quercus stellata

It’s December, So Time to Check for Fall Color, Part I: Slim But Pretty Pickings (Largely Wordless Wednesday)

Every part of Midgard has its own peculiarities. One of the wonkinesses of this particular bit is that unlike decent, rational regions, fall color happens—if it happens at all—early in December rather than in earlier months. Even then, the color is neither ubiquitous nor uniform, so one has to actively seek it out to enjoy the random tree or shrub that has decided to eschew traditional verdant attire and attempt something as outrageous as…yellow.

To this end, we have all donned our “outdoorsy clothes” and prepared ourselves for a possibly-muddy walk in Lick Creek Park. Rather than bore you with a transcript of the human female’s relentless stream of botano-babble, I shall merely note the colloquial names of the few plants which have decided to participate in a display of autumnal finery.

Slender Three-seed Mercury

Giant Ragweed

Peppervine

I’m hiding

Farkleberry

Deciduous Holly

Post Oak

Greenbriar

Chinese Tallow Tree

Shining Sumac

Mulberry

One may confidently assume that everything else out here is either brown or still clinging tenaciously to green.

But have we found anything else of note? Stay tuned…

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Doing Some Chalking of My Own (Sigyn Speaks)

Loki thinks that sidewalk-chalking is sappy (though he was very sweet to me about that last one we saw.)  I think it’s adorable, and I want to do some of my own!

But I don’t want to step on the toes of the wonderful people leaving all the inspirational quotes.  What should I do?  Hmmm.  I will need to think about this.

I know!  I can help support all the walkers and homeschoolers (and homeschooling walkers, hee hee!) by being educational.

Lots of folks are plant-blind.  Maybe I can work against that a little bit—encourage people to literally stop and smell the flowers.  I read about someone in France leaving labels on urban wildflowers.  I bet that would work here!  I don’t know all of them, but I can do the ones I know!

These are bright and cheerful!  They’re sure to get someone’s attention.

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False dandelions are not quite the same color as the true ones.  (The eensiest bit less gold and a smidge more lemon.)

Ooh!  Ooh!  Look!  See this little fluffy yellow one?

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It’s Neptunia pubescens, and  the showy bits are the stamens.

Another little yellow one.

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Hee hee hee!  I guess I just like yellow!

But here’s one that’s different!

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Don’t you just love that electric blue color?

It’s a little bit sad to think that the labels will wear off pretty quickly, and the flowers will fade, too.

But here’s something I can label that will be around for a long time!

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Chalk wears down really quickly on concrete!  I might need some of that fat, colorful, specially-for-side-walks chalk…

Almost out of chalk for today.  I’ve just enough left to leave a message on the walkway that goes by the big storm-water collection area.

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It’s the best song ever!     (Listen–it will make you smile!)

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A Very Colorful Fall Walk

The recent local weather (hot cold hot cold rainy sunny cold hot again), while making wardrobe deliberations a maddening ordeal with at best a 50-50 percent chance of success, have had an unexpected effect.  The local flora, famous for not giving a fig for seasonal expectations and remaining green until January, has decided, for once, to oblige Sigyn’s longing for a colored autumn.

We have therefore embarked upon a tour of the yard, the surrounding neighborhood, and the park at the end of the street, in order to take in all the offerings on this bright and sunny afternoon.

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cedar elm

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pecan

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woolly bucket or gum bumelia (both ludicrous names)

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upland swamp privet (an oxymoron if I ever heard one)

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yaupon holly

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post oak

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aster

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winged elm

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farkleberry

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bitterweed

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more asters

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more yaupon

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ditto (can you tell Sigyn really likes holly?)

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greenbriar

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a whole galaxy of asters  (Time for a little rest.  Dangling is hard work)

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white mulberry

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miniature dragon

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poison ivy  (Go on, human female, pat the pretty plant!)

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more mulberry

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copperleaf (Aptly named, I’d say.)

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More elmage

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honey locust

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bald cypress

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yet more elms

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many shot of a truly splendid farkleberry

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blackjack oak

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They say some medieval craftsman invented stained glass.  I’m not so sure.

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Nerds in the Woods 2019, Part II: Scribbles in the Shade

My sweetie would wander about all day, given the chance, but she says she promised to help with the children’s activities at the Native Plant Society of Texas table.

Besides, although the day is fair and breezy, it is more than a little warm in the sun, and some shade would be quite welcome.  (My helmet is glorious, but it is heavy and heats up something dreadful.)

The first order of business is to check out the art supplies.  My sweetie has a distinct fondness for crayons. She enjoys both coloring with them and sorting them out into waxy rainbows.

And, apparently, she also has a thing for bus-shaped art supply caddies. 

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She is completely enthralled by its tinny resemblance to the real thing.

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Tape, hole punch, pencil sharpener…  I just want to know what’s in the engine compartment, which snaps off as its own little tin.

The tyke-friendly art project on offer this year is a little book of leaf rubbings.  Sigyn and I have done these before, but only always single sheets, never a whole book.  I very much doubt that pint-sized mortals will have the patience to complete more than one, but it might be amusing to play with the components.

The process is best accomplished with more than a modicum of help from grown-ups.

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As I suspected, the mini-mortals are coloring with more enthusiasm than finesse, and not all of their efforts are “keepers”.  The sample booklet, however, was produced with a little more care.

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Look Sigyn, it’s a post oak–just like the big tree in the back yard at home, the one that did not leaf out this year and which I have suggested to the human female more than once is probably just choosing its moment to fall onto the house

Whoever brought the art supplies (it wasn’t the human female–she showed up with a list of plants, a sign that reads, “Ask a Botanist a Question,” and a lunch) took great pains with the rubber stamps and colored pencils to produce a beautiful cover.

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All most of the children are managing to achieve with the rubber stamps is blackened fingers.  Keep your distance from my sweetie, you filthy younglings!

The adults running the table are binding the books in a manner similar to this.   Ehhehehe!  It is taking the human female many tries to learn to do it correctly, and I suspect the first few she did will were assembled incorrectly and will fall apart before their creators even get them home.

A fine way to represent your organization, woman.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this new group of Plant Nerds doesn’t invite you back again next year…

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