Today’s guest picture is a very unusual white thistle spotted by our neighbour Liz on one of her morning walks.
I didn’t really surface today until coffee time, delayed by a tricky crossword, a phone call from our daughter and general laziness. But to save time later, I combined coffee in the garden with a check on passing bee like objects…
And as you can see, there were plenty of them about.
There were butterflies too…
…some looking in better condition than others.
The rival roses across the path, The Wren and Lilian Austin are both looking better for some dry weather, although it has not been nearly as warm as it should be at this time of year….
…and I have filled out today’s rose panel with an Icelandic poppy as I have been neglecting them in my pursuit of new poppies…
…like these two.
After coffee, I set to work and mowed the middle lawn and then trimmed and shredded another section of the hedge between us and our neighbour Betty. Mrs Tootlepedal and Betty are now able to converse without having to stand on tiptoe and shout. There are still a few feet of hedge to go.
I took a picture of a calendula before I went in for lunch.
It was a day of scudding clouds with the possibility of rain never seeming to be too far away, but the morning had stayed dry and it was still dry after lunch when we took the wheelbarrow and a couple of buckets up the hill to collect some horse manure from our friend John’s stables. I had the great honour of wheeling the barrow back home…
…and I was so excited by this, that when we got back home, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to spread the manure where it would do most good and rushed off up a hill.
There were some black clouds about so I packed a rain jacket into my shoulder bag just in case and headed for the Meikleholm Hill, passing this picturesque gate just before I got on to the open hill.
Just at the moment, there are no sheep or cattle grazing on the hill and as a result, the ground was covered in flowers…
…though I was just too late to see the many orchids at their best.
I followed the path that contours round the side of the hill…
…before heading up towards the little col between Meikleholm and Timpen.
It was pretty grey and not a day for great views but when I got to the col, I could look over the valley and see a path that Mrs Tootlepdal and I had walked along on a sunnier day last month.
I could have done with some sun today but all the same, Timpen looked so inviting that I went through the gate in the wall and headed for the top of the hill.
It is always a pleasure to get to the summit at just over 1000 ft and look round.
This is the view to the north
It was cool and breezy on the top so I didn’t linger but headed back for Meikleholm Hill, and then took a more direct route back down.
On the way down from the minor summit of Meikleholm Hill I looked up the Esk Valley…
…saw a bee on a thistle..
…and raised my hat as I passed to a very pertinacious tree clinging onto the hillside.
The weather stayed dry until I got home and I got back in nice time to have a cup of tea and a marmalade sandwich with Mrs Tootlepedal. She had only just come in from her muck spreading endeavours in the garden.
After we had drunk a refreshing cup, we went out to dig up the first potatoes of the year from the vegetable garden. The late frost had caught out our early crop and they are looking rather small and have produced no flowers, so it was with some trepidation that Mrs Tootlepedal stuck the fork in the soil. We need not have worried. Although not astounding, the first plant produced a very reasonable and clean crop.
We had some with our tea of bacon and eggs and they cooked well and had a very good flavour.
I filled the feeder in the afternoon but the bird traffic was very light and the birds and I never arrived at the feeder at the same time, so there is no flying bird of the day today, just a blackbird feeling very cross about the whole situation in a rare sunny moment.
Footnote: For those worried about my poor wheelbarrow pushing style. I should say the wheelbarrow is set up for someone a good deal shorter than me (guess who) and if I want the front wheel to take the weight of a heavy load, I need to adopt a bent arm posture. I can wheel it with my arms hanging straight down but then I take all the weight on my arms.