Monday, April 25, 2011

Premature Blooming

There is "je ne sais quoi" in the Miami air this year that makes things come about a month earlier than usual. First, the yellow poinciana and now my gardenia. What's going on? Listen... My trusted fortune teller just told me that there is something going on with the planets, something retrograding or some weird, dangerous and may even be lethal thing that returns, Pluto returns? I just don't know! That may explain the early blooms. Just to be on the safe side, I am clamming up for about 2 weeks. OK? Will you miss my blog? See you when things return to normal, mid May, please say yes! If you really miss my blog, feel free to rant with your comments. Like Arnold would say... "I'll be BACK!" In the mean time... Do you see the cherries on the left side of this blog? Did you ever click on them? Lots of entertainment there while you wait for the planets to behave...
Early Gardenia

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

No matter which religion one has, even one without one... This photo expresses a universal mood, one from which none of us can hope to escape.
Sadness on a Sunday

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Early Bloomer

This year, the flowers come very early for this yellow royal poinciana (Delonix regia var. flavida) To the left is a very delicious Zill mango, also with child. Zill, in case you do not know, is a variety of the excellent Hayden type.
Early Arrivial

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Twiner

What do you know... my Telosma is happily twining! As opposed to be something that climbs with tendrils or coiling leafstalks. That will be another story for another day because then I would be talking about my new baby vines that coil, two baby jade vines (Strongylodon macrobotrys.)

I know that vines, if left to their own device, cannot grow well without adequate support. The Telosma cordata (Thien Ly in Vietnamese, meaning "a thousand miles") does not flourish without a helping hand. So I obliged and gave mine just that, a helping hand. I guided a new growth around the stem of a small jatropha plant. That was exactly the invitation it waited for and this new stem of my Telosma took off and grew furiously, much faster than when it was left twisting in the wind, literally. Now that that theory is validated (twiner vines need a thing or two to twine around to be happy,) I would love to test the next hypothesis: Can this vine really live up to its name of "thousand mile vine?" I need a thousand mile long slender stem so my Telosma can twine around as its heart desires. Now, where can I find that? A thousand mile? My vine would reach Washington DC. So cool! That will be better than Jack's beanstalk. By the way, if you revisit your childhood book with the fairy tale of Jack, you'd discover that beanstalk twines too.
It's Twining

Thursday, April 21, 2011

iPad Dinner

I am ashamed to admit that I was again at the Shorty's place tonight. There was an excuse though: I was not the only one... there was a long line of patrons waiting to get in here for food. Thursday nights are always favorite nights for Americans to eat out. Would you believe that my neighbor brought his iPad to dinner? Naturally, I told him about Miami Every Day so we went there just for fun while his food attendant patiently waited. I promised this very friendly man that his iPad would be featured tonight, and here it is, promise kept!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just Like A Painting

It's getting hot in Miami... just like the summer is already here... Yeah, it's here, or at least, it feels like it's here. More heat makes more clouds like these and each one of these cotton bunches is a potential rain maker. April showers bring May flowers. I'd better get busy to check upon my roof. The rains are coming...
Like a Painting

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Huge Sausages

I thought it hard to find sausage trees in Miami that bear fruits. Wrong! So, you can't really believe what you read... that said it's hard to find sausage fruits in South Florida because there are no bats to pollinate the trees. I have found several trees in the last few days, and they all bear a large amount of huge sausages like this one here at the Wayside stand on Red Road. You probably do not want to sit under these things because if they fall upon your head, you'd be dead, I think.

Monday, April 18, 2011


An epiphyte (or air plants) is a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object (such as a building), derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it, and is found in the temperate zone (as many mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae) and in the tropics (as many ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads. Without too much effort, I created this setting without even given it a thought a while back. I had an extra Ficus religiosa and did not know where to put it, so it ended up here, in the crotch of an oak tree. Now, there is no way to get it out without seriously injuring or even kill it. So it stays. This ficus can grow to be very large, and I think it will start to send out aerial roots and may take over this oak tree. A battle for survival of the fittest?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Storm Lizard

