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February 2, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Let me entermaim you

winter sky sunset. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Reaching. Or got it. Escapes, some.©

There’s owlet for little owls. And piglet for diminutive porkers.

Booklet. Leaflet. Less words the better.

Starlet. Twiglet. Cut down to size?

Winglet. Warthoglet. Never the twain shall greet. Each promising a different sort of drag.

Sets the stage for inlet and outlet: extreme ends of little fashion trends

-lets do pick: affection and endearment or diminishing and condescending.

Tartlet: both tasty and tasteless.

A choice in the droplet of sound.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

January 30, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Cold hearted cold case

Woman. Norma Talmadge. 1921. USPD: pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Each minute that passes causes more concern for the US Fish and Wildlife agency. Is she on the streets?(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

The good news is that they haven’t found the bodies. Yet.

Diabolical considering they were such as risk to start with, being blind.

Little hope they can return home on their own, with sunlight not being their friend. But with the ever-increasing reward ($15,000. as of Jan 29th), maybe something will crawl out.

They were snug, safe, and warm at home in Sam Marcos the day before Thanksgiving, but when their caretakers returned on Friday, they were gone.

Seriously. Who leaves such tiny ones unattended on a family oriented holiday?

Where’s the nanny cam?

Wanting a day off, perhaps their employees dumped out a pile of food in the bathtub like cat owners going on vacation and said “There. Buffet”. That would tempt almost any creature to stage a walkout in protest.

Did Texans lead the way out the door? (Not the football team. We know they rarely lead)

Texas blind salamanders are pale amphibians with frilly gills that can regenerate lost limbs. Rare cave-dwelling troglobites.

“On November 25, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in San Antonio was made aware that 253 Texas Blind Salamanders (Eurycea nana) and 110 San Marcos Salamanders (Eurycea rathbuni) were missing from the San Marcos National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center located at 500 North McCarthy, San Marcos, TX…” (From NFWL SW )

Good grief, The blind leading the vulnerable.

The San Marcos Salamanders are probably wondering what in the world made them listen to those boastful Texas cave dwellers. (Others are bound to feel the same way sometimes…)

Fairies on boats. Fairies. Fairy Islands tale from Evles and Fairies. 1916 Ida R. Outhwaite. USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org.)

No one thinks they got out this way. The salamanders more likely would have seen snacks rather than rescuers.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org.)

What moved them?

  • Maybe the little guys were weary of being so closely monitored, and wanted more privileges. Got together with, “Well they can’t put us all detention, so let’s march.”
  • Maybe there’s no place like home and they headed back to San Marcos Edwards Aquifer. “Safety in numbers! Especially for runaways.”
  • Maybe they want to strut their stuff at Super Bowl. (Hope they’ve been warned about lounge lizards there. Totally different than the Forest and Wildlife agency playing matchmakers.)
  • Maybe they got hacked, learned computers, and decided their only escape was to sell themselves on Craig’s List.
  • It could have been an inside job. There were no signs of break-ins, but they haven’t changed to locks in 15 years or so and employees come and go…
  • Or, as an official quietly said Saturday off the record, maybe another resident ate them.

In any case, if you step across one, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s San Antonio Office of Law Enforcement at (210) 681-8419 or Operation Game Thief at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). Callers may remain anonymous.

Dragon and Dragon slayer. Siegfried slays Fafner. 1911 (USPD.artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

They look weird, but are harmless. Tell them their foster parents are very concerned.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

A cold case. (And not one of beer.)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Read more?

  • Their Missing Persons images are pretty pale, so here’s descriptions:

“The Texas Blind Salamander is approximately 5 inches long and has blood-red external gills for absorbing oxygen from the water. Its diet varies by what flows into its cave and includes blind shrimp, snails, and amphipods.

The San Marcos salamander is a small species of aquatic, lungless salamander native to the United States, endemic to Spring Lake and a small region of the headwaters of the San Marcos River near Aquarena Springs, in Hays County, Texas. It is one to two inches long, with a slender body and external gills, and is reddish-brown in color.” (From USFW SW)

Both are protected endangered species.

Rare salamanders. USFWL facility. (image by KSAT news). See link above in post)

Who wouldn’t want one of these little dragons. (They got left behind when Magic vanished.)

