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Posts Tagged ‘bee’

I was looking through my files when I found today’s guest picture.  It shows a Liverpool gull hoping to get Bruce to open his hotel window and give it a snack.  It was taken before Bruce went off to Helsinki.  He gets about a lot.

Liverpool gull

It was sunny and windy here today but as there was no rain all day, we liked the sun and ignored the wind as far as we could.

I had a generally relaxed day with coffee and conversation in the morning, a battle between bicycle and breeze in the afternoon and some top quality blues music in the evening.

The coffee and conversation was in the company of Dropscone who had brought some treacle scones with him in a traditional fashion.  He had been playing golf yesterday but as he missed a one foot putt rather carelessly at one point, he was not as happy about that as he might have been.

When he left, I had a walk round the garden and was pleased to see a bee visiting.

october bee

The butterflies have gone but there are still occasional bees.

I picked up quite a lot of walnuts.  They are not hard to spot.

walnut on ground

Then I sieved a little compost and while I was in the vegetable garden I dug up a good sized leek and took a picture of a chive…

chive flower

…and I looked up to see a starling on the holly tree,  I like the way that starlings look as though they are covered in hearts.

hearty starling

I went to inspect the middle lawn and noted the number of fuchsia flowers still waiting to come out in the bed beside the lawn.  We have got another week before a frosty morning is forecast so they still have time.

potential fuchsia

The middle lawn looked as though it might need a cut as the grass has started to grow again after I thought that it had decided to stop for the year.  A sparrow caught my eye as I went to get the mower out…

sparrow behind twig

…and there turned out to be enough grass to make it worthwhile to mow the lawn.  I sat on the new bench and admired the result.

mown lawn october

As I sat there, a bee visited a nicotiana beside me but it got stuck in so thoroughly that there was no trace of it when I looked.  It came out too quickly for me to catch but then flew down on to the ground in front of me and posed for a picture.

nicotiana and bee

There is a small but colourful corner next to the bench.

colourful corner lawn

I went in and used the leek to make some soup for lunch.  Mrs Tootlepedal had made some wholemeal bread yesterday and it went very well with the soup and some cheese.

After lunch, I went out for a cycle ride.  I had ambitions for a ride of thirty or thirty five miles in the sunshine but after spending half an hour battling into a wind gusting up to thirty miles an hour, I turned left and headed down to Canonbie for a twenty mile circuit with the wind mostly across or behind.

This was a good choice as it took me 31 minutes to do the first five miles and 64 minutes to do the next fifteen.

I was too busy pedalling to take pictures until I got the wind behind me at Canonbie.

Canonbie road

Apart from the breeze, it was a lovely day for a pedal and the trees along the Esk at Byreburnfoot looked very seasonal.

Esk below hollows

There is a little patch of grass where I stood to take the picture above and for some reason, it is a great place for fungus every year.

fungus at byreburnside

I often wonder what is buried beneath it.

My Canonbie route takes me along two sections of the old main road.  This section at Hollows was by-passed when half of the road fell into the river nearly forty years ago.

old a7 hollows

And this section at Auchenrivock was bypassed more recently when another section of the road slid into the river.  I took a poor picture of it but have put it in anyway to show local readers that they are cutting trees down here and the tarmac is seeing the light of day for the first time for ages.

old a7 irvine house

The tree felling is near Irvine House.

irvine house october

I stopped at Skippers Bridge and thought that the steps that the Langholm Walks Group put up for Walk 7 looked very inviting..

steps at skippers

…but I didn’t walk any further than down to the waterside to look through the bridge at the old distillery.skippers and distillery

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal grappling with a very intractable website which required several codes to be entered to gain access to it.  Unfortunately, however many she put in, none seemed to be able to unlock the door so she gave up in despair and made me a cup of tea (and a slice of wholemeal toast) instead.

I went out for look round the garden and decided that the front lawn might need a mow too, so I mowed it.  It turned out that it didn’t really need a mow as it get less of the sun as it gets lower in the sky than the middle lawn and I didn’t get much grass off it at all.

