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May 13, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Rocking. Rolling. Greens.

gorilla.Mike. Houston Zoo gorilla in new habitat. (

The name’s Mike. No, it’s a not a skirt. Come closer and repeat that remark? (Houston Zoo/click2houston)

Caterpillars should go ahead and apply. Plenty to chew on, the outdoor life with only a few rocks along the way.

Those who are green, as well as the old hard “woulds”, are nudged to marsh over to the shore’s acres.

Deliriously munch on the most delicious delicacies of writing tips. Finger-sandwich sized! Neat.

Graze freely: A Writer’s On-going Search for Just the Right Words. Whimsy and tips about writing, what the famous say about the writing process, and a realization that “…love for a corpulent, greens-eating caterpillar doesn’t seem particularly absurd. Besides, other caterpillars have had their stories told, so there’s always a chance The Big Green Guy will have his story, too.”

Greens are always good, right?

Gorilla holding large leaf. (

Where is Martha? Why did they put me in charge of party decorations? (Click2houston/Houston zoo)

That’s what one new family here is saying.

The long anticipated lowland gorilla habitat at the Houston Zoo is finally opening.

It’s been a long time since there were any gorillas at this zoo – out of compassion. While the old style small concrete boxes were long gone, the gorilla’s larger quarters and outside areas still didn’t seem right. So the decision was made not to be an Ark-type zoo – you know one or two of every single animal. Choices were made. Specific animals, particularly endangered species, became the focus.

Slowly large natural habitats were constructed. Species that might share areas in the wild share the new neighborhoods were introduced and their neighborhoods combined. Human visitors now hosted in elevated platform “tree houses” or gaze eyeball to eyeball through tunnel’s windows.

But it takes money. A lot of it. And the Houston Zoo is not a city zoo and receives no money from the city. All donations, memberships, grants, fund-raisers. Every penny counts.

It’s taken years and years, but the millions of dollars were raised and the results are ready to be showcased.

Pictures of the new zoo exhibit here. Or view videos “Sneak preview of zoo’s newest residents in their habitat” or “Gorillas first visit in their new home”.

The Houston Zoo’s going to be the place for humans to flock to all summer.

Alice and the Tweedledums.1871.John Tenniel/

“There now. You’re all ready for bed.” (1871/USPD/

Talking of rocking and rolling.

While you are stomping feet and slapping tables and back during the NBA playoffs, could you please do that gently for a bit?

 If the earth is made up of so much water – with a liquid core….

And if it’s true vibrations rumble across fluid with such ease…..

Is it possible that the opposite side of the globe might feel all the energy released with such enthusiasm?

There’s still a whole lot of shakin’ going on in Nepal.

My niece is over there with the disaster and rescue efforts.

Thoughts, prayers, or a calm blanket of positive energy wouldn’t hurt.

Soothe The Mountain

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” (John Muir, My first Summer in the Sierrap.1911)

Whirling through time and space,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

1864. Alice upside down. Lewis Carroll,author's

“I suppose this means everything has to be put back on the shelves again.” (1864/USPD/





  1. Satin Sheet Diva / May 13 2015 4:46 pm

    Sending wishes for your niece’s (and the many survivors) safety. I am grateful there are people like her who can and do step into those situations to offer help.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 10:16 pm

      When we talked about visiting the Himalayas, this wasn’t exactly the adventure her parents had envisioned. She’s trained, resourceful, and dedicated. Worry comes with the territory, but once they learn to fly, not right to clip their wings, right? Thanks for the support.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. easyweimaraner / May 13 2015 4:58 pm

    The people of Nepal and the helper who are there are in my thoughts and I cross all fingers that those who lost all haven’t to bear the next disaster…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 10:20 pm

      And encouraging thoughts to all the brave search paws that are there, too. Disaster sometimes brings out the best in people – and reminds us we have more in common than differences. Thanks for the warm thoughts, Easy


  3. Ally Bean / May 13 2015 6:01 pm

    Wonderful story of the new gorilla habitat. I hope that all of the new gang get along with each other, considering how far some of them have come to live in Houston. No doubt there’ll be some growing pains as everyone settles in.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 10:25 pm

      Can’t wait to actually see the place (We’re in a stormy rain pattern right now – which might be good to let the gang get comfortable with fewer crowds around.) Wonder if some will get bored and throw rock or tease the hogs with branches. They’ve already been checking out possible escape routes (so far no luck) Fun to keep the keepers jumping. Thanks for swinging by with a comment.


