Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He went to Tamworth to go skiing in the SnowDome, but found it was closed for a private function. Ever one to turn a disappointment into an opportunity, he went to visit Tamworth Castle instead.
We had another gloomy and grey day here today, and it was lucky that I had useful things to do on the computer after breakfast because it was raining outside. By the time that we had had our coffee, the rain had stopped, so I went out to do some dead heading and looking at things.
I very much enjoyed seeing a bumble bee backing carefully out of a snapdragon . . .
. . . and once again I had to be careful while I was dead heading the dahlias as there were a lot of bees and other insects getting every last drop of nourishment out of the flowers.
It is noticeable that the only flower in the panel above not to have visitors is also the fanciest. Insects tend not to like fancy flowers as much as photographers do.
In the absence of the sun, I had to rely on flowers to brighten my day. They did a good job.
I have not been dead heading the poppies . . .
. . . so we are hoping for a good crop of self seeded poppies next year. We can always hope.
Another foxglove has arrived very late on the scene.
I worked as a dead header’s assistant while Mrs Tootlepedal dived boldly into the middle of thick vegetation. The task of the assistant is to point out any dead heads that the dead header has missed. She is always grateful for this.
I had another look round just before lunch.
The new fake tree has been attached to the fence post to give the birds a resting place when the feeder is busy and they have to wait for a perch. The stems are not rooted and the leaves will soon fall off.
When I had looked at the birds before coffee, I found that two ungrateful greenfinches and a chaffinch preferred the old twigs to the new willow . . .
. . . while a sparrow preferred the feeder pole itself . . .
. . . and another greenfinch didn’t hang about waiting at all.
The feeder was quite busy then, but for some reason the birds stopped coming later in the day, and even though I refilled it, I didn’t see another bird on the feeder.
Butterflies were to be seen, but they were few and far between. Our purple buddleias are almost over, so a small tortoiseshell tried the red one today.
The calendulas are going over too, but there are still enough around to remind me of how good they look.
The yellow crocosmias round the front lawn are pretty well at their peak.
It was a good day to have a cheerful soup for lunch, and luckily Mrs Tootlepedal had made a tasty ham broth which went down very well.
After lunch, we went back to the bramble patch beside the Tarras Water to see if we could pick enough blackberries to make some bramble and apple jelly. Someone else had had the same idea but there were enough left for us to make the outing worthwhile. Some of the fruit was in peak condition.
I leaned over the bridge when we got back to the car and noted yet again how low the water is.
On the way home, Mrs Tootlepedal kept a sharp eye out for more briars in the hedgerows, and we found two good places to stop and add to our haul. As the second lot was growing over one of my favourite walls, I had the chance to take a picture of moss and lichen to add to my general sense of happiness.
I was hoping to see the red fruiting bodies on the lichen but they are still under development.
We did some weighing when we got home, and found that when we added yesterday’s small pickings to today’s larger harvest, we had over three pounds of berries. This was enough to make some jelly so I added three apples from our garden and stewed the fruit. I have a highly sophisticated jelly bag . . .
. . . consisting of an upturned occasional table and an old tea towel. It works well enough though.
Later in the evening, I made four and a half pots of jelly, a good reward for braving the briars and the nettles.
During the day, I took a view of the front beds from the garden gate . . .
. . . and an aerial view of the front garden from an upstairs window. The garden may be getting autumnal but it has not faded away entirely.
That is a outdoor coffee table leaning against the bench in the background. We haven’t been moved to sit outside for our coffee for a while now. Although we need rain, a little sun would not go amiss either.
I didn’t get a chance to catch a flying bird today so I was tempted to use a picture of two very noisy military helicopters which flew over the garden in the early evening . . .
. . . but in spite of an appalling racket which made them sound as though they were just over our rooftop, they were too high to get a good picture.
A nearly flying greenfinch will have to do.