Pumpkin “Patch”

The Old Ghost:

Over the water an old ghost strode
To a churchyard on the shore,
And over him the waters had flowed
A thousand years or more,
And pale and wan and weary
Looked never a sprite as he;
For it’s lonely and it’s dreary
The ghost of a body to be
That has mouldered away in the sea.

Over the billows the old ghost stepped,
And the winds in mockery sung;
For the bodiless ghost would fain have wept
Over the maiden that lay so young
‘Mong the thistles and toadstools so hoary;

And he begged of the waves a tear,
But they shook upwards their moonlight glory,
And the shark looked on with a sneer
At his yearning desire and agony.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes

Oh come on…what did you expect?

Tis Halloween in the Patch once again, the ESP witches, all wizened and hunched, are pulling their hessian sack shoals tightly around their emaciated bony shoulders as cooler weather blows through central Texas.

Seeds are being gathered, pumpkins carved and as a family we have come to the stark realization that we just do not quite fit in with the “normal” people that inhabit the planet…

…based on other people’s reactions at the “Goblins in the Garden” event at the Wildflower center, http://www.wildflower.org/ we were the distinctly “unusual” group wandering among the subdivision masses.  I had the impression that we were generally regarded more as a potential Texas cult rather than a friendly family attending a Halloween event. I have no idea why?

While we were wandering around the grounds scaring rather young children, I caught this dreamy

Muhlenbergia capillaris

catching some late afternoon rays, I have been observing this grass currently in its prime all over Austin. It looks really good as a mass planting, I cannot wait to embed a few of these cloudy grasses in my own Hell-Strip for next year, perhaps after my celosia dies and makes room.

There has been lots of unusual activities in the Patch this week in the build up to Halloween…

from scary nurses and unhygienic anesthesiologists…

performing all manner of diabolical medical procedures with even odder surgical devices and hygiene masks, (it continually amazes me what creative uses kids come up with for the ubiquitous pull-up) to some serious Patch tinkering…

…She sanded and I hammered this to that, that to something else in an attempt at a makeshift fairy house (she has just watched the latest installment of the Tinkerbell movie saga and is fairy-home obsessed).  Bits of old wood from my woodpile mingled with leftovers from the construction of my garden bench http://www.eastsidepatch.com/2010/04/garden-benches/ it was all up for grabs as she directed me as to what should go where…

“A roof!  Daddy we forgot a roof, and a ladder, how will they get up to the soft pink bed?

Humph, err fly?

“No, we need a ladder in case their wings are wet!”

Humph, oh I see. (Trudges once again to shed woodpile, muttering under breath).

It finally took rickety shape, and it unintentionally had an uncanny Frank Lloyd Write undertone to its architecture style, obviously it is intended for a modernist retro-fairy.  The tissue paper was apparently the bed, and then the interior design commenced…finally!

This was the moment she had really been waiting for, I almost lost her during the construction phase, like all construction phases, it was taking too long and went way over budget.

She surrounded the structure with a dense perimeter of…

and sprinkled some now fading fall asters over the “bed”, quite the romantic touch.

Within minutes we had one of those insects that I have never yet been able to identify hovering next to the bed asters…to her it looked close enough to a real fairy to be a real fairy!

This one goes out to you Mr Bell :-) http://thelazyshadygardener.blogspot.com/

What IS this?

Moving Walskeringly On…

My water lilies have turned the corner in terms of vigor and bloom size, a sure sign that we are heading to winter,

and the gnarly Texas flies are finally slowing down…Brrr. This fly was huge. (Left knee dislocates, pops back in, then involuntarily drags me around a nearby decomposed granite pathway).

“I still love him ESP”.

My fragrant mist flowers have started blooming, this little moth matched the color of the flowers perfectly.  This plant always attracts so many insects, some quite unusual.

This week has been the week of the caterpillar in the Patch. I have never seen so many, all colors, all spiny.

And to finish, the moment you have all been waiting for, what perfect timing that it is Halloween to herald the rather short finale of the nail-biting, engrossing climax of the tale to end all tales.

Grab a wee dram and wet yer whistle, put your soil stained socks up on your pond weed covered ottoman (well you will want to get into the nautical spirit of things after all), pour some fish emulsion in your hair, inhale deeply and dive into the depressing briny waters of the

Did you follow all of that?

A traditional Irish turnip Jack-o’-lantern from the early 20th century. Photographed at the Museum of Country Life, Ireland. Image taken from rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid under the creative commons GNU Free Documentation License

Happy Halloween from us all in the Patch.

