“Blast from the Past”

by ESP on July 28, 2013 · 10 comments

I found some old photographs while I was in Scotland…and took pictures of them.

This is me, on one of the many occasions my sister took advantage of the fact that I did not really mind being taken advantage of.


Note: Mud-pie bucket…fantastic!


Sweet big sis…mostly ;-)



My sister had an affinity for training animals at a young age.

This was our first dog, “Amber”.


My dog encounters unfortunately involved receiving a lot of puncture wounds.

Amber apparently did not care too much for having her juicy bones removed involuntarily from her jaws by a small child uttering complete gibberish.

I cannot blame her.


I had to include this photo with my cousins just because it communicates the “tolerance and general demeanor” of the average British seaside excursion…(character-building stuff a trip to the seaside : no iPhones /iPads back then).

Ah yes, I remember the days as if yesterday…freezing-cold North Sea water, crunchy sand-filled sandwiches, windbreaks, flasks of tea, and the ever-present sensation of always being just a little “too cold”, even on the hottest days of summer,


a sensation I cannot say I have ever had in our Texas summers…


…”Only one more planting-bed to go honey”.


I think I must have been auditioning for a part in The Nutcracker in this one.

Note: Background windbreak.


Moving Less Nostalgically Along:

Back in the Patch:


More rain storms this week…and it is almost August!


This storm front arrived packing a serious light show, thank goodness this bolt missed my post oak on the left.


The barometer sages

Leucophyllum frutescens


had correctly predicted the weather change once again. It is said that heavy pruning can diminish the blooms on these plants, but I have never noticed any degradation and I keep these two pruned tightly to reduce legginess and central splaying.


These two will be getting an aggressive haircut as soon as they finish showing off,


and the plants are not completely covered in bees and hoverflies.


Other observations this week:


Blue Dashers and many other dragonflies are busy posturing and performing some quite “risky” meter high antics.



The waxy Moy Grande (Texas Star Hibiscus) has thrown out some massive blooms this week.


On a contrasting note:

Remember these fine “cowboy toilet paper,” mullein?



Well they are not so fine any more.


If this is what happens to them in the summer it must have been an inconvenient and a rough

(and I do mean “rough” ahem)

few months for the cowboy on a strict bean diet.


Enough said.

Now onto some critters:


Stepping into this sandal would have also been an uncomfortable experience.

This is a great leopard moth caterpillar and it cast a long shadow as it quickly crossed our carpet the other night.


It was huge.

Some friends of ours found this rhinoceros beetle,




They are also called elephant beetles, Hercules beetles, or Atlas beetles some of which are among the largest beetles on Earth.

This one is a male as it is sporting the “tusk” which is used for fighting both over females and for feeding sites and rites on trees, logs, and crops.

In spite of their fierce appearance, these beetles are harmless and feed only upon plant material.


Laziness, procrastination, heat and an unwillingness to wield my pick axe resulted in a great result this week.


After my strange yucca tumbling and sawing of the trunk at the base, it was my intention to dig out the tap root and replace the plant with something else. I even tried a shovel on it a few times but it wasn’t moving, so in the ground it stayed.


After the rain I walked past the stump and yes there it was, not one, not two but numerous new yuccas on the rise.

…In fact, a scary amount.


I am looking forward to seeing what will happen here.

Stay Tuned for:

“Design Up-Front”


All material © 2013 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
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1 Desert Dweller / David C. July 28, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Twisted, literally – Scotland family pics to disproving some claims about pruning Leuc. to Clint / frijoles diets. More time, and you could have connected the dots to show the Scottish Rite masonic control grid… But back to the family pics…more interesting than ours’.

“Topics” in the Patch tend to move in a very organic manner. I am always fearful when I post, especially for the potential of exposing my identity to the Scottish Grid…”the Scottish Rite masonic control grid” –

(insert gravely irate voice here:-).

2 Bob Pool July 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Wow, after seeing the child hood pictures, I understand why you wear ugly shoes.

Superb dragon fly photos. You had to of been in your loin cloth and ugly shoes to have stalked up that close to them.

