Positive

It’s Covid. ๐Ÿ™

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Probably Covid

Livia came down sick over the weekend. Today the rest of us woke up feeling sick. Later we got an e-mail from the school to inform us that one of Livia’s classmates had tested positive for Covid. So, odds are that what we all have is Covid. Testing tomorrow.

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SITY: Interesting Leaves

Earlier this month, I found some interesting leaves among the flowers blooming in the back yard. In this picture, you can see them just to the right of the white violet:
Looking around, I found more of the same kind. I wondered what they would turn out to be, and I resolved to keep an eye on them.
Yesterday they finally revealed their identity. They are buttercups.
(Do you love butter? I know I do.)

They were obviously buttercups, but which kind of buttercup? The most likely types were bulbous buttercup, creeping buttercup, and meadow buttercup (a.k.a. common buttercup). I guessed that mine were creeping buttercups based on the growth pattern and appearance of the leaves, but I wasn’t sure. I tried digging one up to see if it had a bulb at the base (a telltale feature of the bulbous buttercup), but wow, the roots were strong! I finally got it mostly dug out with a stick, but by then it was so mangled that I couldn’t be quite certain.

A little more research revealed some other ways to distinguish among the buttercup types. The sepals of bulbous buttercups turn downward, and the stems of creeping buttercup are furrowed, while the stems of meadow buttercups are smooth. My buttercups have sepals turned upward and furrowed stems, which means my initial guess was probably right. Creeping buttercups are said to be extremely aggressive, hard-to-kill plants, so they’ll fit right in here, if that’s what they are.

BTW, after handling that mangled buttercup plant with my bare hands, I found out that buttercups contain a toxin that can cause contact dermatitis. I knew not to eat the things, but I didn’t realize that they could irritate the skin. Oops. Live and learn. I washed my hands thoroughly, and that’s all I can do. It’s too bad that buttercups are toxic, but I still love them, and butter!

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SITY: The Proof Is in the Plant

“Monster roots” are indeed the rhizomes of Solomon’s Seal.
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SITY: First Toad

First Toad of the Spring
2022
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Happenings 4/22/22

  • I rewatched Disney’s The Little Mermaid the other day. Since then, I’ve had the music stuck in my head, the same part over and over again: “bright young women, sick of swimmin'” (that’s some quality rhymin’ right there). I thought the movie stood up well after all these years. But, this time around it seemed to me that, excepting Ursula, everyone in the movie was painfully simple-minded, and I was almost rooting for her by the end.
  • The kids are obsessed with rickrolling and I don’t know which is weirder–that they know what rickrolling is or that rickrolling is still a thing.
  • I felt almost like a spy for a little while yesterday after receiving a mysterious package that contained a thumb drive. But it turned out to be from my dad, and it was just a pdf copy of his trail journal. He wants me to make another photo album for him. I said I would, of course, because I couldn’t possibly say no. Scary thing is, the first album covered about 125 pages of journal. There are another 340 pages to go. Yikes. The AT is a long-ass trail.
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Thursday Thoughts 4/14/22

  • Marshall joined me for my walk today, and we talked about such things as cold fusion, the ultimate fate of the Earth, and mosquito-gun turrets (a much needed invention–tiny guns that go on your hat and shoot approaching mosquitos, but not fatally, because Marshall is a softie).
  • It felt like Friday, all of us agreed, probably because the kids have Friday off. I do not have Friday off, though. I must remember to go to work tomorrow!
  • Speaking of work, I’ve noticed that most of my coworkers get more time for their projects than I get for mine. On the projects for which I get 50 workdays, everyone else gets at least 60. Soon I’ll be working on a larger type of project for which I have been given 78 days (three days of which I had to beg for–my boss had planned to give me only 75), while everyone else on the schedule got at least 94. I’m not sure how I ought to feel about this. I’ve known about it for a while, but I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. I still don’t. There may be a good explanation for the differences in the numbers. But, I probably should find out.
  • It seems to take forever for the first violet to bloom, but once it does, suddenly there are dozens. No, hundreds. No, thousands! Well, not quite thousands yet, but certainly enough for a bouquet. The first bouquet of the season was composed mostly of white flowers. Having sprouted earlier, their stems were longer and fit into the vase better.
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This Week

