Thursday, May 10, 2007

Red tailed hawk

Birds are nesting .... and so are the hawks. This image is one hawk from a pair flying circles over the city of Glendora.

If you follow the road (on the map...) up the mountain, and past a gated community, there are indications of farms and ranches that were owned by families from the 20s, 40s and 50s. In the early 50s the City of Glendora had only 3000 people. One particular family that bought land in the mountains owned a stone house next to a property owned by Charlie Chaplin. This family is unusual in that it is 5 generations Californian.

Apparently, from a story told to me by the son of the owner (generation four), his father used to say that Charlie Chaplin had 'orgies' next door.... probably just Hollywood parties... The stone house and Charlie's house are pretty close... about a quarter of a block away from each other. So, with enough music and conversations by those with thespian backgrounds, one could very well assume wild unfettered partying was going on.

This family who lived near Charlie, donated about 40 acres of their 400 to the San Gabriel Mountain Regional Conservancy and is planning to sell the Conservancy more using various funds from local cities. The family was divided about this. One part of the family, which made lots of money in the drilling oil in Southern California, wanted to sell the parcel off... While the other sector (headed by the matriarch whose one son is a doctor) wanted to give it to a non-profit group to preserve the open land.

As with many of these sorts of large and valuable parcels and family issues, it was hard to make the decision to preserve. All around the parcel, many other landowners have sold to builders who are grinding away at our common heritage with bulldozers. The 8 thousand square foots monsters set on little mountain peaks, built for people who need monuments to themselves, have to have water pumped up to them. In the end, the city and the state of California, which has few reserves of natural sources of water, will pay for the 'parties' or more appropriately, orgies that the builders are enjoying on our future dime.

The Conservancy had a day on the Ranch and got to listen to the matriarch of the family. One of her son's... perhaps the one not happy about the gift, flew his plane over our heads.

Other people representing conservancies from other parts of Southern California, came that day to rejoice in the gift to the future. They wanted to know how to preserve more and to protect lands from the building orgies and their lawyers who constantly push weak government bureaucrats. They wanted to meet successes to give them courage. In Southern California we are loosing not only sensitive ecosystems but farming land to houses. Soon, we will need to go abroad for most of our food. Hope that it won't be harmful and expensive..... what do you think????

When the property was a ranch, 50 years and more ago, the cattle ate the chaparral. The cattle have not been on the mountain for many many years but you can still see where their hooves scared the soil. There are trails that cut the surface of the mountains ... the trees are gone, only grass is dominant, and the medium sized brush is mostly gone. You can see the pattern in the soils - it looks like the wire mesh used for stucco on the outside of homes.....

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