Monday, April 30, 2007

More Mole/Gopher/Squirrel Links and Info

Here's a second article from a neighbor on Canyon Dell:

I read the item in the recent Meadows newsletter about the gopher infestation our neighborhood is undergoing. I certainly have a problem with them here and have had since last year around this time.

I've been researching control methods and have learned that pets and wild animals are sometimes poisoned to death after eating gophers that have taken poison grain. The problem is that even if you use the probe and place the bait in the burrows away from other animals the gophers have a habit of stuffing their cheek pouches with the poison grain--up to an ounce of it-- and often come to the surface when they start to feel the effects of the poison. Once there they're easy targets for our cats and dogs as well as the various predators that hunt in the neighborhood.

I read one account of an adult Borzoi that died after eating a poisoned gopher. You can read that here:

The vet in that case said that the grain in the gopher's cheek pouches and the undigested grain still in it's stomach was plenty to kill a dog that size. I called the Vanderhoof Veterinary Hospital on Lake and spoke to a woman who talked to her colleagues there and confirmed that this does indeed happen.

My yard is patrolled day and night by 3 neighborhood cats, a bobcat and a fox not to mention the birds of prey, snakes, etc. As much as I'd like to poison the gophers I just don't feel that the risk to the other animals is justified. Add to that that, unlike most homeowners, we're at the edge of a wilderness where there's no shortage of live gophers to replace the dead ones no matter how many we kill and poisoning seems even less attractive.

My guess is that we're seeing more gophers here in the neighborhood as a result of the ongoing drought--the pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer in the wild but there are plenty of good things to eat in our well irrigated yards. Whatever the cause, though, I have no doubt that removing them from our yards either by killing or even by humane trapping and relocating is doomed to failure.

I'm pinning my hopes on a new repellent--basically a preparation of Castor oil--that seems to be getting good results for some. It works by making the ground and the things that gophers eat taste and smell bad to them so they simply leave. It's non toxic to plants and animals. I've ordered a product of this type called MoleMax. It comes in the form of granules that you spread like you would seed or fertilizer and then water in. I'll let you know how it works.

Here's another link. This one is to an article on
They council against poison and for Castor oil:

Not Pocket Gophers

The recent article in the Meadows Newsletter about pocket gophers has brought in several responses and more information. Here's the first from a neighbor on El Prieto Rd:

"I believe that the so-called pocket gophers which are CA or Western ground squirrels, and the article about the "safe" poison is in error. These poisons, which are often called Bleeder poisons, cause the squirrel blood to be unable to coagulate and they slowly and painfully bleed internally, hemorrhage and die.

"The Catch 22 of "safe" poisons is they don't kill instantly leaving sick, SLOW ground squirrels around where cats, dogs and kids can catch them, play with them, ingest them. Cats and dogs being the more likely ingesters also ingest the poison and the more animals which are sickened and killed the more exposure to pets. The pets eat enough poison via the ground squirrels and "bleed out" i.e. DIE an awful death themselves.

"Now, I am NO CHAMPION of these little critters as they have decimated our back yard and hillside. And they carry diseases, most importantly in this area their fleas (often spread to other warm blooded animals, again cats, dogs, humans) may carry Sylvatic Plague. Most people have heard of Bubonic Plague and this is its dangerous cousin! So people do not want to be picking up dead squirrels or having the flea infestations in their homes.

"So far, here's been my success in the backyard. Red Pepper Flakes, bought in giant economy size and poured 1 or 2 Tablespoons at a time down the holes they make. Don't bother covering the holes with stones etc., just a bit of dirt so you don't step in the holes. It has been working for us, and only requires 5 to 10 minutes once a week. The ground squirrels are now vacating our yard and back to "nature".

Also they LOVE bird seed (which is how our yard became infested, we USED to have birdseed feeders. They climb, they jump, they go up poles that they are said not to be able to climb. They LOVE Pet Food of any kind and will eat just about any types of scraps!"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Real Estate in The Meadows

Thanks to support from the neighborhood, I have three new listings in The Meadows. Please come by one of the many open houses to view these great new properties.


Coming Soon in The Meadows

Welcome to The Meadows of Altadena.

4191 Canyon Crest is located high in the foothills of West Altadena in the much treasured neighborhood called The Meadows. This four bedroom home is ready for the customization of its new owners to make it a home of their own.

Four bedrooms, three baths.
Over 1900 sq. ft.
Hardwood floors
Pool and spa
2 car garage

Offered for $763,000

Greg Stanton, Realtor®

(Dilbeck Realtors is Independently Owned and Operated. Information provided by seller or third-party sources.)

Updated in The Meadows: 4219 Aralia Road

This home has been newly updated with plenty of amenities.

