Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘bee’

Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s sunny visit to Bath.

From canal towpath looking towards the boatyard

We got up to another grey and miserable morning here although once again it was unseasonably mild.

Mrs Tootlepedal is partially recovered but by no means back to full working order.   She is very touched by the good wishes expressed by readers of the blog.

The grey morning was much improved by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee and his already excellent scones were improved in my case by adding some of Mary Jo’s gift of saskatoon jam to them.  In my view, Dropscone’s plain scones and saskatoon jam are a match made in heaven.

After he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about getting to the bottom of whatever it was that had made our phone line go dead and our internet flicker intermittently. By using our powers of deduction and a small screwdriver, we found the problem and cured it, probably just in time for the town’s power supply to be knocked out be the coming storm Ophelia.

Ophelia has been wreaking havoc in Ireland but it was extremely calm here in the morning and early afternoon.   Our neighbour Liz popped into to ask if we had seen the sun.  We went to have a look.

It was very odd.

The camera found it hard to record the clouds and the sun both in the correct shade but this is definitely how the sun looked.

red sun

It kept changing colour as the cloud of dust passed and I had several goes….

red sun

…until finally it got too bright for both me and the camera to look at.

red sun

It was sufficiently striking to make the news later in the day and the experts say that it was either Saharan sand or Portuguese wild fire particles or both that had provided the film of rusty colour.

After lunch, I had a look round the garden.  The light had improved and the bees and hoverflies were back on duty again.

bees and hoverflyhoverfly on poppy

A late astrantia has come out to join the poppies.

astarntia and poppy

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma add a delightful feminine touch.

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma

Mrs Tootlepedal is going to make more of the ornamental strawberry next year.

ornamental strawberry

But the most exciting thing in the garden is the new tray under the bird feeders which means I can start feeding the birds again.

feeder tray

It is a heavy duty plastic cement mixing tray and Mrs Tootlepedal drilled the neat hole in the centre of it to let the feeder pole fit through.

It was warm (66°F) and fairly still so I took the opportunity to go for a short cycle ride in my outdoor gym and stopped for pictures on my way.

It was rather gloomy as I came back to town on my first lap….

Manse Brae

…but I headed down to Skippers Bridge to take a couple of pictures because I feared that if the storm is as windy as predicted, there may be few leaves on the trees when it is gone.Skippers BridgeLangholm Distillery

On my second lap, there were a few drops of rain and then the sun came out.Glencorf burnHawthornBlochburnfootAuld Stane Brig

Nowadays, the gloomy predictions of storm and tempest are often worse than the reality so keen are the weathermen for us not to be caught unprepared for bad weather so it will be interesting to see what scenes like these will look like in a couple of day’s time.

I looked round the garden when I got back.  I found some more colour.

charles ross applesclimbing hydrangea

…and then went in to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was.  She had been well enough to do a little work in the garden while I pedalling but she is still a bit fragile.

Although the light was fading, I looked at the bird feeders through the windows.

sparrow and blue tit

A gloomy sparrow and an astonished blue tit consider the sodden pink pellets

blue tit

A blue tit sits and thinks

A sparrowhawk flashed through the garden without it catching anything or me catching it.

It astonishes me how quickly birds find out that food of one sort or another is available.  I said to Mrs Tootlepedal only yesterday that I hadn’t seen a sparrowhawk about for weeks.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive time.  He played at a practice of  our local orchestra yesterday and felt that he had been able to play quite a bit of the music.

In the evening, I went to the Camera Club meeting.  Ten members turned up and we were treated to a very interesting and varied selection of photographs from winter scenes to remind us of what is coming, through stunning local wildlife portraits and action shots and striking black and white studies to a record of a recent African safari, complete with lions, rhinos, hippos and elephants.  We were very well entertained.  One member had brought in some very beautiful large prints which led to a lot of discussion.

The flying bird of the day is having a rest.

chaffinch

It is blowing hard as I write this. Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was in Edinburgh yesterday and was comforted by the up to date police protection afforded to its citizens.