 

January 27, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Toasting all game.

menacing looking fake wolf. (everythinglubbock.com)

Do I look like I mind if you play through? (Everythinglubbock.com)

Certainly a wonky crowd that’s propped up to play.

Golfers are far too serious to give the bird to. And really they don’t want them. Really.

Migrating Canadian geese have ignored the lack of welcome on a Lubbock golf course. (Obviously a luxury resort mislabeled from a goose perspective.)

Being a greens area, the method to dislodge them couldn’t be murderous.

A stake out utilized: fake predators that look real enough to bother neighborhood dogs.

“Lakeridge Country Club uses scare tactics to shoo away Geese” (Video/news)

Our own RC Cat is rather amused by the play.

“It would be far more effective,” she snarks, “to import a few of the excess feral cats and let them take a swipe at it. Toss them a few of those small white balls and plant some catnip around to amuse them. Done and done. Real is always better than plastic – to animals, anyway. Humans? A different story entirely.”

Regal glowering cat. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Can’t out think geese? Wouldn’t last a minute without thumbs.©

We were game when the new toaster arrived.

Making toast pretty simple, but a 25 page instruction manual was included – in multiple languages – on glossy paper.

Luckily there were pictures – a total of 23 not counting the 2 showing all the parts and features.

All nicely cross referenced to the pages of Important Safeguards and Do Not’s

Sadly it appears we will not be having toaster duels – Unless underhandedly positioned under the table and target.

“Toaster must always be used in upright position (not on its side or tilted forward).”

They take all the fun out of everything. 

No opportunity for lively debates over the proper bread ammo when you knead battle. (Doh!)

Multi grains loaded with those little hard BB type lumps. Pumpernickel bread for heavy breaded artillery. White bread for a softer, heart healthy friendly fire. Hot bagels shooting out like Japanese throwing stars…

soldier teaching proper gun use with gun being held vertically. (USPD.: by fed. employee/commons.wikimedia.org)

Doesn’t matter if  toaster or gun, always keep in vertical position.(USPD/commons.wikimedia.org)

 

Now we are also worried about needing to buy a companion appliance to keep the toaster company: “Never leave toaster unattended .” (Like it’s the Queen of England or something.)

 Means no attending the fun and games the NFL Super Bowl is creating “for all those who can’t afford a ticket to Super Bowl, but don’t want to be left out”. Events like the NFL Players’ Tail Gate Party (ticket: $900.00+) or the Concert for the People (tickets $35-$55.00).

We could board the dog at the kennel, but what about the toaster? (Booklet has notes on shocks, but not shots.)

Pulled the plug on all dreams of becoming a ninja toaster warrior and dashed hopes of hiring out to make geese toast.

(“#9. Do not use outdoors”. “For Household Use Only” in big bold letters. Adding extra long extension cords to the toaster not allowed.)

Oh, well. At least there’s warm company at the table. (Can we count the toaster as a dependent?)

Nicely done.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

toaster instruction illustration showing Do not boil water in pot on top of toaster. Krups

Figure 21. Does not double as a cook top. Tell your college kid.

 

 

January 25, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sweep no more, my lady

Woman in long skirt and mantilla. Spanish dancer. John Singer Sargent. 1880's. (USPD artist life, pub.date, /Commons.wikimedia.org)

She was striking: graceful in her movements, powerful in her demeanor.  (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org

She was warned – like in “The Ant and the Grasshopper”.

“Hold still. Put on your coat! You cannot go out like that.”

You know the usual phrases in attempts to protect them.

Ignored. All of it.

Her long fingers twirled in the sun like a Spanish dancer. Her backbone straight with youth. So green.

So proud.

Knowing people always turned to look at her.

Exotic.

But as satin slippers stain and ugly goloshes are far more practical, every Beauty must accept reality. Or else.

“Hold still. Stop wiggling. Here, are the arm holes. Put on your coat! And keep it on! No. No playing Batman with swirling cape!”

Sigh.

Pencil plant after the freeze. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Pencil plant who refused to behave and get dressed before the freeze. ©

Now she holds a drooping mantilla. Once elegant threads dropping despite her desperate attempts to hold on.

Nothing like a freeze to cut a willful plant back to its’ roots.

Ready to pick up sticks.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Read more of Euphorbia tirucalli’s (Pencil Plant) posts? She does have such a fancy name….

