floral millinery

A Neenering We Will Go, Part II: What Passes For Fall Color

We are walking back along the Neener Path. Sigyn is exclaiming about the “fall color” we are beginning to see. Now, this part of Midgard doesn’t get the blazing reds, yellows, and oranges that other parts do, but she is very cutely appreciative of what we do get.

There is just a hint of red in the Virginia creeper and the holly berries.

The shining sumac is having even more success.

We will have to remember to come back to look at it again later, since it should just get brighter and brighter as the season wears on. By the time the leaves start falling, it will match my sweetie’s outfit entirely. As it is now, she’s the brightest thing on this path.

In addition to red, there is a good deal of one particularly garish shade of pinkish purple. I speak, of course, of the beautyberry berries.

It clashes with everything!

The insides of the fruit are a rather disappointing yellowish hue. I really wish the color went all the way through, because then you could do useful things with the berries, like dye some fabric that would look hideous on the human female, or else just leave some berries in her chair to dye the seat of her shorts in lurid fuchsia spots. Pants acne!

This same color, watered down, is actually pretty common around here in the fall. The human female would say its because certain classes of anthycyanin pigments are found in a number of plants and… Blah, blah, blah–snore! Shut up and look at the flowers.

The morning glories are the same kind as the ones back at the house.

Even some of the stemmy bits are purplish.

Some of the fall-flowering beans take the color even lighter. This fuzzybean (Sigyn, did YOU name it?) does it,

and so does this tick-trefoil.

Those little beany flowers are only barely pinky-purple. We will have to come back when more of them are in fruit, because–if I remember correctly–the fruits are covered with tiny hooked hairs that cling onto everything. If I can get the human female in a fuzzy sweatshirt and off balance, one good nudge should serve to get her covered head to toe with botanical velcro bits.

Oh–here we are with the bright shade again. This is the human female’s beloved false foxglove.

That she can’t get in focus to save her life. Well, actually, it’s not her plant–that’s the one that grows on the outcrop in the next county over. This is just its more common, more glamorous cousin.

It’s like a little, pinky-purple sorting hat.

And that appears to be the end of the fall color for today. There are plenty of leaves falling, but they’re doing it without changing to anything but brown.

Some of the leave are quite large.

I’m not sure where this huge burr oak leaf blew in from; I haven’t seen one anywhere around here.

And here is the champion of all!

Not the largest sycamore leaf I’ve ever seen, but certainly big enough to make a decent party tent for someone Sigyn’s size. But no, sweetie, I don’t think you should carry it home as a souvenir. It’s a little breezy today, and if you hold that leaf up, it’s going to soar like a kite and take you with it! If you really want it, make the human female carry it.

The neighbors already think she’s weird.

>}: [

The Big Reveal

Sigyn and the human female put their little heads together about costumes for All Hallows Eve this year. I honestly have no idea what they’ve come up with. Sigyn assures me there is a theme, but she won’t tell me what it is. I’m supposed to see the human female to get my costume and then meet Sigyn in hers for the Big Reveal.


First, I would like to go on record as saying that I do not approve of this costume. Not one little bit. You want to see, though, don’t you? Sigh. Very well. If you laugh, I will turn you into a toad.

A toad would be better than a pea pod.

Human female, I owe you for this. You’ve just assured yourself of several more years of mischief, you can count on that.

But for my Sigyn, I will do anything. Now, where is she? She was supposed to be here.

Maybe she’s over there?

I think I see her over there…

(Just for future reference, walking in this getup is not easy at all. I cannot turn my head, and the pod is flapping about my knees. I feel like a dork.)

“I’m over here, Loki! Don’t you just love my flowerpot costume?”

Well I guess the “theme” is botany or plants or horticulture. Figures. Now that the human female has retired, it’s look at plants, read about plants, write about plants, look at more plants, draw plants, and, I suppose, torture Loki with plants.

“Hi, Sigyn! I see two beautiful flower pots. How do I know which one is you?”

(I’m not mad at Sigyn. No doubt this was mostly the human female’s doing. I will indulge my sweetie and play along.)

“Oh, there you are! You look lovely, my dear. That is a most becoming color and shape on you. The pink really brings out your eyes.”

“Thank you, Loki. Are you about ready to go?”

“Yes. I shall just go and fetch the traditional pillowcase for hauling home any candy we might encounter.”

“Hee hee hee! I know Loki doesn’t like his pea pod outfit, but he sure is cute in it. His bum wiggles extra cutely when he walks.”

“All right, Sigyn. I have fetched the pillowcase.

I am also bringing Gungnir, because if anyone makes a crack about this pea get-up, I want to be able to eviscerate them efficiently.”

“Sigyn, a thought occurs. Can you even walk in your costume?”

“Um, no? Not really? I can shuffle a little bit but it’s rather constricting around the knees.”

