Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline in Southsea. She approves of the council’s wild flower policy.

We had a warmer and calmer day here, which was very welcome. I had a quiet start to the day and didn’t get out into the garden until just before coffee when I picked some raspberries. The sun was shining in a cheerful manner when we went out after coffee, and the roses were smiling too.

In fact, the garden generally looked quite happy.

I got out the strimmer and edged both the lawns, and then went round the vegetable garden, neatening up the edges of the raised beds. After a cycle round to the corner shop and some dead heading, it was time for lunch.

Mrs Tootlepedal had some shopping to do in Carlisle, and she arranged with Margaret over coffee to take her along for the outing. Before they left, we had time for another visit to the garden where I trimmed the two box balls at the end of the front lawn. For once, I remembered to take before and after pictures.

A blog reader was asking about knapweed in the garden so I took a couple of shots of ours for her interest.

There are lots of blackbirds and sparrows in the garden at the moment as many families have been raised recently. Two of them, kept an eye on me today.

As Mrs Tootlepedal drove off, I looked at a few more flowers . . .

. . . before getting togged up for a cycle ride.

I got my push bike out today, and cycled round the Solwaybank wind farm loop under my own steam. I was in no hurry, and took my time pedalling up the hill and into the wind for the first six miles, stopping to take pictures of some agrimony growing beside the bridge over the Earnshaw Burn.

It grows there every year, and every year I have to look it up to remind myself of what it is called.

Things got easier once I was over the top of Callister, but I wasn’t in a rushing mood and stopped for more pictures along the way.

There were fine views over the farmland . . .

. . . and wild flowers in the verges . . .

. . . and occasional clouds painted some of the turbine towers of the wind farm grey.

There is an avenue between trees below the Solwaybank house, presumably to give the residents of the house a fine view over the Solway plain towards the Lake District. Recent forestry planting has spoiled the view a bit.

After passing through the summer tunnel along the road . . .

. . . there is a spot where the hedges have disappeared, and I can enjoy a good view of the northern English fells.

On a sunny day, I think that this is my favourite road. I like the contrast between the open moor at the windfarm, the trees and hedges in the section near the house, and the undulating open country . . .

. . . as you get near to the junction with the Canonbie road, with Tinnis Hill and the Langholm moor in the background..

I did think of going down to Canonbie to extend my ride, but time was getting on, so I took the direct route home. I paused for a moment to eat a few bilberries which are growing in profusion beside the road.

I was happy to be blown back home down the last three miles through Wauchopedale. I enjoyed my unassisted ride but unsurprisingly, it was a bit slower than yesterday’s powerful effort.

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her shopping trip by the time that I got home, and had caught the finish of today’s stage of the Tour. I just missed it, and after sitting around for a while, I went out into the garden to find a jackdaw doing its sitting on our rooftop.

After a meal of slow cooked beef stew followed by raspberries and cream, I paid a final visit to the garden where irises could be found . . .

. . . and the no mow lawn caught the last of the sun before it went behind the trees.

The difference in the height of the grass on the no mow lawn shows the difference between the specialist slow growing lawn grass planted for the original lawn, and the coarser grass that we used when we extended the lawn some years ago.

I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at birds today, and here are two views of the feeder taken some hours apart.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin taken in the late afternoon with the light behind it.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Helpless

  1. That iris does have a beautiful color. I don’t think I’ve seen another like it.
    The box balls came out well. I used to have to do a pair much like them for a lady who was very fussy about cleaning up every tiny fallen leaf. I used to have to finish by picking what was left after raking up with my fingers.
    That was a nice ride with so many beautiful views. My favorite was where you were able to peek through the hedge.

    1. I have got an electric machine for sucking up leaves but it is on a cable and it takes more trouble to get it out than is worth it. I left quite a lot of leaves lying about in the hope that strong winds would tidy them up for me. 🙂

  2. I had to google bilberries; like blueberries but stronger flavours apparently. No good for the Homestead and our annoying selective fruit allergies (strawberries and blueberries).

    1. I see that people make jam with them. There are so many about this year that I might be tempted to have a go. I won’t pick too many until I have tried it though. I am sorry about the strawberry allergy, that is most annoying.

      1. Its a little easier where we live now. There was a time when we unknowingly set up home right in the middle of Strawberry growing NZ. How many platefuls of chocolate covered strawberries did we have to politely decline only to find that WAS dessert. The scars run deep 😂

  3. I also had to look up bilberries – they sound a bit like saskatoons. If so, they must be delicious!

    The sitting jackdaw is a very handsome fellow.

  4. All the flowers look very happy indeed. I have never seen an iris that blue. Fascinating bilberries, they look almost like grapes except for not growing on a vine. All exquisite views on your ride.

  5. I particularly liked the blackbird picture. It is hard to get picture that shows him suitably black, but still shows the sheen and detail of the feathers. Today’s picture succeeded very well at all three.

    Yesterday I was going to comment on the un-mowed grass. I stopped mowing part of my yard many years ago and I particularly enjoy seeing the wind blowing waves and ripples through the long grass – just as Mrs. T. However, I was going to add that I also enjoy it when the early or late sun shines through it, highlighting the tassels as the grass flowers and goes to seed. You captured that well today. Thank you.

      1. My unmown area is the entire back yard. It has become a haven for local wildlife, including quail, pheasants, and deer (non resident visitors). So I even though I would like to cultivate part of it for summer vegetables, I leave it wild, knowing I’ve given it back to the critters who had access to it before folks like me were here to pretend we own it.

  6. That undulating road with its varied views does look very pleasant for a peaceful ride.
    It will be interesting to see how the no mow lawn progresses.

  7. I like your no mow lawn, the looks of it and also in knowing how helpful it is to insects, etc. At this time, I’ve got a hired lawn mowing company coming with two fellows twice a month (only through summer), but by next year, if I get the weeds under control by then, I may leave part of the back as you’ve done.

  8. I like roads with a bit of grass growing down the middle especially if they lead to beautiful places. Your header photo looks a special place to cycle to. The no mow lawn looks very pretty in the evening light.

  9. “Be untidy.There is nothing more beneficial to insects than long grass.” Monty Don 🙂
    But I do like a mown lawn, too, if in a garden setting and not too big.

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