walkies

A Fall Scramble, Part II: Thar She Blows (Whatever The Heck That Means)

The human female is becoming a bit concerned because she hasn’t seen any of her rare flowers  yet.  I think it is one of those things, though, that you have to see the first one, and then, once your eye is trained, you start to see them everywhere.

Augh!  Now she’s squealing abominably.  I suppose that means she’s spotted some.  Yes, there they are, hiding in the tall grass.

agalinis-grass

Sigyn says she has learned how to tell the rare ones from the common ones.  The flowers can be the same color on both, but the common ones have wider leaves, and the flowers have almost no stalk at all.  It’s an over-all thickish sort of plant.

agalinis-het

The rare ones have very narrow leaves and long flower stalks, so that the whole plant is open and airy, sort of tricky to spot if it’s not in flower.

Agalinis-nav

There are some differences in the flowers, too, but you have to be as big a plant nerd as the human female to understand.  I don’t pretend to, nor do I listen when she rattles on and on about “anther placement” and “calyx sinuses” and “stigma color.”  As  Future Ruler of Midgard, such details are beneath my notice.  I’ll have minions for that.

Odin’s eyepatch! Now that she’s spotted them, the human female now proposes to walk over every inch of the outcrop and count the rare plants.  I don’t know whether to hope that there aren’t very many this year so that this will all be over quickly, or to hope that the rare plant is having a good year, even knowing that it will mean listening to the idiot woman try to remember what comes after “threety-eleven.”

This is, unfortunately, going to involve some clambering.  Sigyn insists on doing it all herself.

need-a-hand

But my love, would you not appreciate a magical boost?  Maybe just a little one?

(a bit later)

We have reached the top and completed our survey, having counted about one hundred plants, which makes this a good-ish year, though not a great one.  Now we are free to look about at other members of the flora.

This wafer-ash is also known as hop tree, presumably because of the flat fruits.  (Apparently someone thought it looked like beer-brewing hops and the name stuck.  I don’t see it myself.)

ptelea

It is very good for dangling, though the foliage is looking rather tattered.  The human female says this tree is a relative of oranges and lemons and, as such, is considered  yummy by the giant swallowtail caterpillar.  Sigyn says she would like to see one of those caterpillars.  However, they are camouflaged to look like bird droppings, and I’ve no real desire to go poking piles of bird poop to see which ones are wiggly and have legs.

But here is a good one for you, love!  (No poop-poking required!)

swallowtail-thelesperma

I actually learned this one because it has such marvelous horns.  It is the larval stage of the pipevine swallowtail.  It ought to be munching on pipevine; I’ve no idea what it thinks it is doing with this greenthread.

There really is a splendid view from up here.  I can see a good portion of the county, though the removal of a few junipers would improve the vista even more.

topview

Sigyn and the human female are still oohing and aahing and speaking in slanty names, enthusing over fall favorites such as this blue sage.

salvia azurea

I, on the other hand, propose to divest myself of my hot and heavy (though noble!) helmet and relax on this pat of moss while they fossick about.

sleepnumbermoss

Who knows?  I might even doze.  Being magnificent and knowledgeable about caterpillars is hard work. Wake me when it is time to go home.

>|: [

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.

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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.

>|: [

You Never Know What You’re Going to Find on a Walk

After a few days of heavy thunderstorms, the sun has finally come out.  Sigyn and I, having contracted a near-fatal case of cabin fever, are going for a walk.

found kitten1

Fisi, back off a little, will you?  No one likes hot hyena-breath down the back of their neck.

found kitten2

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  Where is that brainless carnivore going now?  Fisi!  Come back here!

What have you got in your mouth, you stupid beast?

found kitten3

Oh, no!  Where did you find a kitten?  Don’t look, Sigyn!

Drop it, Fisi!

found kitten4

Bad hyena!  No biscuit!

(poke, poke, poke.)  I’m sorry love.  I… I think the wee little thing has joined his no-doubt valiant ancestors in Kitty Valhalla.

found kitten5

Or maybe not.  I guess the furry morsel was just a little scared!  Give it a good cuddle, my love, and let it toddle off home.  There are too many felines in our house already.

found kitten 7

I don’t see any toddling happening.

found kitten 6

Only bonding.

Aw, Sigyn, for Frigga’s sake don’t feed it.

found kitten 8

Sigh.  I should have known that this was one battle I wasn’t going to win.

>|: [

The Pitter-Patter of a Thousand Tiny Feet

If my aching head is anything to go by, the humans have been having a fun visit with the female’s mother and sister, who were successfully fetched from the Big City to the West.  They’ve done nothing but laugh screech and cackle, talking a thousand miles to the minute, sunup to the wee hours and then repeat.

