A man with a plan…and a pan

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin.  He and his wife Gaye (pictured beside the train) spent 18 hours on this train from Salt Lake City to San Francisco.  He tells me that route took them through the Utah Salt Desert, Nevada Desert, and then finally the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was spectacular but the accommodation and food on the train left a bit to be desired. He thinks Gaye was delighted that the journey was finally over.

zephyr train

I spent a very quiet day today, partly because my legs were not in the mood to be co-operative and mainly because the wind blew vigorously and relentlessly all day so it wasn’t an attractive cycling day.

The morning was given over to late rising, a crossword, coffee and a little light mowing of the greenhouse grass.  I wandered about dead heading and looking at flowers.  The poppies continue to surprise me with their tenacity…

four red poppies

…and here and there, bright colours stand out…

four flowers

…though I had to hold the rose’s head up with my hand to get the picture of it.

I found a break in the wind to capture gentian, crocosmia and perennial wallflower.

three flowers

And there were insects about too, although the butterflies were very scarce.

insects on two flowers

The rowan berries are getting very scarce too….

few berries on rowan

…and jackdaws decided that plums were a better bet.

jackdaw on plums

I dug up a couple of leeks and made some leek and potato soup for my lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her monthly Embroiderers Guild meeting and I did a little shopping.  Among the things that I acquired was a pan suitable for making tarte tatin.  My first effort a couple of days ago had no been very successful and not having a suitable pan had not helped.  We have got a good lot of apples about to ripen so I thought that I ought to have another go.

The new pan made things a lot easier but I still slightly overcooked the caramel sauce…

tarte tatin 2nd effort

…and I need to improve my apple packing skills but once again, it didn’t taste too bad and things can only get better with experience.

While the tarte was cooking, I mowed the front lawn and edged both it and the middle lawn.  A neat edge always makes a lawn look better.

When the tarte had come out of the oven, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to recover from her meeting, which had gone very well, and set off to shake a little of the cussedness out of my legs with a two mile walk.  In spite of the strong wind, it was fairly warm and I didn’t need a coat or an umbrella.

I took a familiar route along the track to the Becks Burn and back by the Wauchope road and I passed plenty of fruit and seeds along the way.

becks fruits
Crab apples, unknown seed head , elderberries and rose hips

The rose hips on the hedge roses have really come into their own at the moment and there were flashes of red all along my walk.

These cones and seed heads were near the end of my walk.

cones and seeds

There were some flowers along the way too.

becks flowers

I kept an eye out for fungus but the only example that I saw was this good spread on top of a tree trunk.  I think that these are turkey tails.

becks turkey tails

When I got to the track down to the Becks Burn itself, I was very impressed by this sea of grass, tossing in the breeze.

lush grass becks

By the time that I had crossed the burn and walked up the slope on the far side, the sun had come out so I turned and looked back at the track that I had walked down on the far side of the little valley.

becks track view

And I took a panorama of the bigger picture…

Becks wood view

…which will expand if you click on it.

In the course of my walk, I photographed two gates, one near the beginning in dull light…

becks gate

…and one near the end when the sun was out.

springholm gate

I ended my walk by looking to see if there were any slow worms in their favourite spot at Pool Corner.

There were.

slow worm

And as my sister Susan, likes fuchsias, I took this picture of a really fine specimen just as I came back into the town.

lush fuchsia

I turned the tarte tatin out of the tatin pan when I got back and we had it as pudding after our evening meal.

Even though I hadn’t cycled myself, we were able to watch the highlights of great men cycling furiously in exciting stages of both the Vuelta and the tour of Britain to end my day.  It was quite exhausting just watching their efforts.

The flying bird of the day is a composite of a jackdaw that flapped across the garden in a relaxed way.

flying jackdaw

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “A man with a plan…and a pan

  1. Generally the train would not be this first choice for travel in the US. Rather unfortunate that we don’t really have a choice. It’s either a plane or a car in most cases.

  2. I’m sorry that Gavin and his wife had such a time on the train but unfortunately Amtrak has become known for its substandard service, according to the people I know who have used it.
    The bracket fugus does look like turkey tails. Pleasingly colored ones too.
    I’ve never heard of a tarte tatin so I had to look it up. It sounds delicious and difficult at the same time. I’ve never made caramel.

    1. I used to make a lot of tablet (a kind of fudge) when our children were young but that is a long time ago and I am having to relearn my caramel skills. I was also sorry to hear that Amtrak service is not as good as it should be.

    1. The tubes contain deciduous trees to replace the conifers that were harvested. I don’t think that these will be commercially useful but they may well be a condition that the planting company has to meet if it is to plant conifers elsewhere. People are worried about the lack of biodiversity in commercial conifer plantations.

  3. That’s a big train!
    Lovely photos on your walk and seeing slow worms too- very fortunate. Very tasty looking tarte tatin- I’d have run home from a walk if I knew that was for pudding! The jackdaw composite photo is very relaxing to look at and has movement but nothing is moving- love it!

  4. I believe our politics discouraged any improvements or upgrades to trains so they’re not in the best of shape and quite tedious to deal with. Pity because it would be wonderful to travel across this scenic country without flying or driving. I envy your trains even if they are occasionally a bit delayed.

    1. I am really sorry to hear about the neglect of your railway system. Perhaps it is not too late for someone to look at the situation and improve things.

      1. Sadly we would first have to eliminate the political influence of the oil and gas lobbies who find it to their benefit to keep us driving our autos in order to profit from any remaining remnants of fossil fuels they can extract. I can only hope that we reach a tipping point for the pendulum to swing before it’s too late.

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