Sunday Spin-Grandmother Musings

Welcome to Sunday Spin, where I blog about life beyond the realm of writing.

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The other day, hubs asked me to spray the weeds along our fence line. He’d bought this enormous sprayer (the kind you can strap on to your shoulders) and quarts of Roundup for the job. This is when I discover how serious he is about killing weeds.

So, I went out and pumped poison all over the unsightly weeds when I spied movement. I ceased spraying. I peered down into the long tendrils of overgrown grass. A fat toad hopped out into open space.

Immediately I knew I had doused him with Roundup. Without even contemplating my next move, I dropped the weed killer contraption, scooped up the endangered toad into my hands, ran into my house, and washed him off in the kitchen sink. Yes, I bathed a toad.

I eventually released him into the woods behind our house and he seemed okay. I mean, he wasn’t gasping or oozing pus or convulsing. But maybe the poison works slowly? Or perhaps it starts internally? Or maybe I didn’t kill him, but I crippled him. Yes, these distressing thoughts were filling my mind. I was sure this toad was doomed, and it was all my fault.

So, I decided we would ban Roundup and all chemicals from our gardens. I went searching online and stumbled upon Grandmother Musings where I found a weed killer recipe made of natural ingredients.

Now, I’m not sure that toads are safe from this recipe, but they probably have a better chance with vinegar than with glyphosate, isopropylamine salt or diquat dibromide.


28 thoughts on “Sunday Spin-Grandmother Musings

  1. I’m a big fan of natural over man-made chemicals when possible, inside and out. I think our heavy-duty chemical and anti-bacterial cleaners are behind many of the extreme allergies and the rampant asthma that we see today. Our immune systems need to be worked. That means dealing with germs.

    And I haven’t seen a commercial window cleaner that beats club soda and a lint-free cloth for cleaning mirrors, windows, or plumbing fixtures. 🙂

    I was always happy to see toads and bees in our gardens when we owned houses. I thought they were a sign things were in a decent balance. And I’ll never forget the time I picked up a discarded piece of sod one fall to find a big salamander getting ready for winter. That piece went right back where it had been. 🙂


    • Hi JM,

      I would have to agree with you. It does seem like people today suffer from more allergies and illnesses than I remember from when I was a kid.

      Club soda? Mmm. I will have to try that one.

      I love finding little animals and insects and birds in my gardens, too. Even snakes. 🙂 I love that you protected a salamander. I’m sure he was very happy with your thoughtfulness. 🙂


  2. Okay, the image of you running in the house to the sink clutching a toad was the laugh I needed to start my day off with. That’s awesome.

    But I do think that we need to think more about what we use in our daily lives and the effect on our world. Good for you, being willing to bathe a toad to rectify things. 😀


    • Hey Julie,

      Haha, yes, my kids thought I was downright hilarious. They held doors open for me and shooed the cats away.

      Admittedly, buying the commercial stuff is more convenient, and I will be the first person to admit that it is out of laziness that I don’t try harder to be more environmentally friendly.

      But life slaps you hard in the face when you’re looking into the big, brown eyes of an innocent toad.


  3. I love how you saved the toad. It just is so sweet. I love them, but to hold them scares me for some reason. I’m strange that way. OK, I’m strange a lot of ways but you get the point.

    We don’t use and I never did at my mom’s either, any real weed killer. What happened was just an attack with a weed-whacker. I understand wanting to get rid of them. To me though, it’s too much work 😛


    • Hey Ottie,

      Oh, toads and frogs, salamanders and crickets, dragonflies and spiders–I will hold them all. I don’t think you’re strange for being scared of holding them. I think most people prefer to look and not touch. I’m probably the one who is strange in this way. I even pet a snake I found in my garden. It was sunning itself and I couldn’t resist touching him.

      I can overlook the weeds for the most part these days. I agree with you that it’s a lot of work. We’ll see how it goes. But I won’t be using the chemical stuff again.

