Three trouser day

Today’s guest picture is the last from my Somerset correspondent Venetia’s visit to Hestercombe Gardens.

Our spell of sunny but hazy weather continued, and it was a warm day from the start.

I had time to do the crossword and admire a very fine dandelion in the garden . . .

. . . before we went off to join the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve volunteers in another attack on unwanted pheasant pens. The pen by the wall where we have toiled before has now been completely taken down, so we set off from the bridge at Rashiel to a new one today.

It was among the trees on the hill that you can see in the top right corner of the picture above. We couldn’t take the direct route to the pen as there is a large bog in the way.

The top of the pen is in the open, and I stopped to admire the view when we got there.

Hauling the wire netting out of the boggy ground, where grass and rushes had grown through the netting and the fencers had pinned it down with big staples every few feet, was a tough job, but we persevered and soon the familiar pile of poles and netting began to mount up.

There was a lot left to do . . .

. . . by the time that we called a halt after two hours.

The traditional hot blackcurrant juice and some custard cream biscuits were the reward provided by our leader Kat when we got back to the cars.

We got home in time for lunch, and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to join a group of stitchers who meet regularly to stitch and chat. I walked round the garden.

New flowers are to be seen almost every day now. Today’s nice surprise was a fritillary . . .

. . . and euphorbias have developed too.

A magnolia flower had opened fully and many more are nearly out.

In the pond, a lone frog kept watch . . .

. . . and on top of the holly tree, a lone starling gave me a nod.

I spent a few minutes watching the birds at the feeder . . .

. . . but there wasn’t a great deal of traffic today.

As it was such a lovely afternoon, I swapped my volunteering trousers (tough and waterproof) for cycling trousers (lightweight and snug) and went round my familiar Canonbie 20 mile circuit at a gentle pace.

The cutting of verges and hedges has been so thorough that there is not much to see yet, and the haze made views impossible. When I looked down over the Solway, I could hardly see the Gretna windmills only five miles away, let alone the English hills on the far shore.

It is annoying to have this haze when you can look straight up and see clear blue sky above you.

This meant that it wasn’t a good day for taking pictures as I pedalled, and it took a little lamb to get my camera out as I passed Hollows Tower.

I took a couple of pictures in the garden when I got back to fill the hole in my photographic day.

More new flowers. Muscari are popping up all over the place . . .

. . . and the first aubretia flowers have appeared.

As I am going on a guided walk tomorrow, I thought that I had better bake some biscuits to take with me to keep my strength up. I chose oatmeal and raisin biscuits, and added a good chunk of apricots to the mixture for extra flavour on the hill. A preliminary test showed that they should be up to the job.

I was still wearing my cycling clothes when I was baking and having a Zoom meeting with my siblings, but I changed into my third pair of trousers (comfortable and soothing) to write this post in the evening. It is good to have suitable trousers for the task in hand.

It has been important to make good use of our present spell of fine weather, as cold days and freezing nights are due to arrive next Thursday. I hope that this doesn’t catch too many plants out.

The flying bird of the day is a streamlined chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Three trouser day

  1. Guided walk? Intriguing – I hope tomorrow’s post will illuminate!

    It looked like a lovely day for your attack on the pens.

  2. The post I just put together had the same kind of day. It was sunny and beautiful but so hazy you couldn’t see anything at a distance. They fool you until you get the camera out.
    I wonder if that frog had to throw all the other frogs out of your pond so it could be king.
    I hope your upcoming cold snap doesn’t harm the flowers. I noticed that the magnolia got nipped a little.

    1. I am quite nervous of the possible freezing mornings but there is nothing that can be done about so as our neighbour Margaret often says, “We will just have to put up with things as they are.”

  3. You seem to have mastered the art of baking oatmeal and raisin biscuits. The addition of apricots make them sound the ideal accompaniment to a guided walk.

  4. You seem to have a lot of work, removing the unwanted pheasant pens…
    I love te Fritillary, never found one until now. They are not so common over here.
    Enjoy the weekend.

  5. Hot blackcurrant juice and custard cream biscuits sound like a fine reward for hard work. I hope the coming cold weather does not harm any of these beautiful flowers you have shown here.

    I am very pleased to see the frog again. I suppose it has been too cold to see any developing tadpoles yet?

  6. At least you choose the correct trousers for the job unlike Wallace and Gromit! Sounds like you had another lovely energetic day pulling up the netting, followed by cycling and then baking! I’d need more than biscuits to keep me going! Love the flower shots.

  7. You managed excellent photographs in spite of the haze. I love the frog. Good going on the pheasant pen removal and I’m with you on the biscuit baking.

  8. I was almost ready to shut the computer down since it’s close to bedtime on this side of the globe, but your title was too intriguing. The job of attacking the unwanted pheasant pens was rather impressive, but left me curious about those three trousers… so I soldiered on.
    ​Stopping to gaze at the lovely fritillary didn’t solve my puzzlement.
    We are delighted to be seeing some new lambs on our travels. A sure and pleasant sign of spring.
    But by now I’ve discovered the reason for the second pair of trousers…
    I finally came to the sensible reason for the third pair. Comfort is definitely a sensible reason to change to comfortable and soothing, but I have to admit I might have done so before the biscuits. πŸ˜‰

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