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"Head above Water"



 




This photo was presumably taken in the 1940’s-1950’s
of a woman underwater in the Weeki Wachee Spring, FL. 

I heard the old, old men say,
'Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away.'
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say,
'All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.'


The Old Men Admiring Themselves In The Water
by
William Butler Yeats
 


We have witnessed a lot of beautiful things drifting away this year, but in Austin,
the waters are not so much drifting as they are evaporating away. Look at these
recent pictures of Lake Travis at the Lakeway City Park.

 
Photo's courtesy of:
Sam Chapman,
 www.austinrealestateguy.com.
It looks more like some Mayan ruins than the lake...shocking!
Click for a clearer look.


This rosemary just seems to get bigger,
the hotter and dryer the weather gets. The only
sign that it is also thirsty is a slight tinge of
yellow to the green, but it doesn't like to complain.

 
I wish I could say the same for this poor Primrose Jasmine,        
Jasminum mesnyi
It is hanging onto life by it's leaf-tips.  I must say though, it does have
an interesting aesthetic all of its own in this crispy state, like a firework
or a water-fountain in a water-purification plant?
What?

 
This Giant Timber bamboo culm is ripping                              "You mean like this?" 
it's own shirt off in an attempt to cool down.

 
The odd twisting culms continue to writhe and twist upward from
the underworld, they are growing at a staggering rate
at the moment.

 
The intensity of the August "Day Star" has even been too much for
this aptly named Ghost Plant.
Graptopetalum paraguayense,

 
It looks like something has singed
the top of it with a
blow-torch...oh wait, it has.
One badly stressed out succulent!

Houston, we have touch down...

Stabilizer clamps engaged.


"Look into my eyes, into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes,
eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around the
eyes, look into my eyes...you're under".



The eyes of this Skimmer dragonfly mimick the
gords hanging under my "purple martin" nest box. I put
quotations around purple martin because it is invariably
full of irritating nesting sparrows...I have told the Nabooboo tribe
to hunt these birds with their blow darts, but even that has not
seemed to make a dent on their numbers. I also suspect that the
tribe have been pre-occupied of late, hunting down some escaped 
Whip Scorpions, Thanks for that Bob at Draco Gardens.
Brrrr.
 

My blunder with the martins this year was that I opened the
doors to the inn as soon as I saw the first birds flying around
the neighborhood...

BIG mistake!

The overtly aggressive sparrows immediately
gate-crashed the nest-box, and held a massive party
in honor of my complete ignorance. 

 
"why you little"

Next year I will wait until a scout actually
lands on the nest-box, and stays on it for
a while before I open the doors.  
This is a male Flame Skimmer dragonfly,
situated on my Spruce Cone Cholla,
or aptly named Pine Cone Cactus... 


...Tephrocactus articulatus.
 
 
Like a multi-eyed monster from mythical Greece, (it is actually
a native to western Argentina). It is one of the stranger looking cacti 
that resides in the patch. It also, it seems, has an intrinsic design flaw,
it is easily broken. Segments of T. articulatus easily separate from the main cactus,
the good news is they readily root, mmm, perhaps it is not a design flaw afterall!
This plant requires no supplemental water, a definite plus right now.

 
You can see how the sections are extremely fragile due to
a rather obvious "off-setting".  There are five species in the
genus Tephrocactus, sometimes classified under the
Opuntia genus. All varieties of this species are frost hardy...
I love this plant, just don't bump into it, if you want it to reach
any height.

Talking of bumps:
 
One of my goldfish is about to pop.
She is so pregnant and distended that even
her scales are sticking out!!!
It is rather disturbing looking.

Staying with the pond for a moment...

This puddle of death was to spell the end for these gulf-toad tadpoles,
a couple had already died in this quickly evaporating hot tub.

Also darting around on the lilies are lots of these:

Long Legged Fly
A great beneficial fly in the garden and a prolific insect predator.
These little flies are the Jason Bournes of the fly world.

 
"Oh, I see how it is ESP!"
"Just because I am not shiny and jewel-like, like he is, I am no
longer an ESP reference?".

Rest easy Seth, you will be published again before you have
chance to vomit.

Long-legged flies are members of the Order Diptera (true flies) and
the family Dolichopodidae, a very large and diverse group. In general,
flies in this family are very small, characterized by 2 long wings
and long slender legs
. The bodies are beautifully colored with green,
blue, metallic gold or silver,
flying jewelry!

The best thing about these little jewels is that they love to devour
copious amounts of spider mites. Both larvae and adults are
predaceous on many other insects and small arthropods,
including mites
, thrips, psocids, aphids, and other insects larvae.
These flies hardly ever stay still, flitting around on my lily pads,
looking for the next meal - at least this is my excuse
for my bad photography, and I am sticking with it.

Moving on...

Aloe variegata, also known as Tiger Aloe and
Partridge-breasted Aloe, is a species of aloe indigenous to South Africa. 
Looking like a futuristic tower block, the plant's leaf margins, have a wide,
ornamental white line that looks like it has been painted on. 
Spotting on leaves is often in horizontal bands in a 'tiger-stripe' pattern,
the white spots look like windows and go great set against the back-drop of
my texas holey rocks. This was one of the plants that I purchased from the
50% off sale at "The Great Outdoors" I managed to get four divisions from
this plant, straight out of the pot.

 
I am finally ready for yet another delivery of decomposed granite to finish
off this section of pathway. It is all leveled and devoid of life and weeds, the
sun has been good for frying anything that once lived in here. A few inches
of granite on top of this should hold most weed germination back pretty well.
At one time I was considering planting this area up with Tech Turf. Marketed
under the corporate name Turffalo, and perhaps I still may, later down the line.
The decomposed granite will, in the meantime benefit the soil and smother
any lurking weeds that may germinate when (and should it ever) rain again.

