“Wind in our Sails”



“Climb the rigging to the curtain rail”

“Secure the jib to the TV”

“Yarr, there is a squall coming”…

…and the squall has really been catching the mainsail in our living room. That’s right, our front room now resembles the “sailing” Monti Python building in The Meaning of Life, although I wish I could say, like them, we were sailing our building on the high seas of international finance.

buildingOkay I’m exaggerating like I usually do…our house isn’t this big. It has though, developed an almost galleon ship expression on the inside. The polythene sheets nailed up to our walls have been under immense strain with the strong winds we have been experiencing of late.

walking the plankThe wooden “planks” strewn here and there just add to the nautical illusion, along with my new parrot from Pet Smart and the old telescope that I dug out out of my shed, that is now positioned in arms reach of my Lazy-boy. We also have these two old swaying chain lamps that fit in perfectly to the whole galleon scene, complete with cobwebs! Arrrrr, the Back Pearl it be.

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Our front “room” even sounds like a ship at this point, groaning and flapping around. When the wind catches the “main-wall,” there is an audible sighing sound as the polythene bellows out then sucks back against the wall. When this happens I boom out “Tack” and lunge for my telescope. It is almost as if the walls are, are…breathing…



wall sail


Here is our home-ship catching the prevailing Arctic wind.

Watching a trilogy

My wife took this picture late the other night, right after I had just finished watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. Oh yes, watching a movie is now a character building experience, but a trilogy is potentially life threatening.

If you are not a regular reader to the East Side Patch, this damage was caused by a Chevy Tahoe, a vehicle that decided it should take an alternative route in preference to the boring monotony of the straight road that runs in front of our house.


It slammed in a possessed “Christine” fashion, straight into the front corner of our house:


The Ship

Here is the East Side Patch galleon ship as seen from the outside. I am thinking of getting a figurehead erected on the impact corner where the Tahoe hit, to commemorate the time that our house had internal “sails”. I am thinking of something on the lines of this…



Do you think it would be a little “too much” if I secured and angled this eight foot high figurehead from the side of our house, hoisting her into position via an elaborate series of winches and pulleys? Visualize it, this corner of the house does look like the prow of a galleon ship after all, it would look great. Mmm, on second thoughts, the sight of this maidenhead may cause yet another accident.

falling in the rain


“Resilient are these little Hobbits.

Naturally there are always lots of chores to be done on a ship, chores like swabbing the decks?  This was actually more like a Jack Ass stunt, he went careering through this water congregation point at high speed, then lost control and performed what can only be described as a double axel into an arabesque maneuver. Hence why he is out of frame…I just wish my camera had been on movie mode.


(photo courtesy of Mike Field)

The biting breeze in our sails carried our “house-boat” to a small island, we anchored and rode to shore in a small rowing boat, taking the opportunity to stretch our legs and observe some of the native wild flora.


This Fatsia japonica bloom is the largest one I think I have ever had. On our next warm day these flowers will be full of flies and many other insects. You can see the younger green blooms start off like unripe blackberries before exploding into these fireworks, complete with all the fine “sizzly” bits, that stand out in the deep shade.


“Hahah! You call these fireworks ESP”!

Fatsia japonica

The oddest of spiky-salmon pink blooms, and one of the final flowers to develop late into the year. They sort of look like winter crystals.

Another end of year task, and one of my least favorite activities…


“The boring leaf scooping has officially begun”!

scooping leaves

Lucky for me this year I have a helper to alleviate the mind-numbing monotony of this incredibly irritating and seemingly endless task.  She actually likes to do it!  Who am I to argue?  Between the overhead Post oak and the embedded Bog Cyprus, a lot of scooping happens for the next month or so in the Patch. Are those some more Mexican limes she is protecting in her pocket?

Meyer Lemon

Staying with citrus…these Meyer Lemons are trying their hardest to ripen before the winter fronts kick-in hard, they are almost there,  j j just a few more days, I have moved this container up onto the back-deck of the ship.  These will come in really useful when our house-boat takes to the high-seas once again…they will be really good for curbing scurvy on the voyage home, and, well, I am a “limey” after all.

