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Posts Tagged ‘geum’

Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon who noticed these interesting additions to a pylon when he was out and about near Canonbie. They are going to renew the cables.

We had another beautiful day here today. As this was the first day of summer, there is a slight worry that summer can only go downhill from here on. It will be hard to get a better day day than this.

We had our morning street coffee off the street today, tucked round the corner beside the dam where two of our number could sit in the shade of Margaret’s shed, while Liz and and I sat in the sun holding umbrellas to provide our own personal shade. Passers by, used to finding us in the street, were amazed to find us on the grass looking for all the world like an impressionist painting by Monet.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal did some work in the garden while I wandered about looking for new flowers. There were new flowers to be found.

The wiegela has started flowering.

A red geum has come to join the geum flock.

A new lupin is probably my favourite lupin now it has come out.

Both the red and white astrantias are not at their peak yet but full of promise.

And the stars of the show today are the silver lined irises.

Mrs Tootlepedal is pleased with the progress of the vegetable garden and I was able to snip some leaves from her cut and come again lettuce patch to have in a lettuce and marmite sandwich for my lunch.

After lunch, I looked at the feeder through an open window and saw a goldfinch there…

..and in the distance, I could see Mrs Tootlepedal putting the new bench to the very use it was designed for on a sunny afternoon.

it seemed to be a couple of degrees cooler than it had been yesterday, so I decided to mark the start of the summer months with a cycle ride. Wanting to avoid the Wauchope road where the tar was melting last time that I went that way, I headed south out of. Instead of crossing the river at Skippers Bridge, I kept on going down the east bank of the river and then crossed the Tarras and went through Claygate towards the Hollows.

This route is quite hilly and I was concentrating so hard on pedalling sensibly and not getting too hot that I forgot to take any pictures until I got to the shade of the old road at the Hollows.

I headed down to Canonbie, hoping to see the pylon devices that Simon had photographed but instead of the devices themselves, I saw workmen on another pylon getting ready to install them.

I heard a man on a news programme recently complaining that young barristers could only expect to earn as much as an electrician but I think that these super electricians deserve every penny that they get.

Away to my left, Canonbie Church looked at its best.

I pedalled on south and joined the main road for a mile or two at the end of the Canonbie by-pass. The traffic was still light and nowhere near back to pre-lockdown levels.

After a very unpromising winter, farmers must have feared the worst, but things have improved a lot recently as this field of waving barley near Longtown shows.

I left the main road here and turned up towards Milltown of Sark, crossing the border back into Scotland on my way. The last tree in England is also the last to get its leaves.

I looked back at the tree after I had passed it and you can see from the direction that the Gretna turbines are pointing that the wind was helping me up the hill here. I was grateful for the help but having the wind behind me and not blowing in my face meant that it was hot work for a mile or two.

Readers may have noticed how completely weed free the field of barley that I passed earlier was. I worry that this is part of the reason for the drastic drop in the number of insects about, so I was happy to see an uncultivated field full of buttercups further along my journey.

The wind continued to be helpful all the way home, and I arrived back after 26 enjoyable miles in perfect time to have a shower, a cup of tea (and a ginger biscuit or two) and join in the evening Zoom meeting with Mrs Tootlepedal and my siblings.

After the meeting, I watched the birds for a bit. Mrs Tootlepdal’s fake tree may not have any leaves but it is still a useful spot for birds waiting for a perch at the feeder to have rest.

We needed to have a queuing system as the feeder was busy.

I had time for another wander round the garden before scrambled eggs for tea and found another new flower out. This is the first of many foxgloves to come.

And I feel a bit guilty that I usually show the garage clematis en masse when the individual flowers are very pretty in themselves.

But if the silver lined irises were the morning stars, the evening star was Lilian Austin, a really lovely English rose.

The scrambled eggs (on toast) brought the first day of summer to a satisfactory close. I hope that there are many more like it as far as the weather goes, but mixed with overnight rain from time to time of course. We need rain badly.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

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Today’s guest picture comes from ever sunny East Wemyss, where our son Tony found a forest of stones on the beach and added his own effort (complete with flower on top).