“I figured as much. No way can we seriously cover any useful terriotry if you can’t walk. Wait right here, though. I have an idea.”

“Here we go. Let me lift you in. If you can balance and manage the pillowcase, I can pull you.”

“The things I do for love.”

>|: [

Slightly Better-Smelling and Definitely Chic

Thank the Norns, Sigyn has finally come down from out of that nasty grape-smelling tree!  I’m sorry, my love, my admiration for you knows no bounds and normally, I’d have no problem spending the afternoon hanging out with you, but Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  Not in that thing.

Do come look over here, dearest.  I found some flowers that I bet you will enjoy.



Are they not majestic?  They’re a bit like the ones we have at the house, but much taller, and a bit more yellow about the middle.

Would you like me to get you one of the flowers?  Grounds Maintenance is sure to disapprove, but I don’t care.  If you want one, I will pick it for you.

Great Frigga’s hairpins!


It’s nearly as large as you!

What’s that?  Smell it?  Um, you know that you and I have very different ideas when it comes to the olfactory suitability of botanicals, yes?  But very well.

Anything for you.


Snrff. Snrff.  It’s very strong, and very purfumey.  Puts me in mind of fancy bath salts or something.  But definitely better than that purple-flowered monstrosity from yesterday!

The cup shape in the middle, though…  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?


You were!  Delightful, my sweet.  You are springtime personified.

>|: [

I Don’t Care What the Calendar Says! (Sigyn Speaks)

I don’t care what the calendar says.  We may be a month and more from the first day of spring, but I went out in the yard today and flowers are happening!  I’m so excited!  I just love looking for the first few blossoms, don’t you?

There is a lot of this vetch in the front lawn.

spring yard4

Most people would think it’s a weed, but I think it’s lovely.  The flowers start out in two shades of red purple, but they fade to blue-purple–and then they make teeny little bean pods that are so cute!  I like how it wraps around other plants–sort of like it’s giving them a great, bit hug.

The jonquils are blooming too.  I climbed up to smell them (their fragrance is really strong!) . . .

spring yard1

…and the whole flower cluster swayed to the ground.  Hee hee hee!  I guess I ate a few too many cookies over the holidays!

The patch of snowdrops under the bedroom window is blooming right on schedule!

spring yard2

This is a southern sort of snowdrop that doesn’t need a very cold winter.  The other kind, the one with the three hangy-downy petals, doesn’t do well here, more’s the pity.

spring yard3

But ours still make wonderful hats!

: )


Gathering Haycorns

I think Sigyn and the human female must be part squirrel.  There is something acquisitive in them that compels them to pick up every shiny round haycorn and stuff their pockets with them.  (I suspect the human female stuffs her cheeks with them as well, when no one is looking.)

There is a plentitude of haycorns about–it has been a good year for them.  The actual squirrels are fat and happy.  The human female is also plumping out her sweaters in a way that adds weight (weight–Ehehehe!) to my theory about her secretive munchings.  At any rate, as Sigyn says, “Hooray for oak trees!”



A number of haycorns seem to have followed us home from the park.  Now it’s time for—Great Frigga’s corset!  What is the human female doing with those things?  Is she making some sort of pauper’s haycorn soup?

floating haycorns

Ah.  Sigyn has explained that these haycorns are from water oaks, a species the human female would like to have on the property.  This is apparently the “float test.”  The ones that float have been nibbled internally by bugs and would not sprout.  The ones that sink are still good.  She’ll put them in something damp and tuck them away in the cooling box for a nap and plant them in the spring.  (If she remembers–she has a long and distinguished record of stashing seeds in there and forgetting them entirely.)

Oh, too bad.  A large number of them are floating and there will only be a few to plant.  Human, you have chosen poorly.

However, Sigyn can make excellent use of the remnants.


Mais oui, mon amour, ton petit chapeau est très, très charmant.

>|: [

The Girliest Thing Ever

A friend of the human female’s is visiting.  They’ve been friends for decades, which is mind-boggling.  Not in an “Oh, my!  How the years have flown!” sort of way, but in an “I can’t believe anyone has known the human female that long and hasn’t run screaming for the hills,” sort of way.

Sigyn is excited to meet this friend.  They have a lot in common–they both like to bake, like flowers, like books and cats, and have a penchant for flowery hats.

Recently, this friend has taken a new job, one that involves selling ribbons and folderols, mainly to florists.  For the tying of posies, one presumes.  She has brought her sample books for Sigyn and the human female to peruse.  Faugh!  Sounds like a girly evening.  I’d take myself off into another dimension and give all the squeeing a miss, but I do like to keep an eye on Sigyn. Very well.  I shall stay, but I refuse to be drawn into any discussion of the relative merits of double-faced satin vs. grossgrain. (I am embarrassed I even know those terms.)