Copper Canyon Daisy

Copper Canyon Daisy

DSC01305Copper Canyon Daisy


We awoke this morning to a crisp and extremely cold day. Last night was clear and a hard freeze had reached into the island with icy fingers, touching plants here, nipping others there. Walking around it was clear, we had gone from a summer-end garden to a winter garden overnight…the casualties where numerous, I knew they would be. I was just hoping that the freeze had finally killed all my “Mother of Millions” plants, before they just engulf my entire garden. I will not be growing this one again, waaaay too scary.



Well, not quite, but lets just say it has looked an awfully lot better.


My cannas, my beautiful cannas.  All have collapsed into a mass of slightly poached “soft” leaves.



As have the Hoja Santa, reduced to a bunch of old hanging handkerchiefs.


Though the leaves make great pixie-hats.


The amaranth’s foliage has also been nipped, accentuating the Santa seedpod colors, very festive for Christmas.


These seed heads will get to about a foot or so in length.

Frozen Bird Bath

Even the sea froze.

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Even more disturbing were these blood droplets, they were everywhere and in different parts of the island. Was this the work of the Naboo?

Or was my purple heart bleeding?


These mounds of seaweed are oozing purple blood. I decided not to cut it all the way back, allowing what is left of the plant some protection from the slushy top covering, it is looking like we are in for another freeze tonight. Perhaps this will spell the end of the…


Finally! We have all been nightly blood donors for the last few months.

Giant Timber Rigging Shadows

Shadows from the ship’s Giant Timber Bamboo Rigging.


Sea-salted-succulents make for a delicious on-board snack.

We waited for the sea to unfreeze, then set on our long voyage back to our “pier” (ahem) and beam foundation, back to the Patch.  It was good to finally be on our way, with the wind in our walls.


Inspirational Photo of the Week


Yes…plonk some of these giant baggies on your Hell-Strip and you will be the talk of your neighborhood. Perhaps not the best-liked, but the talk none-the-less. One or two of these bad-boys should ensure that no weeds will grow in your strip ever again, with the added advantage of gardening at waist height.

Just thinking out of the raised bed!

Talking of raised beds…imagine sleeping in here:

billboard house

Metropolitan Home

Stay Tuned for:

“Down the Rabbit Hole”

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

  • Les December 5, 2009, 7:01 pm

    I am glad you survived your sail to the Artic with minimal damage. I wish you smooth seas ahead.

  • ESP December 5, 2009, 7:14 pm

    Thanks Les. Me too.
    I think we are in store for a few more Arctic excursions this winter. The house cruised back onto it’s foundation as if it had never left. Phew, what a trip.

  • TexasDeb December 6, 2009, 10:13 am

    Arrrr matey, I hates the frostings, that’d be the truth spoken.

    In my mind we should either be expected to put up with hellishly hot summers OR freakish winter freezes, but not both. Especially not in one year. Unfortunately my Petitions for Relief to the Guardians of Garden Weather have not yet garnered a positive response. Bureaucrats! Whatcha gonna do?

    • ESP December 6, 2009, 10:35 am

      Shiver me Timbers TD! Batten down the hatches!
      It does look like it is going to be a year of contrasts.
      I have to admit I am somewhat relieved that we had a keen frost to kill all the blood suckers, they have been driving us nuts. It is also going to be quite satisfying to go out there and cut everything back, all the dead things, all the mushy things. This weekend will have filtered out all the tenders in the Patch, but I am not going outside in “this” as much as I want to.

  • Bob Pool December 6, 2009, 11:05 pm

    Glad to see your finally getting the old ship, errr, I mean the house fixed. What are you going to do with that boy? Where there’s water, there is a Water Bug. Is he the same way with ice?

    Cheryl and Randy came out to the house while on their Nursery Crawl. They are great folks. Cheryl and I got to talking blogs and which were our fav’s. Your’s was the favorite of both of us. Cherl would say”Do you remember when Philip did this” and I would say “Oh that was so funny. Did you see his picture of such and such?”. She would say “Oh he’s good with that camera isn’t he”? We were having a great time talking about you and the Patch. Mean while Randy was looking at us like he thought we were daft or something. We both looked at him in mock disgust as we realized he hadn’t read your blog. He said something about blogs weren’t supposed to be that entertaining, but he was definitely gonna check it out.

    I really enjoy reading and looking at your blog. You do an amazing job with it. It truly is my favorite.

