Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He saw deer on one of his walks with his dogs. The deer saw him but didn’t run away at once.
To say that today was another uneventful day would be rather overstating the excitement. The recent frost has put a damper on the pleasure of walking round the garden in quite a big way, and as it was another grey morning, there was not a lot of incentive to get up and go.
In the end, I managed to finish the crossword and get up in time for a walk round the garden before coffee. The only photograph that I took was of these ill matched Icelandic poppies, and I couldn’t get a very good shot of them as they were blowing about in the breeze.
I don’t know why some of the orange poppies have white tips this year.
After coffee, I shredded more of Mrs Tootlepedal’s uprooted box bushes and then went inside.
I watched the birds through the window for a moment or two.
A greenfinch felt that I was intruding on its privacy.
A sparrow watched while another greenfinch and a chaffinch arrived simultaneously, luckily heading for different perches.
And there was room for two sparrows too.
Mrs Tootlepedal had suggested that I might like to try a recipe for a boiled cake. This sounded very strange to me but on investigation it turned out that only some of the ingredients were boiled and that the cake was actually baked in a standard way, so I gave it a go.
It tuned out that it makes a small cake and the process was quite simple (which is probably why Mrs Tootlepedal suggested it). You take butter, syrup, sugar and water, melt them together and add currants and sultanas and then boil this mixture very gently for a few minutes. This is cooled and then added to flour and spices with a beaten egg and the whole thing is poured into a cake tin and baked.
Some time later, it comes out like this:
While it was baking, I made leek and potato soup for lunch and we had time to eat the soup before the cake came out of the oven.
After lunch, I had another walk round the garden and found a rhododendron flower which looks as though it might have survived the frost.
The tree peony and the standard peonies in the flower beds are in a race to see which comes fully out first and at the moment, the tree peony is the slight favourite.
The alliums, unaffected by the frost, are going global.
In the absence of azaleas, I am probably going to spend more time looking at Welsh poppies than usual. They have acquired some pinkish tinges this year, another mystery but quite pretty.
Sometimes the tinge is in the middle…
…sometimes in a line across the petals…
…and sometimes round the edge.
Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is damage of some sort.
She has completed her hedge cut back and you can see the more open view of the house that this provides.
I will be interested to see how the planting changes to reflect the new vista.
There was a tremendous racket in the garden caused by baby sparrows demanding to be fed by their long suffering parents and this blackbird in the plum tree was joining in with gusto.
It looks a little old to be needing to be fed but it wasn’t getting any attention and that didn’t suit it at all.
A starling had been doing some successful foraging.
I went in to change into my cycling gear and then went off for a short cycle ride. Mrs Tootlepedal had looked at the clouds and brought the washing in ‘just in case’, but the forecast hadn’t got any rain in it so I set off with confidence of a dry trip round Canonbie.
My confidence was well founded and with the wind coming from a generally helpful direction, I enjoyed my ride and went a bit more quickly than recent efforts.
After taking far too many pictures in recent days, I resolved not to take too many today and was reasonably successful. The theme of the ride was hedges and wild flowers.
The cow parsley is coming on well along the Tarcoon road…
…and the tree over the hedge is now fully clothed.
A little further on, I was happy to find a beech hedge in very good condition. My friend Nancy had sent me pictures yesterday of a beech hedge badly affected by the frost but this one was untouched.
I stopped at Canonbie Bridge for a conversation with Simon, a Camera Club member who was out for a walk. His normal work involves sporting events and international travel so he currently stacking shelves for supermarkets instead. He doesn’t know when he will be able to go back to his real job.
When I got nearer Langholm, I found that the Pyrenean Valerian is beginning to line the roadsides.
The boiled cake went down very well with a cup of tea on my return and the normal sibling Zoom and an excellent pasta dish for our evening meal rounded off another routine day of lockdown.
Looking at the forecast, I see that things are going to warm up a bit and there may even be a bit of rain in the next day or two but the promise of very high temperatures next week seems to have faded away, for which I am grateful as I don’t like it when it gets too warm.
We will believe in the rain when we feel it actually falling on our heads.
The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch leaving the feeder. It avoided the pole.