Drying out again

Today’s guest picture comes from my Lake Michigan correspondent Laura. The haze from the fires in the west of the USA is providing interesting shades at sunset over the lake.

We had another cool day here, but as it was dry all day, we did not complain. Occasionally the sun shone, and Matilda and I went to the park after breakfast where she mixed speedy cycling with saying hello to dogs. She borrowed my camera to take this picture of my friend Stan’s dog.

When we had run out of dogs to pat, we headed home and did a little lying down in the tent. It had dried out pretty well after yesterday’s rain.

Mrs Tootlepedal was planting out Sweet Williams ready for next year. I took advantage of the sunshine to take some cheerful garden pictures . . .

. . . including my current favourites, the blue salvias.

Matilda and I walked round to the shop, where Matilda bought a bag of sweeties with some money which our kind neighbour Betty had given her for a treat. As we got home, she told me that she wished that she had some of her friends about so that she could share the sweets with them. I was touched.

I took my big camera out in the hope of catching some passing flying birds, but got distracted by the flowers in the front bed. Mrs Tootlepedal is already thinking about next year, but I still think that this year has a lot going for it.

I went back in and looked at the birds on the feeder through the window. We are getting a good number of visitors now and the seed in the feeder is going down quite quickly . . .

. . . with a steady stream of sparrows, siskins, greenfinches and chaffinches arriving.

Although the skies clouded over and it looked threatening enough to persuade us to take down the tent, the rain stayed away and after lunch we went for a walk. To be more accurate, we went for two walks, with the younger members stopping on the Kilngreen for an ice cream before going round the pheasant hatchery, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I leaving them to enjoy the ice creams while we went up to the High Mill Brig and then came back along the Baggra.

Both parties enjoyed the sight of Mr Grumpy unsuccessfully pretending to be a duck, seen as we crossed Langholm Bridge.

He looked more himself from the other side of the river.

It was still overcast . . .

. . . but the first red haws on a hawthorn that I have seen this year cheered things up.

A brisk wind was rustling the leaves on the trees when we got to the Baggra . . .

. . . but the Baggra gave us plenty of shelter . . .

. . . and in spite of the recent rain, the going under foot was dry as a bone.

There was a lot to look at as we walked along, including vetchling, valerian, marsh woundwort and mint.

The valerian had a surprise for us. As I was trying to get a picture of the flowers which were being blown about in the wind, I saw a dark shadow. It turned out to be an antler moth, a handsome creature with a nice fur cape. Mrs Tootlepedal held the stem steady for me as I used my phone to get a close up.

If we had stopped to look at everything, we probably would not be home yet, but a couple more things caught our eye as we went past. A fine yarrow (editor’s note: my friend Mike Tinker tells me that this is a sneezewort and not a yarrow.) . . .

. . . and a knapweed (editor’s note again: Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is a thistle and not a knapweed) so full of seed that it is a wonder that the whole countryside is not covered with its flowers.

When we got to the end of the Baggra, we walked along the top of the woods to Holmhead. I was impressed by the very elaborate framework left by the Pyrenean valerian seed head when it has finished flowering . . .

. . . and a burdock is another busy thing.

The were small creatures too, like this drone fly . . .

. . . and a dung beetle which crossed our path.

After a final look at what I think is a hogweed . .

. . . we walked down through the woods, past snoozing cattle . . .

. . . and got home in perfect time for a cup of tea. Matilda and her parents had got home before us and were very excited because they had met a horse and rider on their walk.

With some good teamwork, we got the tent rolled up and stuffed into the very small bag that comes with it, and then another of Alistair’s excellent meals rounded off the active part of our day. The measure of his culinary skill is that I was heard to utter words which I would never have dreamed of uttering in times gone past, “I think we should have more aubergines with that.”

The flying birds of the day come in a panel. I particularly like the small siskin trying to kick a large greenfinch off its perch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Drying out again

  1. I’m smiling here re: more aubergines. Arent we all becoming so very culinarily adventurous 😊 (I still have to hide the aubergines in ragout or pasta sauce to get them on some Homesteader’s plates – all the while denying all knowledge). Oh, and Stan’s dog is very handsome!

  2. Those lovely sunsets are a mixed blessing when it’s smoke causing them. We have still not seen a drop of rain. I think our last rain was the beginning of June when we had that unexpected 7/5 inches. I won’t complain that we have not experienced the extreme heat that much of the rest of the country has.

    What a lovely dog portrait Matilda took! I found that photographing a black dog was quite difficult to get right. It’s sad that she’s missing her friends. I suspect that her grandparents are easing the separation as much as possible.

    It’s good to see Mr Grumpy again!

    In some ways your countryside reminds me of other parts of Oregon where I’ve lived. Possibly it’s because of the image of the two track dirt path leading the eye toward the rolling hills in the distance. Baggra?

    Such a great shot of the moth. What a lovely cape it has. I’m truly enjoying all the macro shots you’ve posted. The burdock was impressive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before. It nearly looks like a lady’s hair net encasing it.
    I could go on and on and…. 😉

    1. I think that Baggra might mean the ‘back road’. It was the main road to Edinburgh at one time before a new bridge was built.

      We got our rain just in time but we haven’t suffered from a long spell of very high temperatures so we have had very little to complain about really.

  3. Does packing away the tent suggest this delightful visit is drawing to a close? I have been impressed with Matilda’s photography – Stan’s dog is well captured.

  4. The garden certainly does have a lot still going for it. Of all the excellent pictures, I am most impressed by the moth, especially since I snapped my first Red Admiral yesterday, and it was rubbish

  5. That is a very smart moth, though the other insects were good too. A heron always improves the day too. Seems like everyone had a good time on the visit, apart from the aubergines . . .

  6. Matilda took a lovely photo of Stan’s dog. What is the dog’s name? You have to love a lab – they’re just walking hearts.

    p.s. – you can ALWAYS use more aubergines, especially if they’re grilled or roasted

  7. I enjoyed all the photos, especially Mr. Grumpy amid the ducks. I am glad you are getting visitors at your feeders again. Not many birds about here right now except for swallows, hummingbirds and turkey vultures.

  8. That’s a funny photo of Mr Grumpy and the Ducks… great name for a band! I used to have a dog who looked just like Zach. Bertie Woofter by name. Would have been hard to get him to sit still for a photo. Matilda really captured the high gloss on black labs.

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