fall down go boom

A Blursday Walk in the Woods

A cold front blew through between Tuesday night and Wednesday, bringing bright, breezy fall weather. Today it is eleven kinds of windy. The human female, undeterred by the sheer tonnage of ragweed and sumpweed pollen in the air, has dragged us all out to Lick Creek Park to take advantage of the non-sweltering weather.

With all of this wind, the likelihood of good plant photographs in focus is small, but the humans both have their cameras with them anyhow. Let the blurry photos commence!

The pink muhly grass by the nature center is whipping about in a very graceful manner.

The one the human female has planted in front of the house isn’t as big or as pink, but it is trying.

We are seeing quite a bit of the formerly-a-mystery white bidens in the Great Desolation. We managed to catch some of it in focus.

The asters not so much.

While the human female is bigger than she should be, she is still not large enough to make an effective windbreak to keep the plants still so that the male can photograph them. Hence, images like this weirdly-out-of-season black-eyed susan:

Real prize-winner, that one.

The human female says she hasn’t been down Raccoon Run trail in a few years, so that’s where we’re going. It appears to have been widened, but it’s still rather pretty. There are a fair number of large hickories and a lot of frostweed in flower.

The sun is shining though the sumac leaves.

There are some unusual plants along this trail. I didn’t recognize this one at first,

and I didn’t believe her when the human female said it was a palm tree. Palms? In the forest? But yes, this is the native sabal palmetto, and this is about as big as they get.

The stem or trunk is underground. Up close, I can see that the leaves really are pleated like a paper fan.

Some of the trees down here in the bottomland are just festooned with this gray stuff.

The human female says it is an epiphytic bromeliad that likes to live on trees so it can be up in the sun and humid air, which sounds plausible. She also says it is a relative of pineapple and has little green flowers, which sounds entirely bogus. (I never believe more than half of what she says, anyway.)

Shhh! Sigyn, did you hear that? It sounded like a tiny little shriek. There it is again! It’s coming from that thick vegetation right over there. The human female says it’s a small frog in distress. Given that the human male just saw the back half of a snake disappear into the same clump of foliage, I suspect what we’re hearing is the batrachian version of, “Oh, no! Don’t eat me! Help!”, but I’m just going to tell Sigyn that it’s two local creatures meeting for lunch, which is perfectly true.

Another wind-blurred photo:

They look like little yellow tomatoes and are the fruit of one of the native nightshades. Hmm. Salad for dinner some time this week, I think. The human female had better not lose another of my helmets out here in the woods or she will find some in her serving.

Unfortunately, there is an awful lot of non-native vegetation in this part of the park as well. Chinaberry, ligustrum, Japanese honeysuckle, and Chinese tallow tree are the main ne’er-do-wells. The human female is snapping saplings and hauling down vines and resolving to come out again with a) help, b) a saw, c) clippers, d) some brush killer for painting stumps, and e) some napalm. Okay, that last was my addition to the game plan, but you must admit, it sounds like fun!

What have you discovered over there, my love?

It’s like she has a little baldacchino! (You can look that up later.)

Looks like we are headed back to the vehicle now, having made the complete loop–without, I point out, seeing a single raccoon. I feel cheated and shall be complaining to the management at the first opportunity.

Odin’s Eyepatch! The human female just fell down! One minute she was walking and the next, BOOM! I don’t know if she rolled an ankle or if a rock moved under her foot, but here she is, splat on the trail with her limbs waving like a cockroach in its death throes. The male is helping her up, and I don’t see blood (though I bet that knee is skinned under those jeans), so presumably she is mostly all right. Who knows? It might just be a pitiful bid for attention. Let us continue!

Hold! There is something odd in the path up ahead (and I am not talking about the toddler making a puddle, though that is outside the normal realm of goings-on). Sigyn, do you see?

I do hope he’s not on his way to have lunch with his cousin down on the loop trail. If he is, I fear he shall find his kinsman…unavailable.

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Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose, Part II: Of Plants and Owies

Oh. I see we have to look at the outside of the house as well as the inside, to see if anything has changed.

