“It’s Electrifying!”

by ESP on October 25, 2011 · 10 comments

The spiraling seed heads on this miscanthus do look electrifying,

but the title of this post is in celebration of finally losing these:

For years now I have had two heavy gauge and extremely annoying extension cords running from a GFCI circuit on my back deck all the way down the side of my property to my ponds. Today this was all going to change,

Today I have the electricians coming!

Luckily for me when I first started to carve into the Patch to create planting beds, I laid conduit in preparation for this historic day. Here is the trench way back when:

Is that some grass I see?

A secondary trench was dug inside this one to take the pvc pipe down toward the end of the garden.

and here it is today all prepped and ready for the fixtures. These GFCI outlets come with a light fixture already attached to the top of them so I wasted no time in getting some eerie colors working in the Patch. Next step is to illuminate my post oak tree, more on this later.

Talking of eerie, the “brains” (as we commonly refer to them) have returned to the pond,   This year in larger numbers than ever.

They really have an effective design…the “brain” provides flotation whilst assuring the the “brain-stem” roots always hover vertically allowing them to catch onto something and root. Ingenious.

Could this be a baby Walska?

Something even more disturbing:

While I was laying some mulch down I caught the unmistakable, unhealthy aroma of a stink horn…and judging from the intensity of the stench it was a bruised one…which is never a good thing at any time.

Eyes darted here and there, scouring the earth for the evil monstrosity…where was it…where was it?

Had I knelt on it? Tell me I hadn’t knelt on it. I knew it must be close to me. I looked behind me to see Kumo proudly holding it in the corner of his mouth like a rotting cigar. Before I could even get out of the planting bed [LEAVE IT] he had scampered over and dropped it in the middle of his favorite flattened feather grass. [LEAVE IT!] He paused, looked at me, then got on his back and started to roll around on it. [Oh for heavens sake].

Bad, stinky Kumo!

Moving On:

Temperatures are now very pleasant in Central Texas, just right for dangling your toes in the pond. My goldfish seem to think they are Garra rufa, exfoliating feet and toes to the delight and squeals of the halflings.


There is a hazard to dangling one’s toes in a fishpond though…

rogue strands of oxygen weed.

This week has seen a steady flow of migrating Monarch Butterflies filtering through the Patch,

their favorite ports of call are butterfly weed Asclepias tuberosa (naturally) and some blue mist flowers I have in my front garden.

Oxalis has reemerged in the cooler weather and is flowering once again.

A moment of zen under the Mexican weeping bamboo.

Talking of weeping, my pecan trees are currently engaged in yet another rather annoying activity…this time dropping sweet sugar-water all over the place.

My new barbeque pit!

In the late afternoon sun you can actually see the sticky rain falling. 

This sparkling dandelion seed head was adhered to these leaves by the sugary substance.


You didn’t think you could escape without seeing at least one very odd bug did you? 

Common Bagworm

Psyche casta


Bagworm moths build houses from all kinds of materials.  Each species designs and builds its own particular type of architecture, it is these structures that allow them to be identified. The Common Bagworm climbs on to plants and trees, but harvests wood from houses and sheds as well.


Inspirational sketch of the week:



Stay Tuned for:

“Little Monsters”


All material © 2011 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


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1 Diana October 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Wow. That’s some trench! You could power up a carnival back there in the back with all the wire they could lay in there! Love the photos of the kids by the pond and the grasses and their lovely plumes. You know what I want to find? Photos of grasses from season to season. People have very different reactions to grasses (clients) and I think being able to see them at various points would help them visualize. Some a lovely and structural all year and some look, well, crappy for a while. I’m on the hunt for a book or something. Or I’ll have to spend a year taking them and cataloging them myself. (Or maybe not!)

2 ESP October 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Hi Diana.

It was more of a planting bed / conduit trench. I wanted faster drainage and sharper soil for my cactus and succulent bed in this area. Also the black tub in the foreground was totally buried to house a stand of Mex. Petunias. Oh and you may recall that I did power up a carnival back there a couple of winters back:


Great idea on the seasonal grass-picture front. I leave my ornamental grasses alone well into the winter to add structure, then, when I cannot bear to look at them for another instant, there is usually some new growth emerging…perfect. Feather grass definitely has its ups and downs aesthetically, but I have to have it…lots of it.