Edinburgh Police

I had much better weather for my trip to the Moorland Feeders today and it was only a pity that the birds stayed away in great numbers.  I suspect that a sparrow hawk must have been in the vicinity.

The pheasants aren’t frightened of anyone or anything, being hand reared.

pheasant

…and occasional chaffinches popped up here and there.

chaffinch

A  single woodpecker paid a flying visit…

woodpecker

…and that was about it so I didn’t stay long.

I saw a crow on the top of the walnut tree when I got home and my new lens made light of the distance.

crow in walnut tree

I didn’t have long to look round the garden but I was happy to see that the sunshine had brought the bees back…

bees on poppy

..in force…

bees on poppy

…and a butterfly or two too.

red admiral butterfly

This one was looking a bit ‘end of season’.

The reason that I didn’t have long to garden wander was that I wanted to get a quick pedal in before lunch.

The wind was a bit lighter today so I went over the hill…

View from tarcoon

The view from Tarcoon

…and down to Canonbie and then back along the banks of the Esk….

Esk at Byreburnfoot

…which had plenty of water in it after yesterday’s rain.

I chose this spot to take the river picture because in previous years I have seen a lot of fungus there…

fungus at Byreburnfoot

…and they have come back again this year.  There were dozens of these fungi sprouting on a plain patch of mown grass.

I had been blown down to the bottom of the by-pass by a friendly breeze so the journey back to Langholm was a bit more like hard work and as I was under some time pressure, I didn’t stop for more pictures.

I went  fast enough to have left time for another quick look round the garden after a shower and lunch.

Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta has made a welcome reappearance

poppy

This poppy had given the bees all it could give.

I saw another butterfly…or perhaps the same one revisiting,  It was hard to tell at this angle.

red admiral butterfly

Then I drove off to Lockerbie with Mrs Tootlepedal to catch the train to Edinburgh.

I admired a fine set of faintly nautical looking hinges on a doorway in Lockerbie opposite the spot where we parked our car.

Lockerbie hinges

Lockerbie station has two just platforms, up and down, with a passing line behind the down platform but looking south from the bridge, It must have been busier at one time.

Lockerbie station

The train was late again but only mildly and the countryside looked lovely as we swept past so all was forgiven.

When we got to Edinburgh, Matilda was in splendid form and gave me a very even match at Pelmanism before trouncing me at Snap.  There was more fun before tea time when we were terrorised by a monster….

matilda monster

…who surely can’t have been related to this studious little girl studying her miniature cow.

matilda

All too soon it was time to catch the train back to Lockerbie.  The bus arrived so promptly and drove so swiftly that I had time to look around at Waverley Station and enjoyed this circle of ornamental youngsters round the skylight in the waiting room.

Waverley station

Our drive home from Lockerbie was illuminated by a brilliant moon.  I tried my new lens out on it when I got home and was pleased with a quick hand held shot from an upstairs window.

moon

There was not much choice but I managed to get a flying bird of the day at the Moorland Feeders this morning….just.

flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce’s trip to Arran where he visited the Machrie Moor Stone Circles.

Machrie Standing Stones

Just to put it on the record, we had a day without rain today. We were pathetically grateful.

I started the day off with a cycle ride.  This would have been quite a bit longer if I had been a bit more gung-ho about getting up, getting breakfast and getting going.  Leisurely was a more appropriate word than gung-ho to describe my activities but I got out before coffee time at least.

I was just pedalling up one of the early hills when my neighbour Ken whizzed past me.  As he is the same age and same weight as me, the only way he can cycle faster than me is by trying harder so I was stimulated into trying harder than I usually do myself and I kept him in sight until he stopped for a drink near Canonbie.  I stopped too and we had a chat…

Ken

I wouldn’t have caught him up if he hadn’t been feeling his back a bit but he was very cheerful all the same.

…and then set off on the road back to Langholm…

Woodhouselees road

It was a lovely day for a cycle ride

….with one or other of us setting the pace.  As a result, I managed a much better speed than I would have done if I had been on my own but I was also quite a bit more puffed out when we finished.

