dammit wordpress–what do you have against apostrophes in tags?!

At Least It’s a Good Color

It is still, sadly, too hot these days to want to cook. The humans have been investigating the fascinating world of cold soups. They’ve tried a Persian one that involves buttermilk, yogurt, cucumbers, dill, and pistachios. It was pretty good, though I’d like to point out that, with that much dairy involved, they are dangerously skirting “milkshake for dinner” territory.

Today the human female is trying a new recipe, about which there is no little excitement in this house. First, a little backstory. Some years ago, the humans often enjoyed a particular soup mix, a Cream of Snowpea flavor from that brand with the Viking ship on it. It made a very delicious chilled soup–perfect for those days with temperatures nudging triple digits. I couldn’t allow that to continue, of course, so I arranged for the soup to become unavailable. Not just no-longer-carried-by-the-store. No. It it’s in the you-liked-it-so-we-stopped-making-it category. (I just love doing that.)

Imagine her delight, then, when the human female found a Cream of Snow Pea soup recipe! Ingredients were purchased in short order, and we are ready to launch the attempt.

Why a hyena is interested in a vegetable-based dish I have no idea. I’ve given up trying to understand what goes on in that animal’s brain.

Snowpeas?

Check! Soooo many snowpeas! Now, I know that the recipe doesn’t stipulate one way or the other, but the humans are firm believers in stringing the snowpeas, so we’re going to do that. Otherwise, we’ll end up with long stringy bits in the soup.

I like ripping things up, so I’ve volunteered–and notice I have willing helpers! It’s not hard work, just a bit time-consuming. The strings just zip right off.

We’re batch-and-a-halfing the recipe, since one bag of snowpeas was too little and two is too many.

Sigyn says that if you hold them up to the light they’re like “little stained glass windows.

I love that girl.

Six cups is a LOT of snowpeas! We need just a few more.

Fisi! Drop it! BAD hyena! Give that last one here, right now!

Sleipnir’s fetlocks! There are hyena teethmarks on it. No one wants to eat that! Fisi, you are banished to the compost bowl!

Buuuuut since the snowpeas are going to be cooked, I suppose we can get away with it. We just won’t tell anyone.

The snow peas get cooked in some water.

and a little bit of chicken broth.

It doesn’t look like much yet, but I have hopes.

Now we add some frozen peas.

Small, green, and icy. I can relate.

Here’s where the cream goes in.

Sigyn, are you hugging that carton? We only need three tablespoons. How about if we use what’s left to make some ice cream later? Will you let go now?

When the peas are done,

everything goes into the blender, a little at a time.

Dibs on pushing the buttons! I’m very good at destruction.

Great Frigga’s Hairpins! It’s going to be close! The volume of the blender carafe matches almost exactly the volume we’ve got of stuff that needs blending. Ehehehe! The human female is so stupid! She’s holding the top of the blender on with a towel, and there’s still soup dribbling out from under the lid. It never occurred to her to do this step in batches. I don’t know who’s going to clean this all up. I just know it won’t be ME.

The recipe says we’re supposed to put the resulting…slop is really the only word for it–through a fine sieve.

This step looks like it is going to take half an hour, at least, and leave a good quantity of pea pulp in the strainer Maybe we didn’t blend it enough? Despite my words of advice to the contrary, the human female has elected to skip this step. Now, the soup just has to chill until dinnertime.

(later) Behold, the finished collation!

We are going to enjoy it with some sesame seed bread from a bakery in the Big City to the South. It’s been in the freezer since forever, and the human female thinks it will be a good go-with.

Sip. Hmm. It certainly tastes of pea. Just plain old green pea, and not much else. The snowpeas are utterly lost, and so is the cream. We could have spared the expense of both. Bleargh! What’s this? Oh. A little stringy bit that didn’t get blended or sieved. Yuck! There’s another. See? That’s what you get for being lazy.

(A bit later) The addition of some salt and pepper and some bacon crumbles have improved this disappointing dish immensely. It’s cold, it’s green, it’s filling, and the bread is good.

I shall be surprised, however, if it graces the table again.

