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Posts Tagged ‘cotoneaster’

Today’s guest picture is a lupin in the wild taken by our son Tony on one of his walks….

Tony's lupin

…and as a change from my usual practice, I have put another guest picture in the post today to show Tony’s lupin in context.

tony's lupins

I had hoped to go on a longer and slower bike ride today because when I looked at it yesterday, the forecast was quite promising.  However, when I looked at the forecast today, it was only promising rain and on this occasion it was right and it started to rain quite heavily during the morning.  I was glad not to be some miles from home getting soaked.

I passed the morning in traditional fashion, doing the crossword, reading the papers, going to our corner shop before the rain started, drinking coffee and putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group’s database.

From time to time I glanced out of the window at the re-positioned feeder and was encouraged.  A dunnock may have sat on the hedge…

nf dunnock on hedge

…but sparrows were not backward in coming forward….

nf sparrow landing

…and siskins arrived with the determination…

nf siskin approaching

…to shout at anyone and everyone.

nf siskin and sparrow

As the time got near to three o’clock in the afternoon, the rain stopped and I put my cycling clothes on and peered out of the back door.  I prayed that the black clouds that I could see were going rather than coming…

gloomy outlook

…and set off up the road.

It was dull but there is a lot of clover about which brightens up the verges.

clover by road

It was still pretty grey by the time that I got to Wauchope Schoolhouse so I considered skulking about in the valley bottom, ready to dash for home if it started to rain heavily again but in the end, I plucked up my courage and headed over the hill and down to Canonbie.

The many thousands of tubes which appear when old commercial woods are felled and replanted contain deciduous trees as part of the conditions for replanting.  I don’t know what the overall success rate for them is, but this batch at the Kerr wood, seem to be pretty fruitful.

trees coming out of tubes

The grass is growing strongly now that we have had a bit of rain and this belted Galloway was enjoying a good graze, too busy to look up as I went past.

belted galloway grazing

As the clouds continued to look threatening and the light got worse as I went along, I didn’t stop for many pictures but I thought that I would show that the rain has put a bit of life back into the Esk with this shot from Hollows Bridge…

water in river hollows

..and while I was on the bridge, I couldn’t miss this fruitful twig just beside the parapet.

beech tree

I was brought up short when I went through Hollows village to see the Tower wrapped up like a Christmas present.

hollows tower gift wrapped

It looks as though some serious repairs are contemplated.

My final stop was forced on me as I had to wait for the traffic on the main road to clear when I left the bike path so I took a look across the road while i was standing there.

rododendron and dasies by A7

Although the ride was shorter than I had hoped, I was still pleased to have got twenty miles in without getting rained on.  There were a few spots of rain just when I got back to Langholm but they came to nothing and I could have gone a bit further.

Instead I had a cup of tea and some toast, put a new loaf to cook in the bread maker and walked round the garden before having my shower.

The bees were as busy as ever on the cotoneaster horizontalis.

bee on cotoneaster again

The new lupins are developing well even if there aren’t as many as them as in the crop that Tony saw.

new lupins june

The roses would like to come out but they would like more sun and less rain….

wet rose june

…as would we all. After several weeks with no rain, we have now had four inches in a week and a half and we think that this is quite enough to be going on with.

The philadelphus bushes are enjoying the weather more than we are.

thriving philadelphus

Following a recipe suggestion, Mrs Tootlepedal made chicken breasts stuffed with soft cheese and spinach for our tea and unusually, the result looked exactly like, the illustration that went with the recipe.  It tasted jolly good too.

Since I had two guest pictures to start the post, I am going to have two flying birds of the day to finish it.

nf flying siskin

I think that the new feeder position is very promising for flying bird opportunities.

nf flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair and shows the indomitable Matilda scootering to infinity and back.

Matilda scootering

It is a rather hasty post tonight as it is late as I write this after a full day.

The weather gods relented and let me get out for a dry cycle ride today.  Perhaps they were fearful that if they rained on me again, I might go over to the dark side and take up cycling indoors.

Two days ago I passed a rook playing king of the castle, today it was bullocks.

cattle king of the mountain

Although I had a good day for a pedal, it was quite chilly and there were still clouds about which led me to having a few nervous backward glances…

Bloch view with cloud

…though the clouds made a good backdrop for my favourite tree…

Bloch tree

…and stayed away fro most of the journey.

As we were going to Edinburgh in the afternoon, I didn’t have time to take many pictures while I went round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit but as I have been short of bridges lately, I stopped for this one at Irvine House.

