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Posts Tagged ‘moss rose’

Today’s guest picture was sent to Mrs Tootlepedal who passed it on to me.  It shows her brother and his wife (and several family members) roughing it on their holiday on Tresco in the isles of Scilly.

tresco

We can’t run to palm trees in Langholm but we did have another lovely summer day in Langholm and the temperature had got up to 25°C (77°F) before midday.

I did a little gardening after breakfast but I couldn’t spend long because it was soon time to go to church. Our little choir (18 strong) sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah for the anthem today and it went off not too badly.  It was more a rehearsal than anything else as we are singing it again next week at the Common Riding service when the church will be a great deal fuller.  The choir should be a bit larger too.  Our organist and choir master had been among among the riders on the Benty ride-out yesterday but managed to play very well in spite of some aching muscles.

When I got home, I prepared a beef and mushroom stew for the slow cooker and then spent an enjoyable time showing the daughter-in-law of one of our neighbours round Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden.  She has just started a small vegetable garden herself and was impressed by the amount of work that Mrs Tootlepedal puts into her garden.

I did some more gardening when she had left and then retired from the heat for lunch and Tour de France viewing.

After the cycling was over, I didn’t succumb to the temptation to watch more than a bit of Wimbledon or the World Cup final and went out to both water and photograph some flowers.

The zinnia is unfolding more tubes into petals…

zinnia

…but the beautiful moss roses are folding up and I think that these may be the last two flowers of the summer.

moss roses

In spite of some constructive neglect, the nasturtiums at the front door are producing more flowers every day…

nasturtium

…and the clematis beside them is doing the same.

clematis

I watered them both today so they will probably die now.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s stock of miniature nicotiana are continuing to provide some bright colours in pale pink….

pink nicotiana

…lime green…

green nicotiana

…and shocking red.

red nicotiana

The wind had risen a lot during the day as the pressure fell steadily on the barometer but I felt that another day with no cycling would be a bad thing and got my new bike out.

The wind was strong, 16 mph base with gusts of well over 20 mph, but it kept me cool even if it slowed me down a lot.  I took 12 more minutes to go round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit than I did last Thursday.  If I had been in a race with myself, I would have been more than two miles behind.

I stopped to admire the view back towards Langholm from Chapelhill…

view of whita from tarcoon road

All the clouds behind Whita Hill had passed over the town without depositing a drop of rain on us as they passed.

I rather liked the subdued light.

tarcoon road trees

As I approached Canonbie, I nodded at a couple of old friends.

black cowbrown cow

…and stopped to take a picture of one of the many banks of fireweed that are lining  our roads just now.

rosebay willowherb

This weed is one of those photographic oddities where the camera and I see things in a very different shade.  To me it is pink or even red but to the camera is is much more purple.

When I got home, I set the tripod up in the kitchen to keep an eye on the birds and a greenfinch kept an eye on me in return.

greenfinch

We are getting regular visits from greenfinches which is very encouraging.  In recent years, they have been subject to a deadly disease and numbers dropped a lot so it is good to see healthy looking birds back on the feeder.

greenfinches

Once home, I set about eating the stew and doing more watering (not at the same time).  The forecast claims that there is a 75% chance of noticeable rain tonight.  I would be much obliged if this turns out to be true but I am not holding my breath.

The flying bird picture of the day shows that even if they are flapping their wings furiously, siskins keep their heads very still as they approach the feeder.

flying siskin

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Anne, wife of my cello playing friend Mike and shows the tall tower of Elgin cathedral….

Mike and Alex at very top of Elgin Cathedral tower

…and if you look very carefully, you can see Mike and a grandchild peering over the very top of the tower.

image1(1)Mike and Alex at very top of Elgin Cathedral tower close up

I had a kind of slow motion day today in which nothing much happened very slowly.

In the morning, I pottered around the garden weeding, watering and dead heading, did a little compost sieving and mowed the front lawn.

I took a few pictures as I went along.

