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Posts Tagged ‘hawkbit’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia.  She got down to sea level in Madeira and brilliantly caught this Atlantic spotted dolphin in mid leap.

Atlantoc spotted dolphin

Our spell of great weather is coming to an end but we are being let down gently before rain and gales blow in tomorrow night and we had a calm, warm but rather grey day today.

The iron pills have not worked their magic yet and I am still feeling a little tired so I was happy to spend a quiet morning doing a little business and paying bills after breakfast and then doing some aimless wandering around in the garden.

I said to Mrs Tootlepedal the other day that we seemed to have a lot of philadelphus in the garden and she rather thought that I was exaggerating but when she looked round, and counted, she found that there are at least nine…

philadelphus panel

A small selection

…and as they are pretty well all out, the garden is full of blossom and delightful aromas too.

I kept my eye out for new flowers and spotted the first of many Martagon lilies.

martagon lily

Mrs Tootlepedal is getting very excited by some small but perfectly formed blue alliums which are just about to come out.

blue allium

I was pleased to see a couple of red tailed bumble bees back on the chives.  They are very striking and an ornament to any garden.

red tailed bumble bee

I pulled myself together after a cup of coffee and set about putting some liquid fertiliser on the front lawn. The front lawn is still very mossy and I thought that what grass there is needed some encouragement.  As the fertiliser is applied by watering can, it is a labour intensive activity and kept me happily occupied for some time.  I did a bit of the middle lawn too.

I took time out to do the crossword and watch the birds.  The feeder was quite busy today.

greenfinch

A few greenfinches turned up…

flying siskins

…but mostly it was siskins and some goldfinches again

I was thinking about a gentle afternoon pedal but a few drops of rain put me off the idea and I went for a walk instead.  It seemed like quite a time since I had been up a hill so I went up our nearest one, Meikleholm Hill.

The rain held off as I walked up the track to the hill, admiring the many grasses on the way.  There was a splendid variety…

garsses

…but the star of the grass show when I looked at them on the computer later on, was this colourful spray with added visitors.

grass with insects

Just before I got to the gate onto the open hill, I noticed a few rabbits in the field beside the track.  Most of them scampered away but one remained, pretending to be a blade of grass.

rabbit in grasses

I always like this gate just before the top of the track…

Meikleholm gate

…but I was glad to be finally out on the open hill and looking back across the town towards Whita Hill on the other side of the valley.

View of langholm from Meikleholm

Even on a grey day, it is a view to lift the heart.

There were plenty of wild flowers to look at as I followed the track which curves up round the side of the hill…

tree on meikleholm

There was a lot of tormentil which I failed to record properly and quite a bit of bird’s-foot trefoil and various hawkbits too.

trefoil and hawksbit

I was hoping to see some early orchids too and wasn’t entirely disappointed as there were a few small flowers to be seen.

orchids

There are sheep on the hill and I don’t know if they will nibble off the orchids or not but there should be a lot more flowers as the summer goes on.

They sheep probably won’t eat these marsh thistles though.

marsh thistke

I was considering an extended route when I got to the top of Meikleholm Hill but a look to the north….

rain over Potholm

…and the south….

clouds over solway

…persuaded me that the straight route home might be the best bet.

No sooner had I made up my mind than the rain started and I had to skip down the hill as fast as my creaky knee would let me.

I did stop for one last photo opportunity as the racecourse on the Castleholm looked very attractive but that was the only stop as I was getting quite wet and didn’t have a coat with me.

racecourse castleholm

The rain eased off without entirely stopping as I got down to the town so I was happy to get home without getting soaked through.

That was my last excursion for the day, though I did get as far as the back door later on to take a final picture of the day.

colourful corner

Mrs Tootlepedal finds colours and textures in flowers, grasses and shrubs and mixes them all together in a most harmonious way in my view.  I am very lucky to be the beneficiary of her skills.

In the evening, she went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a screening of Swan lake performed by the Royal Ballet.  I stayed at home because although I admire the wonderful skills and fitness of the dancers, I keep waiting for something interesting to happen and as nothing does, I get easily  bored.

The flower of the day is one of our foxgloves.  Some gardeners may turn up their noses at these common wild flowers but I am glad that Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t.

foxglove

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The second of the ‘trip to London’ pictures shows “Topaz”, one of the elegant Pullman coaches pulled by the steam engine which we saw at Carlisle station.  I like the little lamps with shades at every table.

Pullman coach

We had a rare outbreak of summer today with plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze from the north in case it got too hot.

I started the day off by going up to check on the Camera Club exhibition and making arrangements for visitors to purchase prints if the mood comes upon them.  While I was there, the volunteer custodian and I got our pictures taken by the local paper which was publicising the event for us.

I then went home and promptly had to come back up to the town again as I had forgotten to buy a Common Riding tie to wear when our little choir songs at the concert on Wednesday.  It is a quirk of the Langholm Common Riding that it has different colours each year, taken from the colour of the silks worn by the jockey of the winner of the Derby.  This means that there is a different tie every year.

