nature

Flowers From My Sweetie (Sigyn Speaks)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I surprised Loki with heart-shaped pancakes and a new tin of horn polish.  And he gave me flowers!

And not some easy-to-come-by bouquet that will just die in two days, either!  No, he took time out of his busy mischief schedule to go for a walk on campus with me, so I could enjoy all the living flowers!

The bed by the Rudder Tower is just filled with lovely, fragrant jonquils (or are they paperwhites?  I can never remember…)

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Perfect for dangling!

There were big planters full of pansies by the student center.

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I just love their little faces!  Loki is so sweet to wait while I greet each smiling blossom!

Then there were sweet williams and marigolds in with the boxwood in front of the Military Science building!

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Two more bright, fragrant flowers!  Best Valentine’s Day EVER!

‘Scuse me while I go smooch Mister Frowny.

: )

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Flowers For My Birthday

As I noted yesterday.  It was my birthday a few days ago.  I’m now in the Post-Birthday Slump. Sigh.  Another year older and no closer to ruling Midgard.  The human female’s nasty acetone threat was hurtful too.  I am in desperate need of cheering up.

And since a happy Sigyn never fails to make me smile, we are doing what my beloved likes best, walking and looking for flowers.  No place fancy, just around the block between chilly showers.  It’s not too early for winter annuals.

See?  There’s the smile I needed!  Sherardia is an old friend.

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And the burr clover is in bloom too.  What fun!

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Of course, it’ll be more fun when it gets around to making burrs.  Watching the human female pick them out of her shoelaces and socks is one of my favorite spring traditions.

Sigyn has found one she really likes.  It’s called “cowboy satchel”—or something like that.

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Tiny, delicate white flowers, heart-shaped fruit, sturdy enough to climb—What’s not to love?

From her high perch, she has a good, close-up look at the fuzzy purple henbit blossoms.

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I will admit to liking this one as well.  Purple is a most fitting color for royalty, they say.

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As well, the flowers look like little sock puppets, all proclaiming, “Hail, Loki!  Ruler-to-be of all Midgard!”

And, since I have magic at my disposal, I can actually make them do it.

What have you found now, my love?

dandelion

“It’s a dandelion!  You can make wishes on them!”

Really?  How quaint!  And what are you going to wish for?

“That you have a wonderful year ahead!”

I tell you, mortals, this woman is too good for me.

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A Very Colorful Fall Walk, Part III: ‘Tis The Season For Poofiness

If there’s anything Sigyn likes more than colorful things, it’s fuzzy things.  Today, we seem destined to run into both.

These little asters may look daisyish and harmless now,

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but when they’re done blooming, the fluffy fruiting heads will spread these plants all over the neighborhood.  It’s a full-time job trying to keep them out of lawns and gardens.

This  bluestem grass has much the same dispersal strategy.

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I’ll have to make sure some floofs find their way into the human female’s hair and socks.

By Fenrir’s Woolly Winter Underwear!  What have we here?!

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Ah, I see now.  It’s one of those weather-prognosticating lepidopterans.  Supposely, one can tell how severe the winter is going to be by the proportion of black to rusty brown in their coats.

Judging by this nearly-all-black one, we can expect a damp and chilly winter with…

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…a ninety percent chance of snuggles.

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A Very Colorful Fall Walk, Part II: Sigyn’s Other Favorite Color

By now, I assume everyone in Midgard knows that Sigyn’s favorite color is red.  It’s bright and cheerful, just like she is.  Thus, her love of holly berries and sumac is easily explained.

She also has a soft spot yard deep and a mile long for anything yellow.  Good thing for her that there’s a lot of it round about these days.

The winged elms are usually the first thing to turn around here.  Their color has been variously described as number two pencil, Kodak film box, schoolbus, or macaroni and cheese…

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They stand out among the green as if they were lit up from within.

The goldenrod is decidedly more lemony in hue.

goldenrod

They’re usually tall and wand-y, very hard to climb, so this bent-over one is a treat to sit in.  Sigyn thinks the flowers look like little stars.  And she’s not wrong!

Usually, the greenbriar is tangled up in the trees like so much botanical barbed wire.  You don’t see it until it has hold of you, and then—ouch!

Today, though, it’s announcing its presence in an unmistakable way.

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And now Sigyn’s REALLY happy, because she’s found a couple of greenbriar leaves with both of her favorite colors!

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Of course you can bring them home with us!   You bring the pretty leaves to admire, and I’ll bring the prickly stem to…hide in the human female’s sofa.

This is what I call a successful walk!

