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Posts Tagged ‘compost’

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew.  As well as the moon, Derby has been visited by the sombre ‘Knife Angel’, an artwork designed to highlight the problem of knife crime in Britain.

knife angel

Autumn gave us a sharp reminder that it is here with a chilly start to the day, not far above freezing.  But having nudged us in the ribs, it then provided us with a beautifully sunny day to cheer us up again.

All the same, it was too chilly to spend much time outside early on as my cold has not given up altogether.  I did pop out into the garden from time to time to enjoy the sunshine and watch birds…

chaffinch, blackbird, starlings

…and check that the flowers hadn’t been knocked out by the cold morning.  In general, the flowers had survived very well…

argyranthemum, cosmos, nasturtium

…and as the day warmed up…

verbena and nerine

…insects came out to enjoy the flowers too

insects on flowers

There were not many butterflies about but seeing any was a bonus.  I didn’t see any in October at all last year and 10th Oct was the last that I saw any in 2017 so we are right at the end of the butterfly season.

This red admiral looked to be in excellent condition.

red admiral butterfly

Rather annoyingly, the transplanted fuchsia finally showed a flower at the very last moment, much too late to be sensible, and…

fuchsia october

…Mrs Tootlepedal, worried about another cold night coming, picked a spray and took them indoors.

fuchsia indoors

Finally I spotted a butterfly on the sedum.

rd admiral on sedum

I made a leek, onion and potato soup for lunch, all from the garden, though I did add a little shop bought carrot for colour.

It had warmed up quite a bit by the time that lunch was over, so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some business, I got my bike out and tested my chest with a gentle twenty miles round my customary Canonbie circuit.

I wrapped up very well and in the sunshine, it was really a good day for cycling for semi invalids.

I was a bit alarmed to see that my favourite tree has already lost all its leaves…

bare tree bloch

..but other trees are hanging on.

two trees with leaves

It was another clear day and i could see the Lake District hills clearly on the far side of the gleaming Solway.

view over Solway

Canonbie Church was looking at its best…

Canonbie Church

…and when I looked around, the trees at Canonbie seem undecided about changing colour yet.

trees with leaves october

I stopped at Hollows Bridge for a rest and looking down at the rocks in the river, I could just make out…

hollows brodge view

…Mr Grumpy’s Canonbie cousin.

heron at hollows

Some of the route back from Canonbie is on the old A7, now bypassed by a wide new road, and it is hard to believe that this was once a busy main road.  It makes for a quiet ride now, although cyclists have to join the traffic on the main road for the last couple of miles back into Langholm.

old A7 seven sisters

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden.  Among other things, she is trying to pinpoint an annoying leak in our pond.  This may be an insoluble problem but Mrs Tootlepedal is not giving up yet.

I recorded a visit from a small tortoiseshell butterfly…

small tortoishell butterfly october

…and went off to sieve the last of the compost in Bin D.  When I had finished, I took the cover off the compost in Bin C and started to shift it into Bin D.  However, for one reason or another, the compost turned out to be in excellent condition, and I may be able to use it straight away without more shifting.

I have never managed to make such good compost so quickly before and I would like to know how I’ve done it.

good compost

It might be the steady warm weather we have had this summer, or possibly some careful layering of green and woody materials when it was put into Bin A, or perhaps just the right amount of moisture in the pile, or a combination of all of these things…or possibly pure chance.  Whatever the reason was, it will save a lot of sieving.

In the evening, I went off to the first meeting of the season of the Langholm community choir, ‘Langholm Sings’.  We have a new conductor and a new accompanist but because two concerts have been arranged in early December and we are going to be pushed for time, we are still singing some old and familiar songs.  As a result, the meeting was not quite as exciting as I had hoped.   Still, as hitting any low notes made me cough a bit, some undemanding work was probably a good thing.

As my cold is getting better, Mrs Tootlepedal’s cold has returned.  I hope that this sort of thing is going to stop soon.

The flying bird of the day was being checked out for style by an interested spectator.

flying starling and spectator

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As well as seeing beautiful river scenes, Bruce has also met St Aidan of Lindisfarne on his Northumberland break, and his statue is the guest picture of the day.

St Aidan of Lindisfarne

There was an infernal racket in the garden this morning and anyone who extols the calming and peaceful nature of bird song has obviously not heard young starlings asking to be fed.