Tony's tower

It was far from sunny here after a second night with rain and the hills were covered with mist when we got up.

There was a faint but persistent drizzle about and this put paid to the delights of the street coffee morning but it did let me get out for a quick look round the garden.

The sweet rocket looked unperturbed by the weather…

sweet rocket

…while other flowers had noticed the overnight rain.

four wet flowers

New geraniums are coming out….

geranium white

…and a few flowers on azaleas and rhododendrons have survived the frost with the Japanese Azalea coming out by far the best at the moment.

three azalea survivors

I went in to grapple with a technological problem and on my way past the front window, I admired a rook in the plum tree.

rook inplum tree

The technological problem concerned a little device for converting old cassette recordings  to digital formats.  My brother had kindly sent it to me, as he had no further use for it but it just wouldn’t work properly.  I did all those technological things one has learned to do over the years; using strong language, turning things on and off, uninstalling and reinstalling software, kicking furniture, plugging and unplugging wires, blaming the government, but nothing worked until I swapped the lead that my brother had sent with the device for one I use with my bike computer.  Then miraculously, all was well.

We had lunch.

The next problem, as my brother remarked, was listening to cassettes that I bought years and years ago and wondering why I had bought them.

After the tech problem had been solved, we checked on the weather.  The drizzle had almost stopped so Mrs Tootlepedal resolved to go and do some gardening and I embarked on a bicycle ride.

By the time that I left home, the drizzle had given up and it was quite windy, but it was not long before I was cycling on dry roads as the weather had obviously been better outside the town.

The lying down cows were lying flat out again but a couple of them spoiled my picture when I got to there by standing up before I could get my camera out.

sitting and standing cows

As you can see there were plenty of grey clouds about but I was cycling in pleasant sunshine…

three trees grainstonehead against clouds

…and I kept my fingers crossed that the sunshine would last.  If it had rained though, I was well equipped in a rainproof jacket, and in fact, I was far too hot when the sun was out and the wind was behind me.

I saw a fine display in the hedgerow of these alkanet flowers just after I passed those three trees at Grainstonehead…

blue wild flower woodhouselees

…and there were some more striking flowers at Canonbie when I had crossed the bridge there.

daisy canonbie

More and more of the Pyrenean Valerian is to be seen each time I got out and it was joined by docks and birds foot trefoil today.

three wild flowers canonbie

The sun went behind the clouds as I got near Langholm and one or two drops of rain added a little speed to my pedalling but I got home dry (and over hot).

Two nights of rain have left a measurable amount of water in the unscientific rain gauge..

unscientific rain gauge

…but Mrs Tootlepedal had welcomed the moist soil as she planted her sweet peas out while I was bicycling.

sweet peas planted out

I took a picture of one of the last of the tulips, perked up by the warmth after the rain…

last of the tulips

…and enjoyed the look of the lawn when the sun came out again…

lawn in evening sunshine

…noting that a little well placed shadow covers a multitude of sins.

The sun brightened up a fancy geum, just out today…

fancy geum

…and brought out the best of a second iris.

new iris

The plants hadn’t forgotten that it had been raining though.

drops on spirea

I went in and looked at the feeder as I went past on my way to a much needed shower.

A redpoll and a greenfinch provided a good contrast.

redpoll and greenfinch

A Zoom meeting with my brother and sister and an evening meal of pasta with a meat and tomato sauce rounded of a day which ended more cheerfully than it had begun.

We are promised a gloriously sunny day tomorrow, getting warmer and warmer as it goes on and then the temperature is going to drop on Thursday but not to frostiness again, thank goodness.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch.

flying greenfinch

Footnote:  patient readers may have noticed a slight similarity in the posts from the last two months and they would be right.  I have a routine; have breakfast, do the crossword, get up, have coffee, do a little gardening, have lunch, take some exercise, Zoom the family, have tea, do the blog, go to bed.  It is a simple life but the very routine helps to make the tedium of the lockdown bearable with not too much time left in the day to sit about and worry about the future.   The way things look at the moment, the patient reader can expect quite a lot more of the same.  I thank you for your patience which is commendable.  We are very lucky in having varied countryside available right on our doorstep.

