Gardening, Hawk Hill, Stow Lake, More Gardening

December 10th, 2010. Categories / San Francisco

Before I get to the nitty-gritty of the post, it’s necessary to get this little ditty off my pretty titties:

“A Boring and Cliche Ode to Gardening”

Disturb the soil
Jam the seeds in there
Frantically toil
Pull weeds

Eat a day-old scone

See a sprout
See it get overwhelmed by weeds or vole
Take a second to bludgeon a mole

A burst of leaves
A broadening stalk
What is taking so long?

Engorged ovaries getting sweeter by the day

Rip it from the ground, it’s the real deal
Slice, slice, slice

Time to eat a meal.

Since Thanksgiving in Santa Fe, I’ve continued volunteering in the Presidio and the San Francisco Botanical gardens. Being outside and working with plants remains as pleasant as always, but I still don’t know if I feel passion for it. Regardless, it brings satisfaction and joy seeing the results of a motley group of like-minded people working the land.

Habitat restorin’ in Lobos Creek, Presidio.

Me and the team of ice plant removers with our stack on the right.

Jerusalem artichoke AKA “moose knuckle”, a nice find while working on winterizing the children’s garden at the SF Botanical Gardens.

J talking to J about poison oak at the planting kickoff at El Polin. Verdict: don’t step in poison oak.

V and J hauling plants across a grassy hillside.

Lots of pots and people, meet hillside.

J about to bowl at the Presidio Lanes.

This old sign on Clement is ready to beam someone.

Early in the week, I took a morning walk to Strawberry Hill island in the middle of Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake. I searched for a geocache somewhere in the currently dry waterfall, but couldn’t find it.

Stow Lake and tree.

A pedestrian bridge from above.


I almost took a moss-less walk off a mossy pier.

Some rusty bridge seen from the top of the island in the middle of Stow Lake.

A plants stands prouder than I ever will.

Three stages of flowering on one plant.

The bridge connecting to the Taiwanese Pavilion. Not pictured: the pissed off China Pavilion.

This pavilion is the gift of San Francisco’s sister city, Taipei.

A tranquil bench to sit and listen to Eminem through headphones. Damn, Kim. Why’d you never give him respect?

Paddle boats idle for the winter.

Nonchalant muscovy duck.

A photo from the last known surviving streetcar house of Carville by the Sea. Learn more of this quirky part of SF history at

On Wednesday, the weather was fair. I took a scooter ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands and was delighted to discover that Conzelman Road has reopened. This is one of my favorite roads, as it wraps along the precarious edge to the headlands and offers views of the city, the ocean, and the coast. The one-way stretch past Hawk Hill decends sharply, and for a moment it feels like a roller coaster.

I finally explored Hawk Hill, the lookout point for the largest known flight of diurnal raptors in the Pacific states. Each autumn, from August into December, tens of thousands of hawks, kites, falcons, eagles, vultures, osprey, and harriers are funneled by the peninsular shape of Marin County into the headlands. It’s past raptor season though. I didn’t see a single one.

The Golden Gate Bridge and the bay seen from Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands.

Exiting a bunker is like being born again.

Caution, the first step is a doozy.

Fixing Conzelman Road, one of the coolest roads in the bay area.

The radio tower of Twin Peaks in the fog.

Spying on the city.

Bunker at the top of Hawk Hill.

I hiked along the cliffs to get to this precariously positioned ruined building, but I was too scared to go inside.

After the hill, I scootered as far north as Corte Madera, ate lunch, and headed into Sausalito to visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model. The warehouse-sized model is working hydraulic scale model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta System. The model was dry due to construction which the uniformed attendant said would be finished between months and a year. While the model still functions, thanks to bastard computers it’s now only used for education.

Abandoned machine shop in Sausalito.

The tacky interior of the Bay Model.

The Golden Gate Bridge.

Glum seating.

The San Leandro Bridge.


The stack of debris that has been cleared from the bay by the Army Corp of Engineers.

In the days following the scooter ride, the weather took a turn for the cold and wet. It rained heavily all Wednesday, but I still went to the afternoon nursery program in the Presidio. Rather than outdoor activities, we stuck to the greenhouses and lab.

Wreath making scraps salvaged from the Presidio compost area. Includes: tea tree, oak, cyprus, olive, bottle brush, and some others I can’t remember.

Planting hazelnuts.

Planting cuttings in perlite.

Another batch.

The finished wreath: so quaint it makes me want to vomit.

I leave for a weekend trip to Los Angeles today, via car. Hopefully I’ll avoid being engulfed in an economy-sized fireball of twisted metal and low octane fuel.

One Comment


Your photos of hawk hill are tempting me to rent a zip car tomorrow, but maybe I should wait for you to take me on the scooter.

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