Saturday, July 4, 2015

Red Car Property: Celebrating July 4th With Red, White & Blue

It's a patriotic natural world on the Red Car Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, 2015. RED: California Harvester Ants indicators of a diverse environment to sustain their continued existence.  Find them on the north end of the Red Car Property.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Note: Harvester Ants are NOT Red Imported Fire Ants.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, 2015. WHITE: Jimsonweed is native, attracts really big moths, but is highly toxic according to Wikipedia.*
Photo: Diane Edwardson, 2015.  BLUE: A very blue-bellied Fence Lizard was rescued from the cats and released back into the wild.  We've never seen one quite so blue before.  Fence Lizards are the most commonly seen, yet diversely camouflaged lizard in the Red Car Property neighborhood

Have a safe and sane Independence Day!

*Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity.  We often get email suggesting some plants are edible. If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Red Car Property: Squatter Americana

Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 21, 2015.  In February, when the squatters were evicted from a house on Adelbert, they left some art on the Red Car Property.  (Click on photo to enlarge.) 

The installation has been there for over a year.  There was a time when art like this didn't raise eyebrows in Silver Lake.    

The California Black Walnut Tree behind the art looks pretty healthy.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Reminder: Keep A Fire Lane Open

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014. Last October's fire on the slope between Lake View Ave and the Red Car Property (caused by a blown transformer), showed just how tricky it is for the LAFD to navigate our narrow winding streets.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Luckily, there was no wind and the damage was confined to the brush on a slope where homeowners had done their brush clearance.  A lot of neighbors on Lake View got a wake up call about the importance of keeping a lane of traffic open for emergency vehicles.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2015.  Most neighbors on this part of Lake View already  took brush clearance and tree trimming seriously. 
Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, August 13, 2010.  Riverside Place is one of the narrowest streets in the neighborhood.  Many of our streets have only one access point.  It's not just the 4th of July when we need to keep a lane of traffic open to for emergency vehicles, but all year round.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 22, 2012.  LAFD Company 56 is our local fire station and they are about the only crew with a small truck who really know the intricacies of our often substandard hillside streets, as seen above on Peru and Walcott in the Semi Tropic Spiritualists Tract

Some of our narrow streets and "corners" have hairpin turns and steep grades and only one means of access.  Don't block the street because you couldn't walk a few hundred feet.  If it's too far for you to walk, it might be time for you to clean out your garage and park in it.   
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 12, 2015.  The short end of Corralitas is the widest and flattest part of the street.  It's also only part of the street where people can park cars on both sides. 

A few minutes before the above photo, I watched as a LAFD ladder truck, responding to the same call, made several attempts at a left turn from Rosebud onto Corralitas.  It could not make the turn.  This compact fire engine LAFD 220 was already on scene of the car accident.

Since record drought and 4th of July fireworks (that started in May) have hillside homeowners a little more on edge than usual this year, we remind you to take responsibility for your own neighborhood, beyond just doing your own brush clearance.  

If you see someone blocking the street, fire hydrant or red curb, politely ask them not to park there.  If they're "unloading their car," offer to help them, so they feel compelled to move their car faster.  If you're having a party, ask your guests to carpool, wear walking shoes, park legally and don't block anyone's driveway.  We actually a sign on our front door for parties "Did you park legally? Are you blocking neighbor's driveways?"  Inevitably, a handful of people turn around and move their cars before coming in the door.  

LAPD is telling people if you see someone shooting off fireworks, call 1-877-ASK-LAPD. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Corralitas Public Staircase: Pull Out Those Castor Seedlings Before They Get Established!

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 12, 2015.  Above ground, Castor Bean seedlings look like harmless 2" seedlings.  Below ground, they've got a 6" tap root.  If you pull it out and leave it on the dirt, it will grow right back within a day and double in size a day later.  

Castor Beans are are non-native, invasive and in the past, have broken apart the Corralitas Public Staircase.  They are a noxious weed that releases a toxic gas when it burns.  Dispose of the seedlings, flowers and seed pods in your black trash can, NOT your green can.  All parts of the plant are toxic and stems, roots, flowers of the plant can repropagate.  They need to be eradicated.  They clog waterways and hillsides and push out native plants.  

