ruellia

I Am Quite Famous in the Botanical Community

Sigyn, do you know what day it is? It’s go-to-the-outcrop-and-look-for-the-rare-plant day! The weather should be lovely, too, so grab your sunscreen and let’s go!

(a bit later)

Here we are. The human female is meeting two colleagues here. Between the three of them, they hope to get an accurate account of how many (if any) plants are blooming this year. Here comes one of the others now.

Ehehehee and neener, neener, neener! Do you know what his first utterance after “hello” was? Not, “How have you been?” Not, “How many do you think we’ll find this year?” Ha! No, what he said was, “Did Loki and his little friend come today?”

Yes, indeed we did, good sir, and thank you for putting the human female in her place!

Idunn’s little green apples! Our first Navasota false foxglove has met us right at the top rim of the outcrop, and it’s a big, well-branched one.

Now that we have all reminded ourselves what it looks like, we can start carefully quartering the outcrop and getting a good count.

Hmm. It looks as if this will not be a record-breaking year, number-wise, though it is certainly better than the worst year. Most of the plants are well-grown and flowering well, which is good to see. There’s a good growth of grass and a lot of leaf litter, however. That means it must be time to BURN this place again! Just name the day, humans, and I will be here with a torch and my fireproof cape. (Setting things on fire is FUN!)

It is like meeting old friends, seeing the usual fall plants right where we expect them to be.

The obedient plant is abundant this year. The flowers will stay in whatever position you put them in. While Sigyn dangles, I think I will try to arrange the flowers on the next plant over to spell out semaphore-wise, “the human female is a dork.” It will look something like this:

except with more pink and less yellow and red. It will be a lot of work and might take two or three plants to get in the entire message, but it will be worth it, and I will definitely have time, as it is taking the GPS forever to calculate the waypoints.

The holly at the top of the outcrop is in full fruit. Isn’t my color-coordinated sweetie cute?

Hello! What’s this? The human female says it is a wild petunia and she’s not sure she remembers seeing it out here before.

It’s not really a petunia. I guess someone thought it looked like one, though.

And this might be new, too.

It’s snow-on-the-prairie. There are only a few plants her, but I imagine that a whole roadside of it would look whitish. Great Frigga’s corset! Sigyn, do you see any mature fruit? I need seeds of this dreadfully! The human female says the sap is caustic and that’s she’s really, really sensitive to it! I want to plant it all over the yard and see if she really does swell up like a red, peeling balloon if she gets any on her. (All for science, of course.)

Oooh! What’s this? I thought junipers made little blue-green-gray fleshy cones and not these pointy, twiggy structures.

Ah. Not fruits. Sigyn, did you hear? The human female says there’s an evergreen bagworm caterpillar in each of these, all tucked up for the winter. Basically, bug hotels. Imagine if you built and lived in a case constructed of everything you ate! It’d be cherries and Cheetos and apples and…more than a little messy!

We have finished our survey of the sides of the outcrop and are ready to have a look at the top. We don’t expect to find any of the rare plant up here, but the human female says we might see other interesting plants.

There’s this. It smells vaguely minty and has small, purple, hand-puppet-shaped flowers.

The common name is “skullcap”, which doesn’t sound very nice but it is decidedly comfy to lie in. The human female is telling some tedious story now, how the little extra “flange on the calyx” is the same shape as an old-fashioned John Deere tractor seat, except that today’s students are used to tractors with enclosed cabs and AC and stereo and have no clue and..blah, blah, blah. How is anyone supposed to rest with you yapping away like that?

One last plant to look at before we wrap up the day’s investigations. I like this one! The flowers of the zizotes milkweed have a strange, alien-looking anatomy—and they have horns!

Supposedly, butterflies love them. If I hang here quietly, maybe I can catch one for Sigyn to cuddle. It’s definitely worth a wait!

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We Find Things on Walks (Sigyn Speaks)

The humans are mostly back on campus, so they don’t often have time for a walk in the morning these days.  Plus, it’s so hot lately!  I don’t mind too much, but Loki doesn’t handle heat well, so the success  of persuading him to venture out varies in direct proportion to the thermometer reading.

Still, it’s always fun to get out and about, and we always find such interesting things!

This black slug is actually pretty speedy!

found a slug

Loki wants to poke it.  Loki, leave it be!   Now  he wants to have a horn-measuring contest, but the slug has places to be and is hurrying off.

Today must be a special Mollusc Day!  Loki says this is just where the road repair crew got bored and creative with the crack-filling compound,

streetswirl

But I am pretty sure this is where snails come to dance–very slowly– in the moonlight.

The local purple wild petunias are blooming.

Ruellia-a

(a bit later)  There’s another !  It’s an escaped cultivated species, down in a little drainage!

ruellia-b

It’s so tall and pretty, but the human female says it’s invasive and someone should go pull it up.  Awww.  Do we have to?

We always see birds on the walk, and people with doggies.  Sometimes, if we get up early enough we can see…yes…we are in luck today!…

bunn!

Isn’t he cute?!  It’s not a good photo, I know.  I had to blow it up a lot.

Whenever I see a rabbit, my brain just sort of short-circuits and goes, “Bunnybunnybunnybunnybunnybunnybunny!”  

I very carefully never ask, but I’m pretty sure that when Loki sees a rabbit, he’s thinking, “stew.”