The sample books are huge.  Here, my love.  Let me open that for you.


Sigyn, predictably, has bypassed the rainbow and gone straight for her favorite color.


This page, if I could get rid of all the urply purple stuff, would be just about perfect.


Great Frigga’s corset!  Sigyn, I know you like to pet soft things, but the velvetness of this one…


…doesn’t make up for its utter, alarming PINKNESS.  For the love of Fenrir, turn the page!!

Augh!  This page is no better!  My eyes!  My eyes!


If you put that in a funeral floral arrangement, it’d wake the very dead.

Hmm.  Perhaps that’s its purpose.  Fine, then!  I shall take a roll of the green, just in case of any future life-threatening mishaps.  Or in case I find any good roadkill I wish to reanimate for humorous purposes…

What’s this?  Burlap and lace?!


No, and NO, and NO.  Loki does not “do” lace.  Ladies, it’s all yours.  I’m out of here!

>|: [

Loki Takes New York, Day 5: Gardens and Goddaughters

The humans have PLANS today.  Isn’t that cute?  They really think that the combination of subway + Loki + goddaughter (who is coincidentally visiting this metropolis with her grandmother and is being borrowed for the day) = Something That Can Be Scheduled.

I am on a first name basis with the folks at the MTA now. The first train the humans boarded decided that it did not want to run to the Bronx today and decided to reverse direction halfway there.  The humans scrambled off at the next stop and jumped onto a different one.  That one has now decided it was running late and will be an express, omitting a handful of stops.  Luckily, the garden that the humans wish to visit is still on the list of stops.  But we are going to be late.  That works out well, because the blue-haired goddaughter and her grandmother gave their Uber driver the name of the garden in Brooklyn, so they have had a minor detour of their own.

(later) After exiting the train and having a bite of breakfast (egg-on-roll sandwiches purchased from a shop in which Allspeak would have been decidedly useful), the humans spent another half hour wandering about, looking for the entrance to the garden.  Yes, the folks at GoogleMaps also work for me.

So now, at last, an hour past the initial rendezvous time, here we all are.  The first thing past the ticket booth is a reflecting pool with a pleasingly fierce, toothy sculpture.


It’s supposed to “evoke the flowers of lobster claw ginger.”  If you say so.   Wouldn’t it be a shame, though, if it somehow came loose from its moorings and, say, rolled over the human female?

This is quite the garden!  We are surrounded by flowering trees and shrubs


Sigyn thinks that Styrax flowers will be very “in” this year,


and that every home should have a peony to nestle in.

We have reached the big conservatory.


That is a LOT of glass.

The fully grown palms and tree ferns make a nice pattern against the roof.


This whole place is quite photogenic.  Since the male and the goddaughter are both photographers and Sigyn and the female are plant nerds, I predict we will be here for. ev. er.

The entire garden is hosting an exhibit by a famous flower painter, with emphasis on the plants of Hawai’i she painted.  The Hawaiian plants all have special signs.


Ah. This is a lobster claw ginger.  Now that wacky sculpture makes sense.


Even though the flowers are bright red, Sigyn says she likes this tiny Streptocarpus better.


Possibly because the flowers look easier to wear on one’s head…

Oooh!  Carnivorous plants!


They don’t have anything large enough to take on one of the felines back home, but they are still interesting.

As are the denizens of the Desert House.   This aloe is green and pointy.


I approve.

Sigyn is squeeing over this red, furry one.  What a surprise.


The human female has fallen for this one.   There’s no label, but she’s pretty sure it’s in the Apocynaceae.


So: it’s yellow, clingy,  toxic, and obscure.  Yes, that suits the human female very well.

After what seems a week and a half, we have finally left the glass house.

Sigyn wants to visit the rock garden, since rock garden plants are often diminutive and “cute.”

I will admit, it is beautiful. Too bad the human male is not allowed to take his new rolling camera bag on the gravel trail.  The human female will have to content herself with a lightning fast look around, then exit to mind the bag while the male goes in to take a squillion photographs.


Sigyn and I are neither restricted nor hampered and can stroll at leisure.  These tiny bellflowers are, according to my beloved, “dainty and charming.”


So are you, my sweetling. So are you.

(later)  After viewing the art exhibit and poking in the gift shop, we left the garden and returned to the central city via above-ground Metro Train.  For an extra fee, of course.  After missing the first train looking in three different places for the ticket booth and having to wait a half hour for the next one.

We left the goddaughter to make her way to her inn from Grand Central Terminal–which, as the guidebooks say, has a fascinating ceiling full of stars.  On the way out of the terminal, we caught a glimpse of one of the human female’s favorite buildings.

day5-Chrysler and moon

It is the one she most wishes to observe from the top of that one very tall building.  We’ll see about that… (Cue ominous music.)