Like most young things, she worries over appearance and bullies. “Stick thin. Hatefully miscast.”

Her years as a beauty spooky: “Dark and stormy night (More than two sentences),

ALL rights reserved. Pencil plant and pumpkin. all rights reserved, copyrighted, No permissions granted

There she is. Sticking around with a vegetable about to go bad.©

 

January 23, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Time out.

Molly trying out leaves to hide among in order to surprise squirrels. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted. ALL rights reserved.

On the clock and running. Having little success in meeting squirrels – the furry 4 legged kind – Molly is experimenting with camouflage.©

An old clock

Not that old as it uses batteries just like some people to keep running

Happy with its’ tick tick tick

Which reminds not to just sit sit sit

Timely. Fleet. Beat.

But it’s stopped late ‘mid race

Not sure if that’s intended to be a battery of prophecy, profits, or punch line.

  • “Time is the longest distance between two places.” (Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie)
  • “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.” (Lao Tzu)
  • “Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.” (Jorge Luis Borges)
  • “Time is a game played beautifully by children.” (Heraclitus, Fragments)
  • “Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.” (Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères)
  • “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
  • “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ” (Coco Chanel)

Clocked.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

 Molly Malamute hiding behind leaves. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Can you see me now? (Please don’t break her heart. She spent time devising this plan. Of course we’ll be lucky if there’s any squirrels left in the area after the strong winds yesterday. Time to go out and clean the far-flung fronds and branches. It’s like the trees gave up and said “Take them and leaf us alone.)©

 

January 20, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Boots, guns, and tout suite.

Music to the ears: a couple of quirky events that might have even Roy Rogers saying, “Whoa”.

Man. John Wayne. 1935 movie pub. still by Forum Western Movies. (USPD.pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Watch it cowboy. Looks like you’re all cattle and no hat. That doesn’t play well here.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Someone at Cavender’s must love notes of any kind.

Face it. Lugging a cello, violin, or flute around school can lead to some less than harmonic episodes.

Young musicians have to be tough to deal with the ridicule, lack recognition, and little appreciation. Not many perks compared to the athletically muscled.

The teens of Virtuosi Houston Small Ensemble Orchestra are riding high after being invited to play at three Inauguration events.

Stepping into the role of Cinderella’s Godmother, Cavender’s, a local western store, outfitted entire group with cowboy boots and hats to complete their Black Tie performance attire.

A few TV interviews never hurt anyone’s image either.

No matter your politics, be glad these dedicated young musicians are getting some enviable rewards.

Hats off  to Cavender’s for making sure the kids can party with new boots on. 

Tune up with their Facebook page.

Dance along with their video news:  “Local Orchestra receives outfits

Teens and men in western store. (Image from Virtuosi of Houston Facebook page

Quit fretting. You say “fiddle”. I say “violin”. We all say “Time to boogie.” (Virtuosi of Houston Facebook)

Next out of the chute is a couple with kids who were stunned upon opening their car’s console after a scheduled maintenance service.

Who knew that the Kia dealership included a free gun as a perk?

“Loaded gun found in car after service appointment” (News video and story)

Briefly, first their concerns were brushed off by the service manager with “Oh, a mechanic took your car home overnight and forgot to remove his gun. Sorry. Mechanics take cars home all the time.” A few hours later the dealership manager refused to talk to anyone about it. The next day the dealership owner gave a statement to the effect of being very concerned and considering what punishment the mechanic should face.

Oh, for all you who never write down your mileage and note the amount of gas in your car when you take it in for service, you might want to reconsider that….seriously. Mechanics love to “test drive” cards after hours…Jalopnik has more than a few stories about mechanics enjoying others’ rides and the results.

Driving things around here is, of course, the Super Bowl.

There’s no escaping the hype – the number of days and hours down to the minute – are plastered everywhere. Pleeeeeease make it stop.

Apparently, the NFL is concerned about the damaging environmental footprint of the event or maybe the NFL thinks there’s a new market of people who live green.

Everyday there’s a feel good story demonstrating how the Super Bowl is saving Mother Nature.

