Posts Tagged ‘Jacob’s Ladder’

Today’s guest picture comes from a reader in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. Spurred on by my biscuit making efforts, Lisa has produced her own Garibaldi biscuits which are very nicely presented.

It was a day of constant wind here today, often gusting at over 40mph. As a result, apart from going out for a very short street coffee morning, we had a quiet day indoors as there was definite danger of being blown over if you were not paying attention when you were in the garden.

To be truthful, I did spend a few moments in the garden after coffee seeing if I could get plants to stop waving about for long enough for me to get a picture. One or two obliged.

There were dancing feet to be seen on a Jacob’s Ladder….

…and a Veronica.

More flowers that survived the frost are showing which is a cheerful sight.

Old tulips are fading away gracefully while the Welsh poppies are doing their best to fill any gaps

A shy ranunculus has just come up. Its delicate colour is a challenge to my camera but the dull light this morning was helpful.

I couldn’t miss a second flower on the clematis at the front door. The front door variety may not have the huge number of flowers that the back door clematis has but each of its flowers packs a bit of a punch.

It didn’t take me long to get back inside out of the wind and I frittered away much of the rest of the morning reading newspapers, doing the crossword and looking at birds (and occasionally mentioning to Mrs Tootlepedal that there was a bit of a wind out there).

There were plenty of birds to watch. While the feeder was not very full, sparrows congregated on the bottom plate…

…and when I filled it, a siskin sensibly took the high road.

During the afternoon, a tentative beak appeared…

…which was followed by the rest of the bird…

…and a hearty snack ensued.

Now you know what a happy rook looks like

We did think about going for a walk after lunch but several punishing gusts of wind in quick succession, persuaded us that the chance of fun was strictly limited and we found more things to do indoors.

I put some accompaniments onto the computer so that I can play trios without breaking any isolating rules.

We have been cooking for ourselves since the lockdown began but following a suggestion from a friend, we applied to a local hotel for a hot meal to be delivered this evening, and bang on schedule delicious portions of fish and chips and vegetarian lasagna arrived from The Douglas, fully as tasty as they would have been if we were eating in their dining room.

However, this was a much more substantial amount of food than we have been used to eating, so afterwards I felt the need to ignore the elements and go for a walk to shake the meal down.

Luckily the wind had dropped a bit and the sun had come out and it was by no means a hardship to do a quick three bridges.

The church was looking good without the trees in front of it…

In spite of an inch of rain recorded by Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge over recent days, there was still not much water in the river but there were plenty of oyster catchers and a wagtail to be seen.

The nesting mother, the anxious father, and another pair further upstream The wagtail was wagging its tail.

I saw a goosander but as it had its head continuously under water and was trawling at speed, it didn’t offer a photo opportunity.

The brisk wind made things a bit chilly and I didn’t hang about too long as I went round the new path on the Castleholm and crossed the Jubilee Bridge…

…but as always, there were things to see along the way, like a thrush in the Clinthead Garden

It was very tame and hopped about until I had got my picture.

…and some neat planting there….

….trees and flowers on the Castleholm and Scholars’ Field…

…and the the heavily tree lined banks of the Esk as I crossed the bridge.

I was pleased to have taken some exercise, especially as the wind is due to continue for a day or two, so cycling is not on the menu until Monday at the earliest.

The flying bird of the day is one of the many sparrows about at the moment.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture, a lovely study of the Lake District, comes from my sister Mary who was on holiday there last week.

Lake DistrictYesterday’s sunny and warm day turned out to have been yet another false start on the long march towards summer and we were back to grey, windy and far from warm conditions today.  This put paid to any thought of dashing out for an early pedal and after a late breakfast, my only cycle expedition was to our local Co-operative store for some tomatoes.

I enlivened the return journey by a visit to a furniture maker’s studio which was open as part of the Spring Fling.  Daniel Lacey is the man who was responsible for the bird hide at the Moorland feeders and it was a treat to see his professional work.  Photographs cannot do justice to the sheer beauty of his woodwork.  The impulse to stroke every piece of wood in sight was almost overwhelming.

The tomatoes were a part of the lunch preparations for the visit of my younger son Alistair with his wife Clare and their daughter Matilda, TWGSP, to see Granny.

Granny and matilda

A gap of two feet and 97 years.

I took the opportunity of showing Matilda the delights of bird watching through a window.

Matilda bird watchingMatilda was in great form and spent a good deal of time walking up and down the lawn.  She can stand up unassisted but likes a helping hand while perambulating.

Matilda Al and ClareShe had us all at it.

Matilda Al and Clare Granny and Mum

A four generation outing

They thought that they were taking Matilda for a walk, but she and I knew who was really in charge.

MatildaIt was the second excellent family visit in two days.  We are hoping that Matilda might be persuaded to come and stay a night with us soon.

In spite of the grey day and chilly wind, it was still a bit warmer than it has been and the garden was looking a bit more colourful.

red azalea

The first flower on the red azalea is out…

yellow azalea

…and the yellow azalea is really coming into its own.


