Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

It’s hard to understand some people

with 63 comments


So there we were on March 25th heading south from Christ Lutheran Church on the appropriately named Church Rd. in Guadalupe County south of New Berlin. When I saw a colorful stand of mixed wildflowers in a fenced front yard I parked, walked over to the fence, and prepared to take pictures. No sooner had I raised my camera when a guy in a tractor started spiraling in around the edges of the yard to mow down all the pretty wildflowers. I yelled out to ask him why he was doing that; he said his wife insisted, and he had to do what she wanted. How anyone could prefer a bare yard to this wildflower delight is beyond me, but I recognize the reality that people’s values vary immensely. The cut-down wildflowers included Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa), sandyland bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus), phlox (Phlox drummondii), and Texas groundsel (Senecio ampullaceus).



§        §        §



When my phone rings, I don’t pick up for people/numbers I don’t recognize on the caller ID. Instead I let the call go through to my answering machine to see if someone leaves a legitimate message. Yesterday I got an unrecognized call, and here’s the message a robotic voice left (often bunching phrases unnaturally):

“Hi, my name is Deborah Holland from the PCH Sweepstakes calling to notify you that you are a lucky winner of $12.5 million, $7000 weekly for life and a beautiful 2023 C-Class Mercedes Benz in our monthly grand prize drawing. We want to say congratulations. Your claim ID number is 5974PCH. You are the newest winner. Our agents are on hand to greet you with flowers and balloons. To claim your prize, please call the company at 315-804-8952… We’d like to take time out to congratulate you once more. Have yourself a blessed day.”

Well, needless to say, I didn’t call back to be greeted with flowers and balloons. I’ve been greeted with more than enough flowers lately, as you’ve been seeing here, and I don’t need any balloons. I am sorry to lose the millions and the Mercedes, though.

You have to wonder how anybody could ever take a robotic message like that seriously. At the same time, scammers wouldn’t be doing what they do if there weren’t at least some gullible people out there. It’s an unfortunate truth of human nature that no matter how implausible a claim is, there’s always somebody who’ll believe it.



© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 29, 2023 at 4:30 AM

63 Responses

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  1. I recognize the area code as central NY, so if you change your mind and decide to accept the cars, better see if they’ll put snow tires on them.

    Robert Parker

    March 29, 2023 at 5:43 AM

    • Will do!

      Regarding the area code, I have to wonder whether that 315 number really connects to upstate New York or is forwarded somewhere else. Scammers easily fake the phone number that comes through on caller ID. Many scam calls show up on our caller ID starting with (512) 372, which matches the beginning of our home phone number. Apparently the scammers want us think someone in our neighborhood is calling. It’s amazing how many dozens of “neighbors” call us each month. We’re so popular.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 8:07 AM

      • Speaking of tires, these scammers are incredibly tiresome.

        Robert Parker

        March 29, 2023 at 8:19 AM

        • Neither one of us has retired from being a player with words.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 29, 2023 at 8:23 AM

          • Nope, don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

            Robert Parker

            March 29, 2023 at 8:27 AM

          • That’s a handy word for punning. If I’m not capable of writing satire, I can at least tirelessly annoy people with puns.

            Robert Parker

            March 29, 2023 at 8:32 AM

            • Regardless of your attire, you’ll never entirely tire of a punning tirade.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 29, 2023 at 8:51 AM

              • Puns are kind of the dessert course of blogging, like a tiered cake or tiramisu.

                Robert Parker

                March 29, 2023 at 8:56 AM

                • While puns are a kind of dessert, many don’t consider them a kind dessert.

                  Did you know that tiramisu is literally “tira mi su,” Italian for “pull me up”? In English we’d call it a pick-me-up.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  March 29, 2023 at 9:04 AM

                • No, that’s great, what a fun name! And it’s delicious, one of my favorites.

                  Robert Parker

                  March 29, 2023 at 9:09 AM

                • And if you check out the first two entries at https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=tier
                  you’ll see that tier, attire, and tirade are all related. So’s the tire that goes around a wheel, but not the tire that means ‘get weary.’