Read more: California Invasive Plant Council.

 Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity.  We often get email suggesting some plants are edible. If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research. 

Corralitas Drive: Grim Reaper?

Photo: Diane Edwardson, February 19, 2015.  It seems the only time I see woodpeckers in the neighborhood, they are looking for grubs in a dead or dying tree or in a rotten wood telephone pole.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Dead Eucalyptus Week reminded me of one of the harbingers of doom for trees in the neighborhood: woodpeckers.  You'll hear the tap-tap-tapping in the dead and dying trees.  There were small flocks of them in the dead Eucalyptus on the north end of the Red Car Property last year.  I had never seen so many woodpeckers in one place, but I'd also never seen so many big dead Eucalyptus in one location.

This is just an observation gleaned from 25 years of walking the Red Car Property  neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

4th Of July Fireworks Started In Early May

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 4, 2014.  Fireworks over the 5 Freeway, shot from Corralitas Drive.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

We've said it before.  There's nothing scarier than drunken idiots shooting off fireworks in the hills.  The 4th year of record drought has neighbors more nervous than usual about July 4th.  We've been hearing fireworks in Elysian Valley since early May.  I've been getting an increasing number of emails about it every week.  

One  Corralitas Drive neighbor suspected neighbors of shooting fireworks off on Sunday night.  Another neighbor was concerned enough to walk around the hill to find the source, which appears to have been Elysian Valley, near the river.  

My advice for pinpointing the source when you think fireworks are nearby: GO OUTSIDE. Walk around.  Listen.  If you hear a "whoosh" as the rocket zooms up into the sky before it  explodes, it's close.  If you can identify the source/address of where the fireworks are being set off, call 911.  Tell them it's a hillside neighborhood with lots of dry brush and you are concerned about fire. 

Or if you know the neighbor, respectfully ask them to stop.  Make them aware that fireworks are illegal and that they are putting the entire neighborhood at risk for fire.

If you haven't already, clear brush, trim dry tree branches, dispose of piles of dry vegetation and flammable debris, take down umbrellas and other shade fabrics before it gets dark on the 4th.

Every year we see fireworks coming from the hills in the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract and 18 Acre Elysian Park Parcel.  This is in addition to what we can see across the river in hills of  Glassell Park, Mt Washington, Lincoln Heights and Baldwin Hills.  Of course, the main illegal show is along the entire footprint and both sides of the LA River.  

ALL FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, unless a part of a licensed professional fireworks show.  See a list of fireworks shows put out by LA City & County Fire Depts:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Corralitas Drive: Stop Living In Denial, They're Dead

Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 15, 2015.  The big Eucalyptus that neighbors thought would fall down 25 years ago, was healthy until the past year, when it fell victim to the sudden Eucalyptus death that's going around the neighborhood.  It was definitely still green a year ago.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 25, 2015.  Then, just in the past few months a second large Eucalyptus died, in very close proximity to the owner's home. It's tragic to lose so many large big trees around the neighborhood.  Eucalyptus do not drop their leaves for fall the way California Black Walnuts do.  They will not be coming back from the dead.   

These two Eucalyptus appear to be the same species that are dying all over the neighborhood.  In the past year, on Corralitas alone, several neighbors have had to cut down a half dozen similarly large Eucalyptus of the same species that died suddenly,  They are a fire hazard and if you have more than one, it seems to spread to your other Eucalyptus of the same species.  

Consult a certified arborist if you Eucalyptus are starting to die.  If it is disease, pests or fungus you can spread it to your other trees (often other types of trees - not just Eucalyptus), depending on what is causing the problem.  The megadrought is making trees more susceptible to all sorts of problems.   