Irvine Hosue bridge

Mrs Tootlepedal had made soup for lunch and as I waited for it to finish cooking, I noticed a bird showing that I had had to deal with quite a brisk breeze while I had been cycling.

fluffly flying chaffinch

Mostly the birds consisted of chaffinches looking down at other birds.

supervising chaffinch 3supervising chaffinch 2supervising chaffinch 1

In the garden, a bit of sunshine had persuaded a crocus to come out.

early crocus

More colour is provided by cotoneaster berries on the wall of the house.  I don’t know why they aren’t attractive to birds.

cotoneaster berry

After lunch, we drove over to Lockerbie and caught the train (ten minutes late) to Edinburgh.  The weather was lovely as we whizzed along but once again the hills seemed to be attracting the clouds.

Tinto hill from train

When we got to Edinburgh, we caught a bus down to the flat where Matilda and Co are staying until their new house is ready and on the way, we caught a glimpse of a fine rainbow over the Edinburgh rooftops.

rainbow in Edinburgh

Once at Matilda’s, I had a chastening time being thrashed at Pelmanism and Snap by the diminutive demon.  In my defence we were using very small cards with very small pictures on them and her eyesight is much sharper than mine.

We had another excellent Persian meal for our tea and then Matilda demonstrated a dance routine that she is learning for a possible dance school competition.  When I think how hard it is for me to learn new songs, I can only marvel at her ability to remember complicated moves after only one lesson.

I took a picture of the National Gallery in Princes Street when we got off the bus back to the station.  The fine frontage is usually covered with banners advertising exhibitions so it was good to see it almost as the architect intended for once.

National nGallery

The train home was on time and a very tricky crossword meant the the journey flashed by.  The drive home was comfortable with no rain, snow, ice or fog.

As an added bonus, Sandy sent me a message to say that Joe had appeared on a television show talking about his film earlier in the evening and we were able to watch it on catch-up when we got in.

That rounded off a cheerful day.

I have a gender balanced flying bird of the day portfolio today.

Ladies first.

flying chaffinch febflying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Marianne, our son Tony’s partner.  It shows Tony getting some sausage making tips at the ‘Bowhouse Food Weekend’ in St Monans yesterday.  Marianne tells me that they intend to eat the sausages that he made.  They are very brave.

Tony at St Monans

After two days of miserable rain and wind, the weather gods relented and laid on a calm, fairly warm and dry day today, ideal for cycling.  Of course they knew that I had choirs to go to both in the morning and the afternoon with no time for serious cycling in between so they must have laughed themselves silly.

Still, the choirs were very enjoyable so I had no complaints.

After the church choir,  I had time to walk round the garden.

We have a little horizontal cotoneaster against the house with bright red berries and colourful leaves.

berries and leaves

Wet flowers were to be found. The striking clematis in the top row is is the only flower that the plant has produced all year.

Octcober flowers

We have our own autumn colour provided by the climbing hydrangea and one of the azaleas.

hydrangea and azalea in autumn

I looked at the birds while I attended to the tricky culinary task of preparing baked beans on toast for my lunch.

A collared dove appeared and didn’t start a fight.  This was possibly because it was the only dove there.

Collared dove at rest

There were several goldfinches only too ready to argue.

goldfinches sparring

I got the chance to catch  welcome visits from a dunnock…

dunnock Oct

…and a robin.

october robin

After my baked beans, I had just enough time to go for an amble round Easton’s Walk.

As I got to the Wauchope Water, I found that it had gone down enough to allow a dipper to do some dipping in the calmer current near the bank.

dipper dipping

The recent rain has encouraged the moss on the park wall.

spangles moss

I came down the track to the edge of the Murtholm fields….

Easton's Walk in autumn

…and enjoyed the colourful trees behind the farmhouse at the far end.

Murtholm in autumn

As I walked back along the river to the park, I spotted two ghostly fungi, one on a fallen tree…

white fungus

…and one unusually white one, part of a small bunch of fungi on the banking in the shadow of old tree roots.

very white gungus

The thorny hedge round the war memorial provided a resting place for water droplets.

thorn hedge with raindrops

When I got home, the sight of the winter jasmine in full flower at the back door  was a reminder of the march of the seasons.

winter jasmine

The weather gods had one last little joke to play.  The sun came out just as I was preparing to go to Carlisle for the afternoon choir so I only had time for a glance out of the kitchen window to watch a siskin hanging about…

siskin depending

…and a chaffinch weighing up his options …

flying chaffinch in sun

…before I went off to Carlisle to sing, driving down the road in beautiful weather and muttering under my breath as I went.

Our new musical director continues to be very lively and amusing so we all worked hard for her in return and as a result, we had a useful practice.

