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Posts Tagged ‘buttercups’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and shows one of his dogs relaxing in his garden.  He tells me that he sun (almost) always shines in East Wemyss.

cof

When I woke up this morning, I was very happy to find that the sun was shining and my feet were not hurting.  Life was good and it got better when I went out into the garden after breakfast and found a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) sunning itself on a Sweet William.

painted lady on sweet william

Things improved even further when Dropscone arrived for coffee, bringing scones of the highest quality with him.  Add to that a passing visit from our friend Gavin who stayed for a cup of coffee and happiness was to be found all around.

In the garden, when the visitors had departed, there was plenty of cheerfulness too. We have three different astrantias and they are all doing well…

three astrantia

…and the painted lady was back showing both sides of its wings.

painted lady panel

On the feeder, a siskin stood for a moment before getting a seed.  (This is a rare siskin picture for me as it wasn’t taken through a window.)

siskin not through window

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing the garden equivalent of housekeeping after the pole excitements when she found this quite unexpected but very pretty iris in the middle of a bed.  Where it has come from is a mystery, as she didn’t plant it.

new yellow iris

Long established irises should not be overlooked though.

old blue iris

Two days of warm sunshine had brought life to the garden and plants asked to be photographed, both in the form of Jacobite roses…

Jacobite rose

…and the butter and sugar iris.

butter and sugar iris

The painted lady returned to another Sweet William and let me get a close up.

painted lady on sweet william 2

The tropoaeolum has burst into flower as well.

tropaeloum flower out

In between running around snapping at flowers, I mowed the front lawn and lent a hand with the garden tidying until it was time for Mrs Tootlepedal to drive off to Newcastleton for an embroiderers’ lunch.

I made a pan of soup for my lunch, did the crossword and then headed out on my bike to see how my legs were feeling after yesterday’s effort.

I chose a route where the wind would be across and hoped that bends in the road would mean that it would frequently change from hostile to helpful as I went along as I didn’t fancy another long spell of battering into the brisk breeze.

I chose a more hilly route but my legs were unfazed and carried me along without complaint.  My windy plan worked well and I didn’t have any long struggles into the teeth of the breeze, but all the same, I adopted a very gentle pace and stopped to take many pictures as I went along.  Here are a sample.

A mown field and a variety of greens made a interesting picture as I cycled down the hill from Peden’s View.

mowed field

There was a pretty selection of hawkweed and daises at Bentpath village (and another painted lady which didn’t get into the picture).

wild flowers at Bentpath

The Esk looked serene when viewed from the Benty Bridge.

esk from benty bridge

The shadows on the back road past Georgefield look attractive but they are a snare for cyclists as it is hard to spot potholes among them and there are plenty of potholes on this section.

road ar Westerhall

I got through safely though and was able to admire this small prairie of buttercups near Enzieholm Bridge.

filed of buttercups enzieholm

When I looked more closely, I found that below the buttercups, the field was also full of yellow rattle.

sweet ratle in buttercup filed

There was a lot of traffic on the road on my way home…

sheep on Benty road

…but I got back in good spirits after fifteen very pleasant miles.

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her lunch and was busy in the garden again so I joined her in a supervisory role and took more flower pictures from time to time.

six brilliant flowers

It was a perfect day and all the better because we have had so few good days lately.

The only fly in the ointment came in the evening with the news that Scotland had failed to hang on to a three goal lead in a crucial game in the Women’s World Cup football tournament.  I wisely hadn’t watched the game because I wasn’t in the mood for needless suffering.

I didn’t find the necessary time to catch a flying bird today as it wasn’t a good day to spend a lot of time indoors, so a sitting blackbird of the day takes the position instead.

blackbird on fence.

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s trip to Madeira.

madeira

The forecasters are having a hard time at present getting the details of the weather correct, largely I suspect because the weather is so unusual these days that their computer models are not provided with enough helpful historic data.  All the same, various forecasts were pretty sure that we were going to get rain and possibly thunderstorms in the afternoon today.

We spent the day waiting…..in vain.

Partly as a result of this and partly because I didn’t feel at my best, I had a slightly wasted day and hardly did anything useful or interesting.  I had a moment of helpfulness when we got the petrol driven soil cultivator out and used it to to improve the paths between the new beds in the veg garden.  And I mowed some of the greenhouse grass.  But that was it.

I had time hanging heavy on my hands so I took a lot of flower pictures.

If you want white then the bridal wreath spirea is the plant for you.

spirea

It has a lot of little flowers per every square inch.

The first pink was out today and it is very white too.

pink

I went in search of bright colour and found it behind the house where the oriental poppies are enormous.

oriental poppyoriental poppy

A new rose has arrived.

rosa complicata

And I found a bee on a lily leaf in the pond.  Perhaps it had been having a swim or a drink.

bee in pond

After a while with few bees, it is good to see and hear numbers of both honey and bumble bees about.  Now I am waiting for some more butterflies to turn up.

