Adventures

To Market, To Market, Part II: To See All the Other Goodies

We’re still here with all the other folks (and dogs!), looking at all the things here that are NOT vegetables, meat, or eggs. There’s a bouncy castle over on the far end of the lot that Sigyn says she would like to try out. I know you would, my love, but the kiddies bouncing around in there right now are much bigger than you, and I’m afraid you might get hurt. But we can go look at other fun things!

Things like this:

It’s a sampler of some of the pecan varieties grown in Texas. The human female says that the last two in the bottom row are what the native pecans look like, and the others are kinds that have been bred to have bigger nuts or tastier insides or thinner shells. The University has a whole Pecan Short Course that they teach for local growers every year. Too bad this booth isn’t giving out samples of all of these. One of each kind would just about make a pie!

Sigyn has made a butterfly line (like a beeline, but squigglier) to a booth that has bedding plants.

The human female says these fancy, jumped-up daisies are Gazanias, which I think sounds like something you say when someone has sneezed. She’s going to buy a couple to put in the front flower bed, where–knowing her horticultural skills– I predict they will sit without ever making another blossom.

The human male has encountered a rather humorous boo-boo on a hand-lettered sign:

Ooh la la! Ce vendeur a de beax macarons! And they have samples! Which ones should we try? Sigyn is interested in the strawberry-rhubarb but I’m leaning towards the pistachio.

By Fandral’s grande embonpoint! Those are delicious! I think some need to come home with us…

But right now, I think we need a different treat. The day is growing rather hot and I some cold refreshment is in order. Luckily, there’s a deliciously convenient pushcart right at the end of this row of booths…

Mmm.

New Rule: All ice cream sandwiches should be made with snickerdoodles on the outside!

Well, Sigyn, we have visited all the booths at least once, tasted some fun things, bought some good things for dinners to come (samosas–also yum!), talked to some interesting people (the lamb lady is originally from Argentina!), and had a delicious treat. I think it’s time to go home and maybe have a little nap…

(much later)

The macarons the human female bought turned out to be neither strawberry-rhubarb nor pistachio, but since lemon goes very nicely with natural vanilla bean ice cream…

…I think I’ll forgive her just this once.

>|: 9

To Market, To Market, Part I: To Look at all the Funny Food

The weather is good enough today that we are headed for the local Farmer’s Market in search of whatever they have that isn’t leftover Gaming Weekend snacks, basically. On our last visit, the human female bought some magnificently delicious honey, and she’s hoping the same vendor is here today so that she can buy some to take to her mother, just in case the Condestruction mess is EVER resolved and we can go to El Paso for a visit.

Alas! That honey-seller isn’t here today, but there are plenty of fresh, colorful things to buy. Sigyn thinks the squash are “cute.”

Especially those weird ones that look like ghostly spaceships…

And of course, tomatoes are more fun when they come in BOTH of her favorite colors!

I am more interested in these big, sweet onions.

There is someone a few stalls over selling naturally-fed lamb, and the human male is eyeing it. That plus these will equal something delicious, I’m sure. And if not, if cooking plans go awry and the onions are forgotten and turn all sprouty and mushy and smelly and the human female has to clean that up, well, that’s fun too.

Great Frigga’s Corset! Sigyn, stop! You know what those ARE, don’t you?

They might be an interesting shade of orange, but they are still BEETS. You know the human female loathes, abominates, and despises them, and while it would be fun to buy some and sneak them into the chill chest for her to find and be grossed out by, *I* don’t particularly like them either. I’d much rather the space in the cooler be devoted to things I might actually eat.

Such as these bizarrely pastel eggs. Do you suppose the blue ones are blue on the inside as well??

>|: [

to be continued…

A Painted Adventure, Part III: Prettier and Prettier! (Sigyn Speaks)

Whew! Our little group of three vehicles was a little late to our third painted church, but we found it! Praha used to be called something else, but the Czech settlers renamed it after Prague. I didn’t get a photo of the outside since it was raining. It is partly made out of limestone quarried not too far from here.

Assumption of the Blessed Mother, Praha has a barrel-vaulted ceiling that is painted wood. And the painting is all plants!

It’s supposed to look like the Garden of Eden, and it does! If you look very closely, one of the cathedrals in Prague is painted there too. There is another very fancy altar–which the guide says was made by the same company that made the last one we saw. Imagine hauling that all the way from San Antonio! The altar rail and pulpit are very fancy. They had been put away in storage but were found when the church was restored. Wasn’t that lucky?

The font is very ornate, too.

