“The Company of Wolves”

by ESP on November 17, 2009 · 20 comments

Little Red Riding HoodPainting of the famous rhyme Little Red Riding Hood by French painter Fleury Francois Richard (1777-1852).   Louvre Museum.

We recently were talking about this rather surreal tale in the Patch, (my eldest hobbit is reading “Little Red”) so I thought I would check it out in a little more detail. As it turns out there are quite a few different variations of the story, variations teachers would never dare to read to you in school, for fear of being arrested, and making prime-time news.



In these older variations the antagonist is not always a wolf, but sometimes an ogre or a werewolf, making these tales relevant to the werewolf-trials (similar to witch trials) of the time. I could go into detail here with the infamous “Peter Stumpp” case, but I won’t, for fear of making everyone spontaneously vomit. Lets just say Peter makes Hannibal look like a vegetarian!


“Served over grits perhaps”?

In these early renditions, the wolf usually leaves the grandmother’s blood and meat for the girl to eat who then unwittingly cannibalizes her own grandmother. In some versions, the wolf eats the girl after she gets into bed with him, and the story ends there.  In others, she sees through his disguise and tries to escape, complaining to her “grandmother” that she needs to defecate, (you can’t really blame her) and would not wish to do so in the bed, (pretty quick, albeit nasty thinking on Red’s part, in my opinion) The wolf reluctantly lets her go, tied to a piece of string so she does not get away. However, the girl slips the string over something else and escapes.

What big eyes you have!My, what big eyes you have!

All the better to see you with, my dear…

What big ears you have Grandma!My, what big donkey’s ears you have Grandma!

All the better the hear you with, my dear.

What Big Teeth you have Grandma!My, what big out-of-focus teeth you have Grandma!

All the better to eat you with, my dear!

company-of-wolvesLittle Red Riding Hood  makes the clearest contrast between the safe world of the village and the dangers of the forest, something that the Naboo are only too well aware of.

Moving mysteriously on…

Copper Canyon DaisyMy Copper Canyon Daisy,

Compositae Tagetes lemmonii

finally gave it up this week and started to bloom. It looks really good with a shady, dark, back-drop.

spiderI caught this small Goldenrod Crab Spider on the same plant, at first I thought it was one of the plant’s unopened flower buds, it looked almost identical especially with it’s legs tucked in…a remarkable adaptation and camouflage, that I can only think is by design?

spiderThis spider was extremely shy and looked almost tick-like in appearance. Another first in the ESP.

unidentifiedThis purple plant continues to confuse me as to it’s identity. I checked out your suggestions Germi, but it still looks different.

DSC00895The underside of this plants foliage is even more impressive than the top side. It really looks like it has been pimped…”pimp my plant”? It has the most iridescent metallic coloration that wouldn’t look out of place on a motorcycle tank, complete with the blood vessels, naturally. The plant does form some unremarkable, tiny flower/seed-heads at the very end of it’s leaves, you can see one of them in the first image.

DSC00901The burgundy plant makes a really great cutting combination combined with Mexican Bush Sage.  Yes there are those confounded yellow snippers again that cause all the arguments and continously “finger-nip” the Shire’s hobbits.

Now, if I can only figure out what exactly this is, I could go and get another one… I love this Gothic plant!


While I am on a roll with unidentified plants, I thought I would throw this little rocky-looking one into the decomposed granite mix.

Satsuma tree

This Satsuma tree is currently providing fruit at almost every meal time.  The Hobbits take great delight in picking a few (it is on their level after all), taking them indoors, peeling them and subsequently devouring the fruit from their evening plates…it is the best!

Talking of Hobbits…


Bilbo Baggins usually picks the Satsumas off the small tree with his unusually large right hobbit foot…(very dexterous are those hobbitises’ feet like that).


My other Frodo has been busy in my middle-bed, hunched over with the “Jewels of Opar” creating a cool pattern on the back of her tee-shirt. (You knew I had to get the plant in this post, somehow or other!)

Now I know how to photograph the “jewels” of this hard to photograph plant, they need a back-drop!

What is she doing?

Conversing with a tribal member of the Naboo?

Paying respects to the Cactus Man?

Mopping the Botox Ladies mouth? 

Tell me the Botox lady has not manipulated her into this unimaginable task!