I made some soup for lunch and then we were delighted to welcome a few drops of rain but they turned out to be a false alarm and soon gave up.  There were rumbles of thunder and dark clouds but these too were to produce nothing though I heard later that there was a storm in Hawick, 20 miles up the road.

In desperation, I went for a walk, reckoning that this would be bound to make it rain.

I saw the oyster catchers beside the Esk and noted that they had two youngsters with them.  I managed to catch one each of the parents and children.

oyster catcher with young

I crossed the Langholm Bridge, bought an ice cream from the van and spent some time watching pied and grey wagtails flitting about.  It looked as though the grey wagtails might be feeding young in a nest on the bank.

grey wagtail

Looking back at the town bridge, I saw its railings reflected in the trickle of water going down the river below.

Langholm Bridge

Just below the Sawmill Brig, there is a fine display of knapweed on a stony island in the Ewes Water (though it wasn’t an island today as the water was so low).

knapweed

We are in a very green season as a stroll up the Lodge Walks….

Lodge Walks

…and across the Castleholm showed.

Castleholm

I walked across to a favourite tree, a red horse-chestnut…

red chestnut

…and took a closer look at the flowers which are just going over.

red chestnut

The racecourse was a sea of buttercups….

race course castleholm with buttercups

…which may account for the state of my shoes when I got home.

shoes with buttercup dust

There was no trouble in finding grasses, nettles and plantains on my way.

wild grasses and nettle

My favourite wild thing though was the corydalis that lives on the wall at the top of the Scholars’ Field.

corydalis

Far from making it rain, my walk made the sun come out….

clouds

…and all the big clouds slipped past the town.  Ironically, as soon as the sun came out, it also started to rain but this was another half hearted effort and Mrs Tootlepedal had to water the vegetable garden again.  I watered the gooseberries, strawberries and sunflowers.

I had another look for new flowers and found a pretty Sweet William…

Sweet william

I was feeling far from my peak by this time but fortunately, Mrs Tootlepedal whipped up a wonderfully tasty meal of Eggs Florentine (spinach from the garden) followed by delicious Scottish strawberries on a meringue base topped with whipped cream.

The whole thing was a taste sensation and an outright indulgence and it was just what the doctor ordered as after I had eaten, I suddenly felt perky enough to get out the new bike and enjoy 16 miles in the late evening sunshine.  The meal and the unexpected bike ride made an otherwise rather dull  day seem quite cheerful in the end.

Now if it would just rain overnight….

They say that there is a chance of rain tomorrow but we will believe when we see it.

The flower of the day is a Butter and Sugar Iris.

butter and sugar irisbutter and sugar iris

A wonderful plant which managed to capture about ten of the raindrops that fell today.

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my sister Susan on a visit to Reading.  It shows the Maiwand Lion, commemorating the dead of the Berkshire Regiment of Foot at Girishk Maiwand and Kandahar in 1880. The British were defeated at Girishk Maiwand by the Afghan army at a high cost to both sides during the 2nd Afghan war. reading lion

As the astute reader will gather from the the title of this post, it actually rained today but as this didn’t happen until the early evening and as it didn’t last long, it didn’t make much of a dent in our spell of excellent weather.

We had a sunny morning and made the most of it.  I had to pay an early visit to the health centre for a blood test and was happy to find that I still had some but I wasted no time when I got back in getting to work on the front lawn.  It lives in cold shadows over the winter and gets very mossy and the poor weather of the first four months of the year hasn’t helped it so I gave it a scarifying with our electric scarifier.  I followed this with a rake and a mow and then I topped off the treatment with a dose of seaweed buck-u-uppo.  Did it look grateful after all this? No, it still looked mossy.  Still, I enjoy the challenge.

In between the scarifying and the seaweed, Sandy came round for a cup of coffee and a news catchup.

As Mrs Tootlepedal is busy planting stuff out, she is using the sieved compost as fast as I can produce it so I sieved another batch and the contents of Bin D are decreasing rapidly.

I found time to wander around with the camera.

I often concentrate on single flowers so today for a change,  I went for quantity over quality.

potentilla

Potentilla

peony

Peony

poached egg plant

Limnanthes douglasii or the poached egg flower.  A bit of ‘egg white’ is developing on some of the flowers.

geraniums

Geraniums

geums

Geums

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal – no sign of sawfly larva yet.

I did take one shot a single flower.  This was the clematis at the front door and I took the single flower shot to show the contrast between the clematis at the front door (two flowers) ….

front door clematis

…and the clematis at the back door (hundreds).

back door clematis

I try to keep an eye out for the new arrivals and today a nectaroscordum had developed enough to get a personal portrait.

nectaroscordum

It was very breezy but I am still a bit short of cycling miles so I got my new bike out after lunch and decided to test the conditions.  It was warm but the skies had clouded over so the temperature was perfect and I set off with hopes of 30 miles or more.

