All that rain was excellent! Now it is cold. There was snow in Malibu in Southern California. It has not been this cold in quite a while. Nonetheless, the weather is grand, and not so cold in the middle of the day. The first three of these six pictures prove it.

1. This was just about sunrise on the first day in a while that did not start with rain. It was cold, and the sky was clear. The trees to the left are Douglas fir. The tree just to the right of center is a ponderosa pine. The tree in the right corner is a coast live oak. This is in one of those spots where different ecosystems collide. The firs merge into redwoods to the left. Ponderosa pines mixed with a few coast live oaks continue to the right, with more pines farther back. All are native.P90223

2. Now it is raining again. I would not say it was real rain, but merely a brief rain shower, with really big and soggy raindrops. Since it lasted only a few minutes, I would still classify this as a sunny day. Unfortunately, the raindrops are not visible in the picture; but the light duty clouds in an otherwise clear sky are. It was sunny when this picture was taken, which means that from some other vantage, this spot was at the end of a rainbow. Those trees are native (coastal) redwoods.P90223+

3. While looking up, I noticed that the exotic (nonnative) sweetgum is mostly defoliated. Rain tends to dislodge the colorful foliage in winter. The two leaning redwood trunks in the middle of the picture are a concern because, although they (and palms) are the most stable trees that I work with, redwoods do not accommodate structural deficiency very well. The asymmetrical distribution of the weight of the trunks above the curves exerts lateral tension on the trunk.P90223++

4. Below all these tall trees, we have a pile of nice madrone firewood that is ready to be split for next year. The native madrone is notorious for instability. Big trees often blow over, or just fall over because they are really bored. The tree that produced all this firewood was cut down because the lower trunk was so very rotten. Yet, as you can see, the firewood from upper limbs is in good condition. Madrone firewood is quite desirable, so this wood is expected to be gone soon.P90223+++

5. The shade under redwood forests is so dark that even these shade tolerant (exotic) gold dust plant want more sunlight. I should have just cut these down, but instead tried to give them a second chance. I pruned out all the dead material, and then pruned out some of the deteriorating stems, hoping that the process would stimulate new grown. That was almost a year ago. Not only has there been no growth or improvement, but the foliage looks even more distressed than it did before!P90223++++

6. Out in a sunnier spot, and after most others have finished, these (exotic) daffodils are still blooming. Actually, they have been blooming for a while. Since there are two different varieties blooming now, I suspect that those that bloomed here earlier were a different variety, or varieties. There is a bit of (exotic) tulip foliage mixed in with them. No bulbs were intentionally planted here on the riverbank, so were likely dumped here in soil that came from a planter or a landscape somewhere.P90223+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Above and Below

    1. I don’t know. I can not leave them there like that. They should be removed, even if nothing goes back to replace them right away. Those buildings are ‘low’ priority, which is rather sad.


  1. I’m pretty sure that we were ‘gifted’ some Madrone, or I think more well known as ‘Arbutus’ here, by the tree service that dumps firewood on us. It was hard, easily split and burned well. It is serious cold all the way down to Mexico. March should see more reliably warmer temperatures I hope.

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    1. I do not understand the allure of madrone firewood. It is nice to split and burns well, but does not last. I think that those who know how to manage their fires use it to warm things up quick, and then put on oak or maple to keep it going. In a small space, I do not put that much effort into it. I burn what I have, and it heats up right away. I might put on something bigger to keep it going, but by the time things get warm, I do not need to keep it going.


    1. With maple and oak, it is one of the three most desirable firewoods. It is not my favorite because it burns fast. I think that is part of the allure. It burns fast, and gets the maple and oak going. I dislike maple only because they are uncommon and I HATE to cut down maples, although it is sometimes necessary. Oak is the most common of course. I have no problem cutting down madrones because they are SO dangerous and SO unstable. They get very heavy, and then just fall over without warning. Besides, they are not very pretty. They grow in all sorts of random directions, without ever developing a symmetrical canopy. There is a smaller exotic Arbutus unedo that is sometimes seen in landscapes here. It is a completely different animal, with compact and symmetrical canopies. It does quite well in the local climate, and really becomes a delightful small tree.


  2. It’s interesting how different woods burn differently. We used to use a lot of hedge apple, which burned hot and gave off fireworks. I remember years ago the first time someone told me they’d bought apple wood to burn and that evening, I sat by the coldest fire ever. It was fragrant, though!

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    1. Some people are very selective with their firewood, and some purchase imported firewood. It has become so silly here. New fireplaces are illegal, and old ones become more scarce with each earthquake. Some of us want to outlaw even the old ones. When I was a kid, firewood could be gathered on the edges of orchards that were being removed for the construction of new tracts of homes or other development. All that old stone fruit wood was excellent firewood, but did not last forever. The newer homes lack fireplaces, and those who move in would not use them anyway.

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      1. Yes, and the aroma was so distinctively regional. The Santa Clara Valley smelled like the smoke of apricot or prune wood, with a few landscape trees mixed in. The San Joaquin Valley had some walnut smoke mixed in. Corning smelled like olive smoke. Santa Barbara smelled like avocado smoke. .Jackson smelled like incense cedar, which was probably the best.

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      2. Yes! It’s like a cross between incense and some really sweet lovely wood. Amazing. We got some once from a big old hedge… I don’t know what olive smells like, so it could be like that.

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