There is a LOT of gilding in here. It must have taken months to redo it all!

I quite like this band of stenciling on the walls.

More flowers!

Our last church is built of red brick with some white stone accents. St. Mary’s/ Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in High Hill is regarded as the “Queen of Painted Churches”–and it’s not hard to see why!

Everywhere you look, there is some scroll-y foliage. (Scrolly foliage, scrolly foliage, scrolly foliage–that’s fun to say!) The guide says the ceiling is done with panels of painted wallpaper that were made “back East.” The pillars are painted to look like marble and there are a lot of statues–lady saints on one side and gentlemen on the other. The altar is from the same company again! I guess they made a specialty of making big altars for little churches.

Oooh! Look at the arch! It has everything–scrolly foliage, words, pictures, and some lovely blue flowers underneath.

The windows here are very fine. They are from three dates–1899, 1909, and 1930–which is why they don’t all exactly match.

Look how pretty! The human male is taking lots and lots of photos. I hope he gets a good one of the flowers in this design!

I hope Loki is happy in the car with his book, because I could just sit and look at this place all day.

Sigh. We can’t stay too long, though. The guide has to close up the church. It’s time to get back in the car and head for home. We could try going back a different way, or we take the same route we came. Let’s go the same way, please! I want to look at all of the funny animal yard art around Round Top, because I’m sure I missed something on the way down!

What a FUN day!

: )

A Painted Adventure, Part II: Comestibles and Commoddities (Yes, I spelled that correctly)

Sigyn is talking a mile-a-minute about the “beautiful churches” she saw this morning. Don’t forget to draw breath, my love. I fear you will hyperventilate in all of your cute enthusiasm. In any case, it is time for lunch, so you need to pause a while and eat something.

The tour group (looks mostly like clones of the humans–folks of that “certain age”, wearing comfortable shoes and practical haircuts) has appropriated the back room of a very casual, country style restaurant. No doubt the proprietors are glad to have them in the back room, away from normal customers.

Odin’s eyepatch! Everyone has just been issued a vinyl glove. What are we meant to do with this? Oh. Apparently it is for handling the spoons on the buffet line. Is that to protect the food from the people or the people from the food???

The offerings look fairly pedestrian. Choice of chicken, sausage, or a pork…thing. Vegetables and various carbohydrate-laden sides. Bread. Salad.

It’s colorful enough but, sadly, not really terribly good. Too much salt in the meat and green beans and not enough crisp in the vegetables. Sigyn’s not worried though. She’s chattering away with our tablemates and casting a longing eye at the dessert offerings.

Peach cobbler or bread pudding? It’s one of life’s toughest questions.

One for which Sigyn has a lemon-sauced answer. She has pronounced this, “yummy.” I gather it tastes better than it looks.

This dining establishment has a gift shop attached, fully stocked with a plethora of unusual items. I think I shall purchase some of these seasoning blends as gifts for the human male’s mother.

Let’s see him try to explain when she unwraps them.

Sigyn wants to buy this shiny jukebox.

It’s very quaint. I believe it comes with this dining table and chairs, along with a musical selection device. But I do not think the chairs would be very comfortable.

This display says “Gund for Baby.”

Ehehehehe! I did not know that the stuffed toy manufacturer had branched out into barware…

Great Frigga’s Corset! We dawdled too long! The tour group is leaving! Hurry! Back to the car!

The weather, which has been spitting rain all morning, has chosen this moment to precipitate in earnest.

There is no sign of the tour guide’s red pickup truck, and the list of churches we have does not have addresses, so the humans aren’t sure where to go or how to get there. And are you sure you know which of the remaining two you are supposed to be visiting next? I suppose you have a 50-50 chance…

There are two cars behind us, also left behind, and the human female is frantically googling. The next church is supposedly in Praha, but looking it up doesn’t help much, since these tiny rural churches are usually listed as belonging to the nearest viable town, not the historical, no-longer-really-there town that is in their name. GoogleMaps doesn’t seem to ever have heard of Praha. Not only that, but half of the churches in these parts have “St. Mary” somewhere in the title. Could the one listed in Flatonia be the one they want?

I have it figured out, but I’m not telling. The car behind us thinks they know, so they are now going to lead as our ragtag group of three vehicles turns around. I guess all you can do is pray I haven’t been switching road signs around and hope for the best.

>|: [

A Painted Adventure! Part I: We’re Off! (Sigyn Speaks)

Ohmyohmyohmy!!! The humans are going on a trip! It’s a day trip only, but still! And they said I can come! Loki, do you want to come too?