(a bit further on)

Squeee!  Look what is following us!

orange kitty

He’s so soft and orange and has such pretty eyes!

Please, can we keep him?

: )

A Fall Scramble, Part I: Here We Are Again

It is Autumn here in the northern part of Midgard–or at least, that’s what the calendar says.  I’ve been tinkering with the weather, alternating hot and cold days so that everyone has the sniffles and no one knows what to wear or what to serve for dinner.  Woolly hat or shorts and flip-flops?  Cool salad or hearty stew!  Ehehehehe!  The mortals are all cOnFUseD and there’s no end to the see-sawing in sight.

But, by the calendar, the rare plant that the human female discovered, and which she keeps an eye on, ought to be blooming.  She’s grabbed her boots and sunscreen and insect repellent and is heading for the outcrop in the next county over where the plant is to be found— if it’s up.  It is one of my warm days, and I could certainly do without being cooped up in the car with the human female for twenty minutes each way, but Sigyn really, really likes “botanizing,” so she is going.  And if Sigyn is going, I am going, because I don’t trust the human female in the field one tiny little bit.  With me along, there’s a much better chance that my sweetie comes home in one smiling piece.

(laterish)

And here we are at what the human female calls, “an outcropping of calcareous Oligocene sandstone of the Oakville formation” and what I call, “a tilty chunk of inconvenient climbiness.”

The first plant to greet us is the very conspicuous, electric blue dayflower.  It’s fairly common in this part of Midgard.  There are even some back at the house.

dayflower

They look better out here than coming up around the compost heap, though.

The human female is checking to see if the “usual suspect” plants are up where they normally are.  The redwhisker clammy-weed is right where it is every year.  The bright sun is washing out the pale pink of the petals and the bright red of the stamens.

cleome

It really is very sticky to the touch.  Sigyn, be careful as you go—I don’t know how well the sticky comes out of red velvet.

Ugh.  It really is uncomfortably warm and bright today.

hotouthere

Here is a plant I don’t recall seeing out here before.  Look at the fat, funny leaves!  The human female says it’s a cousin of the moss roses that people grow in pots.

portulaca-2

Step into the voluminous shade the human female is casting, and let us see if we can get a better photo.

portulaca

Those really are tiny flowers!  Sadly, too small for Sigyn to try on as a hat.

Great Frigga’s hairpins!  If you thought that was a tiny flower, dearest, come look at this one!

heliotropium-tenellum

Heliotropium tenellum.”  It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

This one’s not much bigger.  It’s one of the broomweeds, the human female says, either Gutierrezia texana or Amphichyris dracunculoides.

broomweed

I’m of the opinion that if she’s going to call herself a botanist, she should KNOW which one it is.  She’s making noises about tiny “pappus” this and “receptacle” that and saying that she needs to look at various bits under a microscope.  Flimsy excuses, woman, and if you need a microscope, you bring it on your various traipse-alongs, because I am not going to tote it for you.  Nor will I waste my magic summoning something you should have thought of in the first place.  Besides, I think you make up all those slanty, sciency names anyhow.

Time for some climbing!  Autumn is definitely the season for yellow daisy-family things, and here is another.  If you can believe the human female, it is part of the whole golden aster mish-mash, and it goes by the improbable name of Heterotheca subaxillaris.   The common name, camphorweed, is much less of a mouthful.

heterotheca

Sigyn, after sniffing its gland-dotted foliage, confirms that it does, in fact, smell a little granny’s-closety.

Stand over there next to that pale purple one, my love.

ruellia

Look at that!  The flowers are more than a Sigyn long!  If it didn’t have just the one blossom, I would pick it for you and make you the pointiest hat ever!

Norns’ nighties!  Are we really only halfway up?  This hill goes on forever.

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Dubious Posies From a June Walk

Sigyn and I have grown bored with the basket flowers and are poking about to see what else is here.  Besides heat.  Norns’ nighties, it is scarcely 9:00 a.m. and already it feels like Muspelheim out here.  Apparently, we did not start early enough.

This yellow-flowered flax looks as if it would rather be some place cooler.  You and me both, little one, you and me both.

flax.jpg

Slanty Latin names are very confusing.  The basket flowers are Centaurea, and these little pink ones are Centaurium.  No relation.  Now I ask you, how does that help anything?  When I take over the world, I am going to let Sigyn re-name all the plants with words that make sense.

centaurium

(Actually, I already have a brilliant plan.  I can recognize the genus Rosa when I see it, so I will keep that and place all the rest of the plants in the genus Other.  That way, any idiot–the human female included–will be able to sight-identify any plant on earth to genus.)

This third pink thing is related to the second pink thing.  The human female identified this one for me once, now let me think…  It’s…um…Sebacea.  You know, like pimples.  What a horrid name!

sabatia

It makes Sigyn look tiny.

This yellow flower is weird-looking.  It has ten stamens, but they don’t all match.

chamaecrista

The human female has finished with the basket flowers and is now snooping into what we are doing. She says it is called Partridge Pee, which doesn’t sound very nice.  Sigyn, maybe you don’t want to touch that.

This lavender one seems harmless enough, though.  Does it have a gross name too?

ruellia

Oof. The sun is climbing quickly toward the zenith.  We can look at a few more plants, love, but then I will be ready for some breakfast.  But after handling pee and pimples, you should definitely wash your hands before eating!

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