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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/



May 11, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dark and stormy might.

Trees (NO permissions granted)in black and white(All rights reserved. copyrighted).

Dark trees. Careful. They’ll know you know.©

“The suspense is terrible…I hope it’ll last. (Willy Wonka, Chocolate Factory. Oh, that’s it. Blame the chocolate.

“So much to do, so little done, such things to be” (Elizabeth Taylor. It’s the diamonds, a girl’s best friend. The glare must be blinding.)

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” (Ayn Rand.)  

They are still running Mother’s Day guilt commercials. It’s not too late! And it’s all half price now.

“Beware of the barrenness of a busy life” (Socrates.)

So if the resident outspoken cat, the bored recuperating dog and her briefly visiting, equally shedding, German Shepherd friend weren’t lolling around here, there could be actually be a designer showcase home interior with lush window treatments, plush area rugs, countless couch pillows, and trendy accessories instead of remnants of dog toys, Greenies’ crumbs, and paw prints?  

“There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures. ” (Brutus. Julius Caesar IV,3,218-224)

Wait. Let me get this one dog hair tumbleweed. Now what was were you saying?

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” (Charles Schulz/Charlie Brown)

Great. Is there a time limit? What? 

Street scene.1922 photo of Alfred Hitchcock filming Number 13 in London. Film was never finished.(USPD: UK artistic work of unknown artist, Photo /previously unpublished photo before1945/

A mystery. Not really. See Alfred Hitchcock there directing this street scene? If only everyone had a director with such attention to life’s details. Maybe not him. This film,” Number 13″, was never completed. (

“It’s a hellava start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” (Lucille Ball)

Sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. Or dog hair. Just let one day go by without raking the hallway. Hey, maybe we should just make that two. You’re right. It may rain tomorrow. Lucy would approve. 

Paraphrasing Charlie Brown: “The Secret of Life? You just hang around until you’re used to it.”

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it. (Alfred Hitchcock)

What me, worry? (Not so Mad advice)

Nothing like uneven ground or being ground unevenly to keep you jumping.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Bird on telephone wire.Looks like Alfred Hitchcock's BIrds/Wayne Wilkinson/

Waiting. Watching. Looking for direction? (Alfred Hitchcock’s ominous bird waiting./Wayne Wilkinson/Flickr/

May 8, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Leaning one way or the other

Not my boat., but it is my pictureAll rights reserved. copyrighted. NO permissions granted.

Leaning in without any luck. Obviously not from lack of support.©

On the fence.

Stuck or intentional pause?

Anchored with indecisiveness hiding in plain sight.

With the other oar being a wise look before you launch.

Waves rushing by.

Doggedly trying to get inside? A neighbor child asking to play. Or that tatted up teenage boy your daughter has been told to stay away from?

Doggedly trying to get inside. A neighbor child politely asking to play. Or that sullen tatted up teenage boy your daughter has been told to stay away from?©

Good to be prepared on the dock with bow lines ready when your ship comes in.

Life isn’t cruising along offering refunds.

Know when to float and when to boat.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

(NO permissions granted)row boat drying on fence.All rights reserved. copyrighted

Looks like one of those giant demanding seals. Hide the shrimp. ©

Boat and dock. NO permissions granted. All rights reserved. Copyrighted

Nooo! The splash is not always greener. Slide back into the water now before being hooked by the lure of “stuff” and civilization.©



May 6, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Birches. Floating out epic characters.

Not sure if they are elusive like leprechaun gold, shy, or just picky about real estate.

Birch trees tend to stop people as well as dogs (who are non-judgmental about trees).

Obviously, these are the hippies, the free-styling sort of tree. A fringe element. (Some simply stand for anything to be appealing.)

Water birch tree. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions grant

Emerald lady. Obviously a giving sort.©

Eco-friendly, too. Encouraging renewable resources.

Birches are all up for recycling their discards.

Repurposing without coaxing.

Highly prized birchbark once covered canoes made by the Algonquian, the Iroquois, and other tribes as well as Europeans who learned the skill. (Birchbark Canoes. Fort St. Joseph Archeological Project. Authentic pictures.)

Birch tree showing bark curling off. NO permissions granted for use of this image. ALl rights reserved.

Shirley Temple’s not the only one with natural curls.©

As kids, we were thrilled to stumble across a small stand of birch trees hidden in a thicket along a creek at the farm.

We carefully unwrapped bark from trees, gathered discarded curls, then made small birchbark canoes for those cheap plastic animals and men from the Five and Dime Store.

Yes, we were easily amused.

Ignoring possible loss of passengers in deep water by leaks or by rock pelting from equally bored siblings or cousins, we shoved the little vessels into the water

In solemn rolling tones we’d rumble out with great seriousness:

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis…..

We wanted to sound like this guy reading “The Song of Hiawatha”

(LISTEN: Audio of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s entire epic. READ the Gitche Gumee part of the sentimental tale about the “noble savage“/a hero who hasn’t been “corrupted” by civilization.)

