“The Sacrifice”


The Sacrificephoto curtesy of Dave http://www.flickr.com/photos/grizdave/

The strangest thing happened to me the other day…

smokeHiking in an uncharted  patch of the Patch, I noticed that I was ascending, I climbed steadily uphill for about two solid hours.  I suddenly came to a clearing on top of a huge rock, it seems my rock was one of three holey rocks in the range, towering up out of the lower jungle verbena canopy.  Stunned by the breathtaking view I sat down for a brief rest and one of my first ripe satsumas. In the far off distance my eyes were drawn to a small wisp of fire smoke on the valley floor, could it be another faction of the Naboo tribe perhaps?



Curiosity got the better of me, I had to find out.  I checked my rations and decided although not enough, I would find some food on the way. I saw a small trail to the side of me that looked like it wound its way down the rock-face in front of me.

Englishmans socks

I checked my compass, pulled up my long socks – “English style” (just below the knee, just high enough to look totally ridiculous)…

climber_1and set off down the holey rock escarpment.  I descended this Texas holey rock to a ledge, where, to my surprise, I found an enormous rope bridge stretching all the way across the valley to another one of the rocky mountains, I decided to make the perilous crossing across this rickety bridge. Who could have built such a structure? Where would it lead?

rope_bridgeAs I ventured down the length of the bridge I noticed that it terminated on the far side inside a cave.

CavePhotograph by joint British-Vietnamese Caving Expedition 2009 / Barcroft Media Ltd.

A rather large cave as it turned out. There were a lot of strange subterranean creatures lurking in the shadows, and lots and lots of moths, attracted to the torch I had just lit. I have never had as many moths as I have had this year, they are everywhere in the patch right now, clouds of them.


That is quite the hair cut.

MothWhat incredible camouflage this moth had on this old Post Oak leaf

gollum1The cave had one rather annoying inhabitant that would not shut up about a ring. I quickly threw him a fish from my backpack (which struck me as very odd, as I had no recollection where it came from or how it got in their) and headed toward the cave exit.

Sago Palm and potato vineEmerging out of the cave there was some really dense, tropical foliage. Sago palms, and potato vines made walking a lot harder.

DSC00672Clambering through a dense thicket of Fatsia japonica  I could see the small white flower clusters developing, getting ready for an end of year bloom.

Fatsia japonica

Fatsia japonica flowerJust like the fragrant mist flowers these also make the flies and insects go wild. I have four of these, they make great foliage fillers and add a really tropical appearance, with their large glossy leaves.

Fatsia japonica flowerAnd what funky, poached-egg flower structures they have.

Agave and Purple Fountain GrassContinuing forward I found the small trail again, which led me to this,  I can only assume it is some ancient temple of architectural significance. It looks like the central tower is a messaging beacon of sorts, although it was presently unlit, I could see what looked like the burnt remains of a fire at the very top.

DownpourAs I was marveling at the Agave temple, the heavens suddenly opened up,

DSC00774This Familiar Bluet damsel fly took refuge under this overhead canopy.

Barbados cherriesI took shelter and ate some Barbados cherries picked from a nearby bush. Pulling my jacket tightly around me I shut my eyes and rested.

cannibalsI awoke to this motley crew, banging their spears on the ground, and wearing what looked to be modified chimineas as rather cumbersome headdresses.  My eyes focused in on the particularly silly looking mask in the background,  it’s jolly expression disturbing me to the core. What WAS this tribe… Naboo in ancient origin perhaps?  I tried a few mouth clicks combined with some rudimentary tribal gestures that I knew, but they garnered no response, in fact they bound and gagged me, ensuring I did no more. I needed Bob at Draco Gardens to appear, with his superior tribal translation talents.

They tied me up to a log and transported me through the verbena jungle…I feared the worst. My anxiety rose even more as we passed these tiny impaled bodies.

The SacrificeI felt nauseous. Looking up at all these gummy corpses. Was this to be my fate in the Patch?  Impaled on a massive sacrificial barrel cactus like a gummy bear?

