadn’t heard sound until just the other day. What a welcome little croaking came from the trees. I was glad to hear it, but I also wonder where they’ve been for so long.

    Your studio is a beautiful building, bev. There is something very rustic and lovingly hand-hewn about it that makes it seem like it was built a long, long time ago.

  2. Wayne Says:

    Wow – what a difference in the frog’s appearance! I hadn’t even thought of the possibility of color change.

    I don’t think I’ve heard either our leopard or bullfrogs in several weeks now. Until the weekend our temperatures had been delightfully moderate, but are now back up in the low 90s. To date for the month of Sep we’ve had 0.4 inches rain, and should have about 3.6 inches. None in prospect.

    I agree with Robin – that’s a perfectly lovely little building. Someone took extraordinary pains with it.

  3. am Says:

    What a beautiful studio with its mosaic-like walls! Do the walls look like that inside, too?

    Sweet, the way the frog has its front legs tucked under it like a cat in the second photo. I have loved frogs since I was a small girl. Part of that is their expressive faces.

  4. bev Says:

    robin – I’ve never moved a frog and then waited for it to change colour, so this was pretty interesting. Glad that I thought to check back on it later in the afternoon, and that the camera records time on the photos. Re: the building. Over the years, quite a few people have stopped to look at it. I put a date block up in the top of the wall over the door and just about everyone gets a surprise when they see that it says 1987 and not something much older.

    Wayne – As mentioned robin, I’ve never timed one changing, so it was neat to see how quickly that happened. For all I know, it happed even quicker, but I wasn’t standing around to watch. That would definitely make an interesting experiment!
    We started hearing treefrogs again quite recently, although I’m not quite sure what is provoking their calls. It would be expected if we got some rain, but it’s so dry here that I wouldn’t have thought they would call.

    am – Yes, the walls are the same on the inside too, with the exception of a wood divider wall that separates the studio part from the garage part where I store my canoe and a few other things. The interior has a very nice feel to it.
    I’ve always loved frogs too, probably for the same reason. Their eyes seem like dark wells… sort of like the night sky.

  5. celeste Says:

    Hi Bev, what a cool studio! We’d like to make a cordwood garage, we sure have plenty of wood–lots of oak. Pleeeeeease take a pic of your studio innards, I’d love to peek! The frog looks happier too. How big was it?

  6. Con Daily Says:

    Excellent photos of the gray tree frog. Intersting post (not the one under the frog!), too.

  7. bev Says:

    celeste – If you want to make a cordwood garage, just go for it! It’s a very easy type of construction. The only thing I would suggest – you being in the PNW where there’s a lot of precipitation, would be to design a building with a good overhang, and be sure that your first course of logs is well up and away from the ground on a concrete or stone footing. Other than that, I think it would work out well. Around here, there were once many cordwood barns, and in fact, some houses as well (most since covered over with clapboard or other siding). There are also some new houses being built, although I don’t see quite so many as I did during the 1980s. Eastern Cedar is the wood that is used for cordwood barns in this region – because cedar lasts so well — many old cedar rail fences are still doing their job decades after being built. Whichever wood you use, it should be one that would customarily be used for such things as fence rails, exterior siding, etc.. in your region. By the way, we got all of our wood from someone who cut cedar fence posts and rails from his woodlot. He was very happy to find someone who would buy wood that wasn’t straight or well-shaped for posts and rails, so he gave us a good price. We have a large PTO-driven cordwood saw here, so we cut up the poles with that. I’ll try to post some photos of the interior of the studio building sometime soon — busy this week, so not sure just when though.

    Con Daily – Thanks! (-:

  8. Dave Says:

    Far out!

  9. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Dear Bev. Dear, dear Bev. I read your post about your response to stress – to loss – to chaos. Create a haven. Create order and harmony with sinew and heart.

    I thought I’d taken the full measure of my remarkable blogging buddy with perhaps a few tantalizing qualities yet to be revealed. But this?

    I’ve got blue duct tape holding a kitchen cabinet door on. The contractors are coming in November. After reading your narrative, I’m thinking I should find that old sledge hammer in the shed and get crackin’ ;0)

  10. celeste Says:

    Hi Bev, thanks for the tips! Here the fenceposts(the old handmade ones, which are indeed old!)are made of oak. I’m looking forward to more pix ;0).

  11. bev Says:

    Dave – Yep.. I thought it was pretty far out too!

    Cathy – I would definitely get that hammer out and get crackin! (-:

    celeste – That’s neat about the old fence posts being made of oak! I think oak would be considered too valuable to have been used for fences around here. Cedar grows in abundance on poorly drained land, so it’s a perfect candidate for fence work.

  12. Marcia Bonta Says:

    No wonder I can never find a gray treefrog, but a spring peeper called this morning. Lovely photos and I enjoyed seeing your studio.

  13. bev Says:

    Marcia – They are so well camouflaged, that I think they melt right into whatever place they like. It certainly makes it a challenge to find one. I hear a spring peeper a couple of days ago. I was a bit surprised as it’s just so dry around here right now.

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