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Posts Tagged ‘bees’

I found today’s guest picture while looking at last month’s files.  It shows two pelicans which my sister Mary met in St James’ Park in April and it should have appeared before now. She describes the pelicans as “resting from their ‘amusing the tourists’ activities.”

Pelicans resting from their 'amusing the tourists' activities

After the slightly cool air yesterday, today was back to early summer warmth and at 19°C, it was at the perfect temperature for me as I don’t like it when it gets too hot.

I had to start the day with a trip to the garage to get a new spare tyre fitted to the spare wheel as the one we have had on since we bought the car has mysteriously got a spilt in the side wall and was irreparable.

Then I mowed the middle lawn without finding very much grass on it and followed that by going on a nuthatch hunt by bike accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal.

We passed a large bank full of ribwort on our way to the Jubilee Bridge.

ribwort

The nuthatches were very busy going to and fro to the nest with food when we got there.

nuthatches

I like they way that they always have a cautious peer out of the nest hole before emerging.

nuthatches

Mrs Tootlepedal kept an eye out for tree creepers but although she saw one, I couldn’t get the camera into action quickly enough.

She doesn’t entirely share my enthusiasm for hanging around for yet another few minutes to see if I can get a better nuthatch shot so we set off across the Castleholm to see what we could see.

There was no shortage of treats.

red horse chestnut

This is an example of the Aesculus × carnea, or red horse-chestnut an artificial hybrid between A. pavia (red buckeye) and A. hippocastanum (horse-chestnut).   I thought that you would like to know that.

hawthorn

Could this tree have tried any harder?

conifer

Or this one.

My favourites were the pair of Noble Firs on the corner of the new path,  They have more going on than most trees.

Noble Fir

We went back by the Jubilee Bridge and I stopped for another look at the busy nuthatches….

nuthatches

…while Mrs Tootlepedal went home for a cup of coffee and some gardening.

While I watched the nuthatches, a blue tit and a wood pigeon watched me.

blue tit and wood pigeon

On my way home, I passed a very furry flower.

furry flower

When I got back, I had a cup of coffee and got on with some gardening too.  I mowed the front lawn and then sieved some compost.  Mrs Tootlepedal is busy planting things out from the greenhouse and compost is always welcome.

While I was mowing the lawn, a neighbour called by and said that she had just been trapped in her house for twenty minutes by a huge swarm of bees in her garden and had only got out when the bees had moved next door.  She asked my advice as to her best plan of action.

Feeling that, “Run like the clappers!” was probably not the most useful answer, I suggested telephoning the council and she said that she would do that.  I went to warn my neighbour Liz of the possibility of a swarm of bees but when we went round to check, there was no sign of them at all.  They must have swarmed off somewhere else.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had noticed a sparrow disappearing into a crack in Liz’s wall…

sparrow in Liz's wall

…but when Liz investigated, there was not enough room for a nest and the sparrow must just have been enjoying the shade.

In between mowing and having lunch, I took the chance to look at flowers.

peony

A peony was almost out.

Ranunculus

A new purchase which Mrs Tootlepedal describes as a ‘fancy buttercup’. Money well spent in my view.

Rosa Moyesii

The first flower on the Rosa Moyesii

Mrs Tootlepedal was glad to see the rose in flower has she had feared for the health of the plant earlier in the spring.

I was pleased to see more aquilegias.

aquilegia

As it was still a wonderful day after lunch, I mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and felt very virtuous for having completed a clean sweep of the grass during the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal was making a splendid job of edging the middle lawn with shears so I set about neatening the front edge of the same lawn with a spade and then edging the front lawn with the strimmer.  Though I say so myself, by the time we had both finished, the lawns looked quite neat.

Front lawn

The front lawn with azaleas

middle lawn

The middle lawn. Sparkling edge work from Mrs Tootlepedal

It is a pity that the plum tree in the foreground hides the rhododendrons which frame the top corner of the middle lawn.

In the course of the afternoon, the other two tenors from our Langholm choir came round for a practice as we have a concert this Friday.  It was one of those practices which leave you with the feeling that what you really need is some practice.

