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Posts Tagged ‘cow parsley’

Today’s guest picture comes from one of my brother’s walks in his local area. The farmer has had to work round and old water tower to get his field planted.

There was a lot of noise in the garden this morning although as far as the weather went it was sunny and peaceful day. These tiny flowers were responsible for the racket.

They are on a cotoneaster and they were proving a big draw for bees. I had to crop the picture above just to take a picture of the bush with no bees in it.

I tried to get some decent bee pictures but I had the wrong camera in my hand so I went off to look for flowers instead. The latest rhododendron to flower has the reddest flowers in the garden I think (but see later in the post for a competitor).

There are also red astrantias coming out and doubtless they will soon be buzzing too as the insects like them a lot.

I stopped chasing flowers and went off to have socially distanced coffee with Sandy in his garden. The coffee turned out to be tea as there had been a cafetiere catastrophe earlier in the morning but it went down well as we chatted and watched blue tits busily flying in and out of the nest box on his shed.

Sandy’s foot is slowly improving after his operation and he has managed to go out for some short walks. He still has some way to go before he can go some way but he is feeling much more positive about life.

When I got back home, the street coffee morning was still going so I stopped and chatted there until I was distracted by the poppies beside the dam along the back wall of the house.

They are quite distracting.

There are other less conspicuous flowers along the wall too.

As you can see from the centre picture in the panel above, the fuschia is not in good condition at all but when I looked closely at it, I could see that there were some healthy flowers tucked away in it. A case for some severe pruning perhaps.

I went back into the garden, got out a different camera, and had another go at the cotoneaster. The resulting picture gives an idea of just how small the flowers on the shrub are.

There were so many bees that they were shoving each other out of the way.

Bumble bees were interested too.

I had a wander round, admiring old friends enjoying the sunshine.

New flowers are always arriving and today’s newcomer is an ox-eye daisy, the first of many all over the garden. It couldn’t attract a bee but it did have a small fly in its eye.

Other flowers were attracting other bees.

When I look back on my day today, thanks to a combination of old age and the warm sunshine the chronology has become rather blurred. I know that I mowed the middle lawn, made bacon butties for lunch, mowed the front lawn, edged both lawns and put decking oil on our new bench but I am by no means certain in what order these exciting events took place.

I also looked at our other cotoneaster and found that wasps were into cotoneaster flowers as well as bees.

The clock on my camera tells me that I took the wasp picture before lunch and this one of a young blackbird on our old bench at that time too.

It tells me that it was in the afternoon when I took this picture of the other contender for red flower of the day.

I do know that after all the activity, I sat on a seat to have a rest and was much entertained by a pair of pigeons on our power line. I don’t know much about pigeons but it seemed to me that this display of aerial acrobatics had more to with making love than making war.

It was the way that one of them sidled along the wire towards the other in a hopeful manner before the bursts of flying started that made me think that.

It was such a lovely day that in the end, I couldn’t think of a good excuse not to go for a short cycle ride in spite of feeling a little tired. It was a good decision with light winds and the temperature at 66°F.

The verges were full of cow parsley…

…sometimes mixed with buttercups.

After a couple of energetic days, my legs were not in full working mode today and showed a regrettable Achilles tendency to sulk in their tents instead of joining in the battle. The rest of me was in very good order though so I just pottered slowly along, enjoying the sun on my back and lots of beautiful green trees.

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that May 20th is peak spring so this is just about as good as it gets.

When I got home, I had missed my evening Zoom meeting with my brother and sisters but there is always another day for that.

I put the sprinkler on the middle lawn while we were eating our tea, and then had my first look of the day at the birds on the feeder in the evening light.

They seemed pleased to have a bit of peace after a busy day in the garden.

My twenty mile cycle ride took me over 400 miles for the month. This is a very satisfactory effort for me these days. May has been my best month for distance covered this year and with some good sunny days still to come, I hope to increase the mileage before the thirty-first.

The flying bird of the day is a late evening goldfinch.

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Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He saw deer on one of his walks with his dogs.  The deer saw him but didn’t run away at once.

Tony's deer

To say that today was another uneventful day would be rather overstating the excitement.  The recent frost has put a damper on the pleasure of walking round the garden in quite a big way, and as it was another grey morning, there was not a lot of incentive to get up and go.

