Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba where they really know how to have a winter. Her picture shows her cat contemplating the hard life that a rabbit has when it has to scratch up the snow in order to find a blade or two of grass.
Although we have still got two days to go until the winter solstice arrives, the days still seem pretty short so it was a blessing to get a brighter day after yesterday’s pervasive gloom. Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day relating to her volunteering activities at the Buccleuch Centre but I idled about, drinking coffee and doing the crossword until I finally managed to get myself and my bicycle out onto the road.
In fairness, I was waiting for a text message to say when a parcel would be delivered. They very kindly offered me a one hour slot for delivery but took four hours to tell me when that one hour slot would be which wasn’t entirely helpful. On the plus side, it did give me time to stare out of the window in the hope of seeing some birds.
Things were very quiet again with a lone bashful goldfinch on the feeder and a single pensive chaffinch on the plum tree.
But there was more action after a while and a small flock of goldfinches flew in…
…soon to be joined by some chaffinches.
I was hoping to catch a flying bird of the day at last but the goldfinches taunted me by doing their flying behind the feeder…
…and the chaffinches got in each other’s way.
The message about the parcel came at last and showed that I had time for a pedal so I pedalled.
It was around 6°C but the wind was light and there was even a promise of some blue sky ahead…
..though it was still grey on the top of Callister where the workers on the new Solwaybank windfarm were busy…
…preparing for the arrival of the turbines. They are currently pouring concrete for the bases but I read on their website that the turbines are not due until mid summer 2019 so I shall stop craning my neck to see if they have arrived yet every time I go past.
By the time that I had got to the bottom of the far side of Callister I could see a hint of sunshine at Crowdieknowe…
…and as I went along the road towards Gair, passing good looking trees…
…I found myself bathed in the weak sunshine which is all you can expect at this time of year,
I expect that the sheep were grateful too.
A clump of gorse certainly looked very cheerful.
Once I had got to Kirkpatrick Fleming and had turned for home, the sunlit beech hedges along the road were adding a welcome touch of colour to my trip.
I stopped to admire the very severe haircuts which the council men have given to the shrubs in the graveyard at Half Morton…
…and took a little breather going up my last hill to enjoy the colour of the trees beside the busy main road.
Although it was only early afternoon when I got back, the light was already fading and this was the best that I could do to capture a welcome late visit from a robin
We also had visits from a coal tit, a blue tit and a collared dove. This was cheering but there were still very few birds about in total and those that came didn’t linger so I am beginning to think that sparrowhawk activity might be a factor in our current bird scarcity.
My parcel arrived on time and that was the high spot of the rest of the day as by now it was almost dark. Indeterminate indoor activity saw me through the unforgiving winter hours.
We had home grown turnips and potatoes with our tea. This is not exactly self sufficiency but it is very satisfying none the less.
Mrs Tootlepedal has gone out to a well deserved small celebration of the work of the volunteers at the Buccleuch Centre as I write this so I shall take the opportunity to do a little singing practice while she is out.
I could only manage a very blurry flying bird of the day but any bird in the blog is better than none.
Tra la la.