walkies

Everything A-twinkle

This is not the largest or fanciest city in the realm, not by a long shot, but the local Powers That Be decided that it could be one of the best-illuminated during Yuletide.

So here we all are, in Central Park, after dark, to see if the display lives up to the hype.

Odin’s Eyepatch! I think this animated sculpture is supposed to be the North Wind, but it looks too much like my stoopid brother Thor for my taste. (If you scroll quickly, it’s sort of like watching the lights in motion.)

Thor always was a blowhard.

The North Wind/Thor is blowing us toward the Snowflake Forest.

Do you know, I really can’t see any two alike!

It looks like the rest of the park has a series of lit-up figures. Sigyn, shall we just stroll?

What the…?

A Santa-hatted alien delivering the Yule pie? Were the designers on drugs?

This bear is definitely on drugs.

Hold tight to my arm, Dearest. There is a whole cohort of elf-alien hybrids up ahead.

I don’t trust any of them!

Ehehehe! The human female says this is a proper botanist elf.

He is pointing out the key characters of the Ligustrum bush–opposite leaves, prominent lenticels, and other boring things. Hush, woman! Can you leave no occasion unruined by your constant twaddle?

It used to be tradition to bring the Yule tree home via horse-drawn sleigh.

I suppose a snowmobile is the modern counterpart? Though there do appear to still be sleighs…

But with the reins wrapped around his neck, I don’t give the poor horse much chance of getting very far.

This tree is going places via that most traditional of conveyances.

A Studebaker.

Look, Sigyn! Reindeer!

They appear to have been sampling a rather boozy eggnog.

The camels seem to be much more abstemious and dignified as they promenade among coconut palms.

Sigyn is completely smitten. I suspect she will be asking for a real camel for Yule. The HOA may have something to say about that, but I can deny my sweetie nothing, so they can lump it. (Or would that be “hump it”?)

Best part of all these LED lights?

Cool to the touch and excellent for dangling!

They say there are a million lights here. I’m not sure about that (and I have better things to do than count them), but it really is an impressive display. Someone put a lot of thought into the designs. And so many of the light sculptures move. Still photos don’t do them justice, so I made a little movie. My favorite is the Snow Tank that scoops up the snow and fires it.

Got to get me one of those…

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A Collection of Very Odd Walks

Sigyn and I have been walking a lot these days, and I have noticed something. Things are very odd here lately.

The weather has been very, very odd lately. Most days are running about 10 to 15 degrees F warmer than average, but every ten days or so a front comes through, blows another batch of leaves off the trees, stirs up everyone’s allergies, drops the temperatures to something resembling October rather than April, and then twenty-four hours later it’s all warm sunshine again.

No one knows what to wear, myself included. The cloak goes on, the cloak comes off, the cloak goes back on again. It needs to get real cold, REAL fast, please, because nobody needs to see the human female in shorts.

The flora is entirely confused. The winter annuals that should be waiting until January are already flowering, and a lot of the garden plants are still going strong. Look! Morning glories.

Look at her dangle! My beloved is absolutely fearless when it comes to hanging upside down.

I think she’s waiting for a bee to come and give her a little kiss.

(Another day) Now we are exploring the woody area between the Neener Path and the last street of houses in the neighborhood. The human female has been eyeing this patch of real estate for over year, wondering what is on the other side of the creek at the end of the Neener Path. Today we all have on our hiking boots (which in itself is odd enough), and it’s dry enough that we’ve been able to navigate the edge of the creek and follow it along.

Great Frigga’s Corset! Sigyn, did you know this was back here?

It’s a proper woodland stream oxbow! How odd to find it smack in the middle of suburbia! If you don’t look behind you– and pretend you aren’t within rock-throwing distance of the back of the houses– you could imagine yourself in a great little wilderness. This is a good Thoughtful Spot. I’ll have to come back when I have major mischief to plot.

(Another day) Today’s walk is in Central Park. Not THE Central Park, of course, just the local one, which is not terribly centrally located. While it has some woody-ish walking paths, it also has athletic fields and lights and places for cookouts and a playground, so it is almost completely unlike Lick Creek Park. Nothing odd about that, but what have we here? Someone has been defacing the tennis court!

