Adventures

A Dash to the Outcrop, Part II: Not Everything Here is Friendly

There are so many flowers here today that they wouldn’t all fit in one post.  Sigyn is happy to see them. She especially likes this penstemon because the flowers are so big.

penstemon

I sort of like the old plainsman.  What looks like a single flower is actually a cluster of tiny ones.  They can be hard to key out since the classifications keep changing–I like that too.  A frustrated human female is more fun!

hymenopappus

This barbara’s button is constructed the same way.  Before the head matures, it’s easier to see that it’s made up of many tiny little florets.  But I suppose only dorky botanists really care about that.

marshallia

Idunn’s little green apples!  The human female is dropping slanty Latin names right and left.  Where I see some boring yellow flowers, she sees Tetraneuris linearifolia, Medicago lupulina, and Linum berlandieri.

flax

Aha!  This is more like it.  This is the wickedly poisonous DEATH CAMAS!

Schoenolirion

We saw it  (and the penstemon and the old plainsman) when we were here two years ago.  But note the date on that old post–about a MONTH later than today.   The flora is behaving bizarrely this year.  Plants that usually flower in January or  February and those the human female usually finds in April are all piling into March.  Something is definitely weirdAnd I didn’t do it

Um, Sigyn, you might want to head back to the car.

I really don’t want her to see these next bits.  Judging by all the little plates, this used to be what humans around here call an armored dillo.

exarmadillo

And this, unless I miss my guess, is the part of the bunny that goes over the fence last…

bunnytail

Nature in action, folks.   I think I need to hustle my beloved out of here.  Anything big enough to take apart a cute bunny is big enough to take apart a cute Sigyn!

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A Dash to the Outcrop, Part I: Old Friends (Sigyn speaks)

The humans are on their way to the Big City to the South.  Fortunately, the outcrop that the human female and I love so much is on the way, more or less.  We are making a quick stop to see the effects of last year’s controlled burn.

The last time we saw this place, it was on fire.

outcrop

It looks very good!  There is a lot of new vegetation coming up, including this ground plum (which the human female says is not a plum at all.  Common names will get you into trouble every time.)  It is a true prairie plant, and the fact that it’s here and happy is a good sign.  She says she only sees it in good years.  It will make a big, round legume fruit.

astragalus1

The bluebonnets are back!   This is a different kind than the sort on the roadsides.  This one likes sand rather than clay.

bluebonnets

The big yellow flowers and round fruit in this photo belong to bladderpod. The trifoliolate leaves belong to bur clover.

lesquerella

Some botanists say that the bladderpod should be Physaria rather than Lesquerella.  “Lesquerella” is more fun to say!

Loki likes the spiderwort.  Usually, they are blue, but the ones here are more purple.

trad

Wild onions!  They are everywhere!  And do you see the little green bug?

allium

Really, it is hard to walk without stepping on something in flower.  It is a very good year!

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Ice is Nice, Part IV: The Rest of Everybody

I should have known these two would show up.  Steve is just too goody-goody to pass up something as wholesome as skating, while Stark can’t stand not being the center of everything.

steve-tony

And T’challa, the Black Panther.  Yes, yes.  Come on in.  Might as well.

tchalla

Muffy seems happy to see him, at any rate.

Ehehehehe!  Is it mean of me to get a chuckle out of the fact that Steve is something of a klutz when it comes to ice skating?

steves-down

Oh, Sigyn, just leave him. It won’t hurt him to flounder for a bit.  Breeds character.

Sigyn?  Are you enjoying yourself?  You are?  Good!  That’s all I wanted.  Just a quiet afternoon…

party-all

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!   We’ve got more company!  Attracted, no doubt, by the helpless wounded-seal wallowings of clowns and supersoldiers.  Gungnir’s inside the house, Thor doesn’t have Mjolnir handy, and looks like Steve didn’t think he’d need his shield!  Sigyn, get behind me–!

polarbear

Sigyn, waitWhat are you doing?!

polarbear2

Whew!  I always forget just how good she is with animals.  Ride on, beloved!

polarbear3

You’re surely the queen of the rink!

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Ice is Nice, Part III: Well, I Suppose That Was Predictable

Sigyn has got the hang of skating forwards, in a circle.  That’s wonderful, my sweet!  We’ll have you skating backwards and doing triple putzes, twizzlers, and alpaca spins in no time at all!

Uh oh. Ever one to share her good fortune, Sigyn has telephoned a few friends.  We are probably now to be invaded by all sorts of people whose company I could cheerfully do without.  Sigh. All I wanted was an afternoon alone with my dearest.

Yes, here they come.  Yelp and Benno are first to arrive.  Yelp seems quite excited!

yelp-and-benno

म यो असल बरफ को अनुमोदन! बस जस्तै हामी घर फिर्ता छ।

bennos-down

Benno is less enthused.

Oh, hooray.  This just keeps getting better.  Sigyn’s friend Muffy is all right, I suppose, but look who’s here now.

“Greetings, brother!  I am eager to join in this festival of winter sports!”

“You’re not my brother, Thor.  And does this look like a ski slope to you?”

heres-thor

What an idiot.   Honestly.  That man would bring a fluffy cat to a taffy pull.

And now that insane racoon is here!  At least Sigyn is kind enough to talk to him so I don’t have to.

rocket-wo-groot

“Rocket, where’s Groot?”

wheres-groot

“Well, it’s like this, ya see?  Turns out Sapling Groot’s only hardy down to about 27 °F, USDA Climate zone 9B.  I’ve got him in the cold frame until things warm up.”

