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Posts Tagged ‘helenium’

Today’s guest picture comes from Sandy’s adventures in Thailand.  They are very thorough there and even elephants have to be washed up after meals.

Thai washing up

I rose at my usual time and did both vocal and leg exercises before Dropscone arrived for coffee bringing scones with him.

I wasn’t feeling very well before he came and even his good conversation and fine scones couldn’t get me back to full perkiness by the time that he left.

It was fairly warm with the temperature in double figures but a brisk breeze and very grey skies didn’t make going outside seem attractive so I sat at my computer and put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database while Mrs Tootlepedal worked away at her rocking horse restoration.

Because i was not feeling well, I had a very light lunch and stared idly out of the window at the birds instead of eating properly.

There were no redpolls or woodpeckers today so I spent some time training the goldfinches and chaffinches to fly in synchro.

coming and going at the feeder

Not bad for a first effort.

Coal tits are very small birds and I have some very small seeds out for them but they prefer the sunflower hearts…

big mouth

…even though they can’t swallow them.  The birds have to take the seeds off to a handy branch and peck at them while they are held under their feet.

There was steady traffic for most of the time and the birds kept an eye out for any perch vacancies.

heading for a perch

If I got bored with the birds, I could enjoy the spirea instead.

spirea through the window

By the time that the afternoon began to wear on, I got so bored that I went out for a short walk to test my dodgy leg.

The leg turned out to be pretty dodgy and so the walk was even shorter than I had intended and consisted of a turn round the park and then back home again.

I took a few pictures along the way which I will put in without comment as I am still feeling very part worn.

Wauchope Water from park brigpark wall lichenleaves in the parkMeikleholm Hill november

I took one flower picture in our garden…

helenium

…and then retired to bed for an hour or so.  I got up to see how I was doing and this turned out to be a mistake as I found myself in a reverse eating scenario so I went back to bed again.

I got up in the evening and enjoyed a nice glass of water for my tea and that concluded the fun for the day.  I know that I am keen to lose the weight that I have been putting on recently but this method was a bit drastic so I hope that I am back to normal tomorrow.

To make up for the lack of content in today’s post, I am putting in two flying birds of day….head down and wings up…

flying chaffinch wings up

…and head up and wings down.

Flying chaffinch wings down

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.   He must live in a sunny place now he has moved to his new house because the locals have turned their wellies into a garden.

Welly Boot garden

It was a crisp and bright morning with the thermometer in the car showing 5°C as I took the car to the garage after breakfast to get an intermittent squeal checked.  Intermittent squeals and squeaks are hard to fix so I drove ten miles before dropping the car off to see if I could make the squeal appear.  Of course it didn’t but nevertheless the garage managed to find the root of the problem and sort it out before the day was over.

My next visit was to the health centre to get a blood test to see if taking iron tablets has done me any good.  A visit to the doctor next week will supply the answer to that question.

The next business of the day was to photograph the Lilian Austin rose which had reacted to two days of sunshine by coming out….

Lilan Austin rose

…quite beautifully.

I mowed the greenhouse grass with my second best push mower, one without a roller.

And then diagnosis and cure continued when the telly aerial man arrived to find out why our guest bedroom television was not receiving a signal.  Because the cables from our dish had been run under the roof when our end wall was being rebuilt, diagnosis was fairly easy – the cable under the roof is faulty – but the reason for the fault and the way to cure it was obscure to say the least.  A ‘work round’ was put in place and the television is now receiving a signal and as the job took a lot longer than expected, we have received a bill.  Such is life.

I had soup for lunch and went for my customary 20 mile short pedal down to Canonbie and back.  I had an a appointment later on so I didn’t dilly dally on the way, though I did see a cow which was outstanding in its own field…

cow in field

…as they say in the obituary of eminent scientists.

And I gave three cheers for these hips in a hedge.

three hips

For the second day running Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy painting the new garage doors so she was resting when I got back.

I looked round the garden briefly…

japanese anemone clumphelenium clump

…and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal picked up the car from the garage and went shopping for plants, I went for a walk with Sandy.