Haha Bob…too funny, and what was that about my shoes?
I captured the dragons in an elaborate pulley and winch system, attached high in my post oak…and yes, in a loin cloth,
and what was that about stalking and my shoes?

3 Donna pringle July 29, 2013 at 12:29 am

Loving the old pics Phil, you were so cute; your mum has never changed!! X

Thanks Donna, it was fun to see those old pictures…and how about those shoes :-)

4 Linda Lehmusvirta July 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Oh, I love the family pictures and stories!

Back at the ranch, your garden looks phenomenal. Mine looks like the Botox Lady cast an evil spell on it. Some of my lamb’s ears went the way of your mullein. Gray fuzzy stuff hates summer rain. Dang ’em. Tons of the caterpillars at my house. They are so friendly–guess that’s why that guy wanted to hang out on your sandal.

Thanks Linda.
That last rain really helped to green things up around the Patch, it was quite miserable and parched before.
Yes, lots of caterpillars and spiders this year especially the jumping variety.

5 TexasDeb July 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Loved the family photos – you look so much like your Dad back in his heyday, and your son looks so much like you did as a boy (minus the knee socks maybe). No contesting lineage in this case. The eyes have it.

That storm was a real corker, noise and light-show wise, but here in Rollingwood we got barely a half inch of rain. Better than nothing however and I’ll never be ungrateful for rain in late July. Thanks for the nod to trimming the sages – I’d let mine get leggy hoping for more blooms but I’ll be happily heading out with pruners in hand as soon as the current blooms fade.

Hi TD.
It is all in the genes!
Yes quite a storm, I stayed up and watched the entire show – occasionally putting my head under the downspout just to make sure it was real.
The sages also can make a great full hedge if pruned correctly, there are some nice examples of this around the Mueller Development here in Austin. I will take some pictures next time I am out there.

6 Pam/Digging July 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm

A year later, I’m still battling yucca sprouts from a couple of softleafs I removed. Ugh.

Persistent aren’t they :-)

7 Heather/xericstyle July 31, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Great photos – adorable! The girly one of you looks like your daughter – although, sorry, she is prettier. :) I hope to make it to scotland one day – I am 1/2…my mom moved to Canada as a teen. I am super intrigued by your sage pruning – I see it pruned hard around here in commercial areas and it looks like the kiss of death because next I see bare spots and barely no flowering with continued deterioration of the plant. Maybe it is just improper pruning. I’d love to know how you prune yours – maybe an ESP tutorial post for us Texans is in order?

Thanks Heather, and who are you calling girly?
You should have seen me in the 80’s:-)

Ah yes sage pruning…to prune or not to prune!
I top-prune mine mainly to keep the height down, they always are bare and scraggly below the canopy but I make sure and plant some screening plants to hide these bare limbs…bush sage works a treat.

Yes, you have to visit Scotland with a name like that.

8 gail August 1, 2013 at 7:02 am

Such fun to see the pictures of you as a kid. And it’s amazing to see the young you showing up in your kids so dramatically. Younger brothers with older sisters definitely get to learn a lot about girls at an early age. :)

You have that right Gail.
Having four years on me she knew all the tricks.

9 Jenny August 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Love the old photos and what a family resemblance. I was frequently seen sitting on a similar beach on the north west coast with sandy sandwiches and visitors from Manchester! My, your front garden has certainly grown. No room for amaranth this year?

I know, it was fun and funny to go through them and see the similarities…how you forget.

Ah the sandy sandwiches, the knotted handkerchiefs, winkels bubbling in a pan…etc..etc.

It has grown Jenny, I always have room for amaranth.

10 Linda/patchwork August 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

Great to look at old pictures. You do have a strong family resemblance, going on there.

Your garden is looking great. The rain really does help.

I enjoyed meeting the two of you, at the Go-Go last week. Nice to put real bodies and faces to the bloggers I read.

Stay cool….

Nice to meet you too Linda and it is great to see old photos.
Thanks…yes the rain really does help, especially at this time of year.
It really feels like August right now – if it wasn’t for for my iced turbans I do not think I could venture outside :-)

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