No change

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba.  She went for a little toot in her plane today, and as she flew south of Riding Mountain National Park, she saw these patterns from last year’s harvest. She said, “This is the kind of farmland that I think you’d have to be crazy, desperate, or both, to farm. You’d get dizzy driving around the sloughs.”

Mary Jo's farming picture

One day in the lockdown here is very much like another and the discerning and patient reader may have noticed a distinct similarity between one post and another recently.   There will be no change in that pattern today.

It was a day with little in the way of distinguishing features.  It was cold and windy when we got up and there was even a little annoying drizzle in the air,  annoying because it was undoubtedly wet, but also not nearly wet enough to do the garden any good at all.

The run of chilly mornings means that things are very much on hold so there was nothing new to photograph in the garden, with perhaps a slight increase in the number of flowers on the white rhododendron…

white rhododendron

…and the merest hint of a flower opening on an aquilegia.

aquilegia not coming out

But that was it.  (Sadly there were quite a few tulips to dead head.)

We did have the socially distanced street coffee morning where slices of farmhouse sultana cake were consumed without complaint, but it ended early with claims of frozen fingers.

Mrs Tootlepedal dug up a potentilla growing beside the dam behind the house.  It was past its best and I turned most of it into useful compost by putting it through the shredder.

It was still cold and both Mrs Tootlepedal and I had tasks to do indoors so the garden was left to fend for itself.

I did find time to look out of the window and was cheered up by the presence of a colourful redpoll doing some semi pro posing in the drizzle.

redpoll posing

In fact there was more than one redpoll, the first that I have seen of them for six weeks.

They were flying in all directions.

flying redpolls

They are tiny birds, very similar to siskins and not afraid to tell a siskin where to go.

redpoll shouting at siskin

We were visited by rooks too.

rook in garden

After lunch, things brightened up a bit and I went for a cycle ride.  The wind from the east was cold and occasionally gusty but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the outing.

Fresh leaves on trees lift spirits…

trees near ryehill

…and I was impressed to see this considerable growth on a tree that had been blown over.

fallen tree in leaf

I was on a well tried route through Canonbie and the relentlessly mowed verges didn’t hold much interest so I stopped at the little wood beside Hollows bridge…

hollows wood

…to see if the inhabitants were still there.

They were.

statues hollows 2

There is quite a little community of them.

statues hollows

Last time I came this way, I took a picture in bright sunlight which showed the leaves of silverweed near the bus stop well but didn’t do justice to the flowers.  Today’s light caught the flowers but took all the silver out  of the leaves.

silverweed flowers

The are a lot of bluebells dotted along the roadside and this patch beside the old road is what remains of a magnificent bluebell wood before the building of the new road changed things.

bluebells old A7

I incorrectly identified some Jack by the Hedge as Pyrenean Valerian recently so I was happy to see some real Pyrenean Valerian getting ready to come out beside the river near the end of the bike path today.

pyrenaean valerian

A little further on, I saw  this development on a young larch tree.  Cones in the making.

larch flowers

When I got back to Langholm, the weather was cheerful enough to encourage me to go another three miles north of the town where I found the Ewes valley once again with a mixture of sunshine and shadow.

ewes valley sun and shadow

I was blown back home by the kindly wind and finished my 26 miles in a better state of mind than I had been in when I had started.

As has become customary, I had a Zoom meeting with my brother and sisters and then I sat down to eat a tasty evening meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal.

It wasn’t an a exciting day but it wasn’t wasted as there was cake to eat, I got started on a process of changing one of my email addresses, and I packed up a camera to be sent away for repair.

Also our helpful corner shop included currants in our delivery so I am going to attempt a Garibaldi biscuit in a day or two.  Lockdown is increasing my limited repertoire.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch in a determined mood.

flying greenfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “No change

  1. Nice shot of the Ewes valley.
    In close up your resident rook looks even more menacing than usual 😧
    I shouldn’t have mentioned it😉
    Not a bad day for a bike ride today,I managed a few miles myself. Albeit with a small garmin glitch.

  2. I wonder if the Valerian will have white flowers. The ones I saw online looked a lot like garlic mustard.
    Those are easily the most beautiful larch flowers I’ve seen. I wish they did that here.
    The carvings are excellent. Very good of the carver to do that for people.

    1. Looking back at former pictures, the valerian seem to be generally pinkish. I have never seen larch flowers like that before. I looked hard today and didn’t see anything like them.

  3. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, especially the Hollows Bridge residents. I agree, the developing larch cones are very beautiful. That is a particularly nice composition.

    Your redpoll seems to be holding his own at the feeder, and that rook’s curved hooked bill looks formidable. Birds are a Force of Nature.

    I saw our first goldfinches of the season today.

  4. Sounds like your neighborhood store is delivering now, which would be safer. I am reading backwards so may find out more.

    I wonder what will happen to the bluebells without a wood.

    The woodland faces are very well done.

  5. Your Redpolls are charming. I’m in agreement with the larch comments and the wonderful carvings. The Ewes valley can make one believe there is still hope. Super Greenfinch.

  6. Garibaldi biscuits! We loved these ‘squashed fly’ biscuits as children. They have not been commercially available here for decades and I recently found a recipe for them on line. Getting hold of currants is the next hurdle. Please show us a photograph of your biscuits when baked.

  7. Especially the closeups of the rook and the larch cones are utterly impressing. If you can tame the rook it will be a faithful follower. I once had a jackdaw as a friend in my younger years.

    1. You might easily have seen one and missed it. They are only that bright in spring, otherwise they are very inconspicuous. It was only when I started taking pictures out of the window that I noticed one and I must have seen many before that.

  8. That Manitoba farmland puts me in mind of crop circles?? I saw a group of mallard ducklings yesterday, they were a flotilla but by the time I got my mobile camera out and ready to snap, they had made land on the far side of the canal. Today I had the great pleasure of seeing a couple of male bullfinches, far too quick for camera doah!!! Great read, Cheers

  9. The aerial photo looks like some avant-garde Japanese rock garden designed after a few Sakis. ;—). Very interesting.
    Love the Rook. Such a commanding bird. Great schnozz.

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