The Nine Realms are an interesting place. There is much that is strange and magical, and sometimes I could swear that whoever is running the universe has a sense of humor. (Norns, I’m giving you the side-eye…)
The human female is a plant nerd. This is an established fact. She looks at plants. She identifies them. She writes about them. I write about her looking at them and writing about them.
The human female collects stamps. She has them from all over Midgard, and some of them feature very unusual plants. And sometimes the stamps she buys online fail to show up, or a vendor leaves something out of an order. This is also not news.
What is out of the ordinary is what happened today. One of the sellers of approvals had omitted twelve stamps from a shipment, and the human female called him on it. He later found the missing stamps and sent them. (I may or may not have suggested to him that she was fibbing in order to get more stamps, and he was terse enough with her that she’s shy of buying from him again. Ehehehehe.)
Often, enough time elapses between purchase and delivery that the human female, with her goldfish-level memory, forgets just what she’s chosen, and frequently she just looks at something, says, “Oh, I know I don’t have that one!” without reading the botanical name on the stamp (if it’s even visible in the online image). Imagine the collective surprise in this household, then, when she opened up the packet with the dozen missing stamps, took a good look, and found this:
The plant on the stamp is Bidens pilosa, the Mystery Plant from Lick Creek Park that she embarrassed herself with so thoroughly last month!!! It says so, right on the stamp. What are the odds of that? Upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand flowering plants on this rock, about a half milliondifferent stamps, and TA DA!
Her little mind is boggling. To help her wrap it around this unlikely collision of two of her manias, I’ve constructed a little Venn diagram.
Close your hanging-open mouth, mortal. You look more ridiculous than usual.
P.S. Why, yes, it *is* still technically illegal for her to own stamps from Cuba. Wouldn’t it be awful if someone in a position to do something about it saw this post and she got in trouble?
I know I mentioned not too long ago that I have seen to it the human female’s favorite honey is nolonger being made. It may seem like overkill, to put the producer out of business, rather than just make the honey hard to come by. But I’m nothing if not thorough! If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.
Still, honey must be had, lest the waffles go unadorned. So here we are at the local Farmer’s Market, in the hopes that one or another of the vendors there will have something suitable for sale. It is a fine fall day, and there appear to be two or three booths with honey.
This one has honey in the comb.
Is it just me or does that look like the WORST grilled-cheese sandwich in history?
There is honey not-in-the-comb.
Sleipnir’sFetlocks! That is a lot of honey. One of those big jugs would last the human female for a long, long time. Assuming, of course, that it didn’t somehow, mysteriously, get knocked over in the pantry with its lid loosened…
This looks like a more reasonable amount, especially since honey tends to crystallize before you get to the bottom of a container anyway. (I know, I know, it can be warmed and re-liquified, but it’s still annoying.)
The man selling the honey is definitely a plant-and-insect nerd, and he is explaining–at length–what the difference between the $10 and $15 honey is. Despite myself, I find his explanation interesting. The honey on the left is made by bees who have access to many different types of flowers. It is a sort of all-around wildflower honey. The honey on the right is made only in spring by bees who are foraging almost exclusively in the local yaupon holly.
The human female is tasting the holly honey. Great Frigga’s Hairpins! If her grin is anything to judge by, a jar of this fancy bee-barf is going to follow us home. Apparently, it has a “unique, floral-y taste” that is unlike anything else. Mortal, that’s what you said about the last batch! But if it’s that good, you can be sure I’ll be having a talk with this loquacious apiarist once her back is turned. The profit margin on honey is such that it probably won’t take too large of a bribe from me to make sure it is never available ever again.
Aside from honey, the booth is selling chunks of beeswax.
I’m a big fan of beeswax. It makes a good horn polish, it smells rather nice, and a thin layer on the laminate flooring makes the Terror Twins extra-skiddy when they run laps. I could also make it into little squares, box it up prettily, and tell the human female that the New England Aunt has sent some more of her famous butternut fudge.
Sigyn is delighted to see that some of the wax has been turned into diverse array of candles.
Yes, my love, they are all very cute. The little pumpkins may be the cutest, but don’t you think the cactus looks as if it wants a hug? If you ask the honey-seller, he would probably say it’s all right for you to do so.
And the trees and puppies are fine. However, I think I see the candle *I* want down there at the end of the row…
Make your choice, my honey, because mischief awaits and we really must bee going.
I try to be spontaneous, really I do. I mean, much of my mischief requires careful forethought and meticulous planning. The precise alignment of materials and circumstances doesn’t just happen, you know. But even though I am very good at thinking on my feet and taking advantage of what serendipity presents, I could always be better. I mentioned this to Sigyn the other day, and bless her heart, she decided to help me out.
