“Has he Been”?

Anole in the houseThis anole is currently living in our Christmas tree!  I tried to get it outside but it just came right back in through one of our many gaps and holes in our walls. I suppose it was finding some “relative” warmth, or perhaps it is just getting into the Christmas spirit, hard to tell. I now spend as much time looking for the anole as I do admiring the tree ornaments.  I could have sworn the other night I caught a glimpse of it, deep in the interior of the tree, adorning a small piece of cotton-wool on it’s pronounced chin, whipping a reindeer ornament with it’s tail with a look of Christmas glee on his lizard face…honestly I did!



Here it is making it’s way over the enormous cushion hill to our tree.

national-lampoons-christmas-vacation-800-75 DSC01458The poor anole looks like it might not make it to the holidays, lets just say he did not look well, he was also very skinny, I guess he is not finding too many bugs on our fake Christmas tree!  I just hope that it doesn’t drop dead and fall into the presents under the tree. Now that would be unexpected Christmas present on Christmas morning for someone!

Moving On…

These old rusty Christmas bells are what is left of my desert trumpet vine flowers, this vine put on a stunning bloom show this year. In fact…

DSC01453there is still one bloom left.

DSC01490So strange that only one bloom still exists on the entire vine, and it is healthy and vibrant, even stranger that this singular bloom has its very own intellectual.


I have checked in on this inhabitant for the last four days. We discuss everything from philosophy to Tiger Woods.   It seems this final bloom is this insect’s final vestige for the year, and it was not about to be up-rooted from it’s comfortable purple home.


I am not sure what this turtle-like bug is, but I am pretty sure it can not be as good for the plant as it is a conversationalist.

Talking of something that is not good…

DSC01466Remember the “giant tongue” from my last post , well there have been some shocking developments on the grosser front. The cow tongue, it appears, has developed a propensity for lapping up red wine from the feeding trough, and judging from the color of it, magnums of it.

DSC01463Ewww! Ewww! And a rather exaggerated lateral knee motion.

If you want to find out what plant this nasty, curled abomination originated from, you can find the answer hiding in here… http://www.eastsidepatch.com/visual-comparativies/ I think you will be quite surprised. I promise, no more images of this.


I was quite surprised at the details on this holly fern.


Cyrtomium falcatum

I think it may have contracted the plant equivalent of the measles. I turned over the leaf to inspect the pox further.


The leaves on the holly fern are very glossy with a leathery texture, waxy on the surface and lighter colored beneath.  I was shocked to see the extent of the infestation.




The closer macro inspection of the underside of the leaves revealed that the pox were actually the geometric reproductive spores of the plant. Remarkable. If you want to grow a few hundred holly ferns like I am about to attempt, this is what you do… collect the ripe spores on a piece of paper placed under spore bearing leaves. (Adjusts glasses). You can see a couple of spores on this leaf have already dropped off.  Sow spores on damp peat moss in late winter. (they germinate best at a temperature of 68-70 degrees) this is going to be tough to achieve in my drafty “galleon ship” of a house (insert nerdy snort)!

The peat moss should be kept constantly moist and covered with glass or plastic. Once new plants are large enough to handle they can be transplanted into individual containers.


Staying in the same shady bed as the holly fern, my White Wood Sorrel is still putting out it’s ghostly blooms.


My Sorrels always have a growth spurt after I chop down all the Hoja Santa that usually cover them, they appreciate the little extra light.


Here is one of my hacked-back Hoja Santa plants, it is already trying to throw up new shoots, very primordial.

DSC01488This kale was a freebie from the Natural Gardener. It was handed to my eldest hobbit who proceeded to take it home and plant it in my raised herb and pepper stock-tank with her tiny trowel.  When our recent cold snap came she saw me shaking my head here, muttering obscenities over there, as I assessed the damage in the Patch, then she remembered her kale.  Her face got serious then it had a look of deep concern as she made her way over to the stock-tank, eagerly peering over the edge.


Naturally the kale was loving the cold weather, there was a squeal of delight as she saw the plant had jumped in size. I saw these rain drops sticking to it and rather predictably started to photograph them to the background rap of “can we eat it yet?…can we eat it yet, Daddy, Can we eat it yet? (repeat 7.5 times),  I even started to do some really bad Ali G  “mouth” percussion to accompany the monologue just to keep me sane as I took these pictures!