For starters, the big mulberry tree that was in the backyard is gone. Sigyn, the human female, and the human female’s mother are all in mourning. Borer beetles, I think they said.

The “dwarf” arborvitae trees in front of the house are bigger than ever.

Never trust a plant salesman out to make a quick buck, unless you don’t mind having to prune things every year…

The pomegranate bush in the front planter is also still thriving.

Reddish flowers and good for dangling–in Sigyn’s book this is the perfect shrub.

The human female says the Virginia creeper vine that is swallowing the back of the house wasn’t quite so rambunctious the last time she saw it.

She says that tomorrow she’ll drag out the stepladder and trim it away from the eaves and windows. I think that is a very good idea. Not that I care about possible damage to woodwork and masonry from the vine’s sticky little aerial rootlets, you understand. I just like to sHaKe ladders when she stands on them, especially if she’s holding sharp tools while she’s up there.

Of the multiple four o’clock bushes that used to be under the bedroom windows when the human female was a sprout, only one remains.

Sigyn, I know the human female says they are pollinated by big, fuzzy, night-flying moths that look like hummingbirds, but do you really want to sit and wait to see them? There are hours and hours of daylight left.

It is getting warm out here! Shall we go inside and look at the houseplants? I don’t care if they’re real or artificial, as long as air conditioning is involved.

Hmm. New cactus in the kitchen window. New schefflera in the bathroom. Same old ficus in the den. And Great Frigga’s Hairpins! Hanging from the shower curtain rod is the same oak-leaf ivy that the human female had forty years ago!

It isn’t much larger than it used to be, but look how thick the “trunk” has become!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Later. Much later.

I think my heart rate has finally come back down to normal. I don’t want to spend an afternoon like this ever again!

I was just about to tell Sigyn to be careful climbing around in that ivy when she suddenly lost her footing or her grip or something and took a tumble right onto the tile floor! Even with my godly reflexes, I wasn’t quick enough to catch her, and we got to see a part of the human female’s natal city neither of us wanted to.

It’s a nasty break in her upper arm. I’ve been speeding the healing along with my magic, but she’s still going to be in a cast for a while.

I’m so sorry, my love. I just wasn’t fast enough.

The only good thing—if any part of this can be called “good”—is that it’s her right arm and she’s left-handed. The human female’s mother has administered healing hugs and is feeding her to “keep up her strength”. The human female, though, she’s going to pay. After all, it was her stupid ivy. Dangerous plants like that need warning signs or something. Just you wait, mortal. Revenge, served hot or cold, is one of my very favorite dishes, and I’ve been taking cooking lessons…

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This Time It Was The Human Male *Carrying* A Feline (Wordless Wednesday)

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Mischief Update: Of Shell Games and Suspicious Crashes

If you were expecting an update about completed construction–really?! In this town, with these humans, over a holiday weekend? With me involved?? Surely no one is that naive.

Status of roof: Still up in the air. As roofs generally are. Ehehehehe. No word on whether/if Roofer Number Four has convinced Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… to do the work he outlined for the price he’s willing to charge. Clock is ticking. Will there be any wood, felt, and shingles available when some agreement is reached? That is a very good question.

Nothing more has happened with the ceiling in the craft room. If my plans work out, the humans will get about half an hour’s notice from Attempts Total Involvement that they have to get all the breakables out immediately. The human female has been putting off that little chore, so it’ll be fun to watch her scramble. Still no word on where all the books and shelves are supposed to go, either.

The sewing machine has been cleaned and returned. The humans are just this minute hunting up the screwdriver to put it back into the cabinet—

Norns’ Nighties! What was that awful noise?!

And why do the felines look so guilty? Oh, I bet I know what happened. One or both of them jumped up on the cabinet and walked out onto the extended table. I’ve been working with them on stealthily going where they’re not supposed to, and the lessons seem to be paying off! I think they need a refresher, though, because if they’d done it properly, it wouldn’t have landed on the laundry basket. It would have fallen forward, gouging the laminate flooring and the armoire and breaking the table. The only fallout from a dump-over in this position is literal fall-out. The humans are going to be sweeping and magneting up pins for a good while. Between that and lowering the very heavy machine precisely into the cabinet, if I’m lucky, someone will need a bandage before the day is out.