In the end, I managed to finish the crossword and get up in time for a walk round the garden before coffee.  The only photograph that I took was of these ill matched Icelandic poppies, and I couldn’t get a very good shot of them as they were blowing about in the breeze.

ill matched poppies

I don’t know why some of the orange poppies have white tips this year.

After coffee, I shredded more of Mrs Tootlepedal’s uprooted box bushes and then went inside.

I watched the birds through the window for a moment or two.

A greenfinch felt that I was intruding on its privacy.

sad greenfing

A sparrow watched while another greenfinch and a chaffinch arrived simultaneously, luckily heading for different perches.

greenfinch and chaffinch arriving together

And there was room for two sparrows too.

sparrow joining sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal had suggested that I might like to try a recipe for a boiled cake.  This sounded very strange to me but on investigation it turned out that only some of the ingredients were boiled and that the cake was actually baked in a standard way, so I gave it a go.

It tuned out that it makes a small cake and the process was quite simple (which is probably why Mrs Tootlepedal suggested it).  You take butter, syrup, sugar and water, melt them together and add currants and sultanas and then boil this mixture very gently for a few minutes.  This is cooled and then added to flour and spices with a beaten egg and the whole thing is poured into a cake tin and baked.

Some time later, it comes out like this:

boiled cake

While it was baking, I made leek and potato soup for lunch and we had time to eat the soup before the cake came out of the oven.

After lunch, I had another walk round the garden and found a rhododendron flower which looks as though it might have survived the frost.

surviving rhododendron bud

The tree peony and the standard peonies in the flower beds are in a race to see which comes fully out first and at the moment, the tree peony is the slight favourite.

tree peony almost out

The alliums, unaffected by the frost, are going global.

global allium

In the absence of azaleas, I am probably going to spend more time looking at Welsh poppies than usual.  They have acquired some pinkish tinges this year, another mystery but quite pretty.

Sometimes the tinge is in the middle…

welsh poppy red middle

…sometimes in a line across the petals…

welsh poppy red stripe

…and sometimes round the edge.

welsh poppy red edge

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is damage of some sort.

She has completed her hedge cut back and you can see the more open view of the house that this provides.

hedge clipped

I will be interested to see how the planting changes to reflect the new vista.

There was a tremendous racket in the garden caused by baby sparrows demanding to be fed by their long suffering parents and this blackbird in the plum tree was joining in with gusto.

hopeful blackbird

It looks a little old to be needing to be fed but it wasn’t getting any attention and that didn’t suit it at all.

A starling had been doing some successful foraging.starling with food

I went in to change into my cycling gear and then went off for a short cycle ride.  Mrs Tootlepedal had looked at the clouds and brought the washing in ‘just in case’, but the forecast hadn’t got any rain in it so I set off with confidence of a dry trip round Canonbie.

My confidence was well founded and with the wind coming from a generally helpful direction, I enjoyed my ride and went a bit more quickly than recent efforts.

After taking far too many pictures in recent days, I resolved not to take too many today and was reasonably successful.  The theme of the ride was hedges and wild flowers.

The cow parsley is coming on well along the Tarcoon road…

cow parsely tarcoon

…and the tree over the hedge is now fully clothed.

tree tarcoon

A little further on, I was happy to find a beech hedge in very good condition.  My friend Nancy had sent me pictures yesterday of a beech hedge badly affected by the frost but this one was untouched.

beech hedge tarcoon

I stopped at Canonbie Bridge for a conversation with Simon, a Camera Club member who was out for a walk.  His normal work involves sporting events and international travel so he currently stacking shelves for supermarkets instead.   He doesn’t know when he will be able to go back to his real job.

When I got nearer Langholm, I found that the Pyrenean Valerian is beginning to line the roadsides.

pyrenean valerian clump

The boiled cake went down very well with a cup of tea on my return and the normal sibling Zoom and an excellent pasta dish for our evening meal rounded off another routine day of lockdown.

Looking at the forecast, I see that things are going to warm up a bit and there may even be a bit of rain in the next day or two but the promise of very high temperatures next week seems to have faded away, for which I am grateful as I don’t like it when it gets too warm.