It was raucous.

starling parent and child

And sometimes the parents looked fed up with the demands for food.

two starlings

Young starlings grow quickly but they don’t develop the patterned feathers of the adult so it was easy to tell that this was a youngster waiting for a grown up to appear…

yoiung starling

…which it did in short order, carrying a beakful of worms…

starling bringing food

…which were gratefully received.

starling feeding child

I took a look at the burgeoning clematis flowers along the garage…

garge clematis

…and went off to help Mrs Tootlepedal distribute the wood chips that we collected yesterday on to the vegetable garden paths.

We laid down an impermeable lining and then added the chippings.  The result looked quite satisfactory.

chipped paths

There are more chips to be collected and more paths to be covered so it is ongoing work.

Beside the back fence, a small wild area added colour….

buttercups

…while further along, a transplanted clematis has flowered to Mrs Tootlepedal’s delight.

back fence clematis

I had a wander round, passing my favourite astantias…

two astrantias

…and noting the first flowers on the wiegela…

wiegela

…before stopping to check on the azalea which has been badly affected by lack of rain.

The recent wet weather has encouraged it to open some of its buds after all and…

thirsty azalea

…as it is due to keep raining for some days, all may not be lost.

The waxy leaves of lupins and hostas held the evidence.

two waxy leaves

The clematis by the front door is beginning to look a bit bedraggled so I took a picture of it while it is still looking stunning.

front door azalea

Mrs Tootlepedal is easing the frost bitten but recovering fuchsia out of the greenhouse day be day..

fuchsia out of greenhouse

…and I hope to see it in position in the garden soon.

When I had finished wandering, I set about doing a little more shifting and sieving of the compost in Bin C.  The sieved bits are looking good.

buckets of compost

It was reasonably warm in the garden and there were threats of rain but it kept dry for the morning and only started to rain in earnest as we left to drive to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.

The train was even later than usual but as one disgruntled passenger pointed out as we arrived at Waverley Station 28 minutes late, this was two minutes too early for us to be able to claim part of the fare back.  Ah well.  And it was pouring with rain when we got out of the station so it was not our finest travelling day.

Matilda was in excellent form when we arrived.  Mrs Tootlepedal was particularly welcomed as she is making a dress for Matilda to wear at a school performance and had brought her measuring tape with her to get the size right.  After the measuring had been done, we played Go Fish and Beggar My Neighbour with Matilda and all I can say is that I didn’t catch many fish and I was utterly beggared by both Matilda and Mrs Tootlepedal.  I have always had characteristically bad luck at cards.

The journey home was delayed too and it was still raining as we drove home so it was good to get back to a warm, dry house.

The flying bird of the day is one of the starlings returning to our neighbour’s holly tree where they are roosting.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who met this violinist in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  The exhibition is called “Too Cute”.

Brum fiddler

I had a restless but inactive day as my dratted foot went from being more or less pain free at breakfast to extremely sore by the end of the day.  I am frustrated.  What is best? Rest? Exercise?  A mixture of both?  I can’t wait to see the doctor on Friday.

Meanwhile a disjointed post will accurately reflect a disjointed day.  The best thing about it was that Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough to go off to an embroidery meeting in Hawick where they combined business with lunch and I have no doubt that the banter had them all in stitches.

I made frequent forays in search of flowers and found a promising tulip…

nearly a tulip

…an actual aubretia…

aubretia

…a dog tooth violet (a candidate for seeing if mirror photography will work)…

dog tooth violet

…and a little lamium.

lamium

Mrs Tootlepedal  is mildly vexed to find that the jackdaws have now removed nearly all of her wool mulch for their nests.

no wool left

It was a warmish day with a bit of chill still in the wind but we were short of sunshine and I had to rely on the daffodils along the back path…

daffodil path

…and some that our neighbour Kenny planted along the dam at the back of the house to bring some brightness into the day.

dam daffodils

Other flowers were available.

cowslippy thing

The magnolia has come out.

open magnolia flower

The birds emptied the feeder again today with siskins and goldfinches the first to get tucked in…

siskin and goldfinch and food

…but with chaffinches arriving to get their share too.

one chaffinche on each side

As the seeds  went down, things got heated.

arguing chaffinches

HEALTH WARNING:

The next part of the post contains composting pictures which those of a nervous disposition may find too exciting for their own good.

In the afternoon, while Mrs Tootlepedal was away, I turned my hand to some gentle composting.  I sieved some more of Bin D and finished emptying Bin B into Bin C.

This left Bin C (on the left) and Bin D (on the right) looking like this.