What do you make of this, Sigyn? It looks like someone has been conducting a biological classification lesson in Chinese. How very, very odd! 您拼错了“kingdom”这个词,但您在正确列出分类级别方面得到了满分。

(Another day) Today we are just going around a couple of blocks. Nothing special. Bark at a dog here, poke a hole in an inflatable Yule decoration there. You know how it is. Hold on, though! What’s that odd blue thing in the leaf litter? Sigyn! Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to pick up things you find in the gutter?

(A bit later)

No. No, thank you. I don’t care how well you’ve washed it…

I’m not drinking gutter teapot tea!

>|: b

It’s December, So Time to Check for Fall Color, Part II: More Than Just Leaves (Sigyn Speaks)

We’ve had to walk a long way to find so many colorful leaves. But it’s a lovely day, and it feels so good to be outdoors that no one minds. (Well, maybe Loki has been complaining a little bit. The human female says that’s how she knows he’s still breathing. Rude, but a teeny bit true…)

Most of the flowers are long past flowering. This Goldenrod is wearing its furry winter underwear now.

One gust of wind or one good sneeze and we could have acres sown with seed! Acres of yellow next fall! Wouldn’t that be fun!

A few Black-eyed Susans are still out.

I hope the pollinators have noticed they’re here, or they will be lonely. : (

The Bitterweed is actually fairly common right now.

It flowers so prolifically that it’s hard to find a month when it’s not in bloom.

Not all the flowers are yellow.

The Blue Mistflower is easy to spot. There’s nothing else quite that color, especially this time of year!

Loki, look! What is that over there? It’s not blooming, but it looks…different.

Wow! The human female says this is a Grape Fern and that they’re not at all common out here. The leaves at the base are sterile, she says, and the sticky-uppy part is a fertile frond with little round balls of spore-producing tissue. Hence the “grape” part of the name. Hee hee hee! Loki licked it before she explained that…

Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!

Buttercups! It’s entirely the wrong time of year for these, but aren’t they pretty? Loki, did you have something to do with messing up their timing?

We have almost finished our loop trail and are walking back along the Great Desolation (the water treatment plant right-of-way). Oh! We are stopping to look at this plant.

The random red and maroon leaves first attracted our attention, but now we are all scratching our heads trying to figure out what it is. It has pointy leaves and is very, very flat, with roots at every node. Whatever it is, there is a quite a bit of it. Since this is a disturbed area, it could be anything, from just about anywhere! I mean, this is where we found the white-flowered Bidens, the first record for this county. We’ve made a note to come and look at it in the spring to see if we can identify it.

There’s always something fun to look at in this park. I hope we can come again soon!

: )

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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A November Neener, Part II: Teeny Things and a Look Ahead to Spring

The human female is noticeably slower as we wander back along the Neener Path. She says she’s “looking for microflora”, but I’m pretty sure she’s just worn out. Her middle initial is “D” which, if it doesn’t stand for “Decrepit” now, will do so in the not too distant future.

Still, at this pace, we are finding things we missed on the outbound trip. I’m not sure how we missed this slender three-seeded mercury.

It has the fall-color thing down pat and is lit up like a torch. Someone remind me why this isn’t grown as a bedding plant just for its color in November?

Some of the plants flowering today can be considered advance scouts for their spring-flowering bretheren.

Mr. Dandelion says that any plant that can sprout in fall and overwinter will have a head start come warmer weather next year. The chickweed in the photo is employing the same strategy.

You know, the general populace often complain about slanty scientific names and how difficult they are to spell and to remember. I ask you, which is easier to recall for this plant:

“Oriental false hawks-beard” or “Youngia japonica?” It’s not native to this part of Midgard, so it has other, even less-pronounceable names when it’s at home. I know *I* have no idea how to say “黄鹌菜”.

What do you have there, Sigyn?

Little seedlings! The human female says the fluffy one is next year’s burrweed. It won’t be much taller than that and will have spiny little fruits. Hmmm. Sounds like it would be fun to plant in the lawn. No walking barefoot for her!

And what are those heart-shaped leaves?

Unless I miss my guess, those will be violets in spring. That’s one of the few plants I do know. I remember them because Sigyn likes them so much.

But what’s this? (poke poke poke)

It’s green, so I’m assuming it’s a plant, but it’s flat to the ground and doesn’t have a proper stem or leaves, just these flat pieces that branch at their tips. Ah. Miss Know-it-All says it’s a liverwort. She doesn’t have a lot of experience with them since they “aren’t flowering plants” but it might be a species of Riccia. Guess she doesn’t know it all!

