Today’s guest picture(s) comes from our friend Gavin and shows the differing skills of his son Fraser and daughter-in-law Leslie who live in America. Fraser very neatly laid bricks on the ground while Leslie prefers life on the tiles.
The month ended with a day that was neither good nor bad, neither hot not cold, neither totally dry or totally wet….a medium sort of day.
Mrs Tootlepedal started it off with an hour and a half of Zoom meetings with the community buy out group and I started it off with a garden wander.
After the first poppy in the green house had been thoroughly exhausted by insects, it was good to see that another one was out and ready for business…
In the garden, another poppy was standing beside the lawn, giving me a ready made background for a shot that has come straight from the camera with no further processing.
I always try to spot new flowers so I was pleased to see this tiny entrant into the garden stakes, a very small geranium.
In the vegetable garden, the courgette flowers are being followed by actual courgettes and we can look forward to courgette fritters soon.
There was a tremendous racket of birds as I walked about, with rooks and jackdaws shouting about something, but the loudest noise was coming from this young starling on the greenhouse.
My wanderings took me past roses Bobbie James and Goldfinch….
…and Roseraie de l’Hay and the Crown Princess.
I thought that the Stachys was looking well…
…and a new Verbascum was very promising.
I had time for a little weeding and dead heading as well as a look at the day lilies, who all seemed to have chosen the same day to come out. Like me, they were looking around for some sunshine.
Then it was time for morning coffee. Mrs Tootlepedal was still Zooming and Liz was still walking so Margaret and I were the only two sipping and chatting at first. We were joined later by both Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz, and by a bee who was very interested in the red poppy…
…and the same young blackbird as yesterday, who had come to get its picture taken again.
It poses well.
It was typical of the sort of day that it was that Margaret and I had been saying that it was quite warm but when Mrs Tootlepedal came out to join us, she immediately remarked that it was quite chilly….and somehow, we were both right.
After coffee, I mowed the middle lawn and then got the hover mower out and did the drying green and the vegetable garden grass.
While I was there, I admired the potato flowers. It can’t be long before we get our own new potatoes to eat.
Then I edged the middle lawn and went in to make lentil soup for a late lunch.
The soup was accompanied by Tallegio, Brie and Stilton on crackers.
I took some time to watch the birds, who were as busy as ever. Some chose to take a seed and make off…
…rather than stay for a second seed and get harried by impatient siskins…
There was occasional drizzle about so Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it would be a good idea for her to stay inside and write up the minutes of her morning meetings. I thought that I would round the month off with a cycle ride and hope that the drizzle didn’t turn into rain.
At 60°F, it was warm enough for a little drizzle not to be a problem, and this was lucky as the drizzle stayed around for a good few miles. It was light enough not to get me wet and I didn’t have to put my rain jacket on.
What was disappointing though was the fact that they had been out mowing the verges…
…and they had been so efficient that every verge along my route had been mowed. Just where I took the picture above, I had been hoping to see orchids and now felt that I was likely to be disappointed. But by a miracle, the cutter had just missed a couple of the flowers. This was the spot where I got bitten by horseflies so I may have rushed taking the orchid pictures. Anyway, for whatever reason, they didn’t come out well but I didn’t stop for a second go and pedalled on thinking that orchids might have to wait for another day.
To add insult to injury, I was actually held up by two of the tractors doing the verge cutting as I went along a back road!
When I got the Canonbie bypass though, the verges are so wide that the cutters can’t cut them all, and there were plenty of orchids (and time) to take pictures. One of the pictures came out quite nicely.
I stopped to look at the pylon at Canonbie village…
…and thought that these must be the new wires in place.
Yesterday on my walk, I was delighted by foxgloves and today rosebay willowherb provided visual pleasure, being just far enough back from the road to have escaped the verge cutting.
Many wild flowers had met their fate at the hands of the cutters but where the verges were wide, treats were still to be found. This knapweed (probably greater knapweed) looked lovely.
The twenty miles of my usual Canonbie circuit very neatly brought up 2000 miles for the first half of the year. Since my expectation was a modest 1500 miles by this time, the generally good weather since the lockdown started has been a great bonus.
When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal and I Zoomed away with my siblings, and then Mrs Tootlepedal picked mounds of spinach from the garden and I made baked eggs in spinach with a cheese sauce for our tea.
The forecast for the next ten days is pretty cool and showery but I hope that there will still be some summer weather to come after that. I would like to get near 2000 miles for the second half of the year too but that needs good weather while the days are long.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin in the drizzle.