We were going to see Matilda in Edinburgh in the afternoon but I had time to look round the garden after the pedal.  The sun was really trying its best and the white flowers glowed.

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

poppies with hoverflies

The poppies were popular with hoverflies today

poppy

After all the pale flowers, I couldn’t pass the pink poppies without my finger clicking!

poppies

There really were hoverflies, flies and bees everywhere, enjoying the sunshine just as much as I was.

daisy with flies

Some ox eye daisies drew the flies

dahlia with hoverflies

A dahlia had pulled in hoverflies with another coming up to join in

bees on the Michaelmas daisies

There were three sorts of bees on the Michaelmas daisies

I had a close look at a bee.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

And an even closer look at another.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

I keep on resolving to get my tripod out and use a little patience on these close up shots but I keep on taking hand held ones and then doing something else so this may be the best that I will get.

The something else that I did today was to go to look for a butterfly…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…and I am glad that I did because it is a treat to see a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

I had to go inside in the end and have a shower and some lunch and then we drove off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.

It was such a good day that the town hall at Lockerbie looked like a Disney castle when we got there.

Lockerbie Town hall

On the down side, the train was late yet again.  It is a most unreliable service.

We got to Edinburgh a quarter of an hour late and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some lampshades, I caught the bus to Matilda’s.  Because of roadworks my bus was diverted and I got a much better view from its window than I expected.

Arthur's seat chapel

Matilda was baking a cake when I arrived presumably because she knew that we were coming.

I read a book with Matilda until Mrs Tootlepedal arrived and then we sat and chatted and played until it was time for tea.  We enjoyed a pizza with trimmings and then we got to eat the cake made by Matilda and her dad and enhanced with some jam and cream by her mother, so a proper family affair.  It was delicious, a credit to then all.  We were allowed to take some home with us in a box.

All too soon it was the moment for Matilda to go to her bath and for us to catch the bus back to the station.  The train was on time and we got home safely.

We looked up at the sky when we got out of the car and for once, we could see the stars very clearly in spite of the street lights all around.  This was tempting so I got my camera out, stuck it on a tripod and pointed it hopefully at the sky.  I was impressed by how many more stars it could see than I could with my naked eye.

stars

stars

If we get another clear night, I will go out of town to find a darker spot and have another go.  There are obviously a lot of stars to photograph out there.

The flying bird of the day is a sweet pea ignoring the recent rains and reaching for the sky.

sweet pea

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce, who is on the island of Arran where he visited the Blackwater Foot harbour.  A harbour, a bridge and a waterfall in one shot is very good value.

Blackwater foot

We had a lovely sunny morning.  This was a great joy after such a gloomy day yesterday but, as is the way in life, I had to spend it sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office putting data into the Archive Group newspaper database and welcoming only two visitors to the office, both of whom were locals.

As I left to walk home, a light drizzle appeared as if by magic.

Still, it was a lot better than yesterday and the drizzle soon faded away and let me mow the greenhouse grass and Mrs Tootlepedal hang the washing out.  Almost as soon as the washing was on the line, it started to rain again.  How we laughed.

Once again, it was only teasing and the washing dried in time and I was able to finish the mowing and enjoy the garden.

The ornamental strawberry has been flowering for ages.  It is very good value.

strawberry

The return of the sunshine brought a crowd of butterflies with it.

Michaelmas daisies with butterflies

Now that the buddeias are almost over, the Michaelmas daisies are the flower of choice for the discerning Red Admiral.

red admiral butterfly

Butterflies seem to be able to cope with quite a bit of damage to their wings.

The butterflies had to share the Michaelmas daisies with bees and hoverflies and the whole clump was literally buzzing.

bee on Michaelmas daisyhoverfly on Michaelmas daisy

A peacock butterfly was making the most of the very last of the buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

At the other end of the garden, different butterflies were to be found on the dahlias.

small tortoiseshell and red admiral butterfly

A small tortoiseshell joins a red admiral

That was the first small tortoiseshell I have seen since one in July and as that was the only other one to visit us this year,  this one was very welcome.