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A Very Colorful Fall Walk, Part I: A Mighty Pretty Palette

I asked the human female, and it isn’t my imagination.  The autumns are definitely becoming more colorful around here.  I’m not sure if it’s all the extra rain or the combination of mild days and cool nights or what, but things do seem a little extra bright this year.

(The fact that Sigyn loves colored leaves so much has nothing to do with it. Nope.  I absolutely did not up the xanthophyll and carotenoid content of the foliage. That’s preposterous!  Not I!  No way would I meddle…

…Well, okay.  Maybe I helped a little.)

Sigyn and the human female are doing one of their Neighborhood Walks to have a look at all the colors.  I’ve tagged along to make sure that Sigyn comes to no harm.

The bald cypress trees around town have outdone themselves this year.

taxodium

One of my favorite pranks is to tell clueless gardeners that all those falling rust-colored needles means that the tree is dying and should be cut down immediately.  I once got a landscape professional to cut down a whole ROW of them at a botanical garden, before someone applied a clue-by-four to his empty noggin.

Even some of the oaks have colored up this year.  This blackjack has a distinctly rosy tint to its usual paper-bag brown.

blackjack

For sheer brilliance, though, nothing can beat sumac.

sumac

It’s very nearly the perfect place for my beloved to hide!  But I see you!

The farkleberries are sporting some Aggie Maroon,

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As well as some missed-by-the-birds blue-black fruit and one very graceful half-Asgardian dangler.

Other plants have fruit too.  These yellow nightshade berries may look like little tomatoes,

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but they are not even remotely edible.

Bet I could sneak some into the next batch of the human female’s stir-fry…

Oh. There you go.  It was only a matter of time.  Sigyn has found her favorite perch.

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No matter what’s on offer, she always seems to like sitting in holly bushes best.

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Looks like a bumper crop of fruit for the yaupons this year.

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And the possumhaw is decked out as well.

It’s been a full morning of admiring and dangling–and we haven’t even made it halfway around the block yet!

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Big Green Brain Thingies

On a previous visit to the outcrop, Sigyn and I encountered the botanical equivalent of the human female’s brain.

Today, we have encountered the same strangeness again.   There’s a tree near where the car is parked, and it has dropped a number of heavy, green, brain fruits.

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They really do look like brains—or something from another planet (not Asgard–I think I would remember something like this!)

The human female says that there are seeds inside, buried in the sticky gluey fibers.   But what would want to chew through all the brain matter to get to them?  What is the dispersal agent for these things?  They tend to fall off and land right under the tree, which is an inferior reproductive strategy.  (Even I could tell you that.)

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She says that scientists believe that there had to be something at one time that was very large and capable of eating these things without too much chewing, so that the seeds would come out intact in its… um… “poo.”

She says the front runner theory says it was Giant Ground Sloths.  Now she’s just making stuff up.  Odin’s eyepatch, woman!  If you don’t know, just SAY so.

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A Visit To an Old Friend

Last year the human female’s bad trotters kept her off the outcrop that’s home to the rare plant she studies.  But this year, things are a bit better, and we finally have a bit of a break in the rain, so we’re off to see if the Agalinis is blooming this year.

It’s a nice day for a drive.  I can’t wait to get there, because after being cooped up indoors with the human female for ever because of the rain, it’s just more torture to be cooped up in the car with her for another forty minutes!

The landowners aren’t home today, so we’ll have to park on the roadside at the base of the outcrop, walk down to it, and then climb up.  Do you have your sturdy shoes, Sigyn?  I would hate for you to turn your pretty ankle.

Opposite the base of the outcrop is a fence full of yellow camphorweed.

heterotheca

It smells good in the sun and is not too bad for dangling, though barbed wire and horns do not mix.

On the outcrop, the first thing that has caught my beloved’s eye is this dayflower.  Electric blue really stands out against the greens and tawny browns of the grasses.

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It appears to be a banner year for asters.  There are purple ones and an entire galaxy of white ones.

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The shining goldenrod is right where the human female left it last time she was here.

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Perennials are so predictable.

And,  yes!  Yes, there it is!  The Agalinis navasotensis is in bloom!

agalinis

Now that we know it’s in flower, the human female and her colleague will need to get down to business and count* the plants carefully and mapping their positions with a GPS unit. (GPS is Midgardian shorthand for “Gotta Pinpoint Something”).

That sounds like work.  I think I will leave it to them and just relax here on this moss tuffet.

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The Rightful Ruler of Midgard does NOT do fieldwork.

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* Not that I believe for a second that the human female will be of any use once she runs out of fingers