Tips for keeping your home secure

A recent spate of home burglaries in Los Altos has left residents concerned about how to protect their homes. The Los Altos Police Department prepared the following list of ways to keep your home and belongings safe.

• Lock all doors at night and every time you leave.

Building a custom home away from home, right outside

Lauren Andersen/Special to the Town Crier
Celeste Randolph’s backyard studio houses her design business.

As my design business grew, it was becoming difficult to continue working efficiently from my garage and spare bedroom.

Bringing bugs to your garden

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Valley Violet ceanothus is among the most floriferous natives in early spring. All varieties of ceanothus are excellent habitat plants.

For gardeners – and anyone else concerned about the future of life on Earth – a recent article on the “insect apocalypse” is essential reading (New York Times Magazine, Nov. 27, 2018).

Researchers in Germany found that the number of insects is less than one-fifth of what it was 50 years ago. If you’re lucky enough to have lived that long, remember how many insects got plastered against your windshield on long car trips? Or how many bugs you couldn’t help but swallow on bike trips?

Historical house on the market after major renovation

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Emerson House was recently updated with a nod to the home’s historical roots.

The year is 1906.

Just as Los Altos began to resemble a city, Edwin Emerson, a Bostonian, completed construction of an East Coast Shingle-style house on the corner of Emerson and Mira Monte roads, today’s Covington Road and Miramonte Avenue. It was the farmhouse for his 70-acre fruit ranch and took four years to build because he had trouble finding a contractor who could read his architectural drawings.

How native gardens are different from nature

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
A graceful toyon at a botanic garden may have developed a cascading form on its own, planted under oak trees, but it has probably been aesthetically pruned to accentuate its shape.

Whenever I’m describing various garden tasks or techniques to beginners or nongardeners, inevitably someone asks, “Why go to all that trouble?” They suggest that in nature, seeds sprout and no one is paying attention to how deeply they’re planted, or what time of year, or whether they’re watered or protected.

The difference is that a garden is a relatively small, controlled environment. People impose limits and expect plants to perform in a predictable way. For example, if you let California poppies go to seed in a garden, you’d probably want to edit the profusion of poppy seedlings the next fall before they had a chance to crowd out everything else in your garden. You’d also cut back the poppies once the blooms had faded, rather than letting the dry foliage remain. You might also want to water them to prolong the bloom, especially if rains were few and far apart in winter and spring.

Prioritize emergency preparedness at home in the new year

At the end of the year, families and friends often gather for meals and holiday celebrations. Show them your love by helping them stay safe and prepare for the new year.

The following safety tips emphasize the importance of prevention and planning.

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