“House Elf”

by ESP on September 16, 2012 · 8 comments

I was delighted to find out recently that our family had inherited a new house-elf…”Kreature-Kumo”.

On arrival at the Patch he made himself immediately at home roaming and grumbling down our hallway. He has kept himself quite occupied this past week dusting pictures, getting the kids up for school, cooking full-English breakfasts etc. In fact now I cannot imagine our existence without him.

Adorning some old rags and a particularly acute case of halitosis, it appears he has a propensity for devouring large amounts of small plastic toys, postmen and all manner of disgusting things at the bottom of the garden.

Naughty, stinky Kreature-Kumo!

Freshening rains, cooler temperatures and darkened days have provided a welcome reprieve from the Texas sun this week. Sad loquats perked up, a couple of burgundy fountain grass were flattened and poor cactus-man (jr) took one for the team from a rather flatulent and highly accurate bird…

The irony here continues, allow me to recap on this opuntia paddle’s tragic existence and amazing resurrection story:


I spent 4 years pruning back a few opuntia paddles to enlarge them for a very specific and rather horrendous Patch experiment. Some of you may remember the endeavor.

I decided I was going to gouge eye-holes (and carve a mouth) in this opuntia paddle after seeing a picture of a successfully carved paddle in a popular gardening magazine.

After I had performed the “procedure” my massive cactus paddle went almost immediately into shock (I had apparently carved overtly enlarged features) as did the rest of his family (they shared a common root system).

Stress lines around the eyes appeared,

moisture seemed to be leaving his emaciated body on a daily bases, he grimaced and so did I every time I had to walk past him.

And then finally…

This is where it starts getting strange.

Some time later, after he was laid to rest, another cactus paddle mysteriously grew back from the roots at the exact same place and angle,

only this time he returned from his shallow grave with two “already formed” eye holes (evolutionary survival tactics…I am convinced), I couldn’t believe it.

I inserted a tiny glass monocle into the smaller of his “new”eyes (I have no idea why), and now, after enduring all of this, a bird goes and does this:

Poor junior.

I think he (the original paddle) may be trying to send me a message from across the veil.

“I have a “Cactus-Man” coming through for a gardening person on my left. I am getting an image of a green thumb and he is showing me three letters “ES..D?

He is communicating a horrible accident involving multiple family members…he keeps repeating Fis…Fisk…



Moving sharply along:

It is very sharp up here on this golden barrel plateau but well worth the hike, the cactus continues to put out these amazing flowers.

Here are the barrels shrouded behind Juniors resurrected family.

This is what is left of my hydrangea:

It took 6 months of steady decline for the plant to reach this minimalist /completely dead stage.

Giant timber bamboo always looks very tropical after rain,

if only my garden shed was an all-teak construction…


Imagine this structure with

some Alphonse Karr bamboo planted around the foundation.

My soft leaf yucca,

Yucca recurvifolia

is producing pups as fast as I can plant them.

This is its second asparagus-looking flower spike of the year.

Pride of Barbados have nearly finished depositing seeds from their dug-out canoes.

Seen any of these colorful velvet moths lurking in your salvias?

This is a southern pink moth,

Pyrausta inornatalis


and this is its larva:

Photograph by Donald R Riley

I have read that these polka dotted chaps can demolish a stand of salvia but I never have had this problem myself.


Congratulations on your advancement from the daisies to being a fully fledged Brownie!

Now, back to the Patch with you,

you have Autumn chores to do if you want to get that professional metal detector.


Stay Tuned for:



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

Why am I struggling with this image of the week?

School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

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1 katina September 16, 2012 at 9:09 am

You know, it IS a little creepy that cactus man came back…
I recently have decide that my in laws need a soft leaf yucca, if only because I don’t have a place for one, ergo I shall live vicariously through them.

2 ESP September 16, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hi Katina.
It really is, and for that new paddle to already have eyes in it? Brrr.
Yucca is one of my favorites and I am planting these pups in all the bare places that fried this year. I see a lot more drawing of blood in my future.
Soft leaf my foot.

3 Gail September 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

Big hint! Children’s books for all ages!!

4 ESP September 16, 2012 at 11:46 am

“How the Cactus man came to cry”?
Eww :-)

5 Desert Dweller / David C. September 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Michael Landon meets the Patch while doing chores…well, you are on the blackland prairie? And your home is smaller than a 7,900 sq ft faux-Tuscan-for-two house, so that’s little. I digress…never knew that Yucca recurvifolia pupped until damaged, but your’s proves the point. I saw someone who got an agave to pup by similarly torturing it, but he used a power drill into the heart from the top…I know it made a mess, but I think it may have worked, too?

6 ESP September 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Hi David.

Every time I here the word “chores” I think of Little House on the Prairie, funny how things stay with you.

My yucca has given birth to about 9 pups this year, most of which I pulled well before they got to the size of the ones in this post, the mother is not stressing at all.

Power drills in agave hearts?…I have to admit that I did use a drill on each side of the the cactus man’s mouth, just to get it started (I needed to get a blade in there to start the carving). It appears this sort of torturing venture may be better for procreation rather than decoration.

7 Cheryl in Austin September 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

That rain was so rejuvenating…your garden is just amazing!

8 ESP September 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm

It was indeed, and thank you Cheryl.

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