I took a picture of one of our most long lived flowering plants, the ornamental strawberry which has been in flower since the beginning of June…

tame strawberry

…and then went in to have a shower.

After a meal of ham and eggs, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to watch Gardeners’ World and walked down to the Buccleuch Centre to attend a concert of mostly blues music sung and played by Maggie Bell and Dave Kelly, veterans of the British music scene.

It was a most enjoyable evening and I especially admired Dave Kelly’s guitar playing.  (You can hear a sample of his work here if you wish.   It sounded much better when he played it live tonight but it gives you an idea of his skills and style.)

The flying starling of the day is not showing off its wings for once.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  He has left the country with his wife and seems to have turned up in Helsinki where they saw the cathedral.  (They will be back.)

helsinki cathedral

A brief post today as it is late again as I sit down to write  because I have been to Edinburgh.

We had a day of occasional showers but it was dry enough in the morning to let me see some sparrows who exemplified the divisions in the country by simultaneously sitting on the fence and looking in two different directions at the same time.

sparrows looking both ways

It stayed dry as I went across the suspension bridge on my way to see the physio…

 

town bridge in autumn

…who is patiently trying to sort out my general stiffness with a well judged programme of exercises.

On my way back I stopped to check on our resident rock-standing gull and wondered if it had slept badly last night or was perhaps trying some new eye shadow.

gull with eye shadow

I walked round the garden when I got home.  The continued warmish weather (11 degrees C in the morning) has brought out some unseasonable flowers on the weigela…

wiegela october

…is keeping the fuchsia flourishing…

fuchsia

…as well as the cosmos…

cosmos clump

…and the Japanese anemone, which is managing very well without any dead heading from me.

anemone clump

The roses continue to delight.

princess margareta rose

Rosy Cheeks is making Mrs Tootlepedal very glad that she has added it to our stock.

rosy cheeks rose

There are even a few campanulas stills ringing a bell…

campanula october

…and I was pleased to see a bee hard at work among the fuchsia flowers.

bee on fuchsia october

I had time for a very short walk before lunch.  The poplars in the park are a favourite at this time of year.

poplars from park

The view of the trees at the far end of the Murtholm sums up the uneven autumn that we are having.

 

murtholm view october

The sheep don’t mind though as long as there is grass…

sheep grazing

…and it has been a good year for grass.

I spotted what I think is a Herb Robert flower..

herb robert

…and I was just walking along this path when the battery in my camera expired…

stubholm path

…leaving the other interesting things that I passed unrecorded.  I didn’t see much of interest to be honest.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a meeting in the evening so after lunch, I went to Edinburgh by myself.

I drove to Lockerbie in the rain and was relieved to find that at least the train was running this week.  It was twenty minutes late getting into Waverley Station but I suppose I must be thankful for small mercies because I had a very enjoyable time with Matilda, another delicious meal and a good conversation with Matilda’s mother, Clare after the meal.

And the train back was on time and it wasn’t raining as I drove home.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s meeting had gone well so it had been  satisfactory day.

I took a picture of a flying starling this morning, and it would have been the flying bird of the day…

flying starling

…if I hadn’t caught a bee in mid air too.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia’s visit to the low countries.  She found herself on a very straight section of an Amsterdam canal where one can see seven bridges in a row….if one has very good eyesight.

Amsterdam canal

It was a still and misty morning when we got up, and when I went to put the wheely bin out, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of web action in the hedge.

webby hedge

A helpful passer by pointed out a near perfect traditional web…

spider web

…but most of the webs were very fine and rather than having jewel like water droplets on them, the droplets were so fine that I had to enlarge the pictures before I could them.

webby wetness

I had hoped to go for  a cycle ride as it was not raining and there was hardly any wind, a perfect day to end September’s cycling, but unfortunately my slight cold had got worse and my chest was suggesting quite forcibly that any great exertion might not be a good thing.

