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December 28, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge


Lots to think about with training squirrels and thoughts. Both so easily derailed.

What to ask the squirrels in the woods if you could? Maybe, “What’s it like living in the grocery store?”

They scramble all over the place stashing stuff here and there for later. Maybe a bit fuzzy, but trained. No Aesop’s grasshoppers, they.

Squirrels, of course.

What else?

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…

vintage model railroad display at Houston Museum of Natural Science. Black engine crossing bridge. (© image copyrighted, no permissions granted, All rights reserved)

All photos from vintage model train display at Houston Museum of Natural Science.(© All images copyrighted, no permissions granted, All rights reserved)

Thinking round and about, the ancients do rock.

Quetzalcoatlus was a mega-sized flying reptile (Pterosaur, not a  dinosaur) that soared around Alpine,Texas (short video of area now) with a wing spread between 36 – 50 feet. This pterodactyloid pterosaur from the late Cretaceous period (about 65 million years ago – just before mammals became dominant) was not only one of the largest, but also one of the last Pterosaurs. Cooling climate, mountain building, seas draining, with a little additional habitat disruption by meteor and Yucatan volcanic explosion – all probably put the Texas giant pterosaurs on track for extinction.

All this relevant when coupled with the middle pen below: See the small dinosaur among the Herefords? A little footnote to all the fossils found in the Big Bend area duplicated in this section of the model railroad display.

Small dinosaur with the cattle in the stockyards. Houston Museum of Natural Science (© images)

Rugged scene with train tracks. train display landscape looks pretty real - just like the early western movie settings (© images. All rights reserved, copyrighted , NO permissions granted )

Could be the setting of a western movie (© images)

All aboard! Keep your eyes open for dinosaurs! Houston Museum of Natural Science trains over Texas exhibit. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Going ’round the bend is always risky.

In a car, of course, What did you think?

Nothing is a magical as traveling on a rural road on a cold winter night when you make a big curve in the intense late night darkness then, suddenly, there’s a small country town brightly dressed in holiday lights. It’s like a time warp or a movie set. Then you know Christmas.

Small country town dressed for Christmas in Houston Museum of Natural Science train exhibit. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

 Railroad roundhouse and maintenance center of Houston Museum of Natural Science train exhibit. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

But eventually there’s arrival at some station: the mental fog gives way to dawning.

Although the city noises and constant motion barely distracts tree sitters and thought chasers.


Downtown Houston scene with Metro transit center in Trains over Texas exhibit at Museum of Natural Science (© image. All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted )

Sigh. At tracks’ and wits end, too soon back to the city. This a realistic vignette of one of downtown Houston’s metro transit stations.(© )

Hope you are on track for a smooth New Year.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

 Houston museum of Natural Science entrance to train exhibit (© image. all rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted )

All aboard. Clever passengers can duck down and emerge magically in the middle of each train display island. Like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express Platform 9 3/4, only those who believe or are small only in statue can find the track’s crossings.( © image)





  1. the #1 Itinerary / Dec 28 2018 7:00 am

    Great post 😁


  2. Kate Crimmins / Dec 28 2018 7:22 am

    That is some display! Pretty cool!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 28 2018 12:35 pm

      Guess we’re lucky there’s not a basement here…RC keeps cozying up and suggesting a similar train layout her with a few changes: A nice Cinderella style castle with a viewing area on top large enough for a cat. (Like Molly would listen and not insist on joining her at the top…) Thanks for traveling along

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Dec 28 2018 12:41 pm

        When I was a kid we had one under the tree complete with crinkly paper mountains in the background. Our cat used to sleep there until one day she decided to take a dump in the mountains. Hey, they were the mountains! Won’t say what my mom said!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 28 2018 2:31 pm

          There’s an old but not vintage train in a box here. Someday,I’m determined to put it back around the giant Christmas tree…but I’ll have to rest up a bunch before that! The medium pre-lit tree up on a table out of reach of paws, claws, and smalls has been so easy…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kate Crimmins / Dec 28 2018 5:53 pm

            Out of reach, yes! All my cats are grown up so none of them fuss with it. The only attraction is the velvet skirt underneath it that seems to make a terrific cat bed.