And eating!  Sleipnir’s fetlocks–the eating!  The human female made bacon rolls and orange sweet rolls; her mother brought a big batch of braised beef and carrots, frozen, along with two long loaves of bread; and they’ve all waddled over to the trough where we had the french toast biscuits.

Today, however, we are trying to accomplish a little peace and quiet and some exercise to offset all the loafing and munching  (and munching on loaves.)  We’ve come out to the local woodland in Lick Creek Park in the hopes of dodging the showers and seeing some blossoms.  It’s been such a cold and rainy spring that there isn’t much in flower.  The birds are singing, though, so that’s something.

Wait!  Sigyn–did you see something move?  Look–right there!  We appear to have stumbled upon some very industrious hymenopterans!

I’ll just magic a video link up there so other people can see, too.

I wonder what they’re going to do with all of that foliaceous confetti?  And I wonder if they could be induced to follow us home and commit snippage on the human female’s landscaping?

>|: [

 

 

Flowers From My Sweetie (Sigyn Speaks)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I surprised Loki with heart-shaped pancakes and a new tin of horn polish.  And he gave me flowers!

And not some easy-to-come-by bouquet that will just die in two days, either!  No, he took time out of his busy mischief schedule to go for a walk on campus with me, so I could enjoy all the living flowers!

The bed by the Rudder Tower is just filled with lovely, fragrant jonquils (or are they paperwhites?  I can never remember…)

spring-campus1

Perfect for dangling!

There were big planters full of pansies by the student center.

spring-campus2

I just love their little faces!  Loki is so sweet to wait while I greet each smiling blossom!

Then there were sweet williams and marigolds in with the boxwood in front of the Military Science building!

spring-campus3

Two more bright, fragrant flowers!  Best Valentine’s Day EVER!

‘Scuse me while I go smooch Mister Frowny.

: )

Flowers For My Birthday

As I noted yesterday.  It was my birthday a few days ago.  I’m now in the Post-Birthday Slump. Sigh.  Another year older and no closer to ruling Midgard.  The human female’s nasty acetone threat was hurtful too.  I am in desperate need of cheering up.

And since a happy Sigyn never fails to make me smile, we are doing what my beloved likes best, walking and looking for flowers.  No place fancy, just around the block between chilly showers.  It’s not too early for winter annuals.

See?  There’s the smile I needed!  Sherardia is an old friend.

sherardia

And the burr clover is in bloom too.  What fun!

medicago

Of course, it’ll be more fun when it gets around to making burrs.  Watching the human female pick them out of her shoelaces and socks is one of my favorite spring traditions.

Sigyn has found one she really likes.  It’s called “cowboy satchel”—or something like that.

capsella

Tiny, delicate white flowers, heart-shaped fruit, sturdy enough to climb—What’s not to love?

From her high perch, she has a good, close-up look at the fuzzy purple henbit blossoms.

lamium1

I will admit to liking this one as well.  Purple is a most fitting color for royalty, they say.

lamium2

As well, the flowers look like little sock puppets, all proclaiming, “Hail, Loki!  Ruler-to-be of all Midgard!”

And, since I have magic at my disposal, I can actually make them do it.

What have you found now, my love?

dandelion

“It’s a dandelion!  You can make wishes on them!”

Really?  How quaint!  And what are you going to wish for?

“That you have a wonderful year ahead!”

I tell you, mortals, this woman is too good for me.

>|: [

 

A Walk Around the Block

The sun is out today, even though it’s cold.  Sigyn, would you like to take advantage of the weather and go for a walk around the block(s)?

House, house, park, house… Wait–what’s all that jumble up ahead?

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  More construction!  No one seems to finish anything before starting some new project.  Sigyn wants to poke around a bit–she says there are often “interesting weeds” growing among the bits of building material and construction equipment where the soil has been disturbed.

Find anything yet, my love?  Any good winter annuals popping up among the BPOD?*

Looks like no interesting plants today, but she has managed to catch a dragonfly.

blocks6

Well done, beloved!  They are fierce and fast fliers.  Your reflexes must be extraordinary!

Fenrir’s fleacollar!  Where did this mutt come from?  Don’t pet it, Sigyn!  You don’t know where it’s been–or if it’s friendly!

blocks1

Very well.  Perhaps it is friendly.  But if you misbehave, beast, know that I will arm myself with whatever is handy.  Such as this circular saw.

blocks2

Sigh.  Sigyn will pet anything, and all animals love her.  But I’ve swapped the saw for a blaster, so it’d better behave.

blocks3

Ew!  Sigyn!  Do you have to let it do that??  Don’t let it lick your face!  I might want to kiss that later!

blocks4

Sigh.

blocks5

This is why a) our walks take so long, and b) I know how to get muddy pawprints off red velvet.

>|: [

*Big Piles Of Dirt