DSC00756I screamed out, then screamed some more Ahhhhhhhh!                                  then…


Disneyland Bedroom…I must have woken my wife up uttering the words…“No, no, click clack …please..click…nooooooo”! Because the next thing I remember is being jabbed in the ribs, and hearing:  “Your having a bad dream and quit all your mouth clicking!  it is four in the morning, your going to wake the kids!”

That explains how Gollom’s fish got into my backpack.

Funny Face“That was one crazy night, huh D?”

Happenings happening in the Patch this week…

DSC00723The late afternoon sun seemed captured in this small purple Philippine violet vessel.

Barleria cristata

DSC00721The aesthetically sharp top foliage of this plant is almost aloe-like in form, a great contrast to the soft, purple trumpet blooms. A dependable performer. I just wish the blooms lasted a little longer, they bloom and drop quite fast it seems.

DSC00814 I have been trying to get a shot of one of these large wasps for quite some time.  They have been visiting my amaranth from the moment it started to bloom.  The most unnerving thing about these wasps is not only their sheer size, (this one was a smallish one) but the way they scurry around…they are extremely agile. I assumed that they would also be fast to sting, so I have been approaching them from afar, at arms length with the camera. Today though I managed to get in closer, and it did not mind at all.


These are cicada killer wasps., and they can get to1-½ to 2 inches in length.

Sphecius speciosus (Drury)

These wasps are large, solitary, ground dwelling wasps that provision their homes with cicadas after stinging and paralyzing them. Larvae feed only on cicadas, and the adult will feed on flower nectar.

Cicada Fly away cicada, fly away!

Artemisia and CosmosArtemisia and Cosmos…ice and fire

DSC00805A fall gathering.

DSC00779 This Desert Trumpet Vine, just continues to bloom and bloom. Bumper year this year.  These flower clusters are about a foot around.


Desert Trumpet Vine









I want to finish with this very intestinal potato vine, just to gross you out before saying …




You didn’t think this post could escape this sacrifice did you?


Stay Tuned for:

“The Company of Wolves”

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

  • Les November 15, 2009, 8:03 pm

    You have way too much fun in your garden, but don’t go changin’.

  • ESP November 15, 2009, 8:20 pm

    Thanks Les, and I do! Nightmares or no nightmares :-)

  • Christine November 15, 2009, 8:23 pm

    You are so creative! I enjoy reading your stories, and your photographs are splendid….do you do all your pix with that point and shoot???? I just signed up to take some photo classes

  • ESP November 15, 2009, 8:34 pm

    Hi Christine.
    Thank you, glad you like the ESP’s crazy stories!
    I do shoot all of my pictures with a small point and shoot, a little Sony Cybershot to be precise. It has served me well over the past few years. It is small enough that I do not notice it in my pocket when I am gardening. An important consideration for me.
    Good luck with your photography course, I bet you will have a lot of fun.
    I wait anxiously to see your next post! Come on, where is it? !!

  • Pam/Digging November 15, 2009, 10:13 pm

    You get the most marvelous portraits of your children in the Patch, ESP.

  • ESP November 15, 2009, 10:28 pm

    The pilot picture is one of my favorites, he pulled the funniest expression when I asked him. I am just happy the camera caught it with its annoying digital delay.

  • Bob Pool November 15, 2009, 11:19 pm

    When I saw the first picture I knew it was going to be good. You should consider writing childrens books as your imagination is just wild, and I like it. The second picture is eerie looking, just right for the story.

    I have not seen Cicada Killers since I lived in town Liberty Hill. You are right, they are big, I think our biggest wasps with the Tarantula Killers being a close second. When it comes to getting stung, just remember, if they don’t build nests, they are totally non aggressive. It’s really hard to get stung by a non nesting type of wasp. The exception to the rule is a good one. The red and black wasps that build nests are totally non aggressive as well. They act like they will but they never do, at least I’ve never been stung by one. And I have been stung literally thousands of times by wasps and bees.

    When I saw the last picture I thought, oh damn, now he’s going to start asking stuff like “Does this tuber look like Tony Curtis on his commercial”? My mother used to do that. I can still remember the huge carrot that she said looked like a dragon. She kept it until it looked like Cactus Man.

