Watered down

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She didn’t have to go far to find this cheerful pieris as it is at her own front gate.

Mary's front garden

We are in no rush to go anywhere or do anything these days, so I had my usual morning routine of a leisurely breakfast followed by a close reading of the newspapers and doing the crossword.  With careful time management and a suitably difficult puzzle, this takes me nicely up to coffee.

It was very cool again and still grey but the wind had dropped a bit so it wasn’t too cold when I went out after coffee to have a look round the garden.

There were a few more flowers out on the drumstick primula….

nearly drumstick primula

…but the tulips were still in a state of suspended animation.

nearly tulip

On the other hand, the scillas don’t seemed to have been upset by the lack of warmth at all.

scilla april

The garden task of the day was shifting some old compost bins.  They are relics of the time when the council was keen to encourage home composting and these bins were available at very reasonable rates.

The two bins in the foreground have been migrated from near the drive to the back corner of the garden to join a rather battered friend.  One of them was promptly used as a home for all the grass sods that we took off the top of the paving stones round the woodshed yesterday and the day before.  Mrs Tootlepedal will dobtless find a use for the other.

three bins

They had been lying unused for a bit but there was still a small amount of good compost at the bottom of one of them and it quickly found its way onto a veg bed.

new compost on veg bed

I went in to make some beef and tomato soup for lunch and by the time that we had had our midday meal, it had started to rain lightly.

Before the rain came, I had seen a hedge sparrow….

dunnock on ground

…and after the rain started, I saw a house sparrow.

sparrow in rain

There was an encouraging trickle of birds back visiting the feeder and we saw a siskin…

siskin april

…and a chaffinch today.

chaffinch swallowing

They were overseen by a pigeon.  I always think that the person who originally designed pigeons must have been an apprentice, as they definitely got the proportion of head and body quite seriously wrong.

doubting pigeon

While the rain was still very gentle, I had a walk round the garden and enjoyed the freshness of the leafs on a Philadelphus, water droplets on foliage…

april garden panel

…and encouraging growth on an espalier apple and the silver pear.

A little more colour was added to the garden scene by a dicentra in the back border.

dicentra back border

The resident blackbird was a bit annoyed when I caught him in an unguarded moment….

blackbird wings splayed

…and returned later on for a full studio pose.

blackbird in filmstar mode

I spent most of the afternoon not going for a cycle ride because it was cold, wet and gloomy.  But I didn’t spend all the afternoon not cycling because I spent quite a lot of time not going for a walk either.

In the end, I watched more birds and was pleased to see a goldfinch…

goldfinch april

…a dunnock, which rudely turned its back on me…

dunnokc watching out

…and a blue tit.

blue tit april

The dunnocks were highly entertaining as there was a lot of furious action as they chased each other round the garden.  We seem to have at least three on the go.  I read on the RSPB website that they have very variable mating habits according to the supply of birds and food.  We may be watching any of the following.

  • A male paired with a female (monogamy)
  • More than one male paired with the same female (polyandry)
  • A male paired with more than one female (polygyny)
  • ‘Pairs’ with two males and two females (polygynandry)

Meanwhile, the jackdaws were pecking at the lawn again.

mottled jackdaw lawn pecking

I did find time to put another parish magazine from 1968 on the the Archive Group website.  Sandy does the scanning and OCR and then formats the HTML so my part of the task is quite simple.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s shrewd purchase of the brisket of beef paid off when it made its third appearance in a row, this time as the basis for a mild coconut flavoured curry on a bed of rice.  It will make its final appearance as cold meat for lunch tomorrow.  Money well spent.

We passed a quiet evening insulated from any bad news by watching Gardener’s World and The Repair Shop.   It was very peaceful.

The sparrow on the feeder below was almost the flying bird of the day but I was half a second too late.

nearly flying sparrow

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Watered down

  1. I think we all need to consider enlarging our veg plots given the acute lack of European fruit and veg pickers due to the lockdown on people entering the UK.
    Some efolks may remember the old wartime slogan “dig for victory”where everybody was encouraged to grow veg and fruit in their backyards and raise a few chickens.
    Who’d have ever imagined we’d return to those days,although imo it would be no bad thing..it might even make us appreciate the food we take for granted a l little more.
    Every cloud and all that😄

  2. I enjoyed all the spring flowers and birds. Your jackdaws must be finding a lot of fat grubs and worms in the lawn.

    Does your dicentra usually bloom this early? It’s a beautiful plant, but I don’t know how well it would tolerate our dry summers.

  3. I enjoy meals that stretch…that brisket has done well. I also enjoy avoiding bad news and am now only listening to the official update everyday at 1pm. From the horses mouth and all that…

  4. Yes, wonderful to see all the flowers and birds. I had no idea that there such variety in the social life of birds. Finally, beautiful, beautiful compost. Few things gladden my heart as much as rich, dark compost.

  5. Lovely selection of garden birds and interesting details from the RSPB…new words to learn …again! I agree with you about the pigeon’s proportions! I like scillas- pretty colour, shape and size!

  6. Oooh. The Repair Shop sounds intriguing, must see if I can find some episodes.

    I do so love being able to see Gardeners’ World on the same day as you, on BritBox.

    I like the idea of using a plastic bin for sod. Wish I had not given my third one away, what a foolish move. Nice compost!

  7. I remember being amazed by the private life of the Dunnock when I read an article a few years ago. They look so respectable but their life is like something out of a Jackie Collins novel. I am told. Never actually read one…well maybe once…

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