However, after a few miles at a crisp speed and with not a whisper of wind in my face, it became apparent that the wind was going to make it very hard work pedalling home if I cycled too far out and I lowered my ambitions and went round the 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

This was a good decision as there was plenty to see…

field of buttercups

A field of buttercups near Langholm

bog cotton

Bog cotton at the Kerr

tarcoon verge

Beautiful verges near Tarcoon

wild geraniums

Wild geraniums on the old A7…

Pyrenean valerian

…and Pyrenean Valerian nearby.

… and the route choice turned out well as I got a good deal more help from the wind than I expected and managed to get my average over 14 mph.  This is very good for me these days.

As I cycled down the road along our garden hedge at the end of my ride, I was detained by the old Rosa Moyesii…

Rosa Moyesii

…and the honeysuckle.

honeysuckle

I hadn’t seen these earlier as they can only be seen when you are not in the garden.

The rain started not long after I got home so I had a good excuse to spend some time watching the birds at the feeder.

It was quite busy with siskins and goldfinches…

siskins

…with the siskins demonstrating why the seed level goes down so quickly when they are there.  They drop at least half of their food as the seeds are just too big for their beaks.

We have had regular visits from a small group of pigeons recently and they were back again today…

pigeon

…keeping an eye out for fallen seed.

I am hoping for a less windy day tomorrow to get a last minute addition to my mileage for the month of May but there is a hint of more rain in the forecast so time will tell.

The flying bird(s) of the day is a collection of airborne siskins.

flying siskins

 

 

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The guest picture of the day comes courtesy of Mary Jo from Manitoba who asked her friend Lucie to send me this really stunning picture of a bison, with which Lucie had a close encounter in Riding Mountain National Park.

bison

The forecast shows a lot of rain showers coming our way over the next week so it seemed like a really good idea to make the most of a very pleasant sunny day today by getting up early, putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before breakfast and hitting the road on the fairly speedy bike while the morning was still young.

No one was more surprised than me when this splendid idea came to fruition.

There was a light wind in my face on the way out and at my back on the way home and nothing occurred during the stately pedalling along a mainly flat route that was worthy of recording so I will just say that I managed 80 miles and enjoyed all of it.  I did stop  quite a lot to take pictures.

There were many almost idyllic moments.  Here are cows beside the Kirtle Water near Gretna…

Cows beside the Kirtle Water

…and here is the bank of the newly built M6 extension beside the service road which I use.

M6 at Gretna

It is rich in daisies and the first Rosa Complicata are just coming out

I passed many of the sort of umbellifers that always seem to have insects on them when you look.  These four pictures are of the same plant.

umbellifers

My route took me down the bike path beside the northern Carlisle by-pass.  The roundabouts as it crosses the railway line are a treat.

by pass roundabout

The bike path also had the first ragged robin that I have seen this year.

ragged robin

I left the by-pass and headed along the Solway shore.  I was hoping to see the sea but sadly, the sea was not at home.

Solway tide out

The only water showing was the outflow of the River Eden

It looked as though it would be easy to walk across the the Scottish shore where I was doing a similar pedal last week.  (It wouldn’t be)

Criffel

Even if I couldn’t see the sea, there was plenty to please the eye as I travelled the coast road.

Drumburgh verge

But I couldn’t spend all my time looking at the views while I went along the salt marsh as I had to keep my eye out for traffic too.

Cows on road at Drumburgh

The cattle graze freely over the unfenced marsh.

I also passed a cute kid.

cute kid

It was rather too hazy for good long shots but I took one anyway.  This shows the Lake District hills, seen over the estuary of the River Whampool.

Skiddaw

My ride took me round the very large masts of the radio transmitter at Anthorn which you can see in the background, behind a sturdy bull and a neat wooden bridge,

Anthorn and bridge

I didn’t come back along the shore since the sea was out and chose an inland route that was well surfaced and basically flat so I rolled along very cheerily but was stopped in my tracks by this very fine house in one of the villages that I passed through.

P1130031

This is good farming country and there are a lot of well built fortified farmhouses around as well more modern country houses.

I went right round the by-pass on my way back and stopped at Gretna for a coffee and cake to fuel me up for the last few miles.  Needless to say I met a couple from Langholm in the cafe as it is a popular destination for a short drive for many Langholmites.

I had a last look at a large English country house before I crossed the border back into Scotland.

Netherby Hall

This is Netherby Hall which features in the well known poem, Young Lochinvar. by Sir Walter Scott.

Unlike Young Lochinvar, I did no racing and chasing on Canonbie Lea but continued at a steady pace until I arrived home quite ready for a cup of tea.

