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Posts Tagged ‘Ladys Smock’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s Welsh trip.  Having left Chester and climbed Snowdon, he came to rest on Anglesey where he met the sea…and my sister Mary.

mary on anglesey

Our spell of dry weather continued but once again with an east wind to make sure that we didn’t forget that it is still early April.

Dropscone arrived with a surprise in hand.  Instead of his home made scones, he brought  delicious brioche to go with a cup of Colombian coffee so we had an international coffee break after which he disappeared to the golf course and I took myself off to the dentist where I got two small fillings (and a lecture on brushing my teeth more carefully).

I had time before I left to have a quick walk round the garden where flowers were coming in tightly packed clusters…

garden flowers

…and a moment to watch the birds where chaffinches…

chaffinches and goldfinches

…kept coming and going.

chaffinches coming and going

When I got back from the dentist, I thought that the flowers on the plum tree needed looking after….

lots of chaffinches in plum tree

…so I got my pollinating brush out and went round as many flowers as I could easily reach, pretending to be a bee.  With our cold mornings (there was frost on the lawn again today), we are not seeing many bees about yet.

The tadpoles don’t seem to have been harmed by the cold…

two tadpoles

…and it hasn’t been cold enough for the pond to freeze over.   That could still come though, as cold mornings are going to continue for a while.

After lunch, which was late as I had to let my face unfreeze before eating hot soup, I got my bike out and set out to add a few miles to my monthly total.

Some trees are beginning to show a little leafiness…

tree with new leafs

…and it was very pleasant pedalling gently along in the sunshine with a lighter wind than recent days.

I stopped to exchange views with some belted Galloway cattle…

belted galloway

…and stopped again to admire a couple of buzzards circling above me near Canonbie..

two buzzards

There were interesting things to see along the way…

wild flower canonbie

…but not much sign of any leaves when I looked over the bridge at the river at Hollows Mill.

Esk at Hollows

A young larch tree  was the greenest thing that I saw.

new larch

I was hoping to see some oyster catchers  as I came along the riverside when I got back to Langholm but they weren’t in their usual place.  I saw them flying off overhead and had to make do with a look at the Lady’s Smock on the grassy bank instead.

lady's smock bank of esk

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the vegetable garden putting a new edge on the bed in front of the espalier apples….

edged in veg garden

…so I thought that I should do my bit too and got out the petrol driven tiller and gave the new potato bed a going over, covering up the old greenhouse foundation which we had unearthed.

Mrs Tootlepedal finished off the bed with some neat raking.

new potato bed

I had a look at the mystic Van Eijk tulips…

mustic tulip heart

…and checked on the magnolia at the front gate.  Although the flowers have been affected by the cold mornings, the plant seems to be thriving.

magnolia

Altogether, it was a day when it was hard to be gloomy.

lawn in evening light

It was a day to leave political worries alone and cultivate the garden.

I noticed as I was looking at the birds from time to time during the day, that the right hand perch was often vacant when the other three were occupied.  This, I reckoned was because the wind was coming from the right and made landing on that perch more tricky as birds, like aeroplanes, prefer to land into the wind.

three chaffinches approaching from windward

After a shower and our evening meal, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir.  Mary, my singing teacher, was there to conduct us, and I tried to put as much of her good advice to use as I could remember.  I certainly enjoyed the singing.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, approaching the feeder downwind.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s picture, sent by Bruce, shows Guthrie walking his owners in Sheffield during the recent snow.  He should have stayed at home because it was much nicer here.

guthrie in snow

I got up into my cycling gear as the forecast had promised reasonable weather early with rain later and I was very disappointed to find that it was raining already.

siskin

A siskin muses on the early weather conditions.

We had a brief flying visit from the heron who stood for a moment of Florrie’s rooftop.

heron

I had a subdued breakfast and when Mrs Tootlepedal left to sing in the church choir, I told her that I would be changing back to everyday clothing and sulking while she was out.

rook

This rook didn't look too happy either.

However when I poked my nose out of the door before going up to change, I found that the rain had stopped so I stopped sulking and  got the speedy bike out and set off down the A7 southwards which is the flattest route out of town.  There was a light breeze and it was warm enough for April and I soon shook off the morning aches and pains and started enjoying myself.  I had been intending to turn round after ten miles and come back up the main road again but there was a fair bit of traffic about for a Sunday and I felt good so I turned off onto a side road and headed across country back towards Glenzier.

I had the little camera with me and took it out when the sky filled with birds.

gulls

It was a flock of gulls which had risen from a field as I approached.  They soon settled back down again.

gulls settling

Shortly afterwards, I crossed one of the heavily guarded border posts between England and Scotland.

Border

There are no signs here and  only way you know you have entered Scotland is because the road gets narrower and more poorly maintained.

Once I hit the Annan road, the light breeze was behind me and I was able to keep up a reasonable pace until I got home.  It had kept threatening to rain but had always stopped after a few moments so I had a very pleasant run. The trip worked out at 23 miles which a little further than I have been doing lately and I felt well enough at the end of it to imagine that I might try for a thirty mile jaunt soon…if conditions are favourable.  It is not sensible for me to pedal in really strong winds or very wet conditions just yet.

I had a light lunch and sieved a couple of buckets of compost.  We have been using the compost to help level up the new bit of lawn and it has made that grass look so healthy that we are trying out what spreading a little on the old part of the lawn will do.  The grass under the plum tree, where it has been fertilized by a hundred chaffinches all winter, is looking amazingly good so there may be a lesson there.

I had a look for flowers.

dog tooth violets

There are a lot of dog tooth violets in the garden and they have come on well.

potential tulips

There are also a lot of potential tulips.

The pond is very short of tadpoles but the water skating insects have avoided the marauding ducks.

water skater

And there is still at least one fully grown frog about.

frog

Since she had come back from Church, Mrs Tootlepedal had devoted her day to gardening but now she settled down to some quilting and I took my camera for a walk along the rivers Wauchope and Esk.

The Wauchope is exceedingly low after the dry spell that we have had.

Wauchope

There were two herring gulls sitting on rocks in the middle of the Esk.

herring gull

They won't find any herrings here.

The more normal gull for us is the black headed variety like this one which I captured flying up the river.

black headed gull

Most of the ducks are in pairs now so these two males flying by are probably on the look out for a lone female.

mallards flying

I had seen a dipper at the Church Bridge but it had flown off before I could unleash the camera so I was pleased to see another near the sawmill bridge, even if it was a little too far away for the perfect shot.

dipper

It is having a rest for a moment in the middle of some very energetic dipping.

I went back home down the Esk along Elizabeth Street and realised that the daffodils on the river bank had been joined by a host of little pink flowers.

Lady's Smock

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me they are Lady's Smocks.

Coming back to the house, I took a picture of some of the aubretia that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted along the dam.

dam aubretia

Then it was time for a rest…which seemed to last for the rest of the day. It will continue until bedtime as I sit and watch the Masters golf after I have posted this.

There was a chaffinch of the day.

chaffinch flying

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