1890 illustration of Hiawatha's friends. Birchbark Canoe. By Frederic Remington for Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow./ Met.Museum/

1890’s house hunting? Realtors love to get people trapped in their vehicle. (Seriously, Hiawatha’s friends in birchbark canoe/Remington/Met./USPD/

Exactly why would a bunch of dirty farm urchins be reciting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

Mainly because on hot summer nights after all the dishes were done, we’d sit out on the porch.

In the clanking porch swing, on the steps, or in an old chair dragged out.

It was deep dark with only a couple of bare light bulbs hanging in the house which was OK since you could catch fireflies easier in the dark.

Sooner or later, the adults would start musing over the poems they had to memorize as kids.

Then, every child at every grade level had to stand up and recite a poems in front everyone. Of course it was a small-ish audience in that one room schoolhouse where most of the kids walked barefoot to the school steps, then put their shoes on before going inside.

Everyone knew “Gitche Gumee”.

1880 Painting by Francis Hopkins. Minnehaha Feeding the Birds/ USPD., artist life/

1880 Hiawatha’s bride Minnehaha feeding birds. (Hopkins/USPD/   Look, it’s a period piece in a sentimental era that romanticized primitivism. Read it in context of the times and simply enjoy the writing.

Poetry sounds different when heard outside under a dark star-lit sky.

Nothing to distract from what the author intended.

Different when heard inside the sterile box of a classroom. Way to kill words.

Birch trees in Great Smoky Mtn. Park /Haas, fed.employee,Nat.Park Serv./LOC/USPD/

Do some birches hide because they are ticklish? (Haas/USPD/

Meanwhile, birches stand waiting for discovery and appreciation.

A dreamer noticing the tree’s freak flag flying.

A child recognizing a puddle’s boat, a historian unfurling legends, or a writer peeling off words.

Rooting for more than just canine fans,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Explore more: Hiawatha – how much about the hero is folklore/legend and what history says, those Indian words incorporated, the Finnish influence, the epic poem’s trochaic tetrameter, cultural response/critics, influence on music, art, other literature, and, of course, the parodies (Lewis Carroll’s attempt is shown there).

And the animated versions by Disney(1937) or Bugs Bunny(1941)  These created for an entirely different purpose from Wadsworth’s original saga about a noble hero untouched by the evils of civilization.

Try reading outside – under the stars.

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water

(from “Hiawatha’s Childhood”, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

1910 illustration of Hiawatha fishing in a birchbark canoe. Illustration from "Take my bait O King of Fishes" of  "Story of Hiawatha" adapted from Longfellow by William Stokes and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. illustrator.Kirk (, artist life/

1910.Squirrels discovered an early version of Uber? (Kirk/USPD/

May 4, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sanding down Game of Thrones

It jolted into the air exactly like the stirring opening of Game of Thrones.

Stately. Formidable. Yet vulnerable to crumbling from pressure.

No permissions granted for this sand castle image. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

Hear that “Game of Thrones” opening song? ©

They are bound to have known full well that a surge had already invaded the fortress to the south leaving it in ruins.

Silent. Pooling every grain of its’ resources and resolve.

Summer is coming! Summer is coming!

A tide of dangers: Big feet, heavy grill assaults, unruly dogs, and the most feared Wildings of all: children.

Little wonder the inhabitants are not responding to inquiries.

front view of sand castle, Galveston ALl rights reserved. copyrighted. NO permissions granted for image use

Drop that water pail! You may approach slowly, carefully. Watch your step ©

Summer time is not on their side.

Doomed in the dunes.

“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.” (T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”.)

No permissions granted. ALl rights reserved. dog image copyrighted

No way. It tastes nasty and won’t hold still for sniffs. Dubious stuff. ©

“The Sea speaks a language polite people never repeat. It is a colossal scavenger slang and has no respect.” (Carl Sandburg, “Two Nocturnes”)

Release those dragons, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea!

Or at least tether a dragon kite to the keep.

Galveston beach bordering the state park. NO permissions granted. ALL rights reserved. copyrighted

Is he the lookout, advanced guard, guardian, or welcoming committee? East Beach bordering the Texas State Park beach area where no cars are allowed. Galveston, TX.©

When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.” (Carl Sandburg)

NO permissions granted to beach and sea gull image. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

Waiting for an ending yet to be written.©

Just a splash away,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

May 30, 2015. Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) hosts architects, designers, and engineers for one of the world’s largest sandcastle competitions. (East Beach). The competitions started in 1986. Info and 2014 pictures here.

Sea gull perched on Handicap parking sign on Galveston beach (NO permissions granted. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

“You tell him to move.”
“No, you tell him.”
“He’s faking it. Hiding one leg. Some will do anything to park close.” ©





May 3, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Baby’s new choose. Flight plans.

NO permissions granted for this image. All rights reserved Baby birds on balcony copyrighted.

Found the perfect slot.©

No longer need to worry they will slip through the cracks.

Good planning, mom. The kids have a safe yard to play in and practice their life skills.

“You go first.”

“No, you go first.”

“Mom said to wait here.”


