Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s sister Elizabeth, who is visiting her daughter in America. It was taken on the Monticello estate (home of Thomas Jefferson) which is near where her daughter lives. It shows a hotel for insects, and she assures me that there are many insects in this part of the world.
Although it has been chilly and windy lately and the road gritter was out again last night, in general there have been enough sunny spells to keep our spirits up. Today was almost one continuous sunny spell, although it was only 5° when I set out on my bike to do a little training.
Rather than go for a cycle ride, I decided to see if I could cycle up a 1½ mile, 600ft climb twice in a row without wrecking myself. I took the climb at a very steady speed and stopped to take a photo or two with my phone at the top.
Once again, I rolled gently back down the hill, as I am a decidedly cautious descender these days and spurning the chance of a third go at the hill, I rolled on home, having done just under eight miles in almost exactly an hour.
Fortunately Dropscone was soon at hand with some reviving treacle scones and I was very happy to find at the end of the day that my legs were none the worse for the exertion. The point of the training is a cycle event in Cumbria on Monday which is fifty miles and has 3500ft of climbing. I realise that eight miles and 1200ft is a bit on the short side but I haven’t been feeling at my best lately so knowing that I can do some steady hill work is very reassuring.
During the day, I had quite a few strolls round the garden and I paid particular attention to the tulips. Mrs Tootlepedal has some very decorative miniature tulips out at the moment.
I had seen some promising wild garlic, which is an allium, on my walk yesterday and today I saw a tame allium in our own garden.
The plum blossom is looking not too bad either.
Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the morning doing some useful shopping and among other things, came home with a very reasonably priced log splitter from Aldi so we won’t keep having to borrow Liz’s from next door. I split a few logs with it.
In the afternoon, having almost finished the work on the front room, Mrs Tootlepedal turned her attention to the garden. With some modest help from me, she put in our potatoes for the season. I took time out to sieve some compost for her to add to the potato bed and when I was not needed, went off and mowed the gauss round the greenhouse and on the drying green grass.
After a very brief discussion, it appeared that we were both more than happy to turn over the bulk of the front lawn to a wild flower meadow. It lies in the shade for a lot of the day for most of the winter months and is hard to keep up to a good standard. It will be interesting to see if the plan for the mini-meadow works out well.
While Mrs Tootlepedal continued to slave over the potatoes, I took another photographic stroll.
I am mazed that I ever thought that euphorbias were dull.
There is a flourishing rosemary plant beside the greenhouse.
The final picture of this tour was perhaps the fanciest daffodil that we have in the garden.
It was really nice to be out in the garden in the sunshine once more, watching Mrs Tootlepedal at work and if there are two things that I enjoy, they are sieving compost and mowing grass so we were both very cheerful.
I made a trip to the High Street during the morning to get in new supplies of Ethiopian coffee beans and while I was doing that, I called in at one of our art galleries and picked up an object which Mrs Tootlepedal had commissioned from a local potter.
A recent survey claimed that retired Danish ladies are the happiest people in Europe but as I sit at my tidy computer desk, typing this entry in a warm, dry, well lit room, with some economically chopped logs glowing in the stove, I am giving them a jolly good run for their money tonight.
The flying bird of the day is a wide winged chaffinch.