Four bedrooms with newly installed bamboo wood floors provide plenty of room.
1680 sq. ft.
Over 9000 sq. ft. lot professionally landscaped by YardArt – huge back yard.
Newly installed kitchen with all stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and cabinetry
The living room and family room boast newly installed bamboo wood floors, a fireplace and recessed lighting. Big picture windows in each room take in the views of the San Gabriel Mountains and all the nature The Meadows has to offer.
The full bath has newly installed granite countertops, ceramic tile and cabinetry.
Newly installed central air conditioning and heating.
Two car garage with newly poured concrete driveway.
The extra large backyard has views of both the mountains and hillsides.

Offered for $819,000

Greg Stanton, Realtor®

(Dilbeck Realtors is Independently Owned and Operated. Information provided by seller or third-party sources.)

Immaculate in The Meadows: 4031 Canyon Dell

Welcome to 4031 Canyon Dell, Altadena. This gracious home is one of the finest in The Meadows community which sits high in the foothills of Altadena. Set on a private, large landscaped lot, this private three bedroom, three bath home has a gourmet kitchen, gleaming Canadian Maple hardwood floors, and an oversized wrap-around deck offering sweeping views of the city, mountain and canyon below. It's a wonderful place to entertain your guests or relish in the solitude surrounded by nature. Escape the hustle of the city in this unique foothill enclave. Welcome to The Meadows.

Offered for $1,050,000

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Meadows Website!

Be sure and check out your new website launched this week at

The site features news from our great community, updates and even hiking information. Watch for the latest in postings of meetings, MFSC (Meadows Fire Safe Council) activities and more. Visit often to learn about the latest news and how you can help in the community. Feel free to email Linda

Residents of The Meadows Advertise for FREE on the site!
If you have a business and would like to list it for free on the Services page,
please email us and let us know at:

Next Neighborhood Meeting

The next meeting is May 1, 7:00 at 4416 El Prieto Rd.

Shake It Up at the Next Meeting

At our next meeting, our neighbor Andrea Donnelan, will talk about “Our Restless Planet: Using space technology to study earthquakes.”

GPS and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) methods coupled with computer models are improving our understanding of earthquake processes. Under NASA's QuakeSim project we are modeling earthquake fault systems using the latest data and high performance computers. This talk will focus on the applications of space technology and QuakeSim to understanding the faults in our neighborhood better.

CA Fair Plan Insurance Tip

Many residents in The Meadows have California FAIR Plan Fire Insurance. When reviewing a homeowner policy, FAIR Plan may decide to add a surcharge to your policy because of inadequate brush clearance or excessive distance from the nearest County Fire Station.
If you believe that your brush clearance is adequate and you have received a brush clearance surcharge in error, you may contact the L.A. County Fire Department, Forestry Division, Brush Clearance Unit at 626-969-2375. A brush clearance coordinator can meet you onsite to confirm code compliance and take photos. If your property is in compliance, the Forestry Chief can write a letter confirming compliance with the fire code for you to use in an appeal of the brush clearance surcharge. Please note that you are not required to clear more than 200 horizontal feet on your property, nor are you required to clear another owner's adjacent property within that 200 feet.

If FAIR Plan is adding a surcharge based on excessive distance from the nearest County Fire Station, please contact the L.A. County Fire Department's Division III office at 661-254-9668. It is sometimes possible to create a Memorandum of Understanding with contiguous first responders in other cities to mitigate this issue. For complete information go to the CA FAIR Plan Website

Phone List Notification

More people are needed for the phone list that is used to alert and notify other neighbors of unusual activity. This is not about cruising the neighborhood at 2 a.m., carrying a gun or a walkie talkie. This is just about neighbors watching out for each other. There is nothing to join. By having the phone numbers of neighbors that are "in the line of sight" we can all be more pro-active for our own protection. Currently there are only two people each for only a few streets. If you're interested, call Eich (Ike) Gravenburg on El Prieto Rd. at 626-794-7879.

MFSC Update

After having received less than a 50% return of postcards regarding fire-hazard assessments, residents were contacted door-to-door to solicit a response. Residents need to realize that these assessments are not to be confused with inspections to be conducted soon by the Forest Service, but rather are a free service of the Fire Safe Council, and residents are free to act or not act upon any advice that is given.

The formerly planned project of bringing in goats to clear brush been abandoned for this year because, due to lack of rain, there is not enough freshly grown browse to maintain the goats without supplemental feed. Instead, part of the grant money this year will be used to hire ground crews to chop up heavy brush cut down in recent years. Letters are being sent to prospective vendors for bids to do the work.

Bids have been received for a biological environmental impact study. An archeological survey is being done at the present time. Both have to be completed as a condition for further release of grant money.

Anyone having recent digital photos of their property is asked to share them with the Fire Safe Council. They can be emailed to Margaret Bridwell at

Thanks to Assistant Fire Chief E. Matt Gil, who attended the March meeting, the MFSC is now recognizing that it can be of service to other communities that are in the initial stages of starting such a council.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's a Gas!

Neighbors were questioning the "big dig" on upper Canyon Crest. Here's the scoop:

The Gas Company is replacing corroded gas lines on upper Canyon Crest. Turns out there was a leak mid-block. The old galvanized pipe is being replaced with flexible PVC-type lines.

That's the only planned work to be done in The Meadows.