ulmus alata

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…

yellowelm

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 Long-Overdue Walk in the Woods, Part I: Adventures in Tree ID

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  The human female has ACTUALLY shoved her trotters into hiking boots and dragged her saggy fundament out into the woods.  She’s out at Lick Creek Park, helping some Honors Biology students who are learning how to run transects, census trees, and measure weird things like Diameter at Breast Height. (I don’t want to know.)

Because of all the cold weather and gray skies this winter, the local flora is LATE.  Things should be leaping into flower right about now, but nary a blossom is in sight.  The human female is having to dust off her knowledge of Trees in Winter Condition.  I’m letting all the talk of bud scales, leaf scars, and lentils go in one ear and out the other, but Sigyn is hanging on every syllable.

Oh, well, I guess I am hanging too.

lichen

Now that I look, this is very interesting.  We have here crustose, fruticose, AND foliose lichens, all on one branch.  Not precisely plants, but they are at least green.

Now we are getting to the trees.  This is winged elm.  No leaves, but the twigs are good and weird.

winged elm.jpg

They are all flat, and.. bacony.

Hold!  What’s this?!  Finally, something in bloom!  And it’s not some tiny, timid, little spring wildflower, it’s a big tree!   Mexican plum doesn’t look like much when its wearing its leaves later on, but it’s surely showy now.

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Time for some serious dangling. Sigyn’s out of practice–we both are–but look at that form!

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She’s perfection.

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Nerds in the Woods, Part IV: Let Us Not Forget Our Green Friends

Not everything here at the Lick Creek Park celebration is animal-oriented.  The more chlorophyllous members of the biota are well-represented, which delights my Sigyn no end.

Someone has made a scavenger hunt consisting of trees and provided a little guide.   I have managed to find a honey locust already—look at this stupendous thorn!  It is branched, and the branches are pointy, too!   Nothing is getting past that.

treekey

When I build my palace, I shall plant a hedge of them all the way around.  And behold their marvelous fruit!  They are like flat, twisty, slightly fuzzy, black bananas.

hlocust

The human female says the pulp around the seeds is edible, but why would you want to tear one of these precious curlicues apart?

Sigyn is examining the wings on a winged elm twig.

wingedelm

No, my sweet, winged elms do not actually fly.  But if you really wanted one to, I’m sure my magic could make it happen—just tell me where you want it to go!

The Biology graduate students from the University have made some large cutouts of plant and animal cells so that people can take cellfies.  Get it?  Cellfies?

cellfie

And there’s my Sigyn, in the center of a plant cell!  Isn’t she something?

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Time For Some Yardwork

It’s spring!  In fact, it’s Spring Break.  The students have all decamped and the town’s residents can breathe, drive, and eat out.  It’s also time for the human female to get back out in the yard, clean things up a bit, and work off some of that winter fat.

This backyard elm seedling has shiny new leaves.

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First dangle of the season!

Look how tiny these new leaves are.  Stigyn says the flappy pink things are called stipules.  Hahahaha!  She stipulates that these are stipules.  Botany pun!

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The human female’s projects for today are some pruning and weeding.  The various little saplings she’s letting grow up need to be limbed up a bit if she’s ever going to be able to mow around them.  Here are the implements of destruction.  Pruning shears, and a folding saw with wicked little teeth.

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I like it.

(later) Well, that was a good morning’s work (for her.)  I got to watch and laugh as she got tangled in greenbriar vine, pricked her fingers on a seedling gum bumelia, had her hat picked off by low hanging branches, and lost her pruners in the mulch more than once.  It was raining, too, so she got good and damp and muddy as she scrabbled about under the shrubbery getting up last year’s long, dead grass.

Here’s the haul, along with that big black bag full of weedy bits.

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And because she was working so hard, I invited some of the neighbors over to participate.  Little, buzzy, thirsty neighbors.  Which is why she now has a big welt on her adam’s apple, a kind of fat lip, one eye that is swollen part way shut and itchy, and a huge Dumbo ear that is big, red, itchy, hot, and sticking away from her head at a 90 degree angle.  Great Frigga’s corset!  She’s more hideous than usual.   Guess it’s time to hide the insect repellent, eh?

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