Ptilimnium

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.

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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.)

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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.

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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?

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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.)

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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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A May Walk, Part II: Nice, Nasty, & Nosh

The human female is moving pretty slowly today. ( I think she stayed up too late last night and ate too much lunch today.) I may need to poke her with a pointy stick in her hinderparts to keep her moving or we’ll be out here until dark.

However, the slow place gives Sigyn a chance to really look closely at the flowers. She has taken a liking to these black-eyed susans. Look, one of them has dark circles under its eye(s), just like the human female!

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While Sigyn and the mortal are poking about in the tall grass (no doubt acquiring a myriad of chigger bites), I can flop down on this mock bishop’s-weed (who names these things?!) and have a little nap. It’s lacy, but surprisingly supportive and good for the posture.

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(Go away, bug. Do not bother the god while he is resting.)

Drat. We are moving again. Sigyn wants to know why this baby oak is pink at the branch tips.

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The human female says that it is a second flush of spring growth, thanks to all the rain. I say it’s embarrassed to be seen in such nerdy company.

More pink:

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No! Sigyn, don’t hug it! Yes, I know it’s “all cute and poofy,” but look at all the sharp prickles along the stem! This vegetable powder-puff is not your friend.

Here. I shall hold one for you so that you can see it up close. The flowers are safe to pet.

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Hmm. I do not know about Sigyn, but I am beginning to feel a wee bit peckish. (The human female, of course, will at any time eat anything that doesn’t get out of her way quickly enough.)

We are in luck! Look, sweetling! Remember the dewberry blossoms we found month before last? Our patience has been rewarded–now we have fruit! Just be careful–those stems are covered with detachable prickles.

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Don’t they look delici— Ugh! No, Sigyn, you can’t eat them when they are red!

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Those are going to be sour. You have to look for the black ones. We could make pie!

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Yes, I know you think the red ones are prettier, but I’m telling you they aren’t *ripe.* Sigh. Eat them if you must, my love. Loki will rub your tummy later when it aches.

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