I settled for bird watching…

bird not in hand

…and checking on the flowers.

six garden flowers

As they day warmed up, quite a few butterflies appeared and once again the few remaining buddleia flowers were a great draw.

three butterflies on buddeias

There are hardly any buddleia flowers left though, so other flowers were in use too…

three butterflies on various flowers

…though the sedums were not  popular at all.  This is a bit odd as they look to be in good condition and are usually a great magnet for butterflies.

After a while the mist cleared and the sun came out. It was pleasant enough for me to sit on the new bench for a while.  From it, I could admire the calendulas…

sunny calendula

…and the curly tongue of a butterfly on a rudbeckia…

butter with coiled tongue

…and a bee which didn’t mind sitting right next to me.

bee on rudbeckia close

Sitting on the bench made me think of the state of the lawn.  In spite of the rainy weather, it has been quite warm and the grass has been growing, so I got the mower out and gave the middle lawn a cut.

When I had cut it, I looked back at the bench.

midde lawn from far end

Although the lawn looks pretty good in the picture, it does have a lot of weeds in it…

weeds on lawn

…as I have gone off the idea of using weedkiller on the lawns.  I may have the strength to do some hand weeding over the next few weeks or I may just settle for having a green but weedy lawn.

I made some lentil and carrot soup for our lunch and then went off with Sandy to collect the pictures from the Camera Club’s exhibition at the Hub at Eskdalemuir.

The manager at the Hub was very enthusiastic about the exhibition and told us that it had been well received by visitors.   We had even sold three pictures.

Although the sun had gone in again, it was a fine afternoon with good light so the drive up and down the valley was no hardship at all.  I just wished that I had been able to get out on my bike.

When we got back, I dropped Sandy off at his house and then had a walk round our garden.  The St John’s Wort has got some late flowers and a fine selection of berries.

st john's wort with berries

After the success of mowing the middle lawn, I was going to mow the front lawn too, but when I looked at it, it seemed a bit tired so I got the scarifier out and gave it a light scarifying.  I was extremely pleased to find how little moss the sacrifier brought up, a great tribute to the moss eating lawn treatment.

I mowed off the results of the scarifying and the end result was quite satisfactory.

front lawn scarified

All this was more than enough exercise for the day and I went in and joined Mrs Tootlepedal who was relaxing after a little light gardening.

In the evening, while I played duets with my flute pupil Luke, she made courgette fritters to go with the last of the venison stew and a very successful tarte tatin.  I must say that as a way of eating apples, tarte tatin comes high on my list of good methods.

I think if anything, my cold seems to be getting a little worse so another day of good weather may go to waste tomorrow, but I can always hope for a miracle cure.

The (almost) flying bird of the day is a starling taking off from Irving’s holly tree.

nearly flying starling

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s Spanish jaunt and shows the very impressive public library in Gijon.  They obviously take libraries seriously there.

Spanish library

We had another rainy day today but by way of a change after yesterday’s drizzle, today we had several sharp showers with breaks in between, and even an occasional ray of sunshine.

I had to go to the health centre for a blood test before breakfast and unfortunately this outing coincided with probably the sharpest shower of the day.  Luckily I am well supplied with large brollies from my golfing days so I managed to get there and back without getting too wet and enjoyed a late breakfast when I got home.

When the rain stopped I went out to see the flowers.  Crown Princess Margareta looked a bit depressed by the rain and who can blame her.

Margareta rose

A passer by yesterday gave it as his opinion that the time for garden tidying was upon us, but there are still a lot of flowers on the go.  After coffee, I went out for another look and they lit up the gloom this morning.

three red things

Both in colour and in white.

three white things

But all the same, I spent quite a lot of time indoors looking out to see whether it was still raining.  There was a lot to see through the kitchen window.

