Los Trancos Woods Community Association


LTW/VV Newsletter - October/November 2010


Darn! Rats! Or is it, darn rats!

Roof rats (similar in appearance to laboratory rats), which are quite different from wood rats (live outside, are much smaller, and have a short body and large head), sometimes invade our houses, our cars (my daughter had a $600 bill for new wiring), and our gardens. We may be inadvertently “inviting” them in, if we are providing food, water, or shelter.


How do we get rid of roof rats? Poisoning them is not a good alternative in our area since domestic animals and wildlife, like foxes and owls, could easily pick up and eat a poisoned rat. Sadly this has happened in our neighborhood. Although it takes a little more time, it is much more effective to take away their cozy living conditions. Survey your surroundings and see if any of the following apply:

1) Seal or screen all holes, dime size or larger, leading into your house or outside sheds. Look around pipes, vents, cables, wires, doors, or covers. Install a rat-guard on your utility line and cut away overhanging branches from your house and shed roofs.

2) Pick up all garbage around your yard and secure your garbage can and lid. Look for other sources of possible food and remove it.

3) When putting pet food and water outside, be sure you take it in each night, so as not to be an attractant to wildlife.

4) Clear away ivy which is a favorite living and breeding area for rats. Make especially sure that ivy is not adjacent to your house or shed or climbing up your trees. Any area that has an accumulation of leaves is prone to rat inhabitation, like space between double fencing or between an outbuilding and a fence. Clear it.

If roof rats have no cozy place to live, we will quickly see a reduction in their numbers.


An alternative to rat poison is the Rat Zapper. It is a battery-operated unit consisting of a small box. You prime it with dog food for 1 week then turn it on. Merely place it in the area the rodents frequent. Check it frequently and empty the dead rodents into the garbage, then reset it. Cindy Russell removed 15 rats last year with her Rat Zapper. Rat Zappers can be purchased at the local hardware store. Another nontoxic method of control is a chipmunk trap (16”x6”x6 3/8”), which can be purchased at a hardware store. Release them outside away from structures.

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale (with information from Wildlife Rescue and Cindy Russell)


Great Pony Tracks Picnic Memories

Thanks to all for making this another great picnic with about 175 attending. Our sincere appreciation goes to the Littlefields for hosting the picnic at their wonderful venue, the VVCA officers for their organizational work, and the community for providing delicious foods and volunteer help in set-up and clean-up. Special thanks to the Military Vehicle Tank Foundation and the Portola Valley and Alpine Railroad for their tours and rides, and once again the Woodside Fire Protection District. It was fun to see more children than ever before at the picnic.

Submitted by Sherri Coats


Emergency Preparedness

Earthquake Response Training will take place Saturday, 10/23, from 9am to Noon. This is a great opportunity for you to get some hands-on training by firefighters with Woodside Fire Protection District. Learn three important skills to know following a big earthquake: First Aid, Rescue, and Emergency Communications. Each topic will last about 1/2 hour and will be repeated throughout the morning. Attend one topic or attend them all. Location: Fire Station 8, 135 Portola Road.

Submitted by Steve Friedman, LTW Emergency Preparedness Coordinator



NEW Los Trancos Woods Community Association Board

Congratulations to the newly elected LTWCA Board. The 107 ballots were carefully counted and crosschecked for accuracy. The candidates receiving the highest number of votes from their district's residents who will become the District Representatives are:

District 1: Steve Friedman; District 2: Sonia Martinez; District 3: Jan Avilla; District 4: Tom Thayer

The three remaining candidates who received the highest number of votes, regardless of district, who will become the Reps-at-large are:

Julie Duncan, Joann Loulan, Autumn Stanley.

Thank you to all the participants for their willingness to serve the Los Trancos Woods Community and to those who voted. We are fortunate to have so many involved neighbors up here.

Respectfully submitted, Christine Hunner


Sudden Oak Death

Now is the time to plan your fall spraying for Sudden Oak Death. Black, live and tan oak trees are most susceptible to the Sudden Oak Death (SOD) pathogen. These species should be sprayed or injected with AgriFos once a year to reduce the possibility of infection and subsequent death. Once an oak is infected, there is no cure. Due to the late spring moisture we had this year expect an increase in disease the next few years, especially if you do not treat your trees. At highest risk are your oaks within 20' of California bay trees. Presently there are over 40 properties in VV/LTW currently using the services of Tree Solutions for their oak treatments. Our SOD Task Force has helped arrange the following pricing for our neighborhood and feels it is competitive and fair:

* A minimum charge of $75.00 (usually $125) when scheduled on the same day as multiple local area properties.

* Spraying with AgriFos/PentraBark: $2.00 per inch trunk dbh (diameter at breast height)

Quotes for SOD treatment are free of charge. Please keep in mind that there are a number of circumstances that can impact standard pricing. If you are interested in having Tree Solutions give you a quote or treat your oaks, please contact Jim Neve: 650-269-0540 / jim@TreeSolutions.com / www.TreeSolutions.com

For other questions, contact the co-chairs: Amanda Lee or Linda Drey-Nightingale.

Submitted by the Sudden Oak Death Task Force


Neighborhood Notes

- Autumn Stanley is publishing an illustrated children's story called "Marcie's Daffodil."  She has also just learned that The Ohio Farmer will publish in October an abridged version of her biographical article on her grandfather, who grew more than 25 different kinds of apples in SE Ohio in the 1920s-1940s.  Congratulations, Autumn!

- We recently lost a giant amongst us, one who was also an accessible, generous friend and tireless promoter of our community's well-being. Lenora Ferro, one of our local writers-in-residence, penned a tribute to him which was distributed at his memorial at Stanford Chapel. You can find a copy at the Portola Valley Library -- another beneficiary of Bill's (and Jean's) largesse."



Community Associations Web Sites

The web site addresses are:                                             The group e-mail list is:

http://lostrancoswoods.org/                                          VistaVerdeLTW@yahoogroups.com


Thanks Jerry Jensen & Esther Dechow for maintaining web sites