Last year was The Year of the Frog. OK - well maybe just at my house. During the summer and anytime that weather allows, we throw open the French doors, let in the breeze and allow the domestic creatures to wander in and out as they please. I have a water feature in the courtyard that attracts frogs. The frogs decided that if the cat was allowed to come and go in the house, then surely they must be welcome as well. Nothing like getting up in the middle of the night and nearly stepping on a frog! Ugggh
Our casa has a wide Zaguán (entry hall) that bisects the house - running from the front door all the way to the back and out into the courtyard. One day I was sitting in the library with a friend and a huge toad come hopping down the hallway, no doubt trying to take a short cut through the house to get to the other side. To my friend's credit, she didn't shriek, just raised an eyebrow as I ushered the frog out the door. Nearly every other day or so, I would have to don the rubber gloves and relocate one of these unwelcome guests back into the fountain. The cat, Micia, is useless. I saw her leisurely stroll after a small frog in the kitchen. It went under the refrigerator. "Great, could you not have stopped it Micia?" She looked at me with that disdainful look that cats have perfected as if to say "I'm not touching that slimy thing. This is your problem!"
Another creature that has taken up residence is this Armadillo. He digs around in the garden beds. He appears to be looking for slugs, but more often than not he digs up my plants in the process, so I have to give chase. These little alien looking guys are amazingly fast. I just hope he stays out of the house!

Despite the Armadillo - the flora lives on................................................................

Photography By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
Sotto Il Monte Vineyards