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May 1, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Local yokels and odd folks

Never know how much to tell the new people.

A head’s up or simply allow them the joy of discovery? Quite a batch of characters around.

Large gator tied up in truck at Whataburger (image by Chance Ward)

“Hey Chance, just get me something with chicken…and a large drink with a straw. Gator wrestling is thirsty work. And I’m a little tied up here.” (image by Chance Ward)

Sure they must have had a gnarly, cranky, old guy in their former neighborhood, but probably not one who hisses when displeased and is on the prowls for pet snacks..that’s pets as snacks not snacks for pets.

One old guy, George, was relocated this morning after stopping traffic on a major highway. Police called Gator Uber and assisted him to river frontage real estate. (Video of the 12 foot gator and his release here)

12 foot gator refusing to get off the roadway, HWY 59 near Cleveland. (Image: Chance Ward)

“What? I’m looking both ways before I cross.” (Image: Chance Ward)

Maybe George was meeting up with another massive gator friend who thought he had reserved an early golf tee time. Massive gator crossing the road here – along with gator expert talking about these self-confident locals.

It’s 0ver 85 F. and the gators are awakin’ and lookin’ to bake a bit right now. (Hmmm, will warn them to keep fluffy close for a while)

Massive Pearland gator headed to the golf course (Bradley Durrett/abc13 news)

Massive gator easily mistaken for a dinosaur. (Bradley Durrett/abc13 news)

Of course there’s always the neighborhood mom who lets her brood run hog wild over everyone’s lawn.

Who is really ready for the charge of the hoofed brigade? Not this subdivision. Is it a game of tag or are they in training for the Iron Hog Triathlon?

Dozens of feral hogs spotted careening through a neighborhood. Seriously – what a crowd. Watch the Spring Breaker piggies going to town here. 

Wild hogs running through Spering Trails neighborhood (Michelle Merrill/click2Houston news)

No, it’s not a herd of miniature Hereford cows. It’s wild hogs running through a Spring Trails neighborhood (Michelle Merrill/click2Houston)

If the wild hogs don’t spook them, the Ghost Bikes might.

The two wheel thing can become tragic in an instant. Sometimes it’s a distracted or impaired driver in a vehicle, sometimes a downright mean driver, or even sometimes a bike devotee who ignores the rules of the road or forgets it’s not smart to challenge a larger vehicle for right of way.

Far too many bike riders are getting mowed down. Last year 6 were killed and 37 seriously injured. Considering all the big bike events hosted by Houston, the city still doesn’t sound too bike friendly.

One group decided to raise awareness and to create memorials for those who lost their lives biking on Houston streets. At first people didn’t know what the white bikes were supposed to be – and thinking the bike was abandoned or some sort of unauthorized street art, some of the first bikes were removed. Now there are some 40 bikes with name plates around the area – chained in place…you have to chain even Christmas decorations down around here. (Video/More about the Ghost Bikes here.)

But air up your tires, there’s good news: $10 million committed by Harris County to Houston-area bike efforts – along with $1.1 million the city plans to spend in each of the next five years, there’s money for bike lanes, improving intersections, connect existing bike routes, and generally make biking safer and easier. More about the plans and maps here: “Houston’s getting ready for a flurry of bike lane expansion”

That ought to make things roll more smoothly. Ghost Bikes pale in hope.

A Ghost Bikes memorial (cw39 screenshot)

Not trendy white wall tires. Ghost Bike memorial.(cw39)

Both Molly Malamute and The Little Princess down the block are hopefully watching potential buyers for the house next door.

We call her The Little Princess because someone taught her Queen Elizabeth’s royal wave and she always uses it as she rides by on her bike up and down this double cul-de-sac street. A very sweet Downs Syndromes child with multiple shoes and bike helmets that match – who really needs a friend on the block which is mostly inhabited by little boys. We think she timed her ride past the realtor and buyers the other day just right – another little girl saw her, smiled, and waved. There was a contract on the house that night.

Molly is hoping for a friend to run up and down the fence with instead of a nervous little barker that crouches at his back door and worries.

And we all hope the newcomers add some fun, appreciate the eclectic neighborhood characters, and join the local mix well.