Those interested in the details of the ride can click on the map below.

garmin route 31 May 2017

I would observe that although the chart says that the temperature was a cool 54°F, and it was probably quite right when I set out, it was a great deal warmer in the sunshine.  A young lad to whom I talked while having a refreshment break said that his bike computer was claiming that it was 25° in the sun by mid morning.  He was planning a 130 mile ride but had had to curtail as he had got up late.  He had settled for 110 miles. Ah to be young again.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal went out into the garden to pick some spinach for our tea.

spinach

She is working on the usual ‘cut and come’ again principle with the spinach.  It was delicious.

The garden is moving from the age of azaleas to the era of irises…

irises

…which I enjoy because they are a challenge to photograph well as they tend to sway about in the wind.

I also found a new plant beside the pond which Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is musk.

musk

After tea, I went off to the last ‘Langholm Sings’ practice of the season.  We have a second concert this Friday and our conductor was busy tidying up one or two things which could have been done better in the first concert last Friday.  As this took two hours, you can tell that we should be better this week than we were last week….though people who were at the concert In Newcastleton say that they enjoyed it thoroughly.

No time for any bird pictures today.

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Today’s guest picture shows the west face of Hereford Cathedral.  My brother likes imposing church buildings.

Hereford cathedral West face

Having had their little bit of fun yesterday, the weather gods were in a cheerier mood today and helped me out.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window when she thought that she saw a most unusual bird visiting the fatballs.  A second look showed that it didn’t have feathers but fur.

mouse

I went out to see of I could get a close up but it scurried off so I looked for new flowers instead.  I found a relatively new purchase and an old friend.

a ranunculus and astrantia

A lone high class buttercup and the first of many astrantias

There were many pleasures to be seen but the current star of the show is this rhododendron which is at its peak.

rhododendron

It sits in a colourful corner.

rhodedendrons

I had to sit for a couple of hours in the Welcome to Langholm office this morning, receiving tourists at the exact rate of one per hour.  I wasn’t bored though as I was able to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Database and as it was raining outside for quite a bit of the time, I felt very content.

When I got home, the rain had relented and I was able to walk round the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

It was genuinely warm and for the first time this year, there was no nip in the air at all, just a balmy breeze.  The plants are enjoying themselves.

I took a picture of a not very impressive flower…

first rose of summer

…but it is a significant arrival as it the first rose of summer.

I took another picture of that colourful corner.

rhododendrons

I often take close ups of flowers but there are some nice clusters of colour to be enjoyed too.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

Clematis, iris and welsh poppy

After lunch, the weather was warm and the rain had gone away so we hung the washing out and then  I went off for a short pedal down to Canonbie and back.

I had hardly got started before I had to stop when I saw an old friend at Pool Corner.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

There were plenty of wild flowers to distract me as I pedalled along…

wild flowers

…and many small butterflies flitting about too but none of them would stay still long enough for me to get my camera out so I stopped trying to catch one of them and stuck to the flowers.

crosswort and clover

The verges are rich in cow parsley at the  moment…

cow parsley

…and some of the fields are full of buttercups…

buttercups

…so my trip was very easy on the eye.

It was pleasantly warm and I was able to get my vitamin D dose through my knees. This was a treat for me but maybe a bit of a shock for any passers by.  Cycling is so much easier when it is warm and even the wind doesn’t seem to bother you so much.  It was quite breezy out in the country and I was able to cycle uphill back home from the bottom of Canonbie much faster than I had cycled down there into the wind.

I stopped to look at the church at Canonbie….

Canonbie Church

…and then I stopped again while I was in the village to visit a friend from our choir who has recently had a bad fall and is currently laid up with a broken leg.  She was remarkably cheery under the circumstances and even seeing me in my cycling shorts couldn’t dent her good humour.

There were one or two dark clouds in the offing so I didn’t dawdle on the way back from Canonbie and I got home in time for another walk round the garden…

aquilegia

The aquilegia of the day

the first bean of the year

The first bean flower of the year

…while Mrs Tootlepedal got the washing in and then with perfect timing it started to rain just as we sat down for a cup of tea.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and when he showed marked improvement in playing quietly in a sustained manner, I accused him of practising at home, an accusation which he didn’t deny.  He is an excellent pupil.

We played all four movements of a trio sonata for treble recorder and flute by Loeillet with only one hiccup.  While we played, we were accompanied by my computer on the harpsichord, one of the wonders of technology for which I am very grateful.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike and had another enjoyable musical time.

Before I went home, I popped into the Archive Centre to print out some more sheets for the eager data miners who are happily piling up work for me.  Sandy, who enters data too,  is on holiday in Greece so I will have to pull my socks up when it comes to entering the data in the database and try to do his share as well as mine.

The non flying bird of the day is Mr Grumpy who quietly sat by the water and let me get quite close.

heron

 

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