Monday, August 3, 2015

Red Car Property: Mercedes Abandoned Memorial Day Weekend, Has Not Moved

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, August 3, 2015.  We first reported this silver Mercedes SUV, CA plates: 6AON271, to the property owner's rep and LAPD Senior Lead Officer Lenny Davis on May 23, 2015. Now it's attracting more trash and dumping.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

City Parking Enforcement refuses to tow cars from private property if they are not stolen.  This car was registered to an address in San Rafael when LAPD SLO Davis checked in May.  At the time, it was not reported stolen.  The Red Car Property owner has to have the car towed. 

In June, it was reported to Building & Safety. The inspector seemed to think this SUV was coming and going from the property.  Right.  My guess is he never went out to see the vehicle. CD13 has requested Building & Safety follow up on the complaint.  There is no lack of photographs on the blog or in my archives.

Click here for all the abandoned Mercedes SUV posts.

At least the Buick abandoned on Corralitas at the Red Car Property was finally removed in the past week.   Parking Enforcement can cite and tow if the car is abandoned on a City Street.  

Note: Despite what many mapping services say, the Red Car Property is NOT Silver Lake Court (an unbuilt City street right-of-way, just west of the property between Silver Lake Ave Stairs, ending north of Roselin Stairs).  The Red Car Property is private property and it is a lawless place. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Red Car Property: Native Blue Elderberries Scarce This Year

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 20, 2015.  More than most natives on the Red Car Property, Blue Elderberries are suffering from the prolonged drought.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 20, 2015.  Even in dry years, some Blue Elderberries will  produce a good size clump of berries.  This is the most sparse crop I've seen in 25 years of walking the Red Car Property neighborhood.  Native Blue Elderberries are an important food source for wildlife.  You will often see birds and squirrels foraging among the Elderberry branches.  

Elderberry branches are thin and dry out quickly.  However, in just a week after the inch of rain from Tropical Storm Dolores, Elderberries were pumping out fresh leaves all over the neighborhood.  

CalFlora classifies them as a shrub.  Like other California natives, they are drought tolerant and evolved with our all-or-nothing rainy seasons.  Don't eat the berries - leave them for the wildlife.

CalFlora and California Poison Control list Blue Elderberry plants as majorly toxic, except for ripe fruit. 

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. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lot C: Tiny Butterfly In Shadow Of Tiny Oak Tree

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  A Marine Blue Butterfly kept landing on the cut branches of the Coast Live Oak sapling while I was taking photos of the 3' tall tree.  The butterfly is smaller than my thumbnail.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Marine Blues are one of the most common butterflies in the area.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Lot C: The Little Oak Tree That Won't Give Up

Photo: Diane Edwardson July 18, 2015.  A Coast Live Oak Sapling has been toughing it out for years amongst the non-native, invasive Arundo on Lot C.  It's about 3' tall now.  Several times it's been completely cut back to the ground along with the Arundo during brush clearance.  Each time it fights back.  Every few years someone doing brush clearance recognizes that it's a native oak tree and allows one or two branches to grow.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2015.  Maybe in another 100 years it will be as large as its cousin, about 50' north on the property.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Red Car Property: Little Black Walnut Tree At Corralitas Keeps Coming Back

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 27, 2015. Earlier this month, brush clearance contractors once again whacked this formerly 3' tall California Black Walnut down to the ground. (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

It is impressive how deep even the youngest native trees must set down roots.  Usually we have to wait until the rainy season to learn if it survived another year.  However, despite the drought, nearly an inch of rain from Tropical Storm Dolores a few weeks ago, sparked a quick regrowth.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 27, 2015.  The little walnut tree has been attempting to grow in the shadow of the much larger tree at the Corralitas entrance to the Red Car Property.   Squirrels frequent the prolific tree for walnuts.  Red Tailed Hawks watch the tree from a telephone pole or tree either on the Red Car Property or the 2 Freeway, waiting for a distracted squirrel so they can swoop in for a meal.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Red Car Property: Native Black Walnut Tree Is Not Dead Yet

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 27, 2015.  The inch of rain from Tropical Storm Dolores, accelerated the new growth sprouting from the trunk and thicker branches of the same California Black Walnut Tree we highlighted in yesterday's depressing post about the effects of the drought on even the hardiest of trees. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 27, 2015.  Considering branches began falling off this tree in July, it is a ray of hope.  California Black Walnut Trees evolved to fit our all-or-noting rain cycles in the state.  They have very deep root systems to store water for the  drought years.  But even the largest trees are beginning to suffer.  This tree is not dead.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July10, 2015.  Before brush clearance contractors whacked away at all the new growth at the base of all the trees on the Red Car Property, you could even see this particular growth pattern on Native Black Walnuts that appeared to have died, (like the trees below Lake View where the fire occurred last October*). 

Black Walnuts' and other native trees' root systems are so deep, they help hold hillsides together, which is critical for the way it rains in Los Angeles.  

