“foul is fair and fair is foul.”
I caught the ESP witches milling around this frost bitten shrub this evening on top of one of my mounds, (and YES, those are my citrus trees in the background!) Something had prematurely brought this foul trio down from out of my post oak. My heart immediately sank for I knew exactly what this signified…something or someone had once again died in the Patch, it was too early for the witches to stockpile gulf coast toads after all. I instinctively grabbed my wrist, and was relieved to find that yes, I still had a pulse… phew.
I decided to consult my own seer to see if she could shed some light on what had happened…
Esmeralda gazed deep into her sparkling rubber ball and pronounced in her overtly charismatic accent…
Must it always be a ridiculous Romanian accent? That is Romanian right?
I naturally added more coins for more wisdom, but as usual, Esmeralda’s impressive worldly advice wasn’t pertinent to anything at all that was going on in my life, or anyone else’s “journey” for that matter. I grumbled under my breath and read the random (most definitely not Romanian) “Engrish” phrases on the rear of the dispensed fortune card. One particular line towards the end caught my immediate attention…
“Death, ‘ries’ waiting at the bottom of ze barrel”.
On reading this, I immediately grabbed my camera and canteen and ventured down the steps into the Patch.
With Esmeralda’s cryptic, generic fortune telling, I strangely knew exactly where to start looking for a death in the Patch. My fears were confirmed as I honed in on this little barrel cactus after noticing a small something suspended in it…
…and no it wasn’t Bear Grylls, though it did “bare” (ahem) a remarkable sleeping resemblance…
Yes, this will make it into the “looks like” page of the ESP: http://www.eastsidepatch.com/visual-comparativies/
I climbed in closer, and realized that the suspended beast was a poor baby anole, laid to rest on a bed of thorns. My immediate thoughts wandered to the Naboo tribe, they had been awfully quiet of late after all… never a good sign. I came to the conclusion though that this poor little chap must have froze during our last freeze, his tiny feet were still defiantly gripping tight to the cacti spines.
“RIP, young anole of the barrel”.
I suppose the inherent armory of the barrel cactus had prevented anything from already snacking on his corpse, including Bear Grylls (well you know he would, given half a chance).
“You know me too well ESP, aang, aang, aang, aang.”
And RIP to this abomination, lurking in a brand new, yes, a brand new tray of purchased cherry tomatoes. More of a disgusting Santa beard than a tomato. Brrr!
Moving quickly on…
“Houston we have a go for launch”.
Engage the advil boosters…
for today, the conditions were perfect to hit my hell-patch.
I have been waiting for the right time…a long deep soaking from the rain, a nice cool sunny day with which to dig, and today fitted the bill perfectly. The ground in this strip is usually baked so hard it would require a pneumatic drill to even make a dent in it, but not today, oh no, today my pick axe lay off to one side, I didn’t reach for it once, today my shovel went through this soil like butter. Okay not quite, but you get the general picture.
The grade needed to be brought down quite a bit to get rid of the mounding and to allow for a decent future layer of decomposed granite. It was a royal pain working around this desert willow tree. The kid-size mattress in the background I curled up on every thirty minutes or so for a quick rest. That turned some local heads I can tell you.
I also went around the perimeter with a trowel to make sure it was clear of any hanger-on weeds, of which there were plenty.
Then a good over-lapping layer of weed barrier…
…a few bags of decomposed granite thrown over the seams and a few temporary rocks to stop the weed barrier from blowing away and I was done, at least for now. It will stay like this until another delivery of moss boulders and decomposed granite is in my future…Esmeralda? My plan for this hell-strip is a mass planting of transplanted and divided bamboo muhly to soften and hide the rectilinear shape, and some soft leaf yucca dotted around to create sharp, vertical contrast. I will cut holes in the fabric when I settle on the planting arrangement and drop in the plants. I will also hide the straight lines by creeping some of the rocks up onto the sidewalk before I back-fill it all with the granite.
Start to finish in these perfect conditions: five hours, that was the good news. The bad news is that…
…I still have the other side to go, and my right leg is now not quite right! Now, where are those epsom salts?
Other Patch notables this week:
Agave americana displaying a sharp array of teeth and great coloration.
Gopher plant getting ready to bloom…
…and a visitor rolls into the Patch.
Some fresh sand in the sandbox, life is good, at least it was for this hobbit until she was then dangled over our fish pond to clean off her feet in the icy water. Oh yes, she really liked that.
Image of the week:
One of my recurring nightmares.
Stay Tuned for:
“Hell Raiser, Star Chaser”
All material © 2009 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.