Now we are having dinner in an establishment that bills itself as a purveyor of grown-up grilled-cheese sandwiches.   It has peculiar tables.


Ah! The food is here!  The male has a burger-ish sandwich with grilled onions.  The female has chicken with herbs.  There is, in fact, a good deal of melted cheese involved. The tuberous tots are also cheese-bedecked.


Whether the humans have walked off the equivalent of all these calories today is left as an exercise for the reader.

>|: [

Poking at Plants and Keeping Tight Hold of Sigyn

The human female has bestirred herself and is off Doing Botany today.  She is meeting up with some Plant Nerds from the Next County to the West and they are going to see what’s what on someone’s land.

I predict they will find…green things.  I also predict that the human female is going to spend the day  looking like a cross between a well-fed tick and a smuffled-up Inuit, because even though it is spring, it is chilly this morning and the wind is blowing about a thousand miles an hour.

Sigyn has been begging very prettily to go along.  Sigh.  I can deny my beloved nothing.  Very well. We shall go, but be sure to hold fast to something at all times!  Should the wind pick you up and carry you away I would be heartbroken.

The Blue-haired Goddaughter is also tagging along.  Perhaps she will help keep my dearest from becoming airborne.

It is always important to have field trip members sign in.


That way, if someone goes missing, you know whom to look for.  Unless the missing person writes as tiny as Mister Six up there.  No one can read that.  If he wanders off, we won’t have a clue.

Brr!  It really is quite breezy and nippy.   Sigyn and the human female would like to take lots of flower photos, but the flowers will not stand still!  We shall have to content ourselves with photos of more stationary items.

Such as this hollow tree.  Sigyn thinks she has spotted a tiny plant nestled within.


There is!  There is a little seedling growing in the drifted leaves!


I say, I never knew the arboreal members of the flora practiced such a level of paternal care.  I always figured it was, “Pfft, seeds!  Shoo!  Off you go and let me get back to photosynthesizing, ”  but I guess some really do care about their offspring.

The most unusual plant we have collected today is this jujube.   I thought the human female was making that up, but no.  Apparently jujubes are a thing that exists.


It is extremely thorny and reluctant to go into the press.  I can’t say I blame it.

It always pays to keep a careful eye on the volunteers’ plant-pressing technique.


Hey, you!  Don’t forget to fold the tall ones, and be sure to write the collection numbers on the newspapers.

Gotta watch ’em every minute.

Sigyn, by virtue of her being the sweetest entity in this county or any other, is exempt from having to kneel in the mud, dig up stubborn roots and bulbs, wrestle with thorny bushes or poison ivy, get all black and inky dealing with newsprint, or do anything other than just enjoy the flowers.

Not a bad day, after all.

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Special BONUS photo!  

The wind has died down enough for Sigyn to model this year’s hottest fashion trend.


C’est un très beau chapeau!

>|: [

Out and About in Gilbert

We are still visiting.  The human female’s is saying , “Fish and houseguests begin to smell after three days.”  No, that is just the human female…

Today we are poking around in the town of Gilbert.  Apparently it has a fascinating pioneer history and blah blah blah settlers and yammer yammer territory yadda yadda something.  Or at least that’s what the signs at the museum say.  Sigyn is enthused.  I prefer a bit more battle and a lot more ME in my sagas.

Still, there are a few interesting things to look at at this museum.  There’s a covered wagon on the front porch.  I’ve heard about how whole families traveled in these for months on end, with all of their belongings crammed in, and how crowded it all was.


I don’t know, Sigyn–looks roomy enough to me…

Sigyn is quite enchanted by this little canine.  I’m not sure what he is doing here here on the porch.


Or why his tailor did such a horrible job of fitting his fur suit.

There is a quilt show here today—which is, I think, the real reason the human female is here.  There is not a huge assemblage to view, though I must admit that this primitive and blocky giraffe makes me snicker.


The maker had to label it so people would know what it was.

In the modern part of the museum, there is a real police motorcycle people can sit on.

So we are.


Somehow it’s not as much fun if it’s actually allowed.

Do you think anyone would notice if…


…a few of these sharp and pointy old veterinarian’s tools followed me home?

Do you know what Sigyn liked best of everything we saw today?

The blooming Carolina jessamine.  According to her, it smells “delicious…”


…and makes a very tall, very fetching chapeau!

>|: [


Right on Schedule

We found the bluets yesterday, right when and where the human female and Sigyn expected they’d be, but the human female says the spring flora is “all out of whack.” There are primroses and thistles false dandelion up on the bypass, and they’re not due till mid-March, while the big piles of purple vetch that usually make an appearance in late January are just now coming out.  It is most perplexing!

Sigyn is happy, though, because, around the house, the planted flora is following the program to the letter.

We have snowdrops.


Very fetching!

And the quince is in bloom.


Can yarrow and iris be far behind?

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