  4. Silver in the Barn / May 13 2015 6:01 pm

    Shore Acre’s caterpillar post was a marvel. I am delighted to hear of the new gorilla digs, thank you so much for sharing this story. John Muir was, of course, right on the money.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 10:30 pm

      ShoreAcres always has the most intriguing posts. So glad you popped over there – just couldn’t let her post float downstream without a bit of fireworks. She’s had quite a wide range of experiences – you’d never guess. We’re proud of our publicly support zoo. Keeping animals far from home is tricky. Zoos do assist those in the wild, but efforts must to be made to let them live as naturally as possible. Thanks for hiking along

      Liked by 1 person

      • Silver in the Barn / May 13 2015 10:36 pm

        I’ve been a follower of Linda’s for a while now and so immediately felt that sense of deja vu as I read your post today.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 11:02 pm

          It’s that “great minds run in the same channels”. Or was it grape wines spun sanely…? I’ll have to ask Linda (giggles)


  5. Paul / May 13 2015 6:05 pm

    I see your niece is a kind and caring soul – like her aunt. May God be with her and the people of Nepal.

    Hey, fancy Gorillas ya got there Houston. It brings to mind a famous quote: “Houston, we have a Gorilla. ” (or two or three or four or more) Oh, wait, maybe that’s not right? Ha! Very nice that you now have a gorilla enclosure. I applaud the zoo’s decision to say away from the “Ark” model. I know you have some very nasty weather in that area of the world (from reports and from personal experience when i was trucking) and I hope that the enclosures are built to take it or you could end up with way more gorillas. Bwahahaha!. Back in 2012 the zoo in Tokyo sustained damage from a typhoon – a huge tree fell onto netting over a squirrel enclosure. Thirty squirrels escaped into the surrounding neighborhoods. The zoo administration put out a public call for help, asking anyone who saw one of the errant squirrels to please contact them. After they had recaptured 38 squirrels, they were somewhat embarrassed and suggested that possibly more escaped than they thought. Even so, calls still kept coming in and more and more squirrels were recaptured. I don’t know how many they finally ended up with – or if they ever ran out of calls. Can’t you just see the squirrels discovering this and having a meeting? “All right everyone, please bring this meeting to order once you are done your nuts. Anyone who would like to move to a new neighborhood where they no longer have to look for food or register for Obamacare because all is provided, can now take advantage of a new government program. All you have to do to qualify is sit on Mrs. Mouse’s bird feeder and call out her name over and over. In a very short time a special moving crew will show up to take you to your new neighborhood. Families are welcome and no one is turned away.”

    Anyway, keep your new Gorillas and you should be kept to the normal ways that populations grow. ha!

    Fun post Phil. Thanks!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 11:00 pm

      Soggy today. We had over 11 inches of rain last night during the Rockets game…and then it rain and stormed the rest of the night. Cars not far from here had water up to the roof. While rare because we are just a couple of blocks to the lake and on a “high” lump, the street did flood early in the morning. I know because Molly was barking barking barking – at the neighbor’s black garbage bags floating down the street.(The new neighbors wanted to sleep in and put the bags out overnight so as not to miss the garbage truck. Another neighbor dragged them back to their yard this morning.)
      The zoo is specially constructed and has withstood multiple hurricanes. There are secure back rooms and keepers stay with them to make sure the generators work and everyone stays safely in place. The Moody Gardens Aquarium in Galveston evacuates their birds and penguins to the zoo. THey got hit very hard during Ike, lost fish, and it took over a year to repair and reopen it completely. The big zoos across the country do have emergency networks and plans to shelter each other’s charges if needed. Animals depend on the kindness of strangers.
      So that’s where that new grey squirrel came from? There’s a young very fluffy one near the birch trees. Molly is convinced it is a cat – and of course, Molly is friend of cat. Oddly the fuzzy little thing is curious and not afraid. But we told it yesterday to grab a bunch of those acorns and get ready for the storm. It waved this morning as we went by. Self reliance is good!(Sounds like you were responsible for tutoring escapee squirrels in life skills. Giggles!)
      Thanks for the great link – and for sloshing over to chat (heavy rain expected shortly, then a day or two of minor rain, then more storms…trees are loving it)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Carrie Rubin / May 13 2015 6:57 pm

