Two social cycles

Today’s guest picture comes from my Manitoba correspondent Mary Jo. They do things on a large scale in Canada, and her picture shows guests at a fly-in pancake breakfast that her husband organized at his flying club. They fed 260 people. She tells me that the alarming sky wasn’t as bad as it looks, and it was going away anyway.

We didn’t have 260 people for breakfast here, but I did have quite a sociable day, starting with a visit from Sandy for coffee.

He left with some rhubarb, a courgette, and an arrangement to return in the afternoon on his bike. Last time we made this arrangement, we were stymied by rain, but today the weather stayed fair.

I spent a lot of the morning in the garden, first sieving the last of the compost in Bin D and then, after coffee, shifting the contents of Bin C into the now empty Bin D.

I was really pleased with how good the turned compost looked . . .

. . . and it should be ready for sieving almost immediately.

The space in Bin C was needed as Bin B will need to be moved on soon because Bin A is getting pretty full . . .

. . . thanks to the relentless activity of Attila the Gardener. And to be fair, I have added quite a bit myself.

I did some garden tidying, raspberry picking, watering and dead heading as well as the composting, but I managed to find time for one or two pictures. The verbascum saga continues to unfold (and refold).

Thanks to steady dead heading, the Icelandic poppies keep on coming. They have been flowering for two months now, and will go on a lot longer if I keep up the dead heading.

The first tiny flowers on the tall stems of the verbena have arrived.

And a geranium, purchased on our Hawick trip at the weekend, is now featuring in the chimney pot.

The rambler rose is really coming into its own, both near the metal arch and on the back fence. They should have no trouble finding flowers for the Common Riding rose this year.

Mrs Tootlepedal was mostly working hard at the computer today, finishing her minutes, and when I went in to chat to her, I took a moment to look out at the birds. I have trimmed back the willows round the feeder so that I can get a better look at them.

Goldfinches appeared in numbers today.

I finished my garden tasks, and took a view of the vegetable garden . . .

. . .which is looking quite well in spite of the lack of rain, and then went in for lunch.

After lunch, Sandy turned up on his electric bike, I got my electric bike out, and we went off for a fourteen mile jaunt round the Barnglieshead triangle. Sandy is still in the process of recovering from some serious operations, so we took things easily and stopped from time to time to admire wild flowers and eat bilberries.

The rather curious white image in the middle of the bottom row is a bramble bush just going from flower to fruit. The fly on the hawkweed is one of the very few that were about.

Our undulating route took us along a favourite stretch of road . . .

. . .and a bit further along, we stopped for another break and some refreshment. I ate a date and a some dried apricots, while Sandy munched on an apple beside the road . . .

. . . and this was the road that we were beside.

I was very pleased that we had stopped just there because I found a marsh woundwort . . .

. . . which I had been hoping to see for a few days.

We didn’t stop again after that, except to note the fallen tree that is still growing in a horizontal way several years after its catastrophe.

A friendly wind blew us home at a good speed, and we arrived back in time for me to watch the ending of a most exciting stage of the Tour de France. Sandy watched for a bit, and then went off to his home with a sprig of mint from the garden to go with the courgette.

My day of social riding was not over yet as Mrs Tootlepedal had a parcel to post. There is no post office in Langholm on a Tuesday, so we cycled down to the post office in Canonbie, taking the seven mile back road route.

The post office is located in part of the Cross Keys Hotel building in the village . . .

. . . and was quite busy, so Mrs Tootlepedal had to wait in a queue before she could send off her parcel.

It had been a day of light clouds, warm but not too hot, just right for cycling, but the light was fading a bit as we cycled home by a different and slightly shorter route. It was a pity that there was not some better light, because the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal spotted some chicory on our way to the Hollows, and I would like to have taken a better picture of this pretty flower.

To have one social ride in a day is a pleasure, but to have two in the same day was most unusual and very welcome. It made the 28 miles pass very pleasantly.

In all this composting and bicycling about, I didn’t get much time to watch the birds, so a rather muddy back view of a siskin is the best that I could do for the flying bird of the day.

Footnote: I did go out into the garden when we got back from Canonbie to try find a late flying bird, but all the possible candidates were on sit down strike and refused to fly at all.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Two social cycles

  1. It’s good to hear that Sandy can get out again. He’s had quite a time by the sounds of it.
    The marsh woundwort is a pretty flower. I’ve read that it has been introduced here but I’ve never seen it.
    The vegetable garden looks great and I’m sure the fine looking compost is the reason for it.

  2. The verbascum saga is most unusual – it would be interesting to trace the its movements in a time-lapse video.

    Good to see Sandy out on a bike ride with two working feet!

    And the fbotd might be static, but the three black and whites are very striking.

  3. Sandy has chosen a good way to recover, taking things easy and stopping along the way to enjoy wild flowers and eat bilberries.

    I agree, a time lapse video of the verbascum would be interesting. It now looks like a snake about to strike.

  4. Your vegetable garden is impressive. In addition, I found the pictures of your compost bins very interesting. So far, I’ve just got a Bin A. I haven’t had a chance to gain much knowledge about composting yet, this being my first try at it. Regardless, at least I have the beginnings of the process going.

      1. Being retired, time is what I do have, although most days it seems like I need double the hours. Once I have my drip irrigation system in, my time spent watering will be saved.

  5. Never heard of anything more original than a “a fly-in pancake breakfast” ๐Ÿ™‚ Wauw !!
    You have realy magical verbascums….
    The spot you picked for a break looks very nice too.

  6. The Verbascum is most impressive. It is heartening to know that Sandy can venture forth at last. The vegetable garden looks very productive indeed!

  7. Impressive compost – quantity and quality. Number Two Son tells me that it is possible to drive all day in Canada without the view changing, so I see the attraction of having a plane.

  8. How lovely to have your pal Sandy on a cycle ride with you. You spotted some fine wildflowers on the way round too. Compost looks wonderful no wonder your veg patch is doing so brilliantly.

    1. I would like to claim all the credit for the compost but other commercially available products may have been deployed by the gardener as well. She likes to dish out a little soluble plant food where necessary.

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