Later in the afternoon, I went up to collect the spare wheel with its new tyre and I sincerely hope that I have spent money on something that I will never use.

I left Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden when I got back and went in to make a belated cup of tea and I was rather surprised when she came in behind me in a great rush shutting the door firmly as she came.  The swarm of bees was back and in our garden.

However, by the time that I had picked up a camera and gone to have a peer through the glass in the back door, they had already moved on and were swirling about above our neighbour Irving’s roof.

bees swarming

A few minutes later and they were gone.  They seem to be on a tour of the New Town.  We are assuming that they are honey bees but we don’t know where they have come from as we don’t think that anyone nearby has a hive.

After tea, I went off to the final practice of our Langholm choir before the concert and my feeling that more practice was required turned out to be fully justified.  I will have to find some time to go over the music tomorrow.  It is unfortunate that both the choirs that I sing in are having concerts at pretty well the same time.  Being a very rough and ready singer, I am rather overwhelmed by the number of songs that need to be mastered.

My ideal choir would sing interesting music every week but never have a concert.

No bird of the day today but the flower of the day is the peony which finally came out fully in the afternoon.  It was well worth the wait I thought.

peony

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother, who was on one of his outings.  It shows the Old Bridge at Hereford across the Wye.

Old Bridge at Hereford across the Wye

We had a very pleasant day here today with lots of sunshine but with a wind just brisk enough to make me think of several reasons why going cycling might not be my best option.

It had rained overnight and the plants in the garden were holding on to some of the raindrops.

willow and pulsatilla

Willow and pulsatilla unwilling to let go

There was plenty of buzzing to be heard in the garden…

bees

…and plenty of new flowers for the bees to visit.

Star of Bethlehem, tree peony and iris Siberica

Star of Bethlehem, tree peony and iris Siberica

After coffee, I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that a short trip on our bikes up the Wauchope road might be worth while and so we went off to see the bluebells that I had noticed on my bike ride yesterday.  We left our bikes by the side of the road and walked up the hill.  The view down the valley without the bluebells was very good….

Wauchope valley

…but it was even better with bluebells.

Wauchope valley with bluebells

And there was no shortage of bluebells on the hill side for us to enjoy.

Up…

Wauchope valley with bluebells

…down….

Wauchope valley with bluebells

…and along.

Wauchope valley with bluebells

I could have filled a whole post with bluebells.

There weren’t a lot of other flowers among the bluebells but there were some of these tiny yellow flowers.

yellow wild flowers

As we cycled home, I stopped for a look at some fresh hawthorn blossom…

hawthorn

…and an orange tip butterfly which kindly rested for a moment or two on a bluebell beside the road.

orange tip butterfly

After lunch, I mowed the front lawn, chatted to blackbirds…

blackbirds

…who were keen to share the lawn with me, enjoyed a whole hearted tulip…

tulip

…and then went off on an outing with Sandy.

We drove up past the bluebells but the sunlight was in quite the wrong place so we drove back through the town and went to visit the Moorland Project bird hide.  When we arrived, we found that others had beaten us to it so we left the car there and walked down the road…

Rashiel road

…to the banks of the Tarras Water.

Tarras water

We crossed the bridge and walked along the bank of the river for a few hundred yards and stopped to be amazed by a forest of horsetails which Sandy spotted…

horsetails

…growing in a very soggy patch beside the river.

I will have to come back and look at these again as they are interesting plants.

One of them had a friend.

horsetail

We walked back up the hill to the hide and found yet again that someone else had got in before us but this time we went in too and shared the viewing windows.

There was a lot of woodpecker activity and for the first time ever, I saw a woodpecker on the ground pecking away at the grass.  Of course there were plenty of pheasants doing that too.

pheasant and woodpecker

There wasn’t a great deal of other activity so we made for home and had a cup of tea and a couple of mini Jaffa cakes with Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sandy went off and I mowed the middle lawn and had a look round the garden.