The specially-ordered lightbulb for the human female’s big sewing lamp came–and it is exactly identical to the one from the local crap craft store. And this one not only strobes, it emits a high-pitched hum guaranteed to drive her ’round the bend (okay, further ’round the bend) in under a minute. It’ll have to go back. I have offered to write a Strongly Worded Letter to the fine folks at Obsolete Technology Troubles. She’s hoping they offer a replacement lamp, but I bet I can word it in such a way that they offer only a grudging not-apology and something useless like $5.00 off something she doesn’t want. In the meantime–No stitching for you!

So, yes, I’ve been busy. My best work here, though, is not in tipped furniture, flickering bulbs, or scheduling woes. Oh, no no no! It is with accounting. Numbers are a very, very fertile ground for mischief.

The Water-sucking People billed Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… directly. USAA paid them, minus the deductible. Attempts Total Involvement have sent USAA a bill for work which has not even commenced yet, and USAA has paid them, minus the deductible. That’s right! They’ve deducted the deductible twice! The human female paid for the sewing machine cleaning out of her own pocket and sent USAA the receipt. You’d think that USAA would add it all up and just have the humans pay ATI the deductible minus what was spent on the sewing machine and then pay ATI the remaining bit of the deductible. Loki-Logic, though, dictates that USAA is going to send a check to reimburse the human female for what she spent on the machine, issue a check for the full amount to ATI, and have the humans write a check to the Water-sucking People for the amount of the deductible. Meanwhile, the advance on the roof claim just sits in the bank, waiting for some sort of agreement to be reached!

That whirring noise you hear is the human female’s head spinning. If we wrapped that noggin in copper wire and gave her some magnets for earrings, we could hook her up to the power grid and make up for some of the whopping power bill that the old AC racked up as it was dying while trying to cool the house in the middle of a heat wave.

The final, finishing financial finagle was to make sure the humans received their own Strongly Worded Letter, letting them know that their claim for “damage to their AC” has been categorically and very pointedly denied, disallowed, and disapproved.

Which would be truly crushing, you know, if they’d actually made that claim. But no. I saw to it that that thing died in such a manner that every last cent for its replacement came out of their own linty pockets. Belts will be worn a little tighter this season.

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Food! Color! People!

The summer is when the humans typically like to Go Places and Do Things.  All of their good vacations have happened in summer.  This year, they haven’t even made the run down to the Big city to the South to visit the Purveyor of Pens and the Large Market.

But we do have a treat today!  We are making a masked, socially-distant visit to the local Farm Produce Store, which we shall call the Smaller Yet Still Fun Market, or SYSFM, for short.

Many years ago, this establishment started out selling only produce.  They toyed with meats and deli items for a while, abandoned that, and later branched out into a rather good selection of nursery plants.

Sigyn (wearing an invisible spell mask so her cute face is not obscured), has not made it past the entryway, entranced by the displays of succulents.

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She think the yellow Sedum should come home with us.  I’m sure the Terror Twins would find it delightful.

Sigyn, did you see the—?   What are you doing?

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If you hug every one of the string of pearls individually, we shall be here all day…  But since that might annoy the humans, be my guest.

While she does that, I shall look at the produce proper.  I’ve always liked these things because, hello?  Edible ghost flying saucers!

pattypan

I have so many questions.  Who bred these things? Who thought this was a good look for a squash?  How does one even eat them?  And just… why?

Sigyn has joined me!  Of course, she has gravitated immediately to the red and yellow peppers.

hotpeppers

Remember that these are the wickedly hot ones, sweetie.  If you hug them, you’ll have to remember not to touch your face! (Feel free to touch the human female’s face.)

Oooo!  Ooooh!  What are these?!

bittermelon

They’re green and pokey and bitter and I want one. 

That squeaky noise you hear is Sigyn falling in love with the tiny, tiny eggplants and talking baby talk to them.

eggyplants

I guess they’re for if you only want a tiny, tiny moussaka.

