Sunday, January 6, 2013

Culvert City

There's Culver City, a city in Western Los Angeles County, famed for really nothing yet who's city history is packed solid with almost entertaining information.  Culver City calls itself the Heart of Screen Land, and since it was the home to MGM Studios back when and is currently home to Sony Pictures Entertainment as well as the NFL Network Studios I guess its got a little bit of screen.  Maybe not as much as Hollywood, or Burbank, but it's definitely got some screen.

And then there's my very own Culvert City, which shall hopefully never become famous or packed solid with anything, especially anything solid.

You see, I got this situation.  Our driveway curves up from the county road, often at a pretty steep clip, because we, like, live on a hill.  It's about six hundred feet long, with one main curve coming up to the house.  This top portion (leading up to the house) drains quite nicely along the right side and keeps going almost straight ahead beyond the turn.  It then dumps into a little seasonal arroyo, or wash that lays between us and our neighbor.   

That little drainage ditch along the right side there also handles all the wash down from "The Red Riffs of Rover", as well as all the water that dumps from our upper hillside onto our back yard.  It gets flowing pretty good when it's raining hard.  Like, for instance, if you happened to be a little cartoon rat, like  Ratatouille , and happened to be scurrying down the embankment in the middle of a downpour because you were being chased by 101 Dalmatians, you could jump on a piece of bark and use it as a raft and quickly evade your provocateurs.  Trouble is, after this whoosh of a rapid you'd be dumped Victoria Falls style into a ravine with even more raging water, and then subsequently get dumped into the street.  Where, if it took you a few moments to catch your breath, you'd probably be run over by a car.

I think the moral of the story, best not to be a furry little rat. 

There's both rock, concrete and asphalt reinforcement along the left-hand side of the ditch where it meets the road.  Homeboy, the previous owner, had some of that going on when we arrived.  But a couple areas of the drive, both on this section and the lower straightaway have received serious patchwork where he (homeboy) let things slide, quite literally.  Since those areas have been patched, I have been very diligent about drainage.  This section gets a look-see every summer and gets patched where necessary.  

The rest of the water from above us and our immediate yard eventually dumps down onto the hillside below our house and lawn area, some of which flows into another drainage ditch which runs along the left side portion of the drive below.

This, too, flows quite nicely now when it rains, like the Rio Grande where it flows through much of the lower border between the United States and Mexico.   But if there weren't a bridge on El Paso Street in El Paso, Texas, another All Time Greatest Hit by Marty Robbins, it might look a lot like this:

El Paso Street that is.

As you can see, our propane tank's access was getting compromised, and this is also a nice, level, lower parking area for when things get really out of hand up above, which they do from time to time. 

That big rain we had a month or so ago really helped dig the channel, but enough was getting to be too much, so I capitulated and got out the old pick and trusty trench shovel.

I had to dig down another three to four inches.  I was happy it was only that much because the gravel had been pretty well compacted over time and it was tough digging.  But it only took an hour or so, a little huff and puff and I got the channel wide enough and deep enough to accommodate three inch flex drain pipe.  If this had been the Rio Grande I probably would have needed some metal and a lot of other stuff to make this thing happen.  A few workers.  More money.

A little skip to ma loo my darling later and it was all covered up and ready for travel.  I also made an erosion proof entry point for the water at the top.

I originaly put a medium mesh screen in there, which I soon discovered was a way bad idea.  Way bad.  All kinds of small leaves and twigs were getting trapped there and it didn't take long before it was fully plugged.  Like about ten minutes.  After the second time it clogged I removed the screen and let her rip.  The force of the water is plenty enough to carry all the smaller debris through.  The pipe is now channeled alongside the concrete drive and all this water drains directly onto the county road.

Prior to this there were two places running through the soon to be orchard (next post) that drain onto the road.  There is significant erosion at these two spots, as well as where the arroyo meets the road.  The county has already been by with a dozer to remove the mud that had sloughed off onto the road. 

Deer Redux and the Lucky Horseshoe

I have been continuing my ongoing battle with those flea ridden parasites, you know Bambi and her dang brothers.  I had to cut and clear a number of trees on the south side first, and then I have completed both the lower portion of fence as well as the manzanita elevated barbed wire all the way down to the road.  The embankment there is a sheer fourteen feet.  No deer's going that high. 

You can barely make out the barbed wire at the top, which runs along at approximately eight feet.

I have also fenced the top (east) and north sides with four foot fencing up against the manzanita all the way to the road, where the embankment is a sheer twelve feet.  This section of the land is thick with manzanita, and when thickened with dead manzanita I cleared from my land I figured it would be impenetrable to those rascals.  But they found their way through, until now!

I had originally put up six foot deer netting along this section, but they laughed as they sashayed on through.  They can't jump over or through the manzanita, they duck their heads and maze their way through.  Let's see them maze through some metal, and eventually thick native blackberry bush, which is the next step in my security evolution.

The land is already fenced along the top at an eight foot level, so I have now effectively made a fenced horseshoe on our land.   I had originally not planned on altering their route, but after they actually started coming up four steps to our wrapped front porch and dining on some very special what I thought were protected plants, I have decided to hell with them. With a little luck, this may hold them.  They don't bother the folks across the county road, as a matter of fact one neighbor sports bright, cheerful, colorful flowers in their unprotected yard every spring and summer.  

There's a donkey across the street too.  Goats, a few dogs  The deer skirt way around in back of the three or four parcels directly across the street from us.  They have been crossing the road and coming through our property.  And dining on our delicacies.  Now there's eight foot high metal in their way.   

I am hoping, as a natural course of events that they simply alter their route.  There is a very large parcel of land on top to our east, and ample room to trample where they may and where the homeowner cares not for botanicals.  With a little luck, we may be able to finally add some splashes of color around the yard.  We'll keep you posted!