Today’s guest picture comes from Anne, my cello playing friend Mike’s wife, who came across a very odd looking bird at her daughter’s bird feeder. I would like to see red squirrels in our garden.
It was one of those days when it was hard to get some satisfactory organisation into my outdoor life thanks to a very indifferent weather forecast. One thing the forecast did get right was the strong wind which, with frequent gusts at 30 mph, was quite enough to stop me cycling.
But it couldn’t work out when it was going to rain and in the end, it didn’t rain at all.
This was a bit disappointing in two ways.
Firstly because if you don’t do something because it is going to rain and then it doesn’t rain, then it means that you feel a little foolish.
Secondly, because the post brought me a great treat in the shape of a gift from Mary Jo from Manitoba…
….a genuinely scientific rain gauge which was no use to me on a day when it didn’t rain.
However, I am reasonably sure that it will come into its own quite soon.
Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day in the garden, determined to do as much as possible before it rained and as it didn’t rain, she did a lot.
I did a bit. I mowed two lawns during the day and picked beans, an onion, spinach and courgettes to make some more green soup.
I took some pictures too.
We had some sunny spells and it was warm enough to make being out in the garden a pleasure.
There is a lot of yellow crocosmia waiting to come out round the garden and the first flowers have just appeared.
The French marigolds which are protecting the carrots from carrot root fly are worth having just for themselves.
There is plenty of productivity to be seen among the doddering dillies and the rowan berries.
Among the tasks that Mrs Tootlepedal accomplished was the first clipping of the remodelled chicken.
It has been a patient process. It looked this in 2016…
…and then like this after some drastic surgery in April 2017. …
…and then like this in August 2017.
Mrs Tootlepedal plays a long game.
She also trimmed this year’s growth on some of the espalier apples, revealing a good crop of fruit.
This led to a lot of shredding and we had to put an extra couple of sections onto compost Bin A to stop it overflowing.
While I was making the soup, I watched the birds. They seem to be fully recovered from the soaking they got a day or two ago…
…but this hasn’t improved their behaviour. After chaffinches kicking greenfinches and greenfinches kicking chaffinches, we got greenfinch versus greenfinch today.
When the rain held off after lunch, I went for a walk.
Even after the rain showers that we have had since the weekend, there is still very little water in our rivers….
…though the water has turned a little browner than usual.
I walked up the road to the the Auld Stane Brig and then went back home by way of Gaskell’s and Easton’s walk.
There was not much moss and lichen to see after the dry spell but there was plenty to catch the eye as I went along.
And if I got peckish, I could find wild raspberries to keep me going.
They were delicious.
I know enough now to expect to find different patterns on the back of ferns.
It looks as though there will be a good crop of sloes and acorns this year.
It wasn’t hard to spot insects on the flowers beside the tracks.
There were quite a few wasps about.
When I got near the end of my stroll, I went down to the Esk to see of the family of oyster catchers was still about. They had morphed into two gulls.
They look like two juvenile lesser black backed gulls to me but I may need correcting by knowledgeable readers.
Mrs Tootlepedal was still hard at work in the garden when I got back so I did a bit of hedge clipping to help. Mrs Tootlepedal is gradually reducing both the width and the height of the box hedges round the front lawn and this is a very labour intensive job. The hedges recover remarkably well from this rough treatment.
I hope for more sun and less wind soon as I need to get some cycling miles in.
I did a little work updating the Langholm Walks website. Langholm has been officially accredited (by an official accreditor) as a walking friendly town and I have added a note of this to the website.
The flying bird of the day is one of our many greenfinch visitors.