Friday, May 1, 2020

Trees and Vines

Up and out early again today.  We did the standard route which gets us about ten miles, which doesn't sound like much but we're on mountain bikes which weigh a ton, with knobby tires that make for rolling resistance and there is some up.  Still, it's only ten miles.  The advantage is we can ride from the house, which saves the time that would required to haul the road bikes down to the trail, and mountain bikes are more work.  Carbon/titanium road frames with skinny tires on a flat trail do not much work make.

Last night there was a sunset.  The entire day was overcast, by sunset the clouds had thinned out enough to make some color in the sky.

I've been wondering why not all Palo Verde blossoms look alike.  Duh - they're two varieties.  This is a Blue Palo Verde.  The Blue Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum) are usually spotted next water sources, like washes, and have a blue-green trunk.  They have the big blossoms.

This is what we have on the sides of the bank and in the wash next to our house.  The Foothills Palo Verde (Cercidium microphyllum) can be found mostly on rocky slopes. They have a yellow-green trunk, tiny leaves and pods that constrict around the seeds.  Those are teeny tiny little blossoms.  They are much beloved by bees.

So, a botanical mystery has been solved.

This is the evil vine.  It's rooted somewhere in the middle of my giant bougainvillea. There was also one in the back yard which I did try to excavate, but with no success.  They have a terrible growth habit of spiraling up the plant they're growing up.  So you can't just grab it and yank, you have to unwind it from the host plant.  Bougainvilleas do not lend themselves to unwinding the vine, they have plentiful sharp stickers which easily break one's skin.  It's blooming, which surprises me.  They have kind of a wild onion smell.  Anyway, there were two branches of the vine which I laid on the ground and generously sprayed with Roundup.  I'm hoping it will work on the vine, otherwise it will be a constant battle to keep it in check.

For you carnivores out there, we made something new for dinner last night.  We preheated the grill with the cast iron skillet in it.  After 15 minutes, it was about 500 degrees in there.  We threw a pork tenderloin in, closed the grill and came back in eight minutes to turn it over.  Jim and I are not great chefs, we tend to eat the same five or so things.  We tried a different marinade last night.  It was really really good.  We let it sit in the refrigerator for about four or five hours.  Below is the recipe, which you can find here.  I don't like rosemary, so we used oregano which was good.  We used the Grey Poupon Country Dijon, and I didn't use that much salt.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 large garlic cloves pressed (about 2 tbsp)
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary minced (about 2 tbsp)  1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp salt*
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
So that is my cooking tip for the day.

Other than this, there is not much to say.  We're both somewhat despondent that this could go on for another couple of years.  Even though many people get it and have no symptoms or few, the people that have bad cases have really bad outcomes. 


  1. Ooooh I'm trying that recipe. Except for the garlic, I still have not been able to find garlic. Luckily I haven't found any of that vine either. Instead, I have lots of stinging nettle.

  2. that vine looks like what I've been calling ironweed. heart shaped leaves (ours are a little rounder) on a skinny vine that is impossibly strong, twines up other plants to crown over them, blooms and makes berries that the birds like. I hate it. part of the stuff I've been pulling off the fence. today I'm going to start poisoning the fence line. I don't like glyphosphate (round-up) so I'm going to use a combination of diesel fuel and stump killer.

  3. Mom has a giant rosemary bush, and every time I water it or brush past it, it makes me hungry. I have been meaning to look up a recipe to use some of it, so I am going to give this a try. I wonder why the iron skillet...why you can't just throw it on the grill? Do you think using the skillet makes a difference?

  4. I respect a ten-mile mountain bike ride. They are more work than road bikes for sure! Lovely sunset photos, and I think the Palo Verdes are lovely against the bright blue sky. Anything that is good for bees, which need all the help they can get, is a-okay in my book. Not sure if I would feel the same if I were allergic, which I may well be, but I don't have enough data to know for sure. The pork sounded good.