“Counting Sheep”

agave parryi truncata

Still no rain, lots of dust, and a summer cold for me…there, moaning all done for this week’s post.

This sad little gulf coast toad looks exactly how I feel at this point in the drought, I gave him a good dowsing with the watering can and quickly got him into some shade. I have been noticing quite a few dead toads around lately. I think the damp shady places that they rely on during the day have, like everything else,

turned to dust under the death rays.


…never attempt to extract giant timber bamboo unless under the supervision of an adult.

I have been putting this task off since last winter when this huge giant timber bamboo got hammered by our hard freezes. Although it was pushing up new culms I was not prepared to go through this mess again. No, there was only one thing for it.

This monster almost got the better of me, and I am very determined when it comes to extracting plants that need to be extracted.

It was the most stubborn root-ball I have ever had the displeasure of meeting.  I started to work around it with my heaviest pointed shovel but I could get no movement out of it at all, it was like concrete, it was horrible. As the pace and the sweat quickened, the cut culms began to look more and more like octopus suckers, clinging to the soil…pick axe, rockbar, pick axe, shovel and then naturally…

Snap!  The force and speed of this breakage had me pirouetting out over the cut culms, which in-turn had me stumbling uncontrollably (zombie-like) into the adjacent hoja santa plants which were already quite unhappy.

Shovel #2.

Half an our later and lots of other creaking from shovel #2 and I finally heard some popping, music to my ears…I had beached the whale.

 Just what I need, another bare patch in the patch.

Moving along:

Texas sage is once again offering up more false promises or rain.

 and the inland sea oats are now in full fall color.

Celosia is pretty scarce in the Patch this year, most of it just wilted away like greens in a warm salad, this stand is my final hope for seeds this fall. These plants have been receiving supplemental water from my neighbor who is working to keep his struggling post oak alive.

I did notice a big change in the light quality this week, I think the summer (if not the drought) is finally fading behind us…and good riddance.

Here are a couple of gross things to ponder…

relax, this one does not seek shelter in houses. This is a female



(arena meaning sand and vagus meaning wandering)

It is a genus of sand cockroaches, what a primordial looking creature…brrr.

And this next one was taken on an iPhone by my wife:

Scutigera coleoptrata


or a house centipede.

They are secretive,very odd looking and move with strange darting motions, and because of this homeowners typically fear the house centipede. Should you come across this very shy creature you might very well be inclined to immediately take your slipper to it, but these are actually beneficial in your home since they rid you of other pests like spiders,bedbugs,termites,cockroaches silverfish,firebrats,carpet beetle larvae ants and other household arthropods.

I found this pest lurking under the bed,

Kuminus Fangstratus


a vicious nocturnal creature.


Apart from the Texas Sages, oleander and my mist flowers are about the only thing that are both blooming and still looking good, talk about plants that can weather the storm (or in this case the lack of it).

These Poecilognathus – a kind of bee fly (Diptera: Bombyliidae) covered the pale blue blooms. (Thanks for the ID meredee)

As there is not much to do in the garden but wait, (and cut down dead bamboo). I decided this week to give my own pathways a quick replenishment of the golden soil.

I do this every few years as the granite degrades and packs down.

After a hard day’s work there is nothing better than playing the smurfs next to her now sleepy Kuminus Fangstratus.

Inspirational image of the week:

Car Part Sculptor by James Corbett.

James Corbett is a renowned eco friendly artist and is known to create awesome sculpture from waste auto parts.



Stay Tuned for:

“French Fork”


All material © 2011 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

  • jenny October 2, 2011, 6:47 pm

    Are you sure that the toad is not mummified. Sure looks that way to me. Do you have any spare bamboo ESP? I am looking for some ‘tubes’ for the bee house we have made for my grandson. I have run out of coat hanger tubes and other tube like things. Some bamboo would be perfect. I always thought that the TS responded to rain but mine are flowering too and not a drop has fallen here. Just cooler mornings and thunder in the air. An increase in humidity I guess. I’d be taking that spade back. I’ll bet it is guaranteed not to break.

  • ESP October 2, 2011, 7:13 pm

    Hi Jenny.

    That toad was very close to being mummified…it was definitely one step away from pushing up the blackfoot daisies that is for sure, poor thing.