If not, well, we just won’t mention how to deter some of the bothersome pests, tell them where the local pick-it-yourself farms are, or the best places to watch the resort’s summer tourist fireworks.

Creature of habitats.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Local ducks in a row...sort of. (© Image: all rights reserved, NO permissions granted, Copyrighted)

Local ducks in a row…sort of.(© Image)




  1. easyweimaraner / May 1 2018 6:27 am

    oh my how egg-siting to meat such a George while walking around in the morning…. we have the wild hog problem in the cities too… a friend bumped into a sounder of hogs while walking her dog … she ran for her life… a challenge if you have a wild barking pup on an automatic leash what eggsactly went on strike that moment….

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 1 2018 12:59 pm

      Those darn hogs. They seem to be like roaches: species that will survive long after humans. Don’t want to get in a foot race with them.
      The Georges are sluggishly moving right now and out to get a warm glowing before leaping into the dating game – so our trail wandering is more cautious and limited right now. We are working with strong will and strong muscled Molly to get her to pay attention on walks – when we say,”stop” or “go fast NOW!” – she has to pay attention rather than locking up and wanting to go her own way or fully investigate an interesting smell. We hope to all pile in the car and head for the hills on vacation, but we have to be sure she’ll not try to make friends with a bear or give a snake a sniff!
      Thanks for the chuckle over your locals!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ShimonZ / May 1 2018 6:49 am

    sounds like a fair welcome


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 1 2018 1:00 pm

      Smiles and waves are good. More alike than different is always a great start. Thanks for stopping by to chat.


  3. Kate Crimmins / May 1 2018 7:40 am

    This one was jam packed. First are wild pigs dangerous? Do they attack people? (We don’t have them here. I’m thinking of bacon frying…) That alligator was ginormous! Don’t know how they strapped him to the roof unless he wasn’t alive. New neighbors, always a worry. We lost wonderful ones four years ago (still in mourning). The new ones (very young couple with 2 babies) keep to themselves. In 4 years I haven’t said 30 words to them. Maybe we’re too old to be interesting. No complaints though. Aside from not pulling weeds (which we remedied along the driveway with some weedkiller), I have no complaints. No parties (wild or otherwise), no wild kids running or even pets (which I would enjoy). We have dinner with the old neighbors every so often and I still yell at them for moving.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 1 2018 1:39 pm

      It’s the far too much to do season right now – great weather finally…for about 30 seconds before summer heat hits (and then there is not choice but to slow down. I keep hearing rumors of extreme hot summer…ugh…already have cabin fever in advance)
      I know the Spaniards thought they were simply bringing dinner on the hoof with them, but feral hogs are a big problem now. They can get big – about 36 inches tall weighing between 100-400 pounds when. mature. Normally they avoid humans and won’t attack humans/dogs, but you don’t want to run up and startle one or get between mom and her kids. They dig up and eat just about anything – roots, plants, acorns, worms, small reptiles and small animals, dead animals – yep, carnivores so you can see fiction/crime writers eying them.
      George and his gator buddies are sluggish this time of year and just looking for some toasty spots to bake and wake up. Normally, once gator relocators get those jaws taped tightly shut (and sometimes a rag over their eyes), the gators get rather calm…I hear that rubbing their tummies will put them to sleep, but not gonna try that. It’s best to tie their arms to keep them still in the back of the truck during transport…don’t want a gator with taped mouth to crawl off…
      The house next door was on the market about 24 hrs: doesn’t flood, great school district, very walkable landscaped area with everything from restaurants to grocery stores to banks and cleaners to marina a shady sidewalk away. Works for all ages. Inspections going on today, so hope it’s fine. Our original neighbors were with NASA but retired and moved closer to kids – we email back and forth. They sold to a Sugar Baby…really, she was.(Oh, there’s some stories there yet to be written) Her preteen daughter was so nice, luckily her dad was around as much as possible. Sugar finally got her Daddy to marry her and she rented this house. The renters were OK and all the kids were pleasant and polite – unlike nervous, usually irritated mom who honked the car horn a lot…really a lot…who does that? We’ll see what we get now. Still not sure if we’re staying or moving on…it doesn’t flood here and the trees are big now…and moving is such a hassle. (do people say that any more?)
      Thanks for wandering through the word swamp!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / May 1 2018 1:44 pm

        Yep, we’re at the same spot. Moving on but it’s so much work and we like it here. To be continued!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin / May 1 2018 7:58 am

    Another perk to Ohio (we need to take them where we can get them): no alligators in the road. Yikes.