Alliums

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these are Alliums

The garden was alive with sparrows feeding their young…

sparrows

One even sat on Mrs Tootlepedal’s bicycle handlebars

…but because the feeders are not up, it was hard to be sharp enough to catch them in the act.

I had a last look round…

Garden

…and went in to practice a few songs and look at the many, many pictures which I had taken on my outings and in the garden.  It is very hard not to take too many pictures in spring time.

I noticed that I had seen quite a lot of unfurling ferns here and there during the day…

unfurling ferns

…so I put some together.

I was feeling pretty tired by now and I let the chance of an evening bike ride slip through my fingers and settled for eating spaghetti with tomato sauce cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal and having a little snooze.

It is not a good picture but I feel that a flying bee of the day is the way to end this post.  It was a flying bee sort of day.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture was sent by Gavin, who was on holiday in the north when he took it.  It shows part of the Ring of Brodgar, a Neolithic henge and stone circle about 6 miles north-east of Stromness on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney.

The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle about 6 miles north-east of Stromness on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland.

Our spell of dry and windy weather continued today and is now stretching out into something slightly freakish for such a normally wet corner of Britain.  The brisk north easterly winds are keeping the rain away but are also keeping the temperatures lower than you would expect for such sunny days.

The winds are battering the tulips and they are showing quite a bit of wear and tear.

white tulips

Welsh poppies are popping up all over the garden in sheltered spots.

Welsh poppy

I was intending to go out for a rather longer cycle ride today but once I got going, the wind blew my determination away and I settled for a stately ride down to Canonbie and back.

I had another look at the spruce flowers on my way.  It was hard to miss them as the whole tree is absolutely covered with them.

spruce

I was not the only one who thought that this might be a good day to sit down rather than rush about.

sheep and lambs

Everyone was at it.

bulls

All the same, I pedalled on as best I could until the heavy crosswinds knocked the stuffing out of me and then I pedalled on as slowly as I could, consistent with getting home in time for lunch.

I stopped to look at my three favourite trees…

canonbie trees

…and a burst of blue flowers in the verge a little further on which weren’t there the last time I pedalled past.

blue wild flowers

I took quite a few more pictures of the wild flowers in the verges as I went past but the stiff wind meant that when I checked them on my computer at home, it turned out that they were too blurred to use.  I had thought that this might be the case so I took a picture of a more stable scene near the end of my ride.

Spring at Skippers

When I got home, I checked out the busy bees on the apple blossom.

bees on apple

There were an encouraging number of insects on the apples today.

Matilda has been kind enough to invite us to join her on a week’s holiday and we are going away tomorrow.  The forecast is offering no sign of rain for the week while we are away so we thought it would be sensible to water the soft fruits before we went, just in case they got thirsty.

When we had finished, I had a look at the new euphorbia which Mrs Tootlepedal bought at Alnwick.  It has settled in well.

euphorbia

I will try to take a better picture on a less windy day when we get back.

A little ornamental strawberry, hidden among other plants was blushing unseen until I poked about a bit.

ornamental strawberry

Although many tulips have been dead headed and are now composting quietly in the new bin, some are just coming out.

ornamental strawberry

I am hoping that these will last until we get back

When I checked my bike computer to see how I had done on my morning ride, I discovered that it had eaten the statistics and wouldn’t regurgitate them for my spreadsheet.  This was a bit alarming so I put the computer on my slow bike and went out for a short run to see if it was still working.

I combined the test with a visit to the nuthatch tree and was able to catch a glimpse of one of the pair emerging from the nest…

nuthatch

It didn’t hang about and I waited for several minutes to see if it would return.  I was just checking my phone to see how long I had waited, when I saw it return to the nest out of the corner of my eye. and I missed the picture opportunity.  I shall come back in a week to see if they are still there.

I went over to the Lodge Walks on my way back….

Lodge walks

…and was pleased to find them greening up nicely.

I tested the bike computer when I got home and it behaved perfectly, giving up its secrets without complaint.  It must have been just one of those inexplicable blips which seem to affect all digital devices from time to time.

