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Posts Tagged ‘Becks wood’

Today’s guest picture comes from my ex-colleague Ada.  She has been enjoying the sun in Tenerife and sent me this picture to torment me as we watched the snow come down here.

Down below is the busy resort of Playa de Las Americas

Down below is the busy resort of Playa de Las Americas

Here is the contrasting view from our bedroom window this morning.

snowy garden

And it kept on snowing for some time…

chaffinch in snow

…leading to some poor manners at the ground feeding station.

blackbird and robin

Dropscone dropped in for coffee, not only bringing the traditional scones but also rich gifts of sardines which he had picked up at a very reasonable price on his way back from a meeting up the borders last night.  He is an expert at finding very good ‘end of day’ offers at supermarkets.

The price of the sardines reflected the fact that today was their last use by date so Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed pan fried sardines for our lunch.  They were very good.

The snow stopped and the day brightened up a lot….

starlings and goldfinches

A couple of starlings joined our usual visitors

….so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop, I put on my wellies and went for a walk.

I checked on the bridge as I set out.

dam bridge repair

The men had only worked for a relatively short time this morning but whether that was because of the snow or because they are waiting for things to set, I don’t know.

I left the bridge and headed for the top of Warbla, hoping to get there before any new snow showers appeared.

In fact, as I walked up the hill, the skies cleared and the sun came out, first on nearby hills….

snow on the hills Arkleton

…and then, as I followed the advice of the pheasants to go this way…

pheasant print in snow

…on the track where I was walking.

Warbla in snow

Even more pleasingly, it stayed out for the rest of my walk and I was able to enjoy a view across the valley to the felled Becks Wood which I visited a  day or two ago.  They have been very busy tidying the felled trees up.

pBecks wood from Warbla

At the top of the hill, there is an old trig point, elevation 276m, which showed which way the wind was blowing this morning…

Warbla trig point snow

…and some good views.

Esk valley with snow

By this time, the sun had removed all the snow from the lower slopes.

langholm with surrounding snow

I met a man in a car at the summit, where there are several masts, who told me that he was working for EE.  As EE is the telephone company that provides my mobile reception, I was pleased to see that they were on the job even in snowy conditions.

I used the phone connection while I was up on the hill to show that my face is pretty well back to normal after the ugly business of 12 days ago.

selfie on Warbla

I put the fairly rapid healing down to liberal use of arnica.

I thought that the redundant stile at the top of the hill was looking good but went through the new gate beside it on my way down.

stile on Warbla

I had noticed as I had come up the hill, that the telephone engineer’s car had stopped several times and the driver had got out for some curious reason.  As I followed it back down the hill….

EE car on Warbla

…it stopped several times again.  The mystery was solved when I saw the driver get out and take photographs.  It was good to know that he was enjoying the views as much as I was.  He kindly offered me a lift but it seemed like too good a day not to walk.  Besides, I wanted to take more photos.

Looking across the valley, I could see three timber wagons waiting to pick up logs from the enormous pile at the Becks Wood.

Becks wood timber wagons

When I got to the wood at the bottom of the hill, I stopped to look at the moss on the wall.  Although moss often looks rather short and stumpy on a wall, if you pull a single strand out, it turns out to be longer and thinner than expected.

moss

Once again, there were a lot of different sorts of moss close together.

moss

I passed a very sunny horse….

sunny horse

…and made my way back to the garden where I got quite excited by a daffodil bud.

daffodil bud

I had made a lamb stew in the slow cooker in the morning and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked some potatoes and green veg to go with it and the resultant evening meal made a good ending to day which turned out to be a lot better than it had looked likely to be when we woke up in the snow.

The flying (jumping) bird of the day is one of the starlings leaving the feeders.

flying starling

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My South African correspondent, Tom, thought that it was time to make the blog more attractive to the wider public so he has sent me this delectable picture of bare flesh.  They have to put up with a lot of fine weather down there.

feet

There was once again no danger of sunburn in Langholm as the temperature stayed near freezing all day.

I had to go back to the health centre to get the dressings on my scratches from the bike crash changed again.  Things are healing up very nicely though and I should be be clear of sticking plaster by the end of the week with luck.

After his own spell of illness, Scott, the minister, proved that he had got his coffee radar working well again and appeared for a visit just as coffee was on the go.  He is a keen cyclist and in view of the continuing bad weather, he has taken out a gym membership and had been spinning away in the gym before he came to see us.  I am thinking about the possibility of going to the gym.  But only thinking about it.

