Increasing our range

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony in East Wemyss. It shows the seals who arrived the day after we left.

We had a better day than the forecast suggested. It was grey, but it was calm and pleasantly warm for the time of year at 55°F/13°C after breakfast. I went up to the town to visit the street market after breakfast, and purchased some fresh fish and two bottle of locally brewed beer. I haven’t tried the beer before so it will be interesting to find out what it tastes like.

Margaret came round for coffee and when she left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I got busy in the garden. I started by clearing up the latest results of the lawn pecking festival, and then I mowed the greenhouse grass and the vegetable garden paths. Mrs Tootlepedal prepared a bed and planted some celery which we had bought on our visit to the garden centre in Fife. It says in her book that growing celery is not for the faint hearted, so we have got our fingers crossed.

I did some dead heading and found a good number of new flowers brought on by the recent rain and the current bit of warmth.

I didn’t forget to enjoy the tulips . . .

. . . and recorded some other things that interested me, including potential poppies and an allium full of promise.

I spotted a bee on an apple blossom, but a lone bee won’t be enough to get round the great number of blossoms on all three of the espaliers.

Our friends Bruce and Lesley dropped in to say hello, and Bruce asked if we were seeing many redpolls. I said we usually had quite a number, and luckily there were several redpoll visitors today to prove me right.

As well as redpolls, we had visits from young blackbirds. They tend to stand around looking indignant that no one is feeding them. One tried a tulip petal for flavour but didn’t like it.

Bruce and Lesley had mentioned that the bluebells were looking very good, so after lunch I went to have a check on them myself. It was a grand day for a stroll even if it wasn’t sunny, and I took a lot of pictures on my short walk.

The hills are definitely getting greener at last, but the people who go round slinging electricity wires up in front of fine views have been hard at work again.

My favourite view of the whole walk was the track along the Stubholm. It brought a lift to the heart just to be there.

When I got home, I found that the resident ducks were back on the dam behind the house. The water is so low that they are crouching on the bottom rather than swimming in the stream.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I were keen to see if the battery on her new bike would be up to a twenty mile ride with a few good hills on the route, so we got the bikes out and set out to pedal over Callister and round the Solwaybank windfarm.

A smir of rain was falling as we left the house, but we pressed on regardless and were rewarded when the rain soon stopped. We stayed dry, but wet roads as we returned showed that it must have kept raining for quite a bit in Langholm itself.

We passed a fine bank of primroses at Westwater . . .

. . . and we were very surprised to see a small flock of geese in a field later in the ride.

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed cycling down the green tunnel at Solwaybank.

. . . and I was impressed by the thriving blaeberries (bilberries) beside the road at the Kerr.

We got home with power to spare in Mrs Tootlepedal’s battery so the whole ride turned out to be very satisfactory. We will be able to put the bikes in the car and explore new roads with confidence.

On a general note, a lot of concern is being expressed about the drop in numbers of insects, and in all the time that I was looking at flowers, both tame and wild, today, I only saw two apart from the bee in the apple.

The garden should have been buzzing on a day like today.

We ate the fish that I had bought in the morning for our evening meal, and very good it was too.

The flying bird of the day is yet another redpoll.

Footnote: A penultimate East Wemyss gallery today for those interested. I haven’t titled them but I feel that they give a flavour of our walks in some rather grey weather (with a little sunshine as we left).

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Increasing our range

  1. My dad used to grow celery, and I do remember that it was a lot of work for him but also that it was very tender and delicious.

    I know I’ve said this before, but each time I see your photos of Mrs. T. disappearing into the distance on her new bike, I think of how you must be (as my friend Lucie’s husband Charles would say) absolutely chuffed with your purchase. They’re not even my bikes and I’m tickled at how well they’re working out for you!

    1. I hope that we get delicious celery. The shop bought stuff is not very tasty at all.

      The bikes do look like a good investment. We are chuffed.

  2. I enjoyed the photo tour of East Wemyss. Too bad the seals came in after you left. Your own area look beautiful, and I hope you get sufficient rain going into summer to raise the water levels. The photo of the crouching duck does not look too promising.

    We have had many passing storms today. The ground is saturated with water, a good sign for us going into summer. It is still cold, in the mid to upper 40s today. The heat will come soon enough.

    1. We have some warmer weather which has been very welcome and there is more rain in the forecast so we can hope that the rovers will rise a bit.

  3. It’s nice to see the noble fir again. That’s a beautiful tree, or maybe a tree that does beautiful things.
    I’m hoping the concerns about a drop in the numbers of insects are unfounded. We seem to have the usual number but it’s hard to tell. The number of ticks and black flies certainly haven’t dropped any.
    I love those walks that bring a lift to the heart. There just isn’t anything better.

    1. You are right about the noble fir, it is not a very attractive tree. or at least our local ones are not. But is is worth looking at all the same. There is quite a lot of research about the drop in insect numbers here.

  4. Wow, so much beautiful flowers and I love the shots of the bluebells in the woods. Mr P. her battery is doing well so you can make plans to make new explorations further away…

  5. The photo of the seals maybe helps to make up for the fact that you missed seeing them. It’s frightening really to see all your beautiful flowers and blossom with hardly any insects on them…what to do? Love the bluebell woods with those little paths.

    1. There were a few more insects around today. W hat to do? Stop using neonics, back off from intensive agriculture, encourage better gardens in towns. None of them easy options I quite realise.

      1. We left a thick nut-tree to decay years ago as a decorative feature. And I have lots of dead wood in one corner to decay slowly. That helps insects to find nesting places and come through the winter. We also don’t have lawn but meadow that will be mown only once a year and allows a lot of wild flowers to rise. Insect count has decreased a bit but not alarmingly.

      2. Our garden is getting wilder each year. We have found that it is not easy to turn a lawn into a meadow but we are trying bit by bit. We have many wild corners but all the same there are a lot fewer insects about.

  6. It is very worrying about the lack of insects. We have so many flowers on show, the hedgerows, fields and gardens should be buzzing. Bluebells are everywhere, same with dandelions, daisies and buttercups. The butterflies are rarely to be seen and bees are only seen singly. And where are all the swifts and swallows etc gone? Hopefully, to where there are insects. Your pictures are, well, picture perfect. Keep them coming. I hope that beer tasted good. I rarely take a drink these days, but I do love a pint of real ale. My favourite is Wadworths 6X, which is only available here in bottles. But I’ve discovered another great tasting ale called Chieftain. It is sold in a vegetarian restaurant in Ystradgynlais called Cafe Chameleon, where I had a Coconut and red lentil curry along with that tasty real ale. It don’t get much better than this. Except, maybe, when I can ride over the mountain between Glynneath an Ystradgynlais on my bike, either one, plain pedal power or electric assist? 🤔 At this juncture, it will probably be, the latter. Cheers.

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