There was a time when San Francisco’s Mitchell brothers were considered by many to be hip, heroes of the counterculture. Today, as a result of the direction their lives took, they are more likely to be perceived as examples of the degradations of porn.
But I’ve seen worse. Just the past weekend. In my own backyard.
I mean, the Mitchells weren’t cannibals, as far as I know. Apparently the same can’t be said for Cooper’s hawks. Four of the birds have been inhabiting my backyard this summer. They must have hatched from the same nest this spring. They got big fast, and our squirrels and finches have been looking nervous, keeping a wary lookout. These fierce birds squeeze their prey to death with their sharp viselike talons.
So this weekend I went out back and found that now we have three Cooper’s hawks — one of them was feasting on another. After I took the picture above it picked up the dead bird and flew away with it, as if it were but a single feather.
Since converting our swimming pool to a garden we have had a lot more wildlife around. This year two pair of kestrels have taken up residence. We also have a lot of butterflies, beas, and hummingbirds.
This caterpillar is a swallowtail. They like plants in the carrot family, and this one was enjoying a lunch of dill. Eventually he will turn into a butterfly that will look something like this.
There are a few more photos in my nascent garden set on flickr.
This year our garden has been a little deficient in red flowers. An exception is the Maltese Cross, which produces large globular composite flowers. These are doing well. Above you can see them in the garden; below is a close-up (not too well focused, but it will give the idea) in a cut bouquet.
We actually took a step backward this year, in a way, because we expanded the garden by taking out more concrete, and so we undid some of our work from last year. But the garden recovered nicely and is doing well, especially considering our cold, gloomy June. The monster plants on the right are tomatoes, which are already starting to bear fruit.
This 1914 video shows opium paraphernalia being burnt in what is now the Civic Center area. At the time the area had not yet been rebuilt following the ’06 earthquake (because voters would not pass bonds for funding the project because of the corruption of city leaders), but here you can see the new city hall under construction.
The city would not at first seem an AskMen kind of place. But they rank it the third best city in the world to live in (after Chicago — hey, they’re men’s men, the cold and wind don’t bother them — and Barcelona, and before London and Sydney). This is mainly, I guess, because it is one of the healthiest sizeable cities, it is tech savvy and has a “culture of innovation,” and the people are educated and smart.
But they’re a little confused about at least one thing. “The city’s boy-to-girl ratio (male: 51%; female: 49%) doesn’t seem promising at first,” they write, “but remember this is San Francisco, so you can shave a good 8% to 10% off the competition right there.”
Not all businesses are contracting in the down economy. Robert Berman, based in Santa Barbara, has opened a new gallery in San Francisco, located at 1632 Market Street. For its inaugural show, the gallery is featuring historical photos (newly printed) of San Francisco by Julius Shulman. Shown is San Francisco Bay Bridge under Construction, 1934.
Last night the ceremony announcing this year’s winners of the Goldman prize for environmental activism was held in San Francisco’s Opera House. The award is the brainchild of Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Rhoda passed away in 1996. This year it appeared Richard’s health had taken a turn for the worse, although he still spoke cogently. Click here for more »
United Nations Plaza was conceived as the entrance to a grand walkway leading from Market Street to City Hall, a vision that never quite materialized. The plaza commemorates the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco.
On Wednesdays and Sundays the plaza hosts a farmers market, while an arts and crafts fair holds sway on most Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. In the photo above the fair is at its colorful best (but sometimes it is a little too colorful).
Some rights reserved 2013 Frisco Vista. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (attribution, noncommercial, no derivs: 3.0) License (US), although some of the work this blog incorporates may be separately licensed. Text and photos by Thomas Christensen unless otherwise noted.