Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Proof is in the PUDDING?

I am often asked why we named the building, Toad House. If you haven't heard me tell the story, I hope you have time to sit back and enjoy the long tale. (If you know the story, you might want to skip to the end of the blog to find out about the proof in the pudding.)

It all started with a sailing adventure in Bayfield.  "It was a dark, hot and sticky evening that August in Bayfield...." Tony and I walked the docks to the soda machine, money in hand to buy a drink, but before we could buy our sodas, we noticed a very large toad, sitting in front of the machine and he was looking up. What was he looking at? He was looking at all the bugs gathered in the light of the machine. Though toads have long tongues, he could not reach them. So Tony plucked a bug from the machine and offered it to the toad, who ate it without a word of gratitude. We fed the toad many bugs before we had our sodas that evening.

The next morning he was nowhere to be found. I looked and looked.  Where can he hide, where can he be? I couldn't find him anywhere, but that evening, he was back, expecting another handout, no doubt.

On the way home from our adventure, those words, 'where can he hide, where can he be?' went around and around in my head and finally came out as the poem, Toads. It would be many, many years later when Janelle Thompson and I connected through her daughter, Jenny, and Janelle made the poem into a beautiful children's picture book.
The next step was to find a publisher--(where can he hide? where can he be?)--and since no publisher was to be found, we decided to become a publisher; but what to call the fledgling publishing company?  Michael Doran said, "Why don't you call it Toad House Publishing?"
So there we were, Toad House Publishing, and after that every thing just kept coming up toads and the building, under deconstruction and later reconstruction became Toad House. Now you know that part of the tale.

Onward to today: Hollis Helmeci, our librarian, gardener, and artist has agreed to be the first named curator at Toad House. (Toad House is multi-faceted, so we need many curators) Hollis will be the curator of the Garden of Quince and Toad. In her first duty as named curator, she looked at the plot between Highway 8 and the front of the building and came up with a plan to create an old fashioned flower garden with colors we have in place at Toad House.  She kindly gave me some seeds of various yellow flowers (You did guess yellow, didn't you?) and asked me to start them as her space for starting seeds is limited and is shared with her resident cats who claim most curiosities, such as newly seeded ground as their own.

I started the seeds a day ago and today when I went out to moisten the ground, I found another reason why we named the building Toad House.

 Look to the left--a little toad found his way into a cozy spot.
Look to the right--a great big toad also found a place to nestle into.

Here is a close-up of the little one
And here is a close-up of the big bad bufo.

As I said, "The proof is in the pudding."


  1. I loved seeing that toad peeking out from his hide-a-way among the soon to be seedlings. What a clever fellow ! But what intrigued me, even more was the the unique 'peat/paper' pots for germination. How great of a use for an environmentally reusable, recyclable container for the soon to be sprouts. I will share this idea with the third grade class I work with. Thanks for the great idea for keeping even just a little bit of recyclable paper out of the if we can only think of a way to keep those toads out of those little pots !

  2. Yes!
    I am happy with the project that I did in the cold winter. I made about 6 dozen of these. You can purchase little wooden forms to make them, but it is just as esy and efficient to roll the newspaper around a glass soda bottle or small can. The bottle I used was from my excavations Into the ravine that had been used in the early days as a dump.

  3. Great story, thanks for sharing.
    I love the photos!
    Toads Rock!

  4. That is a very nice cute story of how the Toad House came about. I enjoyed meeting you yesterday and talking. It was so much fun to hear about some of the history of Ladysmith since I am new in town.
    I hope the Toad House will be a success with all new happenings taking place in it. I will be looking forward to stopping by when it is open to visit.