California Black Walnuts are protected native trees and you need a permit from the City to cut them down, even if they are dead. 

Links: Protected Native Tree Ordinance
LA City Dept of Urban Forestry

*As with all things Red Car Property, the Black Walnut story became complex.  We'll follow up on the trees below Lake View next week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Red Car Property: How Bad Is This Drought? One California Black Walnut Tree 2000 - 2015

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 19, 2000.  We're going to look at one California Black Walnut Tree over a 15 year span.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

The north end of the Red Car Property's California Black Walnut Trees were super lush. Take note of the large tree on the right.  The chain link fence is directly across from the Adelbert cut-through. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Fall of 2000 was the fire season prior to the City enacting strict brush clearance regulations for our hillsides.  Trees and slopes were never cleared to the standards now required by LAFD. California Black Walnuts were not yet protected native trees. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 4, 2010.  Ten years later and now the City protected California Black Walnut Trees flourished on the north end of the property.  The tall trees and steep slopes kept the north end of the property cooler and more moist, months longer than the rest of the Red Car Property.  

More than 37" of rain officially fell in Los Angeles in the rain year 2004-2005.  The ensuing below-average years (including a record low of 3.21" in 2006-2007) did not adversely affect the native trees which have very deep root systems as they evolved with our drought to El Nino conditions.  2009-2010 Rainfall was just above average in the City.      
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 18, 2011.  Rain year 2010-2011 the official rainfall was over 20"  for the City.  We usually get about a third more than the official rainfall total due to the topographical features and weather patterns creating orographic lift on the way toward the San Gabriel and Verdugo Mountains.  (Official rainfall for Los Angeles is measured at USC - south of downtown.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  By October, the Black Walnuts were already dropping their leaves for fall (as opposed to the very first photo where they were still green in November).  Take note of the dates here because the next shot is scary.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 27, 2015.  The California Black Walnut tree on the right has fewer leaves now than it did in October 2014 (the previous photo).  It's not only dropping leaves, but branches too.  In April and May of this year it was healthy looking and green.  We've also had record heat this year and 4 years of megadrought. 

While digging through my archives, I discovered I had taken this tree for granted for so long, because it had been so healthy.  I have winter and spring shots from different angles, but few matching summer shots in the last 3 years.  Yet, it wasn't until May of this year that this tree started showing ill effects of the drought.  

Don't rush out and cut down your native trees yet!  It's not dead.  And we will take a closer look tomorrow.

City of Los Angeles: Protected Native Tree Ordinance  
City of Los Angeles: Dept of Urban Forestry 
California Drought Monitor Map

Monday, July 27, 2015

Historic Viaduct Footings: Milkweed Blooming

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2015.  This may be native Kotolo Milkweed blooming among the City of LA Historic Landmark Pacific Electric Viaduct Footings.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2015.  Usually, we see a pink variety of Kotolo Milkweed blooming up above the viaduct footings.  This is the first time in the 25 years I've walked the property, I'd never seen the yellow variety.

Native milkweed is vital for butterfly species as a larval foodplant. 

Click here for all our Kotolo Milkweed posts.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Corralitas Drive: Mosquito Check!

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July25, 2015.  If you've got a garden, chances are, you had buckets out to catch last weekends' torrential rain.  Now you have mosquito larvae swimming around.  If you haven't already, use it to water your plants today, before the the next generation of mosquitoes takes flight. 

Be sure to check your yard for standing water and don't let it go to waste!  Plan ahead for next winter's rains by looking at the drainage from your roof (and your air conditioner's condensate drain for that matter) and consider installing rain barrels and/or drainage swales.  According to the MWD website, the DWP may still be offer rebates on rain barrels, but good luck with that.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Red Car Property: Christmas In July Is A Lot More Brown

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 25, 2015.  It looks like this is the same Xmas tree that has been moving around this part the Red Car Property for the past year or more.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

Note: The native Black Walnut Trees on the slope are looking pretty good after an inch of rain last weekend! 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 20, 2015.  Shortly after brush clearance was done this month, someone moved the tree from its previous location adjacent to those fences in the background, to its current position on the property.

Nor is this the first time an Xmas tree has spent time on this part of the Red Car Property well past its expiration date.  

Have some respect for your neighbors.  There is no excuse for this kind of dumping.  Cut it up and place it in your green bin after Christmas or put it on the curb the week after Christmas and the City will pick it up on trash day. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Red Car Property: Why Pick Up The Dumping When You Can Just Kick It Down The Hill?

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 14, 2015.  Bags of foam padding were dumped under a California Black Walnut Tree in August 2014, at the north end of the Red Car Property (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Rather than haul them away during brush clearance or any other time as promised, someone just kicked them down the hill (arrows pointing to the dumped foam padding).  We don't know who kicked them down the hill.