I think I know why we are moving so slowly. All of this botanizing is tiring. Sigyn, would you like to rest for a bit? These asters would make a starry bed to flop onto.

Um. Perhaps not. They are a bit pokey. But I think I see something over there that would be much more comfortable.

Ahh… Nothing like getting the heavy helmet off and stretching out on a nice, plush patch of bryophytic velvet. Wake me up if we seem to be actually heading for home…

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A November Neener, Part I: Some Plants Pay Attention to the Calendar–and Some Don’t

The weather is definitely more hospitable than it was a month ago. The human female keeps herding us all outdoors for “walkies.” (The human male hates it when she calls it that and says he’s not a dog. I don’t get it–I think he’s making a popular culture reference, but I can’t be bothered to look it up.)

So here we all are, on the Neener Path, to see what–if anything–is blooming. I think I see some of the same plants as in our last Neener Update.

The goldenrod has grown tall and top-heavy.

That’s right, you virgate, paniculate composite! Bow before Loki, Lord of all Midgard!

The beautyberries are still very showy.

Many of the fruits have lost a good bit of their neon-ness–which is to be expected at this point, but still, nothing else is that color.

I am surprised. There are a few final, fleeting false foxgloves flowering.

That’s right, Sigyn, bid them farewell. They should have been gone by now and have overstayed their welcome.

The winged elms, on the other hand, ought to be thinking about coming up with some fall color.

They don’t have much to show for themselves yet. Sigyn is dangling hopefully and encouragingly. Another few weeks and some of the leaves should be good and schoolbus-colored. If not, I will Have Words with them.

The farkleberries are better at sticking to a predictable schedule.

Fill your eyes, folks. This is what fall color looks like around here. Some of the more seasonally-conscious branches have gone a deep maroon.

While others are pokier about selecting a new wardrobe.

And what’s with all the fruit?! They’ve been hanging there since May! I know they’re not delicious, but they are edible, and usually the birds eat them all up. Someone’s not doing their job! Add lazy avifauna to the list of entities I need to admonish.

The girl hollies are covered in fruit, much of it festively red, as is proper for November.

Sigyn likes hollies best of anything.

Gee, I simply can’t imagine why. Hmm. My sweetie is very photogenic. Maybe this photo should be the humans’ Yule card this year…

Here is her other favorite color. Campohorweed. Smells funny, looks nice.

Well, some of them look nice. That one looks more than a bit raggedy.

That’s better. Mind the barbs, my love. And remember that if you drop off on the far side of the fence, you are outside the Neener Walk and technically, trespassing in a reserved area. (The city has it set off for drainage–there’s a creek–and as remediation habitat for the rare Navasota ladies tresses orchids they destroyed when they developed a parcel of land south of the city. Not that anyone has ever seen an endangered orchid here…)

The late-flowering throughwort is all but past. Late-flowering it is indeed, but when it’s done, it doesn’t tend to hang around long.

It’s cousin, blue mistflower, however, has the air of a plant with plans to see if it can make it until Thank the Turkey Day, if not Yule.

The flower clusters are on such slender stems that even my beloved’s insignificant weight is enough to bend them right over.

It looks like something that should be in a garden. If the human female weren’t so bone-idle, she’d be looking for seeds to harvest.

And because she IS bone-idle, she’s decreed that the end of the path is the turn-around point of our walk today. I’m sure that, plant-wise, it will be just more of the same on the way back, but maybe we missed something and there will be Interesting Things to look at. We shall see.

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A Blursday Walk in the Woods

A cold front blew through between Tuesday night and Wednesday, bringing bright, breezy fall weather. Today it is eleven kinds of windy. The human female, undeterred by the sheer tonnage of ragweed and sumpweed pollen in the air, has dragged us all out to Lick Creek Park to take advantage of the non-sweltering weather.

With all of this wind, the likelihood of good plant photographs in focus is small, but the humans both have their cameras with them anyhow. Let the blurry photos commence!

The pink muhly grass by the nature center is whipping about in a very graceful manner.

The one the human female has planted in front of the house isn’t as big or as pink, but it is trying.

