Wednesday, July 10, 2024

July's ups and downs (so far)

We've been very lucky with respect to our daytime temperatures so far.  While another so-called heat dome is still toasting most of California, launching wildfires, our temperatures along the Southern California coast have yet to climb above the mid-80sF (29C) this July.  I'm crediting the persistence of our morning marine layer.  Most days, it dissipates by 8am but last Saturday we were socked in until 2pm.  It was lovely.

View of back garden after 8am last Saturday.  The harbor below us was entirely invisible,

This photo was also taken in the back garden,  The Ginkgo tree and the hedge looked like they were sitting on the edge of the world with the erasure of the homes across the canyon. 

View from the front garden looking northwest into an apparent void 

This front garden view had a more Twilight Zone edge, with a lone garbage bin left behind on the street.  Unfortunately, it also highlighted the surprising decline of Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike' on the left.  I lost 2 branches of that shrub last year and now the rest of it seems to be dying off.  Growing on a moderate slope, I can only guess whether the soil drains too well in that spot or the gopher that formerly resided there was responsible.

This photo was taken around 3pm when the sky was blue and the harbor could be seen again.  A smoggy haze has been present on the horizon since the 4th of July fireworks.  Although private displays are illegal in our high fire risk area, it wasn't evident from the war zone we experienced yet again this year.



A neighbor's cat has paid me periodic visits.

I still miss my beloved Pipig but this big boy has dropped by now and then.  He got stuck on a fence and complained loudly so I picked him up and set him down safely.  He's come back twice since and has been quite friendly.  I don't know his name but I understand that a neighbor 5 doors up the street adopted him when he was dumped in the canyon by someone as a kitten.



Unfortunately, a gopher has also paid me a visit, popping up in, of all places, my cutting garden.

I don't know why a gopher would move in here, where a large area is covered by raised planters and barrels and equal area is covered with a thick layer of gravel, but one did!  When the first hole on the left appeared I poured deterrent granules and water down it, filled it in, and inserted a sonic deterrent spike in that spot.  A few days later the second hole showed up at the edge of a barrel just 3 feet away (shown on the right).  I've looked into the lethal black-hole traps but, after reading the reviews, wasn't sure how helpful it would be.



The Italian Navy also recently paid a visit nearby.  The Amerigo Vespucci, almost one hundred years old and reputed to be "the most beautiful ship in the world," docked at the Port of Los Angeles from July 3rd through the 8th as part of a two-year worldwide voyage visiting fifteen countries.  Visitors with reservations received free guided tours and had the opportunity to participate in a variety of events celebrating the Italian culture.  Although its arrival received some low-key press, by the time I heard about it from a neighbor, all the spots on the tour had been booked.

I managed to get a photo of the ship from my back garden, though.  I used my new camera, which has a 40x optical zoom feature.  This photo was larger and clearer than than the one I took with my Nikon's telephoto lens.

 

Rounding out early July's ups and downs is an event that involves a little of both.  Yesterday, construction and plumbing crews arrived at 7:30am to replace the copper pipes in our 73 year old house and to refurbish our living room chimney.  We replaced the pipe in our kitchen when we renovated it and other parts of the house in 2019 but we didn't think about repiping the rest of the house until we experienced one after another pinhole leaks later.  As three different teams are involved in the process, I'm not sure how long this is going to take.  The kitchen, the living room, our main bedroom, and my home office aren't directly impacted but everything we removed from the affected areas, two bathrooms, the laundry room and my husband's office, have ended up in those spaces.  And there's no escaping the noise!

Even though I knew they had to open up the walls to replace the pipes, I underestimated just how much space would be affected.  This is just 2 of the 5 walls opened so far.

Even the cutting garden is nominally impacted

  

The good news is that, when they're done, we shouldn't have to worry about any more bulging walls, water bill surprises, or a leaking chimney.  A little pain now should save us more in the future.


I hope your July offers ups with any downs!  My sympathy to all those experiencing heatwaves or weather-related floods.


All material © 2012-2024 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


18 comments:

  1. I love the marine layer although we haven't had one in a few weeks. Our heat wave broke last night but still supposed to get up to 90 today which is still uncomfortable for us. I hope your renovations go smoothly.

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    1. Yesterday's marine layer held on until around 10am but today's was already lifting at our elevation when I got up at 6am so I expect we're in for some heat this afternoon. We're hoping for a general cool down in Los Angeles County this weekend.

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  2. I'm glad to hear you're still getting fairly mild weather, so nice! What a sweet cat, he's grateful you saved him and is gracing you with his presence :). Hope all the construction is over & done quickly.