The poor Botox Lady was getting “consumed” by this ice plant. I heard her from inside the house (as, I am sure the whole neighborhood did,) her absurd Austrian accent screaming out into the night air…



“Get it out of  mine eyes!   ESP, Get zit out, I can’t see”! mutter, mutter, mutter…ESP!

DSC01472“Jimmy four fingers” … An arthritic rogue finger on my pine cone cactus demanded my attention this week, it tried to pinch my car-keys from my pocket as I tried to alleviate the eye suffering of the Botox Lady with my pruners.  It was time to chop off some knuckles in an attempt to grow some more “fingers” in different parts of the Patch.


A nasty gangster affair, granted, but a necessity.  I had no choice but to send a message to the rest of the finger-cones.

DSC01474Here is the first knuckle that I snapped off…the cactus screamed at the loss of one of it’s core digits, like I remotely cared…wait! where is my thumb?


here it is re-planted in my middle succulent and cactus bed. “Fingers” (ahem) crossed, it will sprout roots and grow.

Noticed This Week…


Meyer Lemons, almost ready for the picking.


I have pulled so many dandelions this year, what odd plants they are, annoying, but quite odd.


Another odd-ball is this tiny succulent, it looks like some Ice-Queen’s headdress.


“Call that a headdress”?

Or perhaps not!

Inspirational images of the week, another modern Hobbit hole…


Great Building in Switzerland by Dutch architectural studio in cooperation with SeARCH Studio Christian Muller Architects.


I can see why you would need the fence around the top of it, staggering home with a take-out Christmas curry or a doner kebab from a local alpine lodge could be a little… errr… lethal?

S2 Santa Emagine.jpg blog

“Merry Christmas!”

From us all here in the East Side Patch!

Stay Tuned for:

“Milk, Cookies and Spells”

All material © 2009 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by  late  (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

  • Les December 23, 2009, 5:05 am

    I love the anole in the Christmas tree, but maybe you should impale some insects for it to find on the tree. He/she/it looks a little hungry. We sell cut Fraser firs at work for Christmas trees and we usually get at least one insect call a season. This year is was for some gray aphids dropping down onto someone’s wrapped presents. The most frantic call came from a lady a couple of years ago when a praying mantis egg sack opened with the warm house temperatures. Little mantids were all over the tree, the gifts and the living room. If that had happened in our house, my wife would have needed hospitalization – she has an unbelievable disgust for this insect. Please have a merry Chirstmas at the Patch!

    • ESP December 23, 2009, 12:00 pm

      Hi Les.
      Only in the Patch!
      I actually carried the cushion outside my front door and left it there until the anole had gone…back into the house that is! That was funny about the aphids and mantis’s (is that even a word)?
      I think this anole is just old, I have constructed a tiny walking frame out of straws and left it under the tree in a place where he will find it…it is the least I can do for this poor reptile in the holiday season.
      Merry Christmas Les.

  • Cheryl December 23, 2009, 8:13 am

    I too love the anole in the Christmas tree! How fun! On another note, I spent an hour clipping off all the mushy-due-to-freezing Meyer lemons this week. What a waste!! Arghhhh. Luckily I had harvested a few before the cold weather attacked…just be aware…
    Merry Christmas to All at ESP!

    • ESP December 23, 2009, 12:07 pm

      Hi Cheryl.
      I got really lucky with this Meyer tree. It was actually left out that night we had the real bad freeze, I thought for sure it was done for, remarkably it suffered no damage, I was amazed. Anyway I immediately move it up onto my back-deck just to be sure. Sorry to hear you lost a few, I had the same mushy happening with what was left of my Mexican limes.
      Cheeky Anole.

  • The Garden Ms. S December 23, 2009, 9:55 am

    Love your Christmas tree elf, the anole! Can you feed him something? Milk and cookies? Lemons?

    Merry Christmas to all in the Patch!!

    • ESP December 23, 2009, 12:12 pm

      Hi Ms.S.
      He could really do with some fattening up couldn’t he! But oh no, he is not getting my Meyer lemons…they are mine, all mine I tell you.

      I am hoping Santa sees and takes him with him as a pet, back to the North Pole. I have visions of taking the tree down and finding the wizened remains of him all hung up on the branches! (slight twinge in neck).
      Merry Christmas to you too.

  • Amy Emerick December 24, 2009, 9:58 am

    Looks like the anole feels right at home and is warm and comfy. I’m enjoying your posts… Have a great Christmas!

