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Posts Tagged ‘logs’

Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s eldest boy Dennis who works at Biggin Hill Airfield.  He recently had the opportunity to see a wonderful display of second world war aircraft.

biggin hillIt was a fine but breezy morning and I had to put aside the chance of a pedal until later as there was quite a lot to do in the way of business.

I did have time to walk round the garden in the sun though.

sedum

The sedum has dried out and is looking ready to burst into flower

Japanese anemones

Japanese anemones are flowering freely now

Fuchsia

My favourite dancers

A newspaper article yesterday said that 50% of those asked couldn’t name a single bee.  I certainly can…..

bee on dahlia…this one is called Archibald.

After a good run, the ligularia has gone over but it has left an interesting tangle behind.

ligulariaThe tropaeolum has also finished flowering but it still has lots of ways to please the eye, not least its multicoloured pawnbrokers’ signs.

tropaeolumThe sweet peas are rather subdued this year but still elegant.

sweet peaOver lunch I had a chance to watch the birds.  The brisk wind slowed the chaffinches up as they approached the feeder and gave me many flying opportunities….

chaffinches…and after lunch, I went out into the garden.  It was still fine so I took another picture or two…..

dahlia and water lily

In front of the pond and in the pond.

phlox

A view over the hedge from the front lawn to the garden bed across the middle lawn

colourful corner

Phlox, astrantia and special Grandma making a colourful corner

…and then I mowed the drying green and the paths on the front lawn.  I couldn’t resist another look at the cornflowers.

cornflowersThey appeal to me immensely.

Next I picked some more of the blackcurrants.  The blackbirds are generously helping me finish the gooseberries but they have left a lot of blackcurrants untouched. I am cutting the blackcurrant bush back as I pick and perhaps the birds will be able to see the fruit better now and I may have more difficulty in keeping the remaining fruit for myself.

I am progressing with turning Bin B into Bin C while Mrs Tootlepedal is producing ever more material for Bin A.  Luckily the warmer weather is helping the composting process and the bin is going down as fast as she puts more in.

compost

Bin A and Bin B

It is always annoying to get well down a bin of steadily rotting compost and find a layer of box leaves as green as the day that you put them in.  Such is life.

It was just getting to the time when a pedal was in order when first the garden centre rang up to say that they were just about to deliver a load of logs…..and then it started it to rain.  The pedalling plan was abandoned.

Luckily Mike Tinker dropped in just as the logs were being delivered and with his help, we had them out of the big bags and into a very neat pile in no time at all.

logsWe did the labouring and Mike, who is an engineer at heart, built the pile.  It really was a case of many hands making light work as it would have taken us ages without him.

The day went downhill from there on as the rain became persistent and the composting, mowing and log heaving took their toll on my small stock of energy.  Sitting down quietly and sighing became the order of the day.

The grumpy pigeon was back again, surveying life in the rain with its usual disapproving air.

pigeonI know how it felt.

Today’s flying bird is yet another chaffinch, this time caught just before it put the brakes on.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows a picturesque bridge in Beddgelert in Snowdonia which my sister Mary photographed on a recent visit to Wales.

BeddgelertI probably should have been taking advantage of some sunny weather by going for a cycle ride today but I was a bit tired so I spent a quiet morning lazing about and making some soup and bread instead. I did walk about the garden from time to time.  We are in the tulip season now.

tuliptuliptuliptulipOur neighbour Liz came across to show us the best technique for using her log splitter which we were borrowing and there was a moment of excitement when her dog unearthed a hibernating hedgehog near our log pile. Luckily Liz called off the dog in the nick of time and Mrs Tootlepedal speedily returned the hedgehog to its nest in some straw.  As far as it is possible to tell, no harm was done.  It all happened so quickly that I failed to think about my camera at all.

Having tested out the soup and bread for lunch, I was in  a more sprightly mood in the afternoon and did some work in the garden.

The small birds had generally taken the opportunity of the fine weather to find their food elsewhere but the garden was full of blackbirds chasing each other about furiously.  I caught one as it paused for breath on our fence.

blackbirdI got the mower out and mowed the middle lawn but after a long damp spring, once again the activity can best be characterised as squashing the moss rather than mowing the grass.

Then I sieved some of our garden compost and Mrs Tootlepedal combined this with some bone meal and spread it on a couple of the flower beds.   This counts as the official start of the gardening year.  In between times, I used Liz’s log splitter to split a few of the logs from cherry tree from next door and Mrs Tootlepedal used it to split a lot of them.

Mrs Tootlepedal splitting logs

I had to use my fastest shutter speed to catch the human whirlwind at work.

Logs flew off in all directions but she soon had them corralled.

Log pileThere are still quite a few to go but we will take our time.

I did some very tentative spiking on the front lawn and then had to come inside for a quick snooze.

When I surfaced again, the garden was still full of blackbirds.

blackbirdblackbirdI was looking over our back fence in search of ducks on the dam (none to be seen) when I spotted a dunnock on a neighbouring hedge.

dunnockAs it is a hedge sparrow, this was just the spot to see it.