….

How is this my life?

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Ice is Nice, Part II: Skating Lessons

It’s so sad!  Sigyn has never been ice skating before.  It’s a very common activity in Asgard, and– of course!–it’s a primary mode of travel in Jotunheim, so I am quite proficient.

Don’t worry, dearest!  I’ve got you! Hold onto me until you get over the wobbles.

standing

Remember to move slowly.  If you make any sudden movements–

allfalldown

–you can end up flat on your fundament.

lokis-up-sigyns-down

Sigyn?  Sigyn?  Poor sweetie!  Are you all right?  I’m so sorry!   Did you bump your head?  Come here–let me kiss it and make it better.

I know!  Let me put a stability spell on us both.  That ought to keep us upright for the rest of the day, yes?  While I’m at it, shall I add in a tiny cantrip to protect against frozen noses and chilled fingers and goes?

(Do I even need to point out that I actually have no problem at all with Sigyn clinging desperately to my person, but I do want her to be able to enjoy herself with confidence?)

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Brrrewing Up Some Fun

Sweet Glittering Bifrost, it’s cold tonight!  Being a Frost Giant, I don’t mind it a bit, but my sweetie, Sigyn, is inside huddled up under a quilt with the human female and the feline, watching a movie and sipping hot cider.

It’s perfect weather to make a little surprise for Sigyn.  Since it’s well below freezing out there and due to remain so for quite a while, I’m taking the opportunity to set up some wintry fun in the front yard.

All I need is a dinner plate and a tub of water.

night-ice1

Ugh!  Why is water so heavy?  I could do all this with magic, but Sigyn’s developed a sixth sense and can usually tell when I’m doing mischief anywhere nearby.  Nope, nothing for it but to haul all the water by hand.

night-ice2

There!  That ought to do it!  Can’t wait for tomorrow!

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What I Did On My Yule Vacation, by Loki, God of…FIRE!

It is finally happening! The stars have aligned!  Calendars have been beaten into submission, the weather has cooperated, and snotty colds have been banished–or at least ignored.  And we are GOING TO GET TO PLAY WITH FIRE!!!! 

I am the god of fire! What are we waiting for?!  Come on, mortal!  Get up off your meaty haunches and get your gear in the car.  We have an outcrop to burn!

The human female and her plant-nerd compatriots have been talking about burning the outcrop for several years now. They haven’t done it because conditions and timing have to be just right–or so they say.  Personally, I think they are just lazy.  But today they are actually going to DO it.  It is a cool day, not too windy, and it has been a bit damp over the last week or so.  It should be fairly simple to keep the flames confined to the bit of rocky prairie they want to clear.

The human female is lecturing me.  Don’t back the wind around.  Don’t let the threatening rain fall until AFTER the burn.  Don’t chase the humans with flaming branches.  Don’t blow sparks onto adjoining property. Don’t encourage a canopy fire.  Do keep an eye on Sigyn.  Do remember that the house at the top of the outcrop, as well as all associated structures, is off limits.  Nag, nag, nag.  Shut UP, woman.  I get it.  Look–Sigyn is here.  Do you really think I am going to take any chances?

The first thing to do is to establish the firebreak boundaries.  The road at the bottom of the outcrop will serve well as one edge.  We are now lighting a string of little fires along the top edge of the outcrop, between it and the house’s lawn.

firebreak

Oh ho!  Last season’s dry grasses burn quite nicely, and past-prime yucca leaves go up in moments.

fireline.jpg

The two experienced fire-setters are handling things on the face of the outcrop.  The human female, Sigyn, and I are to remain up top, to make sure the fire does not advance across the lawn or stray to far to the side.

Cough, cough!  It is very smoky up here now!

smoke.jpg

Rather like the time Thor and I accidentally set the stables on fire when we were lads, only with more juniper and less horse manure.  The black thing in the image above is a heavy, rubbery, flappy thing on a pole that can be used to swat and smother any little tongues that try to stray.

Ehehehehe!  Here comes the fire department.  Someone was supposed to tell them we were doing this today.  Wouldn’t it be funny if the human female got arrested for ARSON?    Aw, shucks.  They’re leaving, because the mortals apparently DO have it under control.

fire

To be honest, they’re having to work to keep it all alight, dragging flames to individual bunches of grass.  Still, the popping, snapping, roaring noise is tremendous, and it smells like all the campfires of my life, rolled into one.

I had some notion of breaking out the marshmallows and making s’mores, but Sigyn thinks we are far too close already and is beating a strategic retreat.

running away.jpg

(A bit later.) The flames are gone now, more’s the pity.  The fun part is over.  Now the grunt-work begins, as the mortals plan to spend several hours cutting, clearing, and stacking weedy woody brush and small saplings.  There certainly is a lot of yaupon holly on this rock!  It’s quite a job, to weasel one’s way into the juniper thickets, find and cut the little trunks, and then haul all the waste over tricky terrain to the top of the outcrop where it will sit until it’s hauled away.

By my little horny helmet, what a lot of work!  I’m exhausted just sitting here on top of the pile and watching.

brushpile

I could, of course, snap my talented fingers and have it done in a trice, but physical labor is so improving to the human character.  Tomorrow, the female will be stiff and sore, with a smoke-stuffed head and a load of laundry that reeks of ash.

Tonight she will lie in bed and wonder if they really did find and extinguish all the slow-smoldering embers…

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