The viviparous lizard or common lizard (Zootoca vivipara, formerly Lacerta vivipara) is a Eurasian lizard. It lives farther north than any other reptile species, and most populations are viviparous (giving birth to live young), rather than laying eggs as most other lizards do. However, that statement can be modified by the fact that the common lizards can both lay eggs and give birth to live young. They lay eggs in warm climates (ovi,) and bear live young in cold ones (vivi.) In Miami, there is an amazing number of these lizards, and their population seems to be sustained no matter what. I know that these lizards that live here are vivi predominantly, but, I also know that they are ovi because I have seen tiny egg shell remains in my garage. I also know they don't like water because they always try to escape when I try to give them a copious shower while watering plants. Well, what do you expect? I'd do the same if some giant guy showers me with a giant shower head. Here is one cute lizard enjoying the aftermath of a late afternoon Miami mini thunder shower. The patio screen is still soaked but he doesn't seem to mind. Can you tell if he's inside or outside of the screen? Are you looking at his belly or his back?
Vivi and Ovi

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Epiphany Catholic School

This is a view of the Epiphany Catholic School in South Miami. This view is from Red Road, which is SW 57th Avenue at 83rd street. This looks like a huge structure and they must have tons of money to maintain this kind of building in seemingly perfect shape. Churches in the US always find ways to generate and keep money, and I think they are also tax exempt. I wish I were a church.
Catholic Education

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lime Shake

I forgot all about this place until today. This is a way side small market place that has been here for decades. So, what is it called? Wayside Fruit and Vegetable, and it sits on Red Road (SW 57th Avenue) at 100th street. I stopped by to get a three dollar lime shake. Delicious! I also forgot that there is a sausage tree right here... and it has quite a few large fruits hanging atop. Today, there is a bunch of little kids enjoying their passover outing and getting a treat of shakes, cookies and fresh fruits with their parents right here. During mango season, this place used to have all kinds of mango that are grown locally. I must return here in July-August for a mango feast. At this time, they have fresh fruits and vegetable for sale. Across Red Road, a long canal runs all the way South then East across R Hardy Matheson County Preserve North of Gables By The Sea to discharge into Biscayne Bay. This is a very pleasant area of Miami full of charm.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

15th Day of Nisan

Passover (Hebrew, Yiddish: פֶּסַח Pesach, Tiberian: [pesah], Modern Hebrew: Pesah, Pesakh, Yiddish: Peysekh, Paysakh, Paysokh) is a Jewish holy day and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the slaughter of the first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover". When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday.

Today, this event is being advertised by this large rental RV equipped with a public addressing system, telling people to participate beginning Tuesday, April 19th.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sausages Grow On Tree

I took me a while, but I finally found a tree bearing fruits to show you. I was watching a sausage tree here for quite a few years, but it never fruited. An excellent document of this tree, a Kigelia africana, is here. Reading this page to learn why it is very difficult to see fruits on the sausage tree in Florida. Native pollinators of this tree are the fruit bats. Apparently they cannot be found in Florida. Do not despair... because alternative pollinators exist: the native Red Bellied Woodpecker or the Spot Breasted Oriole. They visit the flowers at night searching for insects that are attracted by the pollen of the flowers and as a result, these special birds that must have heads with the right size can make sausages out of nothing. Amazing, isn't it? If you want to have free beer, get a few of these sausages and make yourself a brew you will not soon to forget. Don't neglect to consult with learned alchemists before doing so because these fruits are poisonous.
Sausage On Tree

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Narcissistic Peafowl

This morning, in a large park, I caught this guy trying real hard to get a date... He's a peafowl. This term can refer to the two species of bird in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. Peafowl are best known for the male's extravagant tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, and the female a peahen. The two species, believed to be polygamous, are:
* Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus, a resident breeder in the South Asia. The peacock is designated as the national bird of India and the provincial bird of the Punjab (India).
* Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus. Breeds from Burma east to Java. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) lists the Green Peafowl as vulnerable to extinction due to hunting and a reduction in extent and quality of habitat.

This guy from India (see? he's got a beautiful blue suit,) was seen here flaring out his feathers when trying to get the attention of a peahen near by. I was not sure if she's beautiful and sexy because I couldn't tell, but he was doing the best he could, turning around and around like a love sick top. I have a few shots when he was trying to show off his rear side... but he is more handsome in this view. As an after thought, I hope he was not trying to impress me!

Peafowl are omnivorous and they eat most plant parts, flower petals, seed heads, insects and other arthropods, reptiles, and amphibians. During the mating season they often emit a very loud high pitched cry. Today, that's all I heard all morning. All of these guys must be in heat.