DSC00914Oh no, none of the above…thank goodness. She carefully went in and planted her very first succulent, a cutting from her “JuJu” and she did it all by herself…I had goosebumps. I did not want to say anything about her over-watering it afterward, but being the control freak that I am…I had to.

Hey, she has to learn!

Stay Tuned for:

“Baggins & Tape”

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


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1 TexasDeb November 20, 2009 at 7:59 am

Hmm…that little succulent didn’t fall too far from the parent plant now did she? How deeply satisfying that must be.

All along, while enjoying your wonderful flights of fancy here I have been wondering if that prolific imagination had anything to do with where you grew up, how you were raised, etc. etc….. After a recent Netflix rental I believe I may be on to at least a partial clue to your roots in fantasy which I will sum up thusly: The Mighty Boosh.

Fess up – do I have the right zooniverse or no?

2 ESP November 20, 2009 at 11:35 am

Hi TD.
I have to admit that I did not know anything about The Mighty Boosh. I have been in America too long it seems. I did a bit of scouting around, it sounds like a crazy show…I was also staggered to find that there is a shaman on the show, called….wait for it…”Naboo”. My jaw hit the table! I will look around for this!

It was fun to watch the little succulent busy at work. She is also currently tracking the progress of a Kale she planted a few weeks ago! All exciting stuff! Watching Kale grow, you know.


3 Pam/Digging November 20, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Cool spider pic, ESP. And I am really wanting that Jewels of Opar after seeing it featured so regularly and delightfully on your blog.

4 Amy Emerick November 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I like that purple plant whatever it is…I just learned about the backdrop thing by putting a piece of colored paper behind a little bloom. I hope you have a creative day job because you are very creative. :) funny post.

5 ESP November 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Hi Pam, I know, I really have to stop with the jewels, for some reason I take pictures of other topics and subjects and seem to always end up talking about them AGAIN! So far, I have one small self seeded baby, if I get a “next generation” I will be sure to pot one up and pass it along to you on to you.
That spider was identical to the unopened buds…uncanny. Great color.

6 ESP November 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Hello Amy.
Interesting on the colored paper backdrop front, I know black behind these Jewels of Opar would really make them stand out…I will have to try it…sigh, I sense yet another post featuring this plant is on the horizon.
Happy that you find the Patch-Posts interesting, I never have a clue where they will end up, this post surprised me with the defecating Little Red Riding Hood. I am sure I must have lost some readers with that one!! :-)

7 Elaine November 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Not to worry, each one of those “jewels” are filled with little black seeds. You’ll have plenty!

8 ESP November 20, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Hi Elaine.
So I have heard! I will be spreading a few of them here and there.
Have they been a problem for you?
Thanks for popping in.

9 Germi November 20, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Neil Jordan’s “A Company of Wolves” is 3rd on my list of 5 Best Films of All Time!
And I LOVE reading old versions of fairy tales, the older the better, because they are always more gruesome. Don’t worry, you revealing the tale of defecating Little Red will NOT lose you readers – I have already told many friends to visit The Patch, and I know they enjoy these interesting literary tidbits. My friends tend to lurk, however …
What IS that purple plant??? It is so fantastic, it HAS to be figured out so you can get more and I can corner the market here in LA. I remember there is a purple hibiscus that has a very cut leaf – Hibiscus acetosella – I wonder if it could be an un-cut leaved version? The stems look right and the placement of the little bud looks correct – but the leaf is wrong. OH!!! What IS it?
And congrats on the Girl-Hobbit planting her first succulent. She KNOWS what is up. I see her growing up to be very cool, and devastatingly fashion forward. With an understanding of small tribal cultures. Like any proper daughter and denizen of The East Side Patch!

10 ESP November 20, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Hi Germi.
It is a good movie isn’t it, and what about that dinner party wolf “mutation” scene with Helena Bonham Carter…talk about being a little disturbing! I have to admit, the defecating LRRH was a bit of a shock to the system, what are we going to find out next? A urinating jack and the beanstalk (he just can’t stop going on it)? A bulimic Humpty-Dumpty having some serious issues behind his wall perhaps? Brrrr!
I surmise any friends of yours that you have recommended the Patch to, would not be the sort of people that would be likely to take offense…well they ARE friends of yours after all, and lurkers huh? Come out, come out where-ever you lurk!

