“Ho Ho Hoja Santa”

With the excitement and anxiety of Santa’s arrival and passing, the interior of the Patch has taken on a very bizarre Blade Runner atmosphere, especially at night, when all is quiet and still.

It is like some mad genetic experiment is now being conducted inside our home. 

“Err, I don’t think you want to touch that one Deckard!”

“Priss…not the nose, please, not the no…”

“I make friends. They’re toys. My friends are toys. I make them. It’s a hobby. I’m a genetic designer”.

The late night journey to bed is no longer for the faint of heart, oh no, there are now numerous engineered “creatures” no doubt manufactured by the evil  Tyrell Corporation” lying in wait in the shadows to either drop an egg loudly on our stucco tile, howl, scream, chirp, woof, burp, giggle and generally scare me to an early grave. They are also all extremely loud with their brand new Christmas Duracells lining their cybernetic stomachs.

The slightest physical disturbance can also set off a chain reaction between some of these creatures, especially the ones that react to sound, one small chirp or bark can ultimately culminate in a crazy chorus of electronic voices all reacting to each other (the equivalent of waking up the entire house).  When this happens I irrationally and frantically find myself “shushing” them, in a vain attempt to regain order.  This of course just activates even more of their circuits.

These creatures have even forced me to adopt a ridiculous sneaking affliction in an attempt to get into bed without disturbing or touching one of them.  A flashlight is now as necessary a tool as a toothbrush is at bedtime.  I have experimented and light is about the only thing these creatures do not react to, with the exception of the “Follow-me Thomas the Tank Engine” I deal with him totally separately.

Here is a line up of the motley 2010 Christmas Replicants:

All waiting extremely innocently and patiently until nightfall once again descends on the Patch.

Still, I suppose it could be worse.

Oh yes, needless to say, they both had a great Christmas…

Her first dangly earrings…

and a new all-terrain chopper to carve up my decomposed granite pathways, (thanks M&D).

Moving On:

Back in the garden…80’s last week, freezing this week, classic central Texas weather, and just when I thought it would never rain again, it did, not too much but enough to lift the sad heads on a couple of my loquats.

The Dusty Millers looked even colder than usual…

with the moisture freezing to their furry leaves.

The ice crystals have finally taken care of all my purple hearts, turning them to the consistency of seaweed.

All this damp scene needs is a…

selkie acting all dramatic on one of the moss boulders.

Selkies are creatures found in Faroese, Icelandic, Irish and Scottish mythology, and my daughter is as obsessed with them as she is Ponyo.  Selkies can transform themselves from seals to humans. The legend apparently originated on the Orkney Islands, where selch or selk(ie) is the Scots word for seal.  Selkies are able to change into human form by shedding their seal skins, They often do this to sunbathe upon the rocks, (a rarity in Scotland, sunbathing that is, not rocks).  They can revert to seal form by putting their skin back on.  But if their skins are lost or stolen, they are trapped on land and are forced obey the one who holds their skin.

“Images taken from “The Secret of Roan Inish”

Stories concerning selkies are generally romantic tragedies. If a man steals a female selkie’s skin, she is in his power, to an extent, and she is forced to become his wife. Female selkies are said to make excellent wives, but because their true home is the sea, they will often be seen gazing longingly at the ocean. If a selkie finds her skin again, she will immediately return to her true home, and sometimes to her selkie husband, in the sea.  I have my wife’s selkie skin under tight lock and key, hidden deep inside my garden shed. I occasionally catch her staring deep into my water-filled stock tanks, and I have caught her inhaling deeply over a bottle of undiluted fish emulsion on more than one occasion?

“Hey, you kept talking about skin ESP”!


There is only one plant that looks worse then purple heart after a good freeze…

You guessed it, my “Ho Ho Hoja Santa” is not looking quite so jolly since the frosty nights have kicked in.  These disgusting handkerchiefs are once again blowing proudly on winter breezes.  Another wet handkerchief this week comes courtesy of my elephant ear:


“Rock Circles”

Pris Retired

I thought I would leave you with a couple of simple planter platforms that I have just implemented on an install I have been working on. I flattened the ground, loose laid the bricks then dumped decomposed granite on the top.  A few minutes of sweeping the granite around the top with a stiff bristled broom works the granite in between the gaps in the bricks, setting them solid whilst still retaining the ability to easily move them at a future date (I avoid mortar almost as much as Bermuda grass in the landscape).

