By Andrew Tonkovich

Now ‘tis spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted; Suffer them now and they’ll o’ergrow the garden.               

Unskeptical about septical
The slow, fascinating process of county review and adoption of new state Local Agency Management Programs (LAMP) standards for our region continues, in a satisfying peristalsis of thoughtful bureaucratic deliberation, with the promise of a satisfying outcome for canyon residents. We’re talking poop. Contracted by OC Public Works, GEI Consultants recently indicated its willingness to grandfather in existing (functioning!) home septic systems.  The outfit is producing a draft plan after sharing its work, so far, toward proposing a realistic, enforceable “on-site water management” protocol to meet stricter state regulation of water quality. Current and former Inter-Canyon League Boardmembers Geoff Sarkissian, Scott Breedon and Janet Wilson report a receptive response to canyon concerns, with seeming assurances that only new or modified tanks would be subject to new regulatory standards, and that home sellers wouldn’t be responsible for replacing them. After submitting to our regional water board, with 30 days for public comment, the proposed new rules would go to the county supes, who’d likely create an ordinance with enforcement guidelines. This environmental protection law addresses human waste. Equestrians follow other rules toward keeping our creeks healthy. Dog owners, too. Please! 

Weekend warriors
Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 offer canyon activities for every taste. At Arden on Saturday, impresario and ICL Director Dion Sorrell delivers again, with Shakespeare Festival co-founder Ann Armbruster, through the auspices of the Helena Modjeska Foundation. Organized by Chapman Professor Tom Bradac, the seasonal bespoke canyon troupe, lately directed by Nicholas Thurkettle, presents outdoor Shakespeare performances at Madame Mo’s from “Twelfth Night,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “Othello” and more. Free, but to register call (949) 923-2230 or visit ocparks.com/historic/Modjeska. 11 a.m., with open house to follow. 

That early evening, starting at 6 p.m., it’s the kick-off show of the 13th Annual Silverado Summer Concert Series at the Silverado Fairgrounds, with barbeque, raffle and performances by the Trabuco Hills High School Jazz Combo and returning favorite Conspiracy Radio. For more on the complete five-concert monthly lineup, see organizer and Silverado Modjeska Recreation and Parks Prez Kevin Topp, and suggest items to him for a planned Santiago 250th anniversary time capsule. Admission is free, but bring canned food. Not for the time capsule, but as a donation for the show.  

Sunday’s the big fundraiser for the Silverado Children’s Center, the 14th Annual Silverado Chili Cook-Off & Hoedown, hosted once again by Circle S Ranch at its charming spread on Santiago Canyon Road. Live music, chili tastings and valet parking. 11 a.m. 

Locals only
Local hero Joanne Hubble anticipates arrival from the printers of the new, long-awaited, revised Canyon Community Directory that same weekend, compiled, assembled and edited by Hubble with support from Orange County Fire Authority. Available free (two per household, max) at her Chili Cook-Off booth (Saddleback Mountain Beef Jerky), this local labor of love provides essential emergency contact info as well as encourages neighborliness. Big shout-out to designer Laura Bennett. 

Friends of the Library’s Best Friend Fran Williams thanks all who donated to the swap meet, and volunteers who made it a success. The Friends’ next fundraiser is its boutique booth at the fall Country Fair. At press time, we await news of the winner of the Robert Meyers “Prehistoric Style Art” silent auction, to benefit the Friends. The gorgeous acrylic painting of a bear and its tracks elaborates on Meyers’ recognizable style.

Flora, meet fauna
April showers bring May flowers, purple phacelia and bright blue lupine, along with acres of invasive six-foot high stands of (bright yellow) black mustard, and every kind of aromatic native sage. Dotting the hillsides are white stalks of chaparral yucca, also called our Lord’s candle, Spanish bayonet, Quixote yucca or foothill yucca.  The unshy wild cucumber (also known, charmingly, as Cucamonga manroot) has taken over trees, fences, walls -- doing its botanical version of manspreading. It’s all vibrant and lush now, but it means fuel for the inevitable dry spell, our nearly permanent fire season. Spring, and a young, old or middle-aged man’s or woman’s fancy turns to thoughts of weed whacking. One welcome creaturely springtime arrival is the return of grey squirrels, wiped out from poison left for less attractive rodent brethren. Marcella Gilchrist at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary guesses that just enough survived to breed. Even closer to home --- under awnings and sometimes indoors,  flying, bouncing aplenty --- are mosquito hawks, aka crane flies, respectfully nominated as May’s Insect of the Month.    

Canyon Beat:

Feces and fecundity

May 2019