“Cosmic Cacti”

by ESP on August 26, 2017 · 1 comment

Our third Bollywood installment also comes from Ram-Leela:

So much has happened since I last posted…

Cosmic solar eclipses, a hurricane, a trip to Canada,

Kosmik Kactus?

Wait, What…No?

“Aye, it’s no right at a’ ESPatch!”

This has gotten out of hand.

I find this obsession with tinkering and making cacti more colorful somewhat disturbing?

Why are they not picking on the succulents in the background?

Oh wait…

As if sticking in fake flowers was not enough, Kosmik Kactus have resorted to just blasting their poor plants with rather bright coloring…just to jazz up the apparently REALLY boring and natural GREEN color of the plant.

“Boldly going where no plant has gone before…”?

Borg Queen:  Cacti! We used to be exactly like them. Flawed. Weak. Organic…green. But we evolved to include the synthetic…fake little flowers, spray paint. Now we use both to attain perfection to sell in the box stores. Your goal should be the same as ours.

Okay that was a stretch, moving quickly along to a recent trip to Canada…

Yes the Levwolds were once again taking to the air, 

this time headed to Montreal for to compete in the North American Pipe Band Championships in Maxville with

The Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums.

At cruising altitude the window frost resembled Celestial cartography.

Coming in to land.

Time to unpack, hang up the kilt and have a quick ‘dab’ in our hotel room.

Of course I called it a ‘dub’ and got laughed at then reprimanded for apparently doing it completely wrong.

We were hoping to escape to some cooler temperatures in Montreal but unfortunately for us they were in a heatwave, of course they were.

It was hot, really hot and like Europe, not many places had A/C, fans, well, anything really.

I almost lost my mind in a store in China Town.

Hmm, okay?

Sweat was running down my nose, the air was completely still, a sweltering combination of Peking duck and raw sewage hung heavy in the air.

I felt some involuntary head movements coming on, a sure sign my tourist tolerance valve was rattling and about to blow.

Everywhere I looked was shelf after shelf of tourist tat, umbrellas that, we were told, could never blow inside out (naturally we bought 3), chopsticks, fans, jade elephants, you get the idea…I mopped my brow, eye twitching.

I finally cracked at the excruciating duration of time it was taking to pick out some Squishies and a wooden Samurai Sword.

This was an interesting find (well, for me) on a busy street in Old Montreal.

I will forever wonder if the celosia had been growing in there or if someone had dumped it in there?

He found lots of opportunities to cool down on our excursions.

historic district of old MontrealOne of our journeys took us to the historic district of old Montreal, to the Notre-Dame Basilica.

The church was built in the gothic revival style,

and is insanely ornate and colorful on the inside.

We passed a lot of street art installations.

This one strangely reminded me of when I used to try to protect my citrus trees from frost.



These rotating seats were an instant hit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts:

And then there was the food.

Some traditional,

some extravagant,

and some rather challenging, well, for some people.

Escargot kids!…Dig in!

Let’s take a closer look at that middle one.

The sheer distress.

Moving along…

We headed out of a now rather blustery and wet Montreal for the hour and a half drive to Maxville to compete with another 50 or so bands in the Glengarry Highland Games.

Here is our MSR (March, Strathspey and Reel) performance.

The rain and wind really picked up at the end of the closing ceremonies making surprisingly short work of the umbrella that could not be blown inside out by quickly blowing it inside out.

Time for one last trip, this time to the Montreal botanical Garden.

Exiting the metro we had a great view of the Olympic Park. an impressive structure that would not look out of place in a Star Wars movie.

It was massive!

An elevator runs up the spine.

Entrance to the Gardens.

Impressive sedum,


lots and lots of coneflowers.

The grounds were extensive (about 190 acres of thematic gardens and greenhouses), you could spend days in here.

The grounds are also home to the Montreal Insectarium. 

So many specimens. 