“Where are we going?”

We’re going to drive and go look at some pretty, old painted churches built by Czech and German settlers in the middle of the state. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Don’t you want to–

“No. I don’t ‘do’ churches. You know that.”

But! But you could help me look at wildflowers on the way and help navigate, and there will be lunch, and…”

“And I could make sure you get back here in one piece afterwards. Very well. I’ll come, but I’m bringing a book or something. Don’t expect me to go inside anywhere.”

Okay! We’re caravaning from the church here and heading west. We have directions with road names and mileages, but no town names, so navigation is going to be key…

Loki! Did you really have to make the lead vehicle miss a turn, making all the cars go the wrong way, and then drive off waay above the speed limit?

“Yes. Yes, I really did.”

Well, we are all back on course now. It’s very pretty country we’re driving through, and the area around Round Top is full of antique marts and places with weird junk and sculptures that would be worth a trip on their own. And there’s a lovely twisty bit of road near La Grange that is just gorgeous!

(a bit later)

We picked up a local tour guide in Schulenberg, and we’ve now driven to our first church, SS. Cyril and Methodius in a tiny, tiny town called Dubina. There it is! Isn’t it pretty, Loki?

“If you say so. Go on. I’ll be fine here.”

Oh, pretty! The ceiling is full of stars, and there are plants painted and stenciled all around!

That is a very fancy altar! There is an interesting picture on the wall by the next pew.

Oh, I guess the two fellows on this plastic-protected banner must be Cyril and Methodius.

They show up together a lot. Hee hee hee! I can never remember which is which.

Can you believe that everything on the walls and ceiling was whitewashed over at some point? Then, not too long ago, they decided to restore it.

Some of the art is stenciled and some is stenciled and then painted.

This is my favorite bit. I like the white flowers–they remind me of little white bluets!

Loki, that was really beautiful inside! You should come with us to see the next one!

“No, thank you.”

Silly Loki. He doesn’t know what he’s missing! I’m pretty sure the building wouldn’t really implode if he stepped through the doors…

( a bit later)

This church is St. John the Baptist in Ammannsville. These little towns used to be bigger. Now there’s not much more than the church here!

You can tell it dates from about the same time as the other one.

Squeee! This one is all PINK inside!

The tour guide says the paint is on canvas applied to the walls and ceiling, rather than painted wood. That is interesting! He also pointed out the pinch-clamp hooks for men’s hats on the pews on this side of the church. They used to make men and women sit on different sides. Isn’t that silly?

The artwork is more Art Nouveau and less primitive, with lots of shadowing to make all the foliage and ornaments really stand out. And the “marble” columns aren’t really stone–they’ve just been painted to look that way!

There’s some stenciling on the lower part of the walls.

It must have taken forever to paint all of this, even with stencils! There is some nice stained glass, too.

That was so much fun!!! But now it’s lunch time. Loki, are you ready to go get something to eat?

“Of course, my love. That is the one part of today’s agenda I can truly get behind.”

More later!

: )

Aftermath of Escape to the Big City to the West–What Followed Us Home

Let us take a look at some of the comestible goods which followed us home from the Big City to the West. In addition to the Large Market, we also visited an Asian grocery store and a couple of stores selling Japanese goods, so a bit of the resulting haul is a bit “theme-y”.

The human male is a fan of All Things Ginger and has a special fondness for ginger beer. He found two sorts he hadn’t tried, and I urged him to purchase them.

He has pronounced the lemon-lime one “horrible” (Ehehehehe! I could have told him that) and the other “okay, but not as good as my favorite one.”

What were those spices they brought home again?

Oh, now I remember. The Ras El Hanout is to replace the jar of Ras El Hanout they bought but didn’t like, which was to replace the empty jar of the Ras El Hanout that they liked a lot, but which I have made certain is no longer being manufactured.

The other jar holds Carolina Reaper pepper powder. I foresee some quality mischief of a capsacious nature in my future.

The human female is, I see, still incapable of leaving the Large Market without a quantity of gummy octopi septopi.

The way she plows through those things, they are sure end up on the CITES list before the year is out. If conservationists managed to breed them and increase their numbers during the period in which she was confined to town by the pandemic, they are about to lose what little progress was made.

This little bun-oid object game from the Asian grocrey.

It is certainly wrapped up in a fancy manner. (poke, poke, poke) What do you suppose is inside, Sigyn?

There is a filling of some sort. Any ideas?

It looks like a fossilized egg yolk, but the human female says it is lotus seed paste. Sigyn is keen to taste it.

