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May 28, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Change of plains.

Sellers remorse.

Realtors and planners dread it.

Everything’s a go. Advertising out the door. Routes determined. All fueled and ready.

Then. Stall. Warning bells: “Pull up! Pull up!”

The owners, once eager, put it in reverse – with determination. 

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Brilliant curb appeal: a blessing and a curse.©

Some line up grubby neighbors to stare at those driving up and parking to have a look.

Skinny staring ones with stick like arms.

Looking like wild creatures. Refugees from “Lord of the Flies”.

That should discourage people from taking another step?

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Hey mister. You hear banjo music? (Snort. Snort.) Watch your car for you? ©

Then there’s the old “camouflage the path to the entrance” ploy.

Big wheels. Overgrown yards.

Anything that will brush up as a barrier.

Curb appeals sells, so the opposite will cause any enthusiasm to stick?

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Oh, come on. Weeds aren’t that high. Mind the fire ants. ©

Any attempt to slow people down before they go any ideas.

Get them to drag their feet.

Create that sinking feeling.

Just one grain of doubt to turn them around.

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True grit. And a few sticker burrs, sharp shell fragments, odd menacing bugs…©

Let loose an annoying – even intimidating – pet or two.

Say things freely roam the neighborhood at will.

Parents of small children: turn around now!

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Rattlesnakes, furry varmints, and stinging things. Oh, my! ©

If they brave all that, how about clumps of stuff carelessly strewn all around.

Things of undetermined origin.

Hints of crawling things.

Sharp objects jutting out.

Fa breeze strong, but not effective in removing all odors.

No easy flip possible here.

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A Scarlet Letter. That should make people back away. ©

With all that, any marching on must be locals who know the coastal games.

When it’s storming and raining in the city, most of the time, the shore weather is fine.

There may be crowds in the tourist beach areas, but down the road, tucked back where you have to hike through the dunes, there’s a few unpopulated spots of sand.

The out-of-the-way spaces shared by kite boarders, surfers, dog walkers, and those who aren’t there to see and be seen.

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Seen the kite surfer. No point in standing around longer. Discouraged from chewing the kite lines that were on the sand. Moving on…maybe towards the couple sitting in the sandy break amid the sea weed. They have a boxer who wants to play. Moving. Moving now….Hey, not that way. Wrong way. Wrong way. ©

Knowing the stage dressing, we figured the rain would stop most from heading to the beach.

Doesn’t take long to jump the dog in the car, take the industrial back roads across Galveston Island, and happily find a parking space in the state mandated, but hidden and limited, public beach access areas.

Sunny beach we can get any time, so the clouds not discouraging. Keeps it cooler.

Easily removable shoes get you down the ouchie path that stops many a tender-footed tourist.

And there it was: open space. Sky. Water. Sand.

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Nature’s bouncy house. Talk about cheap entertainment. Oddly beautiful. ©

OK. Blankets of red seaweed. Don’t be such a baby. 

It may be 6-8 inches deep, but bouncy like a trampoline.

Once the seaweed is piled up it will hold sand and build dunes. Protection from beach erosion in storms.

Don’t complain (Or go brave the crowds at the groomed beaches.)

It’s natural. 

Just a few steps over to the waves…

Noooooo! Noooooo, Molly. No rolling in the sea weed.

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Abstract art of seaweed ribbons casually discarded by waves. (No, you can’t take souvenir seaweed home with you. Gag. Where are the baby/doggy wipes? Does the car wash offer a dog rinse option?) ©

Stinky doggy. Stinky doggy!

No, Molly, it doesn’t make you look like a natural red-head.

Island style

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

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Dunes on the front/water side of Galveston’s East Beach which is in front of the protecting seawall. High rise condo on left. 2 giant cranes working on new building for UTMB’s hospital complex (located on the back side of the island.) Top of blue water tower barely seen on right.  ©

Behind the beach and dunes is coastal prairie and wetlands.

