Hanging about

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s sister, Elizabeth. She hangs out a good array of different feeders and was rewarded by a visit from long tailed tits.

The forecast was quite correct. It was just as cold this morning as it has been for the past few days but there was no sun to brighten things up. Under the circumstances, it was just as well that I had things with which to occupy myself, or I would have had to get back on the bicycle to nowhere to fill in the morning.

As it was, I started off by preparing a lamb stew for the slow cooker, and followed that up with an improved effort at making presentable date and ginger rolls.

All I need to remember now is to wipe the knife between cutting each slice to avoid that little rim of filling round the edge of the rolls. I am sorry to say that the answer to getting neatly shaped results is to cut off the ragged edges of the rolled out dough and discard them, something that goes against the grain. It has to be done though, if good presentation is the aim.

They tasted pretty good and most of them seem to have mysteriously disappeared already.

I did have a little time to look at the birds between doing the cooking and the crossword and drinking a cup of coffee.

The feeder was quite busy.

…and there was a steady stream of chaffinches.

After lunch, I decided to try to get a walk in before the possibility of a light snow shower later in the afternoon.

As I left the house, a bunch of starlings were finding something to peck at on our lawn.

It was still chilly so I decided to stick to the valley bottom and rather boringly walked up the Wauchope road. A thin film of ice across the Wauchope Water just above Pool Corner showed how cold it has been.

And a thick wedge of ice where water had been running down the road made me happy not to have got my road bicycle out.

Walking was fine though, and the road surface was generally dry and ice free as I went up towards Wauchope Schoolhouse. It is more easy to stop and look when you are walking so I saw some fine lichen which I would passed without seeing on my bike…

…and it was no bother at all to pop down the banking at Bessie Bell’s to admire the little cascade there…

…which had as much ice as water about it today.

There were a great number of icicle decorations.

And there were more to be seen a little further up the road where a small field drain trickled over rocks before going under the road.

The road itself was quite interesting. Repeated freezing and thawing, together with some gritting and salting had left intricate patterns on the rougher surfaces of the tarmac.

Although it looked as though it was icy and should be slippery, it was dry and firm to walk on.

As ever, there was plenty of lichen to look at whenever I passed a wall.

Looking ahead, I could see occasional faint hints of sunshine, and these turned out to be caused by the slowly turning blades of the Solwaybank windfarm catching some weak rays of sun when they pointed in my direction.

The camera can see better than I can. I couldn’t make out the turbine towers and the blades seemed to me to be floating in thin air.

Since I had enjoyed the icy cascade at Bessie Bell’s, I turned aside to look at the other little cascade below Wauchope Schoolhouse.

It too had its share of icy decorations.

There didn’t seem to be any sign of the impending snow shower when I got to Wauchope Schoolhouse so I extended my walk by strolling up the road to Cleuchfoot.

I stopped to look at the ice on the Glencorf Burn, and to my surprise I saw a wren hopping along the rocks at the side of the stream. It saw me too so I don’t have a photograph of it. Not do I have a picture of the hare which leapt up and ran away as I walked a bit further further upstream. I took a few pictures of the ice on the burn to console myself.

There were sights to be seen on the way up the Cleuchfoot road, like this electronic lobster climbing a pole…

…the farm bridge at the end of the road…

…and a sheep whose coat was almost as thick as the one that I was wearing.

By the time that I turned for home, the clouds were getting thicker and darker, so I didn’t stop much on the way back to Langholm. Another look at the ice from the streamlet tricking over the rock made me get the camera out…

…and I took a tree near the end of my walk to go with one that I had taken near the furthest point.

I felt quite smug when it started to snow gently just as I got back to Langholm after eight and a bit miles and in perfect time for a cup of tea and a couple of date rolls. However, although it did snow a little harder for a short while, it didn’t come to much in the end.

I then made a big mistake and decided to watch the Scotland versus Wales rugby match. The outcome was unhappily familiar and I got quite depressed. It is not so much losing, which we are used to, it is the manner of the defeat and the many “what ifs” that linger in the mind when the game is over that do the damage. Getting beaten is bad enough but getting beaten in a game which they could and should have won is upsetting.

I could have done with a nice bicycle ride to cheer me up tomorrow but the forecast says that it is going to rain and that the wind will be blowing at 35mph. Not much joy there.

The flying bird if the day is a chaffinch. Astute readers will notice that it is flying in the opposite direction to recent flying birds. The wind has changed and hence the change in the weather.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “Hanging about

  1. The yellow lichen is lovely, as are (in a different way) your trees. And I’m fond of the farm bridge and of course all the fascinating ice.

  2. Excellent ice photography. It is better than wren photography because you can photograph somewhere a wren has just flown away from at any time of the year, but ice is rather more specific.

  3. That was a very impressive golden-yellow lichen! I am glad you stopped to photograph it.

    I enjoyed your waterfalls and ice photos. We have escaped that so far here, although an hour north of us, there was a bad ice storm last night with downed trees and power lines. We got rain down here.

  4. I love the header photo and all the impressive waterfall ice. We just escaped an ice storm which headed our way from Portland, Oregon, and stopped in the town of Chinook just a few miles east. The bridge to Astoria, Oregon was closed while large chunks of ice fell from the span into the Columbia River below. Very unusual.

    Can you bake those bits of extra dough with some cinnamon sugar like my grandma used to do with extra pie crust?

  5. The lichens were beautiful, especially the one on the tree.
    I can’t recall ever seeing ice on this blog before. You got some great shots of it, which isn’t as easy as people might think.
    I too like the header shot with the twisted tree and colored stones. It’s very artistic.

    1. Look up Paul Hollywood’s figgy roll recipe which was the one that I used. I substituted dates for figs because the seeds in the figs get in my teeth. And I used soft brown sugar instead of muscovado.

  6. Lovely collection of ice patterns, icicles and lichen photos today. At the risk of maybe trying to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs, can I suggest the following? When slicing the date rolls, dip the knife in hot water, wipe the blade and cut the roll. Repeat ad infinitum.
    Something I learned in my career as the Friday shop girl in a country bakery.
    Alphie

  7. Really sparkling ice pictures; if you cut off the edges if the rolls for presentation, I do hope you keep the discards for nibbles; you have read my observations on the game. I did feel for you.

  8. Looks like all the Christmas decorations are up again…wonderful icicle photos. Obviously food was on your mind after preparing your stew and cooking those very tempting date and ginger rolls…how would you have cooked that brilliant lobster?!

  9. The “what ifs” made for a nail biting game of rugby, and Scotland played very well. Wales should have played much better against 14 men, as, indeed, they should have when they played Ireland a week earlier. Winning both games flattered Wales, but basically we are struggling to get some real class into our game. I just hope we manage to improve before we face England. I enjoyed the lobster very much, and glad that we have no ice down here at all now. Sadly, snow showers have been replaced with heavy rainfall, not that I want snow, far from it! I am 70 tomorrow, dreading the day now that Kay, my twin sister has so recently passed. I must get back on my Pioneer and start pedalling, sorry pedaling, consistantly. It’s a case of all the gear no idea at present. My son has got a smart trainer to pedal to nowhere, but cannot pair it with our phones/TV which will enable us to pedal “virtually” somewhere. I’ve bought some expensive cycling shoes and rain gear via the “Cycle to Work Scheme”, which arrives tomorrow. Plus, as a birthday present to myself, I purchased a “Swytch Bike” to convert one of my bikes to electric pedal assist. I bought it at 50% discount as part of the production start up. It won’t arrive for another 8-10 weeks. I just hope it’s going to be a good investment. I have no hope of getting a new knee for at least a couple of years because of the pandemic, so I think I may need it. Cheers.

    1. I shall be very interested in how your Swytch goes as i have thought about it for Mrs T. I am sorry that you haven’t been able to pair your son’s smart trainer as that is half the fun. Will it be possible in the future if technical things can be worked out?

      I hope that you have as a happy a birthday tomorrow as is possible under the circumstances.

      It is going to rain here too.

      1. It will be at least ten weeks before I’ll be able to update you and Mrs T on the Swytch, hopefully I will have it on one of my bikes by then.
        We have contacted the manufacturer wrt the “smart” trainer, hopefully they will sort it out, or it will need replacing.(Like my knee). My 70th birthday was quite overwhelming, which saw many presents of bicycle accessories, including vouchers, and a new Brooks saddle. All in all it was quite something.

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