A gardening friend gave Mrs Tootlepedal a verbascum in the spring and it has come on really well.  The white flowers look a little dull until you have a closer look, when as so often…

new flower

… a little nosiness is rewarded.

new flower closer

The astilbe is flourishing without any watering from me…

astilbe

…and the bees love the privet which has just come out.   I could hear them buzzing all around me but couldn’t see one so here is a bee-less picture.

privet

I couldn’t miss the bees on the poppies though….

bee on poppy

…they were filling their pollen sacs at both varieties.

another bee on poppy

The most surprising thing in the garden to catch my eye today was  a walnut…or to be precise lots of walnuts.

walnuts

We are generally too far north to expect a lot of walnuts on our tree, although we always get some, but this year the conditions  are obviously favourable because there were clusters of well developed nuts on many branches.  I hope the weather stays good enough for them to ripen properly.

The Sweet Williams are doing well without much watering from me…

sweet william

…and the lily in the back border seems to add another open flower each day.

lily

But the star of that part of the garden for me is the moss rose.

moss roses

I have never seen it looking better.

The forecast held out a strong possibility of rain later which was why I mowed the front lawn.  It had much more grass on it than I had expected and I had to work hard to get the mower through it in places.  I did a lot of watering of the lawns as soon as the dry spell started and this seems to have paid off.

The rain however turned out to be a figment of the forecasters’ imagination and we had a cheerful sunny day from dawn until dusk.

Every time I look at the forecast, it says rain tomorrow but I fear rain tomorrow may turn out to be like jam tomorrow.

The supply of beetroot in the veg garden is very good this year so I had a beetroot and sardine salad with leaves for my lunch.

In the afternoon I went to the Health Centre for my regular asthma check up and as a sensible move to cut down prescribing costs, they are trying different treatment.  Since it will cut down my present two puffers to one, I hope it works.  The less puffers you puff, the better your throat is and anything that saves the NHS money is to be welcomed.

While I was on my way back home, I took a look at the Langholm Bridge.  The powers that be have cleared away the tree that had floated down against the bridge but today the bridge hardly needed one arch, let alone three so low was the flow.

Langholm Bridge

I cycled along the road beside the river to see if the oyster catcher family was still in residence.

It was.

oyster catcher family

The slightly darker beaks show two youngsters.  The other parent was out in the middle of the river keeping an eye on things.

oyster catcher

When I got home, I did think about a cycle ride but energy levels were low so I did some more pottering in the garden and then retired to watch the end of the Tour de France stage, followed by some Wimbledon.

I did watch some birds too.

greenfinch

A greenfinch wondered if this was its best side.

I picked a turnip from the veg garden and had that for my tea with yet more peas and beans and potatoes from the garden.  There is no danger of me losing any weight at the moment.

After tea, I went off to church for a church choir practice which was most enjoyable.  There is a special service for the Common Riding in a couple of weeks time and we are singing the Hallelujah  Chorus as the anthem.  As our choir is rather small even with a few reinforcements, this is going to be a challenge but we are up for it.

I got back in time to view the national tragedy that was the second half of the World Cup semi-final and was sorry to see ‘our boys’ going out as they had played and behaved well during the tournament.

The flying bird of the day is a semi circular chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Tom in South Africa.  He thought that we might need a touch of snow to cool us down.

south african winter

I have had a long day and I am pretty tired so although I am back at my computer, this post will be another brief one as I need an early night.

I left London by train and thanks to a fire along the side of the track ahead of us which held us up a bit, my train managed to get in after the bus to Langholm had departed and I had a hot and unwanted forty minutes to kill in Carlisle before the next one came.

I finally got home about five and had time to walk round the garden to do some watering, pick some peas and beans and gooseberries, dig up a potato and of course, take a picture or two.

I cooked the peas and beans and potatoes and had them for my tea and then went off to a choir practice at the church.  I thoroughly enjoyed this and feel that my voice may be recovering a bit.

I got back home and did some more watering.  We have been asked to try to avoid using garden hoses during the dry spell so there is going to be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with watering cans until it rains.   The current forecast says that this is unlikely to be in the next ten days at least.

I had  stewed the gooseberries earlier and I ate them after choir practice.

