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.