>|: 6

Judged to a Hair’s Breadth and Timed to the Second

What most people misunderstand about magic and mischief is this: More is NOT always better. Bigger is not always better. Any idiot can blow something up, and it doesn’t take finesse to turn someone into a toadstool. As I’ve said before, it’s all about the timing, and the fine touch.

Let me show you how to unravel a day.

The human female has dragged herself out of bed and thrown on a t-shirt and yoga pants (something no one wants to see), fully intending to do some time on the treadmill (since it is eleventy million degrees and 103% humidity outside, with a 60% chance of rain and a 100% chance of mosquitoes). However, as she’s waking up and bringing the mental and physical systems online, she’s discovering that I nudged a microbe or two her way. She’s got a headache, a sore throat, and that creepy back-of-the-neck-feeling that presages a day or three of low-level miserableness. Because she’s cautious the worrying sort, she’s forgone the treadmill for trying to find a place doing free Plague testing near the house.

Tsk, tsk. The local news website hasn’t been updated since February, so she’s looking on her own. Place #1 has a privacy clause that lets them use everyone’s personal information in any way they like. (They work for me.) Place #2 doesn’t have any open appointments until the end of the week. (Also thanks to me.) Place #3 is on the other side of the next city over. Place #4 is a tent in the parking lot of a department store, but it’s close, and they’re doing appointments. There you go, woman! There’s your chance. No, no time to change! Who’s going to see you anyway? It’s a drive-through!

Here we are, in traffic on the busiest street in town. Great Frigga’s Corset! The obnoxious notes of the human female’s ring tone are blaring from her backpack! To leave it or to pick up? To leave it or to pick up? She’s got to decide. It might be the human male, out doing the grocery shopping, asking a mundane question about, oh, I don’t know, bananas or something. It might be the debt collector that has been calling the female looking for the male to ask him about what they say he owes on a truck and won’t believe her that they are looking for Mr. Middle Initial T and not her Middle Initial C. husband. But it might be important…

See? Long red lights are a good thing. She just has time to answer. Ah. It is the human male. Now what sort of fruit-related—

“Hey! It’s me! The brakes are failing on the Honda an I’m headed to the dealership!”

“Oh, no! Should you pull over and call for a tow?”

“I think I can make it.”

“Okay. I’m almost at the testing place. Let me get my nose swabbed. It’ll take a second and then I’ll meet you there.”

Norns’ nighties! This day is just getting better, isn’t it?

Ehehehehee. The testing kiosk is not drive through, it’s walk-up. The human female has to subject the public to her yoga-pantedness. Ehehehe! And the kiosk lady’s microphone is broken. (I was here earlier.) She’s holding up post-it note signs with instructions and she and the human female are engaging in a sort of deranged pantomime and trying to pretend the human female isn’t standing there half-undressed and feverish and sticking a glorified Q-tip up her nose and swizzling it about.

Back in the car. Which way are you going, mortal? Your best bet would usually be to go down Road A, but–as you know from your traverse of it last week—there is some mysterious project going on that has lanes closed and trucks and big diggers and men and flags and cones, if not any actual work being performed. (Me again.) No, you’re better off taking Road B, which will bring you around to Road C, where the dealership has a side entrance.

Augh! No, you moron. Not that side entrance. Not the one with the gate across the drive. You know, the one they closed when they expanded the dealership and created a new entrance on the access road. Now you’re boxed into a 10′ by 20′ area that backs out onto a busy, busy thoroughfare. Fenrir’s Fleacollar, woman, who taught you to drive?!

Whew. All right, she managed to turn the nerdmobile around, dash out, go forty feet, and turn into the driveway that works. And there is the human male. Looks like he made it in one piece. Let’s have a look at the car.

Hmm. An Ominous Puddle. Now, it’s quite usual in this part of Midgard for autos to make puddles in the summer. Something about the air conditioning condenser, blah, blah, condensation, blah, blah. I can teleport, I can’t be bothered with the details. Just know that AC puddles should be under the right front/center of the vehicle, not the driver’s side wheel.

Eeew. The tech is sniffing the Ominous Puddle. His pronouncement? Brake fluid. As in, the very last of it. That was close, humans! The car is in good hands (I hope), so can we go home now? All of this carefully-timed mischief is making me hungry, and there’s a grilled-cheese sandwich calling me.