In the most unexpected and socially painful of ways.
Which is why I find myself tonight in a place I would have sworn you would never find me should I live to be as old as Yggdrasil.
For the next excruciating forty-five minutes I will be part of a Group Improv Theater Class. Norns save me.
Our first exercise is one the instructor, a cheerful, golden haired, bewinged giantess, calls “Props.” We have been given a pile of…things, and our job is to come up with as many creative uses as we can for them in as short a time as possible, switching scenes whenever we hear a bell ring.
I don’t care for the look of these things, and I can’t say I expect much from the motley assemblage of fellow participants. And I think the instructor may be napping (or drinking) on the job… Still. anything to keep my sweetie happy!
“Bzzz! I’m off to make some yaupon honey!”
“For dereliction of duty, I sentence you to three days in the stocks!”
“Now class, what is this letter?”
“Very good, Panda! And what starts with B?”
“What a lousy circus parade! Just one crummy elephant and no clowns at all.”
“The 200-meter hurdles race is about to start.”
“Loki is an odds-on favorite since he’s pretty nimble, and I don’t know how well Miss Mouse can run in that dress.”
“That’s right and, of course, the elephant is the only mammal that can’t jump.”
“Why did I let Sigyn talk me into this roller-coaster ride?”
“I hope that mouse hasn’t eaten recently, because I don’t fancy cheese-barf on the back of my head.”
“Sigyn, I think that angel may be a bit too large for your Yule tree.”
It’s that time of year again. The human female and the band of Do-Gooders she helps out are working on putting together food bags (you can CALL them “baskets”, woman, but nothing will change the fact that they’re floppy and not woven out of anything) for people who might not otherwise have a calorie-filled Thank A Turkey Day.
I’ve already had a little fun by making sure that one church didn’t bring in as many donations as they said they would.
Still, the bag-packing room is full.
Everything is all neatly sorted. The expired food has been disposed of. The weird, random things that people donated have been put somewhere else. There’s just no place for Spam and canned chili in the game plan. And this isn’t even everything. The volunteers have already packed most of the bags. The front hallway is full of ones waiting for pickup.
So what’s in the other room is mostly just the extra, in case they’ve made a calculation error and need it. (Because math is hard.)
Having so much already done means that a)
The human female is too late to do her usual thing of making sure the frosting matches the cake. It’s creepy, how obsessed she is with making sure that a carrot cake mix gets a cream cheese frosting and the strawberry cake mix gets a strawberry frosting, and so on. Sigyn thinks that any cake is improved by the addition of funfetti frosting with sprinkles. I agree! Me, I like to make and bag up the weirdest combinations I can. So far, my best creation was a camouflage cake mixwith the coconut-pecan frosting that goes on German chocolate cake.
b) It is also too late to discombobulate the stuffing.
Each regular-sized family gets two packages. The volunteers try to send two of the same brand and kind, so it matches. I think it’s more fun to mix it up and put cornbread stuffing with pork stuffing when no one is looking. (Seriously, what kind of monster puts pork stuffing in a Thank the Turkey Day food drive?)
and c) No one is going to notice if…
A couple of boxes of Super Extra Fudgy Double Gooey Chocolate Brownie mix somehow vanish into the dimensional portal pocket of my cloak and go home with me.
What do you think, Sigyn?
Do we liberate a bag or three of marshmallows to make the brownies extra, extra special?
Soon people will begin arriving to pick up their food. Just to keep things interesting, I’ve arranged for some people to back out of their pickup and want a delivery. Others just won’t show up and won’t be reachable by any means. One large family will somehow only get half of their meal and the human will have to deliver the other half, which she will do to an outdated address and have to call to arrange for a meet up or porch delivery. Someone from DoorDash will drive through the pickup area with an order of fast food for someone at the church school. One bag will break. Someone else will come and hustle away the extra before the volunteers know if they’ll need any of it.
By the end, I will be very thankful for such a fertile opportunity for mischief, and all the mortals involved will be thankful to get off their feet.
Take care, minions, and don’t forget to Thank the Turkey.
Recently, the humans heard about a small Oriental market tucked away in a little strip mall they have never been to. Apparently, it has been there for quite some time but they hadn’t been aware of its presence. They were quite excited, the male especially, since he would eat Asian food every day if allowed. (I suspect that if he had to give a blood sample, it would prove to be 87.4% soy sauce, but Sigyn says I’m not allowed to poke him and find out.)