Note: All of the stumps in this shot are dead Eucalyptus, most of which were cut down around last year's brush clearance.  A few smaller dead Eucalyptus were cut down in this area this year.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Red Car Property: Arundo Cleared From Lot C

Photo:Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2015.  A few days after I posted a piece saying Arundo should be outlawed in California, like magic,  the Arundo was cleared from Lot C.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Now you can clearly see the original concrete post property line marker. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 10, 2015.  Of course no matter when they actually clear the Arundo, it grows back pretty quickly.  With last weekend's inch of rain, it'll be this tall again in no time.  Who expects significant rain in July?

Remember, brush clearance is a year round responsibility, as fire season lasts all year round.   I guess rainy season is now year round too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Red Car Canyon: It Took Almost A Year To Get The Piles Of Dumping Picked Up

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 14, 2015. Arrows point to the locations of where the piles of debris and brush were dumped last August.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Corralitas Drive: Praying Mantis

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 14, 2015.  A 4" long Praying Mantis was was hanging upside down inside a patio umbrella.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

If you look closely at the above photo, she's cleaning one of her antenna.  She seem to have very large and wide abdomen and  check out the spikes on her front legs!  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 14, 2015.  She has excellent camouflage for a leafy green garden. There were even imperfections in her wings.  

Mantids are ambush predators.  I think this one had its sites set on the semi feral cat who likes to sleep beneath this umbrella.

She may be a California Mantis (Stagmomantis Californica).
*UPDATE:  We submitted this wide-bodied mantis to What'sThatBug? for ID, and she may be a Bordered Mantis (Stagmomantis limbata).
Daniel Marlos, The Bugman of Mt. Washington, admits it may take an expert to sort out the ID.   

Read more about Mantids:
Whats That Bug?
Bug Guide

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lot C: Tiger Swallowtail

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  The Year of The Butterfly is not over yet.  Tiger Swallowtails are still everywhere.  Keep your eye out for Giant Swallowtails.  They've been mocking me; flying past my head in my own backyard whenever I don't have a camera handy. 

Click here for all our butterfly posts.

Corralitas & Rosebud Mudwatch: Cleaning Up After Dolores, Rainfall Totals

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 20, 2015. The construction crew working at the site atop the Corralitas Public Staircase spent this morning clearing the mud from the stairs, sidewalk and the intersection of Corralitas & Rosebud.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 19, 2015.  One say earlier, the mud from the site had built up considerably after Tropical Storm Dolores blew through dumping a half inch of rain in 20 minutes Saturday morning; and nearly another half inch over the rest of the weekend.

We're tracking rainfall totals in the Corralitas rain gauge...

July 18, 2015: 0.9"
July 19, 2015: 0.05"
*Season to date: 12.17" 

*Normally, the rain year would have ended June 30.  However, this year California joined the rest of the country, and will report rainfall totals between October 1 to September 30.  Who expected to have significant rain between July 1 and October 1?  There will always be an asterisk next to the 2014-2015 rain year.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Red Car Canyon: What Mudwatch?

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 19, 2015.  After nearly an inch of rain Saturday, I expected Red Car Canyon Lake to be impassable today.  It was drier than yesterday.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase: Defensive Landscaping In Bloom

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 14, 2015.  Non-native, but scenic cactus is blooming at the Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase on the Red Car Property.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Cactus and succulents are not only drought tolerant, they're fire resistant and once established, certain species (like those planted south of the Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase) make beautiful defensive landscaping that discourages criminal activity.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Corralitas Public Staircase: Mudtastic!

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  Tropical Storm Dolores thundered through the neighborhood,  dumped 1/2" of rain in 20 minutes and created a muddy, rocky mess on the Corralitas Public Staircase this morning.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  Just yesterday, the developer had the stairs swept clear of debris.  Doh!  Plywood along the staircase side of his site might have controlled some of the debris.  Everyday, rocks tunble down while I'm walking the public stairs.  Yes, we requested he put plywood up on this side on more than one occasion, including just last Monday.  (Hey, at least his drill rig didn't slide down the hill!)  We also sent him photos earlier today.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  Really, who expects rain in July?  Let alone significant rain in July?
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  The flowed out onto Corralitas at Rosebud.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  Don't even try to take the Corralitas Public Staircase until the mud dries.  The stairs are very slippery almost top to bottom.

*UPDATE Monday, July 20, 2015: Developer cleaned up the public staircase, sidewalk and street this morning. 

Red Car Property Mudwatch: Thunderstrom Dumped 1/2" Of Rain In 20 Minutes

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  An unusually strong thunderstorm unleashed lightning strikes on Echo Park and Taylor Yard, hail reported in Eagle Rock and 1/2'of rain in the Corralitas rain gauge in 20 minutes, all before 9:30 AM.   The Red Car Property was remarkably dry by 11AM.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  Even Red Car Canyon was walkable.  Of course it's raining as I write at 4:30 PM.  The Red Car Property is a missed opportunity for stormwater capture.  Streams of water clearly ran off the property this morning.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  It was beautiful, but felt like Florida humidity this morning.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2015.  The largest vernal pool was on Lot C.