Firewood

Some of us have done good business with firewood. Only a few have cut, split and sold it as a career. More have done so temporarily between occupations. There are always trees that need to be removed. There is also a seasonal need for firewood. The work is not easy, but it can be somewhat lucrative, which is helpful for those lacking better income.

The quantity of firewood consumed locally must be significantly less than what is consumed in harsher climates. Winters are neither very cold, nor very long here. That is why trees need not be cut down just for firewood. Plenty of firewood is retrieved from trees that fall or need to be removed. Nonetheless, there is plenty of work processing firewood for those who want it.

Firewood season never ends here. No one is in a rush to get their wood stacked before spring so that it is seasoned prior to the following autumn. Much of the firewood available is already seasoned. As long as there is enough seasoned firewood, a bit of green wood that is procured too late can be left for the winter afterward.

Not many here seem to be particularly discriminating about the type of firewood they burn. Oak and tan oak are typically preferred, but anything combustible seems to do, even fir.

Those who purchase firewood here are likely to purchase if from someone who happens to have a pickup full of it for sale, rather than make arrangements with a more reputable supplier. It makes business a bit easier for those who just cut firewood between other occupations. Of course, many woodcutters have regular clientele, just like more significant firewood businesses.

A healthy society does more than support local business, by also supporting those who lack full time businesses or employment.

Unemployment

Information regarding the main causes of homelessness is always confusing. There are too many dynamic variables to limit the precision of data, even within a specific region and time range. Nonetheless, unemployment is consistently one of the most common causes of initial homelessness. Most studies rank it at the main cause. Others rank it as the second most common cause.

While so many were unable to work during the ‘Stay At Home’ order, the Eviction Moratorium was enacted to temporarily prevent evictions of the unemployed who were unable to pay their rent or mortgages. Otherwise, more of us could have become homeless by now. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect solution, and temporarily deprives landlords of their needed rental revenue.

Now that so many are able to return to work and earn revenue again, the past due accounts of rents and mortgages will continue to be a major expense for those who do not earn much more than a modest cost of living. Some could still become homeless. Some might need to relocate. Because some businesses will not recover, some of us will likely need to seek other employment.

Unpleasant predictions of increasing homelessness during the next few months might not be totally inaccurate, but mostly seem to be exaggerated. Most landlords and mortgage holders are likely to be more willing to negotiate reimbursements of delinquencies in order to avoid foreclosures and vacancies. It might be difficult to replace tenants while so many can not afford rents.

It seems that most within our Community who are still unable to work have already procured alternative employment. For some, such alternative employment is only temporary until they can resume their normal employment. Although no one should have become homeless because of unemployment during the eviction moratorium, a few are planning to relocate.

GREEN

GREEN, Greening Residential Environments Empowering Neighborhoods, will be planting at least fifty-two street trees in Los Angeles in less than three weeks, on January 18. Sadly, none of us will attend this year.

Only one of us attended the first tree planting project by GREEN twenty-two years ago. One may not seem like an impressive number, but it was half of the two who started what has become an annual tradition. Back then, we were committed only to plant thirty trees, and then planted about twice that many by the time the project was completed.

Now that GREEN has organized an impressive crew of local volunteers, it is not so important for any of us to go all the way to Los Angeles to help. Besides, we can be more helpful here, by growing some of the trees that GREEN will eventually plant.

After all, the first large groups of trees, as well as a few individual trees, came from here. In fact, on West 21st Street, between South La Brea Avenue and (coincidentally) South Sycamore Avenue, there might be as many as four sycamores that were grown from suckers that were removed from the massive sycamore in Felton Covered Bridge Park.

It would be nice to grow more sycamores because they are remarkably complaisant as street trees where parkstrips are wide enough. They do not get as big in such exposed situations as they do here. They are easily grown from cutting, and can be passively field grown on a vacant parcel in Brookdale, to be dug and relocated bare root to Los Angeles.

Deodar cedars would be nice for a section of Masselin Avenue in the Miracle Mile District. We happen to have access to a significant herd of feral seedlings here that need to be removed. The problem with them is that they can not be so passively field grown, so must instead be canned and irrigated. Bulky canned trees are not as easily delivered to Los Angeles as bare root trees.

There is plenty of space available for such a crop. There is plenty of water, growing media and cans. Even labor is not lacking. The difficulty will be getting all the assets together. Most of us do not get very far from Felton. The best space available for such projects in past Zayante or outside of Scott’s Valley. Available space that is closer lacks water for irrigation.

