Sigyn Speaks

Mail Mischief (Sigyn Speaks)

Oh, goody! A catalog came in today’s mail! I just love catalogs! They’re so full of possibility! For a short, shining moment, you can dream about having anything you want!

The church goods catalog has Christmas things already! I’m so excited! Christmas is my very favorite holiday. Except for Easter. And Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving’s good too!

Oh, how fun! Come look, Loki! They made a Nativity set in the shape of a tree! Isn’t that clever?

I wonder what’s on the front of the book?

Sigh. Loki, I know that, as a Norse god, you don’t really get the point of Advent and Christmas, but would you kindly take the Mail Mangling Curse off the mailbox? Please and Thank You.

: (

Okay, Loki, That’s Enough (Sigyn Speaks)

One of the best parts about going to church is the singing. I love to sing! They took the touched-by-everyone hymnals out of the pews when the pandemic hit, but they’re nice enough to make song sheets every Sunday, which is very sweet of them.

If you know the tune, it’s very easy to sing along.

Oh, goody! The closing hymn today is number 7 on the songsheet, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling“. I like that one!

Umm.

Number 7 is actually “On and On“…?

(flip, flip) Oh, here it is!

Hee hee hee! It’s number 7 too! It looks like someone got a little confused numbering the songs. Bless their heart!

Uh, oh.

What is number 4 doing up above one of the number 7’s?

The whole handout is wonky!

The front has 1, 2, and 3, which is fine, but, inside, the numbers go 6, 5, 4, and 7, with the other 7 and 8 on the back!

Loki! Did you do this?!”

“We had an agreement! I don’t try to convert you, and you don’t mess with things in my church! What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I gave the human female a compulsive earworm, and now whenever she gets to this part, she has to sing ‘grapefruit‘ instead. It’s really funny.”

“NOT HELPING!!!”

: (

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 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!

: )

A Whole Walkful of Tiny, Pretty Things! (Sigyn Speaks)

Oh, my goodness! The weather has been just beautiful lately! The mornings are nice and cool and the afternoons are sunny and the flowers are just loving it! (Some rain hasn’t hurt, either!)

The human female and I are going for a walk around the neighborhood just to see what’s up. It’s too late for bluets : ( but there is sure to be something nice.

Starting with our very own lawn!

The evening primroses are pinker than they look in the photo, and they are everywhere!

So is the lyre-leaf sage. The ones coming up around the corner by the hose are nearly white, but the ones that have popped up in the lawn are purple, purple, purple.

What’s even nicer is that they’re perennial! Where they are this year, they are very likely to be again next year. When they’re done flowering, I will help the human female transplant them into the flower bed so they don’t get mowed.

That’s what’s good about the spring flora. A lot of it is short enough to pass under a mower largely unscathed. I can see the winecups in the grass of the park before we even get there.

You’d think the bright fuchsia would clash with the nearly-orange scarlet pimpernel (hee hee hee! I almost wrote “pumpernickel”!) but it doesn’t. It just makes a sort of earthbound fiesta.

The blue-eyed grass is open from about midday onwards.

The flowers are always a purply-blue, but in its miniature cousin, the flowers can be yellow, pink, lavender, pale blue, or a sort of bright arctic white, usually with a maroonish eye-ring.

They like a sandy soil, and so do herb sherard and the dwarf dandelions.

Whole sections of the lawn here are lavender and yellow orange. I just never get tired of the dwarf dandelions!

Another sand lover is this eny-weeny member of the carnation family.

I think it’s thyme-leaved sandwort, but I will have to pick a flower and take it home to key out, because there are several species that all look very much alike.

Speaking of itty-bitty white things, look at this dogshade!

It looks like lace, doesn’t it? A lot of the carrot family plants have flowers like this. It’s a good year for this plant–I’m seeing it everywhere! And do you know what? The flowers are sweetly scented! There is enough of it that you can smell these plants just walking by!

We’ve gone around the whole block now and I think we’ve seen just about ev—-

Ooooh! What’s that yellow up ahead?!

You could be forgiven for thinking this is one of the bur-clovers or sweet-clovers, but it’s one of the true clovers, specifically low hop clover, an introduction from Europe. The flowers fade and get all paper-baggy as they age. I like it not only because it’s such a cheerful color, but because the leaflets are heart-shaped and fold up to look like green snowflakes! I just want to give it a hug! But I won’t hug the little barley by my left hand, because it has long awns and is on the far end of the poke-you-in-the-eye scale.

Oh, haven’t we had just the BEST walk? Thanks for coming with me, and always remember to keep an eye on the ground, because you never know what precious jewels will be hidden down there!

: )

And What About the Cultivated Plants? (Sigyn Speaks)

I had such fun saying hello to all the bluets and such yesterday! And since it’s impossible to have too many flowers in one’s life, today I am going to pay a call to some of the cultivated plants in the neighborhood. A good many of them were hit very hard by the recent ice and snow : ( , but I bet something is blooming!

Look, Loki! Right in the front yard!

Daffodils! Don’t they look like ballerinas in pretty tutus?

Our friend Richard, who lives several blocks away, is also enjoying his spring-flowering bulbs.

Squeeee! They are exactly my favorite colors! And look how big they are next to me!

Oh! I need to run back to the house! There’s one more thing I want to check on!

It did! It did! It did come back!

All the leaves there were died in the ice storm and I thought it was all dead, but look! The one surviving hollyhock has put up two new leaves! It’s biennial, so maybe it will flower this year! I wonder what color it will be!

Is there anything as exciting as spring? I don’t think so!

: )

Back at Home for the New Year (Sigyn Speaks)

I enjoyed my little Christmas getaway with Loki SO much, but it’s nice to be home. New year, new plans, new optimism.

It’s good to be back at my own parish, too!

It’s a dear old place. Supposedly, this year will see ground broken on the new church, but this one will always have a place in my heart!

Happy 2021!

: )

A Very Poofy Walk (Sigyn speaks)

It has been a little rainy recently, and the human female has been busy, so we haven’t had the chance to go for a good walk very often. But today is bright and shiny and breezy and chilly, and there’s nothing that can keep the human female and me indoors! We’re exploring what Loki calls the “Neener Walk” today.

The flowers are almost all gone, and the fall color has faded or blown away. What’s left?

IT’S POOF SEASON!

A lot of the plants around here make fluff when they go to seed. I want to hug them all!

The goldenrod stalks are still pointy on top, they’re just not golden anymore.

Hug, hug, hug, hug!

The late-flowering thoroughwort is a little pricklier, but still a treat to nestle in.

Hee hee hee! It’s breezy enough that my bed is swaying! The asters are low to the ground and would be less likely to make someone seasick.

Oh, wait, this patch is even better!

Achoo! I sniffed up a little fluff there! Always a hazard of a walk this time of year.

Dandelions are mostly spring things, but you can find them in the fall and winter here too. Always time for making wishes!

It’s not just the daisy family things that have gone fuzzy, the grasses have been busy too! The silver bluestem won’t hold still for a photo, but it’s definitely puffy.

Little bluestem is a bit less floofy, but there is more of it. It used to be one of the main prairie grasses from south Texas all the way up into Canada, but there isn’t much prairie left.

The dry foliage is a nice, coppery color, don’t you think? The new shoots in spring will be blue-green.

I think the Grand Floof Prize goes to bushy bluestem! If you hug just one plant, it should be this one.

It’s so windy today. If I hang on tight, I bet I could get a ride! Back…

..and forth…

..and back again, over and over!

Whee! My walking buddy is making a little movie!

Oh, this walk was such fun! You should definitely go on a walk and see if you can find some fluff of your own!

: )