And then these would be for itty bitty banana splits.

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Wandering and looking at all these fun things is tiring, especially while keeping six feet away from everyone and trying not to slip in the copious water puddles on the floor.  (The human female has gone down once already.  She made a very humorous splatty sound.)

Sigyn, therefore, has found a comfy place for a little rest.

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Angel flake coconut for my own sweet angel.

The side room of the market is usually full of pumpkins in the fall.  But it looks as if it has been converted into a mini-grocery with specialty products, many of them imported.  Fancy breadsticks, oddly-shaped pasta, strange fruit juices, flappy round breads, and all manner of candies and cookies.

It’s August.  It’s warm.  My clever Sigyn has found the coolest place in the market.

yogurts

She has also found some delicious-looking yogurt in her favorite color. She is quite content.  I may never get her out of there.

(later)

We did end up making several purchases.  Some of the breadsticks followed us home, as well as this bag of apples.

teenyapples

They’re tiny.  The human male is amused.

They’re red and yellow.  Sigyn is besotted.

They’re a kind the human female has never had before!  She’s excited.

I got to watch the human female fall down.  I’m still chuckling.

Good day all around.

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So What Was In the Demolished Box??

I am just as curious as Sigyn is to see what is in the mutilated box delivered by Unrepentant Package Squashers yesterday.

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!

It’s more of those stackable animals for that game the humans liked so much.

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What is this one supposed to be?  I approve of the color, but I have no clue what it is.

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Oh.  The human female says its a tricky lizard, one that can change his color at will.  Being a shape-shifter myself, I can appreciate the usefulness of a quick disguise.  You and I may get along well, lizard.

Sigyn is introducing herself to…  A person-faced lion with a goatee and aviator goggles?!

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I’m beginning to wonder if the shaking up that parcel took mashed all the contents around and this thing started out as five or six other things…

Okay.  This one, at least, I recognize.  A flamingo–nothing else is that pink or that stilty.

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They’re famous for standing around on one leg. Sigyn is practicing her own balancing on one leg.

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It’s not going very well.

Stay behind me, Sigyn!  Unless I’m very much mistaken, that is a dragon, and it doesn’t do to leave them out of your calculations, especially if you are small, cute, and tasty-looking.

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Sigyn, don’t!

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Oh, well.  I should have known she’d have the beast tamed in no time at all.

Ehehehehehe!  The chameleon was silly, the flamingo was ridiculous, and the dragon, though fierce, has these goofy little wings and really isn’t very terrifying at all, but THIS goober takes the cake.

Or the fish food, as the case may be.

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Don’t be fooled by its wiggly little forehead “worm,” Sigyn.  That’s how it lures in its prey.

Sigyn! What are you doing?!  Have you NO sense of self-preservation at all?

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Oh.

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Playing dental hygienist.

Sweetest, you and your notions will be the death of me yet.

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Perhaps I Should Ease Up…

The human female is clumsy.  There’s really no other way to put it.  Not a week goes by that she doesn’t misjudge a doorway or round a desk corner a mite too closely.  I’ll be honest—sometimes I give her a little extra nudge.  It doesn’t usually take much, though.

That being said, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for her.  Last Saturday, when she was wiping up some spilled water in the dining room (I helped the human male drop his travel mug), I didn’t point out a puddle she missed.  Not five minutes later, she found it the hard way and ended up in a startled little pile on the kitchen floor.  Bruised knee.

Later that same day she was pulling some invasive Japanese honeysuckle out in the woods with some Nature Nerds.  I think they pulled several miles of vines and runners.  Did I see the nest of fire ants?  Yes.  Did I warn her?  No… not exactly.  Did I have a good laugh when she did the yelping and arm flapping thing?  Maaaaybe.  Nine good solid bites that still itch and which will probably scar.  She should know better than to stick her hand in the soil without looking.  I’ve probably taught her a valuable lesson.

On Wednesday at work last week, she was carrying a big, light-but-bulky-and-slidey armful of styrofoam to take to recycling.  She came out of the prep room, marching in that determined way she has, barging along even though she couldn’t see over her burden—and promptly fell over a student and his laptop who were minding their business and sitting quietly on the floor.  It was just like in the movies when they show the death of the dinosaurs and the hapless behemoths topple over, making the earth shake.  Bruised hip and other knee, wrenched toe bones.

