Given my self-competitive nature, I’d been hoping to top last year’s haul of seven trees, but could only lash down a matching number — albeit with a couple asterisks that make this pick-up “better” than 2008’s.

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Asterisk No. 1: Last year the seven treesĀ  included our own — which was one of the reasons I started this silliness of sweeping our neighboring streets for pitched pines. I figured if I’ve gotta go to the recycling center anyway, I might as well pick up any others I see that would otherwise just sit there on the curb decomposing for weeks. This year we decorated our fledgling living tree, so technically there was no reason for me to go much less make the rounds and clean up after my thoughtless neighbors.

Asterisk No. 2: The volume of this year’s catch was far greater than last years, which included a couple dwarf trees.

Thankfully this didn’t take a lotta time. The first three were found in the two blocks south of our house and, the final four were stationed at that popular drop zone on the corner of Bellevue and Silver Lake Boulevard, which is where Susan snapped the picture of me lashing down the last of them.

The really good news is that along the surface street route we took from there to the recycling station at the L.A. Zoo’s parking lot, it was entirely tree-free.

The disappointing news was that upon transfer of our trees to the city employees involved, there was no reward. In past years there were energy efficient lightbulbs, coupons for free mulch, and seedling trees given out. This year. Nothing but a thank you.

But I’m not in this for the freebies. I’m in it because someone’s gotta be and because I take far greater pride in my neighborhood than any of the seven lame tree tossers in my immediate vicinity who don’t.

Small Flickr photo set here.