We will believe in the rain when we feel it actually falling on our heads.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch leaving the feeder.  It avoided the pole.

flying greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture is a puzzle.  Is it the south of France? Is is a tropical Isle? No, it is sunny Wemyss turning up trumps yet again for the lens of our son Tony.

another wemyss view

We had a touch of frost in the very early morning but by the time that I got up the sky was as blue as the lithodora….

lithodora

…and it stayed that way all day.

In spite of coming from the south west, the wind had a distinct nip in it as I walked round the garden after breakfast.

As long as I was in the sunshine though, it was a pleasure to be out enjoying Mrs Tootlepedal’s flowers.

rhododendron

The tulips look delightful when they are backlit by the morning sun.

mroning poppy

And the sun must surely encourage the advent of the age of the azalea and alliums which is reluctant to to dawn while the mornings are so cold.

allium and azalea

To be fair to them, I looked back at previous years and found it is really a bit early to expect full blown alliums and the azaleas are often later too..

The very first honeysuckle flower is trying to creep out unobserved…

first honeysuckle

…while the clematis round the garage doors is secretly adding a flower or two every day.

growing clematis

The street socially distanced coffee morning convened at the usual time and as well as our Garibaldi biscuits, Liz provided a very tasty mixed fruit cake and the general consensus was that there wouldn’t be much call for a big lunch later on.

Because of the continuing lack of rain, there was a lot of watering to be done in the garden.  While the water was spraying,  I dead headed tulips and tore up a cardboard box to add to the compost in Bin A.

While I was there, I was very happy to note that professional pollinators were on the job in the espalier apple trees.

bees on apple blossom

The sun had encouraged an Icelandic poppy to give us a smile.

first icelandic poppy

I was encouraged to go indoors for an early lunch in order to make use of the fine day by going for a good cycle ride.  I foolishly glanced at the crossword and wasted time before I finally managed to get organised enough to actually go out on my bike.  (It was an enjoyable crossword.)

The cold wind of the morning had eased off a bit, but it was still noticeably chilly for such a lovely day.  This had the good effect of keeping me cool under a cloudless sky and the breeze wasn’t strong enough to make much of a difference to my speed.  I averaged 14 mph down to the coast over the only substantial uphill section of the ride and then I managed 14 mph on the much gentler return journey.  The joy of cycling when there isn’t a strong wind is indescribably great, if only because it is so rare.

It would have been hard to find a better day for a ride.  There is still very little traffic on the road.  I met a few but not many other cyclists and they were all going in the opposite direction to me so there was no call to try to keep up with people passing me or to get depressed when they shoot off into the distance.

The verges are perking up and I saw quite a lot of crosswort today.  By dint of putting my shadow over one example, I even got a half decent picture.

crosswort

I never cease to be amazed by the design work that goes into building flowers.

We are not quite in full leaf yet as this study of clothed and naked trees staring at each other across the Kirkpatrick Fleming road shows.

bare and clothed trees

I was aiming to do 50 miles so I stopped every twelve and a half miles to rest my legs, drink some water and eat some guava jelly and a date.  At my first stop, I leaned my bike against a road sign and had a close look at the reflective surface.

road sig pattern

The signs are so bright these days that they constitute a dazzling hazard themselves for elderly night drivers.

The cow parsley is thriving and I just had to be careful not to take my eye of any potholes while I was admiring the flowers.

cow parsley and potholes

Sometimes, both verges joined in the fun.

cow parsley both sides

When it came to trees, these four near Eastriggs were my favourites of the day…

eastriggs trees

…but they were run close by this attractive newly planted avenue near Rockcliffe in Cumbria…

avenue at rockliffe

…and this specimen with an added gorse hedge at its foot near Whamtown.

leaning tree and gorse

I realised that I was going to miss the regular family Zoom meeting, so I stopped on the road below Canonbie School to check in for a moment and apologise.

When I looked around I could see some striking red campion beside the road….

red campion canonbie

…with a shady wild flower mixture nearby…

red campion and violets

…and a Pyrenean Valerian in flower on the opposite side of the road.

pyrenean valerian canonbie

So that turned out to be a good place to pause.

After that, I headed home for a much needed sit down, having covered 54 miles, my (just) longest ride of the year so far.

