Two outings

Today’s guest picture comes from Laura, the daughter of a cousin of my friend Sandy. She lives in Southwest Michigan, about 2 miles from the shores of Lake Michigan where she loves to watch the sunsets over the lake from the numerous beaches in this area just across the fields from her back garden. I can see why.

We had one of those irritating forecasts that said that the wind would be brisk and that it might rain at any time of the day. This made planning difficult. In the end, it wasn’t a bad day at all and I might easily have gone for a cycle ride.

Instead, I idled the first part of the morning away until it was time for coffee in the garden with Margaret. Our neighbour Liz dropped in after her morning walk and told me that she had seen an interesting slimy substance near the Becks Burn. She had seen some of this stuff before and I had confidently told her, with all the assurance of ignorance, that it was probably a slime mould or fungus. This time, I thought that I ought actually to go and check it out myself, so after coffee I went off to the Becks Burn to find it.

After another night of rain, there was a good deal of water running off the fields beside the track….

…and the general dampness had encouraged a great many fungi to grow beside the track as well.

I found Liz’s jelly like substance beside the burn when I got there. It looks like a patch of ice or melting snow.

I am not so certain about what it is now that I have seen it and would welcome suggestions from knowledgeable readers. Is it ‘star jelly’?

The fungus theme continued after I had crossed the burn and I found many more examples on the other side.

…and more still in the shape of a host of little red blobs covering a dead branch along with a fine lichen and a lonely wild flower…

… as I went down the road to the Auld Stane Brig.

The sharp eyed may notice a track through the woods up the hill just past the bridge and this was my chosen route. Liz had said that it had been very wet when she had passed that way earlier on and I could see the evidence of a little flood on the road when I got there.

It was past the worst now though and I got up on to the hill with no trouble. Once there I was greeted by yet more fungi…

…though on the open hillside, something had been rooting around among the specimens.

I lifted my eyes up to the hills for long enough to enjoy the larches at Pool Corner…

…before looking down again to add to the day’s collection of fungus and lichen before I got back down to the Stubholm.

Before I started the walk, I had checked the forecast and it had told me to expect sunshine and heavy showers. I got neither, but I was pleased to walk round in the dry and without being bothered by any strong wind.

I enjoyed a colourful bramble stem on my walk…

…and the good show from the magnolia at the gate when I got home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had made some stock from a ham shank and she used it to make a very tasty broth for our lunch. Refreshed by this, I suggested a drive in the afternoon and Mrs Tootlepedal fell in with the idea very willingly.

Earlier in the day, she had got the news that the community bid to buy the Langholm Moor had been successful, and the group’s offer for 5000 acres of the moor had been accepted by the Buccleuch Estates. For several months now, she has been working with the group that have been doing a fantastic job of making a business plan and raising the considerable sums of money needed against a very tight deadline not helped by the coronavirus. It was a great relief to get the good news, and she thought that we should drive up to and over the moor to celebrate.

We would like to thank any blog readers who have contributed to the amazing sum of £200,000 raised from individual donors through the crowd funder.

It was sunny when we started to drive up the hill but the sun went in just as we got to the White Yett and looked over the moor.

There is an immense amount of work still to be done but with good luck, good will and good management, this will be the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve in the not too distant future.

We hadn’t driven much further before we had to stop to watch wild goats chomping away on the hill side.

We continued on over the hill and down into Liddesdale before completing a circuit by diving down to Canonbie and back up the A7.

We stopped just once, to record a ray of sunshine falling on England.

I hadn’t had any time to look at the birds so I took a moment when we got home. The birds mostly turned their backs on me.

The feeder had been very busy while we had been drinking our coffee in the morning so it was a bit annoying to find it so quiet now. I did see a dunnock, a blue tit and a sparrow…

…and a robin made me smile…

…so it wasn’t all wasted time.

The evenings are drawing in earlier and earlier so that finished off the active part of the day.

The slow cooked brisket of beef provided our evening meal and the sibling Zoom meeting provided some lively political arguments with my brother who has strong views about how wrong we all are.

We are hoping that the election in the US tomorrow goes well and without dangerous trouble. We are keeping our fingers crossed for our American readers.

I did catch a rather snatched picture of a sparrow in flight and it is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Two outings

  1. Wonderful news about the community buyout! It was an extremely daunting task and I am very impressed that it was successful. We need a bit of good news these days, and this certainly fits the bill!

  2. I enjoyed all your photos, and guest photo of Lake Michigan as well. Your weather has brought forth many fine fungi. That jelly fungus does look like a patch of smooth ice. I appreciate the view of the larches again.

    Please do keep your readers from across The Pond in your thoughts and prayers. It is appreciated. These are very disturbing times.

  3. I’ve never seen or even heard of star jelly so I had to look it up, and that’s just what it looks like. It doesn’t come from the stars though. It has a much more earthly origin but I’ll just leave a link rather than possibly upsetting some of your more delicate readers.
    You certainly had a great day for fungi. I wish we would have one like it.
    I’m very happy to hear that Mrs. T.s hard work paid off and also happy that so many people will benefit for years to come. It’s a great accomplishment!

  4. Wonderful, wonderful news about the nature reserve. Hats off to Mrs. Tootlepedal and everyone else who worked so hard on the project.

    Thanks for your good wishes! What a time this country is having. To think that someone like Trump actually has a chance of winning makes me jittery and unable to focus. One day more…

  5. Congratulations on the purchase of Langholm Moor, and I hope plans for the Tarras Valley Nature reserve go from strength to strength. Well done to all of you involved. Perhaps you will need a mature nature reserve ranger? Can I get my application in early? Cheers.

  6. Hats off for the perseverance and hard work of the community and especially Mrs.T. Every bit of nature that can be saved needs to be. Langholm moor certainly is a worthwile project.

  7. Congratulations to Mrs Tootlepedal and her group on their success. All that hard work – noted there is much more to come – has paid off.

  8. How exciting for Mrs T and all the group who have obviously worked very hard to achieve this wonderful result. I’m sure your posts will keep us up to date on all developments for the nature reserve…thank goodness for this lovely uplifting news in these strange times. Such a fine selection of fungi photos and lichen too…must be the best place in the world to see such variety! No idea about that jelly…looks weird! Fingers crossed here too for USA friends!

  9. I am so happy for your good news about the nature reserve and it gives me great joy that I was able to contribute a bit and have a small hand in helping out.

  10. Hearty congratulations to those working to create the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve! It’s lovely to see more of that sort of activity taking place, both here and elsewhere. From what I’ve seen here of Mrs T’s efforts (and likely others in your community) I have every confidence that the work will done and done well.

    And thank you for the fingers crossed for us getting good results from our election. The prelude was so unsettling to me that I tended to hide under the covers for awhile… now comes at least some attempt to catch up.

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