In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock is identified with the goddess Hera, Goddess of Love and Marriage. In Hinduism, the Peacock is associated with Lakshmi, a deity representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and good luck. The Peacock is associated with Kwan-yin in Asian spirituality. Kwan-yin (or Quan Yin) is also an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, good-will, nurturing, and kind-heartedness. So, true to these mythologies, this guy was asking for love. After watching a while, I think he was going to have a very bad day because miss peahen did not seem to be interested at all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Trashy Canal

This canal dead ends here on Sunset Drive. It is right next to Sunset Elementary school which is on SW 67th avenue. There is a large amount of unsightly trash lingering on its bank and it has been like that for a while. I have no idea where this trash came from because I don't think the kids from the elementary school can throw their empty soda cans that far.
No Trepassing

Sunday, April 10, 2011

No traspasar

This is a view of an abandoned railroad track in Miami. This one runs North-South, just East of 72nd Avenue. This view is from Sunset Drive looking North, and this track runs all the way North past Coral Way and beyond. Walking along this now unused real estate yields all kinds of interesting discovery... one such was the sapodilla tree I blogged a few days ago. There is a "No trespassing" post, but I guess there is no one to enforce that ordinance. When I can't use my car, I always find an excuse to trespass in here. I hope I will not get arrested on some of my bad days.
No Trepassing

Saturday, April 9, 2011

$16 a pound!

OK... To continue on my oceanic thoughts... I decided to venture into buying fish for today's dinner. The incentive is that I know I can whip up some frying fish in no time...say a couple of minutes; and I am sick and tired of hamburgers. I was too afraid of traffic jam so charter boats were out of the question... Captain's Tavern came to the rescue, which is conveniently just South of the Datran center on US-1. Well, as suspected, eating fish ain't cheap!

Groupers, I know, are delicious fish to eat. They are fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes. They can grow quite large, and lengths over a metre and weights up to 100 kg are not uncommon. In September 2010, a record 250kg grouper was caught off the coast of Costa Rica. It was a 2.3 meter (7.5 feet) giant grouper.

You can see the price that grouper commands here on the second tray from the left, about US $16 per pound. The grouper fellow that lost its life in Costa Rica last year would have reeled in $16 x 500 pounds = US $8,000.00. Wow! I am quitting my day job to start a new fishing career! Today, I was out $11 for a mere half pound of grouper! It was delicious and I'm broke!

Friday, April 8, 2011

By The Pound

This is Miami. We are surrounded by a BIG ocean and a BIG gulf. It's the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, you know. You'd think we can get all the fish and other edible sea creatures for pennies. Not so! We are starving for sea food and it costs an arm and a leg (if I were a fish, I would say a gill and a fin) to eat fish. It's out of the question to get freshly caught fish unless you come and wait for hours for the deep sea fishing charter boats returning from a fishing expedition. You can buy "not so fresh" fish at exorbitant prices. You don't believe me? Take a look at this billboard. We all know that oysters, clams and such mollusks have HEAVY armors to protect their bodies... and they sell them by the pounds!
Out Of Reach

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Manilkara zapota

Manilkara zapota, commonly known as the sapodilla, is a long-lived, evergreen tree native to southern Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Sapodilla can grow to more than 30 m (98 ft) tall with an average trunk diameter of 1.5 m (4.9 ft). I know, I have one such tree in my yard. Unfortunately, my tree has always been busy growing tall and putting out branches and leaves, but never bore any fruits which suit me fine because I do not care much for these fruits. If I did, I can come here (this is NOT my tree) near an abandoned railroad track where you can get all the fruits you want. Today, they are falling all over the ground and those beautiful large and ripe fruits just lay there under the sun untouched. If I were a good entrepreneur, I could collect these and sell them at a neighboring fruit stand to become rich. You think I should?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First Prize

Every so often, the student artists of Miami Dade College at the Kendall campus show off their talents on the concrete walk way. After judgment time, this proud artist was giving an impromptu interview while finishing up his first prize winning art. He was very excited to have received the trophy that you see in the foreground of this photo. All of them were lightning fast and they whipped out their chalk arts in no time at all during today's open competition here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Longing For Fish Soup

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a tree in the family Fabaceae. The genus Tamarindus is monotypic meaning it is a sole species.

After flowering, the fruit is an indehiscent (meaning not splitting open at maturity) legume, sometimes called a pod, it has a fleshy, juicy, acidulous pulp and matures when the flesh is colored brown. The tamarinds of Asia have longer pods containing 6–12 seeds, whereas African and West Indian varieties have short pods containing 1–6 seeds. The seeds are somewhat flattened, and glossy dark brown or black. That's a good hint for you. If you zoom in on the photo and count the pods, you can tell where this tree comes from.

The tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste, and is high in acid, sugar, vitamin B and, interestingly for a fruit, calcium.

