Photos & Videos
Enjoy a visual tour through the neighborhood, from east to west: Alerche area, Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood, Belgatos Park (extensive photos), Belgatos area, and the Surmont subdivision, which includes some view homes.
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!).
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.
A 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.
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.
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.
“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.
After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.
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.
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:
Yesterday Jim and I attended the Los Gatos Creekside Sports Park kickoff celebration (will nearly touch Vasona Lake County Park and is just off of University Avenue) and as we often do, drove east on Blossom Hill Road to get home. Straight ahead of us, hanging over south San Jose and Santa Teresa and extending north, was a huge and darkened cloud. Smoke? Smog? Rainclouds?
We drove up Harwood Road and to the top of Harwood Court to get a better view of it. It did look like it started in south San Jose or further south than that. Some hikers were trekking up the challenging hill and we asked them if they knew if it were a fire. “Can’t smell it,” one replied “so it must be smog – just awful!” Smog, though, tends to dissipate from side to side and not hang together so tightly as what we saw.
We flipped on KLIV, the San Jose based AM radio station (channel 1590) that best covers local news & traffic, and learned right away that it was a controlled burn. This morning I googled the fire and learned that it’s a 2 day burn at part of Henry Coe State Park, overseen by Cal Fire, with more scheduled for today.
The Morgan Hill Times reports that “The prescribed burn is part of the ‘Western Zone Complex’ controlled fire in the remote area of the park. The fire will take place on the Middle Ridge Trail off Hobbs Road, about eight miles northeast of Morgan Hill, according to Calfire fire prevention specialist Chris Morgan. “
It’s mid-October and little ghosties, Jack-o-Lanterns, grave stones, witches, over sized spider webs and other trappings of Halloween have begun to appear in the Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood neighborhoods of east Los Gatos. There’s no shortage of the “Halloween Spirit” – so to speak – in this corner of town! It sure is fun to see.
What’s your favorite haunt in the hood?
If you’d like to share your photos of ultra cool Halloween decorating, I’d be very happy to post them here! Whether it’s effects that show up on October 1st or October 31st, we’d love to share them with the neighbors!
As the month goes on, I will add images of local streets, yards and homes where the decor is noteworthy.
Here’s one of my very favorites – a great little ghost western style town up the street from Jim & me.
And another one with some serious spider webbing:
And yet another with quite a few ghosts – this one on Westhill Drive’s Belgatos area.
Meanwhile, if your not-so-haunted house has children who’d like to participate in a pumpkin decorating contest, I’d like to invite you and them to dive into the project asap. My real estate brokerage, Sereno Group, is hosting its annual pumpkin decorating (not carving) contest and the DEADline is this Friday, October 21 at 5pm.
Read all about the contest on my Live in Los Gatos blog. Hope to see loads of the spooky, cute, funny, and outrageous creations next week!
“Cardboard Hill” is a much beloved spot in Belgatos Park, but sometimes it looks more like “big trash hill” when the cardboard sledders neglect to clean up after themselves. Pack it in, pack it out! This is true for all the wonderful parks and trails in Los Gatos.
Here are a few shots from a couple days ago – typical fun on a sunny September afternoon.
About a half dozen kids gather to slide down “cardboard hill” at Belgatos Park in Los Gatos.
What goes up with some work comes down with some fun at Cardboard Hill.
Sliding down “cardboard hill” at Belgatos Park in the Belwood neighborhood of Los Gatos. Continue reading
Two speed bumps have been planned for Belwood Gateway, one between Blossom Hill and Bacigalupi (close to Bacigalupi, actually between Belwood Lane and Belwood Court) and the second one between Bacigalupi and Harwood Roads.
Today I noticed that the areas with the speed humps have been painted. Have a look at 2 images of the second one:
And closer, it looks like this –
While the first stretch’s traffic calming measure seems to be well accepted, that’s not really the case for this second one which I photographed today. (See recent, previous post on traffic calming measures in Belwood.) So – we’ll see what happens.
In case you missed the prior discussions, there are really two or three main problems in the neighborhood generally but apparently worse on Belwood Gateway:
- Speeding – primarily, it’s residents doing this
- Running stop signs – ditto the source: it’s neighbors here too
- Traffic cutting through from Belwood Gateway to Almond Blossom rather than taking Blossom Hill Road (would seem to be not as much traffic as locals perceive, according to the data)
Most days Jim and I take Bella, our aging and very lovable black lab, on a walk to the park or elsewhere in the neighborhood. Virtually every time we step out, we see folks zooming down the streets at 35, 40 mph or more and just as often rolling through the stop signs – and sometimes not even slowing. (The worse offenses I’ve seen are on Harwood but they happen everywhere.) It’s especially dangerous near corners as people race through the turn and have no idea if there is a kid on a bike in the street, a car backing out of a driveway or what.
Please, neighbors and friends – watch your speedometer. Look out for the stop signs and make sure you really do stop and not roll.