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Posts Tagged ‘corydalis’

Today’s guest post comes from my brother’s latest group walk.  They covered eight miles with enough climbing to offer some fine views like this one over the village of Crich.

crich

It was another day of frequent heavy rain showers and brisk winds here, and we chickened out and drove the few hundred yards to the church to sing in the choir to avoid getting soaked before we sang.

After church, we went shopping and bought a Sunday newspaper, and reading this kept us occupied for the rest of the morning.  We have been getting some good sized potatoes from Mrs Tootlepedal’s potato patch, so I had a baked potato for my lunch.  After lunch, I made some ginger biscuits for want of anything better to do.

By mid afternoon we were feeling a touch of cabin fever,  so when we found a moment when the sun was shining and the forecast offered a mere 20% chance of rain over the next two hours, we decided to go for a walk.  As we left the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal sagely pointed out the looming clouds on the horizon but I laughed them off and we continued.

I was laughing on the other side of my face half a mile later when we sheltered under some trees as torrential rain fell from the grey skies above us.

We waited for some time and then got bored and headed home, getting quite wet as we went.

Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge was showing 5 inches of rain for the week.  This was the second week running with 5 inches of rain in our rain gauge.

Of course the sun came out half an hour later but we were discouraged by then and stayed at home.

I did walk as far as the garden.

I was surprised to see that a red admiral had the flying power to get into the garden in one of the dry spells in the afternoon in spite of the strong wind and heavy showers.

red admiral butterfly august

Some flowers seem impervious to bad weather and the Abyssinian gladioli are flowering away very well.

abyssinian gladiolus

There is still colour about but not a lot…

anemone, foxglove, zinnia, poppy

…although the Michaelmas daisies are getting more plentiful by the day.

michaelmas daisies

Mrs Tootlepedal came out in the late afternoon and we dug up most of the rest of our potato crop.  She was very impressed by this nine inch long specimen which was by no means unique.

nine inch potato

I cut up the haulms and added them to the compost in Bin A.  The bin is getting quite hot and the haulms looked quite healthy, and as we won’t add the compost to any potato bed next year, it should be safe enough.

full compost bin

We keep on filling the bin to the top and it keeps going down so it must be decomposing quite well.

Nearby, the apples look to be ripening well.

ripening apples

Since the sun was out after our evening meal and the wind had dropped, I took the opportunity to go out for a quick walk round three bridges.

The fact that the Wauchope Water was flowing a lot more strongly than the Esk during the recent spates has led to the Wauchope dumping a lot of gravel well out into the bed of the Esk.

gravel brought down by wauchope

Even though the Esk had not been very high, it had still washed a small tree under the Langholm Bridge.

tree under town bridge august

As I got to the Kilngreen, the sun came out from behind a cloud and lit up the mallards who were resting on the bank.

ducks at sunset

The light was mellow all around.

lodge cottage

I crossed the sawmill brig and…

sawmill brig sunset

…enjoyed the light on the other side too.

trees on castleholm sunset

The cricket ground was looking very peaceful after what must have been a very poor day for cricketers.

cricket ground sunset

My walk wasn’t all plain sailing as I had to keep an eye out for large puddles…

puddles on path

..but I negotiated them all with care and got home dry shod.

I took a picture of the corydalis growing out of a crack in the wall at the end of the Scholars’ Field and was pleased to get home without encountering another heavy shower.

corydalis park wall

The flying bird of the day had come to earth.

blackbird on lawn august

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who was heading to Oban on  the west coast today when he came upon this overfull river at Callander.

floods at callander

We got a better day here today with occasional brief sunny spells and no rain so we were grateful for that.  We didn’t make much use of it though as Mrs Tootlepedal had to do a lot of internet research into a costume she is making for our local pantomime and I was resting my leg.

As a result, the morning passed with very little discernible activity and even the birds were pretty quiet in sympathy.

There was a lot of posing from a pigeon…

lofty pigeon

…a blackbird…

blackbird

…and a chaffinch.

sunlit chaffinch

Even the feeding was rather sedate with a chaffinch being at the bottom of the pecking order today.

pecking order

The coal tits were back again…

hungry coal tit

…and rather to my surprise, they tended to chase each other.

sparring coal tits

I made some potato soup for lunch and then decided to test my leg with a short flat walk.

The sun was out when I started and gulls….

lonely gull

…were gleaming in its rays.

two black headed gulls

I crossed the town bridge and met an old friend on the Kilngreen.

standing heron

I don’t blame Mr Grumpy for being well tucked because as soon as the sun went in, a brisk wind made it feel quite chilly.

Among our ordinary mallards, there is one white duck.  I was hoping to shoot a sitting duck but it saw me coming and popped into the water before I could catch it.

sitting duck

The leaves are pretty well off all the trees now and the Lodge Walks are bare.  This does let the sun through to brighten things up though.