That good, eh? (nibble nibble) It’s all right, but I think I prefer sweet red beany goo as a filling.

Great Frigga’s Hairpins! What is this…thing? I didn’t see her slip this in the basket! And she’s planning to eat it for breakfast?!

It’s… It’s staring at us.

The label on the back says, “Anpanman.” Human female, look that up and see if this is even safe to eat.

Ah. Apparently “anpan” refers to a bun filled with sweet beany goo, and there is a comic character whose head is one.

Wait. Sweet beany goo? Dare I hope?

!!!! Anpanman, I think I love you.

>|: 9

Escape to the Big City to the West! Part IV: Mischief and Mushrooms in the Market

No trip to a Big City, be it north, south, west, or east (Have we done east? I do not think so…) is complete without a trip to the Large Market. The human male likes to buy their ginger-apple juice, and the female is always on the hunt for new apple varieties.

I have seen to it that there are no new apples today. There were going to be, but I had the produce manager hide them in the back.

Sigyn is excited because she has never seen a “real live yam” before.

She has made friends with sweet potatoes before, which people in this part of Midgard often mistakenly call yams, but this is her first encounter with the real thing. They’re very large, but she’s not afraid at all, my brave girl.

Odin’s Eyeptatch! Sigyn, come over here and look at this! There is a veritable Fungal Festival going on here today! One whole display is nothing but chitinous Basidiomycetes. The bright yellow oyster mushroom is certainly eye-catching.

The plainer brown variety is a little less startling in its coloration.

(poke poke poke) Mushrooms feel so weird.

I do not know what this kind is called.

Looks like a pile of wood shavings, doesn’t it? Here’s another anonymous mass of mycelia:

And in case one is unable to choose, the emporium offers a thoughtful assortment box.

That would make a very good hostess gift. “Here you go–I brought you a box of expensive mixed toadstools. I know they don’t work with your dinner menu, but you have to eat them within a day or so or they’ll go all limp or get moldy and you’ll feel guilty. Enjoy!”

Hmm. I wonder if I could persuade the human female to buy a box for herself? I could sneak in one of these:

Destroying Angel

Sigyn has wandered off, attracted by the bright colors in another display:

Dragonfruit. And gaudy they definitely are! They come in yellow

…as well as a pink that is an abomination unto mine eyes.

Dearest, are you certain that food should be that color?

She certainly is a bit of a magpie, attracted by all sorts of bright and shiny things. This soap, for instance.

It is certainly…colorful. I wonder–as you use it, do all the bits wear out at the same rate, or do the little chunks fall out as the matrix wears away? I might have to do some experimenting. Also, if this stuff is made in a loaf and then sliced, Why are no two pieces alike? I have the feeling this is going to be keeping me up nights…

We are nearly done here. The human female has found her favorite tortilla chips and the required gummy octopus-shaped candy. The male has found his juice and a few other tidbits. It is certainly not as much fun here as it was in the days when they were giving out samples around every corner. Get yourselves vaccinated, people! I want my samples back!

The only department left is the floral section. Sigyn, as could be predicted, has gone straight for the most colorful bunches, in this case some huge, waxy Ranunculus.

If you were to look up “yellow” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of those.

How many Sigyn-volumes are there in one Protea? I don’t know, but I’m sure the number has a lot of zeros.

Some of the prepared bouquets are very pretty.

But I suppose I am a bit predictable myself. I find myself drawn to these hydrangeas.

They’re green, and I just know that if I could convince the human female to take some home, I could induce them to shed copiously all over the house. Bonus points if the felines eat them and leave petal-y puke… Hmmm.

>|: [

Escape to the Big City to the West! Part II: 呪い! 人間の女性は私のいたずらの計画を失敗させました!

Running into Thor’s wretched visage in the game shop has left me cranky. It is near lunch time. Perhaps food will help my mood.

After traipsing all around the strip center we are in, looking at all the menus, and discovering a dearth of options for eating outside the humans have decided that they will just have to risk dining indoors for the first time since early last year. They have elected to patronize the sushi-go-round restaurant. Long-time readers will recall that, last time they visited, I mischiefed the human female out of getting her beany-goo filled, fish-shaped donut. That was a good mischief. I shall do it again.

Since we are a small party, we’re unlikely to order enough to get a prize ball this visit. We shall have to content ourselves with feasting. Feasting only, Sigyn! While you got away with riding the conveyor on a previous, pre-pandemic visit, I think you should forgo that excitement today.

Snort! The human female is pretending to be health-conscious and has ordered a vegetable hand-roll.