Then, on the Saturday just past, she put some mulch on the flower beds (and that in itself is a fun story, because she had to go to FOUR places to find mulch!)  All the mulch bags were wet and heavy, and when she bent down to adjust a bag in her little, two-wheeled wheelie barrow  (I pointed out that the load was crooked), I got to see a most beautiful display of physics.  The bag fell forward, the barrow tipped, and the metal handle of the barrow whipped up and smacked her right across the bridge of her nose.  The noise was most impressive!

Suncast 15 Gal. Portable Resin Taupe Lawn Cart

 

<<<<< picture of the perp

 

 

 

So today she has a cut between her beady eyes and, while she’s not sporting a full double-shiner, it does look like she’s played a bit fast and loose with the brown eye-shadow.  Sort of a barely-there-panda effect.

So there she is, looking like an escapee from a silent slapstick comedy movie.   I know, I know.  I should have not only more self-control, but more compassion.  There’s enough trouble for her to get into without my assistance in percussive maintenance.   I will let up—else the poor thing will never make it to the New Year in one piece.

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Ice is Nice, Part II: Skating Lessons

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

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

standing

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

allfalldown

–you can end up flat on your fundament.

lokis-up-sigyns-down

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

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

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

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Gaming Gathering, Part II: Tier Auf Tier

It is Sigyn’s turn to pick the next game, and she has chosen Tier Auf Tier, or Animal Upon Animal, for those whose command of various tongues is not as great as mine.

We have not actually started playing, because Sigyn is busy making friends with the animals. Mooooo.

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This giraffe seems to be a bit more standoffish than some of the others we have met.

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The snakes, however, seem amenable to a new overlord.

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Let us begin! The object is to place all of one’s animals upon this crocodile, without any toppling over. Seems simple enough. We are playing with the animals from several editions of the game, so this may become tricky very quickly. It is my turn first.

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I have rolled a one, so I must choose an animal and carefully stack it.

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Squirrel! Not a problem. Your turn, Sigyn.

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Oh, you’ve rolled a two! That means you will go out more quickly, which is good, but putting on two in one turn can be tricky.
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The penguin has gone up easily enough.

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And so has the toucan! Steady, my love. He is hanging over a little on this side, which may cause problems later.

My turn again. Oh, this is lucky!

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Rolling a crocodile means I may place my animal on the table top, as long as it is touching the crocodile.

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That is a really good way to get rid of the awkward giraffe.

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Sigyn has rolled the hand, which is the best roll you can get. It means she can give one of her animals to me and I have to put it on. It’s a no-risk way to get rid of an animal that is heavy or oddly shaped or that just won’t fit on whatever is already in the stack.

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Gee. Thanks ever so.

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Ha! One flamingo, neatly disposed of! (I may have had to use my magic just a tad to get him up there…)

Now it’s my turn. I’ve rolled another one.

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The knobbly hedgehogs are actually fairly easy to stack. If you have two, their spines interlock nicely.

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Sigy’s one on the die has earned her a chance to add a snake to the growing pile. Well done, my love, but dare I say it? Snakes are easy. They are light and can induced to interlock as well.

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A panther, now. That takes real skill.

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Sigyn has rolled the question mark. That’s good for me, because it means I can tell her which animal she has to put on next. I could choose something really difficult…

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…but I love to see her smile, so I’ll tell her to put on the beaver. He seems very obliging.

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Oh, well done, Precious! My turn again. We are running low on animals, and some of them are real stinkers.

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Take this ankylosaurus, for example. No, really. Take it! Do I have any other choice? No, nothing better. Sigh. I’ll just have to see if I can get this heavy thing to balance up there.

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That was… predictable. You win, Sigyn! Well done! It just remains for Sigyn to kiss any boo-boos suffered and thank all the animals for their kind participation.

All of this gaming has given me quite an appetite. Let us go see what the refreshment table has to offer.

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