“Bread Rock”

Gross Post Alert!…Gross Post Alert!

The stench inside this cavern I cannot put into words, for fear of involuntary retching over my laptop keyboard once again just remembering it (mops side of mouth with Kleenex). It really was the most diabolical combination of fermented sweet and sour, and I am not talking about a kimchee – esque aroma, (which I love) oh no! Let me try and explain it, just to get you in the appropriate gag arena: Imagine a sickly sweet pumpkin pudding aroma, combined simply with fizzing rotten chicken (description courtesy of my oldest hobbit, minus the fizzing), it also had the texture of moist bread! (Burp… starts to look around worried).

This nasty cavern, (caverns being a popular post-topic recently in the Patch), was created as I started to examine this thing of immaculate beauty…

My largest


or giant elephant ear. Granted it is looking more like the painful stump of an elephant’s foot right now, but not for long, not for long at all!

I have left this tuber in the ground for the past four years, no problem, but this year’s prolonged cold winter temperatures had apparently taken their squishy toll. I prodded it, my hobbits prodded it, it started to ooze flesh, this could not be good. Then we all prodded it some more. Remember the infamous scene in poltergeist when the paranormal investigator started to touch his face, then proceeded to dig in his fingers and pull off his face?

Well that’s how we got started with this Taro…A prod led to a poke that led to a gouge that…

led to a push…

That led to the Taro finally “giving way” in a scene reminiscent of the horrible resuscitation scene from “The Thing”.

I think we all remember what disgusting “thing” happens next! I digress. When the head of the taro rolled back everyone recoiled and “ewwed” simultaneously, turning our faces away from the smell that hit us like a tsunami of flatulence. A stink horn is a terrible thing (right G?) http://thegerminatrix.com/?p=637 but this rank atrocity came pretty close as far as tickling ones stomach release valve.

“It’s just a rotten Taro ESP, nothing to be scared about”.

If you say so scary Kane! Brrrr

A couple of hours after the decapitation, I reluctantly revisited the carnage and found these tiny iridescent


flies having a great time, their wings flicking back and forth in sick excitement.

These tiny, tiny flies are really interesting visually, looking like molten metal, their segmented bodies are really quite amazing. This one is about to make a left turn apparently.

Enough nastiness…


Okay I promise that is it on the gross front…

Today was the day to move a rather large rock, a rock that has stayed where it fell from a truck that delivered a large delivery of decomposed granite some time ago.

The rock was wiggled and pried, rotated and shuffled down the slope until it came to rest and leveled in a more appropriate location…Thanks Bob at Draco! http://dracogardens.blogspot.com/ (and “PP” for the pry-bar and strategic leveling).

…right in front of my beautiful gas meter. While I was messing around in this part of the Patch I decided to relocate a plant or twelve, the agave and agave parryi var. truncata all coming from this container:

None of these plants were doing particularly well, buried in the shade of the vines that are slowly coming back into the land of the living.

This area took a real beating when the hole where the Tahoe hit http://www.eastsidepatch.com/2009/09/dude-wheres-my-car/ was being repaired, it received a lot of foot traffic and compaction as the house was repaired and repainted. Here it is the area planted up, the bed also has Mexican bush sage pushing through that will soften the scene and provide good contrast with the agave’s as they mature. The two silver Agave , known as Parry’s agave or mescal agave, are slow-growing agave’s native to Mexico (Sonora), hopefully these will reach their full potential in their new, more sun-loving home.

An old ceder carcass is added for a “Waltons” moment.

Now to wait for the scene to fill-in. There is also a line of tiny transplanted feather grasses in front of the moss boulders, well it wouldn’t be the Patch without them after all!

While all this transplanting and rock shuffling was going on, my Hobbits were being way..way too quite…

They had found my last trowel, (my favorite trowel has been missing for the last couple of weeks), I surmise that somehow it has found it’s way to “Davy Jones’ Locker at the bottom of my stock tank fish-pond. Mmm…Now I wonder who would do such a thing?