I am hoping for some kindly cycling weather tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow in torpedo mode as it heads for the feeder.

flying sparrow missile

 

 

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I do have a guest picture today as my sister Mary sent me this shot of a herd of art loving geese rushing to see Christo’s work in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park 21.06.18 008

While we were having our last spell of good weather a few weeks ago in late spring after a miserable few months, nobody dared to say that it was too hot.  Now we are having another spell of good weather and mid summer day has passed so I can confidently say about today that for me, it was too hot.

Still, it was a lovely day so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to arrange an exhibition of her embroidery group’s work in the Welcome to Langholm space and I took a walk round the garden.

On one side of the garden, roses were glowing…

two roses

…the day lily was gleaming…

day lily

…and my favourite iris was shining.

iris

On the other side of the garden, there were sparkling roses, Ginger Syllabub and Goldfinch…

two roses (2)

…and lots of bees on the cotoneaster.

bee on cotoneaster

The lupins were badly battered by the wind and rain and Mrs Tootlepedal cleared the main shoots away.  Now, the smaller side shoots have come into their own.

lupin

I put my camera down and picked up a mower and mowed the drying green and then welcomed Sandy in for a cup of coffee.

I haven’t seen him for a bit as he has been building a shed in his garden with the help of a friend so it was good to catch up with him.  He was busy again in the afternoon so when we had finished coffee, we put on sensible headgear and went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill, hoping that there would be a breeze to take the edge of the heat.

We were looking for orchids.

The down side of good weather is pollen and there was plenty of evidence of grass seeds as we went up the track to the hill.

grass with seeds

We enjoyed the cool avenue of trees just before the track goes on to the open hill….

gate onto hill

…and the views once we got onto the hill were compensation for the effort of getting there.

view fromMeikleholm Hill

And there was a light breeze.

Sadly, views were all we got as there were very few varieties of wild flower to be seen and only one or two scruffy orchids.  There was plenty of tormentil, buttercup and hawkbit which the sheep must not like.  The sheep had grazed off all the rest.

Still, the views made the walk well worth while for its own sake…

View from Hunters Gate

…and we will have to find orchids elsewhere.

As we came back down the hill, I really liked this little tree with a big view…

little tree with big view

…and well protected from the sheep by bracken, a foxglove poked its head up to give a little colour.

foxglove on Meikleholm Hill

We saw more colour on the walk down the track past Holmwood than we did on the whole of the hill.

herb robert and cornflower

rose beside track

It was a good walk but warm work and I was happy to get back into the cool of the house.

I did consider a bike ride after lunch but felt  that the walk, short as it was, was probably enough exercise for the hot day so I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.

After that, Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her exhibition work and needed some supervision in the garden so I sat in the shade while she shifted and levelled some paving stones. I stopped supervising and did a little compost sieving but as it was about 30°C in the sun, we didn’t stay out too long and were happy to pause and have a cup of tea with Dr Tinker who appeared wearing a very sensible hat.

Then my flue pupil Luke came and we continued to make steady progress.  He has left school now and has just got a job but I hope that he will continue to come and play.

Next,  it was time to start watering the middle lawn and the vegetable garden and that took some time and completed our activity for the day.

I was going out to move the hose at one point when a strident shrieking from over head told me that swifts were about.  There has been a lot of talk about how scarce swifts are this year so I was happy to see a small flock swooping about over the house.

swifts

While I had the camera in my hand, I looked at our Scotch rose…

Scotch rose

…which always turns out to have a little black fly or two on it when I try to take a picture.

Nearby, the very first flowers on the delphiniums appeared today.  I hope that  they don’t get damaged by strong winds as often happens.  Mrs Tootlepedal has tried to get them in  more sheltered places this year.

delphinium

The flower of the day is a blue allium.  They have been sitting outside promising to come out but not actually coming for what seems like weeks.  One got knocked over by the recent winds and has found living indoors in a vase is more to its taste.  They are small flowers, about the size of a ping pong ball.

blue allium

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an art installation by Christo in Hyde Park in London.  My sister Mary saw it and tells me that it is made up of 7,506 barrels.  I can see that it is really big but whether it is good art, I cannot tell.

Bulgarian artist Christo's pyramid in the Serpintine made up of 7.506 barrels

Our new spell of fine weather continued today with a fresh feel brought on by the brisk wind.  It was dry and sunny though and Mrs Tootlepedal got through a power of work in the garden.

Our neighbours Ken and Liz dropped in to say hello to Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden.  They were very impressed by the number of bees on the astrantias.

bee on astrantia

I was too.

I had to leave the gardener working as I went off to see the doctor.  The result was a clean bill of health, though I have to keep taking the iron tablets, and permission to go back to the church choir and try some singing.  I am going to take care to try and avoid straining my voice by improving my technique if I can.