Lodge Walks december

With no leaves on the trees, the casual passer by can admire the moss….

moss on tree branch

…and the lichen which festoon many of the branches.

lichen on tree branch

As always, I paid attention to walls on my walk and the one at the head of the Scholars’ Field had wild flowers and ferns growing out of it in a very satisfactory way.

wild corydalis

little wild flower

harts tongue fern

My plan to have a gentle, flat walk and mildly exercise my stiff leg was a complete failure and I was back into heavy limping mode long before I got home.   Considering that I had done this walk a few days ago with no trouble, this was discouraging and tomorrow will have to be a serious day of doing nothing.  I have got plenty of useful things that I can do so I will do them and resist the temptation of a little walk ‘just to see how my leg is’.

I spent quite a lot of time when I got home choosing some pictures for a short presentation of images from Eskdale which I am giving next month.  I limited myself to those that I have taken in the last 12 months and have managed to make a preliminary selection of 100 with no flying chaffinches in at all.  This was quite hard.

The flying bird of the day today isn’t a chaffinch either.

flying gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She went down to the Thames a week or so ago to catch a boat and spent so much time taking its picture that she almost missed it.

South Bank 002

We had another warm, grey, damp morning today but it wasn’t raining and I was able to take a look around.

The ginger syllabub rose has produced two or three late blooms and the mint is flowering.  I looked closely at the mint and admired the jewel like moisture on the tips of its flowers but I needed to hold the drooping head of the rose up for a ‘hand held’ shot.

mint and ginger syllabub

Mrs Tootlepedal is pleased with the picture presented by the bed at the end of the drive and even on a gloomy morning, it has its charms.

end of the drive bed

There was no time to hang around in the garden though as we had been invited to lunch in England by our friend Sue.

She lives in Cumbria near the town of Brampton about 25 miles away from us and is most notable for having turned a shipping container into a garden room.

We drove south, enjoying the recently improved surfaces of the roads as we went.  We were likely to arrive a bit early so we stopped to look back down on Talkin Tarn, a man made lake near Sue’s house.

Talkin Tarn

Sue lets her container room out through Airbnb and has no shortage of takers.  Many of them have remarked on their enjoyment of the birds visiting the feeders outside the windows….

bird's eye view

This is a bird’s eye view of the feeders with the container room in the background

…and so she asked me if I would take a picture or two of birds at the feeders for her website entry.

The light wasn’t great but there was no shortage of birds to shoot, especially blue tits but with several coal tits and great tits too.

coal tit, blue tit and great tit

A strange rustling in the leaves heralded the arrival of a featherless visitor to the feeder.

A squirrel appeared, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth…

another squirrel

…but it didn’t take long before it was tucking into the bird food.

squirrel

I had caught several glimpses of a nuthatch but it saw me and kept its distance.  In the end, I had to go into the container and shut the door before it would come forward.

nuthatch

Sue provided us with a delicious lunch and then took us for a walk round the neighbouring lanes.  There was plenty to see as the verges hadn’t been so cruelly cropped as ours and as I was accompanied by two wild flower enthusiasts…

Sue T and Mrs T

The experts getting down to business!

…I am able to name much of what I saw.

scabious, tansy, fungus, beech nut

From the top left clockwise: scabious, tansy, beech nut and unidentified fungus

bee, butterfly and rose gall

Co-operative nectar hunting and a twisted rose gall

fungi

The fungi are beyond me to name

umbellifer, deadly nightshade, honesty, corydalis

An umbellifer with at least six insects on it, deadly nightshade, a thriving corydalis (they like walls) and some honesty.

Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it was the best policy to collect a few of the honesty seeds so that she can try to grow some in our garden.

As well as the detail, the broader picture was delightful too.  The countryside there is full of little hills and hollows…

Talkin view 1

…but has wider views of the fells as well.

Talkin view 2

We walked down into the valley of the Gelt river and under this very tall viaduct, built between 1832 and 1835 for the Carlisle and Newcastle railway.

Gelt railway viaduct

We passed under the railway and over the river and walked up the other side of the valley, eating many deliciously ripe blackberries from the hedgerow as we went.

The amount that we climbed can be measured by this modest looking bridge…

railway bridge Gelt

…from which we were now able to look down on the railway.

Newcastle railway

We followed a path through a field, passing some really well stocked hawthorn trees…

hawthorn

…and admiring yet more wooded views…

Talkin view 3

…before finding ourselves back down by the Gelt River again.

We crossed it by a new footbridge…

Gelt footbridge

…and walked through a pasture in the welcome sunshine which had appeared…

Talkin view 4

…and then followed the lanes back to Sue’s house.

