This snapshot above of the greenery growing alongside the onramp to the westbound 10 Freeway from Vermont might not be much of a big deal to you, but when I first spotted it a couple weeks ago biking home from work I put it on my list of I Shall Returns.

Not for me — for our Russian tortoise Buster. See this verdant thing is one humongous and healthy snail vine, and Buster, to say she likey the snail vine blossoms is way of an understatement. They’re pretty much crack to her. Any time I feed her she’ll look over and be in no rush to eat, but if there are snail vine blossoms (like the one below) in with the mix of greens and squash and broccoli, she’s all over ’em. Gnum gnum gnummy gnum gnum!

You can see from the shape of the flower and the pod above the blossom why “snail” is in their name. And while we have a snail vine growing in the side yard, its production of flowers fluctuates and for the last couple weeks I’ve opted not to harvest any of its meager supply to give it time to rebound.

Thus the bike ride down to Vermont and the Santa Monica Freeway this afternoon: to get me some! And yes I don’t think twice about a 12-mile roundtrip to get some fauna for my favorite reptile.

And I got a lot. Loaded up 75 fresh morsels of tortoise-loving goodness. Buster gonna love me!