Nearby, a clump of dahlia flowers looked around for customers but only one hoverfly found them attractive..

dahlias

I moved on and admired the poppies….

poppies

…who looked grateful for the sunshine.

After a last look at the tropaeolum, looking redder than ever if that is possible…

tropaeolum

…I went inside to put some cycling gear on….

….and it started to rain.

Once again, it was a tease and by the time that I was ready to go, the rain had stopped again.  Just to make sure that it wouldn’t start up while I was out cycling, I put on a heavy rain jacket and that kept it dry while I cycled 27 miles in my ‘outdoor gym’.

It was pretty windy and I had to battle quite hard to get up the road but, of course, that meant an easy roll back down again.

When it is windy, I tend to keep my head well down to improve the aerodynamics while cycling into the wind so I didn’t see much on the way out and on the way back, I was often going too fast to stop in time when I did notice something so it was a quiet ride photographically.

I did stop to check on the sloes near Cleughfoot which I had seen looking a bit scabby early last month…

sloes

….and they were still looking scabby now….

sloe

…though there was fairly healthy looking fruit as well.

At my turning point, I was pleased to see that the farmer had his barn well stocked….

Cleughfoot

…though less pleased to see the black clouds looming up behind it.

They came to nothing though and the sun continued to do its best….

Glencorf burn

…to help me to ignore the brisk northerly wind.

In May, I had stopped to admire the hawthorn blossom on the road back to Langholm…

hawthorns

…and today, I stopped to admire the berries.

Hawthorn

When I got home, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker and then, after a shower, it was time for a visit from Luke for a flute lesson.

He has been practising so the lesson went well.

I hope to be in a better position to make use of a promised sunny morning tomorrow than I was today.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who came across this Jersey Tiger moth while visiting the garden at Greys Court in Oxfordshire.

Jersey tiger moth Greys Court

I had a strange visitor today.  When I looked out of the kitchen window, I found Dropscone measuring himself against the sunflower.

Dropscone and the sunflower

Dropscone is the taller but the sunflower is the more handsome.

Still, sunflowers don’t make treacle scones and Drospcone does so he was very welcome.

He had harrowing tales of golf disasters to relate but the scones and coffee eased the pain.

Before he arrived, I had had time to admire the flourishing fuchsia…

fuchsia

…take today’s poppy potpourri…

poppies

…and watch a busy bee in a sweetie shop.

bee on poppy

When he left, I mowed the middle lawn and sieved some compost and then had to leave the good weather outside to set about selecting and printing the photographs for the Westerkirk Flower Show which takes place tomorrow.

I shouldn’t have left this task so late as there is a lot of work involved and  it was a pity to waste a good day by being indoors.  Still, I made a selection and my new printer worked well.

After a late lunch, I got out into the garden again and was once again bowled over by the numbers of butterflies about.  They were all peacocks…

peacock butterflies

…and red admirals…

red admiral butterflies

…but there a lot of them.  It was hard to find less than two on a buddleia flower cluster and there were often three.

red admiral butterflies

I did find one by itself…

red admiral butterfly

…but that was on a Michaelmas daisy which only holds one butterfly at a time.

I looked at some spiky dahlias.

dahlias

Mrs Tootlepedal wanted some pages printed for her Embroiderers’ Guild which is having an informal meeting tomorrow and when I went to print them out, the printer told me that it had a firmware update available and asked if would like to install it.  There are some invitations that are irresistible so I gave it the go ahead and all went well and encouraging messages were delivered.

Unfortunately, the update had ensured that my computer could no longer actually talk to the newly updated printer so a good deal more of a lovely day was wasted in muttered oaths, head scratching and a few well placed kicks.  Whether it was the kicks or some random button pressing I can’t tell but after a while order was restored and the print outs completed.

I went outside again.  It was such a good day that I decided to go for a walk up Meikleholm Hill.  I gave Sandy a ring to see if he would like to come too but he told me that he was relaxing in the garden with a cool beer and the crossword and was quite comfortable where he was…..but before I could put my phone back in my pocket, he had weighed up the beauty of the day against the charms of some cool beer and decided to come with me on the walk.  It was that sort of day.