There is quite a lot of growing going on now that we have had a few sunny days.

magnolia and primula

Magnolia and primula

pulsatilla

Two shades of pulsatilla

euphorbia

And two shades of euphorbia

I felt a bit sorry to have wasted a good cycling day but it had been very good to spend an afternoon in the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal and I had done enough bending, sawing and chopping to discourage me from a late pedal before tea.

I contented myself with an indulgent look at the pressed moss in the evening sun.

middle lawnThe daffodils were at their best in the mellow light.

I am going to sing in a scratch performance of Mozart’s Requiem tomorrow, wasting another good day for cycling.  I had a run through the tenor part this evening with the help of my computer and having listened to myself, I can only imagine that  the conductor may well feel that I should have gone cycling when I turn up tomorrow.

The supply of flying birds was so poor that I almost had to use this one of a back end of a departing blackbird…

blackbirds…but fortunately a chaffinch came to my rescue.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is a swan posing for my sister Mary by the Serpentine.

Swans by the SerpentineIt was a bright and sunny day at breakfast time but cold enough at 3 degrees C to make me grateful that Mrs Tootlepedal had to go out to help record  the newspaper for the blind while I had to stay in in case a delivery came.

This gave me time to take a couple of end wall pictures.

End wall

The scaffolding and the skip have both now gone and the road is completely clear. Hooray.

end wall upstairs

Inside the wall upstairs has been plastered and is drying satisfactorily.

By the time that Mrs Tootlepedal returned, the clouds had come up and the temperature had gone up to a reasonable 8 degrees so I set off for a pedal on the fairly speedy bike.  Everyone agrees that although the temperatures should make things comfortably warm, the moving air that we meet when out and about at present makes things feel decidedly chilly.   It was the same today, exacerbated by the briskness of the wind and I was thinking of quite a short ride when I set out.

As so often happens though, once I got going, I felt a lot more purposeful and cycled twelve miles up the Lockerbie road before turning for home.  I took it very easily into the wind and enjoyed myself in a faintly masochistic way.  Some kind person had cleared the bank of scrub at the Paddockhole Bridge so I was able to stop and add a clear picture of it to my collection of local bridges.

PaddockholeI pedalled on past the bridge until I got to a spot where an owner seems to be digging a large pond beside his house.

PondI don’t know whether this is part of a grander scheme as there seem to be ground works going on all round the house.

MinscaThe Minsca windmills in the background gave me the heartening message that the wind would be straight behind me on the way home.   I was grateful and enjoyed the trip back a lot, especially the last five and a half miles, which I accomplished at an average of 22 mph.  It’s amazing how well your knee feels when pedalling downhill with a brisk wind behind.

After a light lunch and a shower, I set off back up the same road.  This time I was in the car with Mrs Tootlepedal and we were paying the first visit the year to the manure mine.   While she filled a bucket or two, I wandered across to some larch trees.

Larch treesLarch treesSince I had taken a bridge picture earlier, I thought I ought to add a gate picture to keep gate fanciers happy too.

gate at manure mineWhen Mrs Tootlepedal had filled her buckets, we took the time for a stroll along the banks of the Wauchope.

hail

In shady parts there were still little patches of the hail from three days ago.

There was not much water in the river but it chattered away over its many small cascades.

Wauchope riverWauchope riverThe underlying sandstone is often coloured by minerals and the stones on the beaches can be very pretty.

Wauchope riverAbove our heads, a pair of buzzards circled in the sky, giving off their mournful cries.  They were too high for a picture.

We left the banks of the river and found a gate…

wauchope gate…to walk through into the field and back to the car.  The wall beside the gate was home to some very bright green lichen.

green lichenDuring the day, a friend had been cutting trees and shrubs down against the fence of the garden next door and he was kind enough to throw the cherry tree over the fence and into our garden.  He even sliced it up first.

cherry treeThere is a good deal of chopping in that pile,  We made a little start on the task.  This will be fuel for our new stove in a year’s time.

I shall miss the cherry blossom.

I looked round the garden but old faithfuls were the only colour available.  I took pictures of two of them.

chionodoxa and primulaAfter the cycle and the walk, I sat down to listen to the radio but owing to outbreaks of spontaneous somnolence, I couldn’t tell you what I was listening to.

I roused myself enough to make some tea and then we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to attend a production of Anything Goes by our local amateur operatic and dramatic society.  The hall was well filled, and the audience appreciated a very good performance.

I personally enjoyed Cole Porter’s lyrics more than anything else but the tunes are catchy and the singers put them over well.  The musical director rattled things along at brisk tempi throughout and nothing dragged. The show had two excellent young ladies to sing the leading parts and everyone else joined in with competence and pep.  There was a sad lack of tap dancing but you can’t have everything.  The mark of a good amateur performance is when the audience feels comfortable with the production and confident with the performers and the show tonight passed easily on both counts.

Bird visitors were scarce again.  The tree felling next door probably didn’t help.  I did manage to catch a flying chaffinch though.

flying chaffinch

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