Just about anything grows quickly here. Some of my most durable landscape plants have come from cutting/transplants found by old homesteads.

Apparently another thing growing is the desire to live right at the beach despite the danger. People – and newcomers – have short memories.

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This is the back side of the East Beach dunes. There are some beach houses – even new construction – between the dunes and the seawall. Not sure if 14 feet is high enough for storm surge. Calculated risk, so buy your own insurance. No need to expect others to pay if disaster strikes. Obviously, it’s very low. It’s outside the seawall. ©

Galveston had big ranches on it for years – some cows still graze inland in spots.

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No cows in this spot between dunes and sea wall, but sure they are dreaming of it. ©

Isn’t open space nice.

Oh, someone said it too loud.

A developer’s dream. Picture perfect. No annoying trees to cut down.

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And there they are again. Last time a big developer stated up a master planned community, Beach Town, a big storm showed up. Is this a bad sign? (Yes. Bad sign! Bad sign! Doesn’t sit well.) ©

Do you think locals said the same thing when the Mayan and Aztecs stacked up those big stone pyramids?

Results may eventually be the same.

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Don’t worry. Here before they came. Will be here long after they leave.©







  1. Carrie Rubin / May 28 2014 12:57 am

    I suppose it’s only a matter of time before any area like that is developed. Enjoy the strolls (and the seaweed…) while you can.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:25 am

      The state’s open beach laws will prevent home owners from stopping access along the shore line and beaches up to the dunes (which move with storms and wind), but the marshes will be a great loss. Not sure how much will be declared wetlands and not able to be built on. So we’ll see. Pretty pricey as it’s Galveston and not having clear pretty water like S. TX or Florida…they keep attempting to build, but up until now things always fall apart for one reason or another. Thanks for splashing along


  2. Paul / May 28 2014 1:20 am

    Love folks who build first and think later. And dead fish in the seaweed needs to be conserved for the dogs of the future. Even a dog would laugh at building there. We’ve had some big flood claims in Canada in the last 5 years and there is talk of insurance companies refusing to insure homes build in flood prone areas. No insurance=no mortgage. Makes sense to me – why should my insurance premiums go towards claims by idiots who want to build in high risk areas for the view and the status? My advice to them is: Go Fly a Kite!


  3. susielindau / May 28 2014 3:38 am

    A lovely day at the beach in May! Love it!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:06 pm

      There a few hidden places left. A little rough for surfing or dragging a catamaran out through the surf, but the steady wind was perfect for kite surfing…that may be the next adventure…maybe. Enjoy the wild flower show – it should be beautiful there now. Thanks for hiking in


  4. EllaDee / May 28 2014 4:57 am

    It will be a real estate talk-fest of adjectives and superlatives. The upside – no need to apply obscure glass flim for privacy, and sea salt is good for you but maybe not your car, maybe by one as plasticky as possible. But no mention of Salt Water Inundation… or suckers. Donate your insurance premiums here…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:12 pm

      Last year on a plane I picked up one of the magazines which had articles and ads for beach property. There was this really beautiful photo shoot of one in TX. Reading the write-up I thought “Where the heck is that? It sounds great!” Then realized it was Galveston and Beach Town development. They had photoshopped the heck out of the place and such creative writing! We’ll see.Thanks for splashing along


  5. gingerfightback / May 28 2014 6:37 am

    Sadly inevitable


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:14 pm

      At Florida prices? It’s Galveston. The city does need some updating and new outfits, so it would be good news and bad. Just hope the buyers understand the area and risk. Thanks for braving the sharks


      • gingerfightback / May 28 2014 2:35 pm

        Is there any zoning laws to protect that area?


