Today’s picture shows three of Dropscone’s relatives on Gavin’s recent wet holiday. For security reasons I cannot tell you which ones are the relatives.
Once again, in spite of very wet weather elsewhere, we had a pleasant sunny day today, this time with no passing showers at all. Following the doctor’s prescription to take a little more exercise, I got the speedy bike out and while Mrs Tootlepedal went to sing in the church choir, I pedalled up the A7. I chose the route carefully so that the uphill, into the wind section came first as I didn’t want to end up struggling after a little extra mileage.
The weather was warm enough to tempt me into the cycling shorts and I felt particularly happy as I cycled up the Ewes valley, one of my favourite routes for scenery getting a light tan on my right knee. (The left one got the tan on the way back.)
I was not quite sure how far I would go but when I got to the head of the valley, I stopped at Fidleton Toll rather than climb up the hill to Mosspaul. I was a little tired so I paused to take a few pictures before setting off back down to Langholm.
This is the bridge over Ewes Water at Fiddleton.
I was pleased to be able to hide a large electricity pylon behind a tree in both of these pictures.
The pedal back down the gentle hill with the wind behind was most enjoyable and although 16 miles is not very far, at least it is a bit further than I was going last month. Sadly the forecast for the next few days is for much more rain so I don’t see myself repeating this outing for a while.
The warmer weather of the past week has seen most of the siskins and goldfinches desert the bird feeder and I am left looking mostly at sparrows….
…with the odd large bird from time to time.
I have moved the water tray a little further down the post in an effort to stop these big birds eating me out of house and home.
The lack of birds fighting for seat at the feeder has also made it more difficult to catch flying pictures without wasting a lot of time at the kitchen window.
The number of sparrows may be explained by what seems to be a second wave of arrivals of young ones. There are young jackdaws about too but they haven’t been obliging enough to pose for a portrait.
I took yet another picture of the roses which are most affected by the rain to show them at their best before more rain starts again tomorrow.
I made good use of the fine weather by mowing the middle and front lawns during the morning and the drying green later in the day. The lawns have just got dry enough to mow without the grass collection box on the mower which makes the task a lot simpler and quicker. I have got them looking quite good and I am hopeful that the forthcoming rain won’t ruin them again.
I sieved some compost and made some more top dressing for the middle lawn. It is not something that I have ever used before but since the lawns, like me, are getting a bit old and tired, it is probably a good idea to give them a bit of new life. It certainly seems to have worked on the bits that I have put it on.
I took a picture or two of the flowers in the garden in between mowing.
I was out in the garden when I heard a strange buzzing noise outside the front gate and went to investigate.
Our section of the dam runs between concrete banks and doesn’t need so much tending. I raised my eyebrow at standing knee deep in water while using an electrical tool but Liz assured me that she was taking great care. If you think it looks as though she has missed a bit, she has gone round a patch of wild flowers.
Then it was time for general misery as Andy Murray couldn’t get the better of Roger Federer at Wimbledon. I watched in a sporadic sort of way as I find tennis gets a bit boring after an hour or so even when the national hero is playing. It is wearing feeling the intense concentration that modern players have to put into their high level tennis with long rallies over four or five sets.
I went out to be entertained by a frog and a heavy footed pond skater.
After the tennis had finished, Mrs Tootlepedal suggested that we should raise the first potato of the year. I was keen to open one of my sacks but upon investigation, it seemed to be very dry at the bottom so we sealed it up again and I put a good splash of water on the plants. We went instead to the more conventional potato bed.
Things looked good.
The crop of the first plant was quite satisfactory for so early in the year and what made it better was that there were no slugs in the potatoes.
Following a tip from a gardening programme, Mrs Tootlepedal has put some some decoy unwanted old potatoes to draw off the slugs. It will be very good if it works. The potatoes tasted good for tea.
There were one or two siskins about during the day and one just made it into flying bird of the day before it flew off.