Of course, we are all here now, checking out the wares. It is indeed a very small market, but for all its quaintness, it has a surprisingly large selection of items.
Sigyn has not made it past the cookie display.
Good choice, my love! Neither of the humans can eat chocolate, and the female is allergic to hazelnuts. You and I will be able to eat all of these ourselves.
There is a large assortment of snack foods.
Sigyn was greatly relieved when I told her that these are not made from actual pandas.
We are not sure what is in this package.
It’s either polar bear brand orange snacks or orange brand polar bear snacks. I’m not sure which option is more frightening.
The coolers are well-stocked.
Mushrooms, bitter melon, fresh noodles, and more. Sigyn thinks the lotus root slices are pretty. I have to concur. They look like little, crunchy wheels. I have been reliably informed that that is not also how they taste.
There are various sorts of fish in the freezer.
I…I don’t quite know what to make of that name. Little yellow croaker… I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere…
I think they have every sort of noodle and soup produced by humankind.
I googled… That’s tripe.
There are beverages here I have never seen in any other market.
*I’m* an alien. I might have to buy this.
Now, this one I have questions about.
Is it A) an uncommon beverage made from soybeans, B) a beverage made from uncommon soybeans, or C) a beverage made from under-cooked soybeans? And is it basically an edamame milkshake?
This is intriguing.
The human female says that prickly ash, slanty name Zanthoxylum, is a member of the citrus family. The leaves contain chemicals which cause a numbness or tingling of the mouth when chewed. A most unusual condiment!
(later) So, did we actually purchase anything? Of course we did! The human female selected some non-fried ramen-type noodles, Sigyn went with the hazelnut cookies, I brought home the alien energy drink, and the human male furthered his quest to eat every weird flavor of potato chip there is.
He says they were a bit warm, but not really hot, and not at all mouth-numbing.
Perhaps if he added the prickly ash oil…?
He also bought these because he cannot resist wasabi peas.
We are out for a walk in the neighborhood this morning. It’s bright and breezy, and fallen leaves are tumbling down the street. It’s a fine autumn day with Thank the Turkey Day looming, which can only mean one thing.
Time for the Yule decorations! Someone should give these people a calendar for Yule this year.
There is not much of interest blooming in the yards right now, but this one house has an exuberant cherry tomato plant that has gone up and over the backyard fence. It’s dangling a tantalizing array of vine-ripened tomatolettes right into the public thoroughfare.
That means they’re free for the taking, right? Isn’t there a law or something?
Uh, oh. Sigyn is making her Disappointed FaceTM. Apparently there’s a line between neighborhood foraging and outright theft and I am on the wrong side of it. Very well, my love. No tomatoes.
But don’t make your Sad Face when tonight’s salad is less exciting than it could be.
The human female is noticeably slower as we wander back along the Neener Path. She says she’s “looking for microflora”, but I’m pretty sure she’s just worn out. Her middle initial is “D” which, if it doesn’t stand for “Decrepit” now, will do so in the not too distant future.
Still, at this pace, we are finding things we missed on the outbound trip. I’m not sure how we missed this slender three-seeded mercury.
It has the fall-color thing down pat and is lit up like a torch. Someone remind me why this isn’t grown as a bedding plant just for its color in November?
Some of the plants flowering today can be considered advance scouts for their spring-flowering bretheren.
Mr. Dandelion says that any plant that can sprout in fall and overwinter will have a head start come warmer weather next year. The chickweed in the photo is employing the same strategy.
You know, the general populace often complain about slanty scientific names and how difficult they are to spell and to remember. I ask you, which is easier to recall for this plant:
“Oriental false hawks-beard” or “Youngia japonica?” It’s not native to this part of Midgard, so it has other, even less-pronounceable names when it’s at home. I know *I* have no idea how to say “黄鹌菜”.
What do you have there, Sigyn?
Little seedlings! The human female says the fluffy one is next year’s burrweed. It won’t be much taller than that and will have spiny little fruits. Hmmm. Sounds like it would be fun to plant in the lawn. No walking barefoot for her!
And what are those heart-shaped leaves?
Unless I miss my guess, those will be violets in spring. That’s one of the few plants I do know. I remember them because Sigyn likes them so much.
But what’s this? (poke poke poke)
It’s green, so I’m assuming it’s a plant, but it’s flat to the ground and doesn’t have a proper stem or leaves, just these flat pieces that branch at their tips. Ah. Miss Know-it-All says it’s a liverwort. She doesn’t have a lot of experience with them since they “aren’t flowering plants” but it might be a species of Riccia. Guess she doesn’t know it all!