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:52 pm

          State open beach laws prevent any building from waterline to the line of vegetation and the big dunes. Wetland/marsh regulations limit building in some areas. What really slows development is mortgage companies will not hand over money if the building isn’t insurable. To be insurable, the building needs to be at least 14 feet – or higher above water level(depending on which flood zone) and some require hurricane proof roofs and construction (there’s a Florida standard and city building codes). Building costs are very high to meet all regulations. Looks like the are building duplexes and 4-plex “townhouses” that are being bought as investment and weekend rentals.
          Sea gulls always need a resting spot and probably appreciate the construction.


  6. roughseasinthemed / May 28 2014 7:35 am

    Always had an inbuilt aversion to living below sea level, on a flood plain, on reclaimed land etc etc. what man stealth, the sea may take away. You get the idea. Give me a poky flat within the proven safety of the city walls any day rather than a flash new built one on reclaimed land. Back in as pain we’re near enough to walk to the sea without being right on the coast. Our old Spanish neighbour says he would NOT live in the costa part of our pueblo (60 or 70 houses right on the seafront).

    The beach photos look beautiful. Perhaps any development will ‘beautify’ it with a nice cement promenade, pretty lights, a few concessions? And signs saying ”No Mollies’. After all who would want to leave nature as it is when it can always be improved upon?

    I’m thinking you did a similar post a while back but I can’t remember the detail. Access to parkland threatened by building maybe?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:37 pm

      This is the east end of the island that is naturally “growing” beach outside the seawall due to current/wave action moving sand. Area has been pretty much left alone. There’s a state park/beach a little bit further along the road.(with parking fees, rental umbrellas, nice bathrooms/showers in the concession building with a broad deck. With TX open beach laws, nothing can be built along the shore line nor can access be denied. No lights on any of these beaches – except on the tourist piers. If you know where to look all up and down the island there are little pocket parking areas for a few cars and paths to the water.
      Galveston may not be the beauty queen of beaches and water, but works for us. It’s nuts to build houses outside the seawall though. People forget that storm water does flood from the backside of the island, too. Some current homeowners – even in the new areas on west beach and inland “village” concept developments can’t get insurance due to low elevation, revised flood zone maps, recent storm data – so they can’t sell their houses either as mortgage companies require insurance. If someone gave me a high rise with a balcony and a water view, I wouldn’t turn it down. Won’t pay what they are asking, though…it’s Galveston, not St Thomas.
      I probably write too much about irresponsible building. Not anti progress, but why throw up poorly made ugly structures that become blights and ruin the natural beauty around water? Strong well designed ones with open spaces between water and structures and green belts would make such a difference. There are a few of those around – and they always resale well. Planning with an eye to the future. Planning to keep natural beauty. But so many just want to make as much money off the little bit of land as possible and the leave to wreck the next area. Pave it all over. A plague of madness.
      Hope the weather pleasant there. We’ve had rain for 2 days. YEA! Now the humidity and mosquitoes arrive. Thanks for walking these sands!


  7. lizabetsy1947 / May 28 2014 11:59 am

    I love your photos. I hope the developers can be kept away a while longer.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:16 pm

      A good storm now and then tends to discourage people. Not that I’m asking for one! Thanks for surfing along


  8. Beth / May 28 2014 12:15 pm

    I love visiting the Gulf Coast especially around Galveston, but if history (shout outs to Katrina, Ike and Rita) has taught me anything it’s that Gulf Coast beach front property is up there with that bridge they’ve been trying to sell me for years. I was happy to hear that this may be a milder hurricane season (but will hopefully still bring us some rain).

    Here’s to hidden beaches and sassy seaweed red heads.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 4:15 pm

      Nothing’s better than arriving to find the secret beach is still pretty much a secret. Thanks for keeping it quiet!


