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March 11, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Bush League Assault

They plotted.

I didn’t know. I thought they were green.

They decided to stick together.

Never expected such a low blow. Should have eyed them more cautiously.

Fashion shot of woman in evening gown in desert. Olive Cotton/Nat.Gallery of Australia/USPD.

Involving true grit. (Cotton/Australia/USPD/

In retrospect, I wasn’t as sharp as they.

But who could have guess they had branched out.

Changed from beauty to beast.

Guess it’s true: “Beauty is as beauty does.”

When did they decide to reach for greater heights despite my clear expectations?

Whispering among themselves, “Don’t move until you see the white of her eyes?”

Too worried I’d cut them off at the knees if they suggested a new direction?

Men waiting for interviews.1940/Partridge,1917-:NARA8464464:USPD. US

Oh, they look willing to listen to reason.

It’s true that I’ve been known to step on some toes.

But never realized they might have such deep-rooted unhappiness.

Totally blindsided. I was innocently getting the lay of the land.

Doing a little advanced scouting in the underbrush.

You have to know what you’ve got before you can decide on what to do, right?

wolf in forest.1887/Klever.1850-1924/USPD:reprod of PD art,artist life/

Even if you squint, our backyard doesn’t look anything like this. But Molly has a good imagination when she plays wolf.(1887.Klever/USPD/

Braving ants, lizards, buried dog toys in the mud, I climbed and twisted between fence and hedge in order to protect another.

Molly Malamute throws herself down that narrow passage  – crashing her way through – without any caution. Back and forth. Back and forth.

We worried she’d get stabbed in the eye.

Outrageous weekend Pet ER bills to be avoided at all costs so a little bushwhacking planned as a preventative measure.

Fox and thorn bush, Hollar,1607-1677/Thomas Fisher Rare Book Lib/Univ.of Toronto/USPD.artist life,

“Molly, get out of the bushes. You’ll poked your eye out!” (Hollar/USPD/

Cruel slap in the face.

A nonchalant grab of the ankle to trip, understandable.

But nooooo. Not the eye! Not the eye! Ouchie! Ouchie!

Seriously bushes. How about firmly interlocking branches like the thorns around Sleeping Beauty’s castle? Nothing says “We’d prefer to be left alone” than a dense wall of brush.

Unjustified poke in the eye!

Ruby eye is not the same as trendy ruby eye shadow.

No one seems to find it attractive. More of a gag reflex.

And worse of all is the chorus of the entire household:

“I told you to call a yard guy to do that. Just tell him what you want him to do.”

Ivan Zarevitch on the grey wolf.1889:Vasnetsov.1848-1926:Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow:USPD.artist life,

“Hang on, Mom. We’ll get you to safety.” (1889.Vasnetsov/Moscow/USPD/


How can you tell someone what needs to be done without knowing what you’ve got?

A good field commander is worth their weight in mulch.

Well, no bush babying now.

I’ve got hedge trimmers and know how to use them.

Sharp response,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Hedge trimmers. (R.Reid/

Vengeance by chainsaw? (Reid/









  1. sustainabilitea / Mar 11 2015 12:50 pm

    Nothing like a good pair of loppers or a sharp hedge trimmer, that’s for sure! Go for it! Make them pay! But watch out for the eyes.



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 11 2015 2:48 pm

      Another reason all the grey weather is bad – normally I’ve got sun glasses on. The work glove gauntlet is down. Prepare for buzz cut, bushes. Thanks for cutting up a comment to leave


  2. Carrie Rubin / Mar 11 2015 1:04 pm

    Ouch! Eye injuries can be miserable, not to mention serious. Hope everything is okay!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 11 2015 2:51 pm

      Luckily a fast eye lid flashed to intercept, but still a poke. And the leaf backhand after was totally unnecessary. That’s the trouble with plants, give them a bit of water and they grow smug. Thanks for planting a comment


  3. Littlesundog / Mar 11 2015 1:07 pm

    I feel your pain… I carry my trusty sawsall, loppers and hand trimmers in the electric buggy at all times. One must always be at the ready to deal with thorny thickets and snarling vine, not to mention eye-poking tree branches. I did blunder already this spring whilst trimming and gathering wood – I forgot about the poison ivy. Gads… those sneaky, leafless plants (this time of year) that mimick saplings have taken their revenge!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 11 2015 2:53 pm

      They make look dormant, but far from it. Poison ivy is the most sneaky of all! Almost flame thrower time for that. Thanks for wandering along in the brush

