Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘butterflies’

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce.  He was struck by this pieces of street art in Sheffield, the work of Pete McKee. a local painter and commercial artist .

sheffield street art

The mornings are getting cooler now and we were well down in single figures today.

Mrs Tootlepedal was up early and started the day by taking four items up to the Castleholm where the Langholm Show was taking place.  She was hoping to catch the judge’s eye in three classes.

It took me quite a long time to feel strong enough to get my bike out even though it was a dry day with a good forecast.

Cycling in the cold is just a matter of the right clothing but after a warm summer for once, I am finding it hard to face up to the march of the seasons.

Still, I did get going after coffee and enjoyed a good run down to my favourite bench at Newtown on the line of Hadrian’s Wall…..

newtown bench and bike

…and back.  It is a pretty flat route and in spite of a cross wind, I kept up a good speed for me, with my nose well down over the front wheel.

I did stop for a snack and a quick breather on my way home as I crossed the border.  The picture shows why I like cycling on our main road at the weekend.  It has everything a road needs in the way of signs and lines but very little traffic.

A7 at border

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy on the back bed in the vegetable garden.  Over the past weeks our Christmas tree, a blackcurrant bush, a compost bin and a lot of rhubarb have disappeared and now a brand new bed has appeared, ready to be mulched and planted with three trees that Mrs Tootlepedal bought at a bargain price at the last Producers’ Market in Langholm.

new bed with three trees

She is hoping that they will get established before the next gale comes along.

I noted that Lilian Austin was developing well….

lilian austin

…but the white Japanese anemones are looking a bit tired now.

japanese anemone tatty

After a change of clothes and a quick snack for me, we cycled up to the show ground to see what was going on.

There was everything you would expect from an agricultural show.

black nose sheep at showyellow dipped sheep at showpair of cows at showdrivers at showriders at show

And when we looked in the industrial tent, we found that Mrs Tootlepedal had caught the judge’s eye.

Mrs T's prizes

Our neighbour Liz was second in the marrow for weight class.

She had put two entries into the embroidery class and had come first and second…

winning embroidery

….but the icing on the cake was a handsome rosette for the best exhibit overall in the section.  The winning picture came from a photo showing her mother and aunt when children and long time followers of the blog will recognise Matilda stamping on sand castles in North Berwick in the other work.

She was presented with a handsome trophy.

Mrs T getting cup

I noted the approach of autumn being recorded in the trees along the Lodge Walks..

autumn colour at show

…and went home to rescue some bread from the bread making machine.

It was a really beautiful evening by this time and the garden was full of butterflies again.

red admiral on buddleiasmall tortoiseshell on buddleia

When Mrs Tootlepedal came home, she went off to do some shopping and then we shelled enough of our walnuts to get 50 gm of usable kernels with which Mrs Tootlepedal is going to make a walnut pesto, following a recipe kindly sent to us by our Newcastle correspondent, Fiona.

I didn’t get the chance to take a flying bids of the day today but I did see several very unusual perching birds of the day at a demonstration at the Cattle Show.

birds of prey at show

Mary Jo’s rain gauge recorded just over 6 cm or 2½ inches of rain this week.

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from Sharon’s visit to Berlin.

20180907_181837

In spite of the gloomy forecast at the beginning of the week, we had another dry day here today with a decent amount of sunshine.  Unfortunately the wind continued to blow vigorously so it took me quite a long time to get up the energy to go out on my bike.

I had several good wheezes to distract me before I got going and of course, I always have to have a look at the garden first.

I am very attached to the papery poppies that have come out of the seed packet this year.

P1140268

They have a subdued elegance.

And in spite of the brisk breeze, there were butterflies everywhere in the garden today.

P1140273

Indeed, you had to look sharp to avoid being knocked over by them as they flitted from flower to flower.

I did get going in the end and found it a hard battle.  I was pleased to stop to admire a small clump of traditional toadstools…

P1140276

…and in an effort to get some gender balance into the blog, I refrained from taking any more outstanding cows and took two sitting bulls instead.