  • ESP December 24, 2009, 12:03 pm

    Hi Amy.
    I have not seen him for the last couple of days, which is quite worrying!
    Happy you are enjoying the Patch!
    Have a nice Christmas.

  • Germi December 26, 2009, 2:30 am

    If I were an anole, cavorting in The Patch, I too would get very curious about the goings-on in the permeable structure the two-legged giants spend most of their time in. That curiosity would get the better of me as it got colder, and after I’d planned my route out carefully, I’d saunter in, trying to look casual about it. If I were that particular anole, I might think the giants put up a sparkling, somewhat over-adorned tree to entice me into staying inside and living with them. How nice of them to make me a home, even if they did impose a strange decorating scheme on it. I’d stay!
    I REALLY REALLY want a pine cone cactus! I’m now on the lookout. It is so odd, in the best of ways!
    And you have given me an idea for a signature hair ornament – echeveria pups! What if I wore a different echeveria behind my year in the upcoming Germinatrix videos? Do you think that would be a little over the top? It might get a little heavy, but I’m a trooper – and a good thing is that, unlike a flower behind the ear, I could propagate the echeveria cutting and make a new plant out of it. That’s the kind or ornamental gardening idea I like to get behind!
    See, The Patch is a HOTBED of inspiration!
    Thanks ever so, ESP!

    • ESP December 26, 2009, 4:41 pm

      Hi Germi.

      The good news is that nobody received an unexpected dead anole draped over one of their presents on Christmas morning, or an unexpected “stocking stuffer” lurking in the bottom of their stocking. I have not seen the poor anole for a dew days, I fear the worst for him.
      The pine cone cactus is a must, very odd plant, and quite freeze tolerant it seems. Let me know if you have trouble locating one and I will break a knuckle off and send it too you if you would like. Sending digits via UPS, is that even legal? “Hey Tony”!

      I agree that the echeveria pups would make great ear-jewelry for the upcoming Germi-TV segments, I am not sure what type of echeveria I have here, but the blooms are tiny, and would not be heavy at all. Staying with video for a moment, my in-laws got me a “Flip” for Christmas…going to have a lot of fun messing around with this for blog videos as well. I am hoping to capture some Naboos in their native habitat, or the Botox Lady in her next tantrum?

      I knew what you meant with the ear/year thing, but then the “best” came and I was cracking-up…totally like something that happens to me.

      Cheers Germi.

  • Germi December 26, 2009, 2:33 am

    Ahem. I meant ” … wear a different echeveria pup behind my EAR”, not my YEAR.
    Isn’t it terrible when you are trying to be clever and you misspell something and come off like a dork?


    Still, I am VERY excited about the hair-do! I’ll best the Girl-Hobbit would wear a pup behind her ear (maybe even behind her year)!

  • Germi December 26, 2009, 2:35 am

    I’ll “BET”. Not “BEST”.

    Obviously, I must stop now and go to sleep!

  • Gail December 27, 2009, 9:56 am

    A Freudian linguist would have a blast with the ear/year – best/bet slips. :) Maybe Germi is thinking that she hEARs that you should BET that the next YEAR will be the BEST!

    Look forward to your video additions in the New Year!

    • ESP December 27, 2009, 2:57 pm

      Ha Ha!
      Very clever JuJu!
      Thanks for the Freudian “Flip” analysis, (sorry I could not resist)…and the great read, the quail (Homer drool), the…oh the list goes on!
      We all had a great evening the other night.
      The Flip will be a great addition to the Patch.

  • Bob Pool December 27, 2009, 10:22 pm

    Only to have an anole in the house. It could eat some of these lady bugs. I don’t know where they come from but we have hundreds of them every year. It’s bad when you find one in your evening meal salad, or dare I say it….part of one. I built my house and make no bones about being a half arse carpenter so that may explain it.

  • ESP December 27, 2009, 11:09 pm

    Hi Bob.
    Lucky for you, you have such a ladybird hatch! We used to have those hatches at this time of year in the Patch, but not in the last few years. I am not sure why, perhaps an increase in urban development or simply an increase, (and it has been significant), in the anole population in the Patch. We used to have our inside windows covered in them, I guess they like the warmth at this time of year, forcing an environmental fake hatch? I wonder if any of them actually survive hatching at this time of year?
    My anole, I fear, has withered and died somewhere behind my TV, I have scoured the Christmas tree like a sniper for the last few days…nothing.


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