But by far the strangest critter I encountered was this odd looking chap:

I mean,


All the walking found us a little peckish…

It had a very progressive menu, but after the escargot adventure nobody seemed too keen.

Stay Tuned For:



All material © 2017 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


“The Perfect Specimen“

by ESP on June 26, 2017 · 2 comments

Our second Bollywood installment is from from Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela.

It is getting hot out there!

nitrogen ice cream

When temperatures approach the triple digits it is time for some liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Followed by the obligatory sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D., explains how it works:

“One thing the brain doesn’t like is for things to change, and brain freeze is a mechanism to prevent you from doing that,” The brain can’t actually feel pain despite its billions of neurons, but the pain associated with brain freeze is sensed by receptors in the outer covering of the brain called the meninges, where the two arteries meet. When the cold hits, it causes a dilation and contraction of these arteries and that’s the sensation that the brain is interpreting as pain.”

I digress.

No matter how high our temperatures rise, or for how long, I never have to water these three.

Desert Willow, Opuntia and Pride of Barbados.

This stock tank used to hold water and giant King-Tut papyrus but, like my fish tank it recently developed a hole somewhere underground.

End of a work day in summer.

The Tut, now lacking water from the Nile subsequently popped his clogs er-sandals, and the canna, no longer contending with his tyrannical roots, prospered and thrived.

They occasionally parade these red flags as a symbol of their victory.

Big changes are abound for this part of the Patch:

This whole back corner of the house and deck is about to be torn down and rebuilt (with us all living in it). We are enclosing the back deck and juggling the space inside to gain another bedroom and bathroom.

“No WiFi?…Having fun yet kids?”

I will be sure to track our slow family descent into insanity in future posts.

In the meantime here is a skinny side yard I recently finished for a client.

Rectangular in shape, the area had a significant slope and was a nightmare logistically in terms of getting materials in.

Looking up to the top of the slope.

Here is the area prepped and ready for action:

Hey I did leave one plant on the main dance floor!

Before & after.

A future seating area. I grouped a couple of weathered ceramics into the corner to reflect the top wall.

The aggregate also picks up on the coloration of the distressed bricks and urns.

Looking down the slope at the bones of a future side garden.

Lots of rocks and gravel to slow water down the slope.

A couple of loquats to fill in the two bottom corners. They will like the additional moisture.

Top shelf thryallis, trunking yucca, mist flowers and Mexican honeysuckles are dotted around to fill in the scene with foliage over time.

Staying with Yucca rostrata a moment, this one recently caught my eye:

Almost the ‘perfect specimen’ if you like the long haired look – which I surprisingly do.

I say surprisingly as I prune up sotols, softleaf yuccas, sago palms, basically everything, as fast as you can say “Is that frond over there touching the fiskaring ground?”

image copied from: http://www.achat-vente-palmiers.com


Trimmed up they almost have a somewhat surprised quality and look to them, something that for some reason bothers me…sort of.

Does it?

What do you prefer?

Au naturel or trimmed ?









I will find out soon enough as I have 6 of them now planted out front!

Call that 5 and 1/2…(there is a runt in the rostrata).

I will leave you with one of my sausage torturing sessions with Kumo.

I like to think of it as therapy.


Stay Tuned For:

“Cosmic Cacti


All material © 2017 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


“The Magic Carpet”

by ESP May 3, 2017
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A predictable smattering of magic carpets, King Richard the 3rds, deposited aliens and hot Racoons, oh…and a cabin in the woods.

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“The Funeral Pyre”

by ESP January 30, 2017
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I set fire to my vitex, all my fish die, I rip out my front and back yard. Simple as that.

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“Temporal Disturbances”

by ESP August 16, 2016
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A few trips, a few installs and a few videos here and there of this and that.

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“Seeds & Weeds”

by ESP April 11, 2016
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Large owls, freaky metamorphosis, some tips on how not to die while ingesting wild carrots and the usual splattering of old loquats, this week in the Patch.

