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» Articles » Garden Stories » Toadstools and Toads

Toadstools and Toads

by Douglas L. Bishop on 8/21/2012 16:28


Which came first—the toadstool or the toad?

And how is a toadstool different from a mushroom?

And how is a toad different from a frog?

Jeepers, peepers—here we are knee-deep in philosophy and all kinds of scientific quandaries when all I really wanted to do was to show you this photo of some toadstools/mushrooms that sprouted up right beside our ever-smiling toad/frog who guards the small planting bed in our front yard!

I remember way back when I was just a kid that there was something mysterious and very intriguing about the word “toadstool.”

You know how kids take everything literally!?

Well, I was sure that toads must really use these things for chairs. And, since adults tossed the word about so casually, I was sure that it must be an everyday occurrence (toads sitting on stools, that is), and that all a person had to do to witness this was to be in the right place at the right time!

But I figured that because I was so young, I just hadn’t yet happened upon a toad at the exact instant that he was ready for some stool time.

Not only did I have no historical knowledge as to when a toad might decide to assume the perched position, but it appeared to me that the toadstools themselves gave no clues as to when they might show up, either—one day there would be a smooth section of green grass in the front yard, and the next morning there would be some newly-emerged toadstools occupying the space!

What was a kid to do?

I mean, I had to go to school—I couldn’t spend countless hours of the day and night roaming around the yard looking for magically-made mushrooms that weren’t there before—and hoping that just as I was finding them, a toad was finding them, too!

But a farm boy has more to do than worry about being present at the precise moment in time that a tired toad encounters an unoccupied toadstool. Chores and sports and geography homework took their toll on the tedium of toadstool watching.

Days and weeks and years went by with no sightings of toads on stools and no more consideration of this ever happening than of sighting a UFO landing in our cornfield.

Then, just the other day, I saw these newly emerged toadstools right beside our toad, and I realized this might be as close as I’m ever going to get!

I grabbed my camera and took this photo to share with you.

It was all I could do to keep from placing that toad right on top of that toadstool before I took the picture.

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