The walk was about three and a half miles in length by a rough calculation but had such variety of surroundings that it was thoroughly satisfying….as were the cup of tea and home made ginger biscuits when we got in.

It is always a pleasure to visit Sue and she is very clever at finding a good walk for us and if the sun comes out as it did today, it is hard to think of a better place to spend some time.

The drive home was smooth and uneventful and we settled down to our evening meal with the feeling of a day very well spent.

I even got a nearly flying bird of the day in Sue’s garden.

flying blue tit

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike and Alison’s recent visit to New Zealand where they saw this handsome NZ kingfisher.  I don’t know which of them took the picture.

NZ kingfisher

It was reasonably warm for the time of year again this morning but once again the effect was somewhat spoiled by light drizzle and a very strong wind.  I stayed indoors and did some useful stuff.

Mrs Tootlepedal had to go off to the dentist for some treatment and I filled some of the time while he was out by watching the birds.  I was able to confirm that we have at least four lesser redpolls visiting us at the moment.

busy feeder with redpolls

I am not sure if the hidden bird at the back of the feeder is another redpoll or a siskin.

There were plenty of siskins shouting and beating people up.

busy siskins

A wood pigeon brought a more stately air to the proceedings.

pigeon

The forecast was for a fine afternoon with a further rise in the temperature so after lunch, I thought of cycling although the wind was a bit off-putting.  However, I did manage to get into my cycling gear and go out.  Virtue was rewarded when it turned out that the wind had dropped considerably from the morning and although it was still noticeable, it wasn’t totally discouraging and I enjoyed pedalling in some warm air.

There were signs of spring along the road and although the prettiest was probably this primrose…

primrose

…..the most welcome was probably this larch twig, a real forerunner of the new green season.

larch bursting

As always, I looked at a wall if I stopped to take a general view and I liked this crusty set of lichen…

lichen on wall

…and was interested to find that there were some tiny red spots of colour among the stems when I put the picture on the computer.  I hadn’t been able to see them with the naked eye.

The most noticeable thing was not the roadside flowers or the larch needles but the fact that the grass has at last started growing in the cultivated fields.

Ewes valley april

We are greening up….

Ewes valley april

…although the rough hillside has some time to go yet before it goes green.

I was a bit sorry to find that the day was more amenable to cycling than I had thought that it would be as I could have gone a more interesting route if I had realised.   I made up for my dull route choice by stopping at the Kilngreen to buy a nougat wafer from the ice cream van there and I ate it while sitting on a bench by the river and enjoying the bird life.

This is a lesser black backed gull (I have to thank a reader who corrected my view that it was a herring gull last time one appeared in a post),

lesser black backed gull

And these are a small fraction of the hundreds of rooks that swirl about in the sky over the town.

rooks

I took a picture of the Langholm Bridge to show how much the river has dropped since yesterday…

Langholm Bridge

…and then I pedalled home, arriving just as the sun came out.

It was such a lovely afternoon that I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal, who was just having a cup of tea indoors after some hard work in the garden, to come and drink it outside.

Mrs T's new bench area

She has almost finished her new bench area so we put a couple of plastic chairs out and tested it.

This is the view that we had from the chairs.

daffodils

It was wonderful to be able to sit out and enjoy the warmth and the sunshine as this was our first opportunity for months.

The new lawn shaping has been completed and this is how it looked this afternoon.

new look middle lawn

You can see the new bench are on the right.

I was quite pleased to see the grass on the middle lawn trying to win the battle against the moss so I got the mower out and mowed the front lawn.  There is no picture of the result there as the moss is still winning hands down.

I had time for a camera-wander.  I got a fleeting glimpse of a tadpole in the pond….

tadpole

…which was very encouraging.  There were lots of others about too.

The first fritillaries are out…

fritillaria

…and I found a corydalis in a pot and the rosemary next to the greenhouse.

corydalis and rosemary

The temperature is due to drop back a bit but even half a day at 18°C was enough to cheer us up enormously.  We have had such a long spell of cold and cool weather that we had begun to think that things might never warm up again.

The are a lot of daffodils to choose from but this one was my daffodil of the day today.

daffodil

I made some risotto for our tea and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I went off to sing with the Langholm community choir.  Our concert with the local orchestra is in two weeks so we worked hard.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.  It is not a good picture but I think that it conveys some of the energy that these tiny birds put into their visits to the feeders  so I have put it in.

flying siskin

I would like to thank Canadian reader and Langholm exile, Joyce Lewis, for a very kind mention of this blog in an article which she wrote for our local paper.  It is very nice to think that the pictures can bring back youthful memories of the area.

