“Feather Hugger”

This young feather hugger is totally into the feather grass, it jumps from clump to clump hugging and hiding under it.

This cat, according to it’s collar, is called “Nina Coconut,” and it seems like it has adopted the Patch as it’s playground, at least for the time being.

It can also scale my Douglas Fir in seconds to the delight of my youngest hobbit who thinks this is fantastic. It really is quite funny the way it sits on the small branches watching all the goings-on in the Patch with sharp head movements.

These Mexican feather grasses have supplied me with a good crop of babies that have been transplanted all around my pathways.  What I have left should be just enough for my front garden endeavors. The loquats are all having a simultaneous growth spurt right now.  The paler green new growth looks great set against the mature darker foliage.  The cloud-like Arizona cypress, ‘blue ice’ (left) has aromatic, blue-gray leaves/needles that are flecked with white resin. I love this tree and look forward every year to it developing chocolate brown cones, but so far none have ever materialized.  This cypress prefers full sun, and thrives especially well in hot, dry environments like Austin.  It has a silvery blue color all year round, I love the way this one looks reflected in my feeder pond. The tree gets up to 50ft tall.

Imagine one of these in a hell-strip, under-planted with a mass of artemisia , now that would be a silver statement!

Talking of the feeder pond, this body of water was recently the venue for the “2010 H S R”.

“Husk Sailing Race”.  These bamboo husks with their post oak leaf sails work great, flying across the pond on the slightest of breezes.

“That looks like fun Huck”!

“It sure does Tom.”

I did notice this strange bit of oily something-or-other floating on top of the water, perhaps one of the sailing vessels had developed a leak in it’s fuselage?

New martian growth in my main pond

March Kale Felling:

She planted this Kale when it was about an inch tall, it was barely visible above the soil. Today she used the big-girl snippers and cut it down for dinner. There was an element of sadness associated with cutting it down though, I had to keep telling her that she grew it to eat it, so we all could eat it, she just kept saying…”next week, we will eat it next week.” She had grown quite attached to having it around apparently.

And the light shoneth down on the cut kale and peace and order returned the Patch.

Who am I kidding…naturally the freshly cut kale started an immediate fight…“Its mine! “No Its mine!” “Get off”! “Its mine” (Repeat until nerves are completely frayed, and temporary insanity has set in.)

The kale was made into an Asian noodle dish, and the grower ate so much of it!  This was really surprising as it had quite a bitter taste, just goes to show, food always tastes better if you grow it yourself.

The warmer weather brought out the bees on this blooming rosemary today. He kept insisting that the bees needed a “drinky” from his watering can, which was just an excuse to pour water on a few of them. I grew and wrestled this prostrate rosemary over a cedar carcass while it was young.  I am now testing a theory with another young plant to see if this actually forces the plant into a higher growth habit.  This one has turned into a monster, it spent the first two years of it’s life braced painfully up on the side of a cedar stump. My theory is that once it has been forced skyward in it’s formative years, it remains like this when mature?

Here is my young test subject…Mohahahaha!

On a closer inspection of the interior I was shocked to find the wreckage of this yellow convertible hung up in it’s interior branches. A Naboo tribal member on a joy-ride perhaps? I couldn’t be sure.

“O,o, makes me so o,o, angry…I did warn them it was a stick-shift.”

Have the tribe succumbed to modern society to the extent that they are now using sports cars to circumnavigate their territorial boundaries? I scoured the ground around the wreck for tiny bodies, but I naturally found nothing.  And why the random, angry, Naboo-speaking monkey? I have no idea.

Disturbed, I looked up to see this dwarf conifer blooming it’s very strange flesh colored oddities…this was no comfort.

And finally, (drum roll),

the patch has had a face-lift:

From a flaking white and horrific aqua, to shades of green and brown, oh yes we are all very excited. Spot the hobbit face in the right picture?

The stock tank where the Chevy Tahoe hit will be moved around in front of the now painted electrical boxes (flattened side against the house, naturally)…Well I may as well take advantage of it. I plan to stain the concrete foundation a dark brown to match the window trim. Not quite finished, but it feels so much more Patch-like already!

The containered golden bamboo culms and foliage look amazing set against this green color. An added bonus.

Blast from the Past:

Imagine if we still had to compose our blog content on this?

Released in 1981 by the Osborne Computer Corporation, the Osborne 1 is considered to be the first true portable computer – it closes for protection, and has a carrying handle.  It even has an optional battery pack.  While quite revolutionary, the Osborne does have its limitations. For example, the screen is only 5″ (diagonal) in size, and can’t display more than 52 characters per line of text.  To compensate, you can actually scroll the screen display back and forth with the cursor keys to show lines of text up to 128 characters wide.  A little bit like inserting images in WordPress!


