“Wail of a Weekend”

by ESP on September 13, 2014 · 8 comments

Kids at grandparents…check

Photo ID…check


Bagpipes…check, hmm not quite?


We were off with the Silver Thistle Pipe Band http://www.silverthistle.org/ to compete in the Capital District Scottish Games, Albany, NY but first I had to get a set of highland bagpipes through airport security as hand luggage.

Bagpipes are a tricky instrument to play and equally tricky to travel with.

Vintage sets containing ivory mounts now require extra permits, inspection fees and run the risk of confiscation and delays.


I stood in line and privately winced as my multi-chambered set slowly rolled (with a few raised eyebrows and general chatter) through the airport x-ray security machine.

The inverted image looked like a ‘portable’ Bangalore torpedo, naturally I was pulled aside.


Pipes, drones, tubes, tongues, zippers, stocks, valves, flaps, gussets (well it is a funny word), drone-reeds (that resemble small plastic projectiles), you name it, this instrument has it all.


I won’t even get into the moisture control systems that reside ‘inside’ the actual bag itself.

A few “so what does this bit here do?” questions later and we were flying high.


“och its just a moisture control system, that’s a’ it is”


The following day we were at the games surrounded by some great weather and scenery.


Warming up:

Capital District Scottish Games

Very warm at this point:


Then it was onto the battlefield with our Medley Selection performance:


Back down to Earth:

Remember this swash buckling opuntia?


Well it appears all the rum and debauchery has finally taken its toll.

After witnessing it stagger uncontrollably under this bamboo muhly canopy, I found him,

grasslying face down in a pool of his own paddles.


While the rum is taking care of my opuntia, it is the spider mites that are sucking the life out of my rosemary bushes.


A common problem in the warmer, dry months.

Spider mites are not insects but are more closely related to other arachnids like ticks and spiders. Like spiders they produce silk from a pair of glands near the mouth.

Itching yet?

spider-miteThe silk strands allow the mite to spin down from infested to non-infested leaves and before you know it…your rosemary could look like this.

A regular blasting of water from the hose usually takes care of things and our recent rain will help, these mites hate the water.


This front area is about to be reworked.

Small flagstones will be replaced with large slabs, brick walls will be removed and some large boulders positioned.


Here is the area is almost prepped…but should this vitex stay or go?

I do feel like I have been polishing this particular



for way too long.

I have hacked limbs off it for years to raise the canopy and still it grows over and onto my roof where it insists on making irritating little grinding and squealing noises as it tries to claw its way inside the house.



Here is the side of my house after my latest frenzied attack on it…ugh.

DSC07224This poor tree already had ‘issues’ when we inherited it over a decade ago and I think they are only getting worse.

Inspirational Image of the week:

rooftop terrace

TERRA fluxus LLC:  Design for a rooftop terrace


Stay Tuned For:


“Beans Boots & Mullein”


All material © 2014 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

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1 Rock Rose September 13, 2014 at 6:47 pm

So how will you be voting?

Not that I will be voting, but if I did it would be a “no” Jenny.
Sorry William.

2 TexasDeb September 14, 2014 at 7:08 am

As much as it pains me to suggest taking down a well adapted tree, if the mature height of that Vitex poses a problem you haven’t solved in all these years of trying? I’m thinking you have better ways to spend your time (and use your water). Can’t wait to see the “after” photos of that front area. Every time I see them used in landscaping I think ‘Man, I need to get me some BOULDERS!”.

3 TexasDeb September 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

My earlier comment seems to have been sucked into somebody’s bagpipe? Onward… If the mature height of that Vitex tree is at odds with your roof? I say take it out (though I’m loathe to remove a mature tree…) and put the time you’ll regain to better use. I’m sure you can find something attractive that is either shorter or taller and won’t be scratch-scratch-scratching to come in all the time.

Your comment was not sucked into somebody’s bagpipe TD, my site has had…(and is currently having) ‘sucking’ issues with recent upgrade compatibility conflicts with the latest release of WordPress and Thesis. I am in the painful re-build process.
I am leaning toward taking the vitex out also, it will create a lot more space and I am really sick of dealing with it. I love vitex (as much as the pollinators) and have never found it too invasive but this one started off on the wrong ugly limb, and is only getting worse.

4 Katina September 15, 2014 at 8:48 am

Too bad Eleanor isn’t still around – she could have totally talked you into removing the tree. She was ruthless when it came to something not performing (or no longer performing) as desired. Loved the music, by the way…though I did make the mistake of clicking away to leave a comment so now I’ll have to go back and listen to it again. ;)

I bet she would have :-)
Thanks on the piping front Katina, it was a fun weekend.

5 Desert Dweller / David C. September 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Sorry for the fate of the Opuntia, but overdoing the alcohol is what they resort to. ..every time! My vote is to keep the vitex, looks to be about mature. It seems to soften the area higher up, while the background plants do similar work at lower levels.

Great pipe playing, and what a great outing in the NE…

Yes, they do like a drop of the old rum. This one had been staggering around in my hell-strip for the past week or so, shouting out nonsensical phrases and waking my kids up in the middle of the night.
I was not prepared for a ‘yes’ vote on the vitex!

6 Vicki B in Austin September 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Only since its someone else’s, I can say I’d replace the vitex (but you’d know better than I.) Can’t wait to hear the video!

Thanks Vicki, I think it may just have to go, but I do not think I will be replacing it.

7 Pam/Digging September 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I say take out the vitex. I made the same decision, for the same reasons, at my former house. I’m not sure I would replace it with another tree either since your front yard is so small, and it might be nice to have a little openness. What about (inserting opinion without being invited) removing the rail of your narrow front porch and adding a long wooden step along the length of the entire porch? Then you’d have a more useable space connected to the front garden rather than unnecessary separation, plus extra seating (on the step) when needed for neighborly gatherings?

‘Be-gone with the vitex’!
I am right there with you on the openness-front and thanks for the porch / bench suggestions Pam, lots to think about…now, when is our next large-brush pick-up?

8 Les September 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

So did the Silver Thistles win, place or show?

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