    Sad about the bikers, but it’s good they’re going to do something about it. More bike lanes is something most cities could use.


  5. sustainabilitea / May 1 2018 8:34 am

    Unfortunately we have some ghost bikes here as well, unfortunate in that someone died where there’s a bike. My husband cycles over 3,000 a year and he and the bike club he rides with have had some close calls. There are even drivers who will try to force a cyclist off the road. I’d love to have more bike lanes everywhere because if you want people to use alternate forms of transportation like that, you need to make it safe!! No gaters or feral pigs here, thankfully.



  6. Anne Mehrling / May 1 2018 5:35 pm

    The ghost bikes are very interesting. I can live without your wildlife.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 3 2018 9:54 am

      It certainly pays to check out the neighbors and habitats when home buying. Messages running all around.Thanks for adding a cautious comment


  7. Spinster / May 1 2018 6:17 pm

    White bikes are used in England for the same reason. Definitely made an impact on me when seeing them, so hopefully the same can be done in the United States. No comment about 12-foot-long gator and the feral pigs… except “run Forrest, run!” *blank stare*

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 3 2018 10:00 am

      Maybe white bikes have become universal tributes and cautionary tales. Hopefully they are large enough and odd enough to startle people to look up from their cell phones and think a bit…now if we can just get them to put down their coffee cups and beer cans and pay attention to surroundings…
      The wild life certainly seems giant sized this spring. Thanks for running down this road!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Spinster / May 3 2018 11:49 am

        Yep, life-sized bikes are used and painted white, and flowers are usually there along with them. Sad.

        Always good stopping by here.


  8. Robin / May 2 2018 5:55 am

    Looks like things are really going wild down your way. The heat arrived here, too, but the critters are not nearly a toothy. Just the usual snakes (non-poisonous), deer, a fox or two, and some crazy bluebirds that insist on attacking car mirrors.
    We might need some ghost bikes here (and everywhere I’ve lived). Whenever I’m out on my bicycle some fool in a pickup truck decides to have some fun and veer towards me. It’s always someone in a pickup truck. They don’t want to share the road with cyclists.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 3 2018 10:22 am

      This week the mockingbirds and bluejays have gotten their no fly zones up and running. It’s dodge beaks for dog walkers. (and local hawks)
      Here, it cars targeting walkers and bikes is pretty evenly divided between SUVs, vans, sedans, and trucks. Far too much eating, texting, teen drivers showing off by scaring walkers or bikers, drunk driving and office work being done…far too many with fake license plates. Worse it the general meanness that is rising with no attempt to hide it…and the anger of a good deal of the population who will happily take out their irritation on anyone they encounter. It’s not one sided here either: far too many “serious” bike riders/bike clubs who forget the “sharing the road” and ride all the way across the lane, ignore street lights, stop signs, or the unable to avoid turning lanes/bike lane combos at intersections because the “serious bikers training for events” have their speed up and don’t want to stop or follow the rules. Cursing drivers and kicking in doors – especially with families also enjoying the park drive, isn’t doing the biking community any favors. Separate bike routes/barriers between bike and cars is the only safe concept until attitudes change.
      What ever happened to take turns and place nice – or go home? Do unto others should make a return appearance. Sigh
      Thanks for spinning a comment this way


  9. colonialist / May 2 2018 3:47 pm

    If they don’t fit in, some friendly neighbourhood chats mentioning the sudden outbreak of mysteriosis in the area, and asking innocently if they can suggest anything to deal with poison-and-trap-proof rats, might have them visiting the agents again.
    Bicycles are designed to eliminate the athletic members of the population so that the unfit have no reason to feel inferior..