The garden has survived our absence surprisingly well, perhaps because our friend Mike has kindly been doing some watering while we have been away.

Here is the evidence.

nasturtiums

Nasturtiums in a shady spot by the front door

rose Wren

The Wren, showing the dead heading is needed…

rose wren bunch

….but unbothered by the eager dead header, it has produced a fine bunch of flowers.

poppies tired

The poppies have come and gone while I have been away.   I dead headed them and hope for fresh flowers soon.

moss roses

The moss roses are in excellent shape

stachys

And I don’t think that  I have ever seen the stachys looking better.

delphiniums

The delphiniums are less tall (on purpose) than last year and are standing up well.

rambler rose

The Common Riding rose is looking very charming but it is a lot earlier than usual

calendula

Marigolds are coming out in various parts of the garden

special grandma rose

Special Grandma is a fitting tribute to both the gardener and her mother, two special grandmas.

small sunflower

The sunflowers in the vegetable garden have come out while we have been away.

dutvh iris

This Dutch iris couldn’t look any better if it tried.

red poppy

One poppy didn’t need dead heading

I am due to go to Edinburgh to visit Matilda tomorrow but that might depend on the heat.

No flying bird of the day today but I was pleased to see that we still have blackbirds in the garden.

blackbird

 

 

Mrs Tootlepedal is staying with her mother for a week or two.  Both the garden and I will miss her.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s visit to Fleetwood.  The port for the town is on the south side of the river Wyre estuary and can be reached by the ferry which can be seen in his picture.

fleetwood

It was the longest day today and the weather was fine and frequently sunny so a good bicycle ride should have been on the menu.  A very brisk wind and the total absence of any get up and go persuaded me that a short walk round the garden would be a good alternative to a long bike ride.

There was plenty to keep me interested.

The sawfly caterpillars were still to be found on the Solomon’s seal.

sawfly caterpillars

And the light was right to take a picture of the Rodgersia flowers, which are a tricky subject.

rodgersia

There are plenty of flowers about in the garden but it is not a time of year when there are great swathes of colour.  The daffodils, tulips and azaleas are all gone.  All the same, green is a colour and it has many shades.

front lawn june 2018

middle lawnfern

There is a patch of bright colour.

orange hawkweed

There was a bee or two interested in the orange hawkweed.

bee on orange hawkweed

I finished my walk round the garden in good time to get the coffee on for a visit from Dropscone.  It was not Friday so there were no treacle scones but he brought an enormous pile of drop scones instead.  We managed to get through them (with some help from Mrs Tootlepedal) with no trouble at all.

While we were eating and chatting, a large rook appeared outside the window.

rook

They are impressive birds.

Dropscone went off with some rhubarb and on his way home, he passed an auction taking place at a local building  firm which has just gone into liquidation.  Many vans were clustered round the entry to the works, eager to pick up a bargain.

Langholm has lost many jobs over recent years and it was an irony that on the same day as this auction, the town appeared in the pages of a national newspaper  under a headline saying that it was reckoned to be the best market town in Scotland as a place to live.  You may be able to find the article here.

After coffee, I went out and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I am trying to take advantage of the good weather to get the grass short enough so that mowing it takes no time at all and the cuttings don’t have to be collected.

Then  I went back in for a sit down and some bird watching.

The feeder is keeping busy.

goldfinches quarrelling

flying goldfinch and siskin

But my favourite moment was looking up and seeing a goldfinch attached to the feeder pole by its beak.

goldfinch and pole

After another walk round, this time to the back of the house to look at the potentillas there…

potentilla

..I sieved some compost for Mrs Tootlepdal’s soil improvement programme and was just tidying up when the phone rang.

It was Scott, the minister, who was out on a bike run.  His gear changing mechanism had failed and he was hoping that we could come and rescue him.  He was able to describe the signpost at the road junction where he was marooned and it was apparent that he was in some deep back country in the wilds of North Cumbria.  I pinned down where he was on my map and  Mrs Tootlepedal offered to act as navigator and do the map reading to get us to the spot.