We had a look at progress on the dam bridge repair while he was with us.

dam bridge repairs

The concrete has set well and the big concrete beams were being lowered into place.

After Scott left, I made some vegetable soup for lunch and kept an eye on the birds while it was cooking.

Sometimes I wonder if there are more interesting things going on round the back of the feeder than at the front.

chaffinches

I have put out some ground level food and it is beginning to attract some customers.

blackbird and dunnock

A blackbird and a dunnock test out the new treat.

Two greenfinches arrived and showed magnificent disdain for the attempt by a chaffinch to unsettle them.

blacgreenfinches and chaffinch

And we were pleased to see a random great tit.

great tit

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal set about stripping the old varnish off the dining room table and I went out for a walk.

I stopped at Pool Corner to show the sluice and caul that provide the water for the dam (and create the pool that gives Pool Corner its name)…

pool corner and the dam

…and while I was leaning on the wall and contemplating life, a dipper flew in and posed briefly for me.

dipper at Pool Corner

I walked up the Hallcrofts road to have a look at the progress of the felling at the Becks wood.  It is extensive.

Becks wood felling

You can click on the photo to get the bigger picture if you want.

A skilful combination of man and machine was adding to the already enormous pile of logs beside the road.

P1070286

On a wall nearby, I studied a strand of moss and thought how much it resembled a conifer tree in miniature.

moss strand

I had checked the forecast before I had set out and it offered only a very small chance of any rain and I suppose it was right in a way as I had dry spells and I also went through a couple of heavy hail showers but it never actually rained.

sunshine and hail

Taken a twenty minutes apart

At least the hail stopped and looked good on some clumps of moss.

hail on moss

Although I am mostly thinking about moss, I haven’t lost my taste for lichens and fungus.

The lichen on the fence post at the Auld Stane Bridge was looking very healthy.  The red spots are so tiny that I didn’t see them until I looked at the picture on my computer.

lichen

And there was a good set of birch polypores beside the river as I went along Gaskell’s Walk.

birch polypore

After the hail showers, i would have been more appreciative if the sun had shone on me rather than on nearby hills…

sun on hill

…but at least it stayed dry for the rest of my walk.

Following some recent advice I looked at the sori on the back of ferns…

fern sori

…and following my own inclinations, I was impressed by the variety of moss within a square yard on the park wall.

mosses

The dam bridge repairs are now a spectator sport…..

dam bridge repairs

…and they are a subject of considerable interest in our neighbourhood.

I was a little tired today after all the excitements of going to Manchester yesterday so I was not as unhappy as I might have been to find that the usual Monday evening trio playing had been cancelled.  My flute pupil Luke came though and we had an enjoyable time working on a sonata so it wasn’t a totally tootle free day.

We noticed with sinking heart a telephone engineer climbing the pole outside our house in the late afternoon and were very relieved when he did what he had to do without cutting off our phone line this time.

When the workers had left, I popped out to record their progress on the bridge repair.  They and their machines had worked hard today.

dam bridge repairs

The forecast is for more strong winds, low temperatures and possible snow so I don’t think I am going to be able to test my cycling appetite and abilities for a few days yet.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch in expansive mood,

flying goldfinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from the delightfully sunny walk near Little Eaton that my brother took recently.  Here he was looking across the Derwent valley.

Derwent Valley

By contrast, we were more than a little surprised to find our garden covered in snow when we woke up this morning.

snow

There had been some loose talk of possible light snow during the day but this was a good solid inch or so.

It was delightful snow, firm and crunchy and a pleasure to walk on but I expect that the team working on our dam bridge repair didn’t find it such a treat…

dam bridge repairs

…but they were soon hard at it and didn’t stop all day.

The noise of the machines when they started up kept the birds away for a while but they soon got used to it and the plum tree became very busy.

snowy plum tree chaffinches

Maybe it was the snow but the birds didn’t seem entirely sure of the best way to go at  times.

goldfinch and siskin

Dropscone walked over to join us for a cup of coffee (and a scone) and managed to find his way to the house without crossing the bridge.  His scones were excellent today.

After he left, Mrs Tootlepedal got ready to go to the Buccleuch Centre to help with the coffee shop lunches and I went to look at the snow.

The snow had stopped and it was very still so walking was a pleasure.

I thought that I would go and see how the tree felling at the Becks wood was coming along.  I passed a gate….

snowy gate

….and found that a lot of trees had gone when I got to the wood.  I walked down to the Wauchope road and then back up the Hallcrofts road to look at the wood from the other side.  I was passed on the narrow road by a fully loaded timber wagon.  Luckily because of the snow, it was going very cautiously and I had plenty of time to squeeze into the hedge and let it past.

