“They’re under Starters Orders…”

by ESP on May 9, 2012 · 6 comments

…and they’re off!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a fantastic turn out today to witness this, the second annual ESPill-bug derby, broadcast live via morning glory satellite.

Lord Kumo was chauffeured in earlier today in customary fashion,

and was to be seated in his usual “Royal” stinky box seat...

…only to find that it had already been occupied.

Garnet is off to an early lead and setting a punishing (running for her life) pace.

“Go Garnet…go Garnet (clapping)”

Clearing out a pile of decaying leaves recently I exposed a bunch of roly polies that were quickly snapped up by dirty nimble fingers.  A few minutes later they all had names; Ruby, Chirp, Garnet, Peep and Quack, nice names for some terrestrial crustaceans…snort.

I continued to listen to their exploits as I raked.  I witnessed the gut-wrenching tragedy of Chirp rolling himself up and disappearing between the cracks in the picnic table (I kept raking) and the simultaneous elation at Garnet having crawled over the finish line to win the derby and her freedom from small fingered tyranny.

“Ach, and I thought I had it bad, poor wee beasties.”

After a significant “Chirp-hunt” under the table, and a number of mosquito bites later the search was called off.


It was Ruby, Peep and Quack that I felt sorry for.


Moving along:

My feather grasses are now entering

this rather annoying phase. I am steadily accumulating a huge pile of these filament ladened socks on my back porch.

With the skies opening up and delivering some well needed rain in Central Texas this week, plants

and toadstools have gone into overdrive.


Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’,

I said Blue Spruce,

wasted no time absorbing the moisture, a very aquatic looking succulent.

As did this Bauhinia corymbosa vine, great for adding depth and a layered look.

Burgundy canna lily…plant it in a large container, cover drainage hole with duct tape and watch it grow and smolder.

It works great paired with giant King Tut papyrus.

It is like the Blitz in this tank that houses the smaller dwarf papyrus variety.

Moving Along:

Spending time on my front porch right now conjures up disturbing memories of  “The Ruins”.

This red passion vine is clawing its way toward my front door at about a foot a day.

Who said there was a lack of flowers in the Patch…


My front (almost as high a maintenance as the Botox Lady) vitex is now in full bloom,

Sago palm.

I always like the new growth on sago palms…before the leaves get lodged in there and mess it all up.

Stay Tuned for:


“Jack and the Sotolstalk


All material © 2012 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


 Inspirational image of the week:

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1 Gail May 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

Write children’s books! Who knows, bug racing may be the next trend.
..And Sir Kumo?!!

2 ESP May 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

A trend or perhaps a new form of illegal gambling?


Kumo looked very regal sitting in the kids seat in my truck. I half expected a wave of his paw at the window as we rolled down Congress.

3 Cyndi K. May 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Exceptional story! LOL.
So duct tape for the canna lilly – clever. Like the drama of the KT papyrus….well, all the drama found here.

4 ESP May 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Thanks Cyndi…and yes, always plenty of drama in and around the Patch it seems…some of it good, some of it requiring a large amount of screaming!
“Don’t you even think about it, oh I don’t think so…

“Why you little….”

5 TexasDeb May 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

Aw, I remember holding roly-poly races ( a long, LONG time ago). Wow -those burgundy burners are quite the show stopper, though I’ll admit the deep red of that passion vine makes me a bit weak in the knees….

Quick question: I’d read somewhere to avoid Vitex due to their propagational proclivities. Are you having any trouble with unauthorized upstarts?

Hi TD.

The pill bugs provided at least half an hours worth of entertainment for my halflings…pretty good when I am trying to work (I am thankful for any distraction).

Red passion vines and burning burgundy cannas…two favorites of mine, can you tell?

I would not advocate avoiding Vitex, actually I would if you are not prepared to put some work into it, (shaping, pruning and general tweaking). I have not had any serious issues with unauthorized upstarts. My tree / large shrub has only had two siblings that were easily pulled and taken care of :-) It is a great tree for pulling in the insects and butterflies, well worth a bit of shaping effort in my opinion.


6 Bob Pool May 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

A few questions on this posting; Where were you taking Kumo that involved a trip down Congress?
Have you recently purchased a new ladder?
Is your little girl trying to make poot noises with her hand in her arm
If she is, where did she learn about it?
What did the winner of the pill bug race win?
Are you ever going to class up in the boot department?
Are you ever going to come to another you know what?
Other than these few questions, a great post with excellent pictures as usual. The downward pictures are great.

Hi Bob.

Let me answer your questions:

Kumo was on a return journey from The Great Outdoors. His “top hat” turned a lot of hipsters heads on South Congress, especially when my new steed gurgled to a stop in front of Joe’s coffee shop where he waved his regal paw out of the window in a somewhat dog-condescending manner.

No but I need to.

What do you think? I am quite proud of her progress, and I have no idea where she discovers such things…what? She did suggest that we should start the first family armpit band! I did consider the creativity of this proposal for at least couple of seconds.

The winner of the pill-bug race won life!

No, I love my Timberland boots, and I put boots through hell. Oh and they offer the support that I look for…ahem.

Yes on the “you know what”.

Thanks Bob.


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