Posts Tagged ‘nettle’

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was at an event at Netherby hall when he spotted a horse which looked as though it could do with a square meal.

hungry horse

We were promised sun today and we got sun today.  It was most welcome.

A perfectly white poppy had appeared to greet the sunshine and I was not the only one who found it attractive.

white poppy

The garden was a blaze of colour.

poppy, marigolds, rowan and sunflowers

We made the most of the fine weather and spent the morning collecting up the clippings from a philadelphus that Mrs Tootlepedal has been pruning and adding them to a huge pile of apple prunings and other by-products of garden tidying until we had a pile almost as tall as ourselves.  At that point we paused for a cup of coffee and then we got out the big shredder and in half an hour we had reduced the pile to some very acceptable material for composting.

While we were in action, we were visited by the minister whose coffee detector was in full working order and when we had finished, we joined him for a biscuit and some theological discussion while he sipped his coffee.

Mrs Tootlepedal has two buddleia plants and before we started the shredding, I checked one of them out.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

It had attracted a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

After we had finished shredding, I checked out the other buddleia.

buddleia with white, tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock butterflies

A full house of white, tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock butterflies

Mrs Tootlepedal spotted five members of our new blackbird family sunning themselves on a hedge but by the time that I got my camera organised, only this one was left.


We also noticed this little bird on the lawn.


It looks like a young robin which would be very good.  I haven’t seen any adult robins lately in the garden so I don’t know where it has come from.

Every time I looked at the buddleias, there seemed to be more butterflies and bees on them

butterfly and bee

This is very gratifying as the buddleias were planted to attract butterflies and bees.

After lunch, we fell into the trap of just having a glance at the telly to see if the Olympics were on and an hour or so later, I managed to tear myself away and mow the grass round the greenhouse and the drying green.

When that was done, I went for a short walk.  You couldn’t complain about the views today…


…in fact, and I hardly like to say this, it was a bit hot so it was lucky that I had chosen a shady path for my stroll.

Pathhead track

Even the cows  on the Castleholm felt the need for some shade.

Castleholm cattle

There were things to see as I went along.


nettle and burr

I passed the wood carver’s workshop and saw some work in progress.

wood carving

Between the strong winds from earlier in the year and some tree diseases there are quite a lot of felled logs stacked up beside the track…

tree trunk

..so I kept an eye out for fungus and saw these fine specimens.

oyster mushrooms

Signs of the end of summer were to be seen as well…

rosebay willowherb

..but it was a beautiful day to be out and about.

My walk had to be short becuase it was the day for my flute pupil Luke to come for his weekly lesson and I just got back in time.

We had a good session and then, after a meal of beef stew which had been cooking during the day in the slow cooker, I went out for some more music with Mike and Isabel.  This was a splendid way to round off an excellent day.

I tried to catch a flying butterfly of the day but they were too nippy for me so I will settle for a flower of the day.

white poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal shooed the insects away while I took this picture


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I apologise for today’s guest picture but it is another from the St Bees Sportive and I have put it in because I paid good money for it so I am going to use it.

St BeesI also apologise for breaking my own rule about how many pictures I should put in a post.  I was surprised by the weather today and took far more photographs than I thought that I would and then had some difficulty in choosing which ones to throw away so if you are pushed for time, look away now.   I will keep the words to a minimum.

I started the day by scarifiying the front lawn.  I did the proposed paths yesterday and the proposed meadow parts today, using a more ferocious blade.

front lawn

There is still any amount of moss left sadly.

After the scarifying, Mrs Tootlepedal and I did a lot of reorganisation in our upstairs rooms following the end wall work.  Mrs Tootlepedal managed to get a saw and resize a desk in no time.  She says she is never going to do a major reorganisation again…ever.

After this the sun came out and I went out too.


hyacinths  and bees

Some smaller than usual bees were enjoying the grape hyacinths

lawn bird

In spite of my scarifying efforts, there was still enough left on the middle lawn to keep various birds interested.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Embroiders’ Guild meeting and I lounged around.

After she came back, she went into the greenhouse to plant seeds and I went for a walk.  It immediately started to rain.

I kept going regardless and as I walked up the Kirk Wynd past the golf course, I could see distant sunshine.

Distant sunshineI paused in the rain to capture two prickly subjects…

gorse and bramble….had another look at the prospects…..

distant sunshine…took my courage in both hands, ignored the rain and walked up onto the open hill.  As I got there, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

WhitaThe rest of my walk was in perfect sunshine and I will put the pictures in from it without comment for the most part.

Quarry track

Esk valley south of langholm

The view down the Esk valley

WhitaWhitasheepsheeplambIt is a grand walk for views of the town.

LangholmLangholmEven the sheep were looking from the viewpoint.

sheepAs I walked along the track I spotted what I think is a raven circling above my head and giving out discordant calls.


