(1939-12-02) Fifth Year Herbology: Chomping Cabbage
Details for Fifth Year Herbology: Chomping Cabbage
Summary: Professor Beery introduces the Fifth Years to the care and feeding of the Chinese Chomping Cabbage, a biting magical plant.
Date: 2 December 1939
Location: Greenhouse, Hogwarts

Hattie is in her element in the third greenhouse, her misting pump open for her partner to pour the solution into. Insert crude commentary here. "Just make sure its runny. But not too runny."

Abraxas is, on the other hand, hopeless at herbology. Too much dirt for his manicured fingernails and all that. But since he finds Wilkins to be tolerable, and good at this subject, he's her partner for the day, and helps pour the solution in. "Juuuust runny enough, I think."

The door opens, and Professor Beery enters, "Alright, class! Gooooood afternoon." He makes a little gesture, bringing his arms to the middle of his chest and then throwing them out to full length as he moves to the front center of the greehouse, strategically positioned in a beam of light from above. "Ah, fifth years! Today, we will look at the care and feeding of the Chinese Chomping Cabbage. You will find bundles of carrots under your benches! Please wear your gloves - they do nip!"

Hailey lurks towards the back of the class - eyeing the chomping cabbages with uncertainty. Plants that can bite you are rather… strange. Why are there so many of them in the wizarding world, and how come Muggles never run into them, she wonders? She reaches for a pair of gloves, tugging them before taking a position by one of the cabbages. …which she proceeds to taunt with a carrot, letting out a laugh as it snaps ineffectually where a carrot had once been.

Hattie already has her gloves on— because everything in here seems to bite, and she's such a little apple polisher anyway. Pulling up the carrots, she says, "Go on, Malfoy," she encourages. "Its only a little one!"

"Easy for you to say…" Abraxas says, as he pulls on his supple dragonskin gloves. Strange how his manage to not get dirty. He picks up a carrot and looks at the chomping cabbage, "Well, that looks harmless enough…" He stars to put the carrot, point first, into the cabbage's spreading maw.

"While these cabbages are rather small…" Professor Beery says, holding up his thumb and forefinger together to indicate smallness, "They can grow quite large, especially in their more temperate native climates. So, it is better to feed the carrot sideways." He turns his fingers to so indicate. "That way your hand isn't in the way. Now, which one of you budding healers can tell me the major use of the chomping cabbage?"

Abraxas pulls his hand back at the mention of being in the line of fire. He coughs and turns the carrot sideways, "Six more months of this…" he opines to Hattie, sotto voce. "Well, for me, at least."

Oscar has green blood, which no longer is green with envy. He had a rough patch last year, but is back and focused and read to take O.W.L.s head on and with a smile. A soft chuckle and a nod to the professor is given, the professor's theatrics always puts him in a good mood. As he slides on his gloves and brings the basket of carrots up onto the workbench surface he gives the top of the cabbage an affectionate stroke. "Lunch time. Hmm, I think I will name you Zen." Once the petting has his cabbage rustling at the edges of its leaves like horse lips wiggling about similarly for a carrot Oscar taunts the vegetable with the carrot long enough for it to open it's green mouth wide and with a light toss the carrot lands perfectly and the cabbage munches away. "Professor, how difficult is it to import these from China? Especially now with the Muggle War going on?" He's letting someone else answer the question.

Hattie murmurs aside, "All that space in your family gardens, and all for your gardeners. Really, Malfoy!" She pokes her hand up energetically, and says, "Is it Bone-growing solutions for healers, Professor? Skele-gro I think is the most readily commercially available formulation."

After a few moments teasing her cabbage, Hailey turns her carrot sideways, and lets the cabbage snatch it up. "I think it might also be used in a wound-cleaning potion," Hailey offers. "Not that I'd have any experience using, uh, a potion like that," the girl adds, not that anyone will believe her.

"Brava, Miss Wilkins, correct!" Beery says, with a little golf clap and a big, toothy smile. "And as Miss Forrester notes, it has other uses as well." The Professor next looks to Oscar, and says, "Like many magical plants, it's grown all over the world. Including right here, in our own greenhouse, provided you take good care of my crop!"

Abraxas grumps at Hattie, "I leave the gardening to others with more time and inclination." As he's talking, he leans a bit too close to the cabbage, and it chomps down on the reinforced gauntlet of his glove. Malfoy mutters something unkind and yanks his arm away, "Shush, you." he says, to the cabbage, "Here, have another carrot."

Hattie seems to zero in on Hailey's comment with a great deal of interest. Friendly interest! Any HINT that someone else is on the healer track and she is like a fuzzy-haired bloodhound. She pulls a carrot out of the bucket, and fearlessly stuffs the magical kimchi-to-be with its snack. What a bite its flavor will have! "Does it like the same environment, though, growing wild as an ordinary cabbage might? Granted it might be almost fully domesticated within a few more generations. Mine at home is pinkish."