  • ESP December 7, 2009, 12:41 pm

    Hi Bob.
    We went to the Celtic festival this year, it was a total washout, large puddles everywhere. The water bug was having a field day. He face-planted almost immediately into a large muddy puddle, luckily and in anticipation, we had a spare set of clothes with us. People walking past looked on amazed as he steamed at full velocity into the relatively deep tire puddle, some saw what was about to happen and sought safety on higher ground. We really should have just let him stay wet, because half an hour later he was soaked to the bone again.

    It sounds like you all had fun, and I am really flattered that the Patch ranked as a favorite blog.

    Thank you once again Bob for your nice words about the ESP.

  • Pam/Digging December 8, 2009, 1:34 am

    My DH and I are geekily in bed with the covers up to our chins but our arms out, tip-tapping on our laptops. He’s looking at some dry computer-related work stuff, but I’m over here laughing out loud over your latest post. He is totally envious, I can tell. I enjoyed your yarn about sailing the high seas of the patch. Like you, I’m celebrating the demise of the mosquitoes with a Yo Ho Ho.

    • ESP December 8, 2009, 12:06 pm

      Hi Pam.

      You Geek you…(like I am one to talk)!!! Remember my lichen post? That one still makes me laugh in terms of the nerd depths I am capable of reaching. Anyway you painted a funny picture. There is nothing more annoying than someone enjoying themselves when you have to work! I bet the Patch was popular!
      I will always be able to look back on this tale of the high seas and remember the bellowing walls, the wind lashing at our faces as we try to watch a movie, the fake and badly executed pirate accents…Arrr, and remember the good times we all had as we rode the winter squall.

      Yo Ho Hope to never see you again, indeed.


  • Cheryl December 8, 2009, 10:13 am

    Cleaver post, I vote on the breastie babe for the ship. I love, love the way the amaranth is drooping and the pixie
    hat is to die for…wish I had one in felt. You’ll have to join Bob and I for a Margarita next time!

    • ESP December 8, 2009, 12:17 pm

      Ho Cheryl.

      Thank you, and I agree with you, she would make a fine addition to that corner of the house. It would be great to actually paint this corner of the house like the front of a galleon ship with windows and waves at the bottom, etc. Okay, perhaps a little OTT! But I may have to photoshop this!

      The amaranth looks really different this year with the foliage all wilted, I like it. I will post some more shots when the seed-heads are full grown.

      Would love to join you and Bob for a Margarita and a stagger round a nursery.


  • Germi December 9, 2009, 12:37 am

    I SWEAR I hadn’t seen this post before I posted my Tagetes post! I was inspired by the last time you had a photo of it up – I was SHOCKED at how identical our pics are! HAhahaha! You must have thought I was a full on image thief! The shot of it frozen – inspired!
    But on to the praise of the total beauty of your frozen garden! Oh, the CANNAS! Even though they are limp – I’m still jealous! The amaranth are so expressive in their post-freeze swan necked poses. And again I must comment on the Hobbit Girl’s sartorial choices – a Hoja santa hat! Brilliant …
    I have to say I admire your ease – you who deal with freezes are so good at letting things go! The last time it froze here I was a sniveling mess. I cried and vowed I would never let nature hurt me again! But eventually it WILL happen; I hope I have the kind of grace you show!
    The Patch is as lovely frozen as it is in its peak!
    Stay warm!

    • ESP December 9, 2009, 10:15 am

      Hi Germi.

      I believe you!…and how funny that our photographs were so similar. Sadly I said goodbye to my Tagetes, our freeze finished mine off for the year, but it had put on a good show for a few weeks. The poor canna, I have a few good hours of clean-up to be done in the patch, lots of good composting material to be had.

      The Hoja santa hat really looked like it was from a movie set, it was perfect…the lines, the aged look, the little peak off to the top! She didn’t care too much for the pungent aniseed aroma emanating from it though, hence the face.

      I actually don’t mind the transition into the more sparse, cut-back winter garden, it gives me a chance to see the “backbone” of the Patch. It also makes the garden seem a lot bigger for a few months. My favorite is when I have got all the leaves up, cut everything back, and then there is a full moon…AArrroooooo!

      Thanks Germi.
      I am doing my best. I have an “old person” blanket over my legs as type this, and my fingers are freezing!


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