Stay Tuned  for:

I Decapitated a Gopher

And immediately regretted it.

All material © 2010 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late  (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

  • RBell October 31, 2010, 3:23 pm

    There’s that cool hovering fly again (and a great shot of it!). Think I may have an idea about its identity: a type of Syrphid fly whose young feeds on aphids (Pseudodoros clavatus) – which would explain why I see it in my garden. See if you think I’m on the right track.

  • ESP October 31, 2010, 4:55 pm

    I knew you would get it! It is indeed…thanks for figuring this out. I see a bunch of these as well, and yes it stands to reason as I never treat aphids, apart from an occasional splash from the hose. I knew I loved these tiny flies for a reason!

  • Germi October 31, 2010, 9:03 pm

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN, ESP!!! I am SO HAPPY I could stop by the The Patch today of all days, to take a peek at the ghoulish goings on. I have to say, should the ESP clan ever decide to relocate, you would fit right in with my ilk here in the East Side of LA. I se nothing at all odd about your attire – in fact, I am taking a few fashion tips from it. I think Leah looks remarkably fetching in red eyes and I am wondering what they’ll look like on me. And fairy wings – well, even though I may be a bit “long in tooth”, a woman only lives once – why not don a pair of wings every now and then?
    Speaking of fairies – the Hobbit Girl has another future, should she decide not to go into fashion design as I’ve been encouraging – she has a flair for interiors. And the fact that she insisted that the fairies have a ladder is absolutely correct. A wet winged fairy would NEED a ladder, ESP – where did your design sense go? Thank goodness she was the project manager.
    I am SO GLAD you love the muhlenbergia capilaris! That was the grass I was going to plant in my hellstrip but never got around to. Your garden + mulenbergia capilaris = horticultural magic.
    I am glad to see that there are many monsters running around The Patch on this All Hallow’s Eve. I have a few monsters here, too. A Spider of Humongous proportions made its presence felt at my Halloween party; weaving a gigantic web over the heads of my guests. I suspect the Witches from The Patch sent it as an emissary.
    The HAPPIEST of Halloweens to your family! I send virtual candy to my favorite Hobbits!
    Witchy G.

    • ESP October 31, 2010, 10:18 pm

      Glad you dropped in on the Patch on this rather Gothic evening…My particular demonic attire was nothing that I would of thought twice of adorning on a regular nightclub, night-out (mid week) London basis…okay perhaps minus the horns…oh who am I kidding, if only I was not so young and self-conscious at that time! Performing my own unique pretentious Gothic dance style, this garb might have suffered from a dance floor credibility standpoint as my Bauhaus “moves” would have undoubtedly caused the “horns” to slowly migrate under my chin, something that at that time in my life I would have to have integrated into my nightclub “moves”…stroking the horns (now residing under my chin) in a pretentious possessed fashion etc, ahhh, those were the days.

      I was so happy she took the lead as a project manager on the fairy house, she was a formidable forewoman…and the ladder was insisted upon as part of the scheme! Who am I to argue?

      I really do like the muhlenbergia capilaris, how could you not at this time of year? It is quite stunning and I will have lots of it…Hell-strip!

      Thanks G.
      Happy Halloween to you too. Hope you had a good one.


  • Annie in Austin October 31, 2010, 9:57 pm

    If you can’t pass for “normal” in Austin, ESP, here’s not much hope elsewhere, is there? A few days ago, one of my sons was working on a costume for Doktor Schnabel von Rom, Plague Doctor. Too bad he’s 1200 miles away or I’d introduce you to each other. And thank you for the Irish turnip photo – something I’d heard about but not seen. Turnips are pretty small – any idea of scale for the photo? The shape makes me wonder if it could actually be a rutabaga.

    When Philo and I were your garden for the tour, one of the things I wanted him to do was sit on that fabulous bench – its ability to be whatever is needed really appealed to us and it looks perfect as a workshop for fairies.

    I have a photo of an insect that might be related to yours – I posted it on the addendum if you and RBell would like to take a look.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie.

    Yes you have that right!
    I hope Doktor Schnabel von Rom turned out a success…with a name like that how could it not?

    When I was a kid growing up in Scotland we also used turnips as lanterns, very hard to scoop out, as you can imagine! They varied quite considerably in size, a rutabaga you say?..I will check into this.

    The bench we use a lot, and like you indicated it is used as much as a work bench as it is a seat, shelling platform etc. It is also great that we can all fit and sit on it, all it requires now is a waterproof yoga mat to make it a little more comfortable!

