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Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont neighborhood

Welcome to my site regarding a beautiful neighborhood in east Los Gatos, including Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos, Surmont, and adjacent tracts & subdivisions. Here I’ll provide ongoing real estate information, some events that are happening in the community, photos of Belgatos Park and other nearby areas, and items of concern to residents in this pretty corner of Los Gatos.

Please note that this is NOT the Belwood Homeowner’s Association website. For the HOA site, and phone numbers for the Cabaña or HOA, for lifeguard jobs, please visit BelwoodHomes.org

Enjoy this slideshow of photos of our scenic neighborhood.

Racoons wreaking havoc with lawns in Belwood and east Los Gatos

Racoon Lawn Damage in Belwood September 2014 Has your yard been hit yet? For the last month or two, many Belwood and nearby residents have been awakening in the morning to damaged landscaping, particularly front lawns.  One home owner phoned the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police to complain about his vandalized front yard. But this time, it’s not human caused damage.

On several social media sites, neighbors vent that they have been victims of wild pigs or boars.  But that’s not it – at least not for most of us.  Boars do far more destruction and they are further in the hills, though perhaps if you are in the east Los Gatos foothills around Santa Rosa, or in parts of Almaden near open space that could be a risk.

Although sometimes the damage is quite extensive, involving a large percentage of one’s front lawn, the guilty parties are usually hungry racoons.  Crows may be assisting too, but they don’t create problems on as large of a scale.

They are after a meal in the form of tasty lawn grubs.  Grubs find their way into the soil to eat the roots of the grass, and those grubs seem to be the best eating in town for some of the local wildlife.

If that’s not enough,  squirrels like to bury food in lawns, too (someone is giving out peanuts in the shell – the squirrels keep burying them in our lawn – I’ve watched them!).
Racoon attacked lawn October 2014
The first photo is of our family’s front yard and it was taken in early September. The second one is of our next door neighbor’s place, and it was taken about a week ago.

Most of the time, the racoons creep out in the middle of the night, but not always.  A couple of days ago, our hungry hunters came back between about 6pm and9pm.  It must have only barely been dark!

So what can you do about it?

In my real estate practice, recently I showed a home with a lawn grub problem.  The home owners there laid down something like a soft plastic chicken wire atop the lawn and similar landscaping.  It did seem to work in terms of keeping the critters out, but it may not do anything at all for the grubs which are the Siren call to them.

One grub solution is beneficial nematodes.  These are a type of roundworm used to kill the grubs without using pesticides.  This approach may work for some but I’m reading comments online that this has not been so successful for many who’s attempted to quash the grubs this way.

There are anti grub pesticides available as well.  Sunset Magazine advises that the best thing to do is to dig into your lawn and get some of the grub worms to take to your local nursery to identify the culprit, as different treatments will be more successful with one type of grub than another.

No matter how you treat them, you do want to get rid of the grub worms, as a serious infestation will not only be unsightly, but eventually will kill the lawn.

Los Gatos lawn after grub incited racoon attack

Little Free Library in Belwood of Los Gatos!

Little Free Library in Belwood of Los GatosA couple of nights ago, I was out walking in the neighborhood with my daughter when we noticed a “Little Free Library” stand at 100 Belhaven Drive (at the corner with Harwood Road).  It had a few books inside and said “take a book, return a book”.  Apparently there are little free libraries all over the place, but it was the first we’d learned of it.

The website for Little Free Library says that their mission is

  • To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
  • To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
This appears to be a new phenomena.  Navigating around the website, there’s a link to a map with their sites. This new one in Belwood isn’t shown, but there’s one in Almaden, 2 in Cambrian, 1 in Campbell, and another in West San Jose. Kudos to our neighbors for getting it started here!
For more information, please see www.LittleFreeLibrary.org.

Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

A fire was set, apparently by three kids, in Belgatos Park this afternoon. (Whether by accident or on purpose remains to be known.)  Homes were evacuated along Santa Rosa and flames got terribly close to houses on Westhill Drive, but fortunately no residences were harmed by the blaze.  Fire fighters arrived by land and air very quickly, and within an hour, the fire was under control.

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive.    Photo by Trish McCauley trish.mccauley@gmail.com

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive. Photo by Trish McCauley trish.mccauley@gmail.com

At the time of its eruption, I was in central San Jose at a listing presentation.  When I got out, around 4:30pm, I checked messages and had a text from my friend and wonderful pet-sitter, Trish McCauley, who alerted me to the situation. She also took a couple of photos.  At left is one she took from Bacigalupi Drive at the intersection with Belwood Gateway.

Luckily, though, the word got out about the fire via social media, too:

For those of you who are on Facebook, there’s a group called Belwood Area Residents with great info shared. Pauline Wilson broke the news there at 3:33pm today.  Photos posted by Dave Klenske of the work going on to contain the fire by air and the smoldering fire too. If you are on FB and a resident, join the group if you haven’t done so already and have a peek at his pics: http://www.facebook.com/groups/105901399446505/

Mention was also made on the Nextdoor site for the neighborhood too by Kate Carr – many thanks for spreading the word!  (If you haven’t joined, please do!)  Http://www.belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com.

(Unless you happen to be connected to someone who sees the fire and alerts you, it’s great to get an update by a large group of neighbors such as we find on Nextdoor and Facebook, so I highly encourage everyone to join both sites.)

Back to our household –  Jim was out at an appointment at the same time that I was, too, but when we converged at home, he and our daughter, Clair, walked up to the park to see what, if anything, was still going on. He spoke with Ranger Dave Gray, who said that 3 kids (appx age 10?) were seen running from the area when the fire started.   Jim also  chatted with a neighbor, who said she saw the kids running away and explained that they were “young teenagers”.

Clair, meanwhile, kindly took a lot of photos for me so that I could share them with anyone else who wasn’t around when everything happened.  Below are the photos she took for this blog.

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos,  Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

There were multiple fire trucks and other vehicles from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, but also helicopters and planes from the CDF involved today.

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos,  fire cleanup

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, fire cleanup

 

UPDATE:  Patch Los Gatos reports today that 3 14 year old boys were involved, one of whom started the blaze using lighter fluid.  The teen, a resident of San Jose, was arrested, charged with felony arson and has since been released to his parents.  Read the article here:
http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/fire-at-belgatos-park-burns-3-acres

BelwoodOfLosGatos.com

This website is provided by Mary Pope-Handy, a Belwood resident and real estate agent.

*************************

For the HOA site,
and phone numbers for the Cabana or HOA, please visit
BelwoodHomes.org


************************* Mary Pope-Handy
Belwood area resident
Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
BRE License #01153805

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