The cattle are still off the hill and it is a wonderful place to walk at the moment, rich in wild flowers…

wild flowers on Meikleholm

…and golden with hawkweed and tormentil among harebells and others.

Meikleholm meadow

Along the path we took round the side of the hill was a new crop of blue flowers which I had come specially to see.

scabious

I couldn’t remember what they are called and had to look them up when I got home.  They are scabious but I couldn’t find any pictures of one surrounded with a little halo of leaves like this one…

scabious

…but it looks like the others so I think it must be  a scabious too.

There were hundreds of them on this particular part of the hill but very few elsewhere.  Curious.  Unfortunately they grew too far apart to make a carpet so I can’t give a very good impression of what it was like to walk among them.  You will have to take my word that it was very enjoyable.

When we got to the top of the hill, there were any amount of views to be had….

Esk valley

Looking up the Esk valley

Bigger hills beyond the valley

Bigger hills beyond the valley

View from Meikleholm

Looking across to the northern English hills

…and there were big skies too.

View from Meikleholm

On my way back home after leaving Sandy, I saw a small flock of homing pigeons resting on their loft.

homing pigeons

They too had been taking a little exercise.

Sandy and I agreed that it had been a walk worth worth getting out and about for.

My neighbour Liz’s garage was looking very colourful as I got back to the house….

Liz's garage

…and the garage owner herself was in the kitchen enjoying a cup of tea and chat with Mrs Tootlepedal.  I joined them and had a slice of another oat, ginger and plum bake which Mrs Tootlepedal had made earlier in the afternoon with the very last of our plums.

The plums have made excellent eating and we are waiting for the apples to ripen.  It shouldn’t be long now.

I added one of the views which I had taken on the walk to my entry for the Westerkirk Show and I had just finished printing it out when Mike and Alison came round.

Alison and I enjoyed playing Rameau, Telemann and Loeillet and that rounded off a busy and enjoyable day.

I even got a few flying birds when the homing pigeons obligingly did a fly past for me.

pigeons

So far the weather in September has been very good!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

I am in the market for guest pictures again and at the moment I am relying on my brother and sister.  Today’s picture is from my brother’s visit to the Lake district and shows a splendid view of Coniston Water.

Coniston

I was a bit wrong footed by the weather today.  It had rained during the night and it was still gloomy and damp when we got up and the forecast had suggested quite a lot of rain during the rest of the day.

As a result, I had no great plan to do anything interesting and with quite a lot of things needing doing indoors, I was even looking forward for an excuse to get on with them.

In the end, I fell between two stools and when it didn’t rain, I didn’t get all the things that I should have  done indoors done but I didn’t get out for a walk or a cycle ride either.

I did take time to look at the dahlias.  They have not enjoyed our weather but some have battled on…

dahlias

…without ever looking very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone for some with spikier petals than normal this year…

dahlia

…and the spikiest ones are looking a bit wild eyed…

dahlia

…and are growing with their heads down and their backs turned to the wind.

More clematis are arriving and we have now got quite a nice set of blue/purple ones.

clematis

We have still got one more clematis waiting to come out.  It hasn’t flowered before but it has buds on it so we are quite excited.

The weather brightened up after lunch but unfortunately, I had an optician’s appointment ten miles away in Longtown, bang in the middle of the afternoon and there wasn’t really time to cycle before it or enough good light to take a walk after it.

Instead, I helped Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and mowed the front lawn.  I went for an unusual pattern of mowing today…

front lawn

…and quite liked the result.

The top left corner flowerbed remains stubbornly poppy free although there are plants there.  They just won’t burst into flower for some reason.

The Japanese anemones behind the hedge are doing well and Mrs Tootlepedal is thinking of expanding them right along the back of the garden.

Once again, we were well supplied with butterflies.  A red admiral visited the sunflower again.  I wonder if it is the same one as yesterday.

red admiral on sunflower

It wouldn’t spread its wings for me but one on a buddleia was more co-operative.

red admiral butterfly

I like the way that their antennae apparently have little light bulbs on the end.