(later) The auto shop has called and the human female has been awakened from her brief, headachy nap. We are now back at the dealership awaiting the diagnosis and verdict.

Ah. Ahahahahahaha! I knew all along what the problem was likely to be, but this has worked out better than I hoped. You see, the vehicle recently had some scheduled maintenance, and I “helped” the mechanics with some of it.

That bit, right there. But just as the mechanic was going to remove his 10 mm wrench from the little nut that seals the brake line, I told a very funny joke, and he was distracted. He left the wrench in place and signed off on the job as complete. That little wrench has been affixed to the brake line for two weeks, not sticking into the brakes, not jamming into anything, not making any funny noises, just gradually vibrating as the vehicle moved and loosening the nut micrometer by micrometer. And today, when it involved a runny-nosed human female in exercise wear and bad hair, cold items from the grocery rapidly becoming warmer in the trunk, and temperatures bordering on the Saharan, the nut turned the last little bit of the way and let all the brake fluid run out.

To say the staff at the dealership is apologetic would be an understatement of elephantine proportions. Not only is today’s complete brake flush and fill on the house, but they’ve refunded the price of the original service.

And as I understand it, the tech who made the error gets to pay for that out of his salary. As it should be!

What? You think *I* should be held responsible? Pffft! I can’t help it if I’m supremely hilarious and he was eminently distractable. Nope.

You see, though–this is what I’m talking about. Human male killed in a fiery no-brakes crash? Not funny. Human female with actual Plague? Not funny at all. Everyone sweaty and inconvenienced and select individuals embarrassed and/or a bit poorer and all the plans for the day gone whoosh right out the window? Sublime.

Learn from the Master.

>|: [

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

Well I’m Glad We Have THAT Cleared Up

Before I came to this rock, I was told that its denizens had advanced to a “paperless society.” Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. Midgard is drowning in paper, with no end in sight. It’s all the humans can do to keep the paper clutter under control. Financial papers, advertisements, jotted notes, the occasional wanted piece of mail. I find that it provides a great opportunity for mischief!

There has been a veritable snowstorm of paperwork associated with the humans’ retiring from work at the University. Information packets, endless forms, and Important Communiques from They’re Really Swamped (TRS), with which I have been amusing myself no end.

Last month or so, the human female received two letters from They’re Really Swamped which she thought were the same. “Why,” she grumbled, “did they send two copies of this in separate envelopes?” It took the human male’s superior reading comprehension skills to decipher the situation and show the human female that they were, in fact, quite different.

The first letter was addressed to Human Female’s Address, Version 1, and it notified her that this address had been deemed incorrect, changed at her or her duly appointed designee’s request, and/or found to be incompatible with Usually Squashes Parcels Significantly’s notion of her address. Henceforth, the letter stated, all Official Correspondence would be sent to Human Female’s Address, Version 2, unless she indicated otherwise. The second letter, which arrived on the same day, was addressed to Human Female’s Address, Version 2, and it advised her sternly that henceforth all communication would be sent to this address because Human Female’s Address, Version 1 was a bad, naughty, wicked address and not fit to grace the front of an envelope.

Both letters, of course, had no trouble reaching her.

I had such fun watching expressions of confusion, understanding, and done-with-this-waste-of-paper flit across her face that I simply had to do it again!

Thus, this first letter, received today.

Notice the creative spelling of part of the street address and the snappy abbreviation of the town’s name. Ehehehe! I had fun with that. Note also, please, that this address, listed as her “previous address” is absolutely NOT what TRS changed it to with the last set of letters.

The second letter, also received today, clarified things:

See?! It’s important! Circle the date on the calendar! Someone has learned how to spell “southern.”

Ehehehe! For some reason, there always seems to be a lot of recycling and shredding going on in this house. . . And I giggle every time I think of how there will probably be a third round of these letters , because this new, corrected address still bears the truncative butchering of the town’s name to include the hated “Sta.”

And am I singling out the human female with all of my attention to seeing how many trees I can kill to stuff her mailbox with useless drivel? I am not! I mean, the post person delivered this to the human male just this afternoon!

