The weekend surprised us with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 90s. Sunday topped out at 97 on the thermometer in Bill’s car. James flew in Friday afternoon to hang out. He and Bill got to work chopping up the remains of our apricot tree and they also cut back all of the past year’s growth on our large Jacaranda tree. We have to prune it every year to keep it from getting so big that the heavy branches pose a threat to electrical lines, our patio and our house. Plus, we prune it a month before it begins flowering. Each May Jacaranda trees are covered in beautiful purple flowers. It’s a lovely sight… unti you see the ground beneath the tree also covered in purple flowers. It’s a mess we’d prefer to avoid. Next month I’ll try to remember to take a photo of the trees as they bloom. There are many of them here in Long Beach including along the main street to the airport.

Here is James in the Jacaranda tree.

We both commented on how the Jacaranda tree looks a lot like the Whomping Willow. Bill had no idea what we were talking about.

This is what’s left of the apricot tree right now, other than a lot of the large branches off to the side. Bill and James were using a small chainsaw to cut chunks away to get that top portion off. It wasn’t working… so they moved on to the other tree.

Bill and James had to stop working when the mosquitos came out. I was able to work a little longer as mosquitos don’t really like me. We drove out to Buena Park to have a nice dinner at Portillo’s Hot Dogs. It was a nice long dinner spent talking about plans for the next two weeks before the big move and sharing work stories.

Saturday we were greeted with pretty oppressive heat and the porch thermometer showing 90 degrees at 10am. I started work on the backyard, but I had to come in to rest after an hour. After pruning that tree, there is significantly less shade in the backyard. We had lunch at Rubio’s which is walking distance from our house. It was James’ first time having Baja-style fish tacos, I guess they don’t have Rubio’s in Richmond. Even though it’s essentially a fast-food chain, Rubios always surprises me on how tasty the food is. One of these days I’ll have to go to Baja and have the original fish tacos.

Later in the afternoon Bill and James drove down to Chuck’s house near Carlsbad to hang out. Chuck’s wife was out of town and I think he was starving for someone to play with. They had lunch and played a little bit of Rock Band. Bill called me around 11pm to let me know they were on their way home and that they would have stayed a few hours longer playing Rock Band if there hadn’t been a power outage in Chuck’s neighborhood. Silly. I spent the afternoon house cleaning and waiting for the sun to set so I could do more work in the backyard.

Late Sunday morning we had lunch at a Korean BBQ restaurant in Gardena where the food is tasty and they have an all-you-can-eat menu. Bill and I have eaten there with a couple of friends before and shared lots of thinly sliced brisket and pork. This time we opted for the next step up on the menu where we shared the same thin sliced pork belly and brisket. We also shared thin sliced beef tongue and marinated short ribs eaten with steamed rice, random veggies and salad. The food was delicious and we all came away with the smell of BBQ in our clothes and hair.

I always let the boys work the grill.


After we dropped James off at the airport Bill and I ran some errands stopping at Costco to buy motor oil…. which turned into much more than just motor oil. FYI, they currently have large Atlantic salmon fillets for $5.99 per pound. Next we bought an industrial floor fan that sounds a bit like an airplane engine from WalMart. We don’t have air conditioning in our home, so strategically placed fans are the best way to keep our house cool. Thankfully, we don’t have many days where the temperature gets as high as it did.

While I continued to clean up the branches and whatnot in the backyard, Bill smoked the salmon we bought at Costco using the dry brine recipe that I love so much. I’ve included it below. Bill has to work in Ft. Lauderdale all week, so it’s up to me to get the backyard clean . I’d like to have our patio completely cleaned too, free of random leaves and dirt. Our patio leaks pretty bad when it rains, so it’s a mess. If the weather cools down a bit, like it’s supposed to, I should have everything done before Bill comes home. Then he can mow the lawn… that’s his job.

Dry Brine Smoked Salmon:


1 cup                rock salt

1 cup                firm brown sugar

¾ teaspoon      white pepper

½ teaspoon      allspice

½ teaspoon      ground ginger

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic minced


together (it’s easiest with your hands) and lay salmon on a thin bed of the mixture. Cover with remaining brine. Wrap the whole thing in foil and let
it sit for a couple of hours.


Rinse the salmon off thoroughly and pat dry. Let it rest for approx 30 minutes.


Smoke at 140 to 150 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours.


Every 20 minutes or so brush on glaze:


1/3 cup    –    maple syrup

1 1/2 tbsp    –    soy sauce

1/4 tsp    –    ground ginger


About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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5 Responses to

  1. stebow says:

    Yup Whomping Willow it is! I think it is funny that Bill and James were clueless.

  2. alextebow says:

    @stebow – James knew, he’s a fan.

  3. jandsschultz says:

    Salmon recipe sounds yummy. I’ll figure out how to smoke it on my gas grill. There’s gotta be a way. S

  4. alextebow says:

    @jandsschultz – Actually Bill used to do some smoking on our gas grill before I got him the smoker. I’ll ask him how he did it.

  5. christao408 says:

    Wow, Bill and James really hacked away at that tree trunk.  Watch out, nature, a pair of men are on their way to do some damage!

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