Nerds in the Woods, Part IV: Let Us Not Forget Our Green Friends

Not everything here at the Lick Creek Park celebration is animal-oriented.  The more chlorophyllous members of the biota are well-represented, which delights my Sigyn no end.

Someone has made a scavenger hunt consisting of trees and provided a little guide.   I have managed to find a honey locust already—look at this stupendous thorn!  It is branched, and the branches are pointy, too!   Nothing is getting past that.

treekey

When I build my palace, I shall plant a hedge of them all the way around.  And behold their marvelous fruit!  They are like flat, twisty, slightly fuzzy, black bananas.

hlocust

The human female says the pulp around the seeds is edible, but why would you want to tear one of these precious curlicues apart?

Sigyn is examining the wings on a winged elm twig.

wingedelm

No, my sweet, winged elms do not actually fly.  But if you really wanted one to, I’m sure my magic could make it happen—just tell me where you want it to go!

The Biology graduate students from the University have made some large cutouts of plant and animal cells so that people can take cellfies.  Get it?  Cellfies?

cellfie

And there’s my Sigyn, in the center of a plant cell!  Isn’t she something?

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Nerds in the Woods, Part III: Critters and Such

Several of the booths at this Lick Creek Park celebration have animal displays.   This is something which interests the both of us.  (She thinks animals are “cute;” I’m always on the lookout for vicious yet trainable species that can be conscripted into my army of conquest.)

No, Sigyn.  I’m no entomologist, but I’m fairly certain that big, shiny green beetles encased in lucite no longer want to play tag.

beetle

She thinks this is a jungle gym or a play spaceship of some sort.  I really don’t have the heart to tell her it was part of someone’s back.

vertebra

She really is pretty brave around bones and skulls, provided they don’t look too much like their former wearers, all fuzzy and warm.  I’m looking at something—I think it may be a coyote—with an impressive set of teeth and room for some very large eyes.  Sigyn wants to know what the inside of her critter’s nose looks like.

skulls

Be careful, dearest!  Remember the time you got trapped in the grizzly skull!

This booth also has some pelts for petting.

skunk

Today will go down in history as the day Sigyn snorgled a skunk.

However, the fox skin, with its little face still attached, is more than a little upsetting.

foxfur

Don’t fret, dearest.  Um, foxes can shed their skins like snakes, and this is one that was just too small for this handsome boy.  He, um, donated it for educational purposes.  Yes, that’s it.

And this pelt-antler combination, I believe, came from that magnificent Midgardian beast…

jackalope

…the jackalope.

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Nerds in the Woods, Part II: In Which Sigyn and I do Some Nature Art

The human female’s Friends of Lick Creek Park booth has a fun activity  people can do.  It is primarily for the small, sticky people present, but nothing says grown-ups can’t try their hand.

Or, in my case, no hands.  I am moving the green marker using only the prodigious power of my magical mind.

possumstencil1

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  Midgardian opossums have some very strange feet…

possumstencil3

Sigyn wants to try.  She has selected the fox track stencil.  The people at the booth have urged her to embellish the finished tracing if she so chooses.

Apparently, she chooses.

foxstencil

Well done, beloved!  He is the very essence of vulpine dapperness!  The sunglasses are a nice touch.  All the other kiddies are sure to be jealous.

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Nerds in the Woods, Part I: Something New

Long-time minions may have noticed that there haven’t been many nature walk this year.  The human female’s bum feet have kept her pretty close to home.  Today, though, she is back out in the woods.  Our favorite “wilderness” park is now home to a brand-new Nature Center.  The city has been building the thing for years, now, and it is finally done!

Let’s go on a quick tour and see what all the fuss is about.  I’ll be the judge of whether what we have now is better than all the trees, flowers, and grass they ripped up to put it in.  Hmm.  Curved roof, big empty room, smaller empty room,  concrete amphitheater, outdoor classroom, very-angular-not-shapes-found-in-nature sidewalks, gardens.  I must say, I’m not impressed.  No doubt it will be nicer when the city gets around to filling it with actual science.  The human female and her coworkers have provided lots of checklists and texts for displays, but none of them are up yet.  Therefore, there is still time for me to introduce misspellings, misidentifications, and various plausible yet completely erroneous “facts” into anything that goes up.

Sigyn wants a closer look at the gardens, and I’m happy enough to oblige.

Oh, these are reasonably attractive, and the butterflies seem to approve of them.

pentas

The human female is put out, though, because these pentas are not native, and she knows she thoroughly vetted the landscape plans and provided a list of attractive native plants.

Uh, oh.  The plantings also include tropical milkweed, shrimp plant, two kinds of Cuphea,, Mexican mint marigold, butterfly bush,  and powderpuff, none of which are native.  The human female has that pinched, twitchy expression she gets when there is something—or someone—who desperately needs correcting.  Best to move on before there is an incident.

What have we here?   Ah.  Various groups of nature lovers have set up booths and tables with educational displays, games, and assorted activities.  The human female is supposed to take a turn manning one of the booths.  Let’s see what’s afoot.

Hmm.  What’s all this brown cloth?  I am fairly certain that Unrepentant Package Squashers was not invited to this gathering!

Tshirt1

And what is it they’re selling?

tshirt2

Oh.  The ubiquitous Midgardian garment-cum-billboard, the T-shirt.  And it has a leaf on it.  How quaint.

tshirt3

Oh, look—they’re for sale.  Remember:  You too can advocate for the park and be a Friend and have Friends, but it’ll cost you..

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Floral Remnants, Part II: Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

In their studies of higher plants, the human female’s students use white carnations to demonstrate the uptake of water by the vascular system.  The Prep Staff puts white carnations in vases of water and adds food coloring.  The plants take up the dye along with the water, blah, blah, blah, details.

Sigyn is entranced by the red and blue versions the human female made.

carnations1

Pffft!   That’s nothing!  Science is all well and good, but magic is even better:

carnations3

Chew on that, mortal.

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Floral Remnants, Part I: Beware the Bilabiate Corolla

The students in some of the human female’s biology classes actually get around to studying flowering plants.  Sigyn thinks that might be the best week in the whole semester.  Not only does she enjoy going to the market and buying armloads of snapdragons, Alstroemeria, and carnations, but the human female lets her have all of the posies that survive the week.

Sigyn especially  likes the snapdragons, because the little flowers can be made to open and close.  A little imagination and a bit of practice, and you can make them talk or sing or tell stories.

snapdragon2

This semester, the snapdragons are pink. 

Usually, these blossoms are safe to play with, Sigyn, but watch out!

snapdragon1

The pink ones can be a little feisty.

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A Strange and Wondrous Beastie, Part IV: In Which it Ends as Most of This Group’s Adventures Do

I think we have just about as many people riding this stridulation-mobile as it will hold.  I mean, practically everyone I know is here already—

–except the hammer-toting oaf.   What do you want, Thor?

brother-may-i-come-up

“I WOULD LIKE TO RIDE THIS MIGHTY HOPPER WITH YOU, BROTHER!”

You’e not my bro–

BAD FISI!   BAD hyena!  Drop it now!   Thor, hold that mangy animal right there!   If I can get the leg back, I can probably magic it back on!

hold-fisi

This is just great.  A whole abdomen full of superheroes and assorted hangers-on and no one can get one measly little bug leg away from a walking doormat with no table manners.  

bad-fisi-cricket

Sometimes I hate my life.

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