Portfolio:

“Amber”


If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

Snow Patrol…”Chasing Cars”



I caught this amber Canna indica “Pretoria”
bursting into life with one of it’s short lived blooms.
A very tropical looking plant.

Another amber looking substance has me a little puzzled.
Why was it here? How did it get there? What was its purpose?

Let me back up a little…I was recently aimlessly wandering around outside my cactus bed
(as I do) looking here, grimacing at weeds over there, when I happened to
notice this “blemish” on one of my agaves.


“Blemishes on the ESP agaves?
Bring on the tigers, I cannot
tolerate this”.



I had to take a closer look.  Now, this was not as easy as it seems,
considering that the entire adjacent area was peppered with
spikes, thorns, sharp tentacles and a general lack of respect
for un-bleeding limbs. It is a cactus bed after all.
But I had to get in yet closer…


This amber “sap”  looked sticky and wet.  I clambered further in to
touching distance (which equates to a yoga-esk, physically
contorted pose) and did the only thing that came to my
mind…”must stick my finger into it.”
So I leaned in… and I immediately lost my balance.


My left kidney ended up inches away from being
impaled by a variegated agave. The amber
sap was “set”, no stickiness, no moisture.
It was solid and hard…most bizarre,
what is this sappy process?


On exiting the cactus bed I happened to notice this agave pup waving
its head around searchingly at the end of its umbilical cord,
inches from my face…I remained totally motionless.


One last amber (okay a bit of a stretch).
The first flamboyant bloom on my Pride of Barbados has arrived.
I love the silver-grey, feather-like contrasting leaves on this plant.
It is a carnival in a plant!


Nerd Alert, Nerd Alert!

I was recently doing my rounds with
my fish and seaweed emulsions when
I noticed this black waspy fly, it seemed
to be attracted to the smell.
I tried numerous times to get a decent
picture of it, but it was really easily spooked.
It finally settled down in some ivy where I
shot these two images, check
out the colorful eyes!


Black Soldier fly.
Hermetia illucens Linnaeus
A really interesting looking fly, which adorns some
crazy flapping antenna.

This fly occurs throughout most of the Western
Hemisphere and the Australian region from Samoa
to Hawaii. Adults superficially resemble wasps,
but have no stinger and are completely
harmless and apparently very rarely encountered.
I was happy to encounter mine!


“Can you believe this fly Rodders?”
It is another con-fly, cushty!


Photo by G. McIlveen, Jr.
The larvae of black soldier flies feed on decomposing
organic matter. If you have a compost bin you will most
likely have seen these, I am pretty sure this fly emerged from
one of my bins.

The larvae of black soldier flies
has the beneficial effect of rendering
the breeding media less suitable for the
production of house flies. I am beginning to
like this chap!
Soldier maggots are in-fact the good guys!


Note how the wings, in a relaxed state, fold over each other on the back of the fly. (Hey I warned you with a nerd alert!)

In fact these maggots
(which incidentally have absolutely enormous appetites)


are being used in some settings to break down
household and pig-farm wastes,
(they are natures ultimate disposal units), the larvae
are employed in a technique known as bio-conversion),
and no, they are not salaried.

“Burying our food waste in giant rotting
mounds is ridiculous given the elegant
solution represented by bio-conversion
with black soldier fly larvae”.
Want to find out more about this fly and how bio-conversion works?
Then here is some serious bed-time reading just for you..

Thanks for your help J!

http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/


“And now for something completely different”…

Remember this member of
the “Na,Na, Nabooboo” tribe
wearing the agave carcass
“bad hair day” headdress?


Well I think I caught another member
of the same tribe today performing,
what I could only interpret to be
some kind of rain dance…


And rain it did…
I even think he was a little
surprised that his rain endusing
gestures actually worked!

I ran up to thank this little pygmy tribal member,
but, like a hobbit, he had already scurried away on fast legs
and large feet into the surrounding undergrowth.


The rain bounced on the roofs…


and pounded our deck (I really must stop
putting off unclogging that gutter)!



It even brought a tear of joy to the Botox lady’s “half-eye”.
Or perhaps she is thinking of Bob at Draco Gardens?
Or perhaps she has conjunctivitis?
Hard to tell.
At least she is no longer bald! Well not quite.


The rain refilled my redneck, everything but the
kitchen sink, rain water collection
“system,”


and made for yet another historic “snail harvest”.
Wait, he does not belong in here!


A lilly pad seemed a more apt place to return this tiny gulf coast toad.


“Hi little guy, don’t be afraid we all know how
disgusting you taste! You are safe with us”.

And the snails?

Well, I was treated to the most amazing escargot dish, prepared
to order in our outside “kitchen”, by our resident chief.

But the best thing about the new rain?

Had to be the fresh smell, right after it had stopped.


Here is the view from the street of the ESP. Left is my Vitex shrub / (no you will be a) tree,
in full bloom right now, and right, my desert willow. Left front is my spineless prickly pear
that I have been pruning up to encourage a more vertical habit.

I am trying to create a naturalistic setting here, one that ties in with the architecture of the
1890’s victorian house. The highest point on the left hand side of the picture is actually the
top of my giant timber bamboo at the back of the house…


This one.

Fruits and things pickedthis week in the patch:



We finally started to pick some of the limes from our mexican lime tree, and I have
to say they were really impressive, thin skin, lots of flesh, (hannibal murmurings) and
lots and lots of mouth puckering limey flavor.
It looks like we will be in good shape on the lime front for the foreseeable future.


Tequila!


This was one curly pepper. I almost put a face under the hat on the left image, then decided
it already had one!


Barbados cherry picking to make a really tiny tart.

And finally…

Some frosty silvers,


a warm yellow sun,


a ruby jewel,


and some firecracker fun.

Inspirational image of the week:

Stay Tuned For:
Event Horizon
All material © 2009 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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