We are seeing quite a bit of the formerly-a-mystery white bidens in the Great Desolation. We managed to catch some of it in focus.

The asters not so much.

While the human female is bigger than she should be, she is still not large enough to make an effective windbreak to keep the plants still so that the male can photograph them. Hence, images like this weirdly-out-of-season black-eyed susan:

Real prize-winner, that one.

The human female says she hasn’t been down Raccoon Run trail in a few years, so that’s where we’re going. It appears to have been widened, but it’s still rather pretty. There are a fair number of large hickories and a lot of frostweed in flower.

The sun is shining though the sumac leaves.

There are some unusual plants along this trail. I didn’t recognize this one at first,

and I didn’t believe her when the human female said it was a palm tree. Palms? In the forest? But yes, this is the native sabal palmetto, and this is about as big as they get.

The stem or trunk is underground. Up close, I can see that the leaves really are pleated like a paper fan.

Some of the trees down here in the bottomland are just festooned with this gray stuff.

The human female says it is an epiphytic bromeliad that likes to live on trees so it can be up in the sun and humid air, which sounds plausible. She also says it is a relative of pineapple and has little green flowers, which sounds entirely bogus. (I never believe more than half of what she says, anyway.)

Shhh! Sigyn, did you hear that? It sounded like a tiny little shriek. There it is again! It’s coming from that thick vegetation right over there. The human female says it’s a small frog in distress. Given that the human male just saw the back half of a snake disappear into the same clump of foliage, I suspect what we’re hearing is the batrachian version of, “Oh, no! Don’t eat me! Help!”, but I’m just going to tell Sigyn that it’s two local creatures meeting for lunch, which is perfectly true.

Another wind-blurred photo:

They look like little yellow tomatoes and are the fruit of one of the native nightshades. Hmm. Salad for dinner some time this week, I think. The human female had better not lose another of my helmets out here in the woods or she will find some in her serving.

Unfortunately, there is an awful lot of non-native vegetation in this part of the park as well. Chinaberry, ligustrum, Japanese honeysuckle, and Chinese tallow tree are the main ne’er-do-wells. The human female is snapping saplings and hauling down vines and resolving to come out again with a) help, b) a saw, c) clippers, d) some brush killer for painting stumps, and e) some napalm. Okay, that last was my addition to the game plan, but you must admit, it sounds like fun!

What have you discovered over there, my love?

It’s like she has a little baldacchino! (You can look that up later.)

Looks like we are headed back to the vehicle now, having made the complete loop–without, I point out, seeing a single raccoon. I feel cheated and shall be complaining to the management at the first opportunity.

Odin’s Eyepatch! The human female just fell down! One minute she was walking and the next, BOOM! I don’t know if she rolled an ankle or if a rock moved under her foot, but here she is, splat on the trail with her limbs waving like a cockroach in its death throes. The male is helping her up, and I don’t see blood (though I bet that knee is skinned under those jeans), so presumably she is mostly all right. Who knows? It might just be a pitiful bid for attention. Let us continue!

Hold! There is something odd in the path up ahead (and I am not talking about the toddler making a puddle, though that is outside the normal realm of goings-on). Sigyn, do you see?

I do hope he’s not on his way to have lunch with his cousin down on the loop trail. If he is, I fear he shall find his kinsman…unavailable.

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Lick Creek Park, Aftermath

Today is Master Naturalist field trip day!

We certainly couldn’t ask for a nicer day. A cold front blew in last night, and it is actually JACKET WEATHER! The group is a nice size–enough people to be interested and ask good questions, but small enough to be able to pay attention to everyone.

We…are…moving…very…very…s l o w l y. The human female has a lot to say about a lot of things. The information just keeps coming! It’s like trying to drink from a fire hose.

Great Frigga’s Corset! One of the budding Master Naturalists has spotted a plant the human female has not recorded before in the park. It’s a great, tall grass with spikelets like nothing I have seen before.

Eastern Gama Grass. The male flowers are at the top of the spike (to the left, but not open yet.) The female flowers are lower down in the inflorescence (to the right) and have these fantastic, purple, fuzzy styles. The male flowers will fall away once their work is done, and the fruit of each female flower will be hard and cylindrical like a bead and eventually fall separately. Nice find!

Trees. More trees. More grass. Some shrubs. Things with berries. Things without berries. More trees. Stupid bench.

