Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and makes the point that we are not the only ones with buddleias and butterflies. The painted ladies did not stop at Langholm and have continued north.
As she went off to sing in the church choir this morning, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that when seen from an upstairs window, the front lawn looked good. I checked.
I like to mow in a different direction every time.
We had another lovely day today and the butterflies were about bright and early.
We had a walk round the garden when Mrs Tootlepedal came back from church and I liked the delicate colours of a hosta flower and the salvias.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s new rose has settled in very well. It is a pretty flower and the only thing wrong with it is its name, Rosy Cheeks.
Although I did not go to church, I did have a religious moment during the morning (religion – definition: a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion) when I mowed the middle lawn for the first time after giving it a dose of the fertiliser with alleged magic moss eating properties. The fertiliser part certainly works well and I feel that the moss eating has worked too but we will see whether it has done lasting good when the winter comes.
I then edged the lawn to complete the effect.
We were having a cup of coffee after our walk round the garden when Mrs Tootlepedal surprised me by asking if I felt like a ten mile cycle ride on hilly roads with some rough tracks to negotiate on the way. This is not her usual choice of parcours.
There was a threat of a thunderstorm later in the afternoon but we had time to get round before it was due to arrive so I agreed, and we got our bikes out and set off, having fortified ourselves with a cheese toastie before we left.
It was warm and sunny and we went up the hill to the Moorland Feeders at the Laverock Hide in good order. We didn’t stop at the hide, even though Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a woodpecker as we cycled past, but continued on along the narrow but well surfaced road that took us down to the bridge across Tarras water.
There were things to see as we went along, including some of the first heather in flower, insects on ragwort and wild mint.
Once we had crossed the bridge (which we did when we came to it), we cycled along the flat beside the river for a bit and I kept an eye out for a patch of horsetail which I knew grew somewhere beside the road. When we got to it, it was hard to miss.
It was in very fine form.
When we got to the end of the short flat, we had a steep hill to climb to get up to Cronksbank but we were rewarded with good views of the Tarras Valley…
…and we could soon look down at the little farmhouse on the other side of the river.
Passing through Cronksbank and then Perterburn, we descended very carefully down a bumpy track to the Tarras Water. This time there was no bridge for us to cross and Mrs Tootlepedal fearlessly led the way across the ford.
Local readers may well realise that the picture above is slightly unsatisfactory as Mrs Tootlepedal is clearly cycling back towards Perterburn. This is true and the picture is staged as I missed the first crossing and Mrs Tootlepedal kindly agreed to cycle back and re-enact the crossing.
The road up from the ford has some fine pine trees beside it.
The track from Middlemoss up to the tarmac road across the moor was in much better condition than we expected, and we were able to cycle most of the way up it.
It is steep in places though, and I was happy to stop to take a picture of bee hives, probably put out in anticipation of the heather flowering soon.
The heather is looking quite healthy at the moment but when we stopped to talk to a local naturalist and his wife who were walking on the hill road, he showed me a clump of heather that had been affected by the dreaded heather beetle…and he showed me the larva of the beetle which he shook from a dying plant.
It was interesting to see something about which I had read a lot but which I had never seen before.
It looked as though the forecast rain might be on its way, so we didn’t stay chatting for long but pedalled on towards the White Yett…
…and the welcome sight of the road down the hill back home.
In fact, the forecast rain didn’t arrive until later on in the day and our ride was a great pleasure.
We were not on mountain bikes (Mrs Tootlepedal was on her shopping bike and I was on my road bike) so progress on the bumpy tracks was slow and cautious and the narrow roads on the downhill sections called for a careful approach too, so we took some time to make the circuit but we were still pleased with our progress and thought that we had certainly earned our cup of tea when we got home.
Luckily we were able to watch the Ride London pro cycling event on the telly when we had had our cup of tea and that gave us a good excuse to do very little for the rest of the day. They went a lot faster than we did.
A panorama of the Ewes Valley, taken from the White Yett is the metaphorical flying bird of the day.
41 thoughts on “An unexpected suggestion”
A lot of horsetail in the right place (i.e. not in my garden) looks very good.
My own thoughts exactly. It is a striking plant.
I’m trying to grow some in a pot in our pond because I read that dragonflies like it. Of course, where I want it is the one place it does not want to grow.
I hope it comes right in the end as dragonflies are a bonus in any garden.
Your lawns look absolutely splendid.
A lovely landscape to beckon the cyclist.
It is always good to have an excuse to stop and admire the views on a hilly ride.
I would gladly give you some of our horsetail which is quite abundant. However it doesn’t grow quite as nicely as your picture suggests. Perhaps because I endeavor to pull it where ever it insists on appearing.
It is exceedingly tenacious stuff which is doubtless why it has lasted over the millennia.
The view of the garden from the 2nd floor is beautiful. Enjoyed the photos from your day.
Come winter the moss-eating properties of the fertilizer may be washed out with the rains. Here the winter rains leach out the soil, leaving the surface on the acidic side, something moss loves. If I were more industrious, I would spread lime to correct it, but I am not, so I have a lot of moss in areas..
The winter has the same effect for us so we will wait to see what happens.
A splendid lawn! Well done Mrs. T, fording the stream again, just for our benefit.
She is a good sport.
A nostalgic ride for this correspondent. Sadly, Cronksbank is not as pristine as it was when my maternal grandparents had the tenancy from 1954 to 1972.
Nothing is as it was, sadly.
All your hard work on the lawns has produced a very fine result.
I do like reading and seeing others cycle journeys. well done Mrs TP
She is a very occasional cyclist these days though she did the end-to-end eleven years ago at 50 miles a day at the age of 64.
A beautiful bike ride and a splendid way to spend an Sunday afternoon. Had to look up cheese toastie to see how they differed from grilled cheese. Still not sure. 😉
A bread sandwich with a cheese filling cooked in a double sided grill a bit like a waffle iron. We use the George Foreman grill which our son gave us as gift many years ago. It does a good job.
Thanks for the clarification.
Your garden is looking beautiful, as always, Tom.
Mrs T works very hard.
I think you chequered the lawn. If that horsetail stuff is what Jackie calls mares tails, when we were house hunting she wouldn’t look at anywhere where they were in evidence. How Mrs T suffers for your art!
You certainly don’t want that stuff in the garden. It is impossible to shift.
We have seen it in the pub 200 yards away.
How lovely to have a surprise cycle ride with such perfect company and excellent views. Best view of all though was from your upstairs window- I love symmetry in the garden.
I was bitten by a horsefly near the ford so the ride wasn’t unalloyed pleasure.
Those bites are horrid…hope it gets better soon.
The lawn and gardens are beautiful, as always.
Your horsetails are bigger than ours. They look lush.
I’m glad you didn’t get rained on. The views are beautiful.
I don’t know that I have ever seen horsetail looking quite so luxuriant. It was a surprise.
In an ideal world there would be a beetle that ate horsetail and left heather alone.
Mrs T is very patient with you.
She is and it would be good to have that beetle. Still one good thing is better than none.
Indeed it is.
I have just been reading about the Heather Beetle and the research that is being done on Langholm Moor and the Peak District. Until you mentioned it in this post I knew nothing of this problem.
Apart from the beetle news this was a most enjoyable cycle ride with you and Mrs T.
The beetle is a serious pest but this year most of our heather seems to have escaped so I am hoping for some bonny purple pictures soon.
Gorgeous panaroma, and so very much love your beautiful lawn and gardens. ❤
This is peak lawn month and now we are just waiting for the moss top return. Sigh.
Your lawn is beautifully checked.
Art mowing. 🙂