Apparently the hole was to house a pill bug and this snail, a few leaves were thrown in then the hole back filled.

The raggedy pram makes it into yet another shot. After the hole was filled in, my oldest hobbit went to the back garden to check on her new container garden that she has taken over as manager…

…and things seem to be growing very well. This is all hers!

Moving on…

Snail, cactus and verbena…

Here is the same purple verbena in full flight…

attracting once again the zombie / Thestral eyes of this swallowtail butterfly.

“I see the swallowtail too Harry”

Looking like a glittering harlequin’s hat, the blooms on this ghost plant are really quite involved… when you get up close.

This paper wasp is looking pretty sharp, color coordinated on the blooms of this gopher plant…

and my Mexican lime lives, it lives I tell you! This is the first bit of green it has developed at the base of the trunk. I knew she would pull through!

Tiny seed pods are now replacing the fading blooms of the mountain laurels.

The ESP is jumping further out of winter everyday, the survival of my Mexican lime tree and my Barbados cherry has made my week, even both of my dwarf bottle-brushes are steaming back to life. Although spring usually lasts a matter of hours in Central Texas, I plan to make the most of it…an iced turban will be in my future soon enough after all!

That little sotol in the middle of my circular bed is finally starting to develop a presence!

And finally:

I told you I was not finished with these four “nervous” daisies quite yet.

Inspirational Images of the week:

Anybody visiting Zilker Gardens in Austin last weekend for the plant festival, probably noticed this crazy Texas red bud specimen

MacCrimmon’s Lament [Song]…Mac Umber

Stay Tuned for:

“If you Mock Orange Me, I’ll Satsum ya!”

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

  • Germi April 1, 2010, 9:50 pm

    Stinky, slimy, gooey, and rank! WHY do these things follow us, ESP? Why?
    You’ll be happy to know that your description of the decrepitude in The Patch almost made me barf. Rotten fizzy chicken? Hurl! Gag! Taro is edible, I love it, but after this post, I may have to lay off the taro chips. And the taro root au gratin at my favorite vegetarian restaurant. Oh well! It was worth it – I haven’t been to the patch in a while and I enjoyed every putrid smelly moment of it!

    Firstly, I must once again mention the sartorial splendour of the Girl Hobbit. The masque she chose as a final flourish to her outfit was PERFECT – do I detect a subtle Mayan influence in the design? I have been anticipating masques becoming the next big thing for a while – I am now certain we are on the brink – Lady GaGa will see this post and surely appropriate the masque as her signature. But we all know who originated it…

    Congrats on the resurrection of the Mexican Lime and the Barbados Cherry! I can’t believe how great The Patch looks after the hard freezes you suffered. This is going to be a fantastic growing season for you! And your front yard/hellstrip is looking GREAT! I am sorry to report that I can’t copy you as I was planning – I am obligated to plant edibles in my hellstrip because I am all about front yard food right now! But I will surely sneak a Muhly capilaris and a Yucca recurvata in there as a wink in your direction…

    Lovely visiting again! Thanks for the malodorous shout-out!
    The Witchiest G !

    • ESP April 1, 2010, 10:21 pm

      Hi G and Ewww and why DO they indeed follow us! Our Gothic backgrounds perhaps? Surely not!

      Yes, the rotten fizzy chicken I thought was a nice, albeit wincing touch. My description still does not do this justice, it really was completely and totally vile, and yes, the Patch has missed you! That mask she made does have a Mayan influence to it now you mention it, she loves nothing more then decorating one, then wearing it for the rest of the day. This one she made at the mentioned Zilker garden festival, I took both the hobbits to it, (festivals = balloons and face painting). The suggestion of going to a festival is always met with a resounding “Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang” moment of: “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!…It gets to me every time!
      What hasn’t Lady GaGa copied? Oh yes, she will be all over this one, and then some, bones through pretentious nose etc. etc.