It was a beautiful day to be out rescuing and the drive was a great pleasure in itself, including this wonderful view over the Solway plain…

view from shawhill

… to which my camera completely fails to do justice.

We found Scott and put him and his bike in the back of the Kangoo and drove home.  His gear failure had been so abrupt that he had been pitched off his bike but luckily he had landed on a soft verge.  Not so luckily, the verge had been full of nettles.  He was very cheerful, all things considered.

We had a late lunch when we got back and Mrs Tootlepedal went back out into the garden.  I considered a bike ride but it was still very windy and my get up and go had still not made an appearance so I mowed the front lawn instead and did quite a lot of wandering about and muttering.

I did my muttering with camera in hand of course.  The pinks are at their best.

pink

The first calendula has made an appearance.

calendula

And some delightful small campanulas have arrived as well.

campanula

Keeping to my good resolution, I tried not to take too many pictures and went inside and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I have another nine weeks still to put in so this will test my resolution to the full.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a delicious pizza for our tea and I followed that up with some more stewed gooseberries.  My thinning doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on the overloaded gooseberry bush so it is lucky that I like stewed gooseberries a lot.

I hope to make better use of some good weather and long daylight tomorrow.

The flower of the day is a moss rose in the evening light.

moss rose

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony, who took this view of the old and the new Forth road bridges.  The new one, in the background, opens at the end of this month.

Forth bridges

Thanks to our visitors we had a untypical breakfast today as the vote went for bacon and egg baps instead of our normal porridge.  It was a good decision and our visitors, after an inspection of the garden with the gardener….

sara janet and ally

A completely spontaneous unposed shot

…went on their way in good spirits.  They had two more gardens to visit on their schedule and it was fortunate that the weather forecast was better than it has been lately.

After they left, we had a cup of coffee and a look round the garden…

the moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower

The moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower

…and then I got the fairly speedy bike out, armed myself with a couple of bananas and some raisins and set off to see where my legs would go.

After some pretty breezy days, it was good to find that the winds were much lighter today but I still took the precaution of heading down to the flat lands of the Solway plain to give myself an easy ride.

To make sure that I was eating and drinking properly (refuelling as the real athletes say), I stopped every ten miles for a minute or two to take on half a banana, some raisins, a morsel of guava jelly and a drink of water.  I also took a picture.

The Esk at Longtown

This is the Esk near Longtown

I circled round the quiet lanes of North Cumbria and my second stop was at Scaleby.  It has impressive bull rushes…

bull rushes

…a church with a tower….

Scaleby Church

…and some very fine lichen on the churchyard wall.

lichen

My next stop was at a church with a spire at Blackdyke.

Blackdyke church

It is a very small spire, I agree.

Keeping to the flat lands, I headed across to Rockliffe and as I left the village, there was willowherb on my left and Himalayan balsam on my right…

willowherb and balsam

…which made for a very pretty stretch of road.

Rockcliffe

The forecast had said that there might be some rain at three o’clock and it was bang on.  As three o’clock arrived so did a sharp rain shower.  Luckily I was protected by nature…

tree tunnel

…and by the fact that I had prudently packed a rain jacket for the trip.  The rain didn’t last for long and after a few miles, I was able to pack the rain jacket away again.  While I was doing this this, I noticed a small bridge nearby.

old railway bridge

This is an old railway bridge on the abandoned line between Longtown and Carlisle and in a better ordered world, I might have been cycling under it on a well constructed bike track rather than over it on a narrow road.

Still, the narrow road took me to my third church of the trip, the fine building of the parish church at Arthuret.

Arthuret Church

It has to be said that if you go round to the front of the church, it doesn’t look quite so impressive.

Arthuret Church

It is certainly not as wide as it is long.

Across the road from the church,  the corn was high…

corn

It is grown for animal feed.

…though perhaps not as high as an elephant’s eye.

As I pedalled back up the hill towards Langholm, I left the cereal fields behind and found myself among the heather on the hills.

cereal and heather

Thanks to the benign conditions and the flat route, I managed to keep my average speed up to 15 mph for the first 45 miles and only just slipped back to 14.8 mph in the last eight miles, where I was heading into what wind there was.

