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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Friday 08/01/2008 Of Frogs, toads and a tornado in Epsom, what a week!

Epsom made nation news this week as a F2 tornado swept thru a corner of Epsom last Thursday July 24, 2008 at about 11:45 am. This tornado scarred a path that I have measured to be about three tenths of a mile wide on Route 107 on the Epsom Deerfield town line and closer to four tenths of a mile wide as it crossed Route 4 on the Epsom Northwood town line just after it tore apart a home killing a 57 year old woman in Deerfield directly across the lake from Route 4. This tornado began in Deerfield and stayed on the ground for 80 minutes and 50 miles on a northward track through 11 NH towns.

I have driven by the path a couple times as it is only about 4 miles from my house as the crow flies. Maybe closer. Earlier this week I hiked with my friend Rick into part of the path as it swept north after crossing route 4 and where no houses were hit so we didn't disturb any one or be a nuisance ourselves. But I wanted to actually experience the track for myself to be a witness to such a historical event in our town and the state for that matter. Yesterday I took my two granddaughters, along with my wife and the kids parents to this same site. I wanted the four year old to witness this event as I am sure she will remember that her grandfather took her to see the tornado when she was four as long as she lives.

When I was three to four years old we lived in Tulsa Oklahoma for two years while my father went to aeronautics school in Tulsa under the GI Bill. We had tornados there as I can recall as well. I remember my parents driving us through an area that had been hit by the tornado nearby. Only there the houses at roadside were destroyed. I steered the girls from seeing much of the houses that were ripped open by this tornado along route 4. I would rather her remember the huge trees toppled although we did take a picture next to a sheet of particle board that was scattered about where we were close to a half mile from where the houses were torn apart. I'm sure she will remember this as well. This is one for the record books although I have since learned that another tornado hit Epsom in 1967 not far from my house that injured a number of people at the local campground. Yesterday's violent thunderstorm about 5 pm sure gave me a lump in my throat that I have not had before. After all tornados happen somewhere else not here in my back yard. How quickly ones brain can be reordered.

Closer to home and just before I mowed my lawn the other day I checked my cellar window wells as I occasionally do all spring and summer. It is more typically in spring when migrating toads and frogs hop over the edge and get stuck that I take out these poor creatures before they die. We really need to be in practice of checking our window wells, if you have them like me, when we mow our lawns. This time I discovered a half dozen juvenile green frogs in on and a couple in the other. Some were very dehydrated and headed for death had I not discovered them. I gave them a good soaking in a pail of water that seemed to revive them and placed them well off the lawn under some protective cover out of the sun before I mowed. I frequently remove toads from the wells and occasionally a snake or salamander. I have actually raised the edge of one of the window wells with a piece of plastic lawn edging to try to put up a barrier high enough that this critters don't tumble into this pit trap. Perhaps some sort of higher fencing is in order. Any ways check your window wells frequently and set this poor things free. A board or such placed down the well to the top will allow mice and such to escape on their own. A few year ago I was called to Derry NH to get a deer out of a very deep fenced window well at a retirement hoe right on the Main street of town.

The tiny tot toads around my lawn two weeks ago that were no bigger than a pencil eraser have grown very quickly. The ones I have seen the last few days are more like thimble sized more than doubling their size in that time. Nearly daily afternoon thundershowers has kept us wet and green well into this summer. Much different than last summer as I recall. I am seeing pheasant-sized turkey polts in the fields about.


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