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Today’s unusual guest picture comes from our friend Gavin.  His son Fraser was putting a new irrigation system in his garden when he discovered a plastic bag and on opening it, he found two hand grenades complete with pins in them.  They were relics of the Korean War.  He was pleased that his children hadn’t found them first.   You might wonder about the thought processes of someone who buries hand grenades in a garden.

bomb squad Fraser

Strangely enough, we had a very similar day today to our previous forty five days.  Those readers wanting exciting developments, foreign travel and adventurous encounters will once again be disappointed.

On the other hand, it wasn’t a bad day at all.

The sun shone and the garden looked cheerful with geums…

garden geum

…and Welsh poppies brightening up my first excursion after breakfast.

welsh poppy set

The Welsh poppies are wearing a fringe of red this year.

tinged welsh poppy

The Icelandic poppies are going all out for orange.

vivid icelandic poppy

Our resident blackbirds built a nest in the hedge beside the road and laid eggs in it and then abandoned it.  We think that they may have started again but no young blackbirds have been seen yet.  They were busy pecking the lawn today.

two blackbirds

The tulips continue to delight…

four tulips panel

…and more and more aquilegias are appearing every day now.

aquilegia

I went in to make coffee and we enjoyed our street coffee morning, with added shortbread, courtesy of Margaret, and the sun providing some real warmth as we sat and chatted.

After coffee, we returned to the garden to do some much needed watering.  In spite of rain in many other places up and down the country, we still remain obstinately dry.   Although we are promised some unseasonably chilly weather on Sunday, we are still not being offered any rain for the next ten days.  This is not good.

I went in after a while and checked on the bird feeder through the window.

A greenfinch and goldfinch seemed to be questioning the quality of the sunflower seed…

greenfinch and goldfinch

…and a sparrow was curious to see what all the grumbling was about.

greenfinch and sparrow

A bright eyed dunnock remained above it all.

dunnock on feeder

When I went out again, I took a picture of this little flower, sprinkled with water from the hose, not the sky.

ranunculus

A look at the dicentra showed that it had big plans.

dicentra letting go

I sat on the bench with Mrs Tootlepedal and she expressed her pleasure at the way that the tulips were blending nicely with the rhododendron on the opposite side of the lawn.

tulips and rhododendron blend

After lunch, I had another go at making date rolls, using more of the dates which Marjorie had kindly given me a few days ago.  I was better prepared for the task this time and managed to get a neater appearance in the finished product…

date rolls

…though when it comes to cutting the rolls to equal sizes, my arithmetic is still not very good.

My internet friend Quercus suggests that I should describe such rough and ready  finished products as ‘artisan’ or ‘rustic’ and pretend that their irregularity is a sign of culinary honesty rather than incompetence.

They taste good and that it what really matters.

Leaving the rolls to cool, I went off for a short cycle ride.  Because I was going round my regular Canonbie circuit, I passed the signpost which appeared on my walking report yesterday.

Yesterday, it had taken me and hour and thirty six minutes to walk back to Langholm downhill and downwind.  Today, it took me twenty eight minutes to pedal uphill and into the wind to the same spot.  Bicycles are a sort of miracle really.

kerr signpost

The track that I had followed yesterday looked inviting but the black clouds in the distance were a bit ominous so I pressed on towards Canonbie.

The clouds kept away and I was able to stop a couple of times to admire some trees, these at Chapelhill….

trees chapelhill

…and these at Grainstonehead.

tees grainstonehead

Some planned planting along a drive nearby provided a good range of colour.

trees woudhouselees

It is good to see trees dressed in their summer clothes.

I got back home in good time for my evening Zoom chat with my brother and sisters, and Mrs Tootlepedal joined in on this occasion.