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate Crimmins / Mar 11 2015 1:25 pm

    Oh no! Those branches’ days are numbered for sure. You don’t fool with the staff! Who will feed RC and friends? (ok, maybe they are not all friends but it reads better here)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 11 2015 3:10 pm

      Now you’ve cut to the serious dangers. RC was yelling the loudest – “Return to stations. There are mousies to sort! Just let the Molly rip out her own paths…which she has a bad habit of doing. We catch her biting, gnawing, and tugging on branches that offend her. We think nothing is poisonous, but you never find out until it’s the weekend when only the ER vets are open. Thanks for clipping out a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Mar 11 2015 4:31 pm

        ER vets….that’s a post in itself!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2015 10:18 pm

          They hold your pet in the back for ransom until you pay (counter behind bullet proof/baseball bat resistant glass probably). Definitely. A whole post in itself.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. pegoleg / Mar 11 2015 4:02 pm

    Sounds like you were injured in the line of duty – hope you’re OK.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2015 10:08 pm

      Lucky I have a fast eyelid. Still the eye was obviously seeing red at the close poke. A little antibiotic eye drops are always good to have on hand. Thanks for pruning up a comment to stack in.


  6. Ally Bean / Mar 11 2015 4:23 pm

    “Ouchie! Ouchie!” Well, yes! Oh my, this sounds like something that I’d do, all in the name of saving money. Only to end up spending lots of it, somehow, anyhow, in the end.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2015 10:14 pm

      It started off so benignly…just trying to see how much work needed to be done, then whacked without warning..sort of like one of the old Disney scary forest scenes of evil trees. It sounds/looks a lot worse than it was. Another grey winter weather related injury…normally I’d have on sun glasses and big hat…and get ankle gashes from venturing into the brush in shorts. (Are we ever going to have sun again?) Thanks for the sympathy and accurate analysis comment!


  7. marthaschaefer / Mar 11 2015 6:39 pm

    Cutting to the chase on this one! Always wear eye protection! You only get two and there are too many branches with a bulls eye on your eyes!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2015 10:26 pm

      Well phrased. Just doing reconnaissance when attacked. Molly has been known to grab branches that get in her way and pull and tug until she actually unroots bushes and palms…she especially seems to have a grudge against palms with fans that whack her in the face. Nothing like a determined sled dog. Normally I do have on big glasses, gloves, hat, but just a little peek. Sigh. Household was not pleased with zombie-eyed staff. There is a reputation to uphold, sniffed RC…who said I could just work where the public couldn’t see. Thanks for braving the bushes to leave a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  8. heretherebespiders / Mar 11 2015 10:11 pm

    Revenge shall be yours, right sharpish!

    Our only current danger is Neko will get over excited and slip in the grass-floating-on-mud that is our back yard right now and rip a toenail off. Because I’m a bad mom and haven’t cut her nails.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2015 10:37 pm

      I had some of the bushes at our last house – they grow to jumbo size and take over if given a chance. No way here.
      Molly throws herself down the bush path after lizards, frogs, foolish cats, and misguided squirrels. If a branch is in her way, she’s been known to sit and gnaw through it and drag it out of there. Pulled a palm tree right out of the ground by a frond – it had the bad judgement to slap her in the face. The German is larger, but will chase after Molly and gets tangled up. Since The German came over to visit for a couple of days, I thought. “Hey, why don’t I see if there’s any branches that need trimming.” UGH. Molly’s nails seem to grind down during walks, but the German’s don’t – and need trimming. She tends to sprain toes wildly cavorting with Molly in the back yard …especially with all the mud this year. Difficult to slow them down though. Paw waves and thanks for splashing a comment over this way

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Robin / Mar 11 2015 11:13 pm

    Ouch!! I winced, but you also made me laugh. Love those hedge trimmers. I could use some of those. I’ve had some branch and eye encounters here on the ranch. I’m thinking of investing in safety glasses, although you’d think the big sunglasses (prescription) that I wear would be good enough. Somehow the branches manage to sneak in the side or over the top. Then there are the multi-flora roses. I almost got a pierced ear out of a thorn. They dig in so that you have to pull the opposite way of what is intuitive. I tend to forget that until I start to pull.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2015 10:03 pm

      See, now there’s another weather related hazard. Normally I’d have on giant sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat – but it’s been so overcast and grey. No roses at this house, but the palms and one tropical dracaena like to poke their way into everything/one. Household consensus here thinks the best safety equipment is a yard guy…but in order to tell him what needs doing…. Maybe NASA as an extra space helmet on sale. Thanks for adding a pointed comment


  10. LifeOfBun / Mar 12 2015 7:48 pm

    Jauch, i’m sure it wasn’t personal! Thanks for the honorable mention!