They have put a new road into the middle of the wood and I could see a vehicle carrying felled trees across the Becks Burn and up to the the stacking point.

Becks wood

These drivers are skilled operatives!   Higher up the wood the tree eating machine was busy organising more piles of logs to be fetched.

Becks wood

The forwarder arrived at the log pile shortly after me.

Becks wood

As you can see, there was snow everywhere but it wasn’t as thick on the hills as I had thought it would be judging from the amount we had in the garden.

There was a lot to look at….

snow

….and I took a great number of pictures as I walked back down the road and up the hill on the other side of the Wauchope Water.

catkins

The sun threatened to come out but it didn’t quite manage it so the views, when I got up the hill, were a bit dull for the camera (but very enjoyable for me).

snowy view

I looked at the turbines just over the top of the nearest hill and I was surprised to see them positively  whizzing round…

windmills in snow

…because there was hardly a breath of wind where I was standing.  I still can’t work out why I was so perfectly sheltered but it made my walk very comfortable and I even got a little too warm as I puffed up the hill.

I came back down through the park and was pleased to find a bit of moss that hadn’t been covered up by the snow.

moss

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from the Buccleuch Centre just before I got home and we had a light lunch.

I had put the car into the garage for its MOT yesterday but it had needed some new parts and they had told us that it might be some time before we got it back so we were pleased when they rang up to say that it was ready.

Mrs Tootlepedal combined collecting the car with a little shopping and I watched a goldfinch paying close attention to hitting the perch exactly right…

flying goldfinch

….and enjoyed a greenfinch looking as serious as only a greenfinch can.

greenfinch

I should have gone for my walk in the afternoon as the sun came out then…

whita with snow

…but as it was,  I just looked at the view from an upstairs window and sighed a little.

The workmen on the bridge were very busy and when they left, I went out to see what they had been up to.

There is not much of our bridge left, just a steel joist on one side….

dam bridge repairs

…of a big hole in the road and two pipes on the other side, one of which has our gas supply running through it.

dam bridge repairs

During the day a large pump had been delivered….

dam bridge repairs

….and we think that they are going to use it to pipe the dam over the works as they rebuild the bridge. The water is needed by a sheepskin treatment factory  further downstream.

We shall watch with interest.

Apart from my “beauty face”, I have got off very lightly from my fall but there is no doubt that it shook me up a little so I was happy to have a quiet end to the day.

We did pop out into the street in the early evening to watch the International Space Station flying over the town across a clear sky.  Although we have often seen the ISS, we still retain our sense of wonder at being able to watch an easily visible man made object flying across the sky more than two hundred miles above our heads and going at a speed of 17,000 mph.

I found a moment to watch a flying chaffinch during the day.

flying chaffinch

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A small step

Today’s guest picture is the last from Dropscone’s Malta holiday.  He had plenty of sunny weather but some breezy days too.  He tells me he didn’t go swimming in the sea.

malta

Dropscone is safely back from Malta, though he had some trouble with his car on the way home, and I was delighted to welcome him and a batch of his scones for coffee this morning.

He told me that his car had broken down with the odometer reading exactly 123, 456 miles.  That takes some skill.

After Dropscone left, the minister arrived.  He has been poorly too and his scone radar is obviously not back in working order yet.

I was a bit unsociable and didn’t offer the minister coffee as I was anxious to get a few miles in on my bicycle before the forecast rain arrived.

I had only got a very few miles in before it started to rain but I turned left at Wauchope Schoolhouse and avoided the worst of the shower   and by the time that I had done 5 miles, the rain had passed over…

kerr rainbow

…and the road home looked gloomy but dry.

kerr road

It stayed dry and I got home after 12 miles just as the rain started again.  This was a numerically significant 12 miles as it took my total for the month up to 100 miles.  This is less than half of what I would have wished for but considering the poor weather and the bug, I was happy to have got at least a hundred miles in, however slowly.

The birds are very reluctant to come to the feeder at the moment and I hardly saw any today…

goldfinch

….so I am a little worried about the situation.

It may be that small changes both in ours and the neighbouring gardens have made us less welcoming; perhaps the cold and wet weather is making birds reluctant to travel any distance; or perhaps the sparrowhawk’s visits have put the small birds off.  Whatever the reason is,  we are certainly getting less birds than at any time since I put the feeders up.

I felt a bit tired after my cycle ride but when the forecast rain petered out, I took the opportunity to walk up to the Becks wood and see how the tree eating machines  have been getting on.