3 Cheryl October 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Sticky rain from the pecan trees… might it be aphid.. um,, excretions? I couldn’t figure out why the hair on the top of my head was glued together a few weeks ago.. and then I noticed the sticky aphid residue on my nephew’s Liriodendron leaves which, of course, were hanging just low enough to kiss my noggin. Bleackk!
I’ve become a huge fan of tall grasses (Pennisetum setaceum) as well as the pink muhley grass. Just not, NOT Bermuda grass. grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

4 ESP October 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Hi Cheryl.

This is certainly emanating from some process intrinsic to the tree. I have had the aphid excretions before but this is different, the secretion is raining down from the pecan tree in such proportions that a venture across my patio has now turned into a potential (really bad special effect) Star Trek petrifying experience…Damn it Jim!

I have the same affliction with ornamental grasses, though I have moved away from arm lacerating pampas to large miscanthus, I love everything in between, naturally.

5 jenny October 26, 2011 at 8:37 am

Smart thinking on the trench. Now, if only builders were so thoughtful! So this stinkhorn incident-marginally better than cow muck or a dead seagull. My dog when growing up. Kill the scent of dog. Not that we had any predators around where we lived. What is stinkhorn anyway?
Some super shots of the patch, as usual. Wondering what electrifying things you have in store for Saturday!

Hi Jenny.

I was so happy that I planned for a decade later! Otherwise the Patch might have had a construction trench running through it for the GGo on Saturday, that would have been just a little odd :-)

Jenny are you telling me you have not had the displeasure of encountering a stinkhorn? Perhaps it IS just me and Germi that get the unmentionables on a regular basis? Tell me it isn’t true! The Phallaceae are a family of fungi, commonly known as stinkhorn mushrooms, and, well the name and the latin one (ahem) gives you a pretty good idea of what you are dealing with here :-)

Thanks Jenny, looking forward to it.


You can read more about the old chaps here, should you be inclined:


6 Linda/patchowrk October 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

I don’t know what stinkhorn is, either. Maybe that’s a good thing?
Great photos of the Patch…as usual.

7 ESP October 26, 2011 at 9:53 am

Hi Linda.

If you ever encounter one (and I hope you never do) you would never, ever forget it…they are abominations of nature :-) Flies love tunneling in them. (knee starts to shake) Brrr.
I believe they are extra-terrestrial in origin.


8 Bob Pool October 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm

With what should be loose soil where the trench used to be, it might be time to put in an in ground pond. They are just so cool. I can only think of what you could do with one. Kumo would love it as well. Uuuuh, on second thought, maybe not.

Have you ever had any of the “Dead Meat Cactus”? I’m not sure of it’s real name, but I used to have some and they really did smell bad. Their blooms were just so darn pretty though.

9 Cyndi K. October 30, 2011 at 9:51 am

Great post, Philip! Bagworm moths are common around my house – luckily, one settled on the exterior stone frame of my kitchen sink window – so I’ve been able to watch the home construction process up-close daily over the past couple of months. The sci-fi hoarder image you linked to it is perfect.
Have not encountered a stinkhorn ever! Had to do a search to understand what you were referring to – so I read (and saw) too much of this vile shroom too early in the a.m. Now that I’ve been introduced to it, I’m sure to come across one soon….glad I’ll know what it is – so my imagination won’t get too carried away.
So I stopped by to express to you and Leah what a pleasure it was to spend time in the Patch! I sat down to watch Central TX Gardener this a.m. and got to show the garden to hubby – “Hey, look! That’s where I was yesterday!” I love that as I was leaving yesterday down the drive-way side of the house, I could hear chatter coming from within the brush along the fence; I looked in to see halflings and kitty tucked in their own world; I had glimpsed inside the exclusive VIP room. Indeed better than any pre-fab playscape. Well done!

10 Linda Lehmusvirta October 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Well, golly, I learn something from you all the time. Never knew what a stink horn was and I hope they don’t come over here. Chester would probably ignore it; his favorite thing is to eat bees (now really). Leave it, Chester. . .no, I want some more stinging in my mouth. Love the miscanthus and envy you that trench. Good thing you’re not doing it now though! Yahoosers on electrifying: the Patch by night will be quite a sight! Thanks again for a lovely afternoon too!

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