I can do this all day…

>|: [

The Week From Hel, Day 1: It’s Getting All Muspelheim Up In Here

Looking back at recent posts, it’s been tra la la la shopping trip, tra la la la cooking, hum te tum traipsing about in wildflowers, and general jocularity. Time to put an end to that! I’m going to see how much pure, raw mischief I can cram into a single week. And how expensive I can make it! Hold onto your hats, kiddies. Loki’s getting that Special Naughtiness Tingling in his horns!

We begin.

It’s summer. It’s hot. The humans are wimps. None of this is news.

What is news is that my special weather/household mischief looks like this:

See that? The state-of-the-art programmable thermostat is set to 77 degrees F, but it’s actually 80 in the house. And getting warmer, as the outdoor temperatures creep up to the high 90’s and the Heat Index approaches 110F. Something, somewhere, is wrong with the HVAC.

And, of course, I induced it to start these shenanigans last Friday night. The humans had nothing for it but to tough out the weekend with fans and cold suppers and cool showers. Monday morning has brought the opportunity to call the repair folks and get laughed at because–haven’t you heard?–there is a national shortage of cooler parts!

Oh, the humanity! You have never heard such meeching and moaning as is going on in here! You’d think the humans were going to expire, the way they’re carrying on! Sigyn, and I, of course, can be magicked small enough to fit into the freezer. This has several advantages:

  1. One cannot hear the whining from inside the freezer,
  2. Once the freezer door is shut, there is virtually no chance of glimpsing the human female wearing shorts, and
  3. The freezer is where the ice cream lives.

I know some of you will be curious. Of whom is the portrait hanging above the thermostat?

That is the human female’s grandmother, a truly formidable female who grew up poor, worked summers on the farm and winters in the logging camps of snowy Quebec, worked into her eighties with no complaint, and who used to sit in the shade in 100+ heat and opine as how it was nice to be warm.

Mortals used to be made of sterner stuff. I will rule this rock in no time.

Obviously, it’s time to call the repairman. Someone will be out this afternoon, but first things first! It’s time for that dreaded yearly event….

…drumroll… (Why do humans drag out the percussion when they want to create suspense? In Asgard, we just beat our drinking vessels on the table to heighten the excitement)…

Taking the felines to the vet for their checkups and vaccinations!

I have recently become familiar with the Midgardian spot called “rodeo,” in which capricious animals are chased around, caught, confined, ridden, etc. before crowds of cheering fans. In addition to the excitement of the “sport” itself, many spectators are there for the thrill of knowing that at any minute one of the participants may be gored, bucked off, trampled, or otherwise broken, bloodied, or otherwise rendered unfit to continue.

Crating two agile felines is essentially equivalent. You’d think that two normal-sized humans working together could handle two small mammals under ten pounds apiece, especially if taken one at a time, but you would be mistaken. I’ve been coaching them, and this should be anythign but simple.

Yes! Neither Flannel nor Taffy is having any part of it this morning. The humans have shut all the doors so that the felines have no recourse to spaces under the beds or behind toilets, but that doesn’t mean catching them is any easier. They can still get up in the window among the smashable plants or streak for the crannies behind the sofa.

Great Frigga’s hairpins! They’ve got Taffy in the crate! No, wait, she’s out! Stuffed back in again! And she’s out again! Eehehehe! That beast can turn around in half her own body length, and she’s all muscle and claws. There! Finally! One down, one to go!

Flannel is struggling, but it’s the piteous mewing that is really making caging her difficult. She has perfected the “But I thought you loved me?” look down to a fine art. I’ve been practicing with her, and it has paid off.

Two and three-quarters of a mile of yowling in stereo later, here we are at the vet.

Taffy, who fought with all her might to keep from being put in the carrier, has lost no time in getting out and looking for a means of escape.

Flannel’s feelings have been deeply hurt, and she wants the humans to know that she may never come out again.

(a bit later). Well, both furry minions have been vaccinated. Flannel needs some bloodwork done (more guilt-tripping, sorrowful looks), and she may need to come back later in the week to have some dental work. We are done here for today, having parted with a Prodigious Amount of Cash.

But we may need to seek some medical attention for the human female.

Later. It is penitentially hot in the house. The fellow from the AC repair firm is up in the attic, looking at the unit, and making expensive clucking noises. Ehehehe! What is the prognosis, my good man?

