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.