  9. Ally Bean / May 28 2014 1:18 pm

    I wouldn’t like living that close to the beach. Seems nutty & noisy to me. But I suppose if a developer can get someone to pay him to build there, it’ll happen regardless of what common sense dictates. Glad that you got these lovely photos before the onslaught of houses.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 4:25 pm

      The beach is fun- but all that sand in everything every single minute of every day? Wait, the dog/cat hair tumbleweeds would cover it….morehair vaiation of Mohair? Could that be marketable? Thanks for the splashy comment


  10. katecrimmins / May 28 2014 1:40 pm

    You can change the name of the town and state and the story remains the same. Idiots will always build ocean front then wept and demand help when their magnificent homes are flooded and washed away. I do feel genuine compassion for those whose homes sustain storm damage as long as they weren’t foolish enough to build where it’s bound to happen.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 2:42 pm

      So true. Common sense and insurance. Storms happen. If you live there, know the risks and don’t complain. When it’s good, life’s beautiful on the water. Thanks for wading along


  11. Paprika Furstenburg / May 28 2014 4:07 pm

    Enjoy the serenity while you can.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 4:28 pm

      We were surprised that little section was so calm – at walking either way it became nut city. Probably be only mid week trips down there until schools are back in session. Thanks for wading in with a comment


  12. jmmcdowell / May 28 2014 6:35 pm

    I think I’ll just stay well above that 14-foot level. 😉 I don’t need to have experienced severe hurricanes or floods to know that floodplains should be left undeveloped—or, at the very least, underdeveloped.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 8:54 pm

      It’s called a “floodplain” for a reason…sort of like “sea wall”. The lack of teaching vocabulary is finally catching up with us? (inserting giggles). Thanks for splashing around


  13. heretherebespiders / May 28 2014 9:30 pm

    I grew up barely inland from a barrier island (it wanted to be an isthmus badly, and was dredged accordingly). But I am only now realising the value of seaweed as fertiliser! This is how land is formed… never mind a few smelly doggies 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2014 10:56 pm

      Who can deny any creature the joy of exploring and experiencing? A sand bath works miracles. (Galveston values seaweed. And begs for your old christmas trees. Just stake them and the sand dances onto them. Dune city!) Thanks for shifting some sand into the comment pile


  14. shoreacres / May 29 2014 1:04 am

    Made the big loop to West Columbia, thence to Surfside and back along the Bluewater highway. How long has it been since you’ve been down to San Luis pass? Good grief! I couldn’t believe the development down there. It’s almost entirely built up from the pass to Jamaica Beach. And BIG places. Some obviously are rental/condo, but there are plenty that look weekend/vacation/permanent to me. All that poured concrete sends a message.

    Well, as Tom Tynan says, build in Galveston if you want, and build on the bay or the gulf side as you choose, but do it with the knowledge that eventually it will all blow away. It’s been five years since Ike, and now they’re saying it’s going to be a “light” year. That’s reason enough for me to ramp up my preparations.

    Oh – and the seaweed on Saturday on the west end was just amazing. I’ve never seen so much. It wasn’t just coming in to shore, it was extending out so far you could watch the waves passing beneath it. The seagulls were having a blast.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 29 2014 2:44 pm

      We made that loop earlier in the year. Wonder how the insurance rates are there – and the open beach fights. That end might consider how the jetties down the road have built beach rather than letting the wave action erode it. Some of the MEd center staff live down there – the road’s a bit hairy in dark, but not much traffic during their commutes probably.
      Yeah, all it takes is one storm …and Beach Town/other development ramping up…like waving a red flag in from of a bull? We didn’t see much seaweed in the water on east end. Did see a bunch of greenery headed towards Clear Lake from upstream. The seagulls and crabs have lots of entertainment right now – huge flocks down by the Kemah bridge yesterday again.
      Summer heat and humidity – and bugs – have arrived….time to dream up an escape. Thanks for wading in with a comment


  15. pegoleg / May 29 2014 9:53 pm

    I have never seen red seaweed – how cool! Thanks for taking us along on your visit.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 30 2014 12:04 am

      It’s redwood red. So odd it is beautiful…and bouncy. Trampoline bouncy. Always a new experience showing up. Thanks for splashing along


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