ALL rights reserved. Young birds clinging to window sills. No permissions granted. Copyrighted

Today’s the day. And they’re off. Made it across the courtyard to see what their neighbors are having for breakfast.©

Fly back to see mom on the nest or the fledglings feeling a bit insecure.

Flights of feathers or fancy are always worth the time.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

May 1, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dog trots. Trailing with mutters.

Pine Gully trail on bright spring day. ALl rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted.

Cool! Cruel and unusual punishment to be forced to stay inside.©

“I’m booooored. Wanna go outside and play. You are the meanest parents ever.”

Way past dog whispering. Full out muttering and exclaiming.

Yes, admitting it.

The worst, over protective, hovering, meanest dog parents ever. While Molly Malamute is past the initial danger period immediately after being poisoned, for the next 4-5 weeks there’s a risk of internal hemorrhaging. No rough play.

Know what young huskies, Malamutes, or sled-type dogs find entertaining?

Charging pell-mell around the yard at break claw speed, smashing through any bush with the poor judgement to grow in the way, then whole body crashing into each other. I have bruises to prove it. (Nice to be accepted into the pack, but not The Hulk-type here.)

Playing chase the ball was suggested to drain energy. Ball. Something she absolutely shows no interest in unless another dog is playing. Peer pressure, perhaps.

It’s not good for a young malamute to be bored.

We shall not discuss the bedspread.

Do kennels have recreation managers? If so, gaining plenty experience for the job.

Pine Gully. IMG_4493

Ready to go? Ready to go. Ready to go. Ready to go. You carry the water. ©

Current tactic is daily afternoon outings.

Which eats a bit of time, so blog posts may be a little different, lack polish, or existence at all.

Work with me here. Did I mention the bed spread? The couch can take just so many Molly mountain goat leaps.

Wander along Pine Gully on a rare spring day: cool, low humidity, bright sun.

“Mom, don’t stand so close. You’re always right next to me. I’m just sniffing – not eating it. Give a dog some space!”

NO permissions granted. All rights reserved. Copyrighted. Pine Gully trail

Must you dawdle? Enough with the pictures. There’s stuff to see – keep up. Molly’s the dark blob on the far right. ©

NO permissions granted. All rights reserved. Copyrighted. Pine Gully - canal trail

Molly was on the far right for a reason. There’s an alligator lurking in the shallow water back there in the canal.©

All rights reserved to image. Pine Gully is an flood control area as well as a natural restored wetlands waterway to Galveston Bay. No permissions granted.Copyrighted image.

Pine Gully is a flood control area as well as a restored natural wetlands and waterway to Galveston Bay.©

NO permissions granted. All image rights reserved.Exxon donated and planted native trees to re-forest this area which was damaged during Hurricane Ike. Some 8-10 feet of salt water surged in here.

Dow Chemical donated and planted native trees to re-forest this area which was damaged during Hurricane Ike. Some 8-10 feet of salt water surged in here. Volunteers are also planting native grasses. Stuff grows fast here, so it won’t take long once it’s established. ©

Leashes are such a drag. All rights reserved. NO permission granted. Copyrighted.

“Hey, open trail. Leashes are such a drag. How about a little free range dog here? I promise to stay out of the tall grass. No? Oh, OK, let’s go on down to the bay and see what’s splashing.”©

View of Galveston Bay, the Houston Ship Channel with container ship. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted for this image

Pine Gully Trail ends on the banks of county park over looking Galveston Bay and the ships in the Houston Ship Channel heading to the Port of Houston. ©

A closer view of one cargo ship headed down the ship channel (ALL rights reserved for image) to open waters of Galveston Bay. We're far away. Difficult to describe how gigantic the cargo ships are. Unsettling if you are in a sailboat also sharing the channel passage. Wise to not insist on right of way in that circumstance. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

Another view of one cargo ship headed down the ship channel to open waters of Galveston Bay. We’re far away. Difficult to describe how gigantic the cargo ships are. Unsettling if you are in a sailboat also sharing the channel passage. Wise to not insist on right of way in that circumstance.©

The park's very popular public fishing pier over Galveston Bay. No dogs allowed, but Molly isn't insulted. Something smells fishy about it. NO permissions granted to image. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

The park’s very popular, very long public fishing pier over Galveston Bay. No dogs allowed, but Molly isn’t insulted. Something smells fishy about it.©

NO permissions granted to image. Squint at the horizon and you can see small sailboats during a race out there. They are shallow keels, so do not need the depth of the channel to sail. Small boats race on courses around floating marks set out before each race. They are much closer to shore than to the shipping lanes of the ship channel. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted.

Squint at the horizon and you can see small sailboats during a race out there. These are shallow keels boats, so they do not need the depth of the channel to sail. Small boats race on courses around floating marks set out race morning Boats are much closer to shore than to the shipping lanes of the ship channel.©

Tired? Well, better trot on back to the car.

Mind shaking off that mud before going?

Trailing thoughts until the next run.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Related posts about Pine Gully Trail

Well, if running wild isn't an option, a change of scenery helps.

Well, if running wild isn’t an option, doggone it, a change of scenery helps.©






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