    Is your niece with a specific relief organization? Good on her for working over there. I wish her well.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 10:39 pm

      She does have one that calls her and she’s out the door. Been in Haiti and several other places. Her hospital thinks what she is doing is important reworks schedules when necessary. A couple of times, the area has been rather risky. You just support them and keep your fingers crossed. Thanks for packing up a comment for here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kate Crimmins / May 13 2015 9:05 pm

    Good news about the gorillas. I love the changes they have made. When I was a child, zoos were traumatic because I didn’t think anything should live so caged in. At least captivity looks more like home.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 13 2015 10:43 pm

      Those old concrete boxes that smelled so bad were so grim for occupants and visitors. Thank goodness a new vision arrived. It’s not perfect, but for endangered species, engaging exhibits might encourage the general public to realize and consider the cost to nature of all the “things” everyone simply “must” have.Thanks for swinging in with a comment

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Unconfirmed Bachelorette / May 14 2015 3:32 am

    I haven’t been to the Houston Zoo in ages. I always found it so depressing. It sure has evolved. I’d love to see the new residents.

    Your niece sounds like an amazing person. Best wishes for her safe journeys.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 14 2015 1:52 pm

      As a kid I’d refuse to go near the monkey/ape/gorilla prisons. Do you remember the smell? Some amazing people showed up and really turned the place in an entire new direction. Quite an amazing place. (Best in late fall with all the walking, right?) Thanks for climbing in to chat

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sue / May 14 2015 7:29 am

    Sending thoughts for your niece’s safety, and for those who survived…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 14 2015 2:00 pm

      So many places in the difficult to reach “back country” are still waiting for help. Fingers crossed the aftershocks stop or at least are less intense. Thanks for sending positive energy in support

      Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres / May 14 2015 2:44 pm

    Well, how nice to you to mention the Big Green Guy! He is a bit of a marvel. As the neighbors liked to say when the new widow dragged home the New York dude, there’s just no accounting for taste. 😉

    The gorilla habitat looks wonderful. The Houston Zoo really has made striking and entirely postive changes. I haven’t been there in a couple of years — every time I get the urge, it’s usually hot and/or a school holiday. I’ll put it on the calendar for about November.

    Wasn’t that rain something? I had to go into Houston yesterday and the outgoing stack up along 45 was horrendous. Cars up to their windows in water along the feeder, bumper-to-bumper back into town as far as Monroe, etc. etc. I’m off for my post-op visit mid-day, and with luck won’t have any rain or other hangups.

    Poor Nepal has suffered. I hope your niece fares well. Clearly, she’s doing good work, and deserves whatever support we can offer — as do all aid workers.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 14 2015 11:32 pm

      Yep, about second week of November good time for the zoo. That was quite a storm. Molly was really upset at a couple of garbage bags floating down the street about 2:30 am. Couldn’t convince here it wasn’t an invasion of some sort. The drive that next morning must have been horrendous. (The rain seemed targeting west and downtown today. Hope you managed in between storms. Everything go OK?)
      My brother probably wishes she’d just do normal tourist adventure vacations, but when you teach kids to be compassionate and to try and make the world a better place, you can hardly complain when they do. Hope thing go better for everyone there and the aftershocks calm a bit. Thanks for docking a comment! (and take care)


      • shoreacres / May 15 2015 12:37 pm

        Everything was just ducky (uh — so to speak). My had-to-go-to-town chore was cataract surgery. One down, one to go. I’ve got my new “near” lens in place now. In two weeks, I’ll get its friend, “far.” Post op visit yesterday was fine. No problems, and increasingly better vision as the swelling goes down, dilation goes away, etc. etc. I chose laser, so getting rid of the cataract took about five minutes, and the surgery about ten. Good grief.

