Month: May 2016

Fun With Cartography

By all the colors of the Bifrost!  I simply cannot believe it!  The humans are actually planning a vacation. 

englandmap1

Let me enumerate my bogglements.

  1.  They are actually going to do something as non-boring as leave the state
  2.  They are organized enough to plan and not just stumble across a border on some last-minute whim.
  3.  Someone thought giving them passports was a good idea.

They are, however, going someplace they’ve been before, so they score no points for doing anything new and exciting.  They’re still in their comfort zone–it just happens to be a comfort zone a few thousand miles away.  It hardly counts

So now the house is littered with guidebooks, lists, calendars, and all sorts of tat and trinkets from their previous jaunt.  And maps.  Lots and lots of maps.  Look at this–dozens of little sticky arrows, marking places they want to go, all color coded.  Green for gardens, orange for interesting architecture, blue for museums, and so on.

englandmap3

Sigyn is very excited and is hoping we’ll be invited to travel with them.  Really, dearest?  You wish to be dragged around one of the world’s busiest, bustle-iest cities by those two?

englandmap2

Well, I see that they have the Chelsea Physic Garden marked.  You’d enjoy that, I suppose.  It’s full of all sorts of unusual plants, neatly laid out by taxonomic classification and use.  I am given to understand that the last time she was there, the human female had a nerd-gasm and had to be forcibly removed from the premises at closing time.  She says there’s a rhinoceros on the garden’s river gate, but I’m fairly sure she’s lying.

englandmap4

Sigyn is unexpectedly keen on history and thinks she would like to visit this famous castle cum prison.  I think I have had enough dungeons to last me a lifetime, thank you.

Looks like they have this place flagged as well.

englandmap5

Hey, Thor, isn’t this the place  you’re not allowed to go back to, on account of how untidy you left it last time you were there?

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The Great Bog Adventure, Part IV: ‘Tis a Blivet

Turns out there has been some actual scientific purpose to today’s slopping around.  The naturalists are preparing a list of plants associated with bogs in this part of Midgard.  To that end, samples have been carefully collected and pressed.  Because, as I always say, no vouchers, no data.  (Actually, I don’t always say that, because I have no idea what it means.  The human female says it a lot, though, so it must be something sciencey.)

It’s very important that the plant press be closed tightly if the specimens are to turn out nicely.

press1

Plucking on the webbing yields a nice, high pitch, so we are good to go.

press2

Fifty specimens, with duplicates of each.  That is a prodigiously plump press! Wouldn’t it be just awful if the straps came undone in the back of the truck at 75 mph on the way home?

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The Great Bog Adventure, Part III: The Dryish Bits

Ehehehehehe!  Oh, that was priceless!  The human female’s rubber boots are a couple of sizes too large. She stumped out into the water and sank one foot so deep that she stepped right out of the boot!  I wish I had film of her wobbling and wavering and trying not to fall in the muck.  Eventually, a fellow botanist propped her up long enough for her to reach down and pull the boot out by hand.  I was so busy laughing that I missed my chance to give her just a tiny shove and watch her do a full splat.

Having had her fill of sulfurously aromatic bog mud, she has moved on to exploring the dry, sandy margins of the bog.  Sigyn and I are tagging along because there are a LOT of flowers blooming here.

Sigyn, look at this one–it’s all fringe-y and weird.  Sort of like the human female.

Polanisia

These are a little more normal.  Sigyn likes the big one, because reasons.

Gaillrdia

The white ones have some unpronounceable name I don’t care about, but the purple ones–sniff, sniff–smell niftily minty.  Better than the human female, at any rate.

The real trophy of the day, though is this…thing.

devils-claw

The human female says it’s the capsular fruit of Proboscidea louisianica, blah, blah, blah.  Again, don’t care.  It’s sharp and pointy and mean-looking and it’s mine now.   Sigyn, there are two of them.  Do you want yours, or can I have it?  (He said hopefully.)

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The Great Bog Adventure, Part II: In Which We Become Hopelessly Lost

The human female, in one of her interminable dronings about the flora of this realm, once mentioned prehistoric forests composed of tree-ferns and towering club-mosses.  Apparently these were all-you-can-eat buffets for the large reptiles that once roamed Midgard.  (I’d like to go on record as saying that the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous was NOT my fault.  I wasn’t even born yet!  It was, however, by all accounts pretty cool…  Giant flaming space rocks and whatnot.)

I had thought those forests of gigantic ferns and fern allies were a thing of the dim past, but Sigyn and I appear to have stumbled upon one at the edge of the bog.

lycopodiella4

We’ve been walking for quite a while and are now completely turned around.

lycopodiella3.jpg

One club-moss looks preeeeetty much like the next.

lycopodiella2

If I shouted, do you think the human female would send out a search party?

lycopodiella1

We’re hopelessly lost!  We’re doomed to die a damp and dismal death!  We’re having our last adventure!  We’re…

 

…fifty feet from the truck.

Never mind.

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The Great Bog Adventure, Part I: The Squishy Bits

The human female is meeting some friends to go “bog-trotting.” Really?  That’s a thing?  Most people are smart enough to stay out of places that will give you hoof-rot.  Perhaps there’s some appeal to mud, decaying organic matter, and mosquitoes that escapes me, but I doubt it.  Still, Sigyn is eager to go, so I must perforce attend, just to make sure the human female doesn’t abandon her in the muck or something.

Here we are.  I will admit, it’s an interesting looking place.  At first glance, it looks like any other stock pond in this realm, until you notice that there is a lot of standing water around the edges.  The scientific term for this wet margin is The Squishy Bits.

Sigyn, if you are interested in aquatic plants, this is definitely a good place.  Take this rush, for example.

juncus

I think I could actually learn to like this plant.  The stems are good and pointy, so that when the human female bends over to look at something tiny, she has a better than even chance of stabbing herself in the eye.

This plant is of the non-stabby variety. Sigyn, you and I have seen violets in the woods before, but apparently this one likes wet feet.

violet

Speaking of wet feet, you did remember to wear your rubber boots, didn’t you?

Oh, oh!  Look over here!  The human female says these little plants are carnivorous!

sundew1

Be careful not to become stuck on the glisteny, tendril-like hairs.  A sticky Sigyn would not be a happy Sigyn.

sundew2

Such neat little plants.  However, as I have opined before, they have one serious flaw:  They are just too tiny to trap and digest the human female

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Goodbye, Old Friend

The human female has oft been heard to say, “My life is on that USB.”  Sure, she does back things up in other places, but that little piece of plastic and silicon is where she keeps all her writing, her photos, the giant herbarium database she’s been working on for years, etc., etc.  I don’t know what she’d do without it.

Lately, though, it has failed a few “save” operations and it often takes more than one try to get a good read…

bad usb

Uh, oh.  Too late.

badusb2

Ehehehehehe….

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