Look carefully at the first picture in this post. Yes, there are some pretty flowers, but that's not why it's here.
When stepping off the porch to take Baloo for a walk, I discovered someone far better than a garden gnome had taken up residence in the yard. Since this first sighting, I have seen this critter in other spots around the house. Baloo is interested in taking a sniff, but isn't allowed to disturb our lodger for all kinds of reasons.
Can you see it now? It's an American toad - and a magnificently large one, too. It blends in so very well with the mulch and dirt that it's really difficult to see. If you look for the lighter (somewhat warty) patch just below the hydrangea shadow in the top picture, you'll see where it is.
The ride might not be terribly wild around here, but Mr. (or Ms.) Toad is very welcome at our house.