The Osborne was designed with transportation in mind – it had to be rugged and able to survive being moved about.  That is one reason that the screen is so small.  Designed as a true portable computer system – it can be considered airline carry-on luggage, and it will fit under the passenger seat of any commercial airliner.  I love that screen.

I would love to pull out an “Osborne” on a flight, struggle with it, insert the optional battery (you know this would be quite large) and start working on my airline tray. (I wonder if the tray could even take it’s weight)?

Over-sized headphones and some “work related” head shaking, followed by some repeated insertion/ejection of an old floppy disk would complete the in-flight nonsense.  Mr Bean could have a field day with this!

Stay Tuned for:

“Toad in the Hole”

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

  • Robin at Getting Grounded March 7, 2010, 10:26 pm

    omg, where did you get that Osborne? I had to train a customer on one oh-so-many years ago! It was a horrid thing. But I LOVE the feather-hugger. I’m about to plant a bunch of feathergrass; hopefully my kitty will enjoy it just as much. Cute!

  • ESP March 7, 2010, 10:39 pm

    Hi Robin…
    I cannot believe you have come into contact with a real-life Osbourne…I am humbled in your presence! What a mad, mad machine. I want to get trained on one :-)!

    I don’t believe you can have too many feather grasses, I have it all over the place and yet I still seem to keep planting more of it’s babies! Just remember, never cut this grass back! Just pull out the dead growth as it appears. I made this mistake and learned the hard way. (Thanks Jenny).
    Cats do seem to like playing around it, well, cats and grass, it is in their genes after all.


  • The Garden Ms. S March 8, 2010, 12:15 am

    Love the new colours of the house! (Maybe the Tahoe hit was worth it? Naw..!)

    I also have to say I think the look-out kitty is a great addition to the patch. Maybe he works for the Naboo? ;-)

  • ESP March 8, 2010, 12:30 am

    Hi Ms.S
    Me too!
    The Tahoe did provide the impetus for this new color scheme, and it does look so much better.
    Can you believe that Spider-Man cat? I have my suspicions that the cat is not really a cat at all, but a Naboo controlled “cat-robot” (think the Horse of Troy meets the Wild Wild West), that they use to attack neighboring tribes.
    Oh yes, I never underestimate the creativity of the Naboo!


  • Les March 8, 2010, 6:44 am

    Thank goodness your daughter did not raise a chicken for the table, or even a plump little pig. Now that would be a life lesson. The new patch colors are very nice. We would love to do an exterior makeover on our beyond-white house, but I have visions of the paint flaking off in the future revealing white patches.

    I know can you imagine.
    Perhaps we need to do a few more Kales, progress onto “named” radishes, then pumpkins and knives…break her in slowly.
    Thanks on the color front, there was an awful lot of sanding and prep work went into scraping back the white paint, then a primer, then two coats of sprayed paint. I was so tired of looking at flaking white paint and aqua trim.

    Cheers Les,

  • TexasDeb March 8, 2010, 8:51 am

    I refuse to harvest my chard plants in entirety but only take leaves now and again. Same goes for collards – I plant loads of them everywhere – love their silvery blue-green as an accent color. The plants last me a couple of years that way (although I share many leaves with local caterpillars occasionally). I really like the way they look mixed in the garden beds. My collards and chard plants outlasted freeze and drought both with no pampering. Perhaps your daughter would be happier without having to remove the entire plant? (I’m sure my method is “incorrect” in some official way but seeing as I don’t know any better….)

    Hi TD.
    You know, it never even occurred to me to do that…duhhh! Anyway I really needed the space for some pepper plants I got at the weekend, and it was going to seed. You can tell I am not a vegetable gardener, at least not yet. I was told this was a kale, but is it a collard? Is it a chard? Oh yes you can tell I am not a vegetable gardener. Do you nip the heads off yours to keep them going when they are seeding? How long into the summer do they hang-on, curious.

  • Jenny March 8, 2010, 1:51 pm

    I was thinking that maybe the car wreck resulted in the insurance co. paying for a new paint job. He did have insurance, right? I know you must also have been spurred on by the upcoming garden tour. Nothing like a date with the public to get things moving. So we are not the only ones to love feather grass? Who can blame him. Don’t cats always prefer someone else’s house and garden to their own? Wonder if he ill show up when we do? Does he love a crowd scene?
    I love your Arizona cypress and the play on color with the tank and blue pot. Have you decided on what to plant in the front….besides feather grass?

  • ESP March 8, 2010, 2:13 pm

    Hi Jenny.

    Yes at least the Tahoe was useful for something!