The latest craze in the patch...

...state-of-the-art transportation, scooted, (and pushed), at the highest possible velocity
around my circular succulent bed...It amazes me so much hilarity can be born from
such a basic endeavor. I am not undermining the activity though, oh no,  
it means I can garden and weed in peace, AND they wear
themselves out!

 
"You just don't get it, old man!...You need to wake up and smell the lemon basil."

 
All the scooting and pushing came to an abrupt halt when my
youngest stopped dead in his tracks, he started pointing into
this nearby patch of grass...his excitement told me he was onto
something major. I always have my camera in my pocket and
went in closer to investigate the now twitching ornamental grass.
I was surprised to see a baby possum, and judging from it's
expression, (I have the same one), I think he must have just
woken up, a little too early it seems.

And finally:
  
100% pup-survival rate from my agave spike from last year... like this 
is any surprise!
They are finally starting to look like small versions
of their mother.


A couple more dragons to finish...
 
A pre-historic insect on a pre-historic horse-tail reed.
Very similar forms.


The sun is setting in the patch but
be sure to tune in for next weeks new Discovery show...

"Deadliest Patch"



All material © 2009 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized 
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by  late  (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

Inspirational Images of the Week:

Soekershof, Botanical Gardens, S.Africa.
A true mermaids garden!


The East-Side-Patch Blog has moved!


It is official, the East-Side-Patch has moved on over to Word-Press!
Here is the link to the "New" Patch, please update your feeds.

http://www.eastsidepatch.com/

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
wwwrockrose.blogspot.com
Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
Did your camera survive its rain bath that time to take more photos or are these excellent photos taken with a new one?
Will you be witnessing the birth?
Your Graptopetalum is in better condition than mine. I will be starting over .
I'm sure the bamboo gives some really great shade.
How have you kept those pups so healthy? Mine are still in pots but they don't seem to like the sun too much and are very pale. Maybe they don't like the west side of town.
Is the last photo what you are aiming for at ESP? Silly question.

east_side_patch
Aug. 23rd, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
Hi RR.

The rain-bath camera unfortunately did not survive it's dunking, so I replaced it with exactly the same Sony model, I am so well acquainted with it I could not bring myself to change. It is also very inexpensive, and so small that I can work with it in my pocket!

I hope to witness the birth of the new fish, though pregnant fish do tend to go into hiding, as most animals do, when it is their time. There is a thick covering of lilies in my 900 gallon stock-tank, so I will be extremely lucky to see it all happen!

My Graptopetalum is hanging in by a thread - the rosettes have now contracted and are all leggy, but I do think they will make it...only just. Sorry to hear yours have suffered.

The giant timber bamboo is situated under a much larger shade provider, a couple of mature pecan trees. They are growing up through the tree's limbs. I want to get rid of these trees at some point, too much debris and they are scrappy as far as pecan trees go.

The pups are so healthy because they are situated in shade under my neighbors post oak tree, this agave seems to like shade. Try this, I think they will like it!

The last photo? You got it!
It seems we are moving toward a more Arizona climate, well at least until El Nino kicks in and rots everything! We are in-between worlds in Central Texas it seems.

Good to hear from you RR, and I am really enjoying living vicariously through your English estate posts.

ESP.

Edited at 2009-08-23 03:29 am (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:59 am (UTC)
Am I to post PG13 labels on my blog? I think it is just great that your kids want to know these things. They will be able to tell their biology teachers about these things when they get on up in school. Be sure to tell the kids they dont bite or sting, just sling vinegar smelling stuff on you.

When we meet some day I hope you have some pups left as I will beg a couple from you if possible.

I am constantly in awe of your bug pictures. These dragon fly pictures are the best ever and the Long Legged fly picture as well. It's amazing that people only think of aphid eaters as Lady Bugs. I know my Daddy Longlegs are in my garden right now just eating 'em up.

Your goldfish will probably slide up onto the lilly pads to lay her eggs and the males will be right along side her, depositing their milt to fertilize her eggs. They would rather have very shallow water with a mud bottom but the pads will probably do in a pinch. It will probably happen at night time so keep a "weather eye". I've given away over two hundred baby gold fish this year and it looks like there is about a hundred more still in the big pond. If you have to trap some out I can tell you how to do it and not mess up the pond with a net. Unfortunately, I have some experience in this, or rather my wife does. She loves catching them, for some reason only Freud would know. Bob
east_side_patch
Aug. 24th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
Hi Bob.
Every time I pulled up your site and post about the whipping scorpions, if my kids came walking behind me while I was on my laptop the image would be met with a resounding Eeeewww! Too funny. They also find the Bart and Homer Simpson images hilarious.

You may most definitely grab some pups, and I am sure I will have a few hundred left!

I was really happy with this set of dragonfly pictures, and thank you. The Long Legged fly was tough to even get, due to the flies constant twitchy movement. If you have high blood pressure, this fly would not be a good subject to try and shoot.

The pregnant goldfish has disappeared. I have a lot of lilies at one side of my pond, and over the years the mud and organic matter has built up significantly...and I let it. There is now a mud-flat-mound (covered in lilies) that lies a few inches below the water level...I bet that is where she went!
I will have to have a deep cleaning of this pond over the next couple of years, I keep putting it off. Perhaps I will be calling on you, most definitely your wife into the subtleties of your fish catching techniques!

Good to hear from you Bob.
Oh, I am in the process of moving the ESP over to Word-press...would love to know what you think of it:

http://eastsidepatch.wordpress.com/
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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