      Yes the Patch pulled through the winter pretty well, even with a scare or five…my Lime was my obsession for a while, I would scour the trunk with my large magnifying glass every morning for signs of life…My neighbors must think I have a “slight” problem at this point. I must look as delusional and obsessive as Russel Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind”, constantly checking this tree and leaving coded messages under it, willing it to live! :-)

      How is the book coming along? And when will I be able to get a signed copy of one. I am sure it is really time consuming.

      Sorry my shout out couldn’t have been under much nicer, more appropiate circumstances…but hey, you know me!

      Extra Stinky Patch.

  • Robin at Getting Grounded April 1, 2010, 9:52 pm

    And I thought I was the only one that gardened in my shiny slippers and mask! I can’t believe she copied my favorite garden togs. She must have really great taste, is all I can say.

    • ESP April 1, 2010, 10:33 pm

      Not anymore Robin!
      I keep telling her that sequined shoes are probably not the best attire to tend to a small container garden…she just looks at me with a “you just don’t get it do you” look. She is only five!

  • Annie in Austin April 1, 2010, 10:32 pm

    Hi all at ESP –
    That colocasia-splosion brings back memories of cutting into the trunk of an enormous banana plant gone bad – had a job doing spring cleanup and the stench about knocked me over. I was only there for a few hours and now wonder whether Dolichopus flies turned up for the client later on.

    Good to see that enormous rock placed so well by you and Bob and great to see the leaf on the lime – one tiny leaf on my Dwarf Barbados cherry promises it will come back, too…guess anything that doesn’t wake up after this week is really as gone as all your trowels.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    • ESP April 1, 2010, 10:47 pm

      Hi Annie.

      Then you feel my stench!

      Bob did not help move the rock, though he did give specific instructions as to how to do it in one of my previous posts!
      I was so happy to see the Mex.lime develop a leaf, naturally it is one of the later plants to come back to life, coming from Mexico it is naturally going to wait until the soil really warms up! Happy your dwarf Barbados cherry is returning to life…I was too! I had to believe that although dwarf, the roots went deep after being in the ground for four years.

      I grew really attached to that trowel and I still look for it every time I am working in the garden, thinking I will see it again…we will see.

      Cheers Annie.


  • Bob Pool April 1, 2010, 10:56 pm

    Wow what a mess, I al……excuse me. I’m back. I just had to evacuate my upper intestinal tract after imagining the stench. If you would have mixed a little fish oil and cottonseed meal in it and stirred it up, you would have had catfish bait. I can just imagine how bad it was. Along with Annie I have taken out some dead banana trees and it was bad as well.

    I’m glad you got the rock moved. Hopefully there was not any thing hanging out your posterior when you got through. I was worried that the post would read you were down in your back after moving a rock that Bob said would be a piece of cake. However, I think you should stand it up in front of the gas meter to hide it. Put the notch end in front of the read out so they can see the numbers. Plant a big agave or cactus in front of it and presto change-o, no meter. It would protect your meter from careening Tahoes and the like. Well, think about it. You never know, a team of Egyptions with roller logs could show up one day looking for a project and you could get them to do it.

    The fashion queen was looking absolutely adorable that day, my wife, Lyn, said. The Water Bug looked like a, well, a normal little boy, I said. But I know he was thinking “why doesn’t some one turn on a hose”

    • ESP April 1, 2010, 11:49 pm

      Hi Bob.

      I hope you have recovered from your painful and what must have been a violent intestinal evacuation! I was right there with you when I knocked the top off this rotten stump, I immediately ran into the house for a multi-colored yawn! Catfish bait? Burp…Oh man, I have to go and hang over the porcelain temple once again, stop it Bob!!!