I sat out in the garden for a moment with Mrs Tootlepedal while our evening meal was cooking and we enjoyed the evening sun lighting up the tulips.

evening tulips

I was getting ready to sit down and write this post, regretting that I hadn’t got a flying bird of the day to finish it, when I noticed a very nearly full ‘flower’ moon out of a window.  It may not be a flying bird, but at least it is up in the sky.

moon may

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s permitted walk yesterday.  It was raining, but she didn’t care as it kept other walkers away, and the fresh green colours it brought made her happy.

mary's park walk

The gloomy weather from the second half of yesterday’s walk carried over into this morning and it was cold and grey when we got up.

The day was serially brightened up though by two unexpected arrivals.  First our friend Marjorie, who had obviously been reading the blog, arrived with a gift of dates.  This is the sort of friend a man with no dates needs.

And then, as if that wasn’t good enough, the doorbell rang and a delivery man left a mysterious parcel on our doorstep.

This turned out to be a present from our daughter Annie, who had obviously been reading the blog, and contained a wonderful assortment of fine cheeses.  This is the sort of daughter that a man with a lack of fine cheese needs.

How thoughful people can be.

There was enough chill in the wind to discourage the street coffee drinkers from meeting but a forecast of “rain later” got me into some winter biking gear and out for a ride on the shopping bike.

I didn’t stray far from home as I wasn’t anxious to battle the wind for long or get caught out if the rain came early.   Basically I cycled up and down the same roads twice.

The blackthorn was looking lovely near the Glencorf Burn.  This is a favourite spot for sloe gin drinkers when the fruits come.

blackthorn cleuchfoot road

Spring proceeds slowly with a green tree on one side of the little valley and bare branches on the other.

hawthorn and alders

I cycled over the Sawmill Bridge on a little diversion to add some distance to my ride and thought that I would take a picture, before any rain comes, of the Ewes Water just to show how dry it has been .

very low ewes water

I managed to rack up 20 miles and enjoyed my ride more than I expected.

When I got home, I watched a collared dove battle with the feeder..

collared dove panel

…while chaffinches had to wait until it was finished.

I had a wander round the garden but it was too cold to do anything useful so I admired the ‘wild flowers’ in the back border….

honesty and cow parsley

…and greeted both the winner in the first rhododendron stakes…

first rhododendron

…and the first azalea stakes too.

first azalea

The grape hyacinths are going over but there are white bluebells…

white bluebells and fading garpe hyacinths

…tiny lily of the valley…

first lily of the valley

…a second flower on the garage clematis…

early clematis flowers

…and a geometrical Solomon’s Seal…

solomons seal

….to look at instead.

It wasn’t much fun outside so I went back in a watched the birds.

Goldfinches managed to share perches but greenfinches were not so caring.

greenfinches and goldfinches

Alarmed by the greenfinches, goldfinches took off to eat their seeds in peace.

goldfinches coming and going

We added the gravy from last night’s chicken stew to the remains of my brown lentil soup and it made a delicious dish to be enjoyed at lunchtime.  It went down particularly well with some bread and first rate cheese.

After lunch, I poked my head out into the garden again.  The lack of sunshine made it possible to take some pictures of flowers that are overwhelmed by bright light.

primrose and lady's smock

Even the bright red fancy tulip looked better to the camera with no glare.

three tulips

I went back in and spent some frustrating time working on a music program which unkindly crashed before I had saved my work. I have got so used to programs which silently back up my work as I go along that I had forgotten to take that basic precaution.

I went and had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal, and a ginger biscuit calmed me down.

Light rain began to fall in the afternoon but it didn’t come to much and more is needed of the garden is to get the drink that it requires.  But the rain did encourage birds to come to the feeder and it was busy.

A blackbird dived down to get some fallen seed….

diving blackbird

…while a sparrow contemplated life in the rain…

sparrow in the rain

…and a starling got tucked into the feeder.

starling on feeder

The gloomy day reinforced how lucky we have been with our good weather during the lockdown.  If it had been like this every day, we might have got very gloomy ourselves by now.

There is a choice of flying birds today, both chaffinches.

head banger chaffinchflying chaffinch

Footnote: Moaning on the blog has been so productive that I am wondering if I should mention that I am seriously short of gold nuggets.