I had a moment to watch a redpoll on the feeder.

redpoll

But I couldn’t spend too long watching nuthatches or redpolls as I had an appointment at the Health Centre for my annual asthma review (still living and breathing, as it turned out) but it is no hardship at all to have to walk across the Suspension Bridge on a day like today.

River Esk

In the evening, Mike and Alison came as usual on a Friday and Alison and I battled away at some of our pieces, neither of us having done quite as much practice as maybe we should have done.  Still, music is music and gives great pleasure even when it is not played absolutely perfectly.

The flying bird(s) of the day are an oyster catcher and a crow which passed over the garden in the early evening making a great commotion.  It was hard to see who was chasing whom but we thought that the oyster catcher was mobbing the crow.

oyster catcher and crow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Nottingham where my brother Andrew discovered another bridge which may be a little past its use-by date.

Nottingham bridge

I had a very quiet day today.  If I had had my fairly speedy bike to hand, I would probably  have made better use of some good weather but as the bike was in the bike shop, I managed to persuade myself to fritter the morning away doing some high quality idling.

I went to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre after breakfast and made some good purchases but was very upset to find the cheesemonger wasn’t there this month.  I had been holding back on cheese buying recently just so that I could stock up from his fine selection so I was rather put out.  However, I found out that he has had a recent operation so that is a good enough excuse and I will just have to buy inferior cheese elsewhere.

I didn’t even manage to look out of the kitchen window in a meaningful way when  I got home.   I put the camera up on a tripod and clicked away from time to time but when I came to look at the results, I found that I hadn’t adjusted the focus correctly and I had a small collection of worthlessly fuzzy shots.

I managed to take one siskin in the air by accident (it was nearer than I thought)…

siskin

…and one blackbird on the ground on purpose.

blackbird

I had one quick look round the garden and saw a Hellebore.  Hellebore pictures tend to be a bit of a lottery as I am too old to lie on the ground so I just stick the camera down and point it upwards while hoping for the best.

hellebore

The rain and frost have not been kind to it but it is surviving

Things perked up a bit after lunch when we went out into the garden again.   It was a really nice day by this time and I cleared the old raspberry canes away while Mrs Tootlepedal planted out some Sweet William.
I was distracted by the noise from the pond…

frogs

…where numerous frogs were very busy.  Mostly they dived for cover when they saw me coming but one frog kindly consented to pose for  me.

Frog

Mrs Tootlepedal was distracted by the unexpected buzzing of bees and when I went to look, I saw that there were quite a few bees enjoying the crocuses.

bees

We got some early bees last year but subsequent frosty weather set the bee popularization back quite a bit so we hope that these aren’t out and about too early.

The crocuses were looking very cheerful, if a bit battered by recent weather.

crocuses

crocus

I  find gardening, which involves a lot of bending, very hard work so I left Mrs Tootlepedal to her labours and went off on my slow bike to take the road less travelled….

Barngliesh road

…and some pictures as I pottered along.

As long as the sun was out, it was a great day for pedalling and I had been able to discard several layers which made cycling much more pleasant than the recent chilly and windy outings.

I passed cows….

cow

…bridges…

Tomshielburn bridge

Tomshielburn

…large puddles…

puddle near Raehills

puddle near Raehills

…and a splendid tree of the day.

tree near Raehills

At the start or my trip, I visited my favourite little cascade on the Wauchope as I thought that the light might be quite interesting.  It was quite interesting but it turned out to be possibly a bit too interesting for the camera that I had with me.

Wauchope cascade

Near the end of my ride though, the camera coped very well with another dramatic light situation as the clouds came over.

Clouds over the Kerr

It looked quite threatening but it came to nothing and I got home in dry conditions.

Although my ride was only 14 miles, going on the slow bike and taking my time to look around as I went  made the journey very satisfying.