    Ahhh the tour, the tour, and stop mentioning “crowds”!…I keep telling myself there is still quite a while to go, but I know you know how it is! My front garden looks like a construction site! Ahh the tour, the tour! The front is going to be muhly and soft leaf yucca with the mounds having yet more artemisia flowing down them (Leah just shakes her head)…already got the cuttings in, they look really sad but I hope they will pick up soon.

    Yes it seems this cat must have seen me out back curled up next to my feather grasses in a quiet moment and decided to imitate me. We seem to be getting quite a few feline visitors the past few weeks, I think they like all of the attention they receive from the hobbits.

  • Germi March 12, 2010, 6:46 pm

    I am a BIG lover of the feather-grass, and I HATE it when people try to dissuade me from using it – I KNOW it seeds around, I’m okay with that. My neighborhood has not been overrun by Nassella, and I’ve had a little meadow of them in my front garden for 10 years. So there! I am like your Naboo Robot Cat – I often lay around my front yard, deeply cuddled up with the Nasella, arms around it, purring and dreamy-eyed.
    I TOTALLY LOVE the color of your house! My house has the white /turquoise trim thing going as well, and we have been itching to get it repainted, but we haven’t had a Tahoe run into us yet, so we have to wait. The green you chose is sublime! I’m thinking more along the lines of deep eggplant, but Jan won’t even discuss it. But wouldn’t plants look incredible against that dark purple background? Sigh.
    The kale (ornamental kale – different varieties are tastier) was probably bitter because it was starting to bloom – all greens get bitter as they stretch out. I think you should let the Hobbit Girl start herself a vegetable patch! Or, you could plant some edibles in your FRONT YARD (hmmm – somebody should write a book about edibles in the front yard – what an interesting idea!) and have a vegetable/ ornamental extravaganza!
    But what am I saying – The Patch is ALREADY an extravaganza!
    XO The G!

  • ESP March 13, 2010, 8:39 pm

    Hi G.
    I am right there with you on the feather grass front, it is my favorite small grass, I need to do a count of how many I now have in the Patch…I have it planted everywhere, and it pops up everywhere, but it is easily managed.

    Glad you like the new color pallette of the Patch, we are over the moon with it, our house looks like a different place, and the green almost matches the sidebar of the blog! It is really amazing how the new color really makes certain plants pop against it, especially the purples.

    Interesting on the bitter kale front, and yes I was a little late harvesting it. I really need to get the hobbit going on the vegetable front, and yes a front vegetable plot sounds like a great idea, if only somebody would write a book about it!!! How is the writing progressing? I cannot wait to get a signed copy for Christmas? Haha!:-)

    Cheers G.

  • Pam/Digging March 20, 2010, 11:45 pm

    I’m just catching up on my blog reading after our vacation, ESP, and I’m wowed by the difference your new paint job makes. It’s wonderful! Can’t wait to see it in person on the crazy-crowded tour this fall. ;-)

    And I believe I wrote my master’s thesis on that Osborne portable computer. No, not really, but something similar–a portable Compaq, something like this: http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/80/27080-050-6CA29A42.jpg Really, wouldn’t a typewriter have been easier?

  • ESP March 21, 2010, 12:03 am

    Hi Pam.
    Welcome home, and I hope you all had a nice time on your vacation.

    The new Patch color has made a huge difference to the area, it is amazing how much it has set off the color of adjacent foliage, in particular the mountain laurel in full bloom…it looks incredible! Hence I am thinking a large amount of Mex. bush sage in the front. (I fear I may have to replant after all the foot traffic required to repaint our house).
    Interested in your thesis…and what did you do your masters in? And what a Compaq blast from the past! I just knew you were a techno-geek:-) I designed the Compaq Presario 5000 series some years back.

    See http://www.leveridgedesign.com for some of my other design endeavors.

    Welcome back to crazy Austin weather, weather that was spring only a day or so ago!


  • Pam/Digging March 21, 2010, 5:03 pm

    Techno-geek? I wish. It was my DH’s old Compaq; I still didn’t have my own computer at that point. We were PCers for many, many years before finally switching over to Macs somewhat recently. However, I do still do most of my blogging on a desktop PC, only because I don’t like learning how to do things on a new machine. Pitiful.

    Nope, no techie, I. Instead I got my MA in–what else?–English Lit.

    I’ve seen your design site and am impressed to know that you have come up with designs for products like the Compaq.

  • ESP March 21, 2010, 7:14 pm

    I have been working on an old computer until I joined the modern processing speed driven world recently. What a difference! My new laptop fires up in minutes rather than twenty! An almighty jump. I use a Mac for image download and tweaking (cannot beat a Mac for this) – then I dump my images on a memory stick and move them onto my laptop for posting.
    Happy you like my site, I just got this up and running recently, thought I had better do it while I still remembered how to set up Word Press and all of that fun stuff. It feels really good to get all of my work under one electronic roof.

    Cheers Pam.


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