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Today’s guest picture is another from East Wemyss.  Our son Tony was supposed to restart work today but thanks to an administrative mix up, he had leisure to walk the dogs and enjoy this very clear view across the Forth instead.

sunny forth

We keep being promised a change in the weather but it was another glorious morning today and instead of lounging about and doing the crossword, I got up quite promptly and walked round the garden.

We have bluebells there too.

bluebell in garden

There were a lot of sparrows about but they were in flighty mood and this was the only one that stood still for long enough to get its picture taken.

sparrow on lawn

I strolled along the back path and was impressed by the trilliums (do we have milliums of trilliums?) and got very excited by a the first hint of colour on a nearby rhododendron.

trillium and rhododendron bud

In a break with lockdown tradition though, the main business of the morning was not loafing round the garden but heading off into the wider world.

If I am to keep riding my bicycle for my daily exercise, it needs servicing so I checked to see if the bike shop in Longtown was open and expecting my bike.  It was and they were and for the first time in what seems like ages, I got into the car and drove out of the town.

It felt rather daring and dangerous doing a journey by car that I have done many times recently on my bike, and I wondered if I would remember how to drive.  All went well and the bike was delivered to the bike shop and will come home with everything tightened up and a change of oil in the gear box.

I got back in time for the end of the morning street coffee gathering and while we were sipping and chatting, a passer-by presented Mrs Tootlepedal with large bag of horse manure.  I was quite surprised but Mrs Tootlepedal seemed pleased.

The horse manure was being ferried in a push chair and the designated occupant of the chair was running ahead and crying out, “Look at me, I’m running.”  I might have been running too if the alternative was to share my ride with a load of horse poop.

Still, the manure acted as a stimulant when we got back into the garden and I sieved a barrowload of compost from Bin D, and then shifted the contents of Bin A into Bin B, layering in the horse muck as I went.

Having done that, I scarified the middle lawn and produced mounds of moss.  Mrs Tootlepedal took most of it away to cover exposed soil in the back border and I mowed the remains off.  The result looked surprisingly good and a blackbird turned up to look for worms when I had finished.

scarified lawn april

Then, it was lunch time and there was a moment for gold and green finches to stare accusingly at me.

goldfinch and green finch

A siskin turned up and, as is usual when a siskin comes in, manners flew out of the window.

siskin and chaffinch

After lunch, I had a walk round the garden and turned my attention to the tulips.

white tulip panel

It is no hardship to look at tulips.

two tulips

In the back border shuttlecock ferns are unfurling.  They looked uncannily like a collections of penguins having a serious discussion.

shuttlecock ferns

There are things to look forward to…

aquilegia buds

…but I couldn’t wait and went out for a bike ride.

With my road bike in the bike shop, I turned to my shopping bike and went for a shorter ride than usual.

Just as I was about to set off, some drops of rain fell so I had to take the washing in first and then reconsider my cycling apparel.

I crossed my fingers and hoped that the rain wasn’t serious, and although there were some heavy clouds about….

clouds over langgholm

…in all directions…

clouds over the kerr

…I had a dry ride with only the smallest amount of rain to make sure that I didn’t dilly dally too much.

It was brighter over in England…

view of english hills

…but the wind turbines were only turning gently…

view of skiddaw

…and there was enough sun to show off cow parsley and a very interesting little green plant beside the road at Tarcoon.

cow parsley and another

As I dropped down into the Esk Valley, things looked gloomier, with the sun over there…

canonbie sunshine

…and not where I was.

This stand of trees at Brookwoodlees sums up the time of year, green but not totally green.

Brockwoodlees trees

What wind there was blew me home from here and I rolled in after 14 very enjoyable miles, with a scattering of raindrops to speed my final few rotations of the pedals.

I got home in nice time for the daily sibling Zoom and then I had a moment to appreciate a full turn out on the feeder which I had refilled…

busy feeder

…before having two lightly boiled eggs for my tea.

After  the excitement of actually going somewhere today, I aim to have a quiet day in tomorrow.

The authentic flying bird of the day is a sparrow with its eye on the prize.

fling sparrow

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s recent walk.  She met a nesting swan and was very careful to keep her social distance.

venetia's swan

Our spell of dry weather continued today and it has reached the stage that talk of drought and water shortage is appearing in the national press.   Certainly it has been dry enough for cracks to begin to occur in Mrs Tootlepedal’s flower beds.  Considering that we were suffering from incessant rain and floods only two months ago, the change has been remarkable and a little disturbing.  We should have changeable weather, not weeks of one thing at a time.