Insert ominous, sucking-air-through-teeth noise here.

Sleipnir’s Fetlocks! My mischief really is working overtime! The air conditioner seems to have lost at least half of its coolant, and it’s the “old”, environmentally-unfriendly sort of coolant that can be replaced–for a hefty fee–but which is being phased out. And then it would still be an old AC unit, subject to total failure at any given moment.

The alternative is a new system. The one that is actually obtainable is, of course, the most expensive option, though there will be a small rebate from the city and a possible tax credit next year (if I don’t meddle with the tax laws before then, which is, of course, highly unlikely…) What’s it going to be, humans? You have to decide Right Now!

I knew it! They’ve opted for the more expensive option, thinking that this will mean they’ll be cool, comfortable, and environmentally friendly very quickly and for a long time to come. As I said, wimps.

Still, it will be nice not to have to sleep in the freezer.

>|: [

A Little Snackerel of Something (Sigyn Speaks)

I’ve been helping the human female out with some things around the house this morning. We folded laundry (Flannel Cat helped), watered the plants (Taffy Cat wanted to help), shredded some junk mail*, and blew soap bubbles for the kitties to catch.

Now it’s time for a bite of lunch. I think it’s time to clean out the fridge–there’s a bit of this and a bit of that that need eating up.

Some fruit, some odds and ends of cheese, a few almonds, some Nut Thins. This is good! Something sweet, something salty, something crunchy, something savory.

And the last few grapes. Hmm. They’re still good, but they’re looking a little wrinkly… I know! I’ll just pretend they’re raisins that aren’t quite finished yet!

: )

*It was hard to keep Loki from poking important papers into the shredder. Hee hee hee — I have to watch him every minute!

A Bone-a-fide Interesting Exhibit

The human male’s last day at work will be Friday. After that no one in this house will have a reason to go up on campus, or any keys to get in anywhere.

I’m trying to make sure the humans go out with a whimper, not a bang. The human female’s former Prep Staff still don’t have a working phone in room 313. Their office isn’t finished yet, either. The construction on the second floor of Heldenfels is nowhere near ready. I like to think that I’ve trained the contractors very well and that my mischief legacy will bear fruit for many days to dome.

Sigyn and I are enjoying this last bit of access to take in the appropriately-seasonally-spooky collection of skeletons that Intro Bio has. Leaving aside the replica human skeletons that seem to end up wearing masks, goggles, sunglasses, scuba masks, etc. and which are often left by the students in positions such as reaching through their own ribs or picking their noses, there are a lot of lower vertebrate skeletons to look at.

Sigyn says she thinks she can be pretty brave around bones if I’m there. Don’t worry, my love. Just think of it as a little All-Hallows-Eve-y peek at what goes on inside our furry and scaly friends. Besides, I’m sure all these animals were happy to will their bodies to science.

Starting at the bottom, evolutionarily speaking, we have this finny fish.

Great Frigga’s hairpins! That thing has so many bones. Fish skeletons often get drawn as if they were like combs all the way down, but in the ribcage area, there are two rows– a row on what would be either side of the guts. This reminds me. I haven’t pulled the surprise-fishbone-in-a-bite-of-dinner prank to the human female recently. It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

Next up–amphibians. The frog, as you can see, takes the diametrically opposed approach to ribbiness–it doesn’t have any.

I has some wide projections on the vertebrae, but no ribs. And the dinkiest pelvis ever. Overachieving as to toes, though, so I suppose it evens out.

Ehehehehe! Sigyn, look at the salamander!

That doesn’t even look real. Are we sure that this wasn’t made up by some props department somewhere? Check the label and see if it says, “Made in Hollywood.”

Next up: reptiles! You can see that this turtle’s shell is actually part of its skeleton, outgrowths from the sternum and backbone, not just some armored-up flak jacket that’s completely separate from its body.

Effective, and it suits him well, but I’m glad to have all of my bony bits on the inside, thank you very much.

Birds are reptiles. Did you know that, Sigyn? The only real feature that separates birds from dinosaurs is that birds are still around today, while dinosaurs have long since shuffled off the ol’ mortal coil. Well, I guess some of them, the velociraptorish ones, sprinted off, but you get my point.