My knees were feeling a bit creaky when I stopped so before going in for a cup of tea, I walked round the garden to ease them off and enjoyed the first stargazer lily of the season which has come out to brighten things up. It’s a very handsome flower…

stargazer lily

…whichever way you look at it.

stargazer lily

The flying bird of the day is a little squirrel which held me up as it decided which way to go this afternoon.

squirrel

Those interested can find details of the bike ride by clicking on the map below.  You can see how flat the route was.

garrmin route 8 Aug 2017

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As we are going to visit her in London tomorrow, my sister Mary has sent me a guest picture of the day to remind me what a big city looks like. She was passing the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square..

A busy scene outside the National Gallery

More poppies have arrived in our garden, mostly opium poppies but with one new Shirley poppy too.

poppies

The bees were up early and enjoying the privet.

privet and bee

I took the poppy and privet pictures after breakfast and as you can see, we had a perfect summer day today so naturally it was my turn to do a couple of hours in the morning indoors in the Welcome to Langholm office.  I did welcome a few people to the town and I also made good use of my time there by putting two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

When the next welcomer arrived  to relieve me, I pedalled home and combined having coffee with mowing both lawns and the greenhouse grass.  This was necessary as the visit to London will last three days and the warmer weather is making the grass grow at last.

While she is in the south, Mrs Tootlepedal is going to stay with her mother for a week or two so she was pleased to have got the last of the hedges trimmed.

hedges trimmed

After mowing and a late lunch of tinned sardines with potatoes and beetroot from the garden, I thought of cycling but there was a very brisk wind blowing so I got in touch with Sandy instead to see if he was available for a walk.

He was and at his suggestion, we decided to visit the Winterhope Reservoir which lies about six miles to the west of Langholm where it impounds the head waters of the Kirtle Water.

Sandy drove and once we had parked, we were able to enjoy a selection of wild flowers….

Winterhope wild flowers

…as we walked up to the foot of the dam.

Winterhope dam

It is an impressive structure but fortunately there is friendly set of steps to get you to the top and a splendid view to greet you when you get there.

Winterhope reservoir

There is a rather old fashioned looking control house on the dam….

Winterhope reservoir

…and we walked along the top of the dam and past the building to start our walk on the east side of the water.

I was distracted by ducks and concrete loving lichen as we went across.

lichen and ducks Winterhope reservoir

There is no track on the east side of the reservoir so we had to plod over some tussocky ground but there were always lovely prospects to give us pause…

 

Winterhope reservoir

Winterhope reservoir

…and smaller details as well.

thistle and fish

A big thistle and little fish in a side stream

We were in open fields and we were slightly nervous about the prospect of meeting cattle but although we did see a couple of cattle collections, the first stared at us without moving from the top of the hill and the second moved away politely leaving us plenty of room to get past.

Winterhope reservoir cattle

There should be more cattle like this.

The reservoir is about 500m in length so in spite of the rough ground, it didn’t take us long to get to the far end…

Winterhope reservoir

…which these days is overlooked by some of the big turbines on the new Ewe Hill windfarm.

Walking down the track on the west side of the reservoir, we could look back at the fields we had walked through on the far side.

Winterhope reservoir

It is a supremely peaceful spot.

When we got back to the dam, we spent quite a lot of time leaning on the railing and looking at aquatic plants….

aquatic plants

…which created a little waterscape of their own with islands, promontories, bays and headlands.  I don’t know what these are and hope that some kind reader can enlighten me.

It wasn’t only the plants that kept us leaning on the railings.  There were a great number of blue damsel flies about and large quantities of little fish darting around and occasionally leaping from the water.

We went to the far end of the dam to get another look.

The damsel flies were too far away and flitting about too vigorously for me to get a good picture but you can see five of them in this shot.

dragon flies

The shoals of little fish were easier to spot, though the contrast on the camera shows them much more clearly than we could see them in real life.

fish in Winterhope reservoir

In the end we left the damsel flies and fish to it and walked back down the side of the dam….