  11. Paul / Mar 12 2015 9:29 pm

    One word: PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) C’mon Phil, you know the drill, wear it, don’t be a schill, or you’ll get a big bill, at worst planted on the hill. Ha!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2015 9:54 pm

      It was so unfair…simply watching to make sure the German and Molly were getting along at the start of sleepover…just a little lean over here to see what obstructions might be a hazard to fence runners – and ambushed! Grabbed and slapped for no reason (they couldn’t have developed mind reading capacities…or could they?) Love the safety tips. Thanks for rhyming along


      • Paul / Mar 12 2015 10:51 pm

        Used to be a Safety Director at a fuel tanker company. PPE was always. You’re lucky you don’t have to wear the fireproof coveralls or helmet. I can recall using the men’s room at Shell’s Distribution Center in Toronto (was the largest in Canada) in the winter. The hook on the door back would only handle the winter coat, safety vest and coveralls – so there I was reading a safety magazine while sitting on the can with my helmet, fireproof hood, safety glasses, and steel toed boots on, with the gloves on the floor beside. It occurred to me that it would make a great photo (over the top of the stall) for the cover of the monthly safety magazine – “Always Think Safety”


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 13 2015 3:15 pm

          That would have been the best cover ever. You should send the idea to the magazine. Real life for sure. People may get tired of all those safety measures, but if there’s a problem, all that stuff is critical for survival. The ship channel is lined with tank farms and plants. Shell has a big presence here, too. The question is with all the complex engineering that goes into those facilities, why can they design a more functional door hook? (Sounds like a Shark Tank possibility?) Thanks for giggling along.


  12. EllaDee / Mar 13 2015 3:42 am

    Ahoy me hearty… be you wearing an eyepatch? !!! 🙂 But I can’t say anything, despite wearing appropriate gear something always gets through. From go to whoa I can spend an hour in serious gardening until I need to shower off all the nasties that make me itchy & lumpy.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 13 2015 3:20 pm

      I was afraid it would be pirate attire for a while, but eye drops. A determined bush is a worthy opponent. An outdoor shower would be such a nice feature – but in summer the mosquitoes would make it useless…maybe a giant mud room with shower able to wash down large dog and abundance of shoe drying racks? Thanks for branching out with a comment


  13. shoreacres / Mar 13 2015 5:00 pm

    Oh, dear, oh, my. I get the protective gear argument, but I also get the gray-skies-no-usual-sunglasses side of things. At least you didn’t put the business end of a century plant frond into your eye, as one of my customers did a couple of years ago. I barely can stand to even think about that. My usual irritant is sanding dust. I mostly avoid it by positioning myself so the stuff blows downwind, but still… At least I can wash that out.

    Use your eye drops, and give those bushes what they deserve!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 16 2015 12:09 pm

      It was just a little attempt to see how bad the brush was, maybe one little clip…must have been a ticklish spot for that bush? Sigh. Sanding dust is worse – you can get downwind, but it coats clothes so later just when you think you are safe HA dust leaps off clothing into your eye. Or it always seems that way. Always good to have some eyedrops around for dust to brush. Thanks for smoothing up a comment to leave


  14. kathryningrid / Mar 13 2015 11:21 pm

    Heavens to Betsy! I’d not only grab that hedge trimmer and run amok in search of revenge, I’d probably go all TX Chainsaw Massacre on it! Hope your eye heals swiftly, fully, and draws a glaring bead on some unrepentant scrub soon enough to satisfy your blood lust.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 16 2015 3:26 pm

      HA! Almost put that movie poster in the post. Never fear. The disgruntled foliage has been firmly clipped back into submission…but there’s a slight whispering…it’s the wind. I keep telling myself, it’s just the wind…
      Thanks for chopping off a comment to leaf!


  15. jannatwrites / Mar 21 2015 5:15 pm

    Yes, they need to be hacked down to size, they asked for it, really 🙂 Good luck clearing the path!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 22 2015 2:05 pm

      Their trim accomplished. All this rain is just like hair tonic to them so there’s new sprouts poking up already…and Molly complained that it was really mean chopping her tunnel’s roof – the bushes were so dense, she always had a dry spot there. Oh, well. Thanks for branching out with a comment


  16. Margaret Lynette Sharp / Apr 3 2015 2:56 am

    Fascinating images 🙂



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