Weekend doings; lawn meadow; rainfall

I started the weekend on Saturday with a brief three hour neighborhood cleanup, organized through my neighborhood association and the local elementary school. The City of Hawthorne provided heavy lifting. There's definitely room for improvement in some of the areas adjacent to my neighborhood but I'm proud to say that my city is doing quite well in terms of keeping itself clean. Next fall I'm tempted to do some flower bombing in dirt areas that I spied while cleaning - back alleys with multiple abandoned mattresses, broken old furniture, and liquor store detritus.

Because we're on the border with LA County and Lawndale there's the inevitable lack of accountability in those areas. However, Hawthorne does a good job of keeping up even the areas that they're not responsible for. As a result of my conversations and email Hawthorne will pick up the street cleaning on a short cul-de-sac that falls in the County, but is surrounded by Hawthorne on three sides. This was accomplished very casually through conversations with the appropriate people. It's interesting to accomplish real progress that way, something I've grown better at over the years. Call me ignorant, but years ago I would have expected a formal process for any dealings with the City or any institution. I've learned since then that many things get accomplished relying on the strength of established relationships. I could have read any number of books that explained this, but I wouldn't have found them believable.

While working on the cleanup in a blighted area closer to Crenshaw, I was reminded of an idea I had a while back: People locally refer to our nearby concrete channel as "the drainage ditch" but I suspect that it was once a seasonal stream. It could be again, I suspect, if the idea to rejuvenate it a la the LA River catches hold. This weekend I floated that idea to a few people who can make things happen and I didn't get laughed at, so maybe it has a chance of happening in my lifetime. It starts from underground at 120th and Crenshaw and flows on the surface to the LA Harbor. Seems like an ideal candidate for wilding, though some people might like it just the way it is. The official name for the "drainage ditch" is the Dominguez Channel. Here's a virtual tour. The LA River Project has a bit of info too.

The front yard meadow is doing well but I think the plants will struggle against one another later unless I do something now so I continue to thin the herd gradually by pulling up some of the very dense plantings. There's a ton of spurge in there - my former lawn didn't have that much so it's a bit surprising. Hopefully it's not a native that I'm not recognizing. The remainder of the front yard is coming into bloom.

Red Monkeyflower (Mimulus puniceus variety unknown) in my garden.

Later Saturday, I had intentions to take a first look at the work to be done in my attic: re-plumbing and rerouting the gas lines. If some of it looked easy, then I'd go ahead. However, I got the bug to put in a larger attic access (existing access is 1.5' on a side and doesn't let you get even a half sheet of plywood up) and some attic lights so that I wouldn't have to work by headlamp. Because Sunday was the first (and record-breaking) hot day of the year, the attic was a stifling, sauna-like, 110 degrees and ultimately only the twin banks of dual 4' fluorescent lights got put in (they work great, though I'll expect early failures due to the high heat in there). I now have a steel attic ladder in my living room and the front porch railing is still waiting for a free half day. I'm updating my list - adding the attic access door and lights bonus chore.

The rainfall total in my backyard now stands at just over 1.4 inches (about 3.6 cm in case I have a European reader). That's low. I was one of the early harbingers of drought. I suppose I should stay away from predictions of famine, pestilence, and disease.

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) in my garden.

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