“Oyez!  The Summer Session of Frog Court is called to order,  Judge Jeramiah Bullfrog presiding,” honked the Bailiff, who was  a Canadian goose.

In strode two robed judges, who were six foot tall bullfrogs, trying to walk on two legs, but instead hopping from foot to foot.  The third bullfrog was resplendently unclothed in his shimmering jadelike beauty. 

“F the robe, my skin cain’t breath,” bellowed Judge Jeramiah.

“Read the charges!” Jeramiah called out.


Real Parties of Interest:

Endless Armies of Ants of America

Friends of Feral Aphids

Frog Mitigation Area Directors

Fans of Famished Flickers

Spay and Neuter Wasp Society

Ant Dairy Co-op

G. Gordon Liddy for Dutchess County, New York, Intervenor

Red Woodman, pro se

CHARGES: Red Woodman, aka “6412093” hereinafter RWM, obtained funds from SOROS, a limitless source of money for radicals around the world.  RWM alleged the fund would be directed toward breeding damselflies and dragonflies, which would eat pesky bugs, thus alleviating pesticide use, and undermining the chemical industry, and in turn, capitalism itself.

However in fact RWM has not bred a single damsel or dragonfly,  because what he thought were damsel/dragonfly eggs, were actually aphids.

SOROS seeks damages of 30,000, double the amount lent.

LIDDY purports to be the acting District Attorney of Dutchess County.  He asserts that RWM committed mail and wire fraud by writing on the internet about his “experiments,”  and denied taxpayers his “honest services.” LIDDY further asserts these are predicate offenses, and justify racketeering charges: (RICO).  

LIDDY seeks triple damages, paid to him personally. 

A flicker followed the case intently.  They loved ants, and ants love aphids.

“Take the stand!”  Judge Jeramiah boomed, pointing at me, Red Woodman.

I walked up sort of sideways, so the other two judges would not see me slip a bottle of fine wine to my friend Judge Jeramiah, who was a bullfrog, and a good friend of mine.

“Tell your story,” called out the Judge, a little friendlier this time. I sat back down.

“Well, I notice losses of chorus frog tadpoles in the Frog Mitigation Area.  Years ago, I set up 4 ponds, two devoted solely to tadpoles. I expected a high tadpole survival rate from the fishless ponds.  But over 1000 eggs would produce only a couple hundred tadpoles and only a couple dozen frogs. I expected a far higher survival rate.”

“I had put 15 tadpoles each in smaller ponds with fish and snails as an experiment. Only one of thirty survived.  I drained the two smaller containers and found about 30 dragon and damselfly larvae.  I read that these larvae are death on tadpoles, frogs and frog eggs.” 

“So I resolved to move any damsel/dragonfly eggs and larvae to their own homeland, in the former 30-gallon water plant hospital.”

I looked up damselfly eggs on the internet:

Damselfly and some eggs
The Internet says damselfly eggs look like this. Credit: Finger Lakes Land Trust:…

While Aphid eggs look like this.

“So I made an honest mistake,” I concluded, mistaking aphids for dragonfly eggs.

I ended up throwing the aphid-contaminated lily pads into the yard waste bin.  

I was irritated.  I could see damsel flies and dragon flies laying eggs, but I never found any of their eggs. The fish all put on their dumb faces, which isn’t hard for a fish, and deny seeing anything.


A loud ringing shook the Court Room.

Judge Jeramiah smiled.

“It’s your lucky day, Redwoodman.  That’s the Bell of Reconciliation.  You are allowed to confess any other violations without punishment.”

Gordon Liddy leapt from his seat. 

“I hope this doesn’t absolve him of the charges I’ve brought!”  he shouted.

“Matter of fact, it could, Gordon.  Who helped you write this brief anyway, Orly Taitz?”

“I confess to placing tadpoles in a pure solution of the hydrocarbons they spray on my pear tree to stop scab,”  I blurted out hastily.  “I wanted to test it and make sure it wasn’t super-toxic.” 

“I tested  it first on mosquito larvae and none died.  No tadpoles died either.”

“You poisoned tadpoles!” Liddy shouted.

I sat down, dizzy. It seemed like only a few minutes ago that I was working in my garden, and I had glanced over at the big rose crystal under the waterfall. It looked extra shiny.