As I crossed the suspension bridge on my way to the Health Centre, a passer by pointed out something strange under the town bridge.

tree at bridge 2

I had a closer look when I got back from seeing the doctor.  It was a substantial tree, snapped off near the base.

tree at bridge

 

The recent strong wind must have done for it and the rain that followed must have floated it down the river.  I don’t know how long it has been pressed against the bridge.

Back in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz had looked at the cotoneaster and been even more impressed by the number of bees on it.  I went to check it out.

 

They were right to be impressed.  There were bees all over it.

bees on cotoneaster

I thought that the roses were looking well today and I took pictures of some of them.

lilian austin rose

LIlian Austin

rosa complicata

Rosa complicata

yellow rose

Crown Princess Margareta

rose goldfinch

Goldfinch

Among all these riches, our single Melancholy Thistle….

melancholy thistle

…did look a bit lonely.

As I like furry plants, I was happy to see that our Stachys or lamb’s ear has started to flower.

stachys

 

After lunch, I decided to face the brisk wind and go for a pedal.  It was hard work going uphill and into the wind at the start of the ride and I was happy to stop for a breather and a picture after 5 miles.

Callister gate

The countryside is very lush at the moment and the grass is growing at a good rate.

dock

As are the docks at the top of Callister.

I stopped again at 10 miles and saw plenty of vetch beside the road…

vetch

…but the most noticeable thing was another snapped off tree. This one was sticking through the hedge but luckily had fallen away from the road.

fallen tree

It is always a hard time for trees when strong winds arrive when they are in full leaf.

After the first 14 miles, the wind was less of a nuisance and I was just getting up some speed when I had to stop because of a number of these.

orchid

I like to see orchids and hope to see many more but these were the only ones that I saw today.

A friendly wind blew me home and made up for the struggle on the outward part of the trip and I managed just over 30 miles and this brought me up to my target for the month.  As there are several days of the month still to go, I am hoping to make a dent in my mileage backlog which is too large for comfort.

I stuck to my good resolution and instead of going for a walk or doing some mowing when I got home, I went in and put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I was inputting data for 1897 and noticed a report of a car being seen in the town.  Modern times are creeping up.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a good time playing sonatas while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike caught up on the news and sipped beer.

The flower of the day is another bee on the cotoneaster.

bee on cotoneaster

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba.  It was sent to her by a friend and was taken by her friend’s nephew, James Greig .  James farms near Melita, MB and is the third generation to work that land.  He has a good eye for a photo and those interested can find a lot more of his work here.

james fieldscape

Thanks to the long spell of good weather, I have got well behind schedule when it comes to putting the data miners’ work into the newspaper index database on the Archive Group website so I am going to have to cut down on words and pictures in the blog posts for a bit while I catch up.  (Enormous sigh of relief, politely masked, from beleaguered blog readers.)

Looking back, it is eight years since I started this on-line diary on June 16th 2010 with a post of 45 words and one picture.  Things have gone downhill since then.  I have had 2921 posts and I think that my sister Susan has read every one!

Anyway, here is briefer than usual summary of my day.

I got up early, had breakfast and got on my bike for the 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  I stopped twice.

Canonbie umbellifer

Umbellifer at Canonbie Bridge (Hogweed Heraculeum sphondylium?)

view from hollows bridge

The view from Hollows Bridge

The combination of the early start and a brisk breeze caught my legs napping and I found it hard work but I got home in time for coffee and a walk round the garden.

Two shrubs which had Mrs Tootlepedal worried earlier in the year have done better than expected.

weigela

The Weigela is flourishing

cotoneaster

And the Cotoneaster is producing flowers

The bad weather has hit the lupins badly.  They were doing so well in the good weather, it is sad to see them now.

bent lupins

 

There is plenty of white about

jacobite rose

Jacobite rose with visitor.

philadelphus

Yet another Philadelphus coming out

I like this Euphorbia.  It gives me the impression that it is the result of a potato print by a competent child in the school art class.

euphorbia

 

The espalier apples are showing the benefit of some hand pollinating during our cold and beeless spring.

young apples

I went in and made some soup for lunch and watched the birds.

siskin at feeder

A young siskin works out how to land on a perch

goldfinch

It makes a man cry when a fine flying bird of the day hides behind a pole

After lunch, I mowed the middle and front lawns and then gained extra credit with the gardener by going round with the lawn edger.  A little compost sieving followed and that completed the energetic part of the day.  It was really windy which made taking flower pictures difficult and it was grey and chilly which made a walk unattractive so I did what I needed to and went inside and put a week of the newspaper index into the database.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive session.  Onwards and upwards.

