Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. It shows some early peach blossom.
We were promised wall to wall sunshine today by the forecasters with some confidence so it was disappointing to get up to a cloudy day with the standard chilly wind. Still, it didn’t rain and I was able not only to have a walk round the garden, after coffee with our Archive Group treasurer Nancy, where I could enjoy the first tulip bulb of spring…
…but I was also able to get the mower out, and while Mrs Tootlepedal slaved over a hot computer again, I gently pressed the moss on the middle lawn.
Grass had been growing through the moss though and I took quite a lot off. This should encourage more grass growth, I hope. The light green patch at the far end of the ‘lawn’ is solid moss.
As well as the mowing, I did some more compost sieving and when Mrs Tootlepedal came out and attacked a buddleia….
…we shredded the cuttings and I put my share into compost Bin A and Mrs Tootlepedal used her share as mulch for one of her hedges.
I noted that we are at the start of the days of the daffodils now.
After lunch, we drove up on to the Langholm Moor.
Mrs Tootlepedal hoped to see a hen harrier and we did see one. It was hovering over the hill rather too far away for even my long lens to get a good shot of it.
I hoped to see goats and we saw lots. In fact we had to be careful not to run them over as they were right beside the road.
A little kid had a drink…
…and a bigger kid gave me a look…
…and an older goat with a stunning kiss curl gave me a profile.
Some of the wild goats looked wilder than others.
Although these are genuinely feral goats, they are neither aggressive or afraid and they munched away quite happily as I took my pictures.
We left the goats and motored on across the Tarras Water and up to the county boundary.
Looking back I could see the monument….
…and looking down to the Solway, shining in the distance, I could see the past and present of power generation. On the near shore, I could see the now defunct Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station which I passed on my bike a couple of days ago, and very faintly behind the chimneys in the middle of the firth, I could just make out the rows of turbines of the Robin Rigg wind farm, currently making power in the brisk wind.
We didn’t stop at 1000ft for long as the wind was chilly and we soon headed back down to the shelter of the Tarras valley, where we parked the car and went for a walk.
I checked out the wall behind the car park and found that it was rich with lichen.
We had been along this road not long ago in a howling gale so it was a big improvement to walk along it today, well sheltered from the breeze.
There was less water running down the Tarras and this suited the little cascades down which the river proceeds in leaps and bounds.
We strolled along, serenaded at times by flocks of meadow pipits, for about a mile and a half until,we came to this point, where after a look further up the valley…
…we turned for home. We had the breeze behind us now, and as the sun came out, it felt positively spring-like as we went back down the valley to the car, passing little gullies…
…and tenacious trees.
When we got back to the car park, I went forward to take a picture of the road bridge that we would cross to get home…
…and as I looked at the bridge, I could see that the goats were still on the road beyond it.
Once again, they were happy to hang about for a photo opportunity….
…which I took.
Although it was only a short drive and a short walk, it had been a very satisfactory outing and we were well satisfied as we sat down for a cup of tea when we got home.
Mrs Tootlepedal prepared a chicken cacciatore for our tea and while it was cooking, Evie and her mother Annie gave us a video call. If the world had been better organised, we would have been going to London by train today to visit them, so this was a welcome substitute for a real meeting.
The chicken turned out very well and we felt that with a good gardening morning and a successful outing in the afternoon, we hadn’t done too badly at all in spite of not going to London.
There were very few garden birds about and I was lucky to find this chaffinch willing to be the flying bird of the day.