Saturday, June 21, 2008

Something Loves a Wall

Just a path for your weekend wanderings. This one's a quiet alternative to the main trails at Hahamongna Watershed Park. I don't know if the path has a name, we just call it "the upper path." It's a good place to be quiet because it travels behind private homes.

All sorts of critters live in the slim space between this path and the lower, busier path—birds, snakes, rabbits—we've even seen a bobcat there, and surely it's good hunting for the coyotes—and it's only about 100 feet wide at its broadest points.

The main reason I photographed the pathway, though, is the stone wall, made of those ubiquitous local river rocks. Something there is that doesn't love a wall, but that something would not be me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Gardener

My friend Ken is quite the gardener. He must be feeding his entire neighborhood with what he grows: nectarines, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, lemons, squash, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, basil, oregano, more basil...

But the hedge. I've never seen a hedge like it on private property. And Ken trims it himself, about three times a year. He's created an efficient contraption with painters' ladders, chains, boards and a frame. His trimming shears are sharp. He's fast.

The hedge plant, in case you're wondering, is Eugenia. It can grow as high as 20 feet. Ken's about 6 feet tall. Yesterday we figured the hedge is more than twice as tall as Ken, maybe 14 feet (14 and a half when it's not trimmed). Los Angeles County has laws about fence height at street-side, but as long as your neighbors like it, (and his do), hedges between neighbors can be high.

I'd talk to my neighbors about sharing a Eugenia hedge, but right now I'm having trouble keeping my grass alive so I'm taking things a step at a time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Watcher Among the Rocks

It's not yet officially summer, but you don't need a calendar to tell you it's hot. I spied this family cooling off yesterday in the stream beyond the bridge north of the JPL parking lot. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The stream's a safe place for a family during daylight hours, even considering the fact that a mountain lion was photographed mere yards from this spot in January. In drought time, deer and small animals come farther downhill for water, and predators come after them. But it's rare for mountain lions (aka cougars) to attack humans. They don't like to mess with people. As one person said in an online discussion about going for a run near where the JPL cougar was sighted, "Some folks take pepper spray...but that is as much for roaming big dogs and looney people as cougars or bears."

I think I was very close to a cougar once. High on the Sam Merrill Trail I came upon a dead fawn. I stopped to examine it; there was no visible wound and the animal was newly dead. I wondered about that until my brain said, "Ack!"—meaning the fawn was prey, and the predator was most likely watching in the nearby brush for me to move on—which I did. When I passed again on my way down twenty minutes later the path was clear, but the underbrush was disturbed where the carcass had been dragged up the hillside.

It's good to be vigilant. Sometimes when I'm walking with Boz, I wonder who's watching us from high among the rocks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

News Hounds

Everyone loves firefighters, but in southern California we revere ours maybe a little extra, probably because we need them extra much and they work extra hard.

Sirens on one's very own street bring out the neighborhood. Even a false alarm gives the fire department paramedics an opportunity to show their stuff, and newshounds of all ages a chance to admire them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Classic

Yesterday was Father's Day, and the Pasadena Police Department hosted a Classic Car Show on Colorado Blvd. I posted a few more shots on Overdog.

As with any antique, the item itself is enriched with the provenance. I like the story on Mark's 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.

1972 was the last year Oldsmobile made a convertible. This car belonged to Mark's dad, who handed it down to Mark. The upholstery (with bucket seats) is in perfect condition, and it's the same buttery white as the fenders. The car's original color was the intense orange/rust of the mag wheels. If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you'll even discern a pinstripe to match, running the length of the car.

Mark's not an antique car aficionado. He's an aficionado of this car. It's part of the family. He told me he'd once thought of selling it, and his wife said, "Over my dead body."

I probably could have gotten a better picture of the car. But this is really a picture of Mark's pride and joy.

Tomorrow will be Zen Tuesday. Mark your calendars.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pasadena Casting

Until I got onto Google this morning, I thought the Casting Pond in the Lower Arroyo Park was unique to Pasadena. Nope. It's the location of the Pasadena Casting Club, a founding charter member of the Federation of Fly Fishers, "a 43 year old international non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of the sport of fly fishing through Conservation, Restoration and Education."

Our local club was established in 1947 with 33 members. Now there are 300, but I've never seen anyone casting there. Don't tell the fishermen, but the only people I've seen using this pond are dogs chasing sticks.

I must not have been there on a Sunday. The website says, "
The Clubhouse is open Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., under the supervision of a Board Member. This is the time and place to sit around and talk fishing, to practice casting in the Club's Casting Pool or to browse in the Library with its large collection of fishing related books and videotapes available for members use."

It can't be easy to be a fisherman/person in Pasadena. It's not like we're the land of many lakes. But we've got a casting pond, and Sunday's the day.

It's noon and I just remembered: Father's Day! I remember it late, with a pang. I've made no plans with my father today, who is long gone. The casting pond would be a good place to go with a dad, I think.