large ugly apartments

Too Hot For a Walk, But Apparently We Are Going Anyway

Newsflash, mortals. It’s summer, and it’s hot outside. Oh, the calendar says it’s still “spring,” but when the Heat Index is 106 F, it’s summer, no matter what equinoxes and solstices and tropics of whatnot say.

Still, Sigyn and the human female are keen to go walking whenever the female can drag her bloated carcass out of bed early enough to get going before the day changes from “balmy” to “humid inferno.” Believe me, as a Frost Giant, I’d prefer to do anything else, but I can never be sure Sigyn will make it home safely without my protection, so I usually tag along. Here, then, is a random assortment of images from walks around the neighborhood.

Sigyn makes new friends wherever she goes. She’s about to make a new one right outside the front door.

Look up, Sweetie! It’s one of those rolly-uppy isopods with the many strange Midgardian names.

And here is a very juicy slug!

Hmmm. Has the human female already had breakfast? ‘Cause I bet it’d go down easy…

Some of the slugs are black and velvety-looking. This one’s out for a stroll slime.

Black-velvet Leatherleaf Slug photo - lejun photos at pbase.com

I made a video! Great Frigga’s hairpins! I just looked that one up and it’s an exotic invasive! You go, funky little foreign slug! Come to our house and eat up all the human female’s flowers!

This red-eared slider turtle is a little shyer.

It says it is perfectly happy sitting in the pond by the Large Ugly Apartments all day and has no interest coming out on the bank to get acquainted.

Ugh! It really is annoyingly hot out here today! Sigyn, why don’t you greet your little floral friends and then we can go home and get out of the heat. Maybe have ice cream for lunch…

The lilac chaste tree in the front yard is looking pretty good.

Especially when you recall that I keep inviting the neighbors to butcher it periodically!

The leaves smell very good and it’s not a bad place for a dangle.

The crape myrtles are in full bloom as well. Whenever there’s wind or a good rain, the flowers fall off and make for what Sigyn says is a “very festive sidewalk.”

Many of the wildflowers are done for the year. This cut-leaved evening primrose is still prettifying the roadsides, though.

Looks like there’s some horseweed in there too.

Keen-eyed Sigyn has found the buttonweed in someone’s lawn. It looks like bluets, but the flowers are a LOT bigger. And furrier.

On the other hand, this purslane has flowers like its cousins, the cultivated, showy moss-roses, but the flowers are a lot smaller.

The human female says you can eat it. No, human female. YOU can eat it. I’m not in the habit of snacking on lawn weeds.

You can eat this one, too. Make yourself a nice salad of the leaves and add in some of the fruit when they show up.

You’ll like them—they look like tiny yellow tomatoes and are only a little bit poisonous.

And your noshing on them will eventually leave more ice cream for the rest of us.

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Mischief Update–Naughtiness Old and New

(Checks notes) Apparently I’ve been so busy doing photographable mischief that I haven’t had the time to write about all the other mischief I’ve been doing.

Firstly, the roof. You will recall the Hellishly Horrible Hailstorm that Happened Here. Suspecting that the roof had been damaged, the humans had three different roofing companies out to give their opinion. The consensus opinion was that the human female looks awful in shorts. And that the roof is, indeed damaged. Not only that, the gutters and leaf guards on the gutters have taken a big hit, and my army of trained squirrels have eaten all the vent caps. True!

All it takes is a little bit of this.

The humans contacted their insurance agency, who sent someone out to have a look. Days passed, and the insurance company sent a very detailed run-down on what they were willing to pay for all the various steps of roof replacement, gutter replacement, vent caps, etc. So then the humans had to decide which roofing company to go with, and they had to get the gutter company out to offer an opinion as to whether they really need replacing. I had a chat with the roofing company they selected, and made sure that the estimate, when the humans received it, exceeded what the insurance is willing to pay. I had a second chat with the gutter company, which is of the opinion that the gutters don’t need replacing, exactly, but that maybe they need to come off before the new roof goes on. And then go back up or get replaced. Ping-ping back to the roofing company, which says they don’t need to take the gutters off to replace the roof. Return serve to the insurance company, with the humans providing the roofer’s bit and asking what happens if they spend more on the roof and less on the gutters. And that is where the ball lies, with everything on hold as the humans wait to see if the insurance company will increase what they’ll pay for the roof. The first check from them has arrived, and I made sure the bank’s lobby was closed due to lack of staff when he went to deposit it. However this all turns out, you can be sure I will hide some important piece of paperwork that the humans need to submit to prove that they actually did the repairs, so that they can get the remaining settlement money. Assuming we can ever get the repairs to take place. There’s a two-week waiting period for repairs once you even get on the schedule—and who knows how long the repairs will take, or what the roofer will find when the old shingles come off? (He’ll find that plywood has tripled in price in the last few months, that’s what he’ll find…)

I continue to train the felines to add “spice” to the humans’ life. I’ll have to work with Flannel Cat some more, though, and teach her how to harf up her supper more quietly. Unfortunately, last time she did it, she telegraphed her intent with a prodigious gagging noise and some extreme facial contortions, such that the human male was able to leap up from his seat on the sofa so that he was unscathed when the rain of soggy kibble fell from the topmost perch of the cat tree, which stands directly behind the sofa. Flannel spectacularly decorated that perch, the next two levels down, the sofa, and the floor, but she missed the human male. Pity. Both felines routinely hurl upon the bed quilt, though, which necessitates a lot of laundry. Good kitties!

The gold “balloons” on the fence around the Large Ugly Apartments (LUAs) continue to irk me. They put them up, I deflate them,

they put them back up. I deflate the whole row.

So far, I am winning.

As you can see, NO option is Loki-proof, and at at least $7.00 a pop, it all adds up.