We’ve still got just one allium (nearly) out so far.

jacob's Ladder and geum

The Jacob’s Ladder and geums are filling out well.

blue and white

There are small patches of colour round every corner


The potentilla along the dam is flourishing and the first blossoms have appeared on the potentilla in the garden.

Dangling in the cool shade of its leaves the flowers of a Solomons Seal are almost out.

solomon's sealMatilda noticed that the goldfinches prefer the old feeder now hanging on the elder…..

goldfinches…whereas the siskins prefer the new one.

siskinsSometimes, a goldfinch would wait, perched high on the plum tree, to see which looked most inviting.

goldfinchEvery now and again, it would almost turn into a nice day.

goldfinch and greenfinch

A goldfinch and greenfinch share a feeder peaceably but rather standoffishly in a little patch of sunshine….

siskin and goldfinch

…but when the sun went in, a siskin and goldfinch turned ugly too.

I was hoping to sneak out for a pedal when Matilda took her parents home at four o’clock but the sun disappeared and the wind seemed to know my mind and raised its tempo a bit so I stayed at home, shifted a little compost and practised a little singing instead.

The evening was spent in gentle relaxation after the excitements of the past two days.

The flying bird of the day is an incoming goldfinch.


Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my brother Andrew paid to the Spanish port of Santander last month.

There is a little outcrop with lighthouse at the harbour entrance

The weather was good and, importantly, the wind was light so in the absence of Dropscone who golfs on a Wednesday, it seemed like a good day to test out the legs.  I had had a sound night’s sleep and my hip is always improved by a little cycling so I set out to cycle a decent distance, decent being however far I could go before I found that I had gone too far.  In the end an age related 72 miles without any big hills to climb turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.

I cycled to Gair first, passing this pretty bluebell wood just outside Waterbeck.

bluebell wood

The scenery got less attractive as I joined the old A74 for the bulk of the ride.  I went north as far as Johnstonebridge where I sat on the parapet of the bridge and ate my lunch.

The view from the bridge was very pretty.

river annan

This is the handsome bridge seen from below.


The old A74 bridge across the River Annan

The old A74 is suitable for cyclists to potter along now as it has been superseded by the new M74and a few yards away from the old bridge where I was eating my egg roll and banana, I could see the constant stream of traffic sweeping across the new bridge.


I found a quiet moment for the picture.

After a short stop, I went back down the road as far as Gretna, where I had another egg roll and a second banana, and then cut across country on narrow lanes…

Near Gretna

..until I arrived home, having enjoyed the last few miles with a helpful wind.

It was not an exciting route choice scenically but it had the benefit of providing long spells of steady pedalling without junctions or steep hills and as this was just what I needed, I was very happy with it.  I was also pleased that I was able to set a tempo that I was able to keep up the whole way round.  I won’t be able to do our local 60 mile hilly sportive on Sunday so this was a satisfactory substitute.

For anyone who is wanting an excuse to delay doing the washing up, the details of the route can be found here.

When I got back, I had a quick walk round the garden before having a shower.

Two new blue flowers have come to join the fun.

Jacob's ladder and Geranium

Jacob’s Ladder and Geranium

And the late yellow tulip has developed a delicate red outline to its petals.

yellow tulip

A reader recently remarked that the Lily of the Valley is her favourite flower and I thought it was looking well today so here it is.

Lily of the valley

The dark pink prunus against the back hedge (possibly a Prunus cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’ but we are still struggling to pin it down) is producing some lovely blossom.


In spite of this garden colour,  I felt that I had had a rather dull day with my camera so I rang up Sandy and suggested a short excursion to the nuthatch nest by way of the Kilngreen.

Sandy is getting steadily better but is far from being as well as he should be at the moment and he thought a little walk might do him good. Mrs Tootlepedal was too busy in the garden to come with us.

A visit to the Kilngreen showed that the heron has had enough dancing for the time being and is now practising his singing.


We moved on to the nuthatch nest and didn’t have long to wait before one of the pair appeared.


We think that the female must be sitting on the nest as there wasn’t enough activity to suggest that they were feeding youngsters.

We walked back to the car round the new path and enjoyed the fruits of spring as we went.

coniferous tree

coniferous tree

coniferous tree

We were stopped in our tracks by a bunch of threatening sheep….

sheep on castleholm

…but after some negotiation, they let us through.

Just as we got back to the car, a dog entertained us by taking a brisk path in a large puddle.

wet dog

I didn’t have any luck with birds on the feeder today in the short time that I had and this blackbird, looking to see off any rivals, was my only shot of a bird on the feeder…


…but I did catch a shy blue tit in a willow bush.

blue tit in willow

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to a choir session with Langholm Sings.  For a variety of reasons there was a thin turnout but we had an enjoyable sing with a couple of old favourites from our back catalogue, the song for the Commonwealth Games  Baton Relay and the Chorus of Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco.    A good mixture.

The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull.

black headed gull







Read Full Post »