And that concluded the excitement for the day.  With the sun gone, it got dark quite early and I went back to quality idling and joined Mrs Tootlepedal, who had finished her gardening, in watching the European Indoor Athletics Championships.  We very much enjoyed the sight of Laura Muir scooting round the track to demolish the field in the 1500m.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.  I don’t know how it got into focus at all.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows a way of crossing the river to get to Melrose, a town which lies under the Eildon Hills.  My friend Bruce sent me the picture but didn’t say whether he crossed the bridge when he came to it.

Melrose

We had another fine morning and were grateful to escape a widespread frost which affected other parts of the country.  It was still quite nippy though as I cycled across the suspension bridge to visit the Day Centre.  We are due to have our next camera club meeting there in a week’s time but it will be closed for the installation of new heating so I needed to find out whether an alternative was available.

By great good fortune, the very lady that I needed to see was there when I arrived and I was able to make suitable arrangements both for the camera club and for Mrs Tootlepedal’s Embroiderers’ Guild meeting which is also affected by the closure.

I cycled home in a sunny mood and it was made even sunnier by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee.  I was a bit discombobulated by the fact that he had brought treacle scones with him.  These are usually only to be found on a Friday and this was a Monday….but I was able to make a mental adjustment and put away my share in good style when I recovered from the shock.

I had a look out of the kitchen window when Dropscone left and admired an athletic blue tit…

blue tit

…and enjoyed the sparrows deep in conversation.

sparrows

Because of the recent spell of good weather, I have got a bit behind on my archiving duties so after coffee, I ignored the sunshine and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  It was a big week so by the time that I had finished, it was time for lunch.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to work on her grand scheme for remodelling the bed along the hedge and I got my cycling kit on and went for a pedal.  It was rather grey and breezy by this time but I was blown over the hill and down to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass at a very satisfactory speed.

I was expecting to pay the penalty for this with a struggle against the wind back up the gentle hill to Langholm but things turned out differently.

The sun came out and a rainbow appeared as I got to Canonbie.

Canonbie rainbow

The building in the shot used to be an inn which served wonderful bar meals in times gone by.

Where there is a rainbow, there is rain and it wasn’t long before I felt a drop or two or three.  I found myself on the very edge of the shower though and took this sunlit picture on the old road…

Canonbie colour

…while it was raining on me. Luckily the little ripple in the weather which had produced the rain also turned the wind round and I found myself now being blown up the road.  This  was a great delight….especially as I soon got out of the rain.

I was looking out for autumn colour…

autumn colour

…and I stopped once or twice on the way back to take a picture of the Esk from a couple of favourite spots.

Irvine House

This is Irvine House peeping out from behind the trees.

Esk from Skippers

And this is looking down the Esk from Skippers Bridge

By this time, the wind had dropped completely and it was back to being a beautiful day.

Mrs Tootlepedal was just about to finish her garden tasks so I took a quick walk round, ate some raspberries off the bushes and looked at flowers…

backlit dahlia

A backlit dahlia

…and insects.

dahlia, cornflower and bumble bees

There were some big bees about

The Virginia creeper is going over which is sad because it has been very fine.

Virginia creeper

Finally I picked some spinach leaves from the vegetable garden and went in.

Mrs Tootlepedal used the spinach to make a delicious meal of baked eggs in a bed of spinach covered with a cheese sauce for our tea and this was ready as soon as I had finished my flute lesson with Luke.  The lesson went well and the meal went down even better so I was in fine form when I set out to go to Isabel’s house to play trios with her and Mike.

Mike has recently purchased a piano trio by Mozart and we had a first look at it tonight.  We played through it all but with enough difficulty to know that it will take quite a bit of practice before the composer might be able to recognise his own work.  Still, it sounds as though it will be well worth the effort.

We also played a couple of easier pieces to cheer ourselves up.

I didn’t get a chance to catch a flying bird of the day today but I hope these fine poppies, the twin flowers of the day, will make some amends.

poppies

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture(s) come from Dropscone’s highland holiday but were not taken by him.  They are the work of his recorder playing daughter Susan, who made the montage, and show scenes from their visit to Dunrobin Castle, the falconry there, the seaside and a nearby broch.

dunrobin

We were once again the beneficiaries of a Scandinavian high pressure system which is keeping the moist Atlantic weather well away from us.  Although not quite as sunny as yesterday, it was still a fine day and a welcome degree or two warmer.