Later in the evening, we watched the Queen addressing the nation on TV and that rounded off our day.  Unfortunately, although we were both around on the original VE day, we are both too young to remember anything about it.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow giving a goldfinch a hard stare.

flying sparrow

 

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Today’s guest picture is a very painterly photograph of a nesting swan on a canal taken by my Welsh correspondent Keiron on his way to work today.

Keiron's swan

There was a theoretical chance of rain today but once again we had a sunny morning and the street socially distanced coffee group (fortified by date rolls)  was able to chat away while sitting in warm sunshine, caressed by light winds.

All through the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal busied herself with watering in the garden.  The soil is very dry.

I did a little compost sieving and aimless wandering.  Well, actually it wasn’t entirely aimless as I pointed my camera at a lot of things as I went by.

There is no shortage of tulips to look at, although I have been dead heading quite a lot for a few days now.

tulip sextet

I was particularly pleased to see that we have got three perennial wallflowers showing life.  These tend to go on flowering for months and provide a photographer with a subject when all else has faded.

perennial wallflower panel

Sometimes anticipation is as good as realisation…

icelandic poppy bud

…with plants bursting with potential…

allium bud

…and just waiting for another warm day.

rhododendron bud

However, there is not much to beat Mrs Tootlepdal’s geums when they are actually out.

geum in garden

The collared dove arrived back on the seed feeder and let me get very close before it flew off

collared dove panel

When I went in to make lunch (soup and bread and cheese again) a rook posed on the plum tree for me.

rook in plum tree

A greenfinch paused for a moment on Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree before lunch…

greenfinch in fake tree

…and another one made an awkward landing on the feeder after lunch, surprising a siskin.

greenfinch landind

Once again, the forecast was rather shifty about when and if it would rain and my afternoon planning was made more difficult by the arrival overhead of some seriously thick and ominous black clouds.

However, beyond the clouds, the skies were lighter so in the end, I got my shopping bike out and went for a bike ride.

I was hoping to leave the dark clouds behind me…

dark clouds over Langholm

…and even to see a little sun as I went round my usual Canonbie circuit.

spot of sunshine

In the event, the blackest clouds kept away but sun was hard to find as I went round and from time to time a few tentative drops of rain made me nervous but came to nothing.

Curious cows checked on my progress…

two cows under trees

…and garlic mustard and cow parsley brightened up the verges.

mustard garlic and cow parsley canonbie

I didn’t stop a lot because being on the slow bike makes the journey long enough as it is but the view from Hollows Bridge was worth a minute or two on the journey time…

esk at Hollows

…and the sight of some very cheerful silverweed flowers near the Hollows village stopped me again a hundred yards further on.

silver leaf

I liked this lonely grass nearby.

grass

The rain threatened on and off for almost the whole ride but only once was there enough to get the road even mildly wet so I was perfectly dry when I got back to Langholm. Just to annoy me, the sun came out as I crossed the River Esk.

sun over timpen from bridge

I got back in time for my daily Zoom conference with my brother and sisters.  I did take a picture of the four of them as they appeared on the screen of my phone but I will have to try again when they are not all making faces.

While I was waiting for our evening meal, there was a lot of activity at the feeder to keep me occupied.  You may think that it was raining when I took this picture of a chaffinch and a goldfinch discussing Brexit but it is just seed flying in every direction.

flying chaffinch and goldfinch

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked mince and tatties for our tea and that brought to an end a day that was remarkably like the 40 or so that have preceded it since our ‘lockdown’ started.

We have settled into a comfortable routine in the past month and are enjoying the sense of time on our hands.  We have excellent neighbours, no food shortages, easy communication with our children on a daily basis, a lovely garden in which to while away the time and quiet roads and paths round the town for cycling and walking.  We know that we are blessed and we are properly grateful for this.

An additional blessing was the arrival through the post today of a big box of Palestinian Medjoul dates, another surprise from our ever thoughtful daughter Annie.  As I now have the addresses of reliable providers of both fine cheeses and good dates, I am in a happy place as they say.  Some of Marjorie’s dates were very tasty in the date rolls.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: If all goes well, I will pick up my road bike from the bike shop tomorrow.