Sultry dramatic vintage picture of Gloria Swanson.1920 Paramount.( USPD.pub.date/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Yes. I am the Queen Be. You may come closer. Closer, fool. I am chilled.”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

First buzz was a pollinator garden created at the Houston Zoo which an NFL spokesman said “would give bees migrating south from Canada for the winter a place to rest.”

Wait. Coach, a review flag? (The NFL focusing on educational outreach and all.)

The thing is that I can’t find information about a bee species from Canada that migrates south through here for the winter.

  • Honeybees stop flying when temps get in low 50’s. Won’t leave the hive.
  • Some bees cluster close around a queen bee to make sure she survives the cold (A really interesting process as the bees rotate positions so none are left on the outside in the cold for too long…and they go outside for potty breaks)
  • Carpenter bees drill holes in old wood, find old nests, or tunnel into the ground to stay warm.
  • Hornface bees remain in cocoons as larvae until spring.
  • And some bees just flat die.

Maybe some expert can fly in with some species information. That would be super sweet. Meanwhile the local bees will be pleased to keep the little garden area buzzing…once it’s warm enough.

Enough flowery talk, right?

Happy trails and boogie on.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

group of teens. Image from Virtuosi of Houston Facebook Page Timeline.

The Smithsonian:  it really is history. Have a classic time, kids. Epic even. Be happy! (Virtuosi of Houston Facebook)

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 18, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dirt bags

You can try mending rocky things, but as with the Frost, well, you can only fence for so long.

Grumbling. Still dealing with dirt.

Clods, those disgruntled insolubles, always seem to remain.

Two parked front end loaders. LoC (Lowe) HALS/USPD: Nat.Parks Service employee/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Why is this scary? We caught the cat looking at these on Amazon. She was much too near the credit cards. Luckily she hasn’t completely mastered human speech or else Amazon Echo Alexa would be shipping them already. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Like it or not, eventually you have to replace the stupid, uneven backyard fence and deal with the mess left.

The last excess dirt mound has been reduced enough to allow HRH RC Cat to sit on her sunny indoor window ledge without having her view totally obstructed, but…

Can’t tell you of the grumpy grimaces through the screen that she takes for encouraging more rapid action.

We also suspect she’s been purring subliminal messages into our ears at night to reinforce the guilt of not completing the task.

If it was only useable dirt, but no. A jumbled mix of concrete lumps, clumps of sticky clay-like gumbo, and assorted unidentified objects among the original yard fill.

Worse, some of it stinks horribly and there’s no way that stench getting scattered on lawn or flower beds.

Yep, that’s the picture: me on hands and knees carefully sorting and grouping dirt – with occasional sniffing required. OSHA probably would not approve.

But, hey, saving the cost of expensive mud baths with the daily 70-80% chance of rain.

woman crouched on dirt with shovel. 1963.( National Geo. Society. Smithsonian archives. Acc.90-105.Flickr/USPD.exp.cr, no known restrictions/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Oh, yea! A hands-on game of hide and seek. How delightful the fence guys thought to bury concrete scraps in the leftover dirt. A solid treasure hunt! (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Growing weary of the fun, we are getting creative with dirt removal ideas. A few options:

  1. Sneak small amounts of unwanted dirt into the garbage pick up over time using ice cream cartons, oatmeal containers, or large cereal boxes.
  2. Wrap it up in leftover Amazon shipping boxes and call FedEx.
  3. Shape the gumbo into  primitive sculptures like the Statue of Liberty, garden gnomes, or bears. Then call them folk art for flea markets or craft shows.
  4. Mold fist-size nuggets, buy cans of shiny metallic gold paint, and set the painted clods out by the curb. No doubt these will be instantly claimed by small children, landscapers, or interior decorators.

Any suggestions?

If we don’t get rid of the stuff soon, we might as well plan on plowing the kitchen floor for a spring garden with all the tracked in dirt.

Clodhoppers aren’t just kicking’ for farmers anymore.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

And the area’s flooding again. Bayou out of banks. People stuck in cars. (Wonder if I should bother putting recycling bin out?) Waiting to see if it’s just a few hours event or an early Spring flood. Spring usually starts making appearances after Valentines Day though.  Just another La niña winter. 

Boy carrying lumpy bag. 1940 WPA youth. (NARA/ USPD. created by US agency, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Hey, just in time. Yes, it’s garbage – heavy garbage. You’re wearing steel-toed shoes, right? (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

 

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