A future layer of mulch will take the grade up to the same level as the top of the bricks to finish it off…works a treat, and immediately draws attention to a cool planter you may own, would work great with a four of five foot urn, or an invisible fountain.  These two brick circles were added for formality and to visually anchor an otherwise very loose planting scheme, the one on the right will form the base of a future above-ground multi-tiered fountain.

As this post turned out a little more “Blade Runner” than I initially anticipated, I just bet it put you in the nerdy mood to want to leave those little origami unicorns everywhere you go, like Gaff left for Deckard in the movie?  No?

You will find instructions how to construct this noble creature and impress your friends here:


Apparently this is considered “intermediate” in the origami world!  Are you kidding me?

Stay Tuned  for:

“Two and Two are Four”

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

  • mss @ Zanthan Gardens December 29, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I like your circular brick planter bases very very much. I’m drawn toward strong geometric shapes at the moment.

    I’m also a fan of The Secret of Roan Inish. Have you ever seen Ondine? I just caught it on Netflix Streaming this week–Neal Jordan’s take on the selkies–a bit less magical but intriguing. I wouldn’t recommend it for children, necessarily. But it does have a very intelligent young girl at its core, so I think it might be interesting to the right child.

  • ESP December 29, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Hi M.

    Glad you like the rock circles, it is my goal to get one of these into every garden that I do! They were very zen-like to construct, the last brick goes in with a pop if it is constructed correctly…very satisfying.

    I have seen Ondine and enjoyed it a lot, my daughter loves anything “selkie” after watching Roan Inish, then Ponyo came along and fueled her obsession.


  • Pam/Digging December 29, 2010, 10:57 pm

    I’m into circles in the garden too, as you know. Very nice, your brick planter circles. Regarding mushy purple heart, I’m wondering it I can just weed-eat it into smithereens without having to actually bend down and cut it all back. An experiment is in order.

  • ESP December 29, 2010, 11:59 pm

    Hi Pam.

    I am already expanding on my circular brickwork on a much larger scale on a new design scheme I am currently working up, very exciting. Your weed-whacking purple heart endeavor will, I am sure, work a treat…can’t kill it after all! I can hear the blades sloshing into the mush as I write…goosebumps! I may even have to purchase a more modern cutting device myself based on your feedback…cutting this soggy plant back is just a royal purple-staining pain in the Patch.

    Leah did point out a fact that I have never considered after pruning back this plant…“you can put gardening gloves in the washer you know”!…A totally new concept for me!


  • Gail December 30, 2010, 11:04 am

    Love the video. That’s actually the best place for those “live” toys. :)

  • ESP December 30, 2010, 9:00 pm

    Hi Gail.
    The video still makes me laugh, especially the impeccable timing of Penbo doing the electronic version of the River Dance!
    I just had to retrieve a “hanging” Buzz from the side of one of my stock tanks.

  • Bob Pool December 31, 2010, 8:17 am

    O.K. so it’s not Bob….again…it’s me Lyn. Just wanted to tell you what a flood of memories came back to me while reading this latest post. I used to play guitar and sing…back in High School and College days. Early 70’s…so I’m dating myself but onward. Since those were the day’s of Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Crosby,Stills,Nash & Young, John Denver…you get the idea…”Silkie” was a song that was played and requested a lot. “I am a man upon the land, I am a Silkie on the sea, and when I’m far and far from land my home it is in Sule Skerrie.” I think the first verse starts out with “An eartly nurse sits and she sings, and Aye she sings a lily wean “little ken I my bairns father, far less the land that he dwells in”.
    Thanks for the memories…oh and I think it was Joan Baez who sang this.

  • ESP December 31, 2010, 8:13 pm

    Hi Lyn.
    Have you mastered how to make those unicorns yet :-)?

    Yes this post turned out to be a bit of a blast from the past, I searched for ages to find the genetic nose twitching man (first image), it was the one I had in mind, but it was buried deep in Google images…ah, the things you do!

    I will check into the Joan Baez song on iTunes, and I am glad the post jogged some memories, it did for me too.

    Happy New Year Lyn and tell hardworking Bob the same from us all here in the Patch.


Leave a Comment