Winterhope reservoir dam

There was more to see beside the track back to the car…

hoverfly, beetle, nuts and rose

…but before we could get to the car, we were waylaid by Jean and Wattie, who live below the dam, and regaled with refreshing cordial and rich tea biscuits accompanied by tales of all the wildlife they see.

It was a good way to end a lovely walk.

Sandy and I picked some blackcurrants for him when we got back to Wauchope Cottage but there are still plenty left for me to make more jelly.

All this had taken some time so it was soon time for tea and we had a second helping of the slow cooked stew, this time with fresh carrots from the garden.

We are off to London for a few days to see my sisters, spend a day with our daughter and celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday and I don’t know whether there will be an opportunity to post anything other than the briefest efforts until I get home again.

I did get some contrasting flying birds of the day though as a great flock of crows got up from the trees beside the reservoir…

crows

….and this plane flew low over the garden twice this afternoon.

low flying plane

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s holiday in the Lake District last month.  She describes it as, “Another compulsory bridge.”

Another compulsory bridge

The weather improved a good deal today and I was able to walk up to the High Street  without any rainwear on to take my turn dispensing information to tourists at our visitor centre there.  On this occasion, I actually did dispense some information to tourists, though only a modest number, it must be said (two).

However, there was an art exhibition of works by the local Art Club and people came in to see the paintings, Dropscone dropped in for a chat and my relief arrived well before his appointed time so the time fairly whizzed by.

When I got home, I walked round the garden.

The rose, Bobbie James, recommended in a recent TV gardening programme is beginning to show why the presenter liked it.

rosa Bobbie james

It was soon time for lunch so I went in, stopping to look at the birds….

sparrow

The demand for seed was as insistent as yesterday

…and afterwards I mowed the middle lawn before the grass got too long to manage easily.    It was surprisingly and gratifyingly firm after the recent rain so credit must go to Lorne who helped me a great deal with the spiking last autumn.

I’ll have to mow the front lawn tomorrow or people may get lost in the long grass.  I should have done it today but the need for a cycle ride to stretch my legs was more pressing.

It was dry, cloudy and pleasantly warm but very windy so I approached the ride with some trepidation.  However, I chose my route well and after a tough first three miles butting straight into the wind, the rest of the twenty mile circuit was much easier with the wind either behind or across for the most part and some good shelter from banks and hedges when it was in my face.

I didn’t take many pictures en route as when it is windy, I have either got my head well down and don’t notice much or I am going to fast to see things in time to stop.

I did see a brilliant flash of red beside the road soon after I started though and even went back to check what it was.  Brilliant flashes of red often turn out to be drinks cans rather than flowers and although this wasn’t a flower, at least it wasn’t a discarded can.

dock leaf

I don’t think that I could meet a much redder leaf than this one.

When I got home, I walked round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had been busy all day painting our old downstairs shower room which is being converted to a utility room for the washing machine and was pleased to take a break.

As the day had warmed up and the garden had dried out, there was plenty to look at.

astrantia and martagon lily

Plants are developing all the time

New lilies are opening.

lily

Hostas are bursting into flower.

hosta

Moss and rambler roses are coming into their own.

moss rose rambler rose

And one of the many cornflowers and the Fuchsia on the back wall shone out.

cornflower and Fuchsia

I picked a few strawberries and was more than happy to find some in good condition after the rain and then I looked at the blackcurrants.  They were ready to pick and Mrs Tootlepedal and I cleared the bush off.  They haven’t been netted but the birds had left us plenty and they will soon be converted to blackcurrant jelly.

I should mention that we have had to eat strawberries nearly every day for what seems like weeks but we are bearing up bravely.

After tea, I went to off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  The events of the day in the political world have been so extraordinary that we spent some time putting the world to rights before we started to play but once we got going, we had an enjoyable musical evening.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that Mike’s wife occasionally glances at the blog so I will take this opportunity to mention that not only are Mike’s political views very sound  but he also  played very well tonight (as he always does of course).

The flower of the day is a knapweed.  It is a wonderfully complex thing when looked at closely.

knapweed

And the flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

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