Bin C and Bin D

Bin B is now ready for refilling from Bin A…

Bin B empty

…but as Bin A is only half full….

Bin A half full

…I can take a break from turning compost for a bit.

The end product of the system is this.

two buckets of composy

Mrs Tootlepedal will soon find a home for it in the flower beds and vegetable garden.

Of course, you don’t have to do turning and shifting and sieving as you can just leave your compost in a great heap and let time do its work but where is the fun in that?

I had rung up the phone company in the morning to complain that the fallen telephone wire which is lying across our garden had not been fixed back up again.  The men who came on Friday had promised that someone would come on Monday to do the job.

Rather to my surprise, I got through almost immediately to a very competent and helpful lady in India who told me that the job had been marked as closed for some reason but she said that she would start a new job and get someone round as soon as possible….and with the right ladder!

She gave me a window of 48 hours in which to expect them but she must have added strong words to her case report as no less than three men came round in the afternoon.  I was pleased to hear that they had brought the blue ladder with them too.

Things went downhill a bit after that as having inspected the pole in our garden, they declared that it was so unsafe that they could not lean a ladder against it under any circumstances, blue or not, for fear of knocking the pole and its live wires over.

Of course the pole doesn’t belong to them as it is the property of the energy company so that means more delay.  They did think of taking the phone wire across the garden by a different route but that would have involved using one of their own poles beside the dam and when they looked at it, they found that it was decidedly wonky too, being over 60 years old.

New poles all round seems to be what is needed.

But as we have been waiting for six years to get the pole in our garden replaced, we are not holding our breath.  Something may happen as the phone company men are going to report to the electricity company  men that the pole is dangerous and the  telephone wire is still draped across our garden…

fallen wire with sandbags

..though it does have additional official sandbags on it now.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm Choir and found that we have had a concert arranged for us next Tuesday for which at the time of writing, we have no conductor, no accompanist, not many singers and no music.  It promises to be an interesting event.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch female

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan, who while having a cup of coffee with my sister Mary beside the canal at King’s Place, was entertained by two swans.

King's Place Swans

We spent a lot of the day waiting for it to rain.  It is very rare to find Mrs Tootlepedal roaming the garden saying, “Come on, rain!”  Usually she is to be found indoors looking out of the window saying, “Please stop raining.”  It has been a very unusual spell of weather.

We started the morning by going to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre.  It was enhanced by people selling plants today and while I bought fish and meat, Mrs Tootlepedal bought a meconopsis and two geums.

Then we went home and waited for the promised rain.  We put in a lot of work while we were waiting.  Mrs Tootlepedal did planting out of her purchases and other seedlings from the greenhouse, some weeding and endless improvements to the soil.  I mowed the middle lawn and edged it too.  Then  I sieved some compost….

sieved compost

…which finally cleared out Bin D.  Then, in an exciting development, I shifted the material in Bin C into Bin D.  I must say that the weather has been kind to the compost and it doesn’t look as though I will have to wait long before starting to sieve the new intake.

Compost Bins C and D

I also took time off from these labours to wander around taking pictures.

We are not short of strong colours…

azaleas and rhodie

aquilegia

icelandic poppy

…but there are more delicate shades to be seen too.

lupin

chives

astrantia

I really feel grateful to my camera for making me look closely at flowers that might only have merited a swift glance from me not so long ago.  I would never have realised how intricate a lupin flower is and how beautiful an astrantia can be….and a bunch of chives would just have been a bunch of chives and not a carpet of jewels.

I stepped out of the front gate and went round to the dam.  A party of sparrows was enjoying a swimming outing.

sparrows on dam

A second oriental poppy has come out.  It is hard to beat for sheer impact on the eye.

oriental poppy

At the corner of the house, a fuchsia has been flowering for many years.  It got a bit sick last year and I wondered if it had come to the end of the road.  However, although it is not looking fully fit, it has got a lot of flowers on it once again.

Fuchsia

We think the the blackbirds might be starting a second family as they seem to be busy.

blackbirds

The clematis round the back door is at its peak…

back door clematis

…but splendid as it is, I am tending to appreciate the more modest front door clematis even more.

front door clematis

We are getting into the rose season and the Rosa Moyesii has been joined by Roseraie de l’Hay, newly purchased this year by the head gardener.

Rosa Moyesii and Roseraie de l'Hay

From time to time, I needed a quiet sit on the new bench and this gave me a chance to consider the curiosities of perspective.

