walkies

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,

asters

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.

poofybluestem

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…

woollybear2

…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…

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 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,

nightshade

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.

possumhaw

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.)

boisdarc2

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.

dayflower

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

aster

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

oligoneuron

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.

moss

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

My Favorite Fall Color, Part I: Mostly Red (Sigyn Speaks)

It’s here!  It’s really here!

At long last, the calendar and East Texas are in synch–IT’S FALL!!!

The days are still warm, but I think, I think, we’ve seen the last of the really nasty heat.  The mornings are cool, the nights are sleepable, the mockingbirds are singing and swooping for territory, and it has done nothing recently but rain.  (The lawn is so happy!)

Loki and I are out for a little walk between showers.  The neighborhood is fine, but there is a lot to see right around the house.  And a lot of it is RED!

I would know it is fall if this was the only plant I saw.

schoolhouse-lilies

Schoolhouse lilies!  They just pop right up without leaves.  The first ones nose their way up out of the grass every year when the fall semester starts.  The human female says she started with three bulbs.   There must be many more of them by now, because the flowers pop up a few every day for weeks.  I just want to hug them!

This red sage flowers off and on all year, but it really likes fall best.

salvia

The hummingbirds like it a lot, and so do I!  It’s pretty good for dangling.

The hummers like the Turk’s cap even better.

turkscap

I’ve always wanted to pet a hummingbird–they are just too cute, and they have the sweetest little squeaky voices!  Maybe if I put up a feeder and sat on it…

The humming birds like the morning-glories, too.  They aren’t red, but they are native, which is a good thing.

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They’ve crawled all over the compost heap’s enclosure, scrambled up the sapling hackberry by the driveway, and climbed into the neighbor’s holly tree.

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It’s very festive every morning!

They have spread down the side of the house and overrun the iris bed and the little, useless fencey bit.

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Not to mention the other side of the fencey bit and the rest of the irises.

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There are some in the front yard as well.  It all comes of not weeding very much, but what a happy accident!

: )

 

 

Poking at Plants and Keeping Tight Hold of Sigyn

The human female has bestirred herself and is off Doing Botany today.  She is meeting up with some Plant Nerds from the Next County to the West and they are going to see what’s what on someone’s land.

I predict they will find…green things.  I also predict that the human female is going to spend the day  looking like a cross between a well-fed tick and a smuffled-up Inuit, because even though it is spring, it is chilly this morning and the wind is blowing about a thousand miles an hour.

Sigyn has been begging very prettily to go along.  Sigh.  I can deny my beloved nothing.  Very well. We shall go, but be sure to hold fast to something at all times!  Should the wind pick you up and carry you away I would be heartbroken.

The Blue-haired Goddaughter is also tagging along.  Perhaps she will help keep my dearest from becoming airborne.

It is always important to have field trip members sign in.

sign-in

That way, if someone goes missing, you know whom to look for.  Unless the missing person writes as tiny as Mister Six up there.  No one can read that.  If he wanders off, we won’t have a clue.

Brr!  It really is quite breezy and nippy.   Sigyn and the human female would like to take lots of flower photos, but the flowers will not stand still!  We shall have to content ourselves with photos of more stationary items.

Such as this hollow tree.  Sigyn thinks she has spotted a tiny plant nestled within.

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There is!  There is a little seedling growing in the drifted leaves!

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I say, I never knew the arboreal members of the flora practiced such a level of paternal care.  I always figured it was, “Pfft, seeds!  Shoo!  Off you go and let me get back to photosynthesizing, ”  but I guess some really do care about their offspring.

The most unusual plant we have collected today is this jujube.   I thought the human female was making that up, but no.  Apparently jujubes are a thing that exists.

jujube

It is extremely thorny and reluctant to go into the press.  I can’t say I blame it.

It always pays to keep a careful eye on the volunteers’ plant-pressing technique.

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Hey, you!  Don’t forget to fold the tall ones, and be sure to write the collection numbers on the newspapers.

Gotta watch ’em every minute.

Sigyn, by virtue of her being the sweetest entity in this county or any other, is exempt from having to kneel in the mud, dig up stubborn roots and bulbs, wrestle with thorny bushes or poison ivy, get all black and inky dealing with newsprint, or do anything other than just enjoy the flowers.

Not a bad day, after all.

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Special BONUS photo!  

The wind has died down enough for Sigyn to model this year’s hottest fashion trend.

physalis

C’est un très beau chapeau!

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