P1140278

Near the end of the ride (my usual 20 mile Canonbie circle), I parked the bike behind a fence and walked down through the woods…

P1140279

…to get a view of the river Esk near Broonholm.

P1140281

I thought that I might see a lot of fungus under the trees but this little clump was the only fungus that I saw.

P1140286

I managed to make it home and found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work on the computer.

It was fine enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to take her lunch out to the new bench and I joined her later on.  Out of the wind and sensibly clothed, it was a good day to test the bench.

The afternoon was given over to gardening.  I was in poetic form:

 There was mowing, dead heading
And sieving and shredding.

Mrs Tootlepedal is still in full Attila the Gardener mode so there was plenty of shredding to do.  The good summer has speeded up the compost process and there are now two big buckets of sieved compost waiting to find a home.

While we were sitting on the bench having our lunch, I noticed that a second flowering of a polemonium has come out to join the late flowering delphinium.

_DSC7062

As they are in the same bed as the reliable golden wedding rose and the perennial wallflower…

_DSC7064

…there was no shortage of colour in that corner of the garden.

I noticed a young blackbird sitting quietly on the fence and went in to get a camera.  I was surprised to find it still there when I came out.

_DSC7059

Then Mike Tinker came to bring Mrs Tootlepedal a gift of some liquid worm compost from his wormery as it  produces more than he needs for his own garden.  He joined us for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit and his visit was well timed as it began to rain lightly just at that moment.

I took a picture of a leycesteria before I went in.

P1140287

Although the rain stopped, we didn’t go back out to the garden when Mike left as I had to have an early evening meal because it was the first meeting of Langholm Sings, our Community Choir in the evening.

I did find time to take a few bird pictures though.

I like the shiny black feet that jackdaws have.

_DSC7072

This goldfinch has been very badly painted!

_DSC7054

I hope it gets some better feathers before the cold weather arrives.

Not all of our bird visitors are smart.  A sparrow had bitten more off a fat ball than it could chew and a coal tit was parked on a perch with no seed.

_DSC7076

The first meeting of the choir was well attended with a couple of new members and Mary, our director had brought some new music for us to tackle.  Two of the pieces were good to sing and quite easy but the third piece looks as though it will keep us busy for some time.  This seems like a good balance and I thoroughly enjoyed the singing, especially as my voice lasted reasonably well.

The flying bird of the day is another of the chaffinches which fly up to the feeder and conveniently hover for a moment before landing just so that I can snap them.

_DSC7074

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew and shows an 18th Century mill near Derby and the dam that was built to provide it with water.18th C mill

(I am in the market for new guest pictures)

I had a quiet morning today and was content to potter about indoors for the most part in spite of some fine weather.  When I did poke my head out into the garden, I had to look sharp to avoid being run into by butterflies.  There were a lot about again.

I shot pictures of them with my little Lumix and my Nikon and got reasonable results with both.  The big blue buddleia was still attracting a good number of butterflies and because the number of stems with flowers is getting smaller,  I often saw the butterflies pushing each other about just like the birds on the feeder.  I didn’t manage to catch them at it and had to settle for some fine posing.

We had a full house today.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

Small tortoiseshell.  The blue on its wingtips is fading.

peacock butterfly

A peacock still with good colour

white butterfly

There are still a lot of whites about

painted lady butterfly

One of several painted ladies

another painted lady butterfly

And because I like them so much, another painted lady

Perhaps because of the fading of the blooms on the big buddleia, the smaller red buddleia by the back fence was also doing a brisk business today.

peacock butterfly (2)

red admiral butterfly

small tortoiseshell butterfly on red buddleia

It provided better backgrounds for the shots and the zoom lens on the Nikon let me blur them to good effect.

After lunch I fully intended to go for a cycle ride but first of all the chance of watching the Tour of Britain cycle race going up a Lake District climb was too tempting and then when I did get more active, a really severe gust of wind persuaded me that some gardening might be more fun.

