Cracking walnuts

Today’s picture is of George. He is cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in what can only be described as inhospitable conditions. He told me that he was looking forward to the challenge of cycling to Edinburgh today. I was speechless (for once).


He was a bit under-equipped for the weather so I lent him my second best waterproof shoe covers and a pair of serviceable gloves. Mercifully, the wind isn’t directly against him and will probably help him tomorrow.

It was such a foul day that we didn’t even contemplate going for a pedal in the morning so Arthur, Dropscone and  I convened in the kitchen for coffee and scones and conversation instead.

Just before they came, I took some pictures of very damp birds.

wet greenfinch

I have put a few more on Picasa at

You can see them there if you have time to spare.

The jackdaws have got very smart at prising off the top of the container which has the lard balls in so I wired it shut yesterday. Today when I looked out, they had forced the bottom off instead so that all the lard balls fell out. These two dim sparrows don’t seem to have realised this.

dim sparrows

The wet conditions didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the siskins and chaffinches for a square go.

siskin chaffinch

By lunchtime, the rain had stopped although the wind was if anything, stronger. This brought a lot of birds out and I noticed the curiously marked sparrow which I had seen last week.

curious sparrow

In the strong drying wind, it didn’t take long for the birds to dry out.

dry sparrow

The trees in the garden were swaying frantically in the wind and the plum tree lost several small branches. I was worried about the walnut tree because of the violent movement.

windy walnut

By the end of the day, Mrs Tootlepedal noticed that one of the branches had been split.

walnut cracking

We sawed the end off but will wait for milder days to saw the whole branch off. I saw that the dam at the back of our house was running very full….

full dam

…so I took the camera into town to look at the rivers.

full wauchope
The Wauchope
full esk
The Esk

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and I put another week of the E & L into the database. When I had done that, I got the battery operated hedge trimmer out and tried to clip the hedge along the road. Sadly, the rechargeable battery had not enjoyed being left all winter with no action and although it was charged, it didn’t have enough oomph to cut the hedge. I put it away and got the hand shears out and gave the hedge a rough and ready trim manually.


This is the honeysuckle that you can see at the end of the hedge.


In the early evening, the wind settled down a bit and the birds took advantage of the better weather to descend on the feeder. A siskin and a chaffinch began an intricate dance in the air.

flying siskin flying chaffinch 1

flying siskin flying chaffinch 2

Those four shots were taken in the same minute. On the lard ball container (with its bottom replaced), the sparrows showed fighting form too.

When the siskin had had its fill of the sunflower seed, the chaffinches lined up to have their go.

My flute pupil, Luke came in the evening and showed that he had been practising. It is pleasing to see him make steady progress. Because I haven’t had anyone to teach for years, I had forgotten how hard it is to learn stuff when you are young.There is a temptation to think that just because you are old and know it all, everyone else should know it too.

As I write this, the wind has calmed down a bit but the forecast is telling us that it will rise again overnight. Mrs Tootlepedal’s plants have taken a terrible bashing already and it is to be hoped that the garden can survive another windy day because the wind-speed is supposed to drop a good deal on Wednesday. I have just had a look at the news on the telly and it seems that we have got off pretty lightly here so perhaps I shouldn’t complain. No, I will complain. It was quite alarming here in the middle of the afternoon.

As a matter of interest, I looked at a picasa album of our garden in late May and June last year and it shows that it has been a really early spring this year.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

4 thoughts on “Cracking walnuts

  1. You must have had a lot of rain unlike us, thanks for the photos. Cheeky jackdaws, breaking and entering, I hope they have got their comeuppance!

    Wonderful birds and flowers.

    You don’t say about the leaky wall so I hope there wasn’t disaster.

  2. It was all harmony and sharing on my bird feeder this morning; I watched some parent sparrows picking out peanuts and feeding them to their little ones who sat waiting on the branch next to the feeder with their mouths open. It was sweet.

  3. Last Friday afternoon, after very carefully checking that there were no camera lenses pointing my way, I walked past your garden and noticed the Honeysuckle starting to show its blooms. Thank you for the photo.

    Have you seen any wrens yet?

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