Today’s picture, sent to me by Dropscone’s niece, shows her daughter thoroughly enjoying the Monticello Trail.
After the excitement of Langholm’s Great Day yesterday, I was in relaxed mood and spent the morning in idle pleasure, wandering around the garden and sitting down in equal proportions once I had visited our local producer’s market to get some provisions.
Although the garden is on the turn, it still has many treats for a man with a camera.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s row of sunflowers is coming along nicely but they are annoying her by resolutely refusing to turn their faces to the sun in the approved manner.
They are supposed to be visible from the road but keep facing east. I’m enjoying them, even if passers by are getting no benefit.
The warm weather has kept the delphiniums going at full blast…
…and the runner beans are growing at such a rate that a steeplejack will be required when it is time to pick them.
I picked the gooseberries which have produced a modest crop. They are very delicious to eat (luckily Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t care for raw gooseberries) and those too small or too unripe will shortly be making an appearance in a dish of gooseberry fool.
The rambler roses continue to delight the eye.
We were visited by a jackdaw which made a good contrast to our smaller regulars.
The general supply of garden birds is much reduced and I am only having to fill the feeder once a day and sometimes not even that.
After lunch, I pulled myself together and got the speedy bike out. After a lovely sunny morning, the clouds were looking threatening and heavy rain was forecast so I contented myself with a 3 x 7 mile dash up and down the road to Wauchope School and back. I took my little camera but I concentrated so hard on the pedalling that I forgot to use it.
When I got back, Sandy came round and we went up to the Moorland Bird Feeders to see what we could see. The moorland is showing a rich range of yellow, brown and green colours at the moment.
We didn’t have to wait long for the inevitable woodpecker to put in an appearance….
…and we also didn’t have to wait long before it started to rain. It looked very gloomy and we packed up and headed back to the town. By the time we got there, the rain had stopped (of course) so we drove through the town and up on to the moor to see if any harriers were about.
They appeared even more promptly than the woodpecker and this time, the rain held off so we enjoyed half an hour of harrier watching.
As far as I could see, the birds were mostly the young from the nearby nest site and didn’t venture very high into the sky. I wasn’t able to get very good shots but I’ve included a small set of pictures just to record their presence. The birds rose and fell from behind the crest of the ridge, sometimes singly…
…but more often in groups of two or three or more.
The moorland managers are putting out food for the harriers and we could see them swoop down to pick it from the feeding posts and take it back up with them. This was too indistinct for my camera to pick out and I had to wait until they were up in the sky.
Since the rain was holding off, the call of the lawn mower became too loud to ignore and we waved goodbye to the birds…
…and headed for home.
There I mowed the drying green and the grass round the greenhouse. I have been looking at this grass for some days and wondering why Mrs Tootlepedal was letting it grow so long and it turned out that she has been looking at it and wondering the same about me. The result was that it was extremely hard work to cut and I had to leave the middle lawn for another day. I might have gone out later to do it but it started to rain which gave me a good excuse for doing the crossword instead.
We had the first carrots of the season, along with turnips, beans and potatoes from the garden for our tea. Looking at other people’s gardens and allotments, we will not be the only ones enjoying a bit of home food at the moment in this fine spell of weather. The food tastes all the sweeter after the two horrible summers we have had previously when home grown produce was hard to find.
The flying bird of the day was a domestic chaffinch in the morning sunshine.