She’s welcome to it–I think nori tastes like fish-food. I’m holding out for Fried Things. And here come some now!

Mmm. Gyoza. They’re piping hot, very crispy, and come with a nice sauce. Although, human female, I’m sure you would like this condiment even better:

It’s green. It must be good! No? Ah, you’re such a wuss.

More delicious fried goodness.

Dig in, my love. Last time, these tempura shrimp were naught but tails by the time we got any. The human female says she thinks the batter is the best part of tempura and that she would “happily eat tempura-fried air.” Oh, that gives me so many marvelous ideas…. (I bet with the legs off, praying mantises are not immediately recognizable under layers of rice flour and panko…)

The human male has snagged a cold item off the conveyor. Looks like shrimp and avocado with some sort of citrusy mayo.

Hmm. Three pieces. One for him, one for me, and one for Sigyn. Sorry, human female, you are just going to have to content yourself with that air you said you’d eat.

It is time for dessert! Sorry again, human female, there is no beany-goo filled, fish-shaped–

Great Friggas corset! The human female got her request in even before we were seated! Unfair! She’s going to sit there, smugly, feasting on donut and sweet, beany goo with ice cream and just gloat, I know she is. Do not be surprised, woman, if that fish a) drips bean goo on your shirt, b) makes you fat, or c) both.

You know I can do it…

>|: [

Escape to the Big City to the West! Part I: It’s All Fun and Games Until My “Brother” Shows Up

The humans are now fully vaccinated against the current plague. This has emboldened them to relax their vigilance just enough for a one-day trip to the Big City to the West, in search of things to eat and see that do not consist of the contents of the cold box and the same four walls they have been staring at for a year and more now.

Masked and socially inept distanced, their first stop is the game store. We’ve been here before, about two years ago. No doubt there is something new to look at.

Sigyn has found the motherload of cat-themed games.

I have found a cat game too. Relative to my interests but slightly less cute:

Sigyn! Oh, don’t cry, sweetie! It’s just a game. It’s a joke, I’m sure. Maybe…

Here! Come look at these funny creatures? See? They’re nice! Happy! Not exploding at all, not even a little bit!

While Sigyn is trying to figure out how to play the mossy-antlered elk game, I’m going to look at something I’ve spotted on the the other side of the store. Oh, Sigyn. Are you interested too? Let’s go together.

Sigyn thinks a poetry game sounds like fun. I’m more intrigued by games that have weapons included!

The store sells jigsaw puzzles in additions to games. Sigyn, of course, has gravitated to the colorful one sure to give even a god such as myself an instant case of diabetes.

I think this one looks more challenging.

What does it even depict? I think I can see feathers and pine needles and maybe even some bones. There’s something up there that looks like a dead mouse, too, but I’m not about to point that out to Sigyn…

Sweet Sif on a Cracker! Can’t I go anywhere without running into my stoopid “brother’s” stoopid face?!

He looks even dorkier and more ridiculous when he wears that silly winged helmet. That’s even less practical than horns. I can’t even bear to look. I think i will magic every copy of this game into one I saw online.

Whoever designed that artwork deserves a medal.

>|: [

I Spoke Too Soon

I mentioned yesterday that the weather had been lovely.

I spoke too soon. Later in the day, a line of strong thunderstorms roared south through this part of Midgard, and the weather radio kept going off and off and off with all sorts of alarms and watches and WARNINGS all evening long.

At one point, we all huddled in the closet with important papers, laptops, flashlights, and the one cat we could find, listening to inch-diameter hail fling itself against the roof and windows as a tornado warning played itself out.

The human female collected a sample when the all-clear was sounded.

There was a lot of it.

This morning, Sigyn and I are venturing out to see if there is any damage.

By Idunn’s Little Apples! That is quite the quantity of yard salad. I think the hail took off half the new growth on the trees and shrubs, and a few things that survived the ice earlier this year may have tossed in the towel now.

Oh, Sigyn, sweetie! Please don’t cry!

The one remaining hollyhock got its leaves shredded, but it’s plucky! I’m sure it will survive.

Maybe.

There is a lot of pruning and sweeping left to do, but it appears that the human female’s vehicle survived undimpled. The roof seems to be intact, though the vents and gutters have taken a beating. Places to the north had even bigger hail and many folks are not as lucky this morning.

Hmm. What mischief can I wring from all of this this? I know! How about an endless parade of fly-by-night roofers, knocking on the door and offering a really great deal on a complete re-roof? Won’t that be fun?

>|: [