Archive for July, 2009

I just get speechless chills attempting to comprehend how from a tiny simple seed — one of a bagful sent us by my friend Jo — planted two months ago, sprung forth this complex and magnificent six-foot-tall example of glorious awesome.

It is a miracle.

If you follow this blog, you know I make it a point to offer assistance to stray dogs I encounter on my bikings around town. Birds? Not so much. Not for lack of compassion as for lack of opportunities.

But I had one this morning. Biking in to work along the Ballona Creek Bikeway beneath the Overland Avenue bridge, I didn’t even see the fledgling pigeon standing on the path until after I past it — with about a foot between us. If it had freaked and dodged left, it would’ve gotten churned up in my spokes. But instead it stood completely still as I rolled by it at speed, with me immediately afterward thinking “was that a bird?”

I turned and verified that indeed it was.

So I turned around, dismounted and managed to get the seemingly unflappably fearless and healthy bird to flap and scamper up atop the steeply angled concrete-coated embankment hoping it would be better able to get back up into the underside of the overpass where I guessed its nest was. But instead it just stood there entirely not comprehending my intentions or its surroundings so I sighed and made my way up atop the bank where I crouched and scrambled and did my best not to lose my footing (which in bike shoes is a pretty easy thing to do) and instead succeeded in chasing the bird out into the open, which had not been my intention in the slightest.


So after quickly snapping the above shot of the wayward bird I went after it and got out from under the bridge, somewhat miraculously managing to catch it up with minimal drama and delay. Then it was just a matter of squeezing back in the tight space between the embankment’s top and the bridge’s bottom, now with the added bonus of doing so while carefully holding a frightened feathered-friend in my paws. Again I succeeded.

Wasting no time finding a spot where I could stand up without hitting my head I carefully released the little fella on some pipes that extended out with the bridge over the creek — upon which were full-grown pigeons watching carefully that I hoped were mom and dad.

After sitting unused for more than 18 months, I finally broke out the electric tiller I bought for Susan two christmases ago (because she wanted one, not because I’m the kind of oaf to get my beloved a yard machine!) and put it to work breaking up the patch of hardpacked earth at the northwest corner of the front yard where we used to stow the garbage cans.

It worked way better than expected and in the course of my tilling I dug up a whole buncha stuff: an old rain gutter downspout, a rusted door latch, a variety of bits of rebar, old nails, broken glass, and another Batchelder tile (bottom right) to add to our tiny collection.

I found the other three a couple years ago digging in the backyard. With yesterday’s discovery I’d bet beneath the surface of the northside garden there are others. But then I thought the same thing about the backyard and there’s been none others found since.

But the even greater mystery is what they were used for: a fireplace surround? A kitchen backsplash?

I knew it, sunflower! I knew one of these days the truth would come out and expose yer true colors. Inside, yer aaaaall… yella!!

yella(click to go big)

Well, so far so good, I accomplished a buncha things on my Do List yesterday, the nicest of which was hiking up to the top of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook with Susan and enjoying the spectacular views, be it wall-to-wall wide angled or a bit more up-close as in of this busy bee docking with a flower near the visitor center (click to go big):


A few more images from the excursion are here in this Flickr set.

If you read my somewhat cryptic first entry, “Scavenge some long-coveted discarded wood,” in the previous post listing my errands on tap this weekend,  let me ‘splain. I’m a sucker for big pieces of wood. Don’t know why, but when I see a header beam or a railroad tie or something of that nature I immediately go into want mode.

Even if I have no use whatsoever for the material.

img_0624In this case, long-left alone on the corner of Jefferson and La Cienega where the Expo Line over-crossing is currently under construction, were some massive hunks of wood, at minimum 12″ x 12″ — and anywhere from four to six feet in length. They’ve been there for months, and every time I bike or drive by them I keep promising myself that one early morning I’m gonna bring the truck over and load up two or three — depending on if I could even lift them.

Well this morning was that day, and Susan and I got up early and were on our way before 6 a.m., with a plans to grab breakfast from the nearby McD’s after and go eat it atop the Baldwin Park Scenic Overlook (which I quit putting off visiting yesterday on my way in to work).

Fast forward past all that, I’m happy to report that I’m now the proud owner of two beams, one about six feet in length and one about five (we opted not to take a third one about four feet long because when I lifted it off the ground we found it was well colonized by a variety of spiders, none of them pleased to be disturbed).

Loading them up in the truck was the easy part. Getting them out of the truck, up the front stairs and into the backyard? That took a little work, as seen in the video below of me “rolling” the smaller of the two up through the northside garden and into the backyard:

Thankfully they didn’t roll back down once I got ’em up there.

Somewhat in no particular order:

  • Scavenge some long-coveted discarded wood with Susan (more on that later if successful, or not) – DONE
  • Take Susan up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (since the scavengable wood is nearby) – DONE
  • Have breakfast up there – DONE
  • Buy new deadbolts and use them to replace the existing deadbolts in the side and back doors – DONE
  • Buy a big enough pot and potting soil within which to transplant the backyard queen palm – DONE
  • Uproot and transplant the palm – DONE
  • Coax the backyard sunflowers to start blooming – DONE
  • Haircut
  • Take Ranger for a nice walk (then take Shadow for a short one)
  • Give Shadow a good brusha-brusha (then give Ranger a pretend one)
  • Mid-range recreational out-and-back bike ride (either down the LA River a ways or out Whittier Boulevard to the San Gabriel River)
  • Relax with a cigar and some tasty beverage watching the sunset from the porch
  • Usual housecleaning stuff
  • Test our studfinder to see if it works and if not go buy a new one – DONE
  • Maybe get started hanging the dressing room’s closet components. Maybe.

UPDATED (07.12)