This purple plant is driving me nuts! I have even got tired of identifying it at this point! The foliage color is the best!

You have my hobbit girl pegged for sure…she loves clothes, shopping, accessories, tattoos, and yes…the study and anthropological significance of small tribal cultures in her back garden! She is well on her way to submitting her first paper on the subject to the scientific community.

Ridiculous Regards.

11 Germi November 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

ESP!!! Emergency BlogHog Bulletin!!! I think I MIGHT have identified the purple leaved plant! Check out this: Alternanthera dentata ‘Purple Knight’

I hope this is it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it weren’t. This may in fact be a ‘false’ plant that has been deployed by a Naboo faction to confound you. And to tempt me!

Apologies for the late night interruption!

12 Elaine November 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm

A friend gave me a pot of “jewels of opar” when I moved here last summer. It came up in everything around it. But i don’t think it’s a problem!!! I love the seeds pods and the small pink blooms! It also overwintered in the pot.

13 ESP November 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Hi Blog-Hog!
At first I thought your picture looked to “silvery” on the top-surface of the leaf – then I Googled it – It looks like it is indeed Alternanthera dentata ‘Purple Knight’. And what an “Alternative” plant it is – quite the fitting name.
You see, we were both on the right track with the graveyard / Gothic garden theme for this plant! I just knew it!

I never sleep… no interruption apologies are ever required in the Patch, especially at night. Arrooooooo!
Thanks for the ID on this one G…not an easy one…I knew this would drive the biggest plant-nut on the planet completely mad until you got it!
Well done.

14 ESP November 20, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Hi Elaine.
When the term “pot” is used along with the “Jewels of Opar” for some reason I imagine a massive Egyptian Urn on expansive marbled floors, people fanning the air with giant palm leaves, Cleopatra getting fed yet another grape…you get the idea!
I agree with you…what a great plant, I just hope all mine make it through the winter in the ground. I always have the “fear” this time of “year”.

15 Bob Pool November 20, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Well, I’m glad to see that I am not the only one to buy plants, plant them with tender loving care, and just lose the tag and forget what they are. I figure you may have more problems with that than I do. I can imagine a tiny little Naboo warrior slinking through the Patch, coming upon the hard plastic tag, thumping it a couple times and saying “Cool, a shield”, and jerking it out of the ground and away it goes.

Does the little Sedum looking one bloom?

16 ESP November 21, 2009 at 12:27 am

Hi Bob.
I am always doing that…tags? I hate them, they hate me, we have a turbulent relationship.
I have got better recently though, my system now entails taking macro shots of the tags for future plant-naming reference purposes…and yes Bob, I have many problems! :-)

Yes, yes, and more yes’s, that is where all of the tags have gone..the confounded Naboo, I just knew they were up to something recently! Shields? Mmm… perhaps, or perhaps they are using them as signposts around their territory? It is hard to keep up with their tribal agendas.
Have you checked out the new “page” on the Naboo (top right of the blog), I am thinking that I will do a character page for all of the ESP factions that occur on a regular basis? Botox Lady, William etc, etc. What do you think? Or perhaps I should just admit myself immediately to the nearest psychiatric ward available?
Losing my marbles.

I have not seen this Sedum bloom as yet.

Cheers Bob.

17 Bob Pool November 21, 2009 at 9:15 pm

I think a character page would be an excellent idea. New readers might get confused with trying to figure out the relationships of all the characters with out one. I’ve been reading quite a while and I some times get confused. But then again I confuse easily. Some times I think of self admission as well.

The funnyest thing to me is Harry Potter throwing spells with plant names. I swear, they sound just like witches spells to me. You really came up with a good one there.

18 ESP November 21, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Hi Bob.
I agree, check out the new character profile pages, listed under “Pages”…work in progress, but I think it may help a new reader understand what everyone is talking about if they are not that close to the ESP culture and characters…if I even have any new readers?
Harry Potter spells just fit with the Latin names of plants!
Thanks for your feedback Bob.

19 Gail November 23, 2009 at 6:28 am

Even regular readers enjoy getting the background on the strange inhabitants of the patch.

20 ESP November 23, 2009 at 10:24 am

Hi Gail.
So you found the Patch’s new character “Pages” at the top of the sidebar?
What do you think?

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