Anyway, the street socially distanced coffee morning enjoyed the sunshine once again (and polished off the last of the date rolls).  I had a look round while I was there and saw the first Welsh poppy of the year against the wall of our house, aubretia and hosta beside the dam, and marsh marigolds in it.

poppy, hosta, aubretia and marsh marigold

Sparrows flitted about, one pecking at the mortar of our neighbour Liz’s house and they were joined by other sparrows and a collared dove when I went back into the garden.

sparrows and dove

The sparrows in the garden were doubtless hoping to get a peck at Mrs Tootlepedal’s  young lettuce but it is well protected.  They don’t seem to enjoy broad beans so Mrs Tootlepedal has been able to take the mini greenhouses off them.

lettuce and beans

She is very pleased with the progress of the cow parsley which will soon be in full bloom…

cow parsley

…and with the trilliums which are coming along splendidly.

trilliums

Because I like eating fruit a lot, I am particularly pleased to see that it is apple blossom time.

first apple blossom

And of course, there are always tulips…

tulip panel

…my current favourite being ‘Queen of the Night’ (bottom right) , a very dark variety.

Daffodils are piling up in the compost bin…

daffs in compost

…but they are not all dead and gone yet.

daffodil pair

I don’t use weed killer on the lawn any more, as it is generally a bad thing and also means that you can’t put the grass cuttings in your compost unless you leave them there for ages.  And a result, there is a bit more colour on the middle lawn than an obsessional lawn person would want…

weeds on lawn

…but I am quite relaxed about it these days.  I may dig the worst of the weeds out later in the spring or I may just let them alone.

I sieved some compost and held the cable while Mrs Tootlepedal mowed along the back of the house beside the dam.  She also mowed the drying green, trying not to behead any of her new tulips.   She is aiming for a forest of tulips but has a little way to go yet.

drying green with tulips

After lunch something on the lawn made a thrush and a blackbird find things to interest them.

thrush and blackbird on lawn

Mrs Tootlepedal had scattered some chopped up cashew nuts and they also caught the attention of a rook.

rook on wire

I left the nut hunters to it and went off for my permitted cycle ride, my third in three days after three days of walking.  I will get back to my walk/ride alternation from tomorrow.

At 65°F (18°C) it was like a summer’s day and not only the cycling shorts but sun cream were necessary for a comfortable ride.

I went for a shorter and easier ride than yesterday and stuck to the lowlands.

Marsh marigolds and dandelions lit up the verges

marsh marigolds and dandelions

Gretna was eerily empty as I cycled through it, with weddings, tour buses and the shopping village all out of the picture.  The motorway was eerily empty too.

empty motorway

Strange times.

The trees on the Gretna to Longtown road were beautiful to behold….

trees at CAD

…and the Longtown pond wasn’t bad either.

Longtown pond

I was pleased to see this handsome tree in full leaf…

tree with leaves

…and I was happy to have the opportunity to set the record straight on a wild flower I had misidentified in yesterday’s post.  It wasn’t valerian at all, but wild garlic, also called Jack in the Hedge.  As you can see, this lot was living up to its name.  (Thank you to the kind readers who put me right.)

jack by the hedge

When I got back to Langholm after 32 miles of warm and sunny pedalling, I paused as I crossed the bridge to get the riverside blossom and the river in the same shot.

river with blossom from bridge

During the outing, I did finally eat the last date in my collection and I will now have to wait, possibly many months, until I can get to the shop that sells them. The lack of dates and interesting cheese is annoying but it is keeping me relatively slim.  Every cloud….

The trip took me over 300 miles for the month and I have also passed 1000 miles for the year.  These are not great distances but they are nevertheless satisfactory with a few days still left in the month.

WhatsApp and Zoom are keeping the family well connected and neighbours are always available across a road, hedge, dam or fence so we are constrained but not lonely and count our blessings.

The flying bird of the day is that rook going nuts.

flying rook

Footnote:  As I was writing this post, Mrs Tootlepedal called my attention to a nearly new moon.