Sigyn, look! What’s that?

Ow! Squealing! Apparently it is ladies’ tresses orchid season and that is one of them. It’s not one of the Navasota ladies’ tresses–those are endangered and much less common–but it is still an orchid. Sigyn thinks the way the flowers are in two spirals up the stem is pretty cool. I like the way the plants blooom without their leaves (which are up only in the spring) and how none of the scientists has figured out yet what weather conditions make for a good orchid year. The human female is doing something complicated with her hand, showing how the shapes of the flowers of the common and rare ones are different. Everyone is looking at her blankly. And yet she is undeterred.

(later)

Oh, how my wrath shall grow and rage until I smite the human female with all that is in me! We finished the field trip and are home now. The human female is counting it as a success, as several people wanted to stay past the allotted time and explore with her. I count it as a disaster! You know how nature nerds always say, “Take only photos, leave only footprints”? Well, the human female left something in the park and I’m not sure I shall ever get it back.

We were down by the Great Desolation again, looking at all of the white-flowered, no-longer-a-mystery white Bidens. While everyone was oohing and ahhing over the silly thing, Sigyn and I sat down in the shade to rest a bit. I took off my helmet because the day was growing a little hot after all. I told the human female to be sure to carry it back to the car for me (it does get heavy), but she was too busy yakking and I guess she did not hear my instructions, because when we disembarked at home just now, my gorgeous horns were nowhere to be found! That hag LOST my helmet somewhere near the sedge meadow, probably in a patch of that stinky Pluchea! She swears it was an accident, but I’m fairly certain she did it on purpose. I’ve had to magic up a spare. Do you see now why whatever mischief I whip up for her is no more than she deserves?

She did manage to come back with this:

She says it is probably Carolina laurel cherry. It has alternate, simple leaves, and the bark “looked Prunus-y”–whatever that means. It is, however, missing one of the diagnostic features of Prunus caroliniana, two tiny, dark glands on the underside of the leaf, one on each side of the leaf stalk. Do you see any glands, love?

She says she’ll have to go back in the spring and see what the flowers look like. If she can remember where it is…

The mystery plant sample is not all that followed us home today.

There is, she says, rather a lot of panicle-leaved tick-trefoil in the park this year. It has small, pink beany flowers and little legumes that break up into one-seeded segments just loaded with microscopic, hooked hairs. They really do cling like ticks.

This will teach her not to tie her jacket around her waist and then wade through the tall stuff! She is well and truly covered with these little clingers, and she’s going to have to sit and pick them off her pants, jacket, sweatshirt, and bootlaces one… by… one… by… one. (Serves her right!)

Ehehehe! That is a LOT of little velcro-y bits! And that’s not even counting the one ones she hasn’t found yet. She’ll be finding them in the laundry for weeks, if I have anything to say about it.

Augh! I can feel…. They’re on me, too, aren’t they Sigyn?

Get them off! Get them off! I was very careful not to get any at the park. These are just from her picking them off her clothes and flinging them every which way. She is just about as hapless as it is possible for a single mortal to be, and this day’s work will cost her another few years of grief from me—and she’s getting off lightly.

Grumble, grumble, grumble. Plot, plot, plot…

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Agalinis navasotensis–Scientia Versus Tempestate

It is a lovely early fall day. The sun is shining and it’s not brutally hot. The calendar has rolled past the third week of September, so it is time for that annual botanical adventure, checking up on the rare Navasota False Foxglove, Agalinis navasotensis that the human female discovered. We are all headed to the outcrop in the next county over to see how many there are and how they are doing.

(a bit later)

Things actually look pretty good. There is a lot of grass this year, since the summer was wet. The human female and two other plant nerds have counted over 100 plants in flower.

A good year, if not great. The usual fall flora is in evidence too. The blue sage is open for butterfly take-out dining.

Or is it dine-in? Except the lepidopteran is not sitting down. How does it work with bugs anyhow?

It took a bit of looking, but we found the little cacti again.

The plant nerds have located the endpoint stakes of a sampling transect that was run in 2006 and are going run the transect again so they can compare results.

That’s the human female up there at the top of the outcrop. If you could see her any more clearly you might be turned to stone. You’re welcome.