I spent the period after breakfast getting myself mentally prepared for the arrival of the first scones for what seems like an age.  Luckily when Dropscone arrived bearing the scones, they were well up to standard and my anticipation was fully rewarded.  They went down well with some Honduras coffee.

After Dropscone left, I walked round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal, sporadically doing some dead heading and lending a hand when she needed one but mostly looking at flowers and insects and snapping away.

marigold and Crown Princess Margareta

A marigold in full bloom and Crown Princess Margareta full of promise

The dahlias were attracting a varied clientèle at their pollen bars

dahlia with bee

Though it was possible to find some bee free blossoms.

dahlia

I wandered into the vegetable garden to pick up some apple windfalls and eat a few raspberries.  I had picked enough raspberries recently to make a couple of pots of jam yesterday so I was happy to see a few more still there today…

rasps runner and courgette

…but the runner beans and the courgettes are pretty well past it now.  We have eaten a lot of both.

I was joined in the vegetable garden by Attila the Gardener who declared the the time of doom had come for the cardoons and tore them out of the ground.  They have big seed heads.

cardoon seeds

Walking back through the flower gardens, I recorded three different varieties of potentilla.

potentilla

They seem to flower endlessly.

While I was pondering on this and that, I was disturbed by some vigorous chattering from small birds and looking across the road at our neighbour Liz’s house, I saw a curious sight.

sparrows on wall

The noise came from a small flock of sparrows which were greatly excited and were sticking and unsticking themselves from the wall her house.  There must have been something to eat there but what it was, I can’t imagine.  I have never seen this behaviour before.

I left them to it and went off to mow the drying green and then went in to do the crossword and have lunch.  I had hoped that my Mediterranean diet while I was in Marseille would have made my brain work better but there has been no noticeable effect so I had  a sardine sandwich for lunch.  I live in hope.

After lunch, I watched the birds for a while.

blue tit and robin

Two cute favourites

coal tit

A determined coal tit

I refilled the fat ball feeder and this provoked a flurry of activity from the sparrows.

sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal went off in the car to visit a garden centre, get her eyes tested and then roam a retail outlet and I got the fairly speedy bike out and went off for another short ride.

The weather has been quite breezy lately so I have been trying to do a twenty mile ride each day rather than wait in hope of a calmer day and then do a long trip.

Today I did 22 miles to Gair and back.  The way home has slightly more downhill than the way out but the easterly breeze evened matters out so I did the outward  and return journeys in an almost identical time.

I stopped near Gair to take two contrasting views from the same spot.

Gair view

Gair view

In spite of the grey clouds, it was  a pleasantly warm day for October and I enjoyed myself.  I passed some men sticking blue topped stakes into the edges of the road and asked if this was windmill related activity.  They told me that a windmill is due to be delivered to the Ewe Hill wind farm along this very road tomorrow morning.  I am going to see if I can get up early enough to see the delivery as the towers for the windmills are enormous and should make a good picture.   I am not betting any money on being able to get up early though.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s eyes passed her test and she returned in cheerful mood with many bags of soil improver for her flower beds and two bags of sand for the lawns when they get spiked.

While I was waiting for her return, I whiled away the time by looking at some regrettably uncivil behaviour in the sparrow world.

sparrows

This was caused by the fact the the jackdaws had come while I was out cycling and nearly finished off the fat balls which I had put out before my ride so there wasn’t much left for the sparrows to share.

An evening meal of cauliflower cheese rounded off a very enjoyable day.

The flower of the day is a dahlia  (and a busy bee)…

dahlia

…and the flying bird of the day is a sparrow flapping its wings like mad in an effort to get to the feeder first.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture shows another of the modes of transport that Dropscone encountered on his holiday in Germany.  I don’t think that he travelled on it though.

Paddle steamer in Germany

Our very welcome spell of good weather continued today, helping to dry the garden out after the recent rains.

