Good Morning Gentle Readers,
The welcome rains brought many blessings this winter. They also brought those blasted mustard plants, which always sprout in late winter right when the wildflowers are beginning to peak.
Like Bonds on steroids, they grow from seedlings to waist height in a fortnight. It takes them forever to die off, too. Long after prudence and the local Fire Marshall dictate that you should clear your land, they're still stubbornly clinging to life. Thick and sinewy, it takes a brush cutter to sever the larger specimens.
Left alone, by July they become brittle enough that a strong wind will break them off like twigs. And they burn like a match to kerosene.
The Boy loved to snap them off and then strip the side branches off. When he was done, he had a three foot sword. We'd duel and, one after another, six inch chunks would break off until there was only six inches left. Then we'd start over. He used to call it teaching. That's the sound that mustard plant swords make when they clang together. Teach! Teach Teach! Teach!
Legend has it that the Padres brought the mustard seeds with them to mark what would eventually become the El Camino Real as they trekked north. Sort of like Hansel and Gretel with the bread crumbs. Unfortunately, the mustard was pleased with its new home and spread like wildfire. When the Padres returned they found valley after valley resplendent with yellow flowers. The wild mustard grew so profusely that it was impossible to find the trail running south.
Yes, you can make a salad with the leaves or grind the seeds and mix with vinegar for hot puppies. But I still hate them.