Adventures

A Brief Winter Walk

It’s been foggy a lot in this part of Midgard lately. The humans have ventured out on a rare sunny day to see what’s going on in the local woods.

By Idunn’s little apples!  There is a ubiquitous abundance of holly berries this year!

hollydangle

¡ǝlƃuɐp pooƃ ɐ ɹoɟ ʇods ʇɔǝɟɹǝd puɐ ʎɐp ʇɔǝɟɹǝd ɐ s,ʇᴉ ʇɐɥʇ sʞuᴉɥʇ uʎƃᴉS

It’s not just hollies that can be dangled in.

heterothecadangle

Camphorweed does just as well.  Sigyn is beyond excited–we’ve been here scarcely a quarter of an hour and she’s had the chance to dangle in plants with both her favorite colors!

(poke, poke, poke.)  Not all plants are large enough to climb in, though.  This one is growing right in the middle of the trail, and it’s very, very teeny.

tinyplant

Sigyn has fallen in love with it.   Don’t hug it, Sweetie.  The human female says it can have spiny fruit.

Oooo!   We have found A Mysterious Hole in this creek bank!

a hole

I wouldn’t go in, if I were you…  But, human female–you feel free to stick a finger in and tell us if there’s a snake or sharp-toothed rodent or something in there, all right?

We’ve been walking and poking at things for a while now.  Time for a rest.

mysleepnumberis moss

My sleep number is “moss.”

Clever Sigyn has found a different moss.

moremoss

Sigyn doesn’t know if this one’s a moss or a liverwort.

liverwort

All this green stuff looks alike to me.  Possibly one of the human female’s plant-nerd friends could sort them out, but I really don’t care.

We’re headed to the Sedge Meadow.  I like the Sedge Meadow.  It’s all green and dapply.

pathview

Sweet Glittering Bifrost!  What’s this?

trail closed

I had heard the City was Doing Something, but I wasn’t sure what…

But, since I’m a god, barricades and notices don’t apply to me.  Come along, Sigyn.  Leave the puny mortals here obeying all the signs like good little sheep and let’s you and I keep going.

Have fun staring at the signage!  We’re going to go pet sedges.

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A New Yule Tradition–Day 5: An Inauspicious Start to the New Year

It’s our last day, so to help distract us from the giant elephant in the room of having to return home tomorrow, we have scheduled one last big adventure.

Sigyn has never flown in a hot-air balloon, and neither have I.

balloons

It will be a good way to survey the surrounding countryside, and with my magic, there’s no danger that we will crash or drift out to see or some such foolishness .  See if you can find us one whose gondola is not already full of Victorian cosplayers.

(later)  That was quite fun!  We shall have to do it again sometime soon.

We do not have time for a visit to the botanical garden, but we can certainly spend some pleasant moments strolling in this grove of glitter pines.

red and gold trees

Sigyn really likes them, because they are *SpArkLy* and essentially red and yellow.  Ehehehe–think how awful one would look in the human female’s yard…  It just might be time to do a little guerilla gardening…

(later)

Uh, oh.  Sigyn, I think we may have strayed into a part of town that is not so nice…  There’s no need to fear, since I have my magic and my dagger (and many other weapons secreted about my person), but let us pay attention and remain aware of our surroundings as we work our way back to the camper.

Norns’ nighties!  I think this poor fellow has been the victim of a mugging!

stabbing

Run and fetch help whilst I try to stop his hemorrhage.

Ugh. This is not how I wanted to end our trip.  Hang on, fellow.  Help is coming.

(a bit later)

Yes, officer, I “just happened” to come upon the poor, late Mister Frosty.

tin copper

Yes, I had a dagger, but it was out because this is a shady part of town and I surmised—correctly, I might add— that you boys in blue have not been diligent in keeping up patrols in the area.  If anyone’s to blame, it’s you.

Yes, officer, there is blood on my cloak, but only because I stopped to render aid.  Is that not the correct thing to do in these parts?

Look, I know that I do have a bit of a reputation for mayhem and violence, but ask anyone:  I only visit such upon those who have wronged me, and I’ve never tasted seen the  poor fellow before.