For the past week we've been looking at the dead Eucalyptus around the Red Car Property neighborhood.  Click here for all our dead tree posts. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Red Car Property: Brown or Green, Not a Park, It Just Looks Like One

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 10, 2015.  The Coast Live Oak Tree is the super dense green tree towering above the guy walking his dog.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 14, 2015.  Three months ago, everything was a lot greener. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Red Car Property: "Crew Showed Up With Some Industrial Sized Weed Whackers"

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, June 27, 2015.  Brush clearance began today on the north end (Fletcher end) of the Red Car Property.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Note: the leafy green trees in the background are primarily healthy protected native California Black Walnut Trees above the historic landmark viaduct footings

How Fast Can A Big Eucalyptus Tree Die?

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 2, 2014.  According to my archives, just a few months.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, February 18, 2015.  If your or your neighbors'  Eucalyptus are suddenly dying, you're not alone.  If you suspect your trees are in trouble, consult a licensed arborist.  You can infect other trees with improper pruning  and disposal methods.  

Dead Eucalyptus are a serious  fire hazard.  They are highly combustible.  Don't put our neighborhood at risk hoping for a miracle that will bring your tree back to life.

It's been Dead Eucalyptus Week here on the blog, but for the past for the past 3 years, we've documented dead trees in the Red Car Property neighborhood.  Click here for all our dead tree posts. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Adelbert Ave: Dead Eucalyptus Are Not Limited To Red Car Property

Photo: Diane Edwardson, February 18, 2015.  Sometimes I wonder how I can walk by the same dead tree every day for months and not manage to take more photos of it.*  Believe me, it's still there.  In fact a second Eucalyptus has since died.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Eucalyptus are oily, highly combustible trees.  This tree will not come back to life in the rain. 

If you've ever been home on the 4th of July and live this close to the LA River, then you've heard the spent airborne fireworks raining down on your trees and rooftops.  You are putting not only your own house, but your neighbors' homes at risk by leaving this fire hazard on your property. 

Report hillside brush hazards to:

*I'd rather not publish the dead tree blog.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, June 26, 2015.  Thanks to a neighbor for sending proof that's it's really difficult to get good photos of dead trees as we've seen on the blog this week.  The tree has not sprung back to life. 

We're looking at the dead Eucalyptus trees around the neighborhood this week. Click here for all our dead tree posts. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Red Car Property: Dead Eucalyptus Flanking Northern End Of Trail

Photo: Diane Edwardson, February 18, 2015. This is the reverse angle from yesterday's post on the north end of the Red Car Property.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 11, 2015  The dead Eucalyptus on the Adelbert side of the Red Car Property is distinctive with its curved branches hanging over the trail in dramatic fashion. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 11, 2015.  The dead Eucalyptus tree on the Riverside Drive of side of the property does not photograph nearly as well as the one across the trail. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 27, 2015.  This is the same tree as the previous photo.  The Eucalyptus on the north end of the Red Car Property have just been devastated by drought, disease, age, mold and/or insects. Last year, more than a dozen large dead Eucalyptus were cut down on this portion of the property.  

Eucalyptus trees are dying throughout the neighborhood.  They are a severe fire hazard. 

The Red Car Property was red tagged by the LAFD Brush Clearance Unit.  We hope the brush and dead trees will be cleared before the 4th of July weekend. 

Report hillside brush hazards to:

We're looking at the dead Eucalyptus trees around the neighborhood this week. Click here for all our dead tree posts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Red Car Property: Dead Eucalyptus Week

Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 15, 2015.  It looks like the large Eucalyptus across the street from the last 2 houses on Adelbert, has finally ended its long slow death spiral.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Since 2012 more than a dozen big Eucalyptus trees died on the north end of the Red Car Property.  Most were removed last year.  However, this one should have been removed too. 

It looks like there are a couple of large dead Eucalyptus on the downslope side of the Red Car Property on the rear property line of homes on Riverside Drive.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 24, 2014.  I guess the few tufts of live leaves on the upper branches somehow convinced the LAFD that the tree was not a fire hazard last year?  Of course there were so many other bigger dead trees in the area and this one was not the primary focus of the photos.  We've documented the tree's demise (among other trees) on the blog since at least 2012.