I could hear an old song by Donovan playing in my head,” … elec-trical ba-nan-a …”

My feet seemed to take on a life of their own.  They took me past the once White, now rusted Rabbit.  

Down the rabbit hole I go, I thought, but I could not stop. 

The ground opened up around the pear tree and pulled me in.

Next thing I knew, I’m sitting in Frog Court.

I continued my explanation. 

“So- having identified aphids, I modified my research goals away from breeding dragonflies, to wiping out the aphids, which are little vampires sucking the life out of my pond plants, my artichokes, and our food crops.”

There are over 5000 different species of aphids worldwide.  Some are faithful to a single plant variety. That’s their most productive approach.

Mine apparently prefer my pond lilies but I find them elsewhere. 

They are different shapes and sizes depending on their life stage.  They were colored in the summer and looked like crabs, now they are black dots. 

Sometimes when they get crowded the new generation sprouts wings and flies away. I wish they all would fly away.  They do bring ants, which brings flicker woodpeckers who love ants. 

 I hear the cries of pain from the pond lilies when the thuggish aphids attack.  Those cries draw hungry fish, and it’s game over for a few thousand aphids.

What, aphids again?…

Here the usually hated Yellow Jackets are feasting on the tiny black aphids that are ruining a lily.  The YJs get way down in between the leaves where the aphids hide.  Yay for the YJs.  They go over a lily and vacuum off  every single aphid. 

The aphids also hide on the underside on the big lily pads, as the first picture showed.

  I gave my goldfish a stern lecture to eat more aphids and actually turned over the leaves in front of the fish and rinsed the aphids into the water for fish consumption, so they got the idea.  Good thing, because aphids can swim, too.

So I’m crouching over the pond, rinsing aphids into the water when my Other comes up.

“What the !@$#$! are all those aphids doing in the pond,” she inquired sweetly.

“looks like the backstroke, m’am,” I replied wittily. 

The YJs cleaned up this lily nicely.  We had a YJ nest dug out last year and now the YJs seem subdued.  They didn’t sting anyone all year, knock wood. I admired their feasting on aphids. Now the spiders feast on the YJs as they slow. 

The frogs also help with the aphids in the artichokes and elsewhere.  They like a nice plate of soft-bodied aphids with a chablis.

Some folks call them tree frogs, and they can climb to wherever flying bugs are thick.  This chorus frog is about a foot off the ground in a dying-back artichoke that still harbors many aphids. The frogs also wolf down fruit flies from rotting pears and apples.

“We’ve heard enough!”  Judge Jeremiah boomed.

“Wait, we’ve intervening, “ cried the tiny representative from the Ant Dairy Co-op.

“We like aphids too. We have a petition here from 90 kazillion ants, to leave aphids alone.”

Vote!  Vote! Cried the ants.  The ants farmed the aphids for a secretion called honey dew. Some ant species hide aphid eggs during the winter and bring them back out to hatch in the spring.  I wonder if my apples produce a high grade of aphid honey from its natural sugar content.

Some years we have too many ants. A few thousand take wing,

A small mammal has worked on this apple also. Probably squirrel, I’m afraid of coon.  

The Judges pronounced the Verdict.

“Due to the Bell of Reconciliation, we dismiss the Soros Claim. You are still guilty of mis-appropriating dragonfly support funds, mitigated by your creation of a safe space for nymphs in the water plant hospital.  Please pay 30,000 to attorney Liddy.”

Liddy began whooping in glee.

“Oh ok.”  I whipped out a Benjamin and tossed it to Liddy.

“What’s this,” He shouted.

“Thirty thousand in Hungarian Forints is worth  $96.76.  The grant was in Hungarian currency. That’s the problem about Soro’s funding, I’m getting killed on the exchange rate. “

I had a two-step advantage towards the door, and left Liddy in the dust, which is considerable in a Frog Court Room.  The janitors are afraid to come in and clean up, anywhere near the 6 -foot tall talking bullfrogs. 

Now it’s your turn!  What have you noted in your area or travels? Any pretty birds in your yard? Please post your observations and general location in your comments. I’ll check back later.

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  • October 3, 2020