Eww! How would you like to have your fingers turned into little nubbins like that? If you could fly, I suppose it would sweeten the trade-off, but still. And look at the skull—see how the eye sockets indicate this pigeon could stand on Wednesday and see both ends of the week? Creepy, isn’t it? The human female can do that too! But DON’T try to imagine what she looks like without her skin. (shudder). That way lie nightmares!

Yes, my sweet, the monkey does have a very cute little skeleton. A bit like yours, I’d say, if you had a cunning little prehensile tail.

And could grab things with your toes. You could climb plants properly and hang on tight and you wouldn’t have to dangle from things. But I guess that would take about 67% of the fun out of nature walks, wouldn’t it?

Now just hold on a minute here! What is this armored dillo doing in the skeleton display? It still has its outside on!

Oh, right, right. You are absolutely right. I’d forgotten. The hard bits of its armor are indeed bone.

And right again–this is a mounted whole critter, not just the bones. Well-spotted, my petal.

And also, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the external ears aren’t part of the skeleton.

Have you had enough of looking at bones, Sigyn? I have too. Let’s go home. I think I know where the human female hid the All Hallow’s Eve candy.

>|: [

Here a Neener, There a Neener, Everywhere a Neener-neener, Part II: New Releases (and possibly some shoving)

Yesterday we looked at plants we’d already seen recently. Nice, but a bit BORING. Where are the new things? I checked the calendar. It is FALL now. Show me fall things!! I demand fall things!

Ah. This is better. False foxglove. Shows up like clockwork the third week of September.

Sigyn and I have a fondness for this plant. Well, one of it’s relatives, anyway—the rare one that grows on that outcrop to the east of us. I wonder if we’ll get to visit the outcrop again this year?

What does one call that color, anyway? Pink? Purple? Pirpkle? Whatever it is, it seems to be a theme. (Trust Texas to have non-traditional fall color!)

The Beautyberry is quite conspicuous in the understory.

Gaudy, but great for dangling. (The one at the house does not have any fruit this year, on account of I let the tree-removers drop a big oak tree on it earlier this year and it is in the process of recovering.)

The Beggar-ticks has flowers the same color, only a few shades paler.

It has typical bean-family flowers and makes interesting little legumes (one of which is visible at the left end of the stem). They’re scalloped and break up into single-seeded bits that are just covered with microscopic hooked hairs, which makes them perfect for being dispersed by furry animals or clothing. I will keep an eye on this extensive patch, come back in a few weeks when they’re good and ripe, gather up a pound or so of them, and do a little experiment to see what happens when you dump them in the washer with a load that includes socks, sweatpants, and towels. (I’m all about the science.)

Looks like the Woolly Croton is doing well this year.

It has separate male and female flowers and is very, very furry.

Hey, I have an idea! Let’s see how well the Beggar-ticks stick to the Croton! A wildflower cage-match. It’ll be brilliant! I can sell tickets. . .

Whatever else Sigyn does on a nature walk, if she gets a chance to sit in a holly, she calls it a perfect day. The fruit on this Possumhaw are about half-ripe.

A little further along the path we have yellow rather than pirpkle. Unless I’m mistaken (which I rarely am), we are looking at Camphorweed.

That’s the flower head in the photo, but the wispy foliage to the left belongs to Horseweed, and the leaves to the right to another something else. (Sigyn, are you going to play ‘He loves me; he loves me not’ with the flower? Because I can tell you, if the ‘He’ is me; he definitely, definitely DOES!)

The something else those leaves belong to is, I think, Climbing Hempvine. The human female says, “it’s our only local viney member of the sunflower family or Asteraceae.”

She also says it’s related to the Mistflower. I can see that. Both have the same fluffy flower heads. There is certainly a lot of it here, sprawling over shrubs and climbing trees. It likes wet feet, so I imagine it is very happy here in the ditch by the path.