        Anyway, in two weeks, I’ll get to rinse and repeat. Medical miracle seems like a good phrase to drag out.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 2:12 pm

          Had to laugh, I have one “far” and one “near” which has worked pretty well, but noticed I’m squinting more, so it’s time to get that checked.
          My brother is having his eyes done shortly. It’s amazing how fast the process is. When I was little we used to visit Aunt Lucy on their farm. She lost her eye sight to cataracts much too young, but even so she cooked and managed the house effortlessly. I don’t think they ever had a car. Uncle Paul was chopping down huge trees and walking/riding horse to town well into his 80’s. He was a country fiddler. Always won those old fiddler contests (used to say “I’ll just outlive the others.” and laugh – and he did.) He’s featured on some recordings of old east TX fiddlers that Prof. Abernathy at SFA became fascinated with. His eye sight remained pretty close to perfect even in his 90’s – although he didn’t need it to play. (And there it is. You give either you or me a start and we end up spinning a tale)
          Cheers for medical miracles (and I’m always cheaper than UBER if you need a lift. Seriously…zoo in Nov?)


  11. heretherebespiders / May 14 2015 9:54 pm

    Best of wishes to your niece – I’m sure being one of your clan she is doing all she can.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 14 2015 11:39 pm

      Being a mountain girl, she’s probably not as bothered by the altitude as many. She’s always been a good person and resourceful. Thanks for sending some positive energy that way!


  12. angelswhisper2011 / May 16 2015 9:52 am

    We’ll purray for your niece and all the people and animals out there in Nepal, Philmouse. It’s so heartbreaking 😦
    The environment of the Gorillas is almost natural. They must be very happy to have more space around them 🙂 Pawkisses 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 18 2015 2:31 pm

      She’s just back – and all the search dogs that went in that shift, too. They go in rotations. (working on a post about it. Staff is just slow and Molly wants walks before rain!)
      The gorillas have been in the news here – they have discovered that the wild hogs that roam part of the”river bed” love to have plants and things thrown to them. So the gorillas are tossing stuff down and the hogs get all excited and run over making noise asking for more. Everyone likes to have games to play and have fun. Hope you have lots of fun adventures all week long!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. marthaschaefer / May 19 2015 1:15 am

    Here’s to heros, your niece and the Houston Zoo for humane actions.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 19 2015 2:06 pm

      The gorillas seem to be having great fun at throwing branches and stuff at the wild hogs that live in a “creek bed” area that runs through the habitat. The hogs seem to think the gorillas are feeding them. Fun and games for all…just like kids in a neighborhood.
      The first rotation of disaster teams arrived back home last weekend. They really are heroes. Thanks for rolling by to chat!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. jmmcdowell / May 19 2015 11:15 pm

    The world could use many more people like your niece. My nephew has done volunteer work in Haiti, too, much to his parents’ (and grandmother’s) concern. And he’s doing postdoc work at a Chicago hospital that sees the worst our country has to offer. My hat’s off to them—and offers hope that maybe the next generation can fix some of the messes we and earlier generations have left them!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 19 2015 11:53 pm

      Wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t run into each other there. We’re always are silently relieved when they are back. But when you teach them to do good and try to improve the world, can’t complain when they go out and try to do it.
      The ones that work the big hospitals get a great deal of hard core experience. And they learn a lot about people in general. My daughter stared down and chewed out some serious big thugs for giving the nurses a difficult time and being generally uncooperative when people were trying to make them better – she has a mouth on her when necessary…you have to when small (and a martial arts devote doesn’t hurt)…called “the little doc” by many of the gunshot victims/gang members that she patched up in the ER…one upon leaving handed her his card and said “If you ever need anything or anyone taken care of, call.” There a type of skill and confidence that young docs gain from working gritty big city hospitals rather than the calm high dollar ones. A benefit they don’t realize until later (and they get more hands on experience there) You are right. They are out best hope. Thanks for cutting in with a comment


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