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  March 29, 2023 at 9:25 AM

  2. Oh no, a bare yard instead of beautiful flowers! Maybe she wanted to sow another crop for summer. Sunflowers perhaps. A while ago I left a message on what I thought was your phone. I have been wondering if you received it or if I called someone else’s number by mistake and that person has been wondering ever since about a scammer calling from New Zealand. I don’t think I sounded like a robot but my accent would have come across as foreign. 😀


    March 29, 2023 at 6:24 AM

    • Oh, we missed your call. I have my cell phone (which is the number you called) set so that when a call comes in from an unrecognized number the phone doesn’t ring but instead sends the call directly to voice mail. I don’t use my cell phone all that much and didn’t notice your voice mail message. We’ll have to follow up soon. And no, friendly you wouldn’t come across as a scammer even with your non-American accent.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 8:15 AM

      • That’s a good setting to have on your cell phone. Good for you and me! I didn’t remember that it was your cell phone number. If you had answered the call I would have paid a pretty penny for it.


        March 29, 2023 at 6:29 PM

  3. A C Class? I don’t blame you for not calling back. Don’t settle for anything less than an S Class!!!


    March 29, 2023 at 7:09 AM

    • Maybe I could have struck a bargain: a little less than $7000 a month in return for an S Class rather than a C.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 8:17 AM

  4. ouch, that would hurt for me to watch!


    March 29, 2023 at 7:12 AM

  5. I often wonder why scammers don’t just get a job. Think about all the work they do, from setting up the “ business” with phone lines and robot messages, answering calls and trying to lure people. Too bad about the flowers.

    Alessandra Chaves

    March 29, 2023 at 8:35 AM

    • I assume that in the long run scammers find enough gullible people to make all their setting up worthwhile. If no scammers made money, other people would give up trying to be scammers.

      And yes, it was too bad about the wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 8:54 AM

    • I wonder if there’s something similar in the way scammers and their victims think – both are hoping for something for nothing and prepared to believe they can get it.

      Ann Mackay

      March 30, 2023 at 11:31 AM

      • That’s a great insight about the scammer and the victim having the same ethos of something for nothing.

        Steve Schwartzman

        March 30, 2023 at 12:25 PM

      • At least with some types of scam. Others types, like “there’s a problem with your Amazon account” or “Hi I’m from medicare” may be a little more difficult to correlate with greed and laziness.

        Alessandra Chaves

        March 30, 2023 at 4:47 PM

        • Good point about distinguishing among types of scams. Ann makes a case for the get-rich-quick kind of scam.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 30, 2023 at 6:00 PM

        • True – those are perhaps the ones that it’s easiest to fall for too.

          Ann Mackay

          March 31, 2023 at 4:22 AM

  6. What’s wrong with [some] people? Honestly!
    Imagine how I felt some years ago when I heard of someone chopping 10 very old and tall fir trees because ….they were blocking their view! These firs were a landmark of a village we used to visit but they were unfortunate enough to be inside this person’s property.

    marina kanavaki

    March 29, 2023 at 8:47 AM

  7. What a shame to mow down these beautiful wildflowers!

    Peter Klopp

    March 29, 2023 at 9:03 AM

    • It was a shame, indeed. Fortunately there were many other attractive wildflowers in the area that remained unmown.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 9:05 AM

  8. As far as I am aware, at this point in time, your memories of those flowers are safe from the malicious mowers of the universe.

    The fact you are able to share your memory with us is significant. Thank you.

    Wally Jones

    March 29, 2023 at 9:53 AM

    • You’re welcome. It was hard to believe my timing, arriving as I did just as the man started mowing down the wildflowers. As for mowing down memories, well, time tends to do that. Photographs preserve some of those memories. The next question is how long most photographs will last.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 10:08 AM

  9. What a shame they mowed down all those beautiful flowers!!


    March 29, 2023 at 10:12 AM

    • On the positive side, wildflowers were thriving on many other properties in the area, some of which will appear here in the days ahead.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 10:31 AM

  10. I am glad you took a photo of those lovely flowers before they were cut down. Seems a shame, but yes, people’s values do vary considerably. I shake my head and shrug my shoulders a lot.

    Lavinia Ross

    March 29, 2023 at 11:03 AM

    • I’ve recognized since adolescence that some (many) of my values differ from other people’s. That’s human nature. While I was sorry to see these wildflowers go, many others in the area remained.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 11:09 AM

  11. Idiot woman, she could have waited until they had all set seed.


    March 29, 2023 at 11:15 AM

  12. That is the epitome of a Texas spring photo. Nice capture!


    March 29, 2023 at 12:42 PM

  13. I can’t imagine mowing that beauty. Perhaps she was tired of tourists!

    Eliza Waters

    March 29, 2023 at 8:59 PM

    • I can’t reconcile it, either. Other nearby areas had even more wildflowers, so I don’t think her yard would have been a prime attraction for most people.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2023 at 9:37 PM

  14. I recently learned a word for these mixed flower fields. I’ve always said they would make wonderfully printed fabric, and lo! Such a thing exists. A reader told me that quilters use multi-floral prints like these; they’re called ‘ditzy’ (or ‘ditsy’) prints. I’d always associated ‘ditsy’ with a somewhat air-headed person, but somehow the word’s now used in a different context.

