Damped down

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony, and it just goes to show that the sun doesn’t always shine in East Wemyss.

We have left our frosty nights behind for the moment at any rate, and it was pleasantly warm when I went out to fill up the bird feeder at breakfast time. The birds seemed to be enjoying the better weather too, and the feeder got very busy almost as soon as I went back inside.

We don’t often see greenfinches in the garden as early in the day as this.

As usual siskins wasted little time before shouting at all comers.

The feeder remained busy with chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches and siskins . . .

. . . as I went off to volunteer on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. We were planting trees at Broomholmshiels which is only a couple of miles away, so I cycled up on my electric bike. There were only four volunteers to help our leader Kat today. We didn’t get a lot of trees planted although we worked very hard. It is not too difficult to plant the trees and put up the tree guards, but carrying the posts, guards and trees across the tussocky ground is very tough.

The task was made harder by the arrival of several showers coming up from the south west.

We stopped after we had added just under 50 trees to the considerable number already planted and ploughed back through the tussocks to Kat’s car which you can see in the background. It doesn’t look too bad in the picture, but every step on the way is an invitation to fall over.

When it came to going home, I found to my annoyance that the rain had got to the controller on my electric bike and I had to pedal back under my own steam. The sun came out in the afternoon and I cleaned and dried my bike and the controller worked properly. I was very disappointed to find that it had stopped working again later in the day. It may need some more careful drying out. We shall see tomorrow. If it happens again, a visit to the bike shop will be in order. Losing power on an electric bike is not a good thing as they are so much heavier to pedal than an ordinary road bike.

I found a frog hanging around in the pond when I got home.

Such had been the bird traffic while I was out that I found that I had to fill the feeder again at lunch time. Once again, it didn’t take long for the birds to get back to business. Goldfinches were the first to arrive

Some waited patiently for their turn . . .

. . . while others rushed in.

A pigeon under the feeder . . .

. . . was doubtless pleased to see all this activity as it meant more fallen seed for it to pick up, especially as there were siskins about.

I planned to go for a bike ride after lunch, in spite of the possibilities of more showers, and I went as far as going upstairs to put some waterproof bike gear on. However, that was as far as I got. I foolishly glanced at my bed and before I knew it, I was having a snooze. I think that my body was suggesting that I had got cold and wet enough times in recent days, and avoiding getting wet again would be a good thing.

I listened carefully to what it was saying, and after I got up an hour later, I went no further than cleaning my electric bike and going for a very gentle walk round the garden.

The warmer temperature made it feel quite springlike. The next wave of daffodils is just starting . . .

. . . the vinca beside the drive is showing its first few flowers . . .

. . . there were several frogs visible in the pond . . .

. . . and buds and shoots . . .

. . . are getting ready to burst out all over.

There was even a new crocus to be seen.

I didn’t get too excited though, and soon went back in for a quiet sit down in front of the telly.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy afternoon. Grasping a large parcel, she had walked up at lunchtime to the visiting post office in the town hall in a sharp rain shower only to find that it was shut for holidays. Still grasping her parcel, she walked home again. There was nothing for it but to wait until the post office in Canonbie opened at three o’clock and drive down to post it there.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came over for their first Friday visit since they went to visit their son and his family in New Zealand. They were still suffering slightly from jet lag but Alison and I enjoyed some recorder and keyboard duets before joining Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal for conversation. It was really good to be back playing music again.

I am looking forward to finding out if both bike and rider are in better condition tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Damped down

  1. East Wemyss seem to enjoy good moonshine and well as sunshine. That is a beautiful photo from Tony.

    I enjoyed your photo selection from the day. Quite a few birds with varied expressions. The pigeons generally look pleased with the seed that falls their way. I was very happy to see the frogs.

    I have worked planting grape vines on a hillside for one winery several years back. I do know those grow tubes, etc. are hard to carry, especially uphill, along with everything else, and I didn’t even have tussocks to work around. Bravo to the volunteers for planting so many trees.

    I am sorry the electric bike got wet enough to have problems. They do seem like they would be hard to pedal if the electric part isn’t working. Perhaps there is a gasket on the control box that is not sealing well?

    1. I think that I may have left a cover for a USB port on the controller open. I will take more care and dry things off after a wet ride better too.

  2. That’s very generous of you to refill the feeder during the day. I refill my two at breakfast time, and once the content has gone, it’s gone for the day, except for the seed dropped and discarded on the ground.

  3. Hope rider and bike are in better condition tomorrow, but no doubt you needed a nap. Have you ever had a permanent post office? I don’t think we have visiting post offices in Maine.

    1. We still have a handsome post office building, just no post office inside it. We have hordes of little vans rushing up and down our roads these days delivering parcels from internet shopping, and the price we have to pay for that is the closure of our post office.

      1. We have a similar situation here with Internet deliveries but somehow our post offices have remained open. A miracle when you consider that we have those in government who are always champing at the bit to slash services.

  4. Wonderful photos of your yard birds and the frog. And the buds! I have been spoiling my yard birds all winter by refilling the feeders later in the afternoon, when they have come for a nibble or two, but when we warm up that will have to end.
    After all that tussocking around planting trees it’s no wonder you needed a nap.

  5. That Nature Reserve work is tough, so it was probably good to have a snooze. I like the frog pictures, and the new garden growth. I do hope that problem with thee electric bike won’t be a continuing one.

  6. You are doing a very nice job with the planting of all those trees. The country will look a lot greener and more forested in the coming decades. It is annoying that the steering mechanism of your electric bicycle is not really resistant to moisture…. but yes, electronics and water…. On the other hand, cycling in the rain is not an abnormal use, is it? Have a nice weekend Tommy.

    1. I think that I was just neglectful of proper post ride care. I was more concerned with drying and warming myself than looking after the bike. I will learn.

  7. Your doing fantastic work on the nature reserve,well done to all involved ,working tirelessly whatever the weather throws at you.
    Great for the environment and local wildlife.
    It will look superb in 10 or so years when those trees sink their roots
    Hope you get your bike sorted out,an ebike without power is a bit like having to push a car that’s ran out of petrol.

    1. I hope that the ebike problems are merely temporary with just more careful maintenance required. I feel I ought to be wearing a volunteers’ T-shirt with the slogan “I’ll be dead before this grows. I am doing this for you,” emblazoned on it.

      1. Haha,what’s the age threshold for wearing one ?
        Let’s hope those future generations appreciate what you’ve done for them.

      2. The age threshold depends on the tree being planted of course. I might just see a well grown birch or rowan as they fairly shoot up.

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