No, I would not like to accompany you down to any station to answer any more questions.  I am a god, you dull creature, and I am done with answering questions.  I have NOT stabbed anyone today, but if you annoy me further, that might change.  Cease casting your aspersions upon my honor or I shall leave you with a wound which you can compare to the deceased’s.

Come, Sigyn, we are teleporting home.  I’m sorry that our vacation has had to end upon such a sad and sour note.   Think of hot air balloons, sparkly trees, cat-shaped mugs, cozy campers, furry deer, and strolls along the canal.

Next year, we are definitely going back to doing the glass museum instead.

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A New Yule Tradition–Day Three: In Which Sigyn Runs Into the Usual Trouble

I am SO glad we decided to go on vacation this year.  It is six kinds of restful, this being away from the humans and the felines!  We are enjoying our cozy camper (last night I magicked up a ball pit and Sigyn had the best time, swimming around and giggling.)

Still, it wouldn’t be Yule if my beloved didn’t get a dose of glass somewhere, so today we have arranged to tour a glass factory.  I’m not quite sure what sort of glass objects they make.  Sigyn is hoping it’s glass paperweights, since those are her favorites.  I just hope it is not something yawn-inducing, like peteri dishes or those razor-edged rectangles of death that come in dollar store picture frames.

Great Frigga’s corset!  This bodes ill.  This is a candleholder factory, and Sigyn has a bad, bad record with these…

Well, this is not too bad.

candleholder2

Ehehehe.  Peekaboo, indeed.  You cutie, you.

Uh, oh.  I knew it.

candleholder1

Sigyn, my love, come out of there!  I’m sure the nice factory workers would really rather you not put nose smudgies on their wares.

Even if it is a very cute nose.

Aaargh!  Right from one predicament to another.

candleholder3

I swear to Gungnir, I turn my back for one minute…

This hangy-dangle globe is going to take more than a little work to get you out of.  I’ve got to figure out what needs to happen first.  Does the globe lift off or twist?  Is there a way out of the bottom, or have we got to get you out of the top?  And how did you get in there in the first place?

Hang on, sweetie.  Loki’s coming.

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A New Yule Tradition–Day Two: To Market, To Market

We slept very well in our cozy little camper last night.  Of course, the fact that I conjured up a very soft and downy featherbed, a two-person bathtub, and a breakfast of crepes and fresh fruit just added to its charm.

So now we sally forth to see what delights this charming town has to offer.  It’s supposed to have a famous open-air market in the square, so that’s where we are headed first.

Sigyn is beside herself!  This farmer breeds an extraordinary sort of reindeer, one with a long and silky coat that he sells as fleeces or which his wife spins into yarn.

llama

They have brought one of the beasts with them and Sigyn is losing no time making friends.  I suspect we will be tarrying here for a while…

Look, Sigyn!  This next stall seems to carry a lot of merchandise that looks like your friend Muffy.

muffystuff1

Pick her out a nice souvenir and I will magically post it back to her. (I’m not trusting anything to Fed Up and Exhausted!)

Ehehehe!  I should have known!

snow globe

We may have been deprived of seeing glass in the museum, but if there are glass paperweights or snowglobes anywhere, you can be sure my beloved will find them!   That gingerbread fellow is almost as tall as you!

Oh, now isn’t that cute?

cat mug

Sigyn says this mug reminds her of the Terror Twins back home.  She wants to know if I miss them.  Sweetie, last night’s dinner was the first I’ve had without cat hair in months.  No, I don’t miss them.  But I do wonder if Taffy is still sleeping on the human female’s head, the way I’ve been teaching her?  (I don’t have to actually be present to annoy the human female!)

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A New Yule Tradition–Day One: A Place To Lay Our Heads

Longtime readers will recall that, in lieu of exchanging gifts, Sigyn and I often do something particularly fun for Yule. Typically, we sneak into one of the museums on campus and look at all the lovely glass. 

This year, we found the museum minus any exhibits–I think they must be changing things around.  Sigyn was crestfallen for a moment, until I suggested something completely different.  A Yule/New Year vacation!

