Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth, the day after

I am spending the day after Earth Day it at home with two nice fellows who are fixing our air conditioning unit. Because the stairway to the attic is in my closet (dressing room is, I believe, the English word for it) and the closet is only accessible from my bathroom, I am unable to shower and so, the day will be spent in breeches and a very fetching fleece with matching blue Converse low tops. I am the height of fashion when I ride, let me tell you.

We have been without air conditioning for as long as we've lived in this house (11 years) with sporadic bursts when the temperature goes over 105F (that's 40C Mamma). Essentially we have struggled and lived without air conditioning by doing things like constructing a jaunty sheet awning over the skylight and opening the windows and doors in an elaborate dance which follows the sun. Ours is both the hottest and the coldest house in the world, which my mother can attest to, with a lot of sliding glass doors, thin, uninsulated walls from 1978, a proud year for the construction industry as you can no doubt imagine, along with most things made in the late seventies, and tall ceilings. My office is the only room with its own air conditioning unit and a very small electric heater which I squirrel away in the loo whenever the Maharishi marches towards me. As the office is its own little hut, it's rather a good excuse to escape. There's also a bed in there, secretly hidden in a sofa, but that's another story.

But now, with mixed emotions, I listen to the gentlemen banging about in the attic and see large pieces of wide metal piping festooned about the hallway. They are banging so loudly in fact that I worry that one of them may fall through the ceiling and wonder why they're not sporting climbing cleats and special ropes round their waists.

Los Angeles houses used to be built with thick walls and shuttered windows, with wide verandas surrounding the whole house, providing both air circulation and a shady place to sit on a warm evening. Note the layers of roof and overhang on the Gamble House in Pasadena (designed in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene). I wish there were a better way.

Even worse, even worse, dear reader, and another subject entirely, but inspired by Earth Day, is that on my daily Mulholland loop walk yesterday I spied tree trimmers hacking a eucalyptus to a mere lollipop stub of its former self. Who, pray tell, who on earth would trim trees in nesting season? I hope my outrage is not misplaced, but I cannot begin to fathom why anyone would consider such a thing at this time of year. (It's different, really it is, the way the birds sing early in the morning, now that April is here.) Note this from Wildlife Rescue:

Tree trimming is a subject near and dear to our hearts here at Wildlife Rescue, because each year we receive a significant number of baby squirrels and birds who have been injured or orphaned by tree trimmings. Most of our “guests” come to us in the spring, which is the worst time to prune a tree for both the tree and the wildlife living in it. Surprisingly, few people know that. So, to help educate our friends and supporters about proper tree trimming practices, we have put together the following information. We hope you find it useful and, of course, we also hope it helps reduce the number of baby squirrels and birds injured, orphaned, and killed by tree trimming.

I think harmonious living is what it's all about really.

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