I watched the first half of the England world cup football match but watching England trying to play the ball out of defence always makes me nervous so I wrote the blog during the second half.  I noticed that they won so well done England.

The flower of the day is the lamium, which after a slow start, is going great guns.

lamium

And a FBotD too.

flying goldfinch

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Our daughter sent me today’s guest picture just to show that there are good looking bees in London too.

London bee

The wind moved round to the east today and brought a little touch of coolness with it so although the day was agreeably sunny again, it was much more pleasant to be out and about.

All the same, it looked as though it was going to be hot enough to make serious cycling hard work in the afternoon so I got up early and went for a ride in the cool of the morning.

I had an appointment at ten o’clock and this time pressure limited me to my usual twenty mile run down to  Canonbie and back.  I had my camera with me and might have had time to take a picture or two if I hadn’t realised after I had gone a mile that I had forgotten to put my helmet on.

There are those who claim that helmets make no difference to cycle safety but they are wrong so I went back and started again with my helmet clamped firmly above the space where my brains should be.

(As far as the safety argument goes, my thought is that there are no conceivable circumstances when I am in the middle of falling off my bike that I would ever say. “Thank goodness I am not wearing a helmet.”)

The conditions were just about perfect – warm, sunny and with a light cooling wind – and I got round in good order and at a brisk pace for me and was showered and ready for my appointment in good time.

I even had time to check on some of the blue-ish flowers in the garden before I went.

blue flowers

delphinium

The heart of a delphinium

dutch iris

A Dutch iris

The bees were so noisy that I went to have a look at what was attracting them.

cotoneaster

It was the cotoneaster. It does look inviting.

bee on cotoneaster

Getting stuck in

I got back from my appointment and had another walk round the garden.  This time, I had a mower and not a camera with me and I mowed the drying green and then adjourned for a cup of coffee.

It wasn’t long before I was out again.

There were roses to look at….

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the bottom right rose is a Ginger Syllabub and not a Golden Syllabub as I have been calling it……but a rose by another name looks just as good in my view.

Mrs Tootlepedal was helping to serve lunches at the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar and while she was away, I picked some strawberries, sieved some compost, trimmed a hedge and mowed the middle lawn.  You can tell that the weather was a lot kinder today.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back, she had a little work to do in the garden and while she toiled, I admired the flowers.

Sweet William

I love the contrasting delicate pale purple of the stamens compared with the zing of the petals

I thought that I had seen an orchid or two beside the road a mile or so out of town  on my morning pedal so we decided to go out on our bikes to check if my eyesight had deceived me or not.

It turned out that I had seen literally only two orchids and not fully out at that….

wauchope orchid

…so the orchid hunt was less than exciting.

So we pedalled on a bit and left the bikes while we took a short walk through woods and fields along the Wauchope.

We were serenaded by a buzzard circling high above us, emitting its characteristic plaintive cry.

buzzard

We walked.

manure mountain path

It was a good choice.  The path through the woods is delightful and we paused beside the river…

Wauchope water

…in the vain hope of seeing kingfishers, otters and deer.  Even without exotic wild life, the scene was a balm to the soul.  Mrs Tootlepedal blended in with the scenery…

Mrs T in the woods

…while I roamed around looking for things to photograph.

I found a gate.

Gate beside wauchope

Leaving the wildlife to laugh at us behind our back when we  were gone, we used the gate and walked back to the bikes through the field.

If you like meadows full of wild flowers and grasses….

wauchope field

I would welcome a name for the tiny flower on the left.

…fringed with interesting trees…..

conifer

conifer

…this was the place to be.

We cycled gently home, grateful for the cool breeze in our faces and enjoying the warm sun on our backs.

The garden had not been idle while were out.

Lilies were on the move.

martagon lily

A Martagon lily was showing the first Turk’s Caps of the year.

Day lily

And a day lily had decided that this was the day

Both had come out while we were walking. It is amazing what some sunshine will do.

After tea, I set my hand to making a couple of jars of strawberry jam.  Time will tell but I fear I may have overboiled the jam a bit.  It was not entirely my fault.  I was keeping a careful eye on it when I was summoned outside by Mrs Tootlepdal to look at a kite in the sky.  A sharp eyed neighbour had spotted the bird upsetting the oyster catchers in the park and come to tell us.

By the time that I had fetched my camera, the kite was high above us in the evening  sky but although the resultant picture was poor, it does show the characteristic shape of the red kite.  I hope that we will see many more as time goes by.

Here then is the rather distant flying bird of the day.

red kite

It was worth spoiling the jam a bit to see such a glorious bird.

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