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Sandra Waller, shows a good crowd at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation.  It is a 30 acre sculpture garden created by landscape architect and theorist Charles Jencks at his home, Portrack House, near Dumfries.  The reason for the crowd is that the garden is only open for one day in the whole year.  Sandra says it took her an hour to get out of the car park but the visit was still well worthwhile.

image001

I had little time this morning for speculation, cosmic or otherwise, before setting off straight after breakfast for a ride round my Canonbie route.  The reason for the prompt start was an appointment to eat some of Dropscone’s scones with a cup of coffee later in the morning.

The wind wasn’t very helpful, being across for much of the trip, so I only had time for two picture stops.

Canonbie trees

My favourite trio of trees are beginning to burst into leaf.

Irvine House

The river Esk at Irvine House looking very fresh and green

I got back within a a minute of the appointed time for coffee and enjoyed the subsequent scones a good deal, having worked up an appetite for them.  Dropscone was in good form after his two recent holidays and is already considering his next one.

When he left, bearing a gift of rhubarb, I took our car up to the garage to get the winter tyres taken off and the summer ones put on.  I hope that I have not been too optimistic about this but the forecast looks quite settled for the moment at least.

I dawdled my way home, visiting the chemist, my coffee bean supplier and the Welcome to Langholm office on the way so it was almost time for lunch when I got back.

I had a moment for a walk round the garden…

tulips

There are still plenty of tulips on the go

…and a look out of the window….

busy feeder

…and plenty of birds too

…before I had the last of the leek soup with some excellent Northumbrian cheese which we had bought in Alnwick.

After lunch, I got busy in the garden.  First I sawed and spilt some more of the cherry branches which Dropscone had pruned from the tree in his garden and given to us.  I bought a new blade for the bow saw yesterday and it made the task a lot less like hard work than using the old blunt blade.

Then I mowed the greenhouse grass, did a bit of dead heading and looked at the flowers again.  The plant with the most flowers on is a berberis and the one with the most elegant is an alpine clematis.

berberis and clematis

A loud buzzing drew my attention to our apple blossom and I was able to point out a tree bumblebee to Mrs Tootlepedal.

tree bumblebee

I have seen one before but this was the first that she has seen.  They are recent arrivals in Scotland.

In spite of the bee, I spent a little time with my soft paint brush being a bee myself as our apples have a lot of blossom and one bee is not enough.

I went inside for a refreshing cup of tea and had a look out of the window while I was there.

siskins

Siskins don’t let trying to eat get in the way of having a good row.

siskins

The perching redpoll of the day

It was such a nice afternoon that I was able to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to come on a short cycle outing to see nuthatches and dippers.

On our way round the Scholars’ Field, we stopped to look first at wild flowers in the verge beside the path…

wild flowers

The plant on the right is ribwort or P. lanceolata which I learn from Wikipedia is used frequently in herbal teas and other herbal remedies. A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine. In the traditional Austrian medicine Plantago lanceolata leaves have been used internally (as syrup or tea) or externally (fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, insect bites, and infections.  It seems to be more useful than you would think from its modest appearance.

…..and then at a pretty yellow flower growing on the wall at the end of the pitch.

Corydalis aurea

It was new to Mrs Tootlepedal but some research when she got home showed that it was Corydalis aurea, another plant much used in herbal medicine.  After looking up the side effects, we have decided not to test it out.

When we got to the Jubilee Bridge, we did see a couple of nuthatches at their nest but only for a brief moment and the only shot I got was of one of them coming out of the nest and making off at speed.

nuthatch

We waited for a while but it didn’t return so we cycled off on a tour of the Castleholm and pheasant hatchery.

Pheasant hatchery

It was a very green experience.

We were well sheltered from any wind and although the sun was sulking, it was a lovely spring day to be out and about.

copper beech

A copper beech among the greens

Castleholm tree

A tree revealing exactly how tall local cows are.

There were wild flowers, fresh leaves and an azalea to enjoy as we pedalled along.

azalea, primrose and leaf

When we got to the Sawmill Brig, there was a dipper perched on a rock just below us but we were too much for it and it flew off up the river and did its dipping there, in plain view but annoyingly, too far away for a picture.

We watched it for a while and then cycled back home past the nuthatches (no show) and a very pretty  lesser stitchwort…

stitchwort

…and got back just in time for me to go and collect the car with its seasonal tyres properly adjusted.

The winter tyres have been very successful in a way because since I bought them, we have had two mild winters and I have never had to drive in snow or ice.  Obviously they have been well worth the money.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal showed me some shy violets under one of our hedges.

violets

I curried the remains of the sausage and bean stew for my tea and spent a little time going over some of the many songs which I need to know for forthcoming concerts with two choirs.  I don’t know why people are so keen on concerts.  I would be happy just to go to the choirs for the sheer pleasure of singing.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, concentrating hard.

flying goldfinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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