    The insect looks to be the same…I have had a lot of these this year and they seem not to be afraid of the camera lens when they realize it is not a threat, just like dragonflies that they resemble on a much smaller scale. Thanks for posting this.


  • Cheryl October 31, 2010, 10:26 pm

    What a fabulous fairy house! Now I want one.. and a big, life size (adult) one as well. AKA “Tree-house”.
    And isn’t the Muhle grass to die for? I have some but must have more. .. to make a STATEMENT. Can’t imagine why anyone would think your “group” was unusual unless those folks have absolutely no imagination at all. Your kids are so lucky to have such fun parents to guide them.

    Hi Cheryl.

    The fairy house is still keeping them both quiet back there! Amazing what a few nails and some old wood can do.
    Muhlenbergia is fantastic right now, I want to try it dotted in-between bamboo muhly, for an even cloudier effect.
    Oh we looked a little unusual alright :-)
    Thanks Cheryl.


  • David C November 1, 2010, 8:12 am

    All the above comments – yes! You set the bar on craziness and creativity a bit high for the poor kids – even throwing in some horticulture – but the young ones will soon submit… Back to horticulture, perhaps some more gray-leafed plants to nail down the goth theme even more.

  • ESP November 1, 2010, 6:36 pm

    Hi David.

    My eldest came up with and put on her make-up design all by herself, I thought the cross on the forehead was a particularly sinister touch on her part. Talking of the horticultural goth inside me, I did try Witch Hazel last year but had a disastrous result, I couldn’t help it…I had to at least give it a try :-)


  • Pam/Digging November 1, 2010, 9:32 pm

    I LOVE your costumes! You would have fit right in in Northwest Hills, up here in NW Austin of all places, on Halloween. We went T-or-Treating with another family there, and the neighborhood was on fire with fabulous costumes, kids and adults alike. What a party! I felt very under-dressed in my skeleton-bedecked Day of the Dead T-shirt. A pair of horns or those blood-red eyes would have made all the difference.

    The prairie style fairy house is perfect for the Patch. I hope you get lots of good fairy visitors soon.

  • ESP November 1, 2010, 10:11 pm

    Hi Pam, and thanks on the costume front.

    We decided this year not to fight the Austin traffic, so we roamed around our local East-Side neighborhood and did not see any other T-or-Treating, the whole time…it seems we had Halloween all to ourselves this year! The kids got what they were looking for though! My youngest is a candy fiend, and this night totally rocks his world…wait, I knock at a strangers door, say “t or treat…and they hand out candy?

    It sounds like you had a blast up there in the NW. I stayed up a bit late for my mammoth shoveling onslaught today, but hey, it was Halloween for an ex-goth after all, it simply had to be done.

    The fairy house was fun to make last weekend…It felt nice not to be weeding. We seeded some celosia, built the fairy house, then seeded some more over a couple of Firemans 4 as indicated :-)


  • Bob Pool November 3, 2010, 10:57 pm

    Wow those costumes look great. I can’t believe that’s Leah. You don’t look that much different though. I think the little Fashion Queen has been watching the Naboo do their war paint. Uuuumm,very similar.

    What is with the T or Treat thing? It’s Trick or Treat, it’s always been Trick or Treat and it will always be Trick or Treat. I as well as all my friends called it Trick or Treat and we all turned out normal, not a professional trickster in the bunch. Am I behind the times or what?

  • ESP November 3, 2010, 11:20 pm

    We don’t look that much different? Bob, what are you saying?

    The fashion queen has been spending a lot of “quiet time” out back of late…I think she may have made first contact with the small you-know-who-tribe…I also was aware of the similarities of her war paint on Halloween to the indigenous tribal markings we are both well acquainted with…I believe I may have to have some fatherly words with her very soon…before she turns up for supper with a teak bowl implant embedded into her chin! Or worse:

    Bob, you think you turned out normal? :-)
    It is Trick or Treat, I am just keyboard idle.

    Also, and I hate to be stumpy-greedy, but those cedar carcasses you mentioned? If they have not found a good home, You know I would give them one.
    Had to ask, you know me!


  • Cat/The Whimsical Gardener November 5, 2010, 3:33 pm

    That is the dreamiest most wonderful fairy house I’ve ever seen. I completely agree with Cheryl – I WANT one!!! A Fireman’s 4 wouldn’t be bad either! Have a great weekend!

  • ESP November 5, 2010, 4:11 pm

    Hi Cat.
    Glad you liked the ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ fairy house construction, it does match the bench in an odd way.
    I have spent the entire day moving granite, oh yes, I will be having a Fireman’s 4 :-)
    You too.


Leave a Comment