There was a rare visit from a chaffinch to the plum trip.

chaffinch in plum tree

I thought that we might have a one legged robin in the garden…

robin on kerb

…but when it hopped off the kerb onto the the drive, it showed it was bipedal…

robin on ground

…and took a bow beside one of our many puddles…

robin near puddle

…before hopping up onto a chair, posing prettily and…

robin on chair

…then flying off…

…leaving me to watch a little drama playing out on the window itself.

spider in action

Fortunately, as time was hanging a little heavily on my hands, the kind people at the BBC have organised a pop up digital radio station for four days, devoted to celebrating the life and works of the Beatles.  To those readers either too old, too young or too deaf to appreciate what a treat this is, I can only say that your life has a hole in it.  The station is going to be on air until Sunday but I am listening to BBC Sounds on my computer while I am writing the blog and Dave Grohl is playing a well chosen selection of Beatles songs to distract me.

I manged to turn the radio off after lunch and take advantage of a break in the rain to go for a pedal.  It was warm but breezy and I had to keep my nose to the wheel as I went up the road but the sound of geese honking made me look up, and I not only got a glimpse of some blue sky but the skein of geese as well.  The sharp eyed may be able to see them against the cloud.

cloudscape

Bringing my eyes back to earth, the way ahead looked a bit more problematic as far as the weather went.

Wauchope road gloom

But I pressed on and was serenaded by crows as I went up to Cleuchfoot.

crows

The sun came out for a moment as I crossed the Glencorf Burn…

burst

…but it started to rain again a few minutes later.  I turned at Cleuchfoot and headed home, wondering if I was going to get a soaking again.

Luck was with me today though and it had stopped raining by the time that I got back to Langholm so I turned and did another tour to Cleuchfoot.

There was plenty of water running off the hill…

roadside waterfall

…and in places the road was really wet so I took things cautiously again.

I added a little diversion on at the end of my second lap and this brought the distance up to almost 20 miles.  That little diversion also brought my monthly total up to 400 miles so I was pleased to have gone the extra mile.

I had a last walk round the garden when I got back and noticed one of the transplanted fuchsias hiding behind these dahlias.  It is trying to come out but it is so late that I doubt that it is going to make it before winter comes.

three dahlias

In spite of the weather, there are still bees doing their thing.

dahlia and bee

Then it seemed a good idea to go back inside and enjoy more of the Beatles feast on the radio.

It looks as though it is going to rain a lot tomorrow so I may well listen to more Beatles.

There is more than one flying bird of the day today.

skein of geese

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend and horticultural adviser Liz.  She went for a paddle on the Union Canal, and knowing that I like bridges, she sent me this.

union canal

After two sunny day, we reverted to a grey and drizzly day again today.  It was an ideal morning for staying indoors so I did just that…

…though I did poke my nose outside in a less drizzly moment to see what was going on.

A bee was trying on a dashing pink hat…

bee on lamium

…and in spite of the gloomy weather, there were quite a few red admiral butterflies around.  I caught one on the buddleia and another one flat out on the sedum, having a snooze.

butterfly on sedum

I checked to see if there were any blackbirds in the rowan tree.  You might think that it would be easier to stand on a twig and peck upwards, but the general trend seems to be to balance carefully and peck downwards.

balckbird diving for berry

I did actually see a blackbird fall off its twig trying this method.   It steadied itself though  and chose a safer spot.

blackbird in rowan tree

After lunch, the drizzle cleared up and the forecast offered some hours of dryish weather in spite of still having quite a lot of rain on its weather map.  I got my bike out and set off to see how far I could get before it started to  rain again.

Farmers have been making good use of the recent sunny days and the number of bales of silage in this field shows just how well the grass has been growing this summer.

silage

I looked down at the wall which you can see at the bottom of the picture above and saw a veritable feast of lichens.

four lichens on wauchope road wall

All these were within a few feet of each other.

I took a little diversion up to Cleuchfoot, and stopped to admire the autumn fruits, sloes and brambles, beside the road.  It looks like being a fruitful season.

sloe and bramble

I got to the top of Callister and as it began to rain lightly, I turned for home.  There was almost no wind today, a very rare thing these days, and it was warm so in spite of the light rain, it was enjoyable to be out and about.

By the time that I had got back to Langholm after 14 miles, the rain had stopped so I didn’t.  I went through the town and out of the other side.  I had to wait at the junction at the bridge to let a small convoy of MGBs through.  They were obviously on a tour and perhaps a reader, looking at the number plate, can tell me where they come from.