All this excitement and a bit of shopping thrown in, meant that I needed a sit down and a cup of coffee when I finally got home.  Then I needed a lettuce and marmite sandwich to provide fuel so it was not until after midday that I managed to get going on the fairly speedy bike.

I took a few garden pictures before I left.

sunny flowers

Once on the bike, I soon discovered that my legs were in go slow mode so I didn’t push them and I was happy to stop for pictures as I went along.

There was plenty to see in the verges….

umbellifer with red soldier beetles

Every umbellifer seemed to have at least one red soldier beetle on it.   I saw a stem hosting nineteen insects of various sorts on its flower heads later in my ride.

The road side verges are recovering after the mowing and I liked this display of hawkbits on the road up Callister.

hawkbits on Callister

Whether they are ‘lesser, ‘autumn, ‘rough’ or some other hawbits I cannot tell but they were good to look at as I puffed up the hill.  I have no idea what the little birds in the middle of the road further up the hill were doing.

I had to cross a couple of recently gravelled sections of road on my journey but there has been sufficient traffic to make them quite safe for cycling which was a relief.

I went as far west as Paddockhole and then turned north, uphill and into the wind to get to Eskdalemuir via Bailliehill and Castle O’er.  This took me past the new windfarm at Ewe Hill and I tried to get a picture that took in all the 22 turbines…..

Ewe Hill wind farm

…and failed.  The turbines are so stretched out and alternately low and high that my camera couldn’t cope at all.

There are now so many wind turbines in Scotland that on a day of good wind and low demand, they can provide just about all the energy that is needed for the whole country.  What is required now is serious work on developing storage for renewable energy and it does seem that people are paying attention to this.  I live in hope.

I pedalled on up the valley of the Water of Milk, crossing bridges when I came to them.

little bridge on Bailliehill road

When I arrived at Bailliehill, I had crossed the col between the water of Milk and the Esk Valley….

Esk valley at Bailliehill

One of my favourite views of the Esk

…and I was soon passing the spot where the Black Esk meets the White Esk….

Black Esk meets White Esk

…and I had to cross the Black Esk…..

Black Esk bridge

…to continue up the west bank of the White Esk to Eskdalemuir.

When I got there, the northernmost point of the trip, I crossed yet another bridge…

Eskdalemuir bridge

Electricity and phone wires are everywhere I go.

…to continue my journey back to Langholm down the east bank of the river.

After pedalling the last ten miles uphill and into the wind, I was hoping for a good push from the breeze to get me back to Langholm but it was fitful and flighty and often seemed to come from the side and even into my face a bit instead of wafting me home.

Still, it was a glorious day to be out in the country so I didn’t mind too much and just pedalled along in a very stately manner admiring the views.

There are prehistoric monuments along the way.  This is a stone circle, The Girdle Stanes, half of which has been swept away by the river.

Girdle Stanes

The fields really were those colours.  The whole outing was a visual treat.

I had to pause on the Crurie Brae to let my tin knee rest as I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills.  While I paused,  I looked north.  I could see the road that I had come up on the other side of the valley.

Looking back from Crurie Brae

Soon afterwards, I got my reward for the climbing I had done…..

Shaw Rigg

…as I whistled down the long straight road of the Shaw Rig.

I was soon pedalling along the back road past Georgefield, through banks of wild flowers….

Georgefield road

…until I crossed the Esk again at Bentpath by the bridge below the church….

Bentpath bridge and church

…which I see has got the builders in.

Westerkirk Church

Although the road from Eskdalemuir is theoretically downhill as it follows the river, it never seems that way when I am cycling along it. It undulates a lot and I was grateful to get to the last climb of the day.  I stopped for a breather and a final view from my ride.

View of Esk valley at Potholm

I would have taken a picture of the good crop of raspberries at the top of the hill but I inadvertently ate them before I thought of getting the camera out.  Wild raspberries are delicious.

I did 34 miles which is not far but as you can see from the elevation profile below, it was an up and down sort of ride with long uphill and short downhill sections so not very restful.  It was the slowest ride I have done for ages but also one of the most enjoyable.

Garmin route 24 July 2107

Click on the map for more details of the ride if you wish

 

When I got home, I had another wander round the garden….

poppy and roses

…edged the lawn and picked some beetroot which I then cooked.  I made a loaf of bread (with water) and went upstairs to have shower.  The front lawn looked so good from the bathroom window that I went back downstairs and got a camera.  I often say to Mrs Tootlepedal that all the work that I do on the lawn through autumn, spring and early summer is to make it look good for at least one day later in the summer.

I think that this might have been that day.

the front lawn looking good

When I came down a little later, there were forty sparrows pecking the lawn to bits.  Ah well.

Still the evening sunshine lit up a poppy very nicely so that soothed my ire.

poppy in sunshine

And a very cheery clematis at the front door completely restored my good humour.

front door clematis

Then my flute pupil Luke came and we played through our trio and that rounded off a very good day indeed.

After tea, I picked the very last of the blackcurrants and I hope to find time to make a pot or two of jelly tomorrow.