I think I know why we are moving so slowly. All of this botanizing is tiring. Sigyn, would you like to rest for a bit? These asters would make a starry bed to flop onto.
Um. Perhaps not. They are a bit pokey. But I think I see something over there that would be much more comfortable.
Ahh… Nothing like getting the heavy helmet off and stretching out on a nice, plush patch of bryophytic velvet. Wake me up if we seem to be actually heading for home…
The weather is definitely more hospitable than it was a month ago. The human female keeps herding us all outdoors for “walkies.” (The human male hates it when she calls it that and says he’s not a dog. I don’t get it–I think he’s making a popular culture reference, but I can’t be bothered to look it up.)
So here we all are, on the Neener Path, to see what–if anything–is blooming. I think I see some of the same plants as in our last Neener Update.
The goldenrod has grown tall and top-heavy.
That’s right, you virgate, paniculate composite! Bow before Loki, Lord of all Midgard!
The beautyberries are still very showy.
Many of the fruits have lost a good bit of their neon-ness–which is to be expected at this point, but still, nothing else is that color.
I am surprised. There are a few final, fleeting false foxgloves flowering.
That’s right, Sigyn, bid them farewell. They should have been gone by now and have overstayed their welcome.
The winged elms, on the other hand, ought to be thinking about coming up with some fall color.
They don’t have much to show for themselves yet. Sigyn is dangling hopefully and encouragingly. Another few weeks and some of the leaves should be good and schoolbus-colored. If not, I will Have Words with them.
The farkleberries are better at sticking to a predictable schedule.
Fill your eyes, folks. This is what fall color looks like around here. Some of the more seasonally-conscious branches have gone a deep maroon.
While others are pokier about selecting a new wardrobe.
And what’s with all the fruit?! They’ve been hanging there since May! I know they’re not delicious, but they are edible, and usually the birds eat them all up. Someone’s not doing their job! Add lazy avifauna to the list of entities I need to admonish.
The girl hollies are covered in fruit, much of it festively red, as is proper for November.
Sigyn likes hollies best of anything.
Gee, I simply can’t imagine why. Hmm. My sweetie is very photogenic. Maybe this photo should be the humans’ Yule card this year…
Here is her other favorite color. Campohorweed. Smells funny, looks nice.
Well, some of them look nice. That one looks more than a bit raggedy.
That’s better. Mind the barbs, my love. And remember that if you drop off on the far side of the fence, you are outside the Neener Walk and technically, trespassing in a reserved area. (The city has it set off for drainage–there’s a creek–and as remediation habitat for the rare Navasota ladies tresses orchids they destroyed when they developed a parcel of land south of the city. Not that anyone has ever seen an endangered orchid here…)
The late-flowering throughwort is all but past. Late-flowering it is indeed, but when it’s done, it doesn’t tend to hang around long.
It’s cousin, blue mistflower, however, has the air of a plant with plans to see if it can make it until Thank the Turkey Day, if not Yule.
The flower clusters are on such slender stems that even my beloved’s insignificant weight is enough to bend them right over.
It looks like something that should be in a garden. If the human female weren’t so bone-idle, she’d be looking for seeds to harvest.
And because she IS bone-idle, she’s decreed that the end of the path is the turn-around point of our walk today. I’m sure that, plant-wise, it will be just more of the same on the way back, but maybe we missed something and there will be Interesting Things to look at. We shall see.
Sometimes mischief is unavoidable. When Loki makes plans, it can be very, very hard to thwart them.
Other times, my mischief is detectable from a mile away, and anyone who was trying at all could derail them, if they were willing to expend the effort.
It’s just that, usually, most mortals can’t be bothered to expend the effort.
Case in point. When the humans were finally able to get the roofers to come out and install the new roof, they were advised to remove everything from the walls, since the vibrations from all the shingle-nailing can send pictures and whatnot crashing to the ground.
The humans have a lot of DVDs. They long ago overflowed the designated shelves and had piled up on top of the shelves in touching-the-wall, teetering stacks many Sigyns tall. The human male took the stacks down and put the DVDs in boxes. They overflowed the boxes and formed teetering stacks much closer to the ground.
Because the humans are procrastinators, they have not yet sorted all of them out and returned that corner of the habitation to functionality. They should have known I couldn’t pass up the opportunity…
It was the work of a moment to enlist the aid of one of my furry minions, and less than a moment for said minion to up the chaos coefficient of this domicile.
There is now a nice scatter of cases all over the floor. Well done, Minion! So well done, in fact, that you deserve special recognition. Let us zoom in on the scene to observe my congratulatory placement of a magnet taken from the cold box.