      Thanks for swinging by! 🙂


      • Wow, you’re brave to touch a snake. That, or you can identify the safe and unsafe ones! Because my uncle knows I didn’t grow up in the woods, he made me swear to stay away from any snake. There are a lot of poisonous ones. My favorite snake is the black hog nose. I would love to have one as a pet.

        They’re harmless, and even play dead! While doing so they even put off a disgusting odor, like a decomposing animal would.

        Always happy to come by, missed you.


      • Now that’s exactly what I need. A pet who will play dead *and* give off a disgusting odor, lol. My husband would freak out! He is terrified of snakes, so I could really get him with that one.

        There aren’t really any unsafe snakes around these parts. The most common is a garter snake, but they aren’t friendly. They will bite you if you try to pick it up (non-venomous). But that is the one I touched. For some reason, he didn’t mind me at all.


  4. You are a Toad Saver! Yippee! I worry about chemicals, too. A lot of our neighbors have grass chemical companies, and I’m kind of scared of them. I really want bees to visit our flowers and bunnies to be able to eat our grass. My husband does use Roundup very occasionally, but only in very specific areas where it’s gotten out of hand. I’m glad to hear there are options, though!


    • Haha, yup, I’m a Toad Saver. I love the bees and butterflies and bunnies, too. It’s a hard choice to make, especially when you work so hard to have a nice home and garden. You don’t want it all choked with weeds.

      I’ll be interested to see how this natural weed killer works. I’m willing to make the extra effort for success!


  5. “Yes, I bathed a toad.” Hilarious!!! 🙂 Your husband must have gotten a kick out of you doing that – and loved your for it, I’m sure. Nothing like having a tender heart toward a toad. 🙂


    • My husband thinks I’m a loon. But he knows how important all creatures are to me, so when he mows the lawn he does pay careful attention to anything hopping or slithering or scurrying out of his way. He lets me do my thing with the rescues, but he does think I’m nuts.

      My kids were the big help, actually, and they even got to wash and hold the toad, too.

      How can we not love toads? I know they’re bumpy and funny looking, but my goodness, they are the epitome of nature. 🙂

      Thanks for swinging by, Natalie.


    • Hi Kourtney,

      Haha, love that–toadacide. Perfect! Yes, as I think back to this episode I must have really been quite the sight. I wonder if any of my neighbors saw this going on?


  6. Poor guy!

    We have friends who grow the best, most prolific tomato plants. Ours are sad and yellow. She swears by Miracle Grow.

    I kid you not. Husband diagnosed with prostate cancer. Wife diagnosed with breast cancer 3 weeks later. Coincidence? I think not. Both had surgery and the outlook is good.


    • Hi Robin,

      That is terrible. I’m thankful that their prognosis is positive, but you do have to wonder about the coincidence. Ugh. I also wonder if they ever think about the possible connection?

      I don’t even try to grow vegetables, mine would never make it far enough to even become yellow. 😦

      Thanks for swinging by!


  7. Actually, according to the EPA, Roundup is bad for toads. I couldn’t find anything about the effectiveness of washing them, though. It’ll probably be okay. It probably takes repeated exposures at high levels for toxicity to set in.


    • Groan. That’s terrible news. Well, thanks for going the extra mile to find out what I didn’t have the heart to search for myself. I hope he’ll be okay.
      😦 Keeping fingers crossed.

      Well, it’s also another reason to ditch that Roundup, folks!!


  8. I don’t have a garden (or a lawn that we treat with anything other than rainwater), but I do try to be sensitive to chemical use, mostly because we have pets. Why is it so difficult to find insect and flora repellants that aren’t full of harmful chemicals?

    I’ll have to share that vinegar-based recipe with my friends with the same issue.

    Thanks, Kate! Your posts are always so enlightening. 🙂


    • Yes, pets and kids are a big concern in terms of chemical use. I wish I could understand why this stuff is on the market when there seem to be safer options? I know for me, laziness was the main factor in just going along with it–but is that the main reason for everyone, I wonder?

      Aww, gee, thanks Mayumi. And you always make me smile! 🙂 🙂 🙂


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