    Yes, plenty of bamboo over here, you can take your pick from the fence line :-) What sort of diameter are you looking for?

    That was my favorite shovel, and it was a strong one too – though not much of a match for the old giant timber as it turned out!

  • Toni - Signature Gardens October 2, 2011, 8:35 pm

    Is that an African Hosta (Drimiopsis maculata) behind the spot where the bamboo used to reside? Glad you were not impaled on the broken shovel or bamboo stalks! Yeesh! What an awful, awful job!!!

  • ESP October 2, 2011, 8:50 pm

    Well spotted Toni it is indeed an African Hosta, I have a few of these dotted around shady areas in the Patch…a great little plant, interesting and tough as nails.

    The shovel gave me quite a jolt and the follow-on zombie walk must have looked hilarious. I need to start setting up a video feed when I embark on these sort of mad endeavors, it would be hilarious to capture one of these impromptu – staggering “incidents” on film!

    Yes, awful job…like extracting wisdom teeth with a tooth-pick :-)


  • jenny October 3, 2011, 9:44 am

    Thanks ESP. Is it cut down and Is it in manageable lengths? Such that would fit in my truck or a car. All sizes I guess. I have been using the cardboard from the coat hangers but something more substantial would be better. I could come by on Wed. on Thursday as I have to go to Whole Foods or if the pieces are small enough to fit in the trunk of a car I could drop by tomorrow after bridge. Would be in my friends car.

  • ESP October 3, 2011, 7:50 pm

    Hi Jenny, it is cut down and most of it is manageable ie: less than 40 feet long (kidding). I have left a variety of culm diameters (and lengths) in one of my trash cans at the side of my house, just take what tickles your fancy.
    Hope it works out for your bee house.

  • jenny October 4, 2011, 4:56 am

    Thanks ESP. WIll drop by later today.

  • Cheryl October 4, 2011, 9:19 pm

    Having dug (read;pick-axed, mauled, cursed) out my own patch of bamboo, I know whereof you speak. Nasty, nasty job. Sure is a great feeling when you’ve pulled out the last of the roots. (I was younger then and more easily amused) I have another, larger patch (25′ x 25′) but am basically ignoring it. Some nice Asian folks come every spring and harvest the new culms.. and the ones they miss get lopped off with my pruners. We are currently getting our first rain in months .. I will try to send some your way but think the wind is wrong.

  • ESP October 4, 2011, 9:45 pm

    I can tell you know and feel my physical bamboo pain Cheryl :-)

    So happy somebody is getting some rain. At this point in central Texas I think we have all mentally given up getting any moisture ever again…that is how it feels at least…more wild-fires sparking up on the news as I write.

    Thanks for dropping-in to the wizened Patch…some more shocking news from the drought is that the Naboo tribe have gathered all of their remaining resources and completely vacated the Patch. It is rumored that they are relocating to the “touristy” river-walk area of San Antonio? (It does have sufficient undergrowth and more moisture).

    More on this shocking development later…


  • Cyndi K. October 5, 2011, 9:58 am

    I’m learning a lot from reading your blog…and enjoying myself even more…very entertaining writing style and layout you have (~Yoda). Thanks! Seeing all your activity inspires me to get off the computer and go outside – so thanks, again.

  • ESP October 5, 2011, 7:05 pm

    Hi Cyndi.
    Haha…very funny Yoda!

    I love it when I type some words and it just sounds like Yoda! There should be a word for this phenomenon in the dictionary.
    Very nice of you to give me your feedback on the Patch, even better it was all positive :-)
    Thanks for dropping in and commenting C…P.

  • Pam/Digging October 6, 2011, 6:12 pm

    Glad to see the hobbits are putting some sweat equity into the Patch. Next time you can set them on the bamboo extraction, yes? Or maybe Kumo could pull it out with his teeth. They look fierce.

  • ESP October 6, 2011, 8:51 pm

    Hi Pam.

    Yes, I try to put the hobbits to work in the garden whenever I can…cheap hobbit labor, you cannot beat it, though she definitely prefers planting Lembas grain seeds to raking granite, which I totally understand.

    Kuminus Fangstratus prefers consuming plastic toys at the moment, though I do plan to train and focus his attention to what remains of my giant timber culms as he matures…I have emailed the dog whisperer regarding this matter.


Leave a Comment