P1100811

The green patch in the foreground on the lawn has been created by Mrs Tootlepedal who who is employing little by little stealth fertilising tactics behind my  back.

The rain finally arrived in the afternoon, starting so weakly that we thought that it would come to nothing.  But as time went by, the intensity increased and by tea time, we were enjoying exactly the steady light watering that we would have ordered.  The forecast says that it should rain gently for most of tonight and tomorrow and then we should return to fine dry weather.  The garden will be most grateful if this is true.

The rain will do no harm at all to the fruit and veg which has been enjoying the warmth..

apple, blackcurrant, gooseberry and peas

The blackcurrants are looking very perky and Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress has successfully kept the sparrows at bay.  The apples are looking good and the gooseberry hasn’t got the sawfly yet.  What could possibly go wrong?

While it was just gently drizzling, I went upstairs and took some general views of the garden as I know some readers like to see these as the seasons change.  I took the three ‘rooms’ from left to right.

Front lawn from above

Left: The front garden, home to the azaleas

Middle lawn from above

Centre: The middle garden with the new bench

Veg garden from above

Right: The vegetable garden looking busy.

Because the plum tree obscures some of the middle garden, I took a picture of the hedge that divides the two rooms from a different angle.  Ally’s Allium Alley runs along behind the back hedge past the rhododendrons.

Azaleas from above

And I looked down on the little flower garden round the chimney pot where the bird feeder is.

 

sundial garden from above

The sharp eyed will be able to spot the new bright red geum that Mrs Tootlepedal bought this morning just in front of the green box ball.

This is a good time of year.

We both had to spend some time looking at the songs for the summer concert of the Carlisle Community Choir which takes place tomorrow.  This will be the final time that we will be taken by our excellent conductor Andrew, who is moving on. As a farewell gift, he is making us do four of the songs from memory. …with gratuitous clapping in two of them.

I did find time to catch a flying bird of the day but as the light wasn’t very good by the time that I came indoors and set the camera up, it is a rather fuzzy siksin.

flying siskin

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my daughter Annie.  She would like to take all the credit for this fine hanging basket in her garden but has to admit that she purchased it from B&Q.

Annie's hanging basket

The clocks went back an hour in the middle of the night so in theory, I could have enjoyed an extra hour in bed in the morning.  Things didn’t work out like that though.  I had resolved to make good use of the extra hour of light in the morning by getting up early and going for a cycle ride before breakfast.  Much to my satisfaction and Mrs Tootlepedal’s outright astonishment, I did just that.

I didn’t quite get up as early as I hoped but I was still out before Mrs Tootlepedal was awake and I completed my twenty mile round trip to Canonbie before she had gone off to sing in the church choir.

It was grey and the roads were damp but with the temperature just below 50F and with very light winds, it made a good start to the dark months.

It was too gloomy for pictures so I had to wait until I was home before I got a camera out.

The feeder was busy…

goldfinches

..until a jackdaw arrived and scared everyone off.

jackdaw

With the fat ball feeder enclosed in a cage and the seed feeder too finicky for its big feet, it didn’t stay long though and the greenfinches, chaffinches and sparrows were soon heading back to the feeder.

sparrow, greenfinch and chaffinch

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from church and after a cup of coffee, set about clearing the dahlias from the second of the flower beds along the drive so that she could plant more tulips.

I spent a little time practising songs for our Carlisle choir and then went out into the garden too.  I did some shredding of defunct dahlias, some sieving of serviceable compost and some wandering about with a camera.

anemone, dahlia, daisy and poppy

In the white corner: anemone, dahlia, daisy and poppy

sabius, dahlia, poppy and poppy

In the red corner: scabius, dahlia, poppy and poppy

marigold and nasturtium

In the orange corner: marigolds and nasturtium (showing that with the right disguise even a gas meter cover can look quite good)

I have sieved all the compost in Bin D and Mrs Tootlepedal tells that the rough compost that is left can easily be used for a winter mulch so it will soon be time to start the process of turning the bins again.

I made a pan of very plain and dull soup for my lunch and ate it with some freshly made bread and two varieties of cheese, which mitigated the dullness a bit.

After lunch, there was time for a little more gardening and bird watching.

chaffinch and greenfinch

Some displayed neat flying skills near the feeder

goldfinches in plum tree

Others gathered in the plum tree

Greenfinches played the tough guy.

greenfinches

A top grade snarling competition.

greenfinches

Perch bagging

Soon the new flower bed was planted and raked.

flower bed

Mrs Tootlepedal was happy.