    • ESP November 16, 2009, 7:01 pm

      Hi Bob.
      That second picture is a little eerie I agree. I would love to write a children’s story one day. My Hobbits have really educated me to the the likes, wants, fears and joys of a young psyche, to think I used to be scared of children…like “no…don’t come near me, don’t come near me you hear”…ahh, how quickly life changes.

      I hope my ID is correct on the Cicada Killer, I spent a long time trying to figure this large wasp out, this was the closest I found. I learned about how non aggressive these birds are as I became acquainted with them on-line…they are quite remarkable insects. It seems I could have gone to a macro shot a lot sooner than I dared! They are intimidating insects though, just because of their sheer size, and speed. I think only roaches move as fast as these guys!

      You lost me on the Tony Curtis commercial comment…because his face is taught and too tanned? Remember I am English Bob!
      Very funny on your mothers “talking piece” carrot, I can totally relate, well you have to let everyone see it…some more than once after all!
      The fact that the Cactus Man crops up in any conversation, makes me laugh out loud!

      Cheers Bob.

  • Amy Emerick November 16, 2009, 7:38 pm

    After I look at your blog and go to mine…i’m thinking my blog is kind of boring. :/ Oh, well…. Enjoyed your post…very funny and creative!

  • ESP November 16, 2009, 8:33 pm

    Hi Amy.
    I visited your blog twice today! Boring? Oh no, I don’t think so!
    Congratulations on your 129th post your photography is great, and it seems we share so many of the same plants, I enjoy reading what they mean to you. The picture of the agaves nestled among the wild flowers is just inspiring, that is one image that HAS to be entered into the GGW photo contest, theme permitting.
    Happy you liked the crazy post.

  • TexasDeb November 17, 2009, 8:48 am

    Oh ESP, what are you eating as a pre-bedtime snack lately? (and is there any left over to share?). Another wonderful romp through the patch naturally and just the thing to enjoy now I am back off the road and safely re-situated in front of the glowing screen. I especially enjoyed the fire and ice shot – what a great combination.

  • ESP November 17, 2009, 11:40 am

    Hi TD.
    I’m not telling!
    A romp indeed it was and welcome back to the glowing screen.
    I really like the silver and yellow combination, I have a bunch of California poppies dispersed among all this artemisia and it looks great when they are in bloom.


  • Amy Emerick November 19, 2009, 8:38 am


  • Germi November 20, 2009, 7:59 pm

    I was TRANSFIXED … I was TOTALLY THERE, believing it! And then – a DREAM!!!! AAAAHHHHH!!!!!

    I am a sucker.

    I was excited to see what happened to you, bound and gagged by the Chiminea offshoot of the Naboos. But I have to admit, when I saw the architectural ode to the agave, I was a little suspicious. I don’t know why… but then the speared gummi bears pulled me back in!

    A DREAM!!!

    I have to compliment your girl-Hobbit on her beautiful floral arrangement. You know I have always admired her sense of style – she really has a something going on. I am a fan! The awesomeness of the Patch was marvelously presented, even in the dream-scape … but I’m still a little sore at being HAD!!!

    A DREAM!!!

    Pleasantly duped,

  • ESP November 20, 2009, 8:36 pm

    Hi Germi.

    Snortle gafaw, gafaw!
    Can you believe it? It was all a dream!
    Yes that old, time-tested chestnut, for…how do I wrap this story up and quickly, its boring me now? :-)

    And what do you mean, you were excited to see me bound and gagged by the Chiminea offshoot of the Naboos? My life COULD have been in danger! I will remember that. Don’t come crying over the internet to me should the “Chiminea tribe” creep stealthily into one of you dreams…and they will…Oh yes they will! (that sounded like George Costanza)

    She is getting really good at the arrangements, and does it all now, well almost, I do still supervise the pruning phase. A rather critical phase for me, personally.

    Cheers G.

  • Photo Contest December 4, 2009, 12:14 am

    You are so creative! I enjoy reading your stories and photos are really good. Any photo contest can be the best platform for you.


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