Hypericum

Whirlwind Getaway, Day 2, Part One: Do We *Really* Want to Be Outdoors?

Ugh.  No relief from the heat.  If anything, it is hotter than yesterday.  Large City to the North is not friendly to Frost Giants.  The humans have no consideration for me, though, so we are off.  Time to get going!  Things to do!  People to see!  Double ugh.

But first:  breakfast!  The human female’s preoccupation with waffles— and difficulty with them—has been documented here before, from her slap-dash approach to toppings  to her inability to fill a waffle iron completely.  She is at it again.  The inn at which we are staying has two waffle irons, one of which makes the standard round waffle at which she fails so spectacularly, and another which produces conjoined quadruplet wafflettes.  The female, self-righteously believing she is saving a few calories, has opted to only make two.  And eat them plain.  They don’t taste as nice that way, but at least I’m not forced to look at one of her Jackson-Pollock masterpieces.

breakfast-sat

Our main activity for today is a visit to the Botanical Gardens.  I hear they are very fine, especially one sub-garden which has been groomed in the style of a garden from the other side of this realm.  We shall begin here.

The human male, who has lived in foreign parts, says this is a lantern.  I do not see how that can be correct, as there is no bulb and no cord.  Nor is there a reservoir for kerosene or other combustible.  Obviously it is a rustic little rain shelter, for use should inclement weather arise.   Or possibly, a very fancy bus stop.  Luckily, we have no need of either today.

lantern

There is a series of pools and falls running through the garden.  The human female has purchased some fish food to feel the finny denizens of the pools.

But I have let these most persistent waterfowl know that breakfast is served.

ducks

The fish are coming, but the ducks are faster, so likely the fishies will go hungry.

ducks2

Once the ducks are distracted elsewhere, the feeding frenzy can begin.  Don’t get too close to the edge, Sigyn!  One of those gaping mouths could suck you right in!

fish

It is not only ducks and carp who appreciate a good fish kibble.

squirrel

Apparently, there is a lot of eating going on here today, because down by the big pool, there’s a big blue heron standing perfectly still, just waiting for a bite-sized carp to get a little too close…

The landscape materials here are very fine.  This boardwalk through a bamboo thicket is both decorative and sturdy.

bamboo1

The bamboo itself is eminently suitable for dangling.

bamboo2

Sigyn, should you be doing that so soon after breakfast?

The human female has given up trying to count the number of maple varieties represented here.  Sigyn, naturally, prefers the ones that are red all year round.

garden1

Another rain shelter.  This would make a cute little summer house, don’t you think, Sigyn?

lantern2

There is not much blooming at this time, but trust my sweetie to make a beeline right for the showiest blossom.

hypericum

The bluey-purply ones are nice too.  They look like little bells.  Or, if you are Sigyn, big bells.

bellflower

While Sigyn and the human female are botanizing and the male is taking photographs, I can explore a bit on my own for a while.

keepoffthegrass

Neener neener neener.

Sigyn has rejoined me and we are completing our circuit of the garden.  There is some very decorative bamboo fencing.  Mortals, why cannot we have this at home?

bamboofence

The gift shop is apparently partially a nursery.  It sells these quaint little trees.

bonsai

As well as the tiny little buildings to put next to them to give them  a sense of scale.  (Actually, rather than making the miniature trees look big, the tiny houses just make Sigyn look ENORMOUS!

teenypagodas

All of our exploring and marveling at the beauties of nature, as well as our reading about the symbolism of the objects in this garden, have left me with just one burning question:

Sigyn, if I bought you this raccoon sake set, would you use it?

racoonmugs

What is is they say in this realm?  “Stay tuned, kiddies.  Lots more to come!”

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The Great Bog Adventure, Part V: Work Begets…More Work

It seems as if ages have passed since Sigyn and I accompanied the human female on her botanical expedition to the bog in the next county over.  We got muddy and collected a whole fat press full of plants, Sigyn had a wonderful time, and I got to laugh at the human female when she got her boots stuck in the muck and almost fell in.  I thought that was an end of it.

Apparently not.  The human female spent several long evenings identifying plants, and today she and another botanist are having what she calls a “workshop” with some of her fellow-bog-trotters, teaching them some identification skills.

The visitors have a preliminary plant list, made from tentative identifications in the field.

plantday1

The”experts” are supposed to fill in the holes and answer some of the questions.  (The idea of the human female as an “expert” anything makes me laugh, but I suppose she does know a thing or two about plants.)

plantday2

Sigyn has the list of grasses and grass-like plants.  The human female can identify those, but her colleague is better.

No, the human female has identified all the things with showy flowers.  Now she is making her students key out a few of them as practice.

plantday3

Microscope? Check.  Plant sample?  Check.  Book with keys?  Check.  Obscure botanical shorthand?  Check.

Sleipnir’s monstrous farrier bill!   She is making them work hard!  It’s as if she thinks she can cram a whole semester’s worth of botany into their poor heads in one morning by making them look at “glandular teeth on the inner sepals,” whatever that means.

The human female says that little plant is something called a Hypericum.   She also said that one of the other plants was a different Hypericum.  But ehehehehe!  She was WRONG!  Now she has to admit to everyone that she can’t tell  johnnywart from flicks.

What’s this?   The students, who are supposed to have duplicates of all the plants for their club collection,  have brought some plants that the human female doesn’t have!  (I guess the collecting at the bog wasn’t as organized as she thought.)  So now the human female has to identify things on the spot.  Can she do it?

plantday4

This one’s not so difficult.  It is a little, carnivorous blabberwort, and there just aren’t that many to choose from.

This one might be a little tougher.  Idunn’s little apples!  The human female is counting how many little thread-like segments are on each of the frothy leaves.  (Not sure how that’s going to help. She can only go as far as five.)

plantday5

All this counting and peering into microscopes.  (shudder.) It is much too much like work.  Have you had enough keying for one day, Sigyn?  Let’s leave all the plant nerds and go get some lunch.

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