    As for your story of the mower, that reminded me of my first experience with that sort of death. Your comment there, and today’s post, certainly affirm the adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.


    March 30, 2023 at 8:12 AM

    • Even before getting to the comment I’d left in 2017, your phrase “the need for imagined order” jumped out at me again.” I see that that’s the first thing I focused on six years ago. The French were onto something with “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

      I found two definitions of a ditzy (or ditsy) print:

      “A Ditsy print is a very small scale all-over pattern with a random look, not linear or geometric. Flowers are often depicted, but are not exclusively used.”

      “A ditsy print is a tiny scale print with random appearance, scattered placement rather than a linear or geometric pattern. Often a ditsy print has multiple orientation, where different elements of the print are different ways up. At a distance the scale is so small a ditsy print can look almost like a solid colour.”

      I’ve heard of a crazy quilt:

      “Made from delicate silks and velvets for display, rather than as functional bedcovers, crazy quilts were principally employed as throws that were kept in the parlor… Instead of geometric patches arranged in an established pattern, irregularly shaped scraps are pieced together, usually into blocks that were later joined. The blocks were often irregular shapes and sizes. The term crazy is defined as ‘full of cracks or flaws, as having the appearance of crazed pottery, broken into irregular segments.’ These quilts only seem to be the work of lunatics.”

      I’m wondering if people who work with prints parlayed “crazy” into “ditzy,” which is somewhat synonymous.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2023 at 9:04 AM

  15. Aw, that is very sad. I’d love to have a piece of land that I could allow to go wild. (Hoping to sneak bits of the garden, don’t tell hubby, LOL!)

    Ann Mackay

    March 30, 2023 at 11:33 AM

  16. In some places people are rewarded for keeping their yards wild. I can understand someone wanting to keep their immediate surrounds open but why cut down an entire meadow?
    Our store had a customer who bought a property with a large front yard, probably 500 feet from the road. Aside from keeping the grass trimmed close, she also had a row of beautiful oaks lining the road all cut down and hauled away. She also had the yard surveyed and found that the single mother with two small children had her woodpile 6″ on her property and made the woman and her two kids move the pile so a stockade fence could be erected on the property line as if those six inches would have made a difference. Some people!

    Steve Gingold

    April 1, 2023 at 9:09 AM

    • Did the woman say why she had all the beautiful oaks cut down? At 500 feet from the house, the oaks weren’t likely to have blocked a view. As you said: “Some people!” Let’s have more rewards for keeping yards wild.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2023 at 12:48 PM

      • I didn’t ask, but I can tell you that she is still one of our customers, actually she was before I started working there 45 years ago (yes I have been at the same job for that long) and is a “pita”. Who knows why she did and the sad thing is that she was only there for a few years before selling and moving elsewhere. It was an empty lot when she built so I guess just flipping which makes it even worse.

        Steve Gingold

        April 1, 2023 at 2:19 PM

        • One job for 45 years: that’s endurance.
          By “pita” do you mean something closed and therefore an enigma?

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 1, 2023 at 2:30 PM

          • It’s a family business. I started working for the father and now am for the daughter. Both are great people and have treated me very well. When I got WNV and missed two and a half months of work she paid me my regular pay the entire time and, along with our sales manager, covered my work as best as they could. They both have done many good things for me but that certainly stands out. There are bumpy spots as in any relationship but I couldn’t imagine working for anyone else and now, at my age, probably could not get a job doing anything aside from grocery bagging anyway.
            Common parlance for “pita” is “pain in the ass”. Nothing enigmatic about her. Just a “pita”.

            Steve Gingold

            April 1, 2023 at 2:51 PM

  17. Why would you mow such beauty? Because he was told to of course! 😉


    April 1, 2023 at 9:49 PM

    • The ulterior motive may remain ever a mystery. People there are who don’t love wildflowers on their property.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 2, 2023 at 8:17 AM

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