“Jack and the Sotolstalk”

You would not want to loose your footing and slip off this particular beanstalk.

It is also very high, (as beanstalks have a tendency to be after all).

The line down into the adjacent Buddha’s belly bamboo I assume is Naboo in origin. I theorize that the spike is currently being adopted as a high look out / communications tower with neighboring tribes across the street.

“Ach, thats mere like it ESP…Like ah’ teld ye last week…twice the length of a mun, nuthin’ mere nuthin’ less, a spear has tae be twice the leng…

Haud yer Whisht William!

To climb up this beanstalk takes not only nerves of steel (and a hankering for insects) but also toes that have specially adapted adhesive pads, or…




Ghecko Foot: Photo by Matt Reinbold

This “super grip” on anoles and geckos is created in the form of an attraction between the molecules of the lamellae and the climbing surface. (Pushes glasses excitedly up on nose bridge)

Stealing the golden egg and circumnavigating down the sotol stalk still proved to be a bit of a struggle for this anole though..

…don’t swallow it, DON’T SWA…

Moving sketchily along…


Meet my new/old work steed (it has a rather menacing growl)…which will marry nicely with the wayward look of a poorly tied iced-turban along with a parched expression at a stop-light come the summer.

My steed’s menacing growl is apparently much better than its gum-lined bite, especially when trying to gain traction in mud. This is what happened to me on a recent country rock procurement trip.

Note to self: Even a 4-wheel drive is no match for a bog.

Oh don’t you even start!

I ended up getting pulled out of here with a tractor!

The same trip would have been a complete disaster if this chap, lurking under one of the limestone boulders had been a little more awake. This was one very plump ‘striped bark’ scorpion, and that looked like one serious stinger.

Centruroides vittatus

This is the most commonly seen scorpion and the only one found throughout the entire state of Texas.

Scorpions are arachnids but are a little special in that they are viviparous – they give birth to live young (usually about 30 or so) instead of laying eggs. This one groggily disappeared down this crack, I am sure I will come across it again, but it is the rattlers that I am really looking and listening out for.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention,

my new/old steed came with some rather classy aftermarket accessories.

If you catch my drift, ahem.

I pruned those two mist flowers (to the right of the stock tank) only a few weeks ago, they are already waist-high again. Feather grasses are almost ready for their bi-annual hair teasing, time to get out the cape once again:  http://www.eastsidepatch.com/2010/05/knotty-dreads/

Hoja Santa is also on the rise, as are:

multiple stands of celosia, (there is no sticker, there is no sticker, there is n…aaargh!)

and verbena, which is currently popping up everywhere in my decomposed granite pathways…

…it is one of Lord Kumos favorite colored mattresses after he has had a few cocktails on the feather grasses.

This ‘always thirsty’ hydrangea, (yes I said hydrangea), is doing very well after the rains,

very interesting foliage and bloom structure.

I have mixed feelings about Duranta ‘shappire showers’, the blooms, yes…

but the aggressive foliage requires constant, (vitex equivalent) pruning to keep it in check.I am considering stopping pruning this one just to see how huge it will get.

Like the classic salmon fly that bears the same name and coloration,

Dusty Miller provides a great contrast of silver and gold when it is blooming.

Another more prolific bloomer is

Nierembergia hippomanica violacea


or if that proves hard to remember, cupflower  (named for the cupped form of the blooms.)

It blooms like this sporadically through the summer and prolifically after a drop of the wet stuff.


Burgundy canna lily, gopher plant and whales tongue agave.

Stay Tuned for:

“Between a Rock and a Hardscape”


All material © 2012 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


Green Thumbs Up for Kids:

“In a world full of mesmerizing indoor toys like computers and video game consoles, it’s easy to lose sight of the bright sun and blue sky found in our own backyard… especially if you’re a kid! Inspired by this idea, these child-safe gardening tools were designed to help promote an active lifestyle, health-conscious attitude, and overall respect for nature. The parrot pruner, watermelon watering attachment, and snail shovel”:

Designer:  Chris Armstrong


  • Cheryl May 22, 2012, 9:40 pm

    I had no idea that scorpions were arachnids! If I did know that, I’d certainly forgotten. I always learn something from your blog, Thanks! Also a very interesting factoid about the feet of the gecko! You are just a flowing fountain of information!

    I uncovered another striped bark scorpion in the same rock pile yesterday + a rather brightly colored snake, unfortunately I had forgotten my camera (which is probably a good thing). Yes how about the functionality of the gecko / anole feet…amazing. The anole up on the sotol beanstalk was very funny looking down on me as I took pictures of it, it had no place to go.

  • Gail May 22, 2012, 10:04 pm

    Love the kid friendly gardening tools. And what an experience with the steed in the bog. :)

    Hi Gail.
    An experience I never want to go through again, what a cloggy mess. If it wasn’t for the neighbor with his tractor we would have been in big trouble!
    My steed might have completely disappeared overnight left in that bog :-)

  • TexasDeb May 23, 2012, 6:23 am

    Ugh. Scorpions everywhere lately. I just read a Texas-based memoir featuring scorpions (mostly trying to get shed of same), then had my cat wake me yesterday while noisily battling another scorp not 4 feet away from where I was (trying to stay) asleep…. The ones in our house are usually of the “Cave” type, which may say a little something about my housekeeping….or not…..

    I would personally buy a full set of those tools scaled up to fit adult needs. They are wonderful!

    Hi TD.
    So I am not the only one dealing with scorpions at the moment! I was very cautious removing these rocks after this encounter, perhaps I could borrow your cat for the day?
    The gardening tools are fun and they would be great for soliciting some cheap labor from the halflings.

  • suzie/Viva Verde May 23, 2012, 7:55 am

    The patch is looking lovely!

    Your sticker mantra always cracks me up! but also reminds me of my tires. The previous owner settled tire halves around 2 trees as saplings and i can’t figure out how to get rid of them. There are no tires….

    Hi Suzie.
    How I hate those confounded stickers. I am sure I could get them off my stock tanks if I put my mind to it, I just never seem to be able to put my mind to it!

  • Bob Pool May 26, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Does the sotol put up a bloom stalk every year? Will it die afterwards? I have a couple along the drive and just wondered.

    Now that the new steed is broke in, you should feel more comfortable about “using” it. I know you really work your trucks as I do and the first scratch or two kind of hurts a little.

    Sorry I didn’t make the you know what today as I wanted to catch up. I have an incredable amount of work right now and am working this whole week end. Maybe next time.

    I have a list of some plants you might be interested in that I found at a little known nursery. I will email them to you.

  • Desert Dweller / David C. May 27, 2012, 9:56 pm

    And you still managed a William Wallace insert with a Chihuahuan Desert native plant! Nice troca, senor…and you gotta love the accesorization. But at least the wheels are larger than many come with out here…

  • Pam/Digging June 18, 2012, 10:51 pm

    Congrats on the new steed, Philip. We found a scorpion in an under-the-bureau sticky trap the other day – I was not pleased (though pleased that it was dead). Icky creatures. The Patch is looking good.


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