A semi Sandy stroll

Today’s guest picture comes from an ex teaching friend, Jim. He has sent me this picture from a friend of his in Florida, and suggests that I shouldn’t complain too much about having cats visiting my garden when I see what his friend has to put up with.

As far as alligators went, we had a very quiet day here.

There was a chilly wind which made wearing coats for morning coffee in the garden with Margaret compulsory. All the same Mrs Tootlepedal did so much work in the garden before coffee that she had to have a quiet sit down afterwards.

I did some light dead heading of daffodils before coffee and was able to sieve some more garden compost and do some watering after coffee.

I also walked round the garden once or twice.

I found a trout lily flower that had had enough shelter to avoid the worst of the frost and another that looked very good from behind….

…and a variety of tulips kept me entertained even if they weren’t keen to open wide.

We have two sets of blackbirds nesting in the garden, and I saw one of the females taking a break but looking rather alarmed, possibly by me, as she stood on our fence.

I looked closely at our willow…

…and inspected the drive.

I have been attacking the weeds among the gravel with our little flame thrower which allegedly kills the weeds without the need for poisonous substances. Used regularly, it does seem to work. Mrs Tootlepedal has put fresh compost on the flower bed at the side of the slabs and vincas have been planted. The whole thing doesn’t look too bad, but we are waiting until we have had some serious rain before we get too happy about it.

I have got a replacement trail camera for the one that broke, and when we looked at the card this morning, we were happy to see that the hedgehog is still about.

I am going to have to experiment with camera positions to try to get a better picture of it.

The birds are easier to find. And once again, there were a lot of them about as soon as I had filled the feeder before lunch. I made some leek and potato soup and watched the birds have their lunch too. As usual, some siskins were more keen on quarrelling than seed eating.

There was plenty of coming from goldfinches seeking to dislodge siskins…

…and goldfinches and siskins seeking to dislodge siskins.

The siskins were unmoved.

Up above, a chaffinch wished a siskin luck as it set off to try to find a perch…

…and a redpoll considered its options.

In the afternoon, I rang up Sandy and arranged to meet him for a walk. There was enough time for me to go round the Becks on my way to his house, so I set off in the hope of finding some wild flowers on my way. Spring is definitely creeping up on us in spite of the chilly weather and I saw quite a lot, including the first ivy leaved toad flax …

…and wild geums of the year

There are strange things out there…

…but new leaves are always beautiful, especially when there is a rare glimpse of sunshine to go with them.

I had planned my route and timings well and I arrived at Sandy’s just as he was shutting his door to come out.

Our plan was to walk round the pheasant hatchery, and in occasional sunshine, we had a sociable and gentle stroll over the Duchess Bridge, round the hatchery and back down the Lodge Walks.

Just as I said to Sandy that I hadn’t seen any wild garlic buds yet, we met these at the Duchess Bridge..

…but they were the only ones that we saw.

We came across a mallard drake in the trees near the lodge. It was quacking in a nervous way…

…and we wondered if it had a mate nesting nearby. We looked, but we couldn’t see her.

We did see a pair of thrushes on the ground at the Lodge Walks. One flew off but then politely waited until I had got the picture before winging away.

Under one of the old trees on the Walks, there was a delightful carpet of wood anemones.

We parted company at the cricket field, Sandy taking the direct route home, while I went along the Kilngreen in the hope of seeing some waterside birds.

There were too many people about for successful bird spotting, though I did see a wagtail when I walked along the bank of the Esk after I had cross the town bridge. Sadly, it saw me too, so no picture.

I settled for a mixed bag of lady’s smock and dandelions on the bank…

…and enjoyed a performance by the duck and drake synchronised swimming team.

Of all the flowers that I saw today, both in the garden and on my walk, the finest were three dandelions at Pool Corner.

I got back in good time for our regular sibling zoom and was pleased to find my family in good order.

Disappointingly the recent rain showers didn’t amount to anything at all, and everything in the garden is still extremely dry. I see from the forecast that we are still going to have a cool north easterly wind blowing in the next few days, so there is not going to be much change. This month will end up being the coolest for many years.

The flying bird of the day is a male siskin passing a female on the feeder.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “A semi Sandy stroll

  1. I think the driveway looks great. It has a professionally done look.
    The strange things you found out there look like ash tree buds but I can’t be sure.
    It’s good to hear that Sandy is able to get out again. I hope his foot didn’t protest too much.
    Those are good looking dandelion blossoms!

    1. Like me, Sandy has knee problems so we had a stately walk,. His foot is improving all the time. The bone graft is a long term recuperation affair.

  2. I am glad you do not have alligators in Langholm. Mrs. T. would have to put down more than wire fencing over the garden beds. 🙂

    The birds and flowers are always a pleasure to look at, and I am pleased to see the hedgehog.

    I have been considering a flame weeder, but I would only be able to use it in rainy season, such that it is now. Too dangerous here in summer.

    That dandelion trio is quite cheery, and I lie the composition.

  3. I always enjoy your bird pictures. And I’m glad that I am not the only person who appreciates dandelions. I’ve taken many pictures of the myself over the years.

    Today I happened to read a notice that surprised me on the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. It reported that they are tracking an outbreak of Salmonella in parts of the USA that is carried by siskins. The map shows that most of the cases are in the west, so I can’t imagine your siskins could be affected. Still, I had no idea that a disease like that could be carried by songbirds.

      1. We have that in the Pacific Northwest this year (the bird related salmonella). We also had the awful stretch of dry weather and were relieved when rain returned.

  4. The drive looks fantastic! I’m interested to hear your views on the weed flamethrower – we borrowed one but felt we were going about it wrong or it needed more outings than we were in a position to give it. The weeds seemed to be laughing at us.

    1. Mrs T says that you don’t have to try to burn the plants away. You just give them a fairly brief thermal shock and they die of fright in the course of time. I am using it on young weeds which maybe helps.

  5. I laughed to see those upended ducks. Wonderful pictures of flowers and birds. Spring has indeed sprung. Beautiful, beautiful. Never heard of anyone burning weeds before, but it sure does beat using poison. Hope you get some rain soon.

  6. Good to see the hedgehog is still around. He’ll be pleased you haven’t put any weed killer down. Lovely photos of all the birds and the wild flowers especially the thrushes and the dandelions. They are looking great this year…wish there were more bees and insects out enjoying them too. Love the swimming team!

  7. I’d never heard of a flame weeder. I imagine as dry as things are here, I’d be tossed in jail for using one, if I hadn’t burned my house down in the meantime! I enjoyed seeing your spy camera shot of the hedgehog!

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