There was no time for a walk today as we had to set off for Carlisle for our regular Sunday Carlisle Community Choir practice.

Our excellent conductor was unable to come today but he had sent down a very adequate substitute and we had a useful and hard working session.  We were in full Christmas mode as our next engagement will be our Christmas concert.  Even though I had practised earlier in the day, the many mistakes that I managed to make showed that it is by no means too early to start work on the concert pieces.

They may well write on my gravestone, “More practice required,” and they will be right.

Now that the clocks have gone back, it was fully dark when we drove home and so there were no more chances to take pictures.

I had another plate of the dull soup for my tea in the hope that some resting time in the pan and another few minutes cooking might have enlivened it….but it hadn’t.  Luckily there was still good bread and cheese to go with it.  I followed it up with some stewed apples and custard.  I mistakenly thought that my custard skills were up to being able to dispense with any accurate measuring of quantities and ended up eating apples and concrete.  It has not been my finest cooking day.

The flower of the day is one of the surviving dahlias….

dahlia

…and the flying bird is a chaffinch.

chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows a bridge across the River Rye in Yorkshire which my brother visited on a very hot day in an attempt to avoid the bank holiday crowds.

River Rye bridge

We enjoyed another dry day today here although the lightest of drizzle every now and again made sure that we didn’t take it for granted.   It was grey and windy and I was impressed that our neighbour Ken was ready to go off on a hilly 40 mile bike ride.

Ken and bike

I had decided against a ride in the morning in favour of doing some serious work.

I won’t have to tell the knowledgeable readers of this blog that the Onegesias of the title was a trusted lieutenant of Atilla the Hun.  It was my role today to act as Onegesias to Atilla the Gardener and remove a hosta that had outlived its place in the garden.

After some instruction, I got going and fairly soon the hosta leaves were on the shredding pile, the roots were laid out for drying and earth removal and a very satisfactory patch of bare ground was ready for new planting.

hosta removal

Fired up by this rare example of being useful, I set about the compost bins and shifted the contents of Bin B into the empty Bin C.   I took a break to have a cup of coffee and then finished the job.  The compost in Bin B was giving off a gentle heat and had rotted down well.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy meanwhile tidying up our utility room and then washing all the assorted bits of smelly cycling gear and woolly hats that turned up under things.

While she had a quick burst on her bike to nowhere upstairs, I made potato latkes (using polenta) for lunch and then we went back outside into the garden.

With the bit fully between my teeth, I set about shifting the contents of Bin A into Bin B to complete the whole compost cycle.

compost bins

Bin A restarted, Bin B full and covered, Bin C looking promising.

My usual assistant put in an appearance.

robin

It is always good to have a helping hand.

Then I wandered around the garden.

There were no new flowers to see but the honeysuckle, of which I have been trying to get a good shot for ages, seemed to be in a cooperative mood today.

honeysuckle

It has lasted a long time this year

Mrs Tootlepedal has three sorts of crocsomia in the garden.  She has dug out a lot of the standard red ones but left these two.

crocosmia

The Michaelmas daisies are taking over from the cornflowers in the bed beside the drying green but the cornflowers have managed to hang on at the back.

Michaelmas daisies and cornflowers

While I was in full gardening mode, I mowed the drying green, the greenhouse grass and the middle and front lawns.  Thanks to the recent dry weather, I was able to get over the ground at a good rate and didn’t need to use a box which makes the task a lot easier.

Ken had got round his bike run safely and he and Liz came over for a cup of tea and a brownie after I had finished the lawns.  The brownie had been freshly made by Mrs Tootlepedal who had discovered a forgotten packet of Brownie Cake Mix in a cupboard while putting something else away.

We were glad that she had found the packet as the brownies went down very well with a cup of tea after a hard day’s work/pedal.

I thought about a walk after the tea had been drunk but the light was poor and the wind was still  brisk so I settled for a last look at the garden.

The yellow crocosmias are mixed with poppies on both sides of the path at the end of the front lawn…

Lawn

…and behind them, a Fuchsia is dripping with flowers.

Fuchsia

It is due to move under the remodelling plans for next year so we hope that it survives.

A lone campanula was to be seen near the front door.

campanula

By this time, I was quite ready to have a sit down so I sat down and printed out a couple more pictures for the forthcoming flower show competition.

