I came, I sawed, I conquered

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  It shows that when it comes to Scottish sparrows, a sparrow’s home is its castle.

bruce's sparrow

I am starting this post with a cheat, as it is a picture that I took a couple of day ago but forgot to include in that day’s post.   Mrs Tootlepedal saw a most unusual visitor on the plum and I got there in time  to take its picture.  It is a meadow pipit.  You would expect to see it up on the moor not on the plum tree in our garden, so I thought that it ought to appear on the blog, even if a bit belatedly.

meadow pipit on plum tree

Back to today.

It wasn’t as warm as yesterday by a long chalk and there was no sun about, but it wasn’t raining and we are still happy to count any dry day as a good day, even if it is a bit cold and grey.

Oddly enough, the light outside suited my pocket camera very well, and when I walked round the garden, it picked out some good detail, like the rosemary flower with its tongue out….

rosemary flower

…the emerging leaves on a raspberry cane…

raspberry shoot

…and the tiny fruits on the silver pear.

sliver pear nlossom

I am endlessly fascinated by the lengths that euophorbias go to make themselves interesting.


The recent compost bin reorganisation left Mrs Tootlepedal with some rough mulch on her hands, and she has bestowed it on one of the front hedges which is now well mulched.

mulched hedge

The continuing cool weather is making flowers hesitant to emerge but every day shows a little more progress…

four garden flowers

…and the magnolia is gradually shedding its winter fur coat.

magnolia peeping

Mrs Tootlepedal filled up the third log library shelf and then made a fourth while I sawed up some logs to help fill it up.

The result was very satisfactory and some sweeping up made sure that the flags on the floor of the log shed saw the light of day for the first time for many years.

completed log library

There is a little more sorting and tidying still to be done but it looks as though we will have plenty of time on our hands to do it.

We sat on a bench in front of the espalier apples to rest after our labours, and I was pleased to see the first shoots appearing on one of the apple trees.

firs apple shoot

Across the vegetable garden, the rose shoots on the fence were standing up very straight.

upright rose leaves

I went to the corner shop to collect a jar of honey which the shopkeeper had kindly procured for me and was a bit puzzled when I saw a line of people standing several yards apart from each other in front of the Buccleuch Centre which is currently closed.  The puzzle was resolved when I remembered that a butcher’s van visits the town and parks beside the Centre on a Friday.  I realised that the queue was would be shoppers correctly socially distancing themselves as they waited to buy their pound of mince.

People are taking these things seriously and I had to queue outside the ex-corner shop until it was safe for me to go in.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal took a well earned siesta and I went out for my permitted exercise.  After yesterday’s walk, it was time for a cycle ride today.  The cooler weather and a brisk wind made sure that I was back to being very well wrapped up.  Although the wind helped to get me across the hill and down to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass in good time, it also meant that the trip back up to Langholm on the old A7 was a bit of a battle.

Talking of battles, I noticed as I passed that Hollows Tower had lost the fight against the virus and was closed to visitors.

hollows tower shut

And as it was a grey day, I took a picture of a grey bridge.  It carries the new A7 and is much wider than the camera angle makes it seem

grey bridge auchenrivock

Whether on the cross country roads, the new A7, or the old A7, there was very little traffic about and I enjoyed a peaceful ride.

When I got home, I had another walk round the garden and found the daffodils in a mathematical mood.  They came in squares…

square of daffodils

…straight lines…

line of daffodils

..and triangles.

triangle of daffodils

As I came through to the middle lawn, I saw a jackdaw trying to creep off unobserved…

jackdaw leaving after lawn pecking

…but it was no good, I could see the evidence of savage lawn pecking which it had left behind.

lawn pecking

Checking the news on my phone when I got in, I found that in the midst of the virus mayhem, the government had released a statement saying that they are intending to reduce private motor car travel and increase cycling and the use of public transport.   This is a jaw dropping change of tack for a government and the Ministry of Transport whose only plan for many decades has been to increase roads and road congestion at any cost.  I don’t suppose that it will actually happen, but to have the government even thinking about it must be a good thing.