As part of the remodelling of the vegetable garden, I found out just how big and deep the roots of a rhubarb plant can be.  It needed a pickaxe to shift it.

While Mrs Tootlepedal cooked our tea, I thought that I ought to make some use of the good day and went for a short walk over three bridges.

As I walked over the first bridge (The Langholm Bridge), I could see two goosanders at the water’s edge below me.

two goosanders

I crossed the second bridge (The Sawmill Brig) and walked along the Lodge Walks seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Lodge Walks september

I then strolled over the Castleholm and came to the third bridge (The Duchess Bridge) ….

duchess bridge

…and crossed it and made my way home.

On my way I saw a lot of fungus again of many shapes and sizes…

castleholm fungus

…and some lichen, which needed a very close look to see the red tip.

lichen

Sheltered from the wind and with the sun occasionally out, it was a fine evening for a walk….

Castleholm copse

…with shades of green everywhere you looked.

view of castleholm

And the finale was this brilliant display of Russian vine on our neighbour Liz’s garage.

russian vine

In the evening Mike and Alison came round.  Alison and I put some useful practice into our French pieces and played an old friend to finish off an enjoyable session.

Mike and Alison are quite excited as their son with his wife and their two children have just touched down in Scotland on a visit from their home in New Zealand.

I didn’t have much time to look at birds today and when I did look, there weren’t many birds to watch so there is no flying bird of the day today, just one who had recently finished flying…

greenfinch

…who was joined by another who also had just finished flying.

blue tit and greenfinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who started a nine mile walk today by crossing the River Manifold over this handsome bridge.

Manifold Bridge

We had a lovely day here as well but it was decidedly chilly at first so it took me some time to get going on my bike.

I checked on the buddleia after breakfast….

Three butterflies

Mixed sunbathing for two peacocks and a small tortoiseshell

…and I was just in time to take a gift of eggs from Scott, the minister (but not offer him coffee in return) just before I set off.

I was slightly nervous about how my legs would be feeling after the slow and arduous effort on Wednesday but a day visiting Matilda had worked wonders and they were in a cooperative mood today.  I took care not to upset them by going up any steep hills.

I hadn’t gone far before I noticed two buzzards which were very agitated about something and circled around above my head crying out loudly.

One hovered long enough for me to take a picture.

buzzard

I rode past banks of rosebay willowherb seed heads as I went along…

rosebay seeds

…and was impressed by the fact that the wind hadn’t dislodged them yet.

I rolled down out of the hills and into Gretna where I saw a wedding party get ready to attend their ceremony at the ‘Famous Blacksmith’s Shop’.

Gretna wedding

They avoided getting run over.

I continued down into England, passing churches with steeples and square towers.

Rockcliffe Church

Rockcliffe

Scaleby Church

Scaleby

The church at Scaleby had a shiny new padlock on the door and warning notices from the police.  Not the most welcoming of sights.

I turned off at Scaleby and followed this unassuming road.

new road to Smithfield

It was a moment to note for me though, as it was one of the few roads in the area that I had never cycled along before.

Thanks to my perky legs, I didn’t need to stop for many breathers so there are fewer pictures today and  this picture of the welcoming sight of the monument on Whita Hill is the only one that I took in the last fifteen miles.

Whita

The jaunt was almost exactly 50 miles and this took me over 3000 miles for the year so it was a satisfactory ride both for itself and statistically.  It also brought up 565 miles for the month, my biggest monthly tally for four years.  It is amazing what some good weather will do.

When I got home, I did a bit of bird watching….

goldfinch

The single goldfinch soon got swept away by an incoming tide of sparrows.

sparrow melee

…and then I had a look around the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.

She spotted a ladybird…

ladybird

…and I spotted a small tortoiseshell stretching its wings….

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…and then I spotted it again!

small tortoiseshell butterfly 2

Among the more flashy flowers, the feverfew sparkles away quite modestly…

feverfew

…but persistently.