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“Mountains & Meteors”

by ESP February 1, 2016
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Excursions, meteors, tumbleweeds, scat and contemporary art feature in this post.

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“Victorians Gone Wild”

by ESP November 2, 2015
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This week venture deep into the Amazon to look at giant water lilies. The Federation tries to make sense of some unusual Victorian activities…oh yes, it is all happening.

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“King Richard III”

by ESP September 10, 2015
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Start off in Scotland’s historic past, jump ungainly into Halloween before landing on some recently completed landscape designs.

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“National Leveridge’s European Vacation”

by ESP August 24, 2015
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This week we cross the Atlantic and head up to Scotland for some haggis hunting and a reprieve from the Texas heat.

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“Carry On Camping”

by ESP July 27, 2015
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Out and about…from a North Padre sand-storm to tranquil lily ponds, from knots to spiders, this post gets around.

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“Oh My Gourd, that Gourd is Gourdeous”

by ESP June 20, 2015
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Gourds, strobilus and some brightly colored mold feature in this weeks obscure edition.

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“Bridge Over the River Why?”

by ESP May 2, 2015
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This week I am out and about exorcising ligustrum trees with a chainsaw to cleanse an environment I have been working on.

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by ESP March 22, 2015
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Tulips, inebriated cactus and a bit of history feature in this weeks episode. Grab a Mocha mangave, your going to need it.

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“Nosy Parker”

by ESP February 15, 2015
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Stitched noses, Scale infestations and a new installation feature in this weeks episode.

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“The Appendage”

by ESP January 23, 2015
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An x-rated Sago-Palm, frost damage and the odd ghost grace this latest entry.

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“Whats in Your Stocking?”

by ESP January 2, 2015
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Christmas…New Year…drunk Largus bugs? Plus the usual splattering of fried eggs and purple mold.

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“Barf or Peach?”

by ESP December 9, 2014
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This week suffer leaf-drop, bad puns and equally bad Photoshop. I get up close to a particularly large Tachinid Fly.

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“Shelling Out”

by ESP November 16, 2014
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Cold weather, large fires and child-labor feature in this weeks random dialogue.

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“Under the Knife”

by ESP October 23, 2014
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This week I try my hand at some cosmetic surgery…as you do.
The infamous villain “Mr Snout-Nose” is up to his old shenanigans and I contemplate how ear-protection would look set against an iced turban?…Random events you could go the rest of your life without knowing about.

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“Beans, Boots & Mullein”

by ESP September 28, 2014
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This week it is about exhaling work boots, birds nest fungi and a bunch of other nonsense that you should now be accustomed to.

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“Wail of a Weekend”

by ESP September 13, 2014
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This week we hop north with the Silver Thistle Pipe Band to compete in the Capital District Scottish Games in Albany. See what rum does to an opuntia and witness some mites sucking the life out of rosemary.

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“Pain In The Neck”

by ESP August 17, 2014
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This week I get up-close to some damselfly parts.
A peek under one of my stock tanks causes me to break into yet another non-adjudicated Highland Fling.

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“Oh Drupes!”

by ESP July 29, 2014
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Snakes, drupes, you name it, I will be running at you with any dead critters I happen to come across in the Patch.

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“A Change of Scenery”

by ESP July 10, 2014
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This week we pack up the car and venture to Gulf Shores, Alabama and New Orleans. I make a heron friend and we check-in to a hotel that is not a Best Western!

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“The Normandy Phase”

by ESP June 20, 2014
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This week get to witness what the ‘Normandy phase’ of an installation looks like on a front garden in South Austin. I take a quick trip down memory lane and highlight a couple of plants that have waged war on me.

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“Oh Frass!”

by ESP May 26, 2014
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This week I discover a new word and use it way too much. Best put your food down to read this latest splattering from the Patch.

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“Uncle Wiggily wants his Ovaltine”

by ESP May 18, 2014
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Munching and hoarding insects, wizard wands and buried treasure this week in the ESPatch.

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