The non-flying bird of the day is a ‘shopping trip’ goosander having a nap beside the river this morning.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “I came, I sawed, I conquered

  1. Wonderful birdhouse (and expanding log library, of course!). It’s good to hear that people in Langholm are respecting the 2m separation. Our self-isolation period isn’t up until early next week, and I have no idea what to expect when I do get into a grocery store; I am hoping to see well-delineated lines and someone directing traffic in the larger stores.

  2. I’ve noticed a large reduction in traffic here as well but I haven’t seen many more bike riders. Lots more walkers though.
    That’s a fantastic shot of the rosemary blossom and all the rest of the flowers made for a cheering spring post.
    I like your idea for stacking wood. I started stacking wood for my grandmother before I was 10 and have been doing it ever since but I never thought of doing that.

    1. I would have expected to see more walkers about than I have seen here on my walks. I think that the advice about walking has not been very clear.

      We haven’t had a wood burning stove for long and we kept on being given stray logs so our pile got turnedd into a haphazard heap.

  3. I don’t know what hardiness zone you are in but your plants and trees seem right on line with my zone 6 here in southeast Pennsylvania. The flowers in your photos (as well as the streams on your cycling trips) look so clean and crisp. I would guess you are not using a cell phone camera? Also, I love the lone trees you photograph. I would love to know what they are, the old ones with many branches. Those bare branches do them justice. Clearing out and edging garden beds here, plus dividing perennials. Wish this cool weather would last longer.

    1. We seem to be a European hardiness zone 7 as far as I can see, ie not very cold winters but with frosts and not very warm summers. The rivers are very clear at the moment after a good dry spell. I would like to be able to tell you what the trees are but I am not good at tree ID. We need some warmer weather to kickstart growth.

  4. Bruce’s Scottish sparrow house and sparrow made an enjoyable guest photo. The bird looks pleased 🙂

    The spring photos from your area are uplifting. It is good to see Nature’s enthusiastic growth and flowering amid all the chaos of the human element. Your jackdaw has been pecking up a storm!

    Our new mail-order strawberries went in this afternoon. They are small plants, but have good roots. The first asparagus shoots of the spring have been sighted in the neighboring bed.

  5. What your photographs show is that there is always something new and worth looking out for during this period of confinement – those of us with gardens are the fortunate ones. Your photographs of new growth are a joy to look at.

  6. I have sometimes found that the little point and shoot produces the best results; I’m pleased that the butcher can still operate; don’t forget Boris’s Bikes.

  7. Hooray for your government for thinking about ways to reduce private car travel. Keep us posted! In Maine, we have the Department of Transportation, but as far as I can tell, it is is for one thing only—private motor vehicles. Wonderful picture and description of the emerging magnolia.

  8. It’s interesting to read how the virus is impacting people in other parts of the world. Let’s all stay safe and healthy!! Thanks for the humor in your blog post title!!

  9. Maybe you were a maths teacher seeing shapes in your flower beds! Such a feeling of satisfaction when things get tidied up- I don’t get it very often- but I hope you and Mrs T feel it after all your work. Your garden is already brimming with loveliness and it’s only March!

  10. Fine looking mulch and daffodils. Over here, there is huge anxiety about shopping and most of our friends, at least the old folk, are trying to avoid it. The odd (and good) thing is that so far there are no confirmed cases in our county (and there has been some testing) so the shopping anxiety feels sort of surreal.

  11. I cannot think when I saw a goosander last, I used to see them regularly. It seems the reports I have read in the press that climate change is driving them further north is correct. I must say I miss them, they are lovely birds. I used to love watching them fishing the river in a group consisting of an adult and a creche of youngsters. Great stuff to see. Cheers.

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