MGB

When I had crossed the bridge, I had to stop again on the Kilngreen, because not only could I see Mr Grumpy crouching beside the river…

crouching heron

…but there was a cormorant perched on a rock at the Meeting of the Waters.

comorant

Local fishermen will not be happy.

I pedalled on up the main road for three miles, stopped to admire the view…

near Hoghill

…and pedalled back home again, pleased to have got 21 miles in on a day that had started so miserably.

After a cup of tea (and a biscuit) with Mrs Tootlepedal and our friend Mike who had dropped in, I was sufficiently revived to go out into the garden and mow the front lawn. The grass is growing well in our garden too and the lawns are needing to be mowed every two or three days.

While I was out, I had a look round and was delighted to see a robin.  I hadn’t seen one for some time.

robin on fence

While I was tracking the robin, I nearly trod on this blackbird.  It was very reluctant to move from a spot where it had obviously found something interesting to eat.

young blackbird on ground

When I looked up at the rowan tree, more blackbirds were finding things to eat.

After a good look round, this one….

blackbird eyeing up beries

…took the plunge, grabbed a berry and swallowed it whole.

blackbird eating berries

Berries were going down well…

berry in blackbird beak

…though some were harder to grasp than others.

close up balckbird with berry

The berries will not last long if the blackbirds keep going at this rate.

I left the blackbirds to it, and walked around looking for flowers.  The honeysuckle on the fence is flowering well and still has plenty to come…

honeysuckle

…and Crown Princess Margareta is making a plucky effort to have a late show.

crown princess margareta rose

Then my flute pupil Luke came and showed evidence of practice.  This can only be a good thing.  Both he and I are working on improving our breathing skills and are trying hard to avoid heaving up our shoulders when breathing in, a very bad habit.  Getting rid of bad habits is a lot harder than acquiring good habits so we have some way to go.

I made some cauliflower cheese for our evening meal and then Mrs Tootlepedal and I settled down to the double delight of watching the highlights of both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain.

I didn’t quite catch a flying bird of the day, but this blackbird had to use its wings a lot to steady itself so it gets the title today, whether it was actually flying or not.

flying berry blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from my flute pupil Luke’s mother Sharon.  She has been on Orkney where she visited the chapel built by Italian POWs on the shell of a Nissen hut.

Orkney Chapel

We had a better day today but to make up for the lack of rain, the temperature had dropped a bit and it was still windy.

The cooler weather had not discouraged butterflies and there were several red admirals about…

red admiral september

…and the occasional peacock too.

peacock september

I noticed that one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s runner beans, planted among the flowers along the vegetable garden fence is producing a good crop.

beans on fence

The effort of riding the borrowed bike into a strong wind a couple of days ago had given me a sore knee, a very common complaint when you ride a bike with a slightly different riding position to your normal steed.  The rest yesterday had improved things a lot so I took the opportunity of the dry weather to test my knee with a short ride on my own bike.

Apart from having to battle with a brisk wind again, things went very well, and I managed 10 miles without any knee trouble at all.

I stopped to admire a fungus beside the road, and if you wonder what was admirable about it….

mushroom

…it was the size that attracted my attention.

mushroom and foot

When I got home, I looked longingly at some ripe  plums on a very top branch on the plum tree, well out or reach.  The birds will have to enjoy them.

tall plums

I mowed the front lawn and got a good lot of grass off it.

It has been a good year for grass but the cosmos, which came out just  as the weather turned very wet, have generally  not enjoyed themselves at all.

poor cosmos

The various clematis have had a good year…

clematis on fence

…and crocosmia and poppies are lasting well.

poppies and crocosmialate poppy

After lunch, we went to Edinburgh to visit Matilda, and as well as the usual games, we introduced her to the delights of Clock Patience.  She impressed us by being able to say all the clock face numbers in Gaelic.

We had a lot of fun and the usual excellent meal and came home tired but content.