Although I may find myself being a bit creaky tomorrow, I was really pleased to have been able to do so much work (by my standards) in the garden today.  For some reason, my joints are much better than they been for ages and I intend to make the most of it while this happy state lasts.

No flying bird of the day today thanks to the poor light but a cheerful dahlia of the day to brighten things up.

dahlia

As a footnote, Mrs Tootlepedal took down her sweet pea cage today and found this tall plant  growing up the back of the cage.  She has tied it to the telegraph pole.  It is a mystery to her and she would be interested to know if anyone can suggest what it might be.strange plant

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She visited  the Tate Modern Art Gallery’s  new Switch House yesterday and thought that I might prefer the view from the window to the exhibits.

Tate Modern Switch House 08.07.16 010

I had a rather disturbed night, being woken by the sound of pounding rain accompanied by thunder and lightning.  As a result I was more than happy to have nothing on my schedule for the day more arduous than nibbling on Dropscone’s traditional Friday treacle scones with our coffee.

I had a look out of the door before he came and it was still raining lightly but it soon stopped and I went out to see how the flowers had fared.

To my surprise, they were soggy but unbowed.

dahlia, rose and poppy

The birds were out in force soon too and I had to fill the feeder twice during the day.

busy feeder

After coffee, I mowed the middle lawn.  It had dried out remarkably quickly after the overnight rain and gave me no trouble.

When I had finished, I walked round the garden.

Euphorbias

Euphorbias are a source of constant interest to me.

On the edible side of things, Mrs Tootlepedal’s turnips are very good and taste absolutely delicious and the blackcurrants are very nearly ready for picking.

blackcurrants and turnips

After lunch in an exciting development, I went out and finished sieving the compost in Bin D.  Mrs Tootlepedal uses the finished product when she is planting out her annuals.  As Bin D was now empty, I started the job of transferring the compost from Bin C into it.

compost

The sieved compost ready for use and Bin C half emptied into Bin D

My joints were a bit creaky after yesterday’s bike ride so I was happy to stop half way through the transfer and use the second half  of the latest stage of the Tour de France as my siesta.  The tour this year has been very good value and today’s stage was a gripper.

After the stage was over, I went out for a walk.  The plants along the dam at the back of the house are looking good and the first crocosmia of the year has come out to join the potentillas.

crocosmia and potentilla

I went down to the suspension bridge and my eye was caught by several splashes of colour on the gravel banks between the Wauchope and the Esk.

I thought one of the splashes was a clump of orchids but it didn’t seem likely when I went down for a closer look.  I would welcome a suggestion as to what this  might be.

Pink flower by river

Nearby was a brilliant flash of yellow.  Once again, I have no idea what it is.

yellow flower by river

Both plants are growing in gravel which the river will cover when the water gets high.

I walked along to the Esk until I came to the carved owl in Mary Street….

Carved owl

…and chatted to Ian, the owner of the tree stump from which it has been fashioned.  There is still quite a bit of work for Robin, the artist, to do – beak, eyes and claws and so on and the decoration of the base….

Carved owl

…which is in book form representing the bible is still to be completed.

The proud owner told me that he thinks that the carving is greatly enhanced by its position on the bank of the river and on a day like today, I couldn’t argue with that.

Carved owl

I crossed the Town Bridge and walked down to the Ewes Water keeping an eye out for oyster catchers.  I had seen one flying down the Esk and there was another at the meeting of the waters without a leg to stand on.

oyster catchers

I walked across the Castleholm and over the Jubilee Bridge and there was no shortage of things to look at as I went along.

tree fruits

Trees had things hanging from them

hoverfly

Flowers had insects on them

berries and flower

Berries on bushes and a tiny flower probably only 1 cm across

Self heal and a nettle

Self heal (thanks for those who told me the right name for this) and a nettle

bracket fungus

A large bracket fungus high in a tree near the nuthatch nest

Mrs Tootlepedal had told me of a forest of fungus growing on a pile of vegetable matter on the neglected site of an old mill so I finished my walk by going to check her story.  She was quite right of course.

fungus at Ford Mill

I got home in time to watch Andy Murray make short work of the final set of his semi final at Wimbledon and this rounded off a gentle and restorative day for me.

The flower of the day is not a flower at all but a very pretty patch of pale grass beside the Ewes water above the Sawmill Brig.  I don’t know whether it was a trick of the light but I don’t think that I have noticed grass of quite this colour before.

Grass beside Ewes water

The flying bird of the day is an obliging Kilngreen gull.

blackheaded gull

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