No doubt some kind person will tell me if I am wrong

My immediate target was the wall at the quarry.

wall on whitaI clambered over the wall using a stile and then followed the track down to the path to the Round House.

spring trees

The trees are now coming into leaf

woodI came to the round house.

round house

This was built by a local landowner to be a place to sit and admire the view but it was vandalised many years ago and is now shut up. A bench has been provided for view lovers instead.

Even the walk along the road when I got to it was very pleasant, as it was rich in roadside flowers.nettle and forget me not feverfew and dandelionI walked back along the river hoping to see a goosander.  I did…but it flew past me as such speed that I couldn’t catch it.  I had to make do with more static targets.

Esk at LangholmLangholm Parish ChurchAs you can see, it was a perfect evening by the time that I got home and warm enough to walk without a jacket on.

If you have lasted this long, I hope that you have enjoyed coming along with me on the walk.  You can probably see why I took so many pictures today.

I didn’t have a very good time trying to get a flying bird of the day today but I nearly got a very good one.


It had just landed before I got organised.

A regular chaffinch in one of the gloomier moments of the day will have to do.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture which was sent by my brother-in-law Mike, shows his granddaughter Lara practising to be a ton up kid.


After the excitements of yesterday, life retuned to normal today and Dropscone appeared promptly after breakfast and we went off for our usual morning run.  The weather kept up its recent record of being warm with light winds and these kindly conditions meant that we were able to cover the 22 miles in a good time without too much puffing and blowing.

Normality continued when after coffee and scones, I mowed the middle lawn and did a bit of dead heading.  I also found time to pick some strawberries….


…and admire some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s flowers.

rosa Goldfinch

The Goldfinch rose showing all stages of development in the same clump.


The potatoes are flowering freely and look good enough to eat.

Rose The Wren

The Wren doesn’t have many flowers this year but the ones that are out look good.

Special Grandma

This rose is called Special Grandma and was presented to Mrs Tootlepedal by a friend to mark Matilda’s birth.


The Astrantia continues to attract passers by.  This one looks like a honey bee, a very rare visitor these days.

During the morning, my neighbour Liz called me over to look at the state of the dam.  It was very low and she thought that the sluice might have been closed for some reason.  She was worried for the tadpoles.


I was surprised to see tadpoles so late in the year as I associate them with spring not summer.

Normality continued after lunch when Sandy appeared and we went off for a photographic expedition.  Our target was the Langholm Moor and our hope was to see hen harriers.

We saw two, a male and a female.  The auto focus on my camera wasn’t working well so I wasn’t able to get as good a set of shots as I should have been but it was great to be able to watch these rare birds.

male hen harrier

We didn’t just look at harriers while we were there but enjoyed the sound of skylarks on every side and kept out eyes out for anything else of interest.


This colourful moth was caught in a spider’s web

bog cotton

Bog cotton


One of the many cairns on the moor.

A bird in the bush

An unknown bird in a bush. Is it a skylark?


I don’t think that I have ever seen a stinging nettle so covered in flowers


A fierce looking thistle

We went to where we had seen the short eared owl on Friday but there were only other bird watchers to be watched and no owls.    We did see a grouse though.


Since hen harriers eat grouse, though meadow pipits and voles are their chief food if available, the co habitation on the moor of both hen harriers and grouse is a problem and a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money is being spent here on trying to find a workable compromise between the shooting interests and maintaining a reasonable biodiversity including raptors.  It does not seem likely that they will be able to find one.

One benefit of finding myself with nothing to do while we waited in vain for an owl to show up was to work out that the reason why my auto focus wasn’t working well was because I had allowed the lens to get dirty.  A quick clean up and it worked a treat.  I must be more conscientious about lens cleaning.

Sandy and I are not truly dedicated wild life enthusiasts and after about an hour of sitting around,  we left the proper bird watchers to their slightly competitive conversations about how early they get up and how late they go to bed and went home.

When I got there, I found Mrs Tootlepedal supervising some boy scouts who were re-painting our front gate as part of their efforts to raise money for a trip to Japan.

While she gave them a lift home when they were finished, I gave my normal Monday lesson to my flute pupil Luke.  He has been practising really hard  and is making a lot of progress so once again it was a pleasure to work with him.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother is coming to stay for a couple of weeks from tomorrow so after tea I forwent the pleasure of mowing the front lawn in favour of having my hair cut by Mrs Tootlepedal so that I would look respectable for the occasion of the visit.  I did find time to notice how completely the orange hawkweed shuts up shop when the sun goes down.  It was like this in the morning….


…and like this in the evening.


The closed flowers reveal the seed heads that make the hawkweed unpopular with many gardeners because of its tendency to spread.  I asked Mrs Tootlepedal about this and she says that by and large she keeps it under control by watching it like a hawk.

I spent a little time in the evening converting the strawberries which I had picked in the morning into two pots of strawberry jam.

The flying bird of the day is that hen harrier.

hen harrier









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