So we have left the humans and the Terror Twins behind, and we have struck out on our own.  I have transported us to a lovely little village where we will sleep in and eat fun things and look at pretty scenery and not be bothered with the mortals at all.

chocolate vacation

Sigyn is very excited.  She can’t decide what she wants to do first–take a cruise on the canal, go for a bike ride, or poke about in shops.

First, though, we should secure lodgings.  I didn’t wish to book online, as I wanted to have a look first.  My love, let us take a stroll and see what our options are.

Sigyn thinks this rustic little cabin is “quaint.”

wmhouse1

Dearest, I think we can do better than “quaint.”  Besides, those windows look a bit charred.  I suspect the snow is hiding some recent fire damage…

This place looks to be in better repair.  See?  That red-suited fellow is washing the windows and repointing the brickwork.

wmhouse3

But it’s tiny, and who knows what else need fixing in there?

Oh, this looks like a well-kept establishment!

wmhouses4

Smart paintwork and nice decorations, if a trifle overdone.  Looks like it’s composed of several adjoining town homes, like the hotel we stayed at in London.  Do you want to book a room now, my petal, or keep looking?

Sigyn wishes to keep looking.  She says she’ll know it when she sees it.  She wants something “cozy and unusual and festive.”  Very well, my love, onward!

(later)

She’s found it!

wmhouse2

It’s perfect, dearest!  I shall magic up our luggage forthwith!

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A Fall Scramble, Part II: Thar She Blows (Whatever The Heck That Means)

The human female is becoming a bit concerned because she hasn’t seen any of her rare flowers  yet.  I think it is one of those things, though, that you have to see the first one, and then, once your eye is trained, you start to see them everywhere.

Augh!  Now she’s squealing abominably.  I suppose that means she’s spotted some.  Yes, there they are, hiding in the tall grass.

agalinis-grass

Sigyn says she has learned how to tell the rare ones from the common ones.  The flowers can be the same color on both, but the common ones have wider leaves, and the flowers have almost no stalk at all.  It’s an over-all thickish sort of plant.

agalinis-het

The rare ones have very narrow leaves and long flower stalks, so that the whole plant is open and airy, sort of tricky to spot if it’s not in flower.

Agalinis-nav

There are some differences in the flowers, too, but you have to be as big a plant nerd as the human female to understand.  I don’t pretend to, nor do I listen when she rattles on and on about “anther placement” and “calyx sinuses” and “stigma color.”  As  Future Ruler of Midgard, such details are beneath my notice.  I’ll have minions for that.

Odin’s eyepatch! Now that she’s spotted them, the human female now proposes to walk over every inch of the outcrop and count the rare plants.  I don’t know whether to hope that there aren’t very many this year so that this will all be over quickly, or to hope that the rare plant is having a good year, even knowing that it will mean listening to the idiot woman try to remember what comes after “threety-eleven.”

This is, unfortunately, going to involve some clambering.  Sigyn insists on doing it all herself.

need-a-hand

But my love, would you not appreciate a magical boost?  Maybe just a little one?

(a bit later)

We have reached the top and completed our survey, having counted about one hundred plants, which makes this a good-ish year, though not a great one.  Now we are free to look about at other members of the flora.

This wafer-ash is also known as hop tree, presumably because of the flat fruits.  (Apparently someone thought it looked like beer-brewing hops and the name stuck.  I don’t see it myself.)

ptelea

It is very good for dangling, though the foliage is looking rather tattered.  The human female says this tree is a relative of oranges and lemons and, as such, is considered  yummy by the giant swallowtail caterpillar.  Sigyn says she would like to see one of those caterpillars.  However, they are camouflaged to look like bird droppings, and I’ve no real desire to go poking piles of bird poop to see which ones are wiggly and have legs.

But here is a good one for you, love!  (No poop-poking required!)

swallowtail-thelesperma

I actually learned this one because it has such marvelous horns.  It is the larval stage of the pipevine swallowtail.  It ought to be munching on pipevine; I’ve no idea what it thinks it is doing with this greenthread.

There really is a splendid view from up here.  I can see a good portion of the county, though the removal of a few junipers would improve the vista even more.

topview

Sigyn and the human female are still oohing and aahing and speaking in slanty names, enthusing over fall favorites such as this blue sage.

salvia azurea

I, on the other hand, propose to divest myself of my hot and heavy (though noble!) helmet and relax on this pat of moss while they fossick about.

sleepnumbermoss

Who knows?  I might even doze.  Being magnificent and knowledgeable about caterpillars is hard work. Wake me when it is time to go home.

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A Fall Scramble, Part I: Here We Are Again

It is Autumn here in the northern part of Midgard–or at least, that’s what the calendar says.  I’ve been tinkering with the weather, alternating hot and cold days so that everyone has the sniffles and no one knows what to wear or what to serve for dinner.  Woolly hat or shorts and flip-flops?  Cool salad or hearty stew!  Ehehehehe!  The mortals are all cOnFUseD and there’s no end to the see-sawing in sight.

But, by the calendar, the rare plant that the human female discovered, and which she keeps an eye on, ought to be blooming.  She’s grabbed her boots and sunscreen and insect repellent and is heading for the outcrop in the next county over where the plant is to be found— if it’s up.  It is one of my warm days, and I could certainly do without being cooped up in the car with the human female for twenty minutes each way, but Sigyn really, really likes “botanizing,” so she is going.  And if Sigyn is going, I am going, because I don’t trust the human female in the field one tiny little bit.  With me along, there’s a much better chance that my sweetie comes home in one smiling piece.

(laterish)

And here we are at what the human female calls, “an outcropping of calcareous Oligocene sandstone of the Oakville formation” and what I call, “a tilty chunk of inconvenient climbiness.”

The first plant to greet us is the very conspicuous, electric blue dayflower.  It’s fairly common in this part of Midgard.  There are even some back at the house.

dayflower

They look better out here than coming up around the compost heap, though.

The human female is checking to see if the “usual suspect” plants are up where they normally are.  The redwhisker clammy-weed is right where it is every year.  The bright sun is washing out the pale pink of the petals and the bright red of the stamens.

cleome

It really is very sticky to the touch.  Sigyn, be careful as you go—I don’t know how well the sticky comes out of red velvet.

Ugh.  It really is uncomfortably warm and bright today.

hotouthere

Here is a plant I don’t recall seeing out here before.  Look at the fat, funny leaves!  The human female says it’s a cousin of the moss roses that people grow in pots.

portulaca-2

Step into the voluminous shade the human female is casting, and let us see if we can get a better photo.

portulaca

Those really are tiny flowers!  Sadly, too small for Sigyn to try on as a hat.

Great Frigga’s hairpins!  If you thought that was a tiny flower, dearest, come look at this one!

heliotropium-tenellum

Heliotropium tenellum.”  It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

This one’s not much bigger.  It’s one of the broomweeds, the human female says, either Gutierrezia texana or Amphichyris dracunculoides.

broomweed

I’m of the opinion that if she’s going to call herself a botanist, she should KNOW which one it is.  She’s making noises about tiny “pappus” this and “receptacle” that and saying that she needs to look at various bits under a microscope.  Flimsy excuses, woman, and if you need a microscope, you bring it on your various traipse-alongs, because I am not going to tote it for you.  Nor will I waste my magic summoning something you should have thought of in the first place.  Besides, I think you make up all those slanty, sciency names anyhow.

Time for some climbing!  Autumn is definitely the season for yellow daisy-family things, and here is another.  If you can believe the human female, it is part of the whole golden aster mish-mash, and it goes by the improbable name of Heterotheca subaxillaris.   The common name, camphorweed, is much less of a mouthful.

heterotheca

Sigyn, after sniffing its gland-dotted foliage, confirms that it does, in fact, smell a little granny’s-closety.

Stand over there next to that pale purple one, my love.

ruellia

Look at that!  The flowers are more than a Sigyn long!  If it didn’t have just the one blossom, I would pick it for you and make you the pointiest hat ever!

Norns’ nighties!  Are we really only halfway up?  This hill goes on forever.

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