Lace up

Today’s guest picture is another from Laura in Michigan. It shows St. Joseph Lighthouse, St. Joseph, 20 miles from where she lives. Her husband cycles there and back she tells me. It certainly looks worth visiting.

We had a day without rain, wind or sun. Meteorologically it was a low scoring dull day. Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning on buy-out business, and I had a very idle morning doing nothing more exciting than cycling to the shop and back again.

I checked on the flowers, which are getting more tattered every day, but I was very pleased to see the Special Grandma had managed to come out again. (One of the flowers is a jackdaw.)

I didn’t have a great variety to choose from so I scraped the barrel a bit today to get to my round dozen.

As well as the jackdaw, we had had a slightly less welcome visitor when the sparrowhawk had returned to the garden for its breakfast…

…which consisted of an unfortunate goldfinch.

The goldfinches didn’t seem too upset by their loss though, and an hour later they were back at the feeder and tucking in.

There weren’t a great many birds about today but both a blue tit (or maybe blue tits) made many appearances…

…as did a coal tit (or coal tits).

There were a number of blackbirds about too. Males with both yellow beaks and black beaks…

…and females looking very elegant.

There was a minor moment of excitement when I went into the garage to get my shopping bike and was waylaid by a robin who had obviously been in there all night. We persuaded it to leave and then the moment I turned my back, it dived back into the garage again. Mrs Tootlepedal had gone on an errand by this time, but I managed to get the robin to leave, and sensibly shut the garage door. I just had time to take a picture of the uninvited guest…

…before another robin swooped down and the pair flew off at speed. An anxious parent, I surmised.

After lunch, I went for a walk up a hill. Mrs Tootlepedal had bought me a new pair of shoelaces and I thought that I ought to give them a run out. They worked well as I puffed my way up the Kirk Wynd past a forest of rosebay willowherb, and climbed on up to the monument on top of Whita.

As I went up, I looked back over the town towards Warbla….

…but got a bit of a shock when I looked further round and saw some very gloomy weather down the valley.

I decided to look the other way where the prospects were a bit better.

The path from the top of the golf course to the monument is quite steep at times so I was happy to have an excuse to stop and capture a hardy tree defying the wind and sheep and still clinging on to the hillside.

There was not much to see in the way of wild flowers but there was plenty of fungus to keep me happy. I saw examples on the Kirk Wynd, at the top of the golf course, half way up the hill and near the summit.

I didn’t linger on the summit as it wasn’t really a day for views…

…but made my way down to the road at the White Yett and set off towards the town. I passed the wall that I had walked up not long ago…

…and thought about walking back down it today.

But time was getting on and the weather was looking a bit gloomier, so I kept to the road for a bit longer until I got to my favourite pine trees…

…where I turned onto the hill and visited the three dancing trees.

They really are only lightly connected to the earth below their feet.

There was a hint of drizzle in the air so I was pleased to find myself on this track down to Whitshiels…

…as it both sheltered me from the drizzle (which soon petered out anyway) and gave me an opportunity to add some bright fungus on a tree stump and a mossy gate to the fungus I had just seen on one of the dancing trees and in the field nearby.

I got down to the main road and walked home along the river, enjoying some varied leaves on the way.

It was a walk of just over four miles, but for a short walk, I think that it packs a lot in, and it certainly worked up an appetite in me for a slice of bread and raspberry jam and a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when I got home. She had been doing some more levelling work on the drive while I was walking, but was back at the computer again on buy-out business when I got in.

As well as buying shoe laces on her morning outing to the town, she had also visited the butcher’s and bought a mountain of mince. I cooked mince and tatties for our tea and later in the evening we watched some clever cooks making fantastic ‘artistic jelly’ cakes on Bake Off.

The ground and garden have been able to dry up a bit in recent days but we are soon going to be back to more changeable weather so I have been grateful to get some good cycling and walking in while the going was good. Any half decent day in November is a bonus.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch with flaps down for a landing.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Lace up

  1. Like your description of the “dancing trees”they’re quite unusual.
    The old pine is indeed a grand old tree,and appears to have some tiny offspring.
    Our weather today was very similar to yours but calm and dry enough for another little bike ride.
    I’m slower than before my lay off ,but I’m taking it a bit easier now and just enjoying the ride.

  2. The trees standing up on their roots make an interesting pair. There must have been more soil or rocks under there at some point.

    The jackdaw amid the beautiful flowers brought a smile. 🙂 Your garage robin was smart. It’s warmer and drier in there, although a bit lonely and no feed.

    The views from up on the hills are still spectacular, even on a grey day. It’s been cool and rainy here today, down in the lower 40s. Our bird crew came early and cleaned up the seed.

    1. I wonder whether those trees were struck by lightning at some point. We are short of birds and I am not having to fill the feeder as often as I would like. Maybe the sparrowhawk has something to do with that.

      1. It is possible. The third tree to the right looks like it has some odd base configuration as well.

        The Sparrowhawk version of the Grim Reaper may have something to do with lower feeder attendance.

  3. I’ve never seen a bicolor jelly fungus like that one. It’s interesting.
    As always I’m impressed by the straightness and thinness of your stone walls.
    Since doors are often left open birds fly into our buildings regularly where I work. It has taken an hour or more to get them out.

  4. Laura’s corner of MIchigan is very beautiful.

    Your dancing trees look like something out of Tolkein! A lovely mossy gate. You’re doing well to come up with two sets of flowers at this time of year.

  5. I’m concerned by the glowing yellow jelly fungus. It’s the sort of thing that needs pointing out to the relevant authorities. Apart from that it is good to see that all is well. That guest picture is excellent, as is the sparrowhawk shot. It’s good to see one, even if it has cost a goldfinch. On the other hand we aren’t exactly short of goldfinches. As Tony Soper pointed out in one of his books, small birds breed profusely to allow for this sort of thinsg and if we didn’t have sparrowhawks we’d be knee deep in blue tits.

    I am ambivalent on the jelly cakes. I loved the jelly and the designs, but thought it spoiled things by perching in on top of a pile of sponge and mousse. Let jelly be jelly and cake be cake.

      1. I liked the big poppy, the double decker and the koi pond. Wasn’t so keen on Newquay beach, though it was obviously difficult technically. The snow globe was a good idea but didn’t quite work. They are all talented this year, and also not irritating, which is a bonus. The hosts make up for that though…

  6. The little robin looks somewhat chastened by his experience in your garage! Love the photos of the female blackbirds and those trees just hanging in there! Sparrow hawks are handsome but unwelcoming in our garden and yours too…I think!

    1. I would like our small birds to go unmolested but since I criticise gamekeepers for poisoning birds of prey, I suppose that I can’t complain if birds of prey come into our garden.

  7. We love Bake Off! My favorite season of the ones we’ve seen is the one with Kim-Joy and Rahul. Two adorable contestants. I also loved seeing your dancing tree again.

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