_20S8976

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  She was joined by a jackdaw for breakfast at Kenwood House, but it came too late as she had cleared her plate.

jackdaw for breakfast

The forecast was for rain in the afternoon so I might, if I had been energetic and well organised, gone out for an early pedal.  What I managed was a leisurely walk round the garden instead.

Outside, on the front wall of the house, everything was abuzz.  A cotoneaster horizontalis was attracting a lot of bees…

bees on contoneaster horizontalis

…although it hardly looked as though the flowers were open enough to let a bee in.

There was more buzzing at the other end of the middle lawn where the nectaroscordum had attarcted a different set of bees altogether.

bees on nectaroscordum

In fact, wherever we looked, there were more bees on flowers….

four bees on flowers

…and it was very good to see several different types of bumble bee.

Mrs Tootlepedal has some pretty plants which she wants to put out in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.  Unfortunately, because of the nearby bird feeder, pigeons and other birds tend to come and perch on the chimney pot, crushing any plants there.  We therefore decided to move the feeder pole to outside the dining room window, hoping that the birds would go with it and leave the chimney pot unmolested.

A blackbird soon arrived to check out the situation…

blackbird on hedge

…and it was followed by a siskin…

siskin on new feeder

…and then a goldfinch became the first customer.

goldfinch on new feeder

Soon it was business as usual in the new position.

full new feeder

In between times, I mowed the  front lawn and went up to the the health centre to get my three monthly vitamin top up.

When I got back, I had time to spot a white butterfly

butter white

…before we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to have a light lunch and listen to an illustrated lecture from the interesting young man who is running the Wild Eskdale project.  Kevin, the project leader, has two aims, outdoor education for youngsters and environmental tourism for visitors.  He demonstrated that there is more than enough wild life and scenery around the town to satisfy the most demanding visitor and we hope that his project is a great success. Those interested can see more here.

In spite of a gloomy forecast, it wasn’t raining when we got home and I had time to admire the 20cm flowers on the peony….

big peonies

…and an even bigger bee on the nectaroscordum…

large bee on nectaroscordum

…before I decided to defy the forecast and go for a bike ride.

There are fields of buttercups to be seen…

meadow of buttercups

…and the roads are still lined with cow parsley  in places…

verges of cow parsley callister

….and when I looked down as I took the parsley picture, I saw that there is a lot of English plaintain about too.

english plaintains

It was a much calmer day than yesterday so I cycled to the top of Callister before turning and coming sedately back down the hill back to the town.

I took a turn along the river and saw a lone gull…

gull by Esk

…and pair of oyster catchers along the water’s edge…

oyster catcher by Esk

…before deciding that the weather looked good enough to add another six miles to my total by going back up the road as far as Wauchope Schoolhouse.

I paused to have a look at my favourite little cascade at Bessie Bells on the way…

wauchope cascade june

…and this may have been a mistake because the rain started when I was still two miles from home and I got quite wet in the last ten minutes of my ride.

Still, I was pleased to have got another 20 miles to add to my miles for the week and after a cup of tea and a slice of toast, everything was fine.

Fine indoors that is, because it rained steadily for the rest of the day outside.  I kept an eye on the re-positioned feeder and noted a redpoll…

redpoll on new feeder

…and a mixed bag of chaffinch, siskin and sparrows…

busy new feeder

…so it seems that the new position is going down well with the birds.

We were visited by our friend Bruce who brought with him a bird ringer’s band.  He had recovered it from a siskin which had suffered a fatal accident when it crashed into one of his windows on the 10th May.  I took a picture of the ring beside the tip of a ball point pen to show how tiny the ring has to be to fit on the leg of a siskin, a bird which weighs about 13 grams.

 

siskin bird ring

Bruce had read the number on the ring and had sent it to the BTO, the British Trust for Ornithology, the body responsible for bird ringing volunteers in the UK.  In return he received a note saying that the siskin had been ringed (rung?) in Thetford, Norfolk, 386km away to the south of us.   It had been recorded there on the 9th April so in spite of its diminutive size, it had flown 386km north in a month.  Who knows where the siskin pictured at the top of this post has come from, though it might well be locally born and bred.

The rain is supposed to stop by tomorrow morning so I might get out for a pedal for the third day running.  This would be very welcome, as my feet are still not up to much in the way of walking.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, eyeing up the new feeder site.

flying chaffinch new feeder

 

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