And Mrs Tootlepedal’s new cosmos, which is improbably called ‘Double Click Cranberries’ raised its head to the sun.

cosmos

I cut down the head of the giant sunflower and put it out for the birds…

sunflower head

…and picked up one of the fallen flower heads and rested it on my knee.

sunflower flower

My neighbour Liz was trimming her cherry tree and the job seemed to call for a tall person so I went across to give her a hand and ended up with a good collection of branches for shredding and adding to our compost heap.

I had a relaxing bath and came downstairs to a delicious evening meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal, the highlight of which was an enormous courgette fritter.

It took some time to recover from this but I was back in good order by the time that Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday evening visit.  Alison and I were playing early music in the French style and had  a hard working and enjoyable time getting to grips with some tricky pieces.

It was a good way to spend the last day of summer.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, putting down the landing gear.

flying sparrow

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He knows that I enjoy his photographs of teapots so he sent me this teapot cascade from Derby. (He was going for a cup of coffee when he passed it.)

derby teapots

It was another very grey and gloomy morning today, with occasional drizzle to make things even gloomier.

I took the weather as an excuse to have a lie in and a very leisurely breakfast.  In fact it was so leisurely that I had to get dressed in a hurry when Sandy checked to see if coffee was available.

After coffee, Sandy went off with a plum or two for company and I retired back indoors to put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  Sandy, who had woken early, told me that he had put a week in well before breakfast so between us, we should be catching up on the data miners.

It was too damp and gloomy for a walk, a pedal, photography or any gardening so I did the crossword and then made tomato and courgette soup for lunch, following a recipe that Sandy had suggested.  It was very tasty.

The weather was improving little by little as the day went on and after had I done some business in the town and helped Mrs Tootlepedal with the insertion of some press stud fasteners into fabric, I thought that the day was nice enough to warrant a cycle ride.

It was quite late by now so I settled for a quick dash round my Canonbie circuit and thanks to a helpful wind, it was quite quick and I only  stopped twice for to take a picture.

In previous years, people have suggested that this tree at Hagg-on Esk resembles an excited poodle.

poodle tree

Sometimes I see it and sometimes I don’t.  It may be a jockey on a horse rearing out of the starting gate…or it may just be a tree.

By the time that I got back to Langholm, the shadows were lengthening but it was turning out to be a lovely evening…

Langholm Distillery late august

…and I was able to take the camera out into the garden when I got home.

It hadn’t taken much sunshine to bring the butterflies out.  For every coloured butterfly this summer, there have been five white ones…

white butterfly

…and there was only one peacock out today.

peacock butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted a lot of fancy cosmos this year and they have enjoyed the weather a lot.

fancy cosmos

On top of the compost bins, the snowberry peeped out at the evening sunshine.

snowberry

I should have picked the sweet peas and taken them inside to encourage more to grow but I shot them in situ today.

sweet pea 2sweet pea 3

Mrs Tootlepedal has surrounded the plum tree with white hostas.

white hostas

And her 50p geranium is proving excellent value for money.

cheap geranium

The dahlia of the day had a bee visiting of course.

fancy dahlia

The poppies have not enjoyed the weather at all but a few keep battling on.

pale poppy

And after seeing the dicentra seed pods recently, I was surprised to notice this bunch of  fresh looking flowers and even more surprised to see that one of them had attracted a bee.

white dicentra with bee august

Elsewhere, a bee and a dahlia had become almost indistinguishable.

red dahlia with bee 2

Mrs Tootlepedal has greatly reduced the amount of sedum in the garden from previous years but we still have some and it is just beginning to show some colour.

sedum buds

During the day, Ross, the joiner, had been hard at work putting new doors into our garage.  After forty years of struggling with an intractable folding door system which opened inwards, we decided that it was time for a change and Ross has put in two hinged doors that open outward….

new garage doors

…immediately creating a lot more space inside.   In an exciting development, I hope to have a picture of the doors standing open in tomorrow’s post.  And before anyone asks, we don’t use the garage for our car.  It is the home of bicycles and lawn mowers….and quite a lot of ‘stuff’ besides.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had completed her press stud work and the resulting black out blind was in place upstairs, press studded onto a Velux window.

blackout blind

She likes to have a project and she always has some spare material about.

