This is a large Chinese bowl I have out on my patio in the back yard. We’ve had it since we lived in San Francisco – so it’s been with us for nearly a decade now. Wherever we live, we set it up outside as a water feature.

Besides being beautiful to look at and fun to enjoy because of the calming effect that running water has, it serves the useful function as a way to cut down on the mosquito population. I always keep a couple of fish in the bowl.

Their names are always Heckle and Jeckle. Always.

The previous Heckle and Jeckle met an untimely demise when I over corrected for algae one day. I came home to find them both floating at the top, quite dead. They had lived in the Chinese bowl for almost three years. Bummers.

In mid-April, when I knew that the cold weather must surely be over for the season, I went to the pet store and purchased two more fish.

After I introduced Heckle and Jeckle to their new home, I never saw them again.

I figured either there was something very nasty about the water; or perhaps more likely a neighborhood cat enjoyed a tasty meal. There is a large variety of waterfowl in the area, too, which I couldn’t rule out.

Bummers.

Growing things in a Houston garden is not easy. The soil is horrible – it really isn’t soil. The heat of a summer day can kill just about anything. And there are so many creatures big and small waiting to consume what you grow when you’re not looking that you might as well just give up and let them enjoy the buffet.

Even so, I give it my best shot.

Which is why I was outside today with a sprayer full of Neem oil, dousing everything down in the hopes that it’ll give at least a percentage of the plants the chance of living.

I was near the Chinese bowl paying attention to the two plumeria trees, which actually seem to be happy for a change. Check out their gorgeous flowers (too bad you can’t include a link to smell their perfume).
A movement in the bowl caught my eye. Gadzooks! Heckle and Jeckle where swimming just below the surface. They’re nearly twice as large as when I bought them. But the mosquito population has been pretty bad this year – a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike last year – so Heckle and Jeckle have had a lot to much on. I tried to snap a pic of them, but they did not wish to cooperate.

So, hooray! Heckle and Jeckle have returned from the dead.

At least for a while.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

Here are a few random images from the StickMonkey’s garden.

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