  3. shoreacres / Dec 28 2018 7:23 am

    What a wonderful display. I especially like the penned-up dinosaur. I was going to say, “If only we could get all dinosaurs into captivity.” Then I looked in the mirror and said, “Naw. Maybe not.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 28 2018 2:43 pm

      Worth the trip – best before the kids are out of school for the holidays – although watching the kids is a whole different sort of fun. They add new stuff each year to the layout. The 4141 engine and railcars were present. There are unexpected things tucked here and there – like some larger dinosaurs near the wind turbine and oil derricks. I liked the small town and country side although the Alamo, Dallas, and Austin looked pretty nice, too. Not a display built by hobbyist, but a company – looking for the train fans’ display which shows up periodically.
      (Hey, that flying reptile display at Sul Ross/Alpine museum may be good enough excuse for a trip west….after winter retreats, maybe)
      Thanks for boarding with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Curt Mekemson / Dec 28 2018 10:50 am

    Thanks for railroading us, Phil. I yearn for the old days of travel by train. Even now, I feel nostalgic when I hear a train whistle. Happy New Year to you, your family and the menagerie. –Curt


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 28 2018 2:35 pm

      You are lucky to have experienced that sort of travel I’ve been on the narrow gauges in the Rockies, but never a “real” train. We used to walk barefoot down the hill in the summers to wave a the conductors when the train passed near the farm. Our neighbor was a retired train engineer who built a lovely house on a bluff by the rails – he said he always liked to hear that whistle – even late at night. Thinking’ we were the ones.
      Thanks for traveling along. Hope your new year is full of fun and adventures!


      • Curt Mekemson / Dec 30 2018 2:40 pm

        Not nearly as much as I would like to, and almost all overseas. My dad worked for a lumber company when I was a wee lad that used a narrow-gauge railway to bring logs out of the mountains. The engineers would throw candy out to us when the train went by! –Curt


  5. Robin / Dec 28 2018 1:16 pm

    Wonderful display. I always enjoy a good train display, especially if it includes a dinosaur. 🙂


  6. The Coastal Crone / Dec 28 2018 2:46 pm

    What a fantastic train layout! I am so glad Houston has at least a start for light rail. All aboard for 2019! I love exploring travel by old trains.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 28 2018 4:31 pm

      There’s something about trains.
      Houston had rail, then paved over it, then when Galleria I was being built the big 3 stores (Neimans, Sakowitz,Joske’s) Plus the mall in progress offered to build and pay for a monorail/train down Post Oak – for FREE, but the city said no. We will give them buses. Since the 60’s Houstonians have voted for a rail system, but Houston created Metro which gave more buses (and the delightful ones other cities were getting rid of).Sigh. There is a little Disney rail system – which doesn’t run in bad weather or rail – and is on grade taking up roadway and hitting cars. But as you say, a start. Eventually…if we can keep them on track. Who doesn’t like to ride trains?
      Thanks for climbing aboard – hope you New Year is stellar.


  7. Littlesundog / Dec 29 2018 7:18 am

    Forrest would love to see this display! We have 4 different sets of old train sets on a divider wall between the living room and dining room.They belonged to Forrest’s uncle. We have the tracks and motorized parts in the original boxes, though they don’t work – Forrest plans to tinker with that in retirement. Not sure where we’d put the entire setups, but for now just the train cars and some of the accessories (crossing lights, a metal bridge) sit up high with a few twinkle lights to showcase these old pieces. Little kids LOVE to see them, perched on Great Uncle Forrest’s shoulders!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 4 2019 7:13 pm

      Your train stuff sounds so cool! Forrest has to tinker with it and set it all up somehow. Maybe there’s a local train hobbyist group? This exhibit is by a company in Dallas that does stuff for marketing and major company meetings. I’m watching for the area train hobby guys who used to put up trains once a year – but the flooding may have damaged some of them. We have one old, but not vintage train that’s going around the tree next year – pets are old enough maybe to not attack it…
      Would love to see a post about your train stuff that’s out – we’re all little kids when trains are involved.
      Thanks for riding these rails

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LordBeariOfBow / Dec 30 2018 1:55 am

    WOW a wingspan of 36′ +, The aircraft I learned to fly in the Cessna 150 had a wingspan smaller than that, about 1 yard smaller;
    I’d have hated to meet one on take off
    I’d love to have found that train set in my christmas stocking, still the 2 bottles of makers mark I found was a nice surprise

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 4 2019 7:16 pm

      You’ve had so many cool adventures. (Sigh – how many of us wish we’d be able to hang on to those childhood trains?)
      Finally a sunny day – lots of birds and squirrels out – I think I spotted one of the local nesting eagles this afternoon – Not as large a wingspread as the one in the post, but still impressive.
      Thanks for flying by to chat. Happy first weekend of the new year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordBeariOfBow / Jan 4 2019 7:36 pm

        I must admit I haven’t had a boring life, it mightn’t be spectacular and newsworthy but it’s been a load of fun with a fair share of downside which I don’t bore people with, though at times it seems a damned sight more interesting and even exciting.


  9. RKLikesReeses / Jan 6 2019 4:14 pm

    SO COOL!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️this!


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