Ugh! This science is tedious! Every half meter along the line, we have to note what is touching the line between 0 and 0.5 meters, between 0.5 meters and 1.0 meter, between 1.0 and 1.5 meters, etc., all the way up to the canopy. I think that at most of the points along line we are going to have…grass. It’s not in flower, so we won’t be able to write down what kind it is. Grass. Grass. Grass. And we have thirty meters of this to do? The plant nerds will be at this all morning and I will die of boredom. Time for a little excitement!

And here it comes! I’ve noted before that, while I cannot really control the weather, I can certainly nudge it along. (You don’t grow up around my stoopid brother Thor without picking up a few tricks.) So I think I will take advantage of the forecast “chance of precipitation” to see how dedicated botanists conduct a transect in the pouring rain.

Vera quaestio est quousque perstent antequam cladem agnoscant.

Norns’ nighties! They are actually doing it. The human female is crouched under a car windshield sunshade, trying to keep her notes dry, her partner is completely exposed, holding the height pole, and a third intrepid plant nerd is marking a GPS record of groups of Agalinis plants. Everyone is soaked to the skin and I am laughing so hard at the human female slipping in the mud that I almost fell down myself.

Sigyn and I, of course, are under a magic umbrella spell and are perfectly dry.

(later)

The botanists and all available paper being sodden, they have decided to call it a day and not set up a second transect. Farewell outcrop! We shall see you again in the spring, perhaps.

(later still)

This is what the human female’s notebook looks like–after drying out a bit!

The notes themselves are barely legible.

I am grudgingly impressed, though. Her cheap little ballpoint did a pretty good job of not running.

When all typed up, the transect results look like this:

Prope est ut si quid agerent sciebant.

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A Neenering We Will Go, Part II: What Passes For Fall Color

We are walking back along the Neener Path. Sigyn is exclaiming about the “fall color” we are beginning to see. Now, this part of Midgard doesn’t get the blazing reds, yellows, and oranges that other parts do, but she is very cutely appreciative of what we do get.

There is just a hint of red in the Virginia creeper and the holly berries.

The shining sumac is having even more success.

We will have to remember to come back to look at it again later, since it should just get brighter and brighter as the season wears on. By the time the leaves start falling, it will match my sweetie’s outfit entirely. As it is now, she’s the brightest thing on this path.

In addition to red, there is a good deal of one particularly garish shade of pinkish purple. I speak, of course, of the beautyberry berries.

It clashes with everything!

The insides of the fruit are a rather disappointing yellowish hue. I really wish the color went all the way through, because then you could do useful things with the berries, like dye some fabric that would look hideous on the human female, or else just leave some berries in her chair to dye the seat of her shorts in lurid fuchsia spots. Pants acne!

This same color, watered down, is actually pretty common around here in the fall. The human female would say its because certain classes of anthycyanin pigments are found in a number of plants and… Blah, blah, blah–snore! Shut up and look at the flowers.

The morning glories are the same kind as the ones back at the house.

Even some of the stemmy bits are purplish.

Some of the fall-flowering beans take the color even lighter. This fuzzybean (Sigyn, did YOU name it?) does it,

and so does this tick-trefoil.

Those little beany flowers are only barely pinky-purple. We will have to come back when more of them are in fruit, because–if I remember correctly–the fruits are covered with tiny hooked hairs that cling onto everything. If I can get the human female in a fuzzy sweatshirt and off balance, one good nudge should serve to get her covered head to toe with botanical velcro bits.

Oh–here we are with the bright shade again. This is the human female’s beloved false foxglove.

That she can’t get in focus to save her life. Well, actually, it’s not her plant–that’s the one that grows on the outcrop in the next county over. This is just its more common, more glamorous cousin.

It’s like a little, pinky-purple sorting hat.

And that appears to be the end of the fall color for today. There are plenty of leaves falling, but they’re doing it without changing to anything but brown.

Some of the leave are quite large.

I’m not sure where this huge burr oak leaf blew in from; I haven’t seen one anywhere around here.

And here is the champion of all!

Not the largest sycamore leaf I’ve ever seen, but certainly big enough to make a decent party tent for someone Sigyn’s size. But no, sweetie, I don’t think you should carry it home as a souvenir. It’s a little breezy today, and if you hold that leaf up, it’s going to soar like a kite and take you with it! If you really want it, make the human female carry it.

The neighbors already think she’s weird.

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