Kittie Howard

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Introducing "Kermit"

Kermit (Hyla cinema) lives on my back porch. We met while I was hosing down the porch. What's that green blob? I thought, diverting the hose in time.

Two weeks later, I can't decide if Kermit adopted us or we adopted him. He's learned not to perch on the door frame leading into the kitchen; we've learned to rattle the door prior to opening it in case he's forgotten.

With an emerging personality and a dedication to devouring mosquitoes and other insects attracted to porches, Kermit is actually a green tree frog common to much of the coastal United States, from East Texas to southern Delaware. In what has turned out to be an increasingly complicated, but pleasantly addictive sphere of interest simplified by Google, various groups of green tree frogs exist. Seeing a small green frog doesn't necessarily mean the diminutive amphibian is Kermit's sibling.

So, let's ignore extensive Google searches and stick with Kermit, so named in homage to Jim Henson's famous Muppet. Approximately 2.5 inches (6 cm) long, with bulging eyes, skinny legs, large toe pads, and a light yellow stripe along the sides, my Kermit appears to be fully grown.

Except that this morning's Googling raised the distinct possibility Kermit is really Clementine.

Male tree frogs are smaller than females and have wrinkled necks because of the vocal sac to call females. Kermit -- er, Clementine -- possesses a flawless neck a model like Cindy Crawford would envy. After a meeting of the family politburo (Mr. H. and Yours Truly), the decision reached meant Kermit remained Kermit. It wasn't a unanimous decision, even if there was logic to Mr. H's argument: Whoever heard of a frog called Clementine?

What swayed me resulted from Googling the name Kermit. Thanks to Wikipedia, this is what I learned: Kermit is a male name found mainly in the U. S. It's a variant spelling of Kermonde, a surname on the Isle of Man, a self-governing British dependency located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. Kermonde is a Manx language variant of MacDiarmata, an an Irish language variation of MacDermond. U. S. President Teddy Roosevelt named a son Kermit for a Manx ancestor.

The last native Manx speaker died in 1974. Thanks to significant recordings and attention paid to grammatical structure and other linguistic necessities prior to 1974, a language once considered extinct enjoys a slow recovery. Seventy-one students now attend a school where instructors conduct classes in the Manx language. Through this on-going process since the 1980s, two Isle of Man residents are now considered native speakers, as they grew up speaking Manx in the home.

So, in homage to Jim Henson's Kermit and to those who work to save an endangered language, Kermit remains Kermit.

* * * * *

After struggling with computer issues far too long, Mr. H. and I are going to the Apple store in Durham on Tuesday. It's a two and a half hour drive. The port where my mouse connects is the main culprit. I damaged one of the prongs inside, probably by yanking the cord. (No, not switching to a pad!) The secondary problem is this laptop is almost six years old, definitely a dinosaur with other issues in today's fast-moving technological culture. The other problem, of course, resulted from an unhinged schedule while this computer was in and out of local geeks' care. Simply put, one gardening project led to another and I, umm, played hooky.

The photo of the flowers in the above header is of my garden in Virginia last year. (The white spot is a rock from the quarry to restrain erosion.) My North Carolina garden is seriously bigger and on the edge of looking like the garden I'd imagined. (Oh, I hope so!) However, the garden also attracted Kermit and other critters I'll introduce as time passes. I'm learning so much on this porch, sitting here, watching the world go by.



William Kendall said...

Kermit's a good name for a frog.

Linda Starr said...

Ha ha, did you see two days ago I posted about my tree frog, he's gone now but I got lots of photos, he serenades me at night. Are those your flowers at the top? Glad to see you are back blogging again; I'v e missed you

Denise Covey said...

Lovely view from your porch, Kittie. It's nice when one of God's creatures adopts us. Love your little Kermit. Hope the laptop replacement goes well. Yes, in techno terms, computers become dinosaurs very quickly. I always go for massive amounts of gigabytes so everything runs smoothly.

Hope life is good in North Carolina! We have started massive renovations on our beach house, starting with a whole roof of solar panels. No more electricity bills! Good start!

Denise :-)

Gail Dixon said...

Awww, I love that you have such an adorable critter on your porch, helping keep the mosquito population in check. I hope! Sweet post, Kittie. You will love the Mac. I've had my iMac for 6, maybe 7 years now. Pretty much ZERO problems with it. Good luck!

Julie Flanders said...

Aww, I love Kermit. I'm looking forward to being introduced to more of your new critters!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Sorry I'm late, Kittie. Love your post always. Your sense of adventure and the way you look at life is so appreciated. Your words are akin to serotonin. How about Herma, the female version of Hermit. Or maybe Hermina. Or Hermitina.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Sorry I'm late, Kittie. Love your post always. Your sense of adventure and the way you look at life is so appreciated. Your words are akin to serotonin. How about Herma, the female version of Hermit. Or maybe Hermina. Or Hermitina.