The flying bird of the day is a bee flitting about among the nicotiana.

bee on nocotiana

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who visited a Book Cafe but found that reading one of their books might be tricky.  He tells me that he didn’t bolt his coffee and cake though.

book cafe

This morning couldn’t have offered a greater contrast to yesterday’s summer weather.  The clouds were clamped down on the hills, the town was engulfed by gloom and there was a persistent drizzle.  The drizzle did fizzle out though and I was able to walk up to the town after breakfast to do some archive group  and camera club business.

I had hoped to have a cup of coffee with Dropscone when I got back, but he had a golfing engagement so I went out to check the garden.

It was warm enough, but the results of the drizzle could be seen hanging about on dahlias….

dahlia with droplets

…and in a hundred neat pockets along the front hedge.

hedge with jewels

I had several goes at capturing the beauty of the water filled webs…

triple panel droplets

…and this was my favourite as I thought that it caught their jewelled nature best.

web with drops

Since it wasn’t a gardening moment, I went in and made half a dozen pots of plum jam, using early plums which we had picked that were not suitable to eat yet.  Our jam thermometer is a bit like the jam maker himself, old and unreliable, and I may have overcooked the jam a bit, but I had a test helping on some new bread in the evening and it wasn’t too bad.  We are researching digital jam thermometers and if any reader has had a good experience with one, we would be pleased to learn about it.

After the jam making was finished, I went out into the garden and was happy to find that the clouds had lifted and the rain had cleared away altogether.

I had a walk round to admire the late colour.

lily, crocosmia, astilbe and rose

…and noted that sometimes, one plant gets overtaken by another as these two clematis flowers, peeking out through alien foliage, show.

two lonely clematis

Elsewhere, clematis has a clear run.

clematis on fence

I made some soup for lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal headed off to collect embroidery exhibits, the work of her local group, which have been on display in Hawick.  I went back out into the garden where the sun was now shining and found myself ducking to avoid being mowed down by hordes of butterflies and sparrows which were circling the garden.

Although it was pleasantly warm in the sun, it was not as hot as yesterday and the butterflies all had their wings wide open.

red admiral, two peacocks, white butterfly

Once again, there were far more peacocks about than any other sort…

peacock butterfly wings spread

…though the whites came a close second.

white butterfly

The large family of blackbirds are still around at various stages of development…

young blackbird on ground

…and they and the resident starlings and sparrows were joined by a tuneful thrush today.

starling, thrush and sparrow

There were so many butterflies about that I had to persuade them to shift over to give me a bit of room on the bench to sit….

two butterflies on bench

…and enjoy a small plum snack.

four plums on bench

It had dried up enough to let me mow the middle lawn and then I got my bike out and pedalled round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  It was a good day for a cycle ride…

view over Bloch

…with the country looking at its most benign.

view down wauchopedale

Farmers had been busy cutting grass in every corner of their fields.

tree with cut grass

All new deciduous trees seem to be planted in plastic tubes these days and this view as I climbed the hill over the Kerr seems to show that it is a good idea, with a flourishing little forest well under way.

successful tree tubes

As I came back home along the Esk valley, there was more evidence of grass cutting to be seen.

grass cut at grainstone

I would have liked to have had time to have gone a bit further but there was the front lawn to cut and my flute pupil Luke to welcome.

I did find time when i got home to watch a blackbird in the rowan tree.  It was eyeing up the berries and bending to check on them, but the big question was, would it pose for the ‘money shot’?

blackbird panel in rowan

It did.

blackbird with berry

Mrs Tootlepedal arrived safely back from Hawick, and while my flute pupil Luke and I practised, she made a delicious cauliflower cheese, garnished with beans and courgettes from the garden for tea.  We ate it with a side dish of beetroot which our friend Nancy had given us and i had cooked earlier.  She has grown so much beetroot on her allotment this year that she can hardly face eating any more.

We rounded off the day by watching the highlights of the Vuelta, the cycling tour of Spain.  It took our minds off the political situation.

The flying bird of the day is a bee visiting one of the last big poppies.

flying bee with poppy

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