Frog on a Lily Pad
Plunk it in on a sunny day and away it goes. Here it is.
I loaned a bird feeder to a friend to try. After a week or so
I called him up to see how things were going. In the course of conversation
he said; "We've never really had any birds around here." About
a month later I asked myself what would make the birds come to his feeder.
I had heard that bird baths "attract birds like a magnet." I thought
I'd give him an inexpensive bird bath. Then I thought a bit more. How boring.
How about a fountain? Then I thought of all the work and effort, wire and/or
hosing installation that would be necessary for it to work. Forget it. I
had too many other things to do, and I didn't want to be a burden.
I thought how great it would be to have a solar
powered unit -- no wires -- no hoses -- no installation -- no moorings.
It could drift around untethered. I checked to see if any of the stores
had such a thing. They didn't. I thought; "I can't do it." Six
weeks later I had a working prototype. About six weeks after that it was
patent pending. I took an impression of a lily pad. A year later I had what
you see in the photos. One young lady described it as "dumb entertainment."
Kids like to wave their hands over it. Cast a shadow on it. She could be
The frog was sculpted by Denise Mickilowski. Denise
is a professional artist who worked for ten years at Julius Lowy Company,
of New York City. She has restored many well known works of the most famous
artists of all time. She sculpted the frog specifically for this application.
The frog hides the electric motor that makes the fountain work. It probably
took her a couple of days. I spent a solid week making rubber molds to carefully
reproduce the sculpture. We copyrighted it. The reproductions are tattooed
with "Ski" on the hip, short for Mickilowski. I told Denise that
was all I could fit. She said that was fine.
To my surprise, the fountain does draw birds like
a magnet. I was worried that the birds might be scared off by the spinning
action of the drifting float. But, they seem to accept it. Perhaps the motion
makes them curious. Perhaps they like the tinkleling sound. This is how
they usually accept it. At first they are timid. Then they fly near it.
Then they swoop down through the spray of the fountain. Then they sit on
the side of the bird bath and drink. One bold grackle stood on the lily
pad. I knew they had really accepted it when the birds scolded me for taking
it apart to clean one day.
Click here to see a 10 second video clip of the fountain working.
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