(That’s it, human female… Lean out over the wet ditch just a little bit more for the photo and it will be my perfect day… A little bit more… One good shove…)

Odin’s eyepatch! I hate it when she catches me plotting and removes herself to safety. I really, really wanted to see her sopping wet and muddy today! Oh, well. Maybe I will have another chance for mischief on the way home…

Hmm. There’s more water next to the sidewalk on the way home, a big floody area by the part of the wetland they didn’t build Large, Ugly Apartments on. I could push her down the slope into the Bagpod bushes…

Nah. She likes the clusters of redorangeyellow flowers so much and enjoys popping the seeds out of the inflated legumes enough that she’d probably just sit happily in the water enjoying the plant.

She wouldn’t like being pushed into the Horsenettles though. They have lovely flowers, but they’re very prickly.

In fact–ouch!–this member of the Nightshade genus–ah!— is– ow!—very unpleasant to sit in! I think I shall vacate! Besides, the sun has risen enough that it has cleared the surrounding trees and buildings, and it’s making me all squinty.

I don’t like squinty.

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A Very Useful Parcel

The human female has received a parcel, courtesy of Usually Smashes Packages Significantly.

It is from her mother, an amazing woman who has been known to send edibles. Cookies usually come in boxes, though, and not padded envelopes, so probably this isn’t snackable. Pity.

No, Sigyn, I don’t think we need to wait for the human female to open it. What if it’s something important and time-sensitive? We should open it at once!

Bubble wrap! We can have fun popping that later. For now, let’s just get to the goods!

I’m still hoping for edibles. It could be a long candy bar. You know, like a Toblerone, only better because no nougat.

Rats! Plastic and fabric. Definitely not edible. Sigyn is excited and seems to recognize this thing, but I don’t know what it is.

It unfolds to something very colorful.

I see people and flowers and architecture…

Aha!

It is a decorative fan. This is a good present.

One, the human female can employ it when she is feeling over-warm. Given that, even though it is September, daytime temperatures are still flirting with the high nineties, it will probably get a lot of use.

Two, while she is using it, no one will be able to see more of her stoopid face than her eyebrows.

I have a thank-you note to write.

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Retirment, Now With More Neeners and a LOT More Dangling

One of the things the human female hopes to accomplish now that she has a lot of “free” time is more exercise. I’m all for exercise, as long as I don’t have to exert myself or sweat. For a Frost Giant, Texas in the summer is not ideal physical fitness time. (Why, oh why isn’t a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade a magical, fat-burning, muscle-building elixir? I should work on that in my free time…)

In any case, walking is something the human female, Sigyn, and I can all agree on, and since we all like to thumb our noses at the LUAs (Large, Ugly Apartments, the one a pond was filled in to construct), a Neener, Neener, Neener Walk along the path meant for residents of the LUAs is a frequent goal. Physical, botanical, and defiant all at once. I like that.

We haven’t gone twenty yards and Sigyn is already squeaking. What is is now, my love?

Oh. I see it. Blue Mist-flower. I agree, dearest. The flower heads do look like little pom-poms or tassels. The human female says the poofy, sticky-outy bits are the “styles.” She didn’t say what style, but I’d say it’s got a Boho-casual feel to it.

This yellow-flowered St. Andrew’s Cross shrub is one of Sigyn’s favorites. Tell us why, Sigyn.

“Its flowers are a very cheerful color, it has interesting shreddy bark, and it is small enough to be easily climbable so I can practice my dangling.” The human female says it’s a close cousin of the medicinal St. John’s Wort. Ugh! Too much talk of saints! I’m better than a saint–I am a god. Talk about me, instead.

More dangling is happening.

This pink-flowered Fuzzy Bean is a very common late-summer plant. It’s related to garden beans, but I don’t think you’d want to eat it. The human female says you can identify it by the fact that, “the keel is pointed and curved just like your horns, Loki.”

I am still trying to work out whether that is a compliment. Possibly I will have to smite her later.

This last plant is one that Sigyn and the human female have been trying to catch in flower for a while now. It is a Yellow Passionflower

We have encountered this plant before, in the local woods, but apparently they never get tired of looking at the blossoms. No blossoms today, but Sigyn thinks the fruits are “cute.”

We have reached the end of the path and the sun is growing hot. Sigyn, my heart, are you not dizzy from so much upsidedownness? Have you dangled sufficiently for one morning? Let us return to the house and work on that revitalizing lemonade…

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