Rain 0.06"; season total 11.67"

Good things are happening. The neighbors with the noisy dog moved out. The trim on the house has been painted a nice color. The painters finished a couple days ago. And we had 0.06" of rain today.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone

Cercis and Ribes sitting in a tree...

Many of California's native plants are coming into their best season now. In my back yard I have Cercis occidentalis (Western Redbud - a wonderful small tree) and Ribes aureum (Golden currant) planted next to one another. I intended the Ribes to be in bloom when the Redbud was not, but here they are working together. I think they both could use a bit more sun, but they have done pretty well in this spot for a few years now.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone


Griffith Park hikes

Until a couple weeks ago I'd never hiked Griffith Park, despite the fact that it is only a 30 minute (in the AM when traffic is low) drive to many trail heads and contains an abundance of local flora and fauna. The official narrative on Griffith Park says,

With over 4,210 acres of both natural chapparal-covered terrain and landscaped parkland and picnic areas, Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States. Situated in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range, the Park’s elevations range from 384 to 1,625 feet above see level. With an arid climate, the Park’s plant communities vary from coastal sage scrub, oak and walnut woodlands to riparian vegetation with trees in the Park’s deep canyons. The California native plants represented in Griffith Park include the California species of oak, walnut, lilac, mountain mahagony, sages, toyon, and sumac. Present, in small quantities, are the threatened species of manzanita and berberis.

Over the years recreational attractions have been developed throughout the Park, however an amazingly large portion of the Park remains virtually unchanged from the days Native American villages occupied the area's lower slopes.

All that appears to be true.

I had a plan to lead Boy Scout Troop 283 on a hike to the Hollywood sign but since I'd never been there I pre-hiked the trail with my buddy Dan. Dan and I had ideal hiking weather: cool and overcast. The following weekend I hiked the trail again with the Scouts, but the weather was warmer and I needed all the water that I brought with me. Dan was also seized by enthusiasm for Griffith Park and met the Scouts on the trail while he completed a much longer Griffith Observatory to Mt. Lee hike. Modern Hiker has a particularly nice writeup on the Hollywood sign hike that I followed both times.

View of the transmitter tower on the top of Mt. Lee, home of the Holylwood sign.  The edge of the sign is barely visible in this photo, I think, below and left of the tower.

We're getting closer.

The trail is dirt access road and paved road on the upper reaches of Mt. Lee.  It twists and turns through the canyons.

There!  A fence separates you from the sign.  It's pretty steep, so the public safety aspects of the fence seems legit.
Dan on top of nearby Mt. Cahuenga looking out to the San Fernando Valley ("The Valley" in local parlance).

I'm using high dynamic range photography whenever I can these days, as you can see below.

Surveyer's mark on Mt. Cahuenga.

Fun single track trail up Mt. Cahuenga.

Native plants grow in profusion.

Scouts on the way up.
Nice view!

On the second descent, view of Mt. Lee though sycamores.
View down to the trail below.

I'm sure I'll be back to hike some other trails soon.


Farm, Garden, Landscape

It was Pomona who put me on to Google Ngrams - word frequency analysis based on the digitized library of Google books. Here's an Ngram for the words Farm, Garden, and Landscape.

Are we several years into a new agrarianism?


Blog action - save Arcadia Woodlands

I'm copying the following text from Wild Surburbia and urging everyone to sign the petition to save a local natural resource.  Other blogs, linked below, have far better background than I so I urge you to visit them, read about the issue, and get involved.

In solidarity with other bloggers, I implore all of you to sign the petition to save Arcadia Woodland, contact your County Supervisor, make yourself heard. Because as the Once-ler said:
"Now that your're here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear,
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole aweful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.
Update: There are now many more blogs that have posted to raise awareness of the Arcadia Woodlands

Fellow bloggers in solidarity to SAVE THE ARCADIA WOODLANDS:

While we're talking about rain

I've noticed that many of my recent posts are simply cataloging rainfall. That's an appropriate activity for a garden journal type of blog, but just how accurate and useful are my figures?

I now have six years of data to compare against a generic, but official, "Los Angeles" rainfall and I'm happy to report that my measurements correlate well with the official Los Angeles measurements. See below how there's a straight line relationship between my measurements and the official ones? I take that as a good sign. I think that the offset in the official measurement is due to their better sensitivity to heavy fog / light rain. For instance, yesterday it rained enough to wet the concrete at my house, but not enough to measure. I will bet they have more sensitive measurements at the official Los Angeles weather station.

Just how useful my rainfall figures are is debatable. Certainly, I put them to good use in my rain barrel series, a stunningly insightful bit of analysis that made blindingly obvious the merely "quite clear" . For the conspiracy theorists among us, I've also independently correlated official government rainfall reports, so at least we know they're less likely to be lying about the rain. Now about that moon landing.... However, for me the greatest usefulness is the satisfaction that I get as a citizen scientist.  I suppose I ought to aspire to sounding rockets or weather balloons or at least a higher degree of automation.  Maybe later.


Rain 0.61"; season total 11.61"

0.61" on 3 Jan.

(versus 0.5" reported at the San Pedro annex where we've now added to our rain gauge reporters.)

We're even with the rainfall amount that we had at this point during the very wet 2004-'05 rainy season. That season brought me about 29" total.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone


Christmas Holly 101 and Living Wild

...are the names of two web sites that I'm looking at right now.

Christmas Holly is one of the common names for Heteromeles arbutifolia, also known as Toyon. It's a native shrub that has distinctive red berries and it's said to have been the "holly" in Hollywood.

Christmas Holly 101

Living Wild is a wiki that focuses on food, medicine, and landscape plants native to the Sierra.

Living Wild

Thanks to the Gardening with Natives email list for the links.