  • Livia came down sick last week, and she passed the bug along to me. We gave her a home Covid test, and it came out negative. As I read online today, we probably ought to have tested her again a day later, just to be a little more certain. Oh, well. We kept her home for most of the week anyway. Imagining if it were Covid and she had tested positive the first day she was noticeably sick, we adhered to the current CDC guidelines. As for me, I feel like I’m on the mend, but I plan to take it easy this weekend, just to be safe.
  • My car is in the shop again (grr!), this time because it wouldn’t start. The Universe is really conspiring to keep me home for the next few days. That’s fine. I have no pressing reason to leave. I already did most of my Easter shopping online.
  • The daffodils that I picked last weekend have finally wilted. Time to get new ones. There are plenty outside to choose from. The longevity of the blooms is one of the things I love most about daffodils. It makes up for their vaguely unpleasant smell.
  • I didn’t go outside for a couple of days this week, due to my cold, and I may have missed the first violet. When I went out yesterday evening, I found a bunch of partially opened flowers. Were the violets closing for the night or because of the cloudy weather, or had they just started to open? It doesn’t actually matter, so the first violet that I see today is going to get the honor of being First Violet of the Year.
  • Marshall joined the Fishing Club at school. I’m not sure why he suddenly wanted to learn how to fish, but I suspect his grandfather’s influence. This morning he had his first fishing expedition. He says that he didn’t catch any fish, but he had a good time, and that’s what really matters.
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Reading Report: March-Into-April

  • I finished The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Frasier. In this romance, a soon-to-be-divorced woman from Sussex inherits a home in Scotland and sets up a whole new life for herself there, including a job at a the local bookshop. The main male character has some sexual history that’s hard to take (I mean, egads, what was the author thinking?), but if you can get past that and the incessant swearing, the banter is fun and the romance satisfactory. Grade: A-
  • I abandoned Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev. I have it on good authority that this Austen-inspired romance between a neurosurgeon and a chef is worth reading, but I wasn’t grooving on it. The neurosurgeon’s ego was getting on my nerves, and the subplot about her patient, an artist who must choose between death and blindness, was not something I felt like reading about right now (bad timing). Maybe I’ll give the book another try someday. For now, back to the library it goes.
  • Currently reading: D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michel Faber. Also reading Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore. I’m not sure I’m a fan of historical romance, but I did enjoy Dunmore’s Portrait of a Scotsman, so there’s a good chance I’ll like this one, too.
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SITY: Monster Roots

Check out these creepy things I found last week.

Ack, it’s a Cyclops!
Creepy Eyeball Chains
Monster Finger
Sprawling Dead Creature

I found these “monster roots” in a wooded area of my property, along a path that my husband had cleared for me to walk on. Botanical lingo is not my specialty, but I think these are not roots but rather rhizomes. They are thick, growing horizontally, and have roots and stem buds growing from them. They’re not underground, but they ordinarily would have been covered by a layer of leaves.

There are many plants that grow from rhizomes, but these are most likely either Solomon’s seal or false Solomon’s seal. Both plants are known to grow here. Also, Solomon’s seal is so called because of a circular mark (the “seal”) on its rhizome, and all the rhizomes in the pictures above have distinctive circular marks on them.

You’d think that, given the origin of the name, webpages devoted to Solomon’s seal and false Solomon’s seal would feature images of the rhizomes. That is strangely not the case. I found only a few pictures, and I never found a definitive answer as to whether or not false Solomon’s seal also has the mark. A few pages about herbal lore suggested that it does, though.

Most of the rhizomes I found had buds on them. They’re presumably alive and preparing to put up spring shoots, so I may get the opportunity to see what grows from them later. And perhaps I’ll try looking closely at the rhizomes of both Solomon’s seal and false Solomon’s seal–once they start blooming and I can be absolutely sure which is which–to see if there are any obvious differences between them. When it comes to monsters, you need to be able to tell them apart. I mean, you can’t kill a werewolf with a wooden stake or a vampire with a silver bullet. You gotta know your monsters–it could save your life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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