Mrs Tootlepedal then made a really tasty one pot sausage and tomato penne dish for our tea so a day which had started out looking most unpromising, turned out very well in the end.

I even found a pigeon in retreat as an elegant  flying bird of the day.

flying pigeon

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture, taken by Dropscone while he was refereeing a golf tournament at Bruntsfield Golf Club last week, shows the trough where the carriages from the big house used to get washed.

coach washing pit

The forecast was unreliable and planning was difficult.  It had said that it was going to rain all day and since we had heard the rain pattering down as we went to bed last night, we feared the worst.

When we woke up though, the rain had stopped but the forecast now said that it was 90% certain to rain heavily at nine o’clock for an hour.

I was getting ready to spend the morning indoors but a quick look at the actual weather rather than the forecast made it plain that it wasn’t raining and didn’t look likely to rain for some time.  I put my cycling gear on and took a walk round the garden before setting off.

The poppies are rather scarce but good looking when they do appear.

red poppy with stamens

This one planted itself and is hidden behind the new bench

poppy behind bench

And this Icelandic poppy came with added insect.

hoverfly on icelandic poppy

It turned out to be an excellent morning for cycling with the temperature in the high teens and very light winds.  As a result, I was able to go round my customary Canonbie circuit in the quickest time of the year without having to try too hard.

I noted the fine heather beside the road at the Kerr Wood.

Kerr heather

And there were quite a lot of these about on that section of the ride too.

white wild flowers

I stopped for a quick breather at Irvine House and looked around.

irvine house wild plants

The view back towards the new road looked quite autumnal as the sky was cloudy but I was still more than happy to be cycling in my summer shorts.

Irvine house view

When I got home, the weather was still holding so I did a bit of dead heading and had another look at the flowers.

The Japanese anemones are starting to flower.

Japanese anemone

Mrs Tootlepedal cleared a lot of them off in the winter but she has left a few and more photographs of them will undoubtedly appear as I like them a lot, even if they do spread themselves around uninvited.

More poppies caught my eye.  This was the pick of them.

red poppy

And here is the dahlia of the day.

dahlia

I was trying to take a picture of this dahlia and bee but a little hoverfly got in the way.

fly and bee on dahlia

The most notable feature in the garden was a large flock of sparrows.  They were everywhere, much to Mrs Tootlepedal’s disgust as they eat her vegetables. I think that I can count thirteen of them here in the silver pear tree but there may be more.

sparrows in pear tree

There may have been a lot of sparrows around but once again there were very few coloured butterflies about.

butterflies

Whites are ten a penny.

I did see the first Red Admiral of the year in the garden but it got away before I could digitally immortalise it.

Mrs Tootlepedal made scrambled eggs with new potatoes for lunch and then we scrambled to get the washing in just before a sharp rain shower came on.

I am letting the scientific rain gauge (©MaryJofromManitoba) accumulate at the moment and it was showing 3cm or over an inch by the end of the day.

The rain stopped and I filled the feeder and put out some fat balls and stood back to watch.

The feeder was soon busy.

busy feeder sparrow

And the sparrows went for the fat balls in numbers…

sparrows on fat balls

…leading to some sparrow sparring…

sparring sparrows

…but the arrival of a group of jackdaws soon scattered the sparrows.

jackdaw closeup

The jackdaws very nearly polished off all the fat balls by the end of the day.

In the midst of all this activity, a very calm lone goldfinch arrived for a snack.

goldfinch

I put the bird watching camera away and as this seemed like a good time to be indoors in case the heavy showers returned, I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

The heavy showers did not return but my flute pupil Luke came in the early evening and we battled away at the art of counting and playing at the same time.

We are trying to master the art of not making mistakes in music that we know and should be able to play easily.  I am very aware that I always made mistakes when playing under pressure until I read the book, “The Inner Game of Golf” to try to help my wayward golf game.  It helped my golf quite a bit but it helped my music playing quite a lot more.  This was an unexpected bonus.