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 3 2018 10:28 am

      HA HA – now there’s an option…we do have a species of roof rats here (which give the few cats some excellent aerobic exercise and the owls some amusements)
      Love your bike analysis! Shortly it will be too hot for bikes here. Maybe why people are in such a frenzy to ride right now. With the heat, humidity, and downpours, only a non-resident would ever suggest using a bike for office transportation around here. Kids, though, are never fazed…and unless they can steal a golf cart or manage a skate board, bikes are the only option for escaping chores or homework.
      Thanks for wandering this neighborhood


  10. shoreacres / May 2 2018 9:40 pm

    Now, if we just can get Houston to repair the potholes in the streets, too, all will be well. Dodging potholes and bicyclists is a double challenge.

    I actually got to rub a gator tummy once. They pulled a big one out of Watergate years ago, and the two ol’ boys from that state east of us trussed him, flipped him over, and said, “Rub his tummy and he’ll calm down.” So we did, and he did.

    You won’t believe the gator I saw out at the Brazoria refuge last weekend. I didn’t believe it — but I was out of the car with my camera in my hand when he crossed the road about 20-30′ in front of me. I’m not sure of the size: maybe a ten-footer, since it was a two-lane road, and he clearly took up more than one lane. It was cool — but I was just as happy to see him keep on truckin’.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 3 2018 7:52 am

      Remember the big gator that took up residence for almost a month in the apt pool down by the intermediate school? TPW shrugged and said it was wetlands habitat…and several drunk residents kept tossing it chicken each night.
      The big guys are out and making their photo shoots. Cool you passed one….better/more picturesque than in a neighborhood there. Seen this?
      Houston road are more than just a bumper car exercise right now. Few want to talk about the really aggressive bike riders (in training? they certainly have the outfits and attitudes) haunting Memorial Park area…they feel they can slide right through intersections and stop signs…hey, they have their speed up and do not plan to slow down…those kicking in sides of cars and cursing aren’t helping the biking community.
      (Speaking of about not helping…Htown city council gave permits and approval for a huge new development in west Houston on an abandoned golf course…just a bit down the creek from where Feds are currently buying out flood houses….more on this later, but maybe the gators are gathering for a protest…mob bullying is so in fashion right now.)
      Thanks for gathering for a gator chat


  11. Littlesundog / May 5 2018 7:01 am

    Good gosh, I’m glad we don’t have gators here. All of the snakes in these parts are enough of a worry, I can’t imagine having another beast to be on the lookout for! We’ve been getting regular visits in the orchard from the feral hogs – we counted a group of thirty or more one night via game camera video. I have only discovered one small wallow on our property, which from video I’m wondering if it’s a lone boar setting up his own territory. The damage down at the river, which is a quarter of a mile from our property, is very significant. I haven’t seen damage like this before on my hiking ventures, so they’re definitely setting up digs in the area. I’ve seen evidence of them all around the slough. That’s a bit alarming this time of year because in just a couple of weeks, does will begin dropping fawns, and feral hogs are a danger to the young. Although on another note, we have not seen as many coyotes in the area, so maybe they’ve run them off.We’ll be keeping watch of the hog activity. If they start rooting around in the pecan orchard, we’ll have to get help eradicating them.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 8 2018 6:51 am

      Feral hogs are the roaches of the mammal world – hazard to everyone and everything.The damage they cause is terrible. Hopefully those touching toe inside your place will move to more hospitable territory.
      No snake so far, but I am cautious about some of the spiders – we love their work, but let’s be friends at a distance…hard to spot the recluse sometimes. And already fighting fire ants. It may be a loooong hot bothersome summer at this rate. Wander while you can. Thanks for running by with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  12. RKLikesReeses / May 6 2018 11:24 am

    Walkabout gators and wild pigs? WOW! Such an exciting place to live!! We get all excited, here, when a fox ambles past. So sad about the bike danger! Is it fairly flat there? Just curious. Our hills make biking less attractive than it would be otherwise. The Little Princess sounds like a wonderful welcoming committee. Good luck with the new neighbors!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 8 2018 6:56 am

      It’s so flat here on the coastal plains we build big hills in parks just so kids don’t miss the fun of playing on them. Flat is great for gators and bikes – each needing and deserving caution…but people are in such a rush and so self centered in vehicles many times.
      The house next door sold in less than 24 hrs – now if everything goes through for it. Everyone makes an effort to chat with Princess, but she really needs a friend her age. Fingers crossed. Thanks for painting up a comment as pretty as your pictures!

      Liked by 1 person

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