Breakfast continues to be fruitful ground for mischief-making. The human female and I had a long conversation the other morning about whether it was useful and saves time if the eggs come pre-cracked.

I say it is. She says it isn’t. Agree to disagree.

The gravity in the bathroom is still functioning.

If I grease the towel rod, I think I can get this to happen on a daily basis…

The lone surviving hollyhock has bloomed. It has frilly, pale pink petals.

Don’t get too attached to it, human female. I’ve inoculated it with some sort of orange rust and invited some spider mites over as well. They’ll go nicely with the runaway mint and the dollarweed I’ve let loose in the lawn.

The humans continue to try new recipes. I like to suggest ingredients to them.

Somehow they did not go for that one.

I meddled with the human female’s iPad tablet so that it would not charge. At all. It was actually losing power while plugged in and eventually shut itself completely off. The human male took it to see if it could be repaired. The repairman plugged it in and it worked perfectly, making everyone look like an idiot. I love it when that happens. Meanwhile, I’ve arranged that the human female’s laptop will, once or twice a day, just decide to stop charging unless she wiggles and waggles the cord around just so to find the sweet spot.

Hmm. What else is new? The next door neighbor mowed down the elm seedling between the houses that the human female had put a big, red, DON’T MOW flag on. So much for a free, conveniently-situated shade tree.

Oh, and my new hobby is putting little pinhead sized holes in all the human female’s favorite shirts. Right in front where they can’t be invisibly mended. And I made sure the only jeans that fit her have been discontinued.

All in all, I’m keeping busy. It’s true that I don’t get to wreak sweet havoc with vendors and office coworkers these days, but it’s still a good life. I mean, I can still arrange for cryptic and confusing email offers like this one.

And it’s time to feed the cats again.

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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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Here a Neener, There a Neener, Everywhere a Neener-neener, Part I: Reruns

We are once again making our daily constitutional an act of defiance against the supposedly private path belonging to the Large, Ugly Apartments. What floral delights are on display today?

Looks like some things we’ve seen before, for starters.

We have a few last, confused Evening Primroses. What is wrong with you? You should have finished months ago!

With the advent of (somewhat) cooler weather, the proper fall flora is beginning to come into its own. Some are plants that we’ve seen recently but which are now putting on a better show.

The Mistflower is nearly as exuberant as my beloved. It is breezy enough and Sigyn dangly enough that no part of this photo is in focus.

The St. Andrew’s Cross has cooperated with a nice bloom this morning.

(sniff, sniff) No scent that I can notice, though. You could put a little more effort into things, you know, Mr. Hypericum.

More Fuzzy Bean. It and Sigyn are climbing all over everything.

The Late-flowering thoroughwort, which we looked at back in July, when it had only a few blossoms, is just covered now.

The one in the human female’s front flowerbed is similarly clothed. It is literally weighed down with bloom and is nodding over the lawn–where it will spawn hundreds of vigorous and inconvenient seedlings next spring (with a little encouragement from me, of course.)

Finally, we have the brilliant, electric-blue Dayflower.

We never get tired of this plant. If the human female is nice to me, I might try to establish a colony at the home, just so we can have a glimpse of this color every day. Goodness knows she’ll never manage it on her own.

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I Can Keep This Up Forever

You may recall that I cursed the “festive” balloon-things that the owners of the LUAs (Large, Ugly Apartments) put up on their fence. My curse worked: all the golden balloons contracted flopsia, and the management removed all the balloons, even the black ones.

Apparently management didn’t learn anything the first time, because look:

They’re ba-a-a-a-ck!

When I curse something, though, it darned well stays cursed. One of them has deflated already, and the rest shall follow.

They have no idea who they’re up against…

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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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I Like to Call it a “Neener Walk”

This morning, we are returning to the walking path that runs by the Large, Ugly Apartments, the traversal of which can absolutely be construed as a big, nose-thumbing neener-neener-neener 

At this time of year, the flora can change from week to week.  The human female and Sigyn are hoping for different flowers than we saw last time.

The thistles are in full, fluffy bloom and, to quote my beloved, “really, really dangle-worthy!”

neener-thistle

Look at her!  It never ceases to amaze me how she can hang upside down so soon after breakfast without revisiting her toast.

Having a little post-dangle rest in a patch of yellow evening primroses that are cousins to the big pink ones in the lawn.

neener-oenothera

The squeaky noise you hear is my sweetie exclaiming over these tiny blue vetch flowers.

neener-vetch

Great Frigga’s hairpins!  What is this one?  The tiny flowers are in tight little bunches, and the fruits are covered with little prickles.  It looks as if it would love to latch onto someone’s socks!  Eeeeevil, and I like it!  But be careful that you do not get any  caught in your hair, my love.

neener-torilis

The human female says it is something non-native called “knotted hedge parsley.”  I think she has a device somewhere with little spinners—spin them and it generates random strings of botanical nonsense.  It’s the only thing that makes sense.

This is its equally foreign, equally huggy cousin, regular hedge-parsley.

neener-limnosciadium

Ah!  Spiderworts!  A perennial favorite.  (Literally—they’re perennial.)

neener-trad

They’re a marvelous, clear color that almost makes me prefer blue over greenAlmost.

Hey, Sigyn!  I know it’s not exactly the same, but look–it’s a lot like your last year’s All Hallow’s Eve costume!

neener-coreopsis

Red and yellow together.  Sigyn thinks it doesn’t get much better than this!

This is a very fine path indeed.  We have yet to traverse it to its end.  The humans have a theory that, if followed to its conclusion, it would come out behind the houses not too far from our residence.  Perhaps today we shall put on our Intrepid Traveler hats and see where it goes.

Thirty feet beyond the end of the pavement:

neener-ravine

Or maybe not.

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