I didn’t have time to get out before coffee because I had to wait in for a call from a computer company who had promised to sort out some problems arising from my internet provider terminating my email account (for commercial reasons of course).

The firm that has taken over my email hosting had made an appointment to ring me at 10.30 so I was agreeably surprised when they rang at 10.20.  I was even more agreeably surprised when a nice young man solved my problems without any fuss or trying to sell me additional and unwanted services.

The first email that arrived within seconds of the opening of my newly set up mailbox was a bill from my energy supplier but then you can’t have everything.

Over coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal, I was able to watch a couple of dunnocks under the feeder.  They are such muted birds that they often look out of focus even when they are quite well shot….

dunnocks

…or that is my excuse anyway.  I am very fond of dunnocks.

After coffee, I went out and did some shredding as Attila the gardener has been busy and there was quite a pile waiting and then I had a walk round the garden.

poppies

The poppies and cornflowers continue to bloom but sharp eyed readers will notice a lot of dead heads in the picture above.  The dead heading routine is a bit relentless but I counted about a hundred poppies still waiting to come out so it is worthwhile.  I was not the only one to find the sunflower by the feeder attractive…

sunflower with bee

…and there was a pleasant hum all round the garden.

The dark astrantia is beginning to go over but it has produced some fresh but simplified flowers to keep it looking bright as it goes.

astrantia

I mowed the grass round the greenhouse and then put the box on the good mower and mowed the middle lawn.  It had been left longer than usual because I had put spot weed killer on some very intrusive weeds with the result that I took five boxes of cut grass off it instead of the usual one or two.

Still, the work was worthwhile as the weeds have been discouraged a fair bit and the grass looks healthy enough.

While I was outside, I did a bit more shredding, pointed the camera at the feeder…

blue tit and chaffinch

The chaffinch was using the sunflower as a jumping off point.

…and did some more dead heading.

After lunch, we went out into the garden again and Mrs Tootlepedal called me over to look at the Michaelmas daisies.   She was amazed by just how many bees there were on the flowers.

Bees on Michaelmas daisies

It is hard to give a really good idea of its how many there were but the sound of buzzing was deafening. I took a closer look.

bees head to head

Mrs Tootlepedal is using up our supply of sieved compost quite quickly so I tested out Bin D to see if it was ready for sieving yet.  I got some usable material but the heap is too soggy after the recent rain for me to get a good return for the effort for the time being.

It was a little cooler than yesterday so I got out the fairly speedy bike and went off for a pedal up the Lockerbie road.  It was lucky that I hadn’t realised how windy it was or I might not have gone.  As it was, the wind blew me merrily along on the outward journey and made the ride home a real battle.  When you are having to pedal full out to go 12 mph down a hill, you know that there is a fresh breeze blowing.

I had noticed that the rowan berries seemed to have been disappearing in a sporadic sort of way lately so I was pleased to catch some of the culprits at it when I got back from my ride.

blackbird in rowan tree

blackbird in rowan tree

There were several blackbirds at work.

blackbird in rowan tree

This one was very busy

There are plenty  of berries left as it has been a spectacular year for rowans.

While I was out blackbird hunting, I cast a few looks back at the feeder.  The sparrows were very busy there.

saprrows on feeder

We are bit short of entertainment at present as all the cycling stage races are over for the year but we were able to drink our afternoon cups of tea out in the garden today and we agreed that sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon is as good as, if not better than, watching cycle racing on the telly.

dahlia

This was the sort of thing that we were enjoying

After seeing a bee looking very small on a big sunflower in the morning, I saw another been looking very large on a small cornflower in the afternoon.

bee on cornflower

It may even have been the same bee.

Courgette fritters once again graced the tea table and then while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to see a friend acting in a play at the Buccleuch Centre, I went off to our Langholm choir as I need all the singing practice that I can get.

We both enjoyed ourselves.

The flower of the day is a poppy with the added promise of more to come.

poppy

And the flying bird is another of the sparring sparrows seen against the background of the house wall instead of the garden.

flying sparrow

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