The tree fellers were busy on the far side of the Becks Burn.

becks wood

The trees beside the burn have been felled and what was a rather mysterious stream flowing through a deep dark wood a month ago is now a rather undistinguished watercourse trickling through a desert.

becks wood

While I was there, another tree was added to the piles on the ground.

becks wood

I walked back through the field down to the road and was very glad that I had taken my umbrella with me as it started to rain heavily.  As a result, the only other picture I took was an addition to my moss collection growing on the hedge beside the road.

moss

Rather annoyingly, I was good for nothing more than a snooze when I got home but I perked up when it was time for tea as Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked pork chops with apples and parsnips and cider.

I am very conscious that a combination of very grey days and the after effects of the bug have led to me leading a dull life in recent weeks and consequently, loyal readers have had to plough through some pretty dull posts reflecting that reality but sooner or later there must come a day  when the sun will shine for more than a few hours and Mrs Tootlepedal and I will be back to full working order.  I just hope that it is sooner rather than later.

No flying bird of the day again.  A robin stands in.

robin

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s visit to the pre Christmas fun in Edinburgh.  He saw salmon being smoked.

smoking salmon

We had another frosty but bright day today with the temperature once again struggling to get above zero.

Most of the morning was spent getting everything packed and ready for the departure of our guests who were heading back to Edinburgh after lunch, hoping to get the best of the driving conditions for the trip.

Among all the action, I didn’t get much chance to look out of the kitchen widow until Matilda and her parents had gone but perhaps I wouldn’t have seen much as Alistair spotted the sparrowhawk paying us a visit and picking up an unfortunate small bird on its way.

Once we had waved our guests off and shed a sorrowful tear, I did a little robin spotting….

robins

…and then Mrs Tootlepedal and I set off to see how the felling of the Becks wood was going on.

It was still really chilly as the frost in the garden showed….

garden ice

…but it was a glorious December day for a walk….

View from Scott's Knowe

…and as long as we stayed in the sunshine, it even felt quite warm.

The felling of the Becks wood is going on apace.

Becks wood felling

We were able to watch the skilled operator cutting trees, lifting them up and snedding and slicing them with ease.

Becks wood felling

It won’t take him long to clear the whole wood.

We obviously couldn’t go through the wood so we turned back and walked down to the Wauchope road through the field, taking a party of visiting walkers with us.  They had been hoping to do the Becks walk and were pleased to get some guidance on an alternative route.

When we got down to the road, Mrs Tootlepedal headed for home and I crossed the Auld Stane Brig….

Auld Stane Brig

…and headed for a track up the hill.

On my way I passed a curious frozen puddle with a translucent centre….

frozen puddle

…and yet another example of hair ice.

hair ice

It was cold in the trees and I was pleased to come back into the sunshine when I got onto the hill.

There were trees to be seen at the bottom of the hill….

trees

….a sheep on sentry duty on the track further up…

sheep on warbla

…and a blasted hawthorn, survivor of many gales.

tree on warbla

I could see snow on the hills just outside the town….

Snowy view

…and the moon hanging in the sky above the track.

Moon over warbla

I could look back across the Wauchope Water and see the wood which is being felled.  I don’t know how much of the wood will go but it will be missed when it is gone.

Becks wood

When I got to the track back down to the Stubholm, I noticed a strange black line down the centre of the roadway.  A second look showed me that it was my shadow and I stood with my legs apart to take a picture of it.

long shadow

It is not every day that I find myself on a gently sloping track with the sun low and  dead behind me so this might well be my only chance to prove that in the right conditions, I can have a fifty yard long shadow.  (I paced it out.)

As the sun got lower, the light got more golden.  We may not have had a very colourful autumn this year but we are getting some enjoyably colourful winter afternoons now on the days when the sun shines.

Meikleholm Hill

Whita in winter

I walked down the hill with care as there were some icy bits to avoid but I was able to keep my eyes open enough to see some fungus on a tree on the Stubholm track….

fungus

…and some lichen on the park wall.

lichen

It is a constant source of wonder to me that two stones in the same wall, just a yard or two apart should have different lichen on them.

The house seemed very quiet when I got back.

A look at the forecast in the evening revealed a very confident prediction of snow for tomorrow and I am not so old yet that I don’t consider the first snow of winter to be an exciting event so I hope that we do get some.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch giving a siskin the hard stare.

flying chaffinch and siskin

Here is a little video of the three eating machine for those with 20 seconds to waste.

 

 

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