      Very funny on the rock front, and no, nothing hanging out back there, thank goodness…(runs back to the throne at the mere thought, just to check!). The rock move really was quite painless with the aid of the borrowed pry-bar, it really did make the job easy, and no, I will not be moving this beast again, or propping it up in front of my gas meter…oh no, I am completely done with this rock at this point! Thanks for the creative suggestion though.
      I will wait on the Egyptians and their roller logs should they ever show up in the Patch one day, perhaps then I may reconsider this rock’s location…but until then!

      So funny you mentioned the hose for the water bug that day…oh yes, he got it! It made his day, as I watered in all the plants you gave me once again.

      Thanks Bob.


  • Pam/Digging April 2, 2010, 1:10 am

    Please, please include a picture of yourself wearing an iced turban when the Death Star trains its high beams on you again, ESP. I have a picture in my mind, but I just know the real thing would be better.

    • ESP April 2, 2010, 9:03 am

      Hi Pam.

      I am now extremely proficient in wrapping my iced turbans, I used to get Leah to do it, but realized that she would not be there to tie it all the time. I had grown quite accustomed to wearing one at this point after all, no I had to learn. I modified the traditional technique to allow for the added volume and insertion of the ice-cubes. I am contemplating testing out those blue cooler blocks this year, but I fear they may be a little on the heavy side! (Head rolls over to one side).
      I will post a picture in the summer of my garb…I will also wear my favorite gardening kurta in the picture if you would like, for full Bollywood effect :-)


  • Darth Paul April 2, 2010, 7:54 am

    That’s *well* racial. Kimchi is awesome!! lol

    • ESP April 2, 2010, 8:48 am

      It is one of my favorites too Darth Paul, mmm bulgogi!
      You would not want to put some of this nasty taro in a lettuce wrap with garlic…oh no.

  • The Garden Ms. S April 2, 2010, 8:25 am

    ESP: I love the video, a nice antidote to the horror that began the post :-)

    • ESP April 2, 2010, 8:50 am

      Hi M. S.

      Glad the video didn’t put you to sleep, I love that Mac Umber song.
      Yes, things could only get better after that sort of shaky start.


  • Jenny April 2, 2010, 4:13 pm

    I was beginning to think I was going to have to forgo dinner after I started reading this post. Fortunately you came up with some more stomach calming stuff towards the end. I can imagine those stinky things. When I finally removed the sodden rotting agaves from my garden I thought I was going to be overcome with the fumes- not too unpleasant, just a little overcoming, like there was some good alcohol fermentation going on. I think you’ll be giving the hobbits more than just a little container to work in pretty soon. They will want a bigger share in the patch, after all they seem to put in just about as much time as you do.
    Can’t wait to see when all has settled in, in the fall.

  • ESP April 2, 2010, 5:27 pm

    Hi Jenny, and I know what you mean, a bit of a rough start to this post!

    The new manager of the container decided that she would just start planting, no encouragement from me. She even snagged the squid agave as I dug some out to take to the go go…oh yes she is serious. She “led” me around her container today, so funny, I pointed out a blade of grass as a weed and she jumped at the chance to pull it out.

    I agree, it won’t be long before they both get competitive on the planting front, like with every other activity in their lives!

    I hope everything fills in okay for the fall! Ahhhh!
    Fingers crossed for a lenient summer.
    A rather hopeful,

  • Les April 4, 2010, 4:46 am

    Your picture of the preacher from Poltergeist reminded me of a customer who came into the store last week and that looked just like him, he even acted a little creepy. It was sad that only one older person knew who I was talking about, what is happening to the youth of today?

  • ESP April 4, 2010, 8:29 am

    Hi Les.
    Julian Beck was the man! He totally gave Poltergeist a heightened creepy factor…RIP, he is the person I always remember when I think about those movies. I cannot believe no-one knew who you were talking about! Really funny you had your own “Kane” visit your store, I hope he did not try to convince you that the world was going to end and that you should take refuge in a cave? :-) Brrrr!


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