Oscar offers helpfully over to Abraxas, "If you give the stalk at the base a gentle but firm squeeze it will open its mouth." The grin across his face is one of high amusement, if it's seeing Abraxas getting chomped on or the chance to be helpful it's hard to tell. "Of course Professor. I was curious because true Chinese - Chinese Chomping Cabbages can be sold for more because they are 'more authentic'. Curious as to the exchange rate and checks and balances in the worth of the trouble of importing the cabbages versus peddling the home grown." See, green in his blood, Herbology is his life's work and he's rather unabashedly geeking out about it.

Oh, Hailey has no real plans on being a healer. More likely, she'll be in frequent need of their services. "So - these couldn't survive here in our native climate? Or anywhere on the British Isles?" Hailey asks, as she offers her plant another carrot. "…I still don't really understand how things like this and dragons and the like can exist out in the wilds." And Muggles not happen across them, constantly.

"Some of you may not have noticed, but the environment here is cold during the winter months." Beery says, with a laugh, "Which shortens the growing season somewhat. On the other hand, Scotland gets many hours of sunlight, and if you go further north, say, to Norway, it stays light almost all day in the summertime. That means that certain plants - such as cabbages - will grow to outrageously stupendous size naturally. Cabbages of Unusual Size! And without growth spells. But they won't be able to survive the frost, and you'll need to feed them with a bushel basket. So, it's a balancing act, and the increase in size can impact the potency and other variables. You'll learn more about that from Professor Slughorn when he discusses how to use what we grow here in potionmaking. For the most part, where it's grown won't matter, but magic doesn't work in absolutes."

Abraxas just looks like he wonders why there's all this fascination with cabbage. As far as he's concerned, it's the first stage in making magical cole slaw. He nods to Oscar at the advice, but just keeps a bit further back from now on so that he doesn't get chomped on again.

Oscar laughs at the professor's joke about the local climate. "Oh yes professor, I think we've noticed." Chortle, chortle. Oscar is on his third carrot with his own cabbage and the little chomper is getting quite content and full. Taking the opportunity then to side step over to a fellow yearmate that's worse off than Abraxas and helps him with his technique.

Hattie smiles at Oscar in a way that is appreciative about the geeking out— a fellow phytophile! She gets down with the cabbage, and holds onto the knob of the carrot as the cabbage bites it, peering so she can get a good, but risky look at its dentition. "Its stronger than the fanged gardenia…"

Hailey sates her own cabbage - then reaches out to try to pet the strangely vicious plant along the 'top' of its cabbage head - such as the thing seems to have a 'top' that isn't covered in gaping maw and teeth. It twists its head around to try to get at her. "Do they only feed on other vegetable matter, Professor?"

Beery looks to Hailey at the question, "The Chinese Chomping Cabbage prefers carrots as its meal. However, in the coming months, we will move on to self-fertilizing plants, which are that way because they consume meat." He waggles his expressive eyebrows, "You will /definately/ want to wear your gloves for that!"

Abraxas is far less enamored of the plant than Hattie, but he bravely glances over her shoulder - once chomped, twice shy. "So, no feeding the firsties to this one, eh?" he jokes. Probably only certain firsties anyway.

Oscar shakes his head, "No, not these ones, they are too small, the five year old ones could." Deadpan. So much deadpan that the boy he was helping lets out a Wilhelm Screem when his Cabbage gives a gnashing chomp right at the perfect time. Oscar manages to keep a straight face, even through out that. Only when he's heading back to his workbench does he crack a smile and softly snicker-giggle. "If you are wearing the right gloves you really can't feel the chomp if it lands. Just use the pinching trick I was talking about and it really is nothing to worry about."

Hailey can't help herself - at Oscar's quip, and the boys scream, she lets out a laugh. She then moves on to start feeding the next ravenous beastie. "Really, life would be much more interesting with these sprouting up all over the place."

Hattie wrinkles her nose though at the prospect of -harder- fertilizer!

"And with that for you all to reflect on, go ahead and return your cabbages, and that will be it for today." Beery says, "For next week, please read chapter seventy-six and be prepared to discuss the techniques discussed therein." He brings both hands to his lips and then spreads them out again as he bows to the class, "Adieu, Adieu."

Hattie elbows Malfoy in the side gently. "See? That wasn't so bad. You didn't even lose a digit! Now all we have to do is grip it by the base of the pot…" she says as it gnaws on her sleeve fabric. "They are very nice-looking, actually, when they're restive… Thank you, Professor!"

"No, I didn't. Though I consider not losing a digit to be rather the default state of affairs." Abraxas says, with a glance at the cabbage, then he turns it around so the mouth faces outward before he lifts it up by the base at arms length and carries it back to the long rows of plants in the greenhouse.

Hailey likewise picks up her own plant, not seeming to mind when it mouths at her. What's a little love-bite after all? Besides - it's only getting her robes. "Well. That was a little more lively than usual. Made a nice change."

Oscar stays behind to help tidy up or help people get un-chomped. Pleasant with everyone and anyone he bids those leaving, "See you around. That was fun, wasn't it? Don't forget to put your basket back underneath or they'll gorge. When hungry enough, they'll hop!"

Hattie says, "They like lively. Fair to do their own little kick line for potato parings if you sound really excited about it. Foxhall, you should play your guitar for them sometime!" She trots off, pulling her gloves for the wash trough outside in the cold.

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