Recently we completed a new entrance of trees and California native plantings at Rinconada Hills HOA in Los Gatos and the results were spectacular! The areas were originally sod/turf that we converted to the new drought tolerant plant material through sheet mulching and drip irrigation. Not only does it save money through decreased water use, the HOA received over $20,000 in rebate money while doing our part to conserve water. Although there are 108 acres of land with all sorts of challenges making this property unique, we have been enjoying our relationship at Rinconada Hills for over 7 years and want to thank the board and the homeowners for allowing us to provide exceptional service to them.
It’s a common story: You have a balcony, but you don’t really use it like you could. It might be because it’s an awkward space or that it lacks privacy, but don’t fear – we have tips to outfit your balcony and transform it into a lush retreat you’ll want to spend time in (and your neighbors will be jealous of). Start with the furniture. It’ important to think about how you’ll use your balcony. Do you want a space to enjoy your meals, a cup of coffee, or glass of wine? Or are you looking for a place to lounge and read a book on a gorgeous sunny day? Be sure to select comfortable outdoor-friendly furniture that suits your style. Here, we brought in a vintage bistro table and a couple of chairs — fun flea-market finds — to create a space where you can enjoy an al fresco meal or start your weekend off the right way. To give the balcony more character, we added a coat of paint to the floor. The soft blue contrasts the beige walls and gives the impression there’s an outdoor rug. To enhance that feel, we use stencils to add a subtle design to the floor. Want something softer? Feel free to use an outdoor-friendly rug! There’s a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors available, making it easy to personalize%2
Father’s Day could use a little more creativity, steering away from another bottle of after-shave or a tie. Put a little more time and thought into dear ol’ dad’s gift this year. Think about something he loves and work up a fun day dedicated to it. If that “something” is enjoying a good meal, plan a brunch table set with his favorite “feast.” Grill his favorite burger and perhaps go German with a beer served in a stein. Set the table using brown or earth tones and masculine themes. Use another stein to drop some deep orange roses in for a centerpiece. Go all out with every detail. Just for dad Show your father that you love him with these unique ideas: Book a tee time at his local golf course or reserve a pool table and deliver the invitation with a note tied to a bottle of spirits. You booked your mother a spa day — why not send dad in for a day of pampering treatments that range from a soothing shave to a golf-themed massage? Pick movies you know your father will love. Invite family and friends ahead of time and arrange the room so there is plenty of theater seating. Create a concession stand or bar area, buy every candy you can think of, and make fresh popcorn. Turn down the lights and create a preview that includes a video message from the family dedicated to Dad.
By Clare Miers
THREE RIVERS, Calif. — A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service shows that thinning forests with prescribed fire can reduce the effects of drought. Climate change is expected to amplify drought conditions in California so using science to better understand the impacts of drought is of great importance to resource managers such as the National Park Service. Drought-related tree mortality at a low elevation forest in Sequoia National Park. Public domain “There is a lot of research showing that climate change is already increasing drought frequency and severity,” said Phillip van Mantgem, USGS forest ecologist and lead author of the study. “Our study indicated that when some trees were removed using prescribed fire, the remaining trees were more likely to survive during the drought. The use of prescribed fire prior to drought may help forests by allowing the remaining trees to have more water during times of stress.”
Researchers studied low elevation conifer forests in areas that had recently experienced severe drought in Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, examining data from almost 10,000 individual coniferous trees, including familiar species such as ponderosa pine, white fir and Douglas fir. They used this information to estimate the risk factors involved in tree mortality, and found greater tree mortality in forests that were not burned before the onset of drought in 2012. The study is published in the journal Fire Ecology.
“If current warming trends continue, we can expect to see more frequent tree deaths following drought, which can lead to substantial changes in forests,” said Dr. van Mantgem. “But managers may be able to blunt the effects of drought by using prescribed fire as a tool for forest health.”
The analysis only considered the impacts of drought in 2012 and 2014, and future research is planned to include the continued effect of drought in 2015 and an understanding of how lower numbers of trees might influence tree survival. This ongoing research addresses key uncertainties facing future forests, and will include areas outside of the southern Sierra Nevada.
“Understanding the relationship between drought, fire, and tree mortality from fires adds some important wrinkles to how we manage forests,” said Tony Caprio, a fire ecologist with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and study co-author. “One of our goals is to reduce risks of undesirable wildfire using prescribed fire. Maybe prescribed fire can also help prepare these forests for a drier future.”