We drove a mile out of town and took a triangular walk, up through a birch wood…

birch wood

….along a track…

Walk in the woods

…with helpful signposts…

Langholm Walks pole

Jenny Noble's sign

….through an oak wood….

oak wood

…and back down the hill to where we started.

the hill to the railway

We were hoping to see some fungi as we went along and got quite excited when we saw these just after we had set off from the car….

dark fungus

We have walked this walk before and seen very few fungi but today, we saw more as walked along…

two fungi

…and then more….

four fungi

…and then even more.

dix fungi

We have never seen anything like it.  Conditions must have been perfect this year.

I thought that this one deserved to stand alone.

tall fungus

We looked at other things too.

The horse chestnuts are always the earliest to change colour these days.

horse chestnut

I quote from the Woodland Trust website: The horse chestnut leaf miner can occur on trees in huge numbers, causing the foliage to turn brown and fall early. There is no evidence to suggest this harms the trees, as most of the damage occurs late in the season.

The oaks appear to be in good health.

three acorns

Ferns are always interesting.  This one seemed to have been decorated  by a careful embroiderer.

sporangi on fern

It was a delightful walk, warm and pleasant in the shelter of the wood and with far too many photo opportunities for us to make full use of them all.

Mrs Tootlepedal had arrived back by the time that I got home and while she prepared a plum crumble and a giant courgette fritter, I mowed the drying green with our hover mower.  I like to have the right mower for the job.

All this took up so much of my time, that iIdidn’t have the opportunity to take a flying bird picture today and as the flower of the day has already appeared, there is no more to say.

Oh alright, here is the fungus of the day.

fungus cluster

You can see Sandy’s excellent pictures from our walk by visiting his blog here.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle Correspondent, Fiona, who is in Amsterdam. She thought that I might like this cycle repair shop sign.

bike shop sign

It was another day of frequent showers, mostly quite short but often quite heavy.  My scientific rain gauge is measuring over three inches of rain for the week and it is a tribute to our long dry spell that ground has still not got soggy.

I had a quick walk round the garden after breakfast.

Things we were wet after more overnight rain…

wet yellow rose

…but the sun was out and Mrs Tootlepedal’s cosmos were looking very cheerful…

cosmos group

..as was the Japanese anemone.

sunny japanese anemone

I didn’t have time to hang about though as we had to set off to Dumfries where Mrs Tootlepedal was having a second cataract operation.  Her first one, a few years ago,  had been very satisfactory so she was pretty calm about the whole thing today and everything went well and we were able to go to a nearby garden centre for lunch afterwards.

We had a walk round the plants after lunch and for the life of me, I cannot fathom what attracted her to these geraniums.

cheap flowers

Maybe it was the colour.  Anyway, she bought one.

We had driven through a very heavy shower on our way to Dumfries, almost but not quite hard enough to make driving impossible, but the journey home by a quieter route was very peaceful.  It started to rain again soon after we got back but not before I had had the chance to do some dead heading and have a look around.

The heleniums are starting to look a bit more as though they mean business…

helenuim group

…and nearby, a new astilbe is adding colour to the scene.

astilbe

The rain doesn’t seem to keep the bees away and the dahlias had attracted them again.

bee on dahlia

The weather came and went and in between showers, I watched the birds.  I put out some more fat balls and they pulled in a good crowd of jackdaws.

Jackdaws take life seriously…..

jackdaw close up

….and they find perching on my feeder pole a bit of a tricky problem.

jackdaw perching

While they were about, the sparrows waited discreetly in the plum tree…

sparrow in plum tree

…but as soon as the jackdaws went, the sparrows got stuck into the seed feeder with gusto.

sparrows on feeder

Mrs Tootlepedal was having a sensible rest so I took the chance to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and then cooked the tea.

A glance out of the window after tea showed that the weather had cleared up and as it looked set fair for a while, I went out for a short walk just to stretch my legs.

There was enough water in the Esk to bring all three arches of the town bridge into action…

Langholm Bridge in August

…and to tempt some local fishermen into trying their luck just above the bridge.

fishermen on Esk

It was a beautiful evening for a walk.

Lodge cottage

I kept an eye for interesting  things and enjoyed this very sturdy fungus at the end of the Kilngreen…

sturdy fungus

…a small moss and lichen garden on an old tree stump…

tree garden

…and a banded snail on another stump.

snail

The evening sunshine was warm enough to raise little drifts of mist from the wet trees.

misty tree view

The corydalis on the wall at the end of the Scholars’ Field was as pretty as ever.

corydalis

I met the Archive Group treasurer Nancy on my way home and we fell into conversation.  She has a small allotment and like us, the good season has produced far too many vegetables for her and her husband to eat themselves and she tells me that people now swerve aside when they see her coming in case they find themselves loaded with courgettes, beans and other vegetables before they can escape.

