Mirror, mirror

Today’s guest picture comes from my Manitoba correspondent Mary Jo. It is an orchid cactus. Mary Jo tells me that it over winters in her basement storage room and gets no attention. It does well, all the same.

We had another very good summer day here today, with temperatures rising to 25°C (77°F) in the afternoon, but not staying there long enough to be oppressive. The day got sunnier as it went along, and it ended with a good sunset.

I filled the feeder after breakfast, and then checked on the birds later to find that siskins were keeping busy.

Neither of us had slept very well, so we had a quiet morning until we were revived by morning coffee. Our neighbour Margaret has got Covid, so we had coffee by ourselves. She is being well looked after by her family, and is not very poorly at all.

I went for a garden wander before coffee. It was hard to avoid the peonies.

And the Queen of Denmark is thriving too.

In terms of novelty, we are definitely getting excited by the prospects of digging potatoes and picking blackcurrants, while feverfew and the little red rose have added to the colour in the garden.

The first proper flower on the delphiniums has opened . . .

. . . and the astrantias are still attracting customers. It was a marmalade hoverfly today.

A blackbird kept an eye on my goings on . . .

I compared our two yellow irises, Butter and Cream and Apollo . . .

. . . and decided that I liked them both equally.

I shot a mixed bunch of sitting flowers . . .

. . . and went in for a sit down and some strong coffee and ginger cake.

The siskins had given way to a greenfinch and a goldfinch.

After coffee, I went to the corner shop to buy milk and then mowed the front lawn. Mrs Tootlepedal picked sweet peas, watered the vegetables, weeded, tidied up and probably did half a dozen other things which I didn’t notice.

We are getting a good supply of lettuces from the vegetable garden to have with our lunch, and I had some today in a pate and tomato sandwich of considerable size.

After lunch, I noticed a fleeting butterfly and went out to see if I could metaphorically pin it down. I caught up with it in the end, but it was most unwilling to open its wings for me. Here are some rather subdued studies of a painted lady keeping itself to itself as it flitted from Sweet William to Sweet William.

In the end, I ran out of patience and went off for a bicycle ride. Mrs Tootlepedal was impressed by the new mirror which I had fitted to my e-bike, so I decided to bicycle down to the bike shop in Longtown and buy one for her. I went on my e-bike, and packed my heavy camera and macro lens in the back bag in the hope of getting better pictures of orchids than I managed yesterday.

When I got home, I checked and found to my chagrin that I had taken even worse pictures of the orchids today. I had got better pictures of meadow vetchling and vetch though, so that was a small consolation.

I went by a roundabout route, avoiding the main road and stopped once again to enjoy the peaceful Liddel Water . . .

. . . and the handsome bridge over it which spans the border with England.

I stopped by the River Esk when I got to Longtown, and saw Mr Grumpy’s English cousin contemplating, life, the universe and everything while standing on one leg on a rock in the middle of the river.

The bike shop . . .

. . . had a mirror in stock and were happy to sell it to me.

I then took a ‘back roads’ route home, using quite a bit of electrical help to get me up the hills on the way. I rattled along at a good speed, but this didn’t prevent me from taking a few pictures as I went along.

The fields that have been cut for silage are greening up again, and there was plenty of uncut grass in a cattle field. I stopped at the Kerr Wood to check on the Scots pine that I had noticed beside the road on previous trips. It is growing well.

I looked round after I had taken the pictures of the pine, and saw that there was a good selection of grasses growing at my feet (as well as some ‘cuckoo spit’ on a yellow rattle).

I had made a slow cooked lamb stew in the morning, and it was almost ready to eat when I got home after my thirty mile round trip. Mrs Tootlepedal cooked potatoes and peas to go with it, while we fitted the new mirror to her bike.

During the day, Mike Tinker had dropped in to say that he and Gavin had been walking along the new track to Broomholmshiels created to get the felled timber out of the wood that had been extensively damaged by Storm Arwen. They had come across a stranded barn owl chick on their walk, and restored it to as near to its nest as possible. Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it would be good to try to cycle along this track (and perhaps meet a barn owl too).

There was an enormous pile of timber already brought out of the wood lying in a heap at Broomholmshiels . . .

. . . but sadly no barn owls in sight.

We headed towards the new track, and found a huge machine bringing yet more logs out of the wood. We waited until it had passed, and tried to cycle up the track. It may have been fine for walking and huge machines, but it was too steep and too rough for us to cycle up. It doesn’t look too severe from the bottom . . .

. . . but appearances are deceptive. We gave up the attempt, and settled for cycling home along the well worn track through the Longwood.

This was an unalloyed pleasure in the warm evening sunshine.

If you would like to see the full story of their walk along the track, and Mike and Gavin’s adventures with the barn owl, visit Gavin’s blog. It has got some excellent pictures of the owl.

The flying bird of the day is one of the morning siskins.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Mirror, mirror

  1. The size of the log pile definitely emphasizes the enormity of the storm damage – especially when you consider how many such piles are stacked all over the country.

    Lovely water shots – they make me want to go wading into the picture.

  2. It’s disappointing to get home and not like any of the photos you worked so hard to get, but it happens.
    I’d be real happy with the shots of the hoverfly and painted lady.
    I like both of the irises too. I’m glad I don’t have to choose between them.
    That was a cute barn owl!

  3. Your day there looks as beautiful as it was here, and I enjoyed your photo selection. The blackbird looks like she has a green bottle fly in her beak.

    I stopped by Gavin’s blog to see the barn owl chick. Seems the little fellow has a good crew looking after him. I hope he makes it.

  4. The first picture, remembers be at my grandmother who had a cactus like the one on the photo. It bloomed abundantly year after year. I loved the story of the baby Barn Owl on Gavin’s site too. Let’s hope all the best for this litle guy.

  5. A fine show of beautiful flowers.
    Hope Margaret continues to progress well.
    Glad you had success in getting another bicycle mirror for Mrs Tootlepedal.

  6. I absolutely love the delicate color of the Butter and Cream iris. Something about it just draws me in. I do hope Margaret weathers her bout with Covid easily, and regains full health quickly. And thanks for sharing Gavin’s post with his owl adventure. Looks like I have another blog to follow and feed my longing for the Scottish country life. 😄

  7. Such an array of beautiful flower photos to enjoy and your commentary trips along very nicely besides them! Checked out the barn owl photos- really excellent. You can both keep an eye out for one another now using your mirrors!

  8. Your garden is blooming wonderfully and I was about to comment on the buzzing bee, but apparently it’s a hoverfly. Not that I’m familiar with the difference… it’s all good as long as they help in the pollination business. Your Liddel Water looks a bit like our creek in places, though ours is drying up quite quickly now that the rains have stopped. Add that beautiful bridge and an encounter with Mr Grumpy. What more could you ask for? We were happy to capture our own Mr Grumpy down at the creek today. We had feared he may have moved elsewhere.

    Pity you didn’t meet up with the barn owl.
    I have some catching up to do. Hard to believe I’ve skipped into July already…

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