The peacock butterflies seem to be wanting a bit more heat and I have been finding them resting on stones or wood with their wings spread out to the sun when they get the chance.

peacock butterfly

I have been keeping an eye on the Michaelmas daisies because they are great butterfly magnets but they have only provided with me bees to look at so far this year.

bee

I also kept an eye for blackbirds but for once the garden was not full of them and I settled for a collared dove from above.

collared dove

We dug up a couple more of the Sarpo plants and they have cropped well with good clean potatoes.  We only found one with slug damage.

I had one for my tea and it tasted good too.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike chatted over a bottle of beer, Alison and I played music, often playing the right notes at the same time as each other.  This created a very harmonious effect and we enjoyed ourselves.

The flying bird of the day was very low and noisy.

helicopter

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is the last from my brother’s visit to to our area.  On his way home, he and Justin stopped at the Bowes Museum.

Bowes museum

I was worried that I might have missed my chance to cut the grass thanks to spending a day pedalling about yesterday but I needn’t have worried as it was a perfect day for grass cutting today too.

I got busy after breakfast with the drying green and the green house grass….

grass

…which are not big areas but they still need looking after.

After a pause for other things, including coffee, I then did the two lawns and Mrs Tootlepedal went round and strimmed the edges so everything looked quite neat and tidy.

lawns mowed

While I was out and about in the garden, I couldn’t help noticing the poppies.  More opium poppies have arrived and they have been joined by the first of the Shirley poppies.

opium and shirley poppies

poppies

We are hoping for many more.

I saw one poppy that was only just hanging on today.

poppy with one petal

It looked a bit like a smart lady going to the races in a silly hat

There is a metal fence between the flower garden and the vegetable garden and there is a lot happening on both sides of it at the moment.

clematis

There are at least three sorts of clematis

ginger syllabub, Bobbie james and honeysuckle

Ginger syllabub, Bobbie James and honeysuckle

The archway in the fence is a work of art in itself.

rambler roses

In the vegetable garden, the main crop potatoes are looking very promising.

potatoes

We are eating the earlies at every opportunity.

Mrs Tootlepedal reported that she had seen huge flocks of sparrows in the garden but when I went out, I could only see one….

sparrow

…and she also reported seeing a blackbird picking gooseberries to feed its young but when I went out I could only find one that had been at the blackcurrants.

blackbird with blackcurrants

The green house is playing host to a number of colourful residents.

courgette and celosia

A courgette in a tub and a celosia sitting on a shelf

petunia

The petunia is looking sensational

Mrs Tootlepedal is keeping these plants in the greenhouse to keep it looking cheerful when she is working in there.

Outside there are lots of Icelandic poppies keeping things cheerful there too….

Icelandic poppy

…and Crown Princess Margareta is at a peak of happiness.

Crown Princess Margareta

After lunch, I took a tip from the blackbird and went out and picked another pound of blackcurrants and found that I now had enough (4 lbs) to make some blackcurrant jelly.  The blackbirds may be taking some but there are masses left still for me to pick.

It is always a nervous moment when you have put the hot jelly juice into the jars and you have to wait to see if it will set properly.  On this occasion, the jam thermometer did its job and the six jars of jelly have set perfectly.

All I need now is someone to bring some scones round to try it out on.

The astrantias are still exerting their pulling power on the bees….

bee on astrantia

…and there seems to be at least one about every time that I go past.

We were very sad that Andy Murray has got knocked out of Wimbledon but his brother is still going in the mixed doubles so all is not lost…and the Tour de France is always good viewing.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Common Riding choir and as we got ready to sing, we could hear the clacking of horseshoes on the road below as the pony ride out, a recent  addition to the annual festivities, went past our window.

Pony ride out 2017

The cornet and his right and left hand men lead the procession of ponies along the High Street

The singing went well and we should be well prepared for the concert in a fortnight.

I did find a flying bird today.  It was that blackbird making off with the berries.

blackbird

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »