Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She took in a plant to protect it from the winter and it has grown so well indoors that she can’t get it back out into the garden again, and it is blushing unseen in the utility room.
Nothing much would have wanted to be going out into our garden here early this morning as the temperature had sunk as low as -5°C in the early hours.
However, it had warmed up just enough to allow a well wrapped up coffee in the garden with our neighbours Liz and Margaret when the time came. In spite of the odd glimpse of sunlight, we didn’t last all that long though as it was still pretty chilly.
After coffee, we went back inside and found things to read to keep us happy until lunchtime. Mrs Tootlepedal made ham and vegetable broth for lunch, just the thing for a cold day.
After lunch, I had a look at the birds, and found an impatient chaffinch which had grabbed a seed almost before it had landed on the feeder….
…and a calmer female who took a firm grip and got her wings down before getting stuck in.
There was a beady eyed pigeon keeping an eye on things again…
…and the redpoll was back, which was good to see. They are tiny birds and their colouring tests the ability of my camera to get a sharp picture of them unless the light is just right, which it wasn’t today.
In general the feeder was busy again…
…and I will have to remember to order new supplies of bird seed soon.
It was still cold after lunch but the wind was much less strong than it has been lately, so I put on all possible layers of cycling clothing and went out for a short ride.
Although things are greening up in the garden and woodlands, the hills are still very colourless, and this shot, taking looking behind me when I stopped on my way up the hill from Wauchope Schoolhouse…
…shows that we have a few weeks to go before our green hills are back again.
As you can see, there were patches of sunshine about and when one of them infrequently included me, the sun was high enough to give a welcome feeling of warmth.
As I continued up the hill, four birds rose up from as field beside the road and I tried to get a picture as they flew across the sky in front of me.
I wasn’t very hopeful but the magic of the photo editor can enlarge the tiny dot that you can see in the left hand panel just enough to prove that I was watching four lapwings in flight. Lapwings have become very rare round here in recent years so it was good to see four of them today.
The wind was strong enough to give me a good helping hand over the hill and down to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass, so I was expecting a bit of battle back up the valley to Langholm. However, on this rare occasion, the wind turned out to be behind me, or at least not against me, in both directions today. This sounds unlikely, but as my route is essentially a very shallow V shape, if the wind is perfectly positioned, each way assistance is possible. And very welcome.
I was enjoying my pedalling so much that I didn’t stop for another picture until I got to the old main road, now a bike and pedestrian route, a couple of miles from home. I was beside the river…
…and I checked to see if there was another flower on the young larch tree there.
Thanks to the kindly wind and an improving knee, I did the ride today twelve minutes faster than my last effort a week ago!
When I got home, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit, but not before I had had a walk round the garden.
The tulips are still biding their time in the cold weather…
…so we are relying on various daffodils…
…to keep us cheerful…
…for the time being.
There are other flowers available but not in any quantity. The Forsythia is colourful but modest in size…
…and the dandelions are fine but grow close to the ground (and not in the flower beds!)
I am keeping an eye on the tree peony shoots which look more potential each time I look.
I saw a lone bee among the fritillaries…
…which obviously have plenty of pollen on board.
My favourite sight was this combination of hellebores and daffodils inn the bed outside the kitchen window.
The bird feeder was well down by this time so I topped it up again, and it was soon dealing with a rush of customers.
Neither of us have been sleeping as well as we would like lately, so we were quite happy to let the day ease gently down with a sibling zoom and a light evening meal. Some warmer weather would no doubt help a bit, but there is no sign of that on the horizon just now.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch (again). They are by far our most frequent visitors with twenty or thirty about on some days