Digging the dirt

Today’s guest picture of a fine hydrangea in a pot in her garden comes from our neighbour Liz.

We finally got a day that was not hot and sunny here today. It was still pleasantly warm, but it was cloudy and relatively cool in the garden. It had even rained a bit over night. I took advantage of this to do some lawn mowing after breakfast.

It is remarkable, in my view, how green our garden has stayed in spite of the lack of rain. The soil in the flower beds and vegetable garden is dry as a bone, but the grass has remained quite springlike.

Sandy came down for coffee, and I must have made a good blend today because we both drank three cups as we chatted. We went for a walk round the garden before he left and then, boosted by surplus caffeine no doubt, I set about digging up our maincrop potatoes. They have done well, and I had a fair bit of work to do. Luckily, because the soil was so dry, it was not very hard to get them out of the earth.

There were some big ones among them, and when I had dug up half the crop, I took one across the road to where Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret were having coffee with our neighbour Liz and presented it to Margaret. She was impressed.

I had a wander round the garden before I took the potato across the road. The lack of bright sun made taking flower pictures easier than of late.

Sandy was impressed by the colour of this buddleia when he saw it. The insects seem less impressed, because I haven’t seen a visitor on it yet.

The cover crop clover in the vegetable garden caught my eye . .

. . . and I was happy to see two new flowers out, a yellow crocosmia . . .

. . . and a white verbascum, one of the flowers that repays a closer look.

. . . as well a pink version of the big lilies.

The Rosaraie de L’hay has taken a deep breath and started to put out flowers again.

And there are always dahlias.

On my way back from Liz’s garden, I took a picture of one of her flowers. I don’t know what it is, but I like it.

Liz came across with us and very sportingly shinned up a ladder while we held it firmly. Once up, she poked a loose roof tile back into place. Having neighbours who like shinning up ladders is definitely a good thing. I can do it but I don’t enjoy it.

Mrs Tootlepedal helped me dig up the rest of the potatoes and get them laid out nicely to dry.

While we were in potato mode, we inspected our early potatoes which are in bags in the garage, and removed any damaged ones. We let the others lie on trays for a while to make sure that they were well aired and dry too. They are looking very sound so far, and I re-bagged them later in the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal planted out another row or two of her willow seedlings, and I inspected the mini meadow on the drying green and was very pleased to spot a silene noctifora or nightflowering catchfly . . .

. . . and a pretty mallow too.

We went in for lunch, and when we came back into the garden after our meal, we found that it had started to drizzle gently. We had to find a large plastic sheet to cover up the potatoes. The drizzle became persistent, so I went in and put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive database. There have been so few rainy days recently that I have got rather behind in this work.

I looked out of the window and saw one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s little friends. . .

. . . with a lot more to follow . . .

. . . and this reminded me that I needed to order new supplies of sunflower hearts.

The drizzle was very light, so I walked up to the town without a jacket on, and placed an order. There was a craze for parking unused bicycles on fences and walls around the town some years ago to brighten the place up, and some are still being well looked after. I like this one in Caroline Street . . .

. . . even though I think that it is a bit of an insult to use a bicycle as a flower pot.

There were lots of starlings on the power line above our garden again today . . .

. . . and one who preferred the roof ridge.

The light drizzle persisted, just enough to be annoying but not enough to be useful, so I went back inside and stayed there until we found a dry moment, uncovered the potatoes, collected them all into trays, and put them in the garage. They were amazingly dry, but they had come out of perfectly dry earth in the morning. They should go into storage bags tomorrow.

I saw a greenfinch through the window while I was inside.

To celebrate the potato season, I made a pot of potato soup after our regular family Zoom meeting, and enjoyed a bowl of it followed by another helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fish pie for my evening meal. Mrs Tootlepedal took the potatoes damaged in the digging up, and cooked and mashed them, before freezing them for future use in fish pies to come.

The flying bird of the day is a pigeon which was trying to fly up into the walnut tree without me seeing it.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Digging the dirt

  1. That’s an impressive potato crop. Our big veg garden is a dismal failure this year and that includes the potatoes – something that I thought you couldn’t mess up. Wrong again!

  2. Wow those red potatoes are 4 times the size of the ones I grow you will be straight out putting them up. The flower shots are gorgeous as are the birds. As always, a wonderful read! Have a great week.

  3. Your potatoes are truly amazing. So is the photo of the white verbascum, it rivals an orchid. Glad you got some rain. That’s what we’ve had – drizzle, and our soil is also bone dry.

  4. I heard a weather forecaster yesterday describe that light drizzle as ‘the right kind of rain’ as it would soak into the baked hard ground, unlike heavy rain with its risk of causing flooding.

  5. I am glad you got at least some rain, even a drizzle. I join the consensus about your potato crop It is very impressive!

    It is hard to pick a favorite flower photos, although the closeup of the white verbascum comes close. It is always good to see the birds. They must have liked a little drizzle for cooling off.

    Not even a drizzle of rain here now. Some of our trees that were particularly stressed last year are dying this year, even though spring and early summer had plenty of rain.

      1. The cherries seem to be the hardest hit. I think their roots are shallower than the apples. They are also susceptible to tree canker, a fungal disease.

  6. Liz’s hydrangea looks very good. That was impressive that she shinned up a ladder to put back your roof tile.
    Your lawn looks beautifully green. We are hoping for the best as we had a heavy shower yesterday and are expecting more soon.

  7. The lawn does look good and so do the potatoes. That’s quite a crop.
    I like the shot of the verbascum. Someone thought the stamens looked like moth antennae, so they’re also called “moth mullein.”
    I’m glad the wildflowers are coming along. They’re off to a beautiful start.

    1. We are hopeful that we will get more wildflowers in the mini meadow next year as the start this year has been quite promising. Thank you for the name for the verbascum. I will look at it again and see if I see any ‘mothiness’.

  8. Have you an underground spring going through your back garden keeping the grass green as ever?

  9. I can but congratulate you on your rich harvest of potatoes. And I totally can understand that you went bragging over the street. I envy the slight but persistent drizzle that is absolutely desireable on the parched earth. Here we are still suffering and the rivers are running dry (The Rhine had a lousy 33 mm today in Dusseldorf)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: