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Posts Tagged ‘Apples’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who spotted this.  She tells me that she had not touched a drop.

pink elephant

We had a sunny day from dawn until dusk and the garden was once again filled with butterflies…

two butterflies on sedum

…but I let them get on in peace today and when I wasn’t having coffee and treacle scones with Drospcone, I walked round the garden dead heading as much as I had patience for and otherwise looking at flowers.  Dropscone and his daughter Susan are going on holiday in the North of Scotland next week so I hope that one or other of them will be able to send me a guest picture or two.

The flowers are still worth looking at.

new rose

…and I enjoyed the play of light and shade…

shady dahlia

…the bright colours….

shady poppy

…and the occasional piece of serendipity like these anemones poking their heads up through an azalea.

two anemones in azalea

I haven’t been dead heading the Welsh poppies with any great regularity so I am always pleased to see one smiling at me as I pass.

welsh poppy

The garden was buzzing with bees and hoverflies.

Dahlias…

bee on dahlia

…and Michaelmas daisies were favourite insect haunts.

daisy with bee

I tried to get as close as possible to a butterfly having a snack on a daisy…

daisy with butterfly

…but I need a steadier hand to get a good result.

This is what they were all looking at.

close up of daisy centre

Crown Princess Margareta has appreciated the sunshine and the Rosarie de l’Hay was in a welcoming mood.

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning of meetings so I made some soup for lunch for lunch. and when she came back, we enjoyed it with some bread and cheese.  Fortified by this, I went out for a cycle ride.

The fine weather has let the farmers go on cutting grass for winter feed longer than usual, and there were fields of cut grass all along my route.

view at between the waters

The farm here stands on a little promontory between two small streams and is know as Between the Waters, a very appropriate name.

between the waters

The wind was light and the day was pleasantly warm without being too hot so I pedalled along in a happy mood at a modest pace and without stopping for too many pictures on a familiar route.

I recently put some English road side pine trees into a post so I thought that I ought to put one of my favourite Scottish roadside pine trees in to keep things balanced.

Tree near KPF

I stopped for a drink of water and a short rest at twenty miles and needless to say, I looked at the wall that my bike was resting on.

lichen at Half Morton

A bit further along the road, a small herd posed artistically for me.

cows posing prettily

I wasn’t feeling very adventurous or energetic as Mrs Tootlepedal has kindly passed a bit of her recent cold onto me, but it didn’t stop me adding another 31 miles to my total and I was pleased to have been able to make some use of a perfect cycling day.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal peeled some of our apples and between us we made another tarte tatin in our smart new tarte tatin pan.  Mrs Tootlepedal had cut the apples into very neat shapes and on this occasion I didn’t overcook the caramel sauce and the result of this was a great improvement on our first two efforts.

burst

I have made a note to myself reminding me that if I want to make tarte tatin, it is a really good idea to get the frozen puff pastry unfrozen before you start and not to have to resort to desperate measures to defrost it in a hurry.

We have got a lot of apples to eat, so I will get a chance to remember that soon.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their last Friday visit for a while as they are going to see their granddaughters in New Zealand next week.  Alison and I enjoyed some farewell music, and once again Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal put the world to rights.

When Mike and Alison  had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal and I ate quite a lot of the tarte with some vanilla ice cream.  It was good.  (We did offer Mike and Alison some, honest.)

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow that had flown up into the rowan tree to grab a little shade.

shady sparrow in rowan

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce who is in the north east of Scotland.  He had a warm and sunny day yesterday when he visited Haddo House, a Scottish stately home located near Tarves in Aberdeenshire.

Haddo House

We had a warm but far from sunny morning here as the rain made its presence felt.

I was happy to stay in out of the rain because I was expecting a call from an engineer who was coming at some time between eight and twelve to install smart meters in the house.  Life likes to play little pranks on unsuspecting old people so when the phone rang and I was expecting the engineer to answer, I was quite surprised to find it was the hospital.  I was even more surprised when after waiting three months for an appointment with the physio, they told me that they had had a cancellation and I could see the physio today.

Oh joy….but then, the appointment was for one o’clock and I couldn’t take it as, with Mrs Tootlepedal away in Edinburgh, I had to be present while the meters were being fitted and I couldn’t guarantee that it would be finished by one o’clock.  The charge for cancelling the meter fitting at short notice was £130.  Oh calamity….and then, the cream of the jest…. when the hospital had rung off, the engineer rang soon afterwards to say that he was on his way and in the end the job was finished before half past ten…but the appointment had gone.  How I laughed.

Still, Dropscone came round for coffee bringing with him a pile of his fine drop scones so life wasn’t all dust and ashes.

After Dropscone left (with added rhubarb), the rain continued and I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group website.  Finally things dried up and after a light lunch, I went up to the Laverock Hide to fill the feeders in my capacity as a fill-in feeder filler for friends who were absent.

I took this shot of the hide with its slightly tousled toupee and its eyes closed as I walked back up to it after filling the feeders.

Laverock Hide

I went in, opened a window and sat down but I might as well have left the window shut for all the birds that I saw.

A blackbird was slipping and sliding about…

blackbird moorland feeders

…and a chaffinch perched for a moment in front of me…

chaffinch moorland feeders

…but that was all the excitement for the day.

A beautiful orchid outside the hide cheered me up as I left.

Orchid laverock Hide

I walked round the garden when I got home, doing a bit of dead heading as I went and enjoying some raindrops caught on a fine web…

droplets on web

…and a very soggy bee hard at work…

soggy bee on knapweed

…and noting that the berries on the tropaeolum are turning blue.

tropaeolum blue berries

It started to rain again, so I went in and watched our own birds.

A greenfinch looked as though it thought very much the same as me about the weather…

glum greenfinch

…while a sparrow just concentrated hard on nailing the landing.

landing concentration

The weather lightened up and a jackdaw arrived to stock of the situation…

jackdaw under feeder

…while I went out into the garden again.

The sweet peas looked…

sweet pea in garden

…very pretty…

looking up to sweet pea

…and the Charles Ross apples are coming on well.

apples getting ready

When the sun came out, I went on a butterfly hunt and spotted a painted lady straight away.

painted lady butterfly on buddleia

If you want to know what a painted lady looks like from straight behind, this is it.

back view of painted lady butterfly

Later on, I had another look and saw a couple more.

painted lady butterfly panel

I even saw a peacock butterfly as well.

peacock butterfly

Then it was time for the main business of the day, a drive to Lockerbie Station to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up from the Edinburgh train.  My timing was perfect and I walked onto the platform as the train drew in.  Mrs Tootlepedal alighted and we drove home.

She had been watching Matilda dance in a competition in Musselburgh and reported that Matilda had done well.

When we got back, she noticed that the acidanthera which she is growing in pots have also done well and the first flower on one of them had come out while she had been away.  The internet tells me that this delightful flower is also called the Abyssinian gladiolus so it has come a long way.

acidanthera

Our new smart meters seem smart enough to let our electricity and gas keep working so that is a relief.  The little gadget that comes with the meters to let us monitor our consumption in real time doesn’t work yet so they are not that smart.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin threading its way through the rain to the feeder.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent Fiona’s visit to the Netherlands.  She and her family camped beside the river Vecht.  She tells me that she passed up the opportunity to swim in its welcoming waters.

Vecht

We had plenty of water on hand today but most of it was coming directly from the sky which was not very helpful and we have had more rain in the first two days of this week than we had in the whole of last week.

The result was another very quiet day, though it was brightened up by a visit from Scott the minister which quite coincidentally turned out to be at coffee time.  He is off to his new parish near Glasgow soon and we shall miss him.

I watched the birds while I made some potato and carrot soup for lunch.

Sometime it is easy to imagine that birds are chatting to each other across the feeder….

chaffinch and sparrow chewing

…but a closer look reveals that they are simply finding the seed hard to swallow.

sparrow chewing

I did spot the occasional chaffinch and blue tit again….

chaffinch and bluetit on feeder

…but mostly it was the sparrow maelstrom as usual.

sparrow whirlwind

I have put up a subsidiary feeder on the elder tree and filled it with seed which, according to the packet, will entice an extraordinary variety of small birds to the garden.

It is attracting sparrows.

sparrow on elder feeder

I live in hope.

It stopped raining after lunch and I might have gone for a walk but by this time I had embarked on a scheme to make apple jelly with our windfalls so I cycled down to the Co-op to buy some preserving sugar.

The river was up enough after the rain to make use of all three arches of the Langholm Bridge….

Langholm Bridge in early September

…and create a bit of a ripple here and there.

Esk in minor spate

As I cycled along the river bank, I could see the first signs of impending autumn.

early autumn leaves

I stopped for a look on my way home and was delighted to see a dipper on a rock.  It was one of a pair but the other one flew off before I could catch it.

dipper september

I noticed how well the potentillas along the dam are doing  as I got home.  They started slowly this year but are making up for lost time now.

potentilla along dam

I walked round the garden when I got in.

The dahlia with apparent internal lighting was brightening up the gloomy day…

internally lit dahlia

…but this one looked more as though it was huddling up for some warmth.

huddled dhalia

Mrs Tootlepedal has at least four different sorts of cosmos on the go (one from a free packet of seeds on a magazine) and they are generally thriving.

four cosmos

There are even two buds on the Lilian Austin rose but they may need some better weather if they are to come out properly.

two rose buds september

Fuchsias are appearing in several different parts of the garden which is good as I like them a lot.

old fuchsia

The chives have produced some late flowers which are a bonus for insects.  I can see at least four on this flower.

chive with insects

And the sedum is getting ready to welcome butterflies should the sun ever come out again.

sedum nearly out

I went in and set about making the apple jelly. Our apples are not ideal for this task and I will have to leave the mush to drip over night to get enough liquid to make the jelly.

Mrs Tootlepedal came out into the garden and while she dug up the rest of the roots of the blackcurrant bush, I cut down the gooseberry bush as part of the projected remodelling.  It is an ambitious plan and we hope to have the energy (and the weather)  to carry it through.

The evening was devoted to music making as first my flute pupil Luke arrived and showed the value of practice once again and then I went off after tea to play trios with Mike and Isabel (and demonstrate my need for more practice).  The playing was as enjoyable as ever and rounded off an otherwise rather quiet day in a very pleasant way.

The flying bird of the day is one of the great tribe of sparrows.

flying sparrow

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Anne, my cello playing friend Mike’s wife, who came across a very odd looking bird at her daughter’s bird feeder.  I would like to see red squirrels in our garden.

squirrel on birdfeeder

It was one of those days when it was hard to get some satisfactory organisation into my outdoor life thanks to a very indifferent weather forecast.  One thing the forecast did get right was the strong wind which, with frequent  gusts at 30 mph, was quite enough to stop me cycling.

But it couldn’t work out when it was going to rain and in the end, it didn’t rain at all.

This was a bit disappointing in two ways.

Firstly because if you don’t do something because it is going to rain and then it doesn’t rain, then it means that you feel a little foolish.

Secondly, because the post brought me a great treat in the shape of a gift from Mary Jo from Manitoba…

MJ's scientific rain gauge

 

….a genuinely scientific rain gauge which  was no use to me on a day when it didn’t rain.

However, I am reasonably sure that it will come into its own quite soon.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day in the garden, determined to do as much as possible before it rained and as it didn’t rain, she did a lot.

I did a bit.  I mowed two lawns during the day and picked beans, an onion, spinach and courgettes to make some more green soup.

I took some pictures too.

flowers

We had some sunny spells and it was warm enough to make being out in the garden a pleasure.

There is a lot of yellow crocosmia waiting to come out round the garden and the first flowers have just appeared.

yellow crocosmia

The French marigolds which are protecting the carrots from carrot root fly are worth having just for themselves.

French marigolds

There is plenty of productivity to be seen among the doddering dillies and the rowan berries.

rowan and doddering dillies

Among the tasks that Mrs Tootlepedal accomplished was the first clipping of the remodelled chicken.

new chicken

It has been a patient process.  It looked this in 2016…

topiary chicken

…and then like this after some drastic surgery in April 2017. …

thin chicken

…and then like this in August 2017.

topiary chicken

Mrs Tootlepedal plays a long game.

She also trimmed this year’s growth on some of the espalier apples, revealing a good crop of fruit.

espalier apples

This led to a lot of shredding and we had to put an extra couple of sections onto compost Bin A to stop it overflowing.

While I was making the soup, I watched the birds.  They seem to be fully recovered from the soaking they got a day or two ago…

greenfinch and siskin

…but this hasn’t improved their behaviour.  After chaffinches kicking greenfinches and greenfinches kicking chaffinches, we got greenfinch versus greenfinch today.

kicking greenfinches

When the rain held off after lunch, I went for a walk.

Even after the rain showers that we have had since the weekend, there is still very little water in our rivers….

auld stane brig

…though the water has turned a little browner than usual.

I walked up the road to the the Auld Stane Brig and then went back home by way of Gaskell’s and Easton’s walk.

There was not much moss and lichen to see after the dry spell but there was plenty to catch the eye as I went along.

furry plant

And if I got peckish, I could find wild raspberries to keep me going.

wild raspberry

They were delicious.

I know enough now to expect to find different patterns on the back of ferns.

fern backs

It looks as though there will be a good crop of sloes and acorns this year.

sloe and acorn

It wasn’t hard to spot insects on the flowers beside the tracks.

insects

There were quite a few wasps about.

insect on umbellifer

When I got near the end of my stroll, I went down to the Esk to see of the family of oyster catchers was still about.  They had morphed into two gulls.

gulls on esk

They look like two juvenile lesser black backed gulls to me but I may need correcting by knowledgeable readers.

Mrs Tootlepedal was still hard at work in the garden when I got back so I did a bit of hedge clipping to help.  Mrs Tootlepedal is gradually reducing both the width and the height of the box hedges round the front lawn and this is a very labour intensive job.  The hedges recover remarkably well from this rough treatment.

I hope for more sun and less wind soon as I need to get some cycling miles in.

I did a little work updating the Langholm Walks website.  Langholm has been officially accredited (by an official accreditor) as a walking friendly town and I have added a note of this to the website.

The flying bird of the day is one of our many greenfinch visitors.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba.  It was sent to her by a friend and was taken by her friend’s nephew, James Greig .  James farms near Melita, MB and is the third generation to work that land.  He has a good eye for a photo and those interested can find a lot more of his work here.

james fieldscape

Thanks to the long spell of good weather, I have got well behind schedule when it comes to putting the data miners’ work into the newspaper index database on the Archive Group website so I am going to have to cut down on words and pictures in the blog posts for a bit while I catch up.  (Enormous sigh of relief, politely masked, from beleaguered blog readers.)

Looking back, it is eight years since I started this on-line diary on June 16th 2010 with a post of 45 words and one picture.  Things have gone downhill since then.  I have had 2921 posts and I think that my sister Susan has read every one!

Anyway, here is briefer than usual summary of my day.

I got up early, had breakfast and got on my bike for the 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  I stopped twice.

Canonbie umbellifer

Umbellifer at Canonbie Bridge (Hogweed Heraculeum sphondylium?)

view from hollows bridge

The view from Hollows Bridge

The combination of the early start and a brisk breeze caught my legs napping and I found it hard work but I got home in time for coffee and a walk round the garden.

Two shrubs which had Mrs Tootlepedal worried earlier in the year have done better than expected.

weigela

The Weigela is flourishing

cotoneaster

And the Cotoneaster is producing flowers

The bad weather has hit the lupins badly.  They were doing so well in the good weather, it is sad to see them now.

bent lupins

 

There is plenty of white about

jacobite rose

Jacobite rose with visitor.

philadelphus

Yet another Philadelphus coming out

I like this Euphorbia.  It gives me the impression that it is the result of a potato print by a competent child in the school art class.

euphorbia

 

The espalier apples are showing the benefit of some hand pollinating during our cold and beeless spring.

young apples

I went in and made some soup for lunch and watched the birds.

siskin at feeder

A young siskin works out how to land on a perch

goldfinch

It makes a man cry when a fine flying bird of the day hides behind a pole

After lunch, I mowed the middle and front lawns and then gained extra credit with the gardener by going round with the lawn edger.  A little compost sieving followed and that completed the energetic part of the day.  It was really windy which made taking flower pictures difficult and it was grey and chilly which made a walk unattractive so I did what I needed to and went inside and put a week of the newspaper index into the database.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive session.  Onwards and upwards.

I watched the first half of the England world cup football match but watching England trying to play the ball out of defence always makes me nervous so I wrote the blog during the second half.  I noticed that they won so well done England.

The flower of the day is the lamium, which after a slow start, is going great guns.

lamium

And a FBotD too.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture shows a very bad hair day for a face mask of a student called Tom which was turned into a plant pot.  It was sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba.  The class was on death masks but I am happy to say that the student survived.

bad hair day

Our weather got worse today.  It was windy and grey from the start and after lunch, drizzle and then rain was added to the mix.  Not a day for photographs at all.

I spent two of the dull but dry hours in the morning sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office but at least I got some good archive work done and I also welcomed some visitors to Langholm.  As I also sold, a booklet, a CD and a DVD, it wasn’t wasted time.

The afternoon was devoted to mumbling bad words about the weather and doing  indoor business in equal measure…..and some useful time going over the choir songs until I almost believed that I had learned some of them.  (That belief will last until I try to remember them again tomorrow).

I only took three pictures all day.

How do you like them apples?

apples

I have eaten a couple of windfalls from another of the trees and they tasted surprisingly sweet.  We have been eating plums from the plum tree for several days now and they too have been excellent so it doesn’t seem as though the weather has affected the fruit badly at all.

I didn’t dead head any poppies today but I did look at two seed pods from the same plant and I marvelled at their difference.

poppy seed pods

The greyness of the afternoon was brightened by a visit from Mike Tinker for a cup of tea and then by my flute pupil Luke coming for a lesson.   Although we haven’t entirely mastered the Haydn trio we are learning we have set about a Quantz trio for a bit of variety so we are not short of work.

In the evening I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and that ended the day on a better note than it deserved.

The flying bird of the day is a dahlia which has turned up in the middle of the runner beans in the veg garden.

Dahlia

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our recent week as guests in the south.  Sally and Richard took us to the gardens of this fine mansion, Heale House, which was built in the latter part of the sixteenth century.

Heale house

My ideal plan for the day relied on an early leap out of bed into glorious sunshine and the subsequent late arrival of a weather front.

The wind was forecast to be fairly light so a cycle ride of a reasonable length was part of the scheme.

In the event, the early sunshine was there but it was not matched by the equivalent leap out of bed.  The leap transmogrified into a late stagger and after a lengthy breakfast, I finally got on my bike at ten o’clock.  It was still sunny when I set out but it soon clouded over and I shortened my intended route to thirty four miles and just made it home before the untimely arrival of the weather front started the rain off.

I didn’t have time to stop and stare but I paused for a banana at Gretna Green and admired a pair of fine horses while I munched.

Gretna Green horses

They were the front end of a smart wedding conveyance….

gretna Green carriage

…waiting for another bride and groom to roll off the Gretna Green marriage conveyor belt.

Nearby stands a strange work of art.

gretna green

It acts as a photo frame for pictures of happy couples but it always looks to me like the hands of someone who has been buried prematurely and is begging to be released, perhaps not the most happy metaphor for a marriage.

There was just time for a quick scoot round the garden in some light drizzle when I got back before the rain set in for the rest of the day.

The gloomy weather had put the hoverflies off and the picturesque poppy only had a single small fly for company today.

poppy with fly

Some bright red leaves on the Virginia Creeper seemed appropriate for such a gloomy and autumnal day.

virginia creeper

But autumn brings fruit as well so all is not lost.

apples

A good reward for work with the pollinating paintbrush in our chilly spring

There are still plenty of flowers about…

the cutting bed

Kitchen chimney pot

…and new flowers are coming along.  There are anemones and astilbes among the dahlias now.

anemone, astilbe and dahlia

I thought that I had found a very odd dahlia….

dahlia

…until Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that I was looking at it from the back.

Not everything in the garden is lovely.  For some reason the Golden Syllabub rose, which has had plenty of buds, has never felt that it was the right time to open out and has looked like this all summer.

golden syllabub

It wasn’t very warm and the clouds had made the day dark and cheerless so it was most fortunate that the authorities had arranged a very interesting programme of Olympic events for us to watch.  We watched everything.

No flying birds today but there is a flower of the day.  It is a dahlia (viewed from the front).

dahlia

 

 

 

 

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