I DWELL in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.
O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.
Image taken from jipol’s Flickr photostream under the creative commons attribution-non-commercial-no derivative 2.0 licence
I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;
The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.
It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me–
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.
poem by: Robert Frost
Whatever happens… Don’t fall asleep!
I must have nodded-off picking up old blackened pecan nuts, it is an irritating habit of mine!
Halloween is upon us once more, and the ESP witches are in full-cry, swooping and circling around my post oak, cackling their ferocious words into the night. I observed them huddled around the grave of the Cactus Man, and they were mumbling something. I crept in closer to hear what they were saying. Hiding behind my Mexican lime tree, I heard them whisper the blood-curdling words “ressurectum Opuntium”, this got my undivided attention. After the witches had done their obligatory cackles and finger waggling they flew off into the night. I ran to the Cactus Man’s tombstone and with my flashlight, shined light on his grave. I peered in closely and reached in to straighten his tombstone, (it was the least I could do)…then, like a rather predictable horror movie, I noticed a slight indiscernible movement, a subtle movement of top-soil. I peered in closer… To my horror, a small wizened paddle started to inch it’s way through the granite soil, a paddle followed by…
…The rest of his emaciated body.
What manner of curse could do this? The Cactus Man had been exhumed from his spiky grave, unfortunately he still had his old, disturbing grimace, he had returned from the dead! He was a zombie cactus.
I (like in all bad movies) predictably dropped my flashlight in panic, ran into my house and bolted shut all the doors and windows, then I remembered the hole in the house that the Chevy Tahoe had created…
Was this hole big enough for a zombie cactus paddle to squeeze itself through?
I was convinced the Cactus Man had come back up from his granity-grave to reap his revenge on me with his OWN set of cactus knives, tiny files, and a general array of small gardening implements of torture.
The next morning I returned to the grave and found the Cactus Man and one of his cousins that was also a victim of my general genocide. It seems the curse was only a temporary resurrection, lucky for me. This was an innocent cacti family that died as a result of my mad experimental horticultural “carvings”. Something I will never attempt again.
Robert Ripley’s Believe it or Not
While all this drama played out, the nearby Botox lady was freaking out…screaming out for me to “Get ze shrunken coconut heads avay” from her, in her loud Austrian accent, trust me, you do not want to be in the local vicinity of her lips when she shouts like this. (Say it don’t spray it!)
I re-dug the grave and laid them to rest again, side-by-side, and gently positioned their intrinsic root structures under each of their cacti-chins, like fake beards.. I think they would have wanted it that way.
RIP old friend…ridiculous.
While I was clambering around on top of one of my artemisia hills I made the fatal mistake of getting just a little too close to one of my large Pampas grasses. The grass reached out with a ghostly strand and (unbeknownst to me) encircled part of my arm. As I pulled my arm out of the artemisia the grass latched on. The result…
A rather poor, under exposed photograph of my arm laceration, or had I just fallen asleep again?
Whatever happens… Don’t fall asleep!
What Halloween post would be complete without the gargoyled face of a bat-faced cuphea, which as if on cue is blooming right now. Is he sticking his tongue out?
My Mexican bush sage is certainly pulling in the crowds at the moment…
along with motion…
While my fragrant mist flowers are looking hauntingly Gothic, attracting equally Gothic black and white bees.
Click on the Image to get to see this bee up-close.
There are about 242 species of Megachile bees or leaf cutting bees in North America. They belong to a larger group that includes also other leaf cutting as well as mason bees; these are all very good pollinators with very interesting habits.
These fuzzy bees are solitary creatures, meaning that each mother takes care of her own brood- a few form small colonies, but they are not truly social, they merely share the entrance to their nests. They nest in a variety of cavities in rotten wood or hollow stems. There are even some that nest underground.
Most bees carry pollen in baskets on their legs. However, Megachile is different; the underside of the female’s abdomen is particularly furry and is used for this purpose. They are so animated with their “Bugs Life” antenna, and mono-chromatic coloration. This is the first one I have ever caught in the patch. I hope I see more.
I have three mist flower plants, planted side by side and when they break into bloom, like they have this week, the insects go completely bananas…lots of moths, flies, hoverflies, bees and a whole bunch of these…
Ailanthus Webworm Moth
These buggy UT fans were all over this plant. The caterpillar of this chap eats the leaves of the dreaded Tree of Heaven (interestingly named) Ailanthus altissima, or Chinese sumac.
These moths keep their wings rolled up tightly against their bodies, unlike other moths with wings outspread. Its native habitat is South and Central America where they build communal webs in native trees.
One final visitor that I was really happy to see, arrived in large numbers to dine on these “fragrant” mist flowers…
brown “American Snout” butterflies,
“The Clangers” … I grew up on this stuff!
And quite the fine snout it has indeed. These brown nosers have been migrating across Texas in biblical proportions recently attracting media attention.
Apparently the breeding conditions have been perfect for them this year. Snout butterflies have prominent elongated mouth-parts (labial palpi) which give the appearance of the petiole (stem) of a dead leaf. They like to hang up-side-down under leaves to further enhance the illusion.
I am happy a few of them made it into the Patch.
A few more observations this week…
As is this:
The aptly named “Jewels of Opar“… a chemistry model in the sky.
It is truly living up to it’s name. Great fall color.
I was not the only one to think so. Before I had a chance to run down (in cinematic slow-motion) the patch’s pathways shouting …”Noooooo”, a bunch of these attractive tiny berries had been cut down by a set of plastic secateurs.
The same secateurs that have caused numerous “No! They’re Mine” arguments and multiple finger-nipping escapades, that I have now come to hate the mere sight of their plastic, bright yellow presence… I have to learn more tolerance!
Guess what has accumulated in here after all our recent rains? This papyrus is under the illusion that it really is growing on the banks of the Nile.
Light a pepper candle for the dead.
Happy Halloween from the ESP.
“See you later tonight in your garden dreams, I will show you how I do MY pruning”.
Whatever happens… Don’t fall asleep!
This should help…
Stay Tuned for:
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