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The guest picture of the day is another from Dropscone’s recent walk.  He passed this fine tree on his way.  It seems to be involved in an intricate ballet step.

dennis's tree

We woke to a chilly morning, so chilly in fact that the street coffee morning meeting needed coats and was adjourned early on account of freezing fingers.

In spite of that, it was a fine enough day and when the sun got high enough to warm things up, it was another good day to be out in the garden.

This was lucky because in the lockdown, after coffee we go out into the garden.

I wandered around.

Mrs Tootlepedal has some very nice tulips with subdued but rich colours and they are being joined by very slender, brighter newcomers.

four tulips april 30

There were delicate and tiny flowers…

four garden flowers

…and more robust ones too…

…but the top joy of the day for me was this espalier apple going the whole hog.

apple in blossom

I was so enthused about life after seeing the apple, that I sieved some more compost.

In view of the enormous international interest, (largely unexpressed, it is true), in compost sieving,  I thought that I ought to take a picture of the high tech kit required for the process.

compost sievinh kit

The bucket beneath the barrow is for the rough bits that don’t go through the sieve.  Mrs Tootlepedal takes them away and does mysterious things with them.   The success of the compost making is measured by the proportion that ends in the wheelbarrow compared with the amount left in the bucket.  This spring the compost has been very rewarding.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the vegetable garden and I helped by tying up the runner bean poles, one of the few jobs in the garden for which I am suited by nature.

Mrs Tootlepedal planted some onions and told me that she hopes to take seed from the turnip that is flowering and get more turnips from them for this year.

turnip and onions

We were in the front garden when our friend Gavin loomed up over the hedge and we enjoyed a chat.

gavin over the hedge

Then it was time to go in and make potato soup for lunch.  While it was cooking, I watched the birds.

sparrow goldfinch chaffinch

The soup went down well with some freshly made bread and a fine selection of the cheeses which our daughter Annie had kindly sent us.

cheese board

I should have mentioned that I was very impressed that the cheese parcel came with refrigerated wrapping.

The forecast for the day was unreliable to say the least.  It promised rain at various times and finally settled on an 80% chance of heavy rain at 3 o’clock in the afternoon for an hour or so, followed by better weather.  Bearing this in mind, I settled for baking some date rolls after lunch, intending to go for a walk after the rain in the hope of catching refreshed bluebells in subdued light.

As I don’t like rubbing butter into flour, I got Mrs Tootlepedal to show me how to use the food processor to do the job.  This turned out to be a really good idea and made making the pastry a piece of cake.

I didn’t get my arithmetic quite right when it came to assembling the rolls and ended up with half the batch heavy on pastry and light on filling and the other half vice versa.  However, as the pastry turned out to be as easy to eat as it was to prepare, there will  be no difficulty in finding a home for the finished rolls.

This was satisfactory but the weather was less so.  Far from bringing any much needed rain, the afternoon was as sunny as the morning and I was forced to go out in search of unrefreshed bluebells.

They weren’t hard to find as the wood along the river was carpeted with them.

eastons walk bluebells

I wasn’t the only one out enjoying the spring colours.

beechy plains

I walked up the little path through the bluebells at the end of the wood and took far too many pictures as I went.

bluebells Apr 30 5

You can perhaps see why…

bluebells Apr 30 4

…it is so difficult to stop clicking.

bluebells Apr 30 3

At the top of the hill, I met our friend Nancy going in the opposite direction.  After some conversation, we went our separate ways but I noticed that Nancy had taken the trouble to dress in sympathetic colours for her bluebell walk.

bluebells Apr 30 2

I took a final bluebell picture in the little clearing next to the Stubholm track….

bluebells Apr 30 1

…and walked on.

There were other delights besides the bluebells and if we hadn’t needed rain so badly, this little view would have been pure pleasure.

stubholm track

At the junction at the end of the track, I decided that a larger view would be a good idea and headed up the Warbla road.

bare tree late april

Once on the open hill, I turned down the track back towards the Auld Stane Brig and  passed below my old friend Tom.

He was sitting on a handy bench, recouping his strength before the final assault on the lofty summit of Warbla.  You can see the communications mast on the top of the hill in the background to the picture.

Tom on a bench

I enjoyed the view that I had come to see…

view from Warbla

…and dropped back down into the Wauchope valley.  I crossed the Auld Stane Brig and headed up the road towards Becks Farm.

I saw some wild geums in the hedgerow and didn’t think that they were out until I saw a bee proving me wrong.

bee on wild geum

I crossed the Becks Burn and took the track back to the town.  I have been along here quite a few times recently so I won’t add to the pictures that have already appeared on the blog.  (I am over my limit for the day already.)

When I got home, I had a cup of tea and several date rolls.

After the daily Zoom chat with my siblings, I made cauliflower cheese for tea and while it was cooking, I had a final walk round the garden to enjoy the tulips again.

azalea tulips evening

It may or may not rain tomorrow.  The forecast is not committing itself definitely.  After that it says it is not going to rain for another ten days.  We will be seriously parched if this turns out to be true.  Rather annoyingly, it seems to be raining almost everywhere else.

Still, the sunny weather is making the lockdown more tolerable than wet weather would make it so I should look on the bright side.  There is no other side to look on as far as the weather goes.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch looking for a free perch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo from Manitoba.  Her Christmas cactus responded to a programme of benign neglect indoors over the winter by bursting into flower when it was put outside for the summer.

christmas cactus

Perhaps unsurprisingly my hopes of waking up with no pain after yesterday’s tooth extraction were not realised and far from cycling around in a free and easy way, I spent the day rather quietly at home.  This was disappointing as it is the weekend of the Muckletoon Adventure Festival in Langholm and the town is full of mountain bikers and runners dashing up and down our hill.  I would have liked to have been out and about taking pictures.

As it was, I was confined to the garden but some reasonable weather meant that there were things of interest even there.

The bees buzzed around again and this one was visiting the perennial wallflower.

bee on wallflower

Roses showed their faces and I liked this combination of rosa complicata and philadelphus in a corner of the garden.

roses and philadelphus

Almost all the azaleas flowers are gone but one or two remain and they have been joined by honeysuckle, pinks and orange hawkweed (with both fox and cubs).

azalea, honeysuckle, pink,hawkweed

In the vegetable garden there is now a sea of mustard.

mustard fiekd

It is in a bed which is likely to get a bit of a thumping when the new electricity pole is put in next week so Mrs Tootlepedal has just let it grow, which it has done with great enthusiasm (or keenness).

The warmer weather has made us very excited by the peonies which definitely look as though they are going to flower properly.

two near peonies

I mowed the front lawn and gave it a good feed of buck-u-uppo which it badly needs.  The long spell of cool weather has not encouraged the rather sparse grass to grow much so I am pinning my hopes on a spell of warmer weather which we are promised.

After this brief burst of exercise, I retired indoors and spent most of the rest of the day resting and looking out of the window.

The birds did their best to keep me entertained.

Goldfinches looked sideways…

goldfinch looking sideways

,..and sparrows look downwards.

sparrow looking down

A sparrow tried to out stare an incoming siskin…

siskin looming

…while a siskin resorted to shouting when it was threatened.

siskin staring at siksin

Goldfinches demonstrated aerial combat skills…

goldfinch aerial combat

…while a siskin relied on the old fashioned method of putting the boot in when approached by a goldfinch.

siskin and 2 goldfinches

A siskin threatened a redpoll as some light rain started later on in the afternoon…

rain at the new feeder

…but the redpoll was more than equal to the challenge and munched away placidly when it had seen the siskin off.

redpoll nf

The rain got heavier but did nothing to cool tempers down.

siskins sparring nf

…and a brisk traffic to and from the feeder continued all afternoon.

goldfinch going nf

The rain stopped and a blackbird posed for me on the feeder pole.

blackbird posing nf

I had another walk round the garden and was very pleased to see that the ‘butter and sugar’ iris had come out while I had been sitting inside.

butter and sugar iris

The geums have quite enjoyed the cool weather and although it is a little faded round the edges, the deep colour of this one was outstanding.

deep red geum

I had a close look at the argyranthemums in the chimney pot…

argyranthemum centre

…and went back inside.

All this means that after a very promising start to the cycling month when I did 100 miles in the first week of June, I have only managed 10 miles since.  Some settled weather is required if I am to improve matters but it looks as though that might be in short supply.

If I can’t get out for a walk or a bike ride, I will have to start thinking of going for a drive to get some scenic views to add a bit of variety to the daily posts (and our lives).

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch cruising through the raindrops.

flying goldfinch

Note:  I will need to do something about the reflections in the window when I am looking at the re-positioned feeder.  The view of the birds is good but the streaky lines down some of the pictures is not satisfactory.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who knows that I like a neat lawn.  She found this one near a well known large house.

Buck house gardens

It was one of those days when it might have rained at any time and there was evidence that it had rained…

rain on hosta

…but in the end, it kept reasonably dry until the late afternoon and I was able to wander round the garden after breakfast looking to see what was going on.

There was the familiar:  the purple stemmed cow parsley is going from strength to strength…

purple cow parsley

…and there was the fresh: the nectaroscordum has started to flower.

nectaroscordum

There was old: the pulsatilla seed heads  are having fun…

pulsatilla

…and there was new: a fourth geum has joined in with the others…

four geums

…and a second astrantia has arrived as well.

pale astrantia

There was plenty of bright colour but sadly a rose had come out and been knocked about by a rain shower before I had a chance to get a good shot of it.

four reds

There were a good number of bumble bees about…

bee on allium

…and the alliums were on their visiting list.

I like the geometry of the alliums….

bees eye view of allium

…and of the sweet rocket too.

sweet rocket head

I was still pottering around the garden when a guest arrived for a garden tour and a cup of coffee.  Sue has recently come to live in Langholm and while she was searching online for information about the town, she happened upon my blog and has since become a regular reader.  It was very nice of her to take the time to come and visit us and Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed a good chat with her.

She lives on the edge of town and has many interesting visitors to her garden.  She has invited us up to see woodpeckers, nuthatches and squirrels so I hope to take up her offer soon.

When  she left, I mowed the middle lawn and then took some time to watch our own birds.  Just the usual suspects were about…

three birds

…though I was pleased to see a chaffinch.  They are normally our most common visitor but they have almost entirely disappeared from our garden lately for some unknown reason.

chaffinch and siskin

After lunch, I went up to the town to keep an appointment but as the person whom I was supposed to meet wasn’t there, I came home again and set to work with Mrs Tootlepedal on some lawn improvement.

The front edge of the middle lawn has lifted up over time and Mrs Tootlepedal wanted it lowered so it looked better and was easier to step off.  This involved raising the turfs, removing soil from underneath and replacing the turfs.

A straightforward task which we approached methodically.  First cut the turfs…

lawn renovation 1

…then remove them and lay them on the drive in the right order…

lawn renovation 2

…then shoogle and level the soil underneath, removing quite a lot of earth and three  buckets of stones…

lawn renovation 3

…before raking the soil flat and putting some compost in…

lawn renovation 4

…and then the turfs that have been removed are sliced to a uniform thinness using a turf box and a knife and replaced in position….

lawn renovation 5

…until it starts to pour with rain and we have to break off and have a cup of tea.

As it was then the tome when my flute pupil Luke came, I left Mrs Tootlepedal replacing the last of the turfs between showers and when Luke left, I helped her to finish off the task. Then we gave the replaced lawn a thorough watering and generally tidied up a bit.

lawn renovation 6

As well as the three buckets of stones, we had removed about two wheelbarrow loads of soil so although it may not look much in the photos, we made quite a difference.  Everything will take a few days to settle, but we were very pleased with the result of the afternoon’s work. The lawn will never be bowling green flat but it is much more level than it was.

Luke has been practicing so the lesson went well too.

Tomorrow will tell whether a couple of hours of vigorous bending and stretching was a good idea.  At the moment, all is well.

The flying bird of the day is one of our sparrows.

flying sparrow

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