We will figure something out. We typically do. The young cedars will not occupy so much space during their first year, so can probably stay in Felton. More space will likely become available by the time we need it. If the finished crop does not fit into one pickup like more than sixty manna gums fit into one station wagon, we can simply rent a moving van. We will make it work.

Note: Metro Rail was not built into the medians of San Vicente Boulevard as described in the article ‘Birthday Trees’, so many of the original trees remain.

Workday – October 19, 2019

Saturday – October 19 – 9:00 a.m. to noon – Felton Presbyterian Church – WORKDAY

This is no venue for social networking, and it is unlikely that more than a few of us will see this post prior to Saturday anyway, but I want to at least briefly mention the workday cited above. I would have mentioned it sooner, but was just informed of it a few hours ago. It is only for three hours, but we always get quite a bit done before noon.

Although it is still early in the season, I intend to FINALLY prune the flowering crabapple out front, so could use some help to drag brush. Otherwise, the big cypress trees north of the parking lot, near A&W, need some major grooming. That is a big job that can not be finished before noon, but it would be nice to remove the lower growth that is encroaching into parking spaces. Of course, there is plenty of other work that needs to be done.

An Uneventful Week

There is not much to write about today. The weather has been warm, but for those of us who live outside, pleasantly mild at night. None of us are in need of anything that can not be readily procured from our collective resources. The Community is as supportive as it always is. Some of us have been spending a bit more time at odd jobs. We should enjoy the calm while we can.

One from our group has been in Montana for work for at least two months. He must be doing well there, or he would have returned already, as expected. Perhaps one temporary assignment led to another. Someone else is in Santa Cruz for temporary work, but should return on Monday or so. It is unfortunate that some must leave the area for work, but it is better than nothing.

During this next week, another one from our group will likely be interviewing for regular (not temporary) part time employment, which could develop into full time employment. The work is within walking distance from town. The schedule is flexible. It is not the most lucrative sort of employment, but involves benefits that would be useful to someone who has been unemployed.

This is the time of year that the few of us who live outside should start to prepare for autumn. There is a 39% chance of rain early Monday morning, which is not much to be concerned with, but there will eventually be more. It will be increasingly difficult for those lacking adequate shelter to stay dry. We are fortunate that this is such a mild climate, without snow or hard frost.

Here in Felton and the San Lorenzo Valley, we are also very fortunate to be part of such an extremely compassionate, supportive and generous Community.

Workday

Workday at Felton Presbyterian Church, from eight to noon on Saturday, July 27.

Yes, that was yesterday. I would have written about it earlier, and in time to plan for it; but I was just informed about it less than a day earlier, on Friday morning. Fortunately, plenty of parishioners attended and got quite a bit done. In the future, we will need to be more diligent about announcing the workdays at lunch on Tuesdays. Even though some of us who attended more regularly in the past are no longer here, there are newcomers.

The biggest project was the removal of those rotting benches on the northern half of the patio out front. The sturdy posts that supported them for all these years were surprisingly sound, and the last few needed to be pulled out by a pickup with a tow chain. It was a mess, but worth the effort. The benches on the western half of the patio are still intact, so will remain for now.

The flowering crabapple tree did not get the major pruning that it so desperately needs, because it happens to be right over where the benches were being removed. That project might get done separately from a workday, just because it would be in the way of other projects. ‘Workday‘ explains why it is so important. The smaller flowering crabapple tree will get only minor pruning while dormant next winter.

Only two low and minor limbs needed to be pruned away from the big catalpa tree that was supposedly getting too low over the parking lot. That tree, in the picture above, has really grown up nicely. It seems like only a few years ago when we were still considering removing it before it got too big and cumbersome. Another unhealthy and disfigured catalpa tree, that grew up with it just about twenty feet away, was pulled out back then.

Some of the low limbs of the cypress between the parking lot and the A&W got pruned out or groomed. That area has always been a mess, and needs more attention. The ivy on the lanai of Taylor hall also needs more attention, particularly since it was shorn to expose more of the internal problems yesterday. The hedges at the south end of the patio were shorn quite proficiently, and need nothing more for now.

The lily-of-the-Nile between the patio and parking lot needed nothing yesterday. I just took the picture below because they were still blooming like the Fourth of July. They were one of the more significant projects many years ago. When they needed to be removed from a home in Aptos, we dug, split, groomed and plugged them here, where they happily bloom now.