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    1. He is a sweet cat (even though he caught and carried away one of the western fence lizards). I think the repiping project is definitely going to spill into next week...

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  3. Go marine layer! (Go tall ships!). And I have to note what a long impact Salvia canariensis is having on your garden judging by photos. Always loved this very big salvia. Plumbing is something we've deferred in Long Beach and must attend to as well -- what a disruption! At least you have a visiting kitty friend to sooth your nerves!

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    1. I wasn't at all excited about this repiping project and, based on where things stand on day #2, I'm guessing that it's going to take a lot longer than I'd hoped. The neighbor kitty seems to be steering clear of us now that there are trucks in the driveway and in front of the house.

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  4. So your leaking chimney was actually a leaking pipe?!? Or was that a different issue? Extremely disruptive anyway--hope it comes to a successful end very soon. We had our original water heater leak and replaced it with a tankless a few weeks ago and that was disruptive enough a part of 2 walls in the garage to repair and repaint--but nothing compared to your project.

    Beautiful neighbor-kitty.

    Ah, that marine layer on Saturday was heavenly, wasn't it? It only lasted until 11 here, but that was several hours of heat-free gardening--lovely it was. 91F forecast here for today but it's still only 84--lucky indeed!

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    1. No, the leaking chimney was a problem we thought my husband had fixed until we got torrents of heavy rain again this spring. He finally agreed that we needed to get it taken care of by a professional and we got the contractor overseeing the wall repair associated with the repiping to have one of his guys take that on. We're now 2 days into the repiping exercise. After a late start today, the plumbing crew hopes to complete their replacement of the pipes tomorrow (!) by putting in an extra long day. The wall repairs, repainting, and moving things into place (including the washer and dryer) will definitely spin into next week. It's no fun but luckily I get a break for lunch with friends tomorrow :)

      We've crept above 85F a few times during the current heatwave but just briefly. The only down side of the marine layer is that the humidity remains in the 50-60+% range, which can make 84F feel like 88F. It's still best to take care of any garden chores early in the day.

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  5. Oh, yes, those highs aren't too bad. I guess it's best to live near the coast. We've had comfy 80s lately...about to have a few days in the 90s with high humidity. Mornings will still be nice, though. Love your views with fog, and then lifting to clear over the same area. It's fun to compare. That project is frustrating, but as you say...when it's done there will be so many improvements. Hang in there!

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    1. Even along the coast, there can be significant temperature differences, Beth. We actually live on the warmer, port-facing east side of a peninsula, which sadly doesn't get the cool breezes off the ocean that folks on the west side get! At times, that can mean a difference of 10 degrees; however, we all benefit from the marine layer.

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  6. Oh my... those are big sections of the wall to have cut away! I admit to regularly looking at the highs in LA on a phone app I have, and while I realize that's just one reading (where is the official LA NOAA recording location?) I have been amazed at how much cooler than us "you've" been, even the Puget Sound area has been warmer than LA.

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    1. There are a LOT more holes now - and much more noise too as, while the construction crew is back slicing through walls, the plumbers are up in the very small attic space installing the new pipes. Luckily, the marine layer moved in later than usual this morning and it's almost cold (mid-60s), which makes the attic a less miserable place to be.

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  7. Pipe leaks, ugh. I hope it'll be less involved than it sounds!

    The mist photos at the top of your post, OMG, that's exactly what I what I want right now. 10+ days above 100 here in the Sacramento Valley....

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    1. The pipe leaks - and the entire repiping process - if probably just as awful as you imagine, Gerhard. The good news is that, 4 days into the process, the old pipes are out and the new pipes are in. However, drywall has to be replaced in 4 rooms, a hallway, and a closet and that work won't start until Monday. Then all those walls have to be painted before appliances, etc can be reinstalled.

      Ten days and counting on 100+ temperatures is awful!

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  8. Good luck with the plumbing updates. Disruptive, but necessary. Amerigo Vespucci is beautiful--shared with my husband and he was excited to see it. The marine layer is an interesting character in your life's drama.

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    1. The plumbing and related drywall repairs continue, Susie. Everyone does their job well and they're thoughtful about the impact on residents but the process still adds an unneeded source of tension...I wish I'd known about the Amerigo Vespucci early enough to reserve one of the tours. The ship had only 2 scheduled stops in the US - the first at our port and the second in Honolulu, which they headed for upon leaving our shore.

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  9. Yay for the marine layer keeping things cooler for you, but ugh on the construction mess. At least you are getting it taken care of. I love the look of the garden in the fog. It makes me want to go garden in it.

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    1. I love the marine layer too. And it provides great gardening conditions while it lasts. It seems to be lifting earlier this morning...

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