Globally, it is most numerous in South Asia, where it is widely distributed and has a long history of human cultivation. Many South Asian regional languages have their own unique name for the tamarind fruit. It is called the tetul in Bangla. In Sanskrit, it is called tintidi. In Oriya, it is called tentuli, in Hindi it is called imli; in Gujarati the amli, and Marathi and Konkani the chinch; in Kannada it is called hunase Telugu chintachettu (tree) and chintapandu (fruit extract) and in Malayalam it is called vaalanpuli. In Pakistan in Urdu, it is known as imli. In Sri Lanka in Sinhala, it is called siyambala; and northern areas in Tamil also as the puli. In Indonesia, tamarind is known as the asam, translates as Javanese sour fruit. In Malaysia, it is also called "asam Jawa". In the Philippines, tamarind is referred to as sampaloc. The Vietnamese name is me(pronounced "may.") In Taiwan, it is called loan-tz. In Myanmar, it is called magee-bin (tree) and magee-thee (fruit). The tamarind is the provincial tree of the Phetchabun province of Thailand where it is called ma-kham. In Malagasy it is called voamadilo and kily. In Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela it is called tamarindo. In the Caribbean, tamarind is sometimes called tamon. In Ghana, it is called 'dawadawa'. Have you had enough of strange names? In Vietnam, the tamarind is used heavily to make sugar saturated candies for all occasion. The sour variety is excellent for use in making fish soup... so yummy that makes me salivate just thinking about it.

Here it is, in Miami. This tree has lots of fruit ready to be picked. I tasted a few and they are OK to eat, not too sour, not too sweet. If I can find a fresh fish, I may come here to pick a handful of these fruits to cook up a delicious fish soup. Yeah... Dream on...
Fish Soup

Monday, April 4, 2011


I always wanted this car, but ended up never had it! How sad!
This is a Triumph 3. It was built between 1955 and 1957 by Standard-Triumph in the United Kingdom, during which time 13,377 cars were produced, of which 1286 were sold within the UK; the rest were exported mainly to the USA. Original price (basic model) - £950. As of 2002 there were only 893 registered TR3/3a's on UK roads. In the movie "Aimez-Vous Brahms," play boy Anthony Perkins drove around in this car picking up Parisian girls, not that that was my intention then for wanting this car. This car was powered by a 1991 cc straight-4 OHV engine which initially produced 95 bhp increasing to 100 bhp at 5000 rpm. Imagine that, 100 horse power.
This is parked across from Dadeland mall and it looks in tip top shape. The owner must have parts specially machine shopped if he/she ever needs them.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Running Aground

Years ago, I learned how to sail in Biscayne Bay, and mapped out all the sand bars by running aground on them. I then knew where they were... but that was a long time ago. Today, I went sailing with an expert sailor friend in his sailboat. Of course I trusted him with his thorough knowledge of Biscayne Bay's hazards. Not so. We ran aground. Fearless a captain that he was, he jumped into the bay and freed the sail boat, only to see it going away with me frantic inside. Here he is, in the water, trying his best to swim to his sailboat with me at the helm, trying my best to come back to meet him. A good thing he knows how to swim and no great whites in sight! Of course, it was pretty dicey, so we got help from this nice man who came to the rescue. You want to know where this spot is on earth? It's at the green arrow in the Google map photo. That location came from the GPS record in my photo. Isn't life fun?
Sand Bar
Titanic event...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

For Sale

Somewhere moored off Coconut Grove is this sail boat. I saw the for sale sign so I hollered at the couple owner to inquire. They were so happy, thinking I was going to buy their boat. So I am now trying to help them out and advertise their boat for free here. They told me you can have it for 18. 18 what, I asked them, eighteen hundred US dollars? Nice try.. It's 18,000 or Best Offer. Go ahead, you can see their telephone number on the for sale sign. I got their permission to blog this so I am clean. Don't blame me if you get a bad deal.
Don't Blame Me

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Got A New House

My lucky star finally shone upon me. I received an unexpected email last week from a person I have never known about or met. That person had a terminal cancer and told me there is no heir to inherit the 6.5 million US dollars. I was known to be a very respected and decent human being, so I was selected to receive the entire amount. Of course I accepted that great offer. Using that money, I bought this beautiful home in Coconut Grove, for a mere 4.1 US million. My new living quarter has about 6 thousand square foot on the ground floor. The entire upper deck is for entertaining my guests, at tree top level. A house warming party, anyone? Happy April's first.
My New House