The flying birds of the day can’t make up their minds and are sitting on the fence for the time being.

blackbirds

Oh all right, it’s a hedge and not a fence.  Perhaps they are hedging their bets.

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a very nice bridge that my sister Mary met in the Lake District last week.  You can see Lancrigg Hotel in the background.  She tells me that Wordsworth used to sit and write poetry there.

Lancrigg Hotel in the background where Wordsworth used to sit and write poetry.

After our brief burst of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, we were promised a day of continual rain and temperatures of no more than 13°C to start the new week off.  I was prepared to spend a day indoors, well wrapped up, doing those useful tasks which had been neglected while the great outdoors had been so tempting recently.

However it seems that changing weather patterns have made it harder than usual for the big predicting computers to grind the data accurately enough to give a reliable ‘day ahead’ forecast and in real life, we enjoyed a dry-ish day with occasional bits of rain and a  very tolerable 17°C temperature.

As a result, I only did some of the useful tasks that I should have done and not quite as many as I would have liked. Walking round the garden and getting out further afield kept interrupting my work flow.

I did spend most of the morning putting a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, catching up with correspondence and memorising songs for Sunday’s concert and I only got out into the garden just after midday.

I took a few pictures with my phone camera to see how it took to flowers.  I tried it on a wide view…

lupins

…and a close up…

geum

A fancy geum

…and on a decorative shrub…

spirea

A spirea

…and I thought that it did quite well.

My Lumix is getting quite unreliable as the zoom keeps sticking and I am thinking about a replacement.  An article I read suggested that compact cameras have had their day now that phone cameras are so good and it is true that when conditions are perfect, a phone can do a good job but you don’t have anything like the control that you need when things are not so helpful.

I couldn’t take a satisfactory picture of some white flowers with it at all.

I made and ate some potato soup for lunch and then went out and mowed the middle lawn and took some more flower pictures with the Lumix.

I found a pretty flower in one flower bed just the like the wild one which I had found beside the road a day or two ago.  I was very pleased…

vetch

…but Mrs Tootlepedal was most unhappy.  “That’s vetch,” she said, “It’s a pest, get it out of there.”

I pulled it all up as best as I could and realised that it was indeed a bit of a problem as it had crept and crawled all over the bed.

I turned my attention to safer plants.

spirea

Another spirea showing an elegant curve

chimney pot

The chimney pot has just got its annual implant

There were a few bees buzzing around.  This one was sampling the comfrey.

bee on comfrey

In spite of the forecast, the weather seemed to be set fair for a bit so Mrs Tootlepedal and I ventured out on an unexpected cycle ride.  Once again we went up the Wauchope road but on this occasion we added a little extra by visiting Cleughfoot and did eight and a half miles.

I got some additional exercise by stopping to take flower pictures….

geraniums

Wild geraniums lining the roadside near the Auld Stane Brig

…and then racing to catch up Mrs Tootlepedal who, as you can see in the picture above, wastes no time in disappearing into the distance.  Still, when I do catch her up, she is a very useful extra pair of eyes scanning the verges.  She spotted this fine thistle.

thistle

I spotted one of those dandelion-like flowers which are not dandelions.  It is probably a hawkbit….

hawksbit

…and I was not the only one to have spotted it.

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t spot lichens but I do.

lichen

Wall art

It wasn’t very windy so it was very enjoyable cruising through the countryside looking at nature.  The scenery was sometimes pastoral…

Cleuchfoot valley

The road to Cleughfoot

…and sometimes watery.

Wauchope Watery

Wauchope Water at Bessie Bell’s

We stopped for a while at Bessie Bell’s so that Mrs Tootlepedal could marvel at the changes that time and rushing waters have brought to a favourite picnic spot when the children were young.

I looked at wild flowers.  They weren’t hard to find.

broom, geum, crossowort and buttercups

Broom, geum, crossowort and buttercups

The broom has just come out so it can be described as a new broom, I suppose.  It is very yellow indeed.

broom

The birdsfoot trefoil nearby had a lot of red about it…

birdsfoot trefoil

…and was looking very pretty.

When we got home, we were joined by Mike Tinker for a cup of tea and a biscuit and by large numbers of sparrow families who were enjoying the fat balls outside the kitchen window.

sparrows

After tea, i went back to the song learning and put one into the computer which helps by playing the music for me so I can’t cheat and look at the words which  I tend do if I am picking out the part on our keyboard.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we started work on a Haydn trio sonata.

I was out in the garden doing some deadheading yesterday when I accidentally knocked the head off an iris.  Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it might flower indoors if she could find a suitable vase and she was quite right.  I took a picture of it on the kitchen table and we were surprised to find that two of my cameras thought that it was quite a different colour than we did.  It still looked good though.

iris

It looked a much darker purple to us.

The sharp eyed will notice that somehow or other, a greenfly has got to the flower.  How it had manged this, when the flower was brought into the house completely unopened, is a mystery.

If all the forecast cold and wet days are as nice as this one turned out to be, I won’t complain at all.

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