I realise that in an ideal world, all this surplus would be pickled or other wise preserved and set aside for the depths of winter but that requires time, patience and skill and one or other of these qualities may not always be available.  Or in my case, none of them and I don’t like pickles anyway.

We have to go back to the hospital again tomorrow for a check up so if the weather is at all sympathetic, I will try to visit some photogenic spot on our way back.

The flying bird of the day is a jackdaw trying to get a purchase on the fat ball feeder.

flying jackdaw

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba, or to be more precise, over Manitoba in her aeroplane from which she could see the effect of having a pivotal irrigation system.

pivotal irrigation

A variety of forecasters were offering a variety of forecasts today but they all involved rain at some time or other.  I decided to believe the ones that suggested rain in the morning and a better afternoon and spent some time putting another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  As I still have a pile of two months sitting beside the computer, I will need a lot of rainy days to get through them.

There was a bit of rain in the morning but I found a dry moment to go up and get my medicine from the chemist and arrange to book the hall for the camera club which will be starting again in September.

This all took most of the morning and I didn’t take my camera out until after midday.

In spite of dead heading dozens of calendulas every day, or maybe because of dead heading dozens of calendulas every day, there are still a lot around.

calendula

The clematis on the fence beside the vegetable garden are thriving and the Ooh La La is still gamely producing flowers.

fence clematis

Then it started to rain so I went in and made some vegetable soup (including courgettes) for my lunch.

After lunch, the sun shone again and almost immediately a peacock butterfly appeared on the buddleia.

lone peacock butterfly

Our neighbour Liz and I were considering where the butterflies live and what they do on wet days.  Do butterflies have a home to got to?  How far will a butterfly fly to get to a buddleia?  This are questions to which I don’t know the answer.

I do know where my bike is though so, after photographing a pigeon on a pole…

pigeon

…I got it out and went for a ride while the sun was shining.

The wind was also blowing and it was pretty vigorous so I confined my efforts to a very slow tour round my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  I was quite pleased to stop for pictures on my way.

I always enjoying looking at this slightly mysterious row of trees in a field.

row of trees

Nearby, belted Galloway cattle were too busy eating the fresh grass to look up as I passed.

belted Galloway

Things have greened up well and on my ride yesterday, I  saw that some farmers have been able to take a second cut of silage.  The view from Tarcoon back to Langholm seemed to promise fair weather all the way for my ride today.

view of whita from tarcoon

And the view ahead, showed another descent from the hills to the plain.

Tarcoon view

I was a bit less confident about getting round dry as I passed Hollows Tower with five miles to go as the black clouds looked threatening…

Hollows Tower under a cloud

…but my timing was good and it had rained in Langholm and then stopped raining by the time that I got back.

Mrs Tootlepedal was entertaining our neighbours Gavin and Gaye to a cup of tea indoors when I arrived.  They had intended to try out our new bench but had been driven inside by the shower.

We had had a painter working on the  outside doors at the front of the house through the day and I hadn’t seen many birds as a result so I set up the camera to watch the birds when Gavin and Gaye left….

plump siskin

…but then left it to go outside and join Mrs Tootlepedal who was working in the garden.

The poppies are trying their best…

three poppies

…and we have two sorts of crocosmia out…

two crocosmia

…but it was hard to take a picture of a dahlia without a bee getting in the way.

bees on dahlias

I thought that the helenium was looking a bit more cheerful today.

helenium with necklace

Going back inside, I watched the birds again.

Sparrows replaced our greenfinches today.

These two were having a discussion….

two sparrows

…when they broke off to shout encouragement to another who was experimenting with vertical take off.

vertical sparrow

Siskins brought their usual behaviour to the party.

sparring siskins

I had got the timing for my cycle ride doubly right because it started to rain very heavily while I was having my post ride shower and I recorded over 1cm of rain for the day in Mary Jo’s rain gauge, all from short sharp showers.

The combination of the house moving last week and some regularly pedalling in brisk winds have left me a little tired so I was more than happy to settle down after tea and watch highly skilled athletes and swimmers battling each other in the European Championships.

The flying bird of the day is another sparrow,

flying sparrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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