Report hillside brush hazards to:

We're looking at the dead (primarily Eucalyptus) trees around the neighborhood this week. Click here for all our dead tree posts.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Red Car Canyon: Dead Eucalyptus Still Looming Large

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 12, 2015.  You would think for liability reasons alone, the Red Car Property owner would cut down the dead Eucalyptus in Red Car Canyon.  We reported it to the owner's rep over a year ago.  The adjacent property owner reported it repeatedly to not only the owner's rep, but also CD13 & LAFD Brush Clearance Unit last year.  

Since all 5 lots of the property were Red Tagged by the LAFD earlier this month, we hope the Fire Dept will take note that this dead tree is still in the canyon.  It was not cut down after the LAFD Red Tagged the lots in 2014, even though we had a fire on the Lake View slope, just a few hundred feet away.
Photo: Diane Edwardson: May 27, 2014.  We documented the now dead Eucalyptus on the blog last year on more than one occasion

In 1980, a brush fire started in the canyon and burned up both sides of the canyon.  Three homes on Corralitas were destroyed; two damaged and rebuilt.  A water dropping helicopter stopped the fire before it caught a sixth house on fire on the opposite side of the hill, atop Corralitas, just as the Italian Cypress trees in front of the house were just catching fire.

The 1991 Oakland Hills Fire forced Los Angeles to re-examine the way brush clearance is handled in Hillside Areas. In the first hour of the Oakland Hills Fire, more than 790 homes were destroyed.  

By the early 2000s the Eastside Hillside Areas were added to the Very High Fire Hazard Safety Zone, but the higher standard of brush clearance has been spottily enforced in our area.  Now the vacant lots and the built lots are all under the jurisdiction of the LAFD Brush Unit. 

Report hillside brush hazards to

We'll be looking at the dead (primarily Eucalyptus) trees around the neighborhood this week. Click here for all our dead tree posts.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Red Car Property: Butterfly, Not A Moth

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 12, 2015  Skippers are small, not so pretty, common butterflies, but they are pollinators.  There are dozens of species of Skippers in Los Angeles County.  This is most likely a Fiery Skipper, one of the most common in the area, seen here on the north end of the Red Car Property. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase: Made Your Summer Solstice Pilgrimage Yet?

Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer. There's still time to make your solstice pilgrimage before the sun sets at 8:08PM, behind the Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase Moai. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pacific Electric Viaduct Footings: Is This Any Way To Treat A Historic Landmark?

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 10, 2015.  Colorful "art" is still vandalism.  At least other unsanctioned artistic alterations of City of Los Angeles Historic Landmark #770 were not permanent. (Click on photo to enlarge.) 

Historic Pacific Electric Viaduct: 60 Years Ago Today, End Of The Glendale Line

Photo: Loren Ayers, June 19, 1955.  The Ayers family rode the Big Red Car Trolley across the Fletcher Viaduct on the last day of service in 1955.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)   

The Glendale Line opened in 1905 as an all wooden trestle bridge.  In 1927. the center section was replaced with steel to accommodate the paving of Fletcher.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 2004.  In 2003, the City declared the Pacific Electric Viaduct Footings at Fletcher, cultural historic landmark #770.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

We appreciate Red Car Historian Paul Ayers sharing some of his family archives with us.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Historic Viaduct Footings: Native Dandelions

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 10, 2015.  There are a number of species of native dandelions listed on CalFlora.  Don't think of them as weeds, think of them as drought tolerant.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lot C: Abandoned Mercedes SUV Still There

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 16, 2015.  Silver Mercedes SUV license plate: 6AON271 has not moved since it showed up on the Red Car Property just south of India Street,  May 23, 2015.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

If this is your car, which is registered to an address in San Rafael, please come pick it up immediately.  

We notified the property owner's rep on May 23 and frequently since then.  He wonders why people dump their trash on the Red Car Property.  Perhaps the property owner should take measures to tow the illegally parked cars away, block the property at India and Corralitas to vehicle traffic with a LAFD approved gate and do the brush clearance by May 1, every year.