After Luke went, I got out a ladder and trimmed the climbing hydrangea which grows on the wall of the house.  It has a tendency to climb under the guttering and onto the roof if not checked each year.

The flying bird of the day might well have been a sparrow as I caught several in action this afternoon but I thought that I might go for a refreshing change.

Behold, the flying fly of the day.

fly hovering

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to Kew.  As well as dragons, she saw this interesting creature.  It is called Gnomus (but I don’t gnow why).

kew creature

The joiners having finished their work, the painter came today and the front of the house is on its way to looking well cared for.  A spanner was cast into the smooth running of the refurbishment when the painter discovered a wasps’ nest in one of the dormers that he was about to paint.

We did consider shinning up two ladders on to the roof in the quiet of the twilight and doing what needed to be done but due consideration of the age of the potential ladder climbers led us to calling out an expert from Carlisle who will come tomorrow.

While the painter was painting, I was wandering around the garden and my attention was directed to this flower….

cosmos

…by Mrs Tootlepedal.  It may not look much but if all goes well it is just the first of dozens and dozens of cosmos which will brighten the August garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal also pointed out that there are in fact five zinnias.  Here is the fifth columnist.

fifth zinnia

The verbascum flowers have nearly climbed to the top of their spires…

verbascum spike

…and I will miss them when they are gone.

moth mullein flower

New dahlias are appearing at the rate of one a day and this was today’s arrival.

dahlia

It was a beautiful day, sunny nearly all day but oddly enough, not too hot.

Almost as cheerful as the sunshine was a clump of nasturtiums…

nasturtiums

…and another bright sunflower.

cheerful sunflower

The sunflowers are being a bit contrary and instead of turning their faces to the sun and our garden, they are mostly turning their backs on us and peering over our neighbour’s fence.

There were more white butterflies all over the place.

white butterfly on flower

And bees too.

bumble bees

I went in for coffee and then did a little shopping.

When I got back, I took the opportunity to mow both the middle and front lawns which are confounding me by growing more grass and if anything, getting greener in spite of the lack of meaningful rain.  We are getting a light dew in the morning which may be helping.

And of course, I had another look round when I had finished.

The melancholy thistle shouldn’t be lonely next year.

melancholy thistle seed ead

And the hostas were playing host to yet more bees.

bee on hosta

The new buddleia had attracted a butterfly but sadly it was just another white one.

white butterfly on buddleia

I made some green soup for lunch with courgettes, spinach and broad beans (with a good quantity of garlic too) and it turned out very well.  I am determined to eat as much of our own veg as I can this year.

After lunch, we were detained by a very exciting stage of the Tour de France and then, inspired by the heroes of the Pyrenees, I put on my cycling gear…

…but not until I had had another walk round the garden.

This time there was a peacock butterfly on the buddleia….

peacock butterfly

…but it stuck to sunning itself on a leaf and wouldn’t come onto a flower.

I turned my attention to a very decorative dicentra which Mrs Tootlepedal recently purchased in Dumfries.

dicentra

In the end, I got my bike out and went round my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  It was still sunny but still not too hot and with a light wind, conditions were delightful.

Kerr

It was quite late on the day and we had some singing to do at the Common Riding Concert so I didn’t stop too often but I couldn’t resist being looked down upon by two cows.

cows on a hill

When I got back, the verbascum was showing that even when it has finished flowering, it will still be catching the evening sunlight and adding interest to the back bed.

verbascum in evening

We went off to sing a couple of songs for the finale of the concert in the Buccleuch Centre. As our church organist Henry had arranged the programme, it was not surprising that he had found a place for his choir in it.  A good number of members turned up and we sang well.

That will be our last choir singing until the next sessions start in September.  It was a good way to finish.

No flying bird of the day today as the painter proved a deterrent to visiting the feeder.  A flying visit from the sparrowhawk may not have encouraged the small birds either.

As a result, I have turned to flowers of the day and these are they:

cornflower and calendula

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »