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Posts Tagged ‘poppy’

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who has temporarily abandoned  golf and gone on holiday with his family to Islay where he saw this cross.

Islay cross

It was a grey and windy day today and whenever I thought about doing something  interesting,  it tended to start to rain.  But then it would stop.  And then it would start again so I spent a lot of time thinking about doing things but very little time actually doing them.

I got up late and then a leisurely breakfast merged into coffee .  When Mrs Tootlepedal went off to meet a friend for lunch in Hawick, I watched the birds.

They were very active in the brisk wind.

I have picked three flying chaffinches…

flying chaffinch 1flying chaffinch 2flying chaffinch 3

…and three flying goldfinches…

flying goldfinch 1flying goldfinch 2flying goldfinch 3

..of all ages.

I made some potato soup (with added courgette) for my lunch and then, when the rain had stopped for long enough for things to dry up a little, I mowed the middle and front lawns.

lawn and phlox

I try to mow in a different direction every time I go over the grass.

There are two little golden patches beside the path in the picture above and they are box balls which grew too big.  Mrs Tootlepedal cut them back severely and we are pleased to see that they are growing back strongly and we will soon be able to trim them into spheres again

When I had finished the mowing, I trimmed one of the remaining big box balls.  This one is  beside the pond.

clipped box

It shows that the golden colour is only skin deep.  It will be cut back too in the not too distant future.

I did some dead heading, a never ending task, and took a picture or two.  The rain has taken its toll on the flowers and many of them are looking a bit battered but this poppy was well sheltered by bigger plants.

poppy

As were these cornflowers.

cornflowers

The dahlias can cope with quite a lot.

dahlia group

And the potentillas on the dam side are very hardy too.

damside potemtillas

It was good to see a steady flow of water going under our new bridge.

The zinnias haven’t enjoyed the rain very much and several have broken but this one is still standing proud.

zinnia

Mrs Tootlepedal returned, having had a good lunch and done some useful food shopping and we sat down to a cup of tea just in time to welcome Mike Tinker to join us.  He had had an on and off rainy walk in the morning so I was pleased that I hadn’t gone out on my bike.

Heavy winds may keep me off it for a few days more as the forecast is pretty miserable as far as the wind goes.

While Mrs Tootlepedal converted her food shopping into a delicious evening meal, I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

The grey day gave me a lot of time to read the newspapers and listen to the radio so I am now very well informed on the goings on in the world.  This is probably not a good thing.

I should have stuck to bird watching.

The flying bird of the day has landed and is looking pretty pleased about that.

flying goldfinch 4

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s visit to Shugborough Hall and shows the modest dwelling itself.

Shugborough Hall

The forecast was gloomy again and the day was pretty gloomy but not quite as gloomy as the forecast.

I checked out how the trimmed hydrangea looked after my efforts last night…

hydrangea

…and reckoned that the haircut was neat enough.

The day was cheered up by the arrival of Sandy for coffee.  He has been having great fun fitting out his new shed with storage and tool racks and all those things which really make a shed a shed.

While we drank our coffee, a blend of Kenyan and Ethiopian, I noticed a blue tit visiting the last of the fat balls on the feeder.

blue tit

The blue tits look rather green at this time of year.

I took a tour round the garden with Sandy before he left and then did a tour of my own dead heading a considerable number of flowers.  Mrs Tootlepedal had already been out dead heading but there is always more to do.

Then I pointed the camera at flowers.

The dahlia of the day…

yellow dahlia

…a pale poppy…

pale poppy

…and some very bright and poisonous Lords and Ladies (arum maculatum).

lord and ladies

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre cafe over lunchtime and I set up the camera at the kitchen window.

Business both at the Buccleuch Centre and our feeder was brisk.

I started by seeing sparrows…

sparrows 4

…sometimes quite caring and sharing…

sparrows 2

…sometimes a little bit threatening…

sparrows

…and sometimes not very welcoming at all.

sparrows 3

Within minutes, the sparrows had turned into greenfinches…

greenfinches

…who were just as competitive as the sparrows.

greenfinches 2

A couple of chaffinches crept onto the bottom perches…

greenfinches and chaffinches

…and had to put on their hardest stare to keep the greenfinches away.

greenfinches and chaffinches 2

After 6 minutes of bird watching, I had taken 45 pictures so I hurriedly put the camera away again and went out to pick a lettuce and have my lunch, a lettuce and tomato and a lettuce and marmite sandwich.

I did think about a bike ride but it was grey and windy and every now and again some light drizzle floated down from above so I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database until Mrs Tootlepedal came back from the Buccleuch Centre.

It didn’t look as though it was going to get any brighter so we got into the car and went off to Carlisle to do a little shopping.

I bought some new photo frames and then we topped up on dates, cheese, coffee and other necessities of life before rolling home.  It was one of those annoying days when the weather in Carlisle, a mere twenty miles south of us, was much better than in Langholm.  It is the price we play for living in beautiful hilly country.

I had a last look round the garden, picking out a strongly coloured sweet pea today…

sweet pea red

…and then went in and shut the grey day out.

I have updated my photo editor and I now have a lot of new things to learn so perhaps a few wet, cloudy and windy days won’t come amiss while I grapple with the mysteries of ‘Cloud Computing’ indoors.

The flying bird of the day is one of the greenfinches.

greenfinch flying

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba, or to be more precise, over Manitoba in her aeroplane from which she could see the effect of having a pivotal irrigation system.

pivotal irrigation

A variety of forecasters were offering a variety of forecasts today but they all involved rain at some time or other.  I decided to believe the ones that suggested rain in the morning and a better afternoon and spent some time putting another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  As I still have a pile of two months sitting beside the computer, I will need a lot of rainy days to get through them.

There was a bit of rain in the morning but I found a dry moment to go up and get my medicine from the chemist and arrange to book the hall for the camera club which will be starting again in September.

This all took most of the morning and I didn’t take my camera out until after midday.

In spite of dead heading dozens of calendulas every day, or maybe because of dead heading dozens of calendulas every day, there are still a lot around.

calendula

The clematis on the fence beside the vegetable garden are thriving and the Ooh La La is still gamely producing flowers.

fence clematis

Then it started to rain so I went in and made some vegetable soup (including courgettes) for my lunch.

After lunch, the sun shone again and almost immediately a peacock butterfly appeared on the buddleia.

lone peacock butterfly

Our neighbour Liz and I were considering where the butterflies live and what they do on wet days.  Do butterflies have a home to got to?  How far will a butterfly fly to get to a buddleia?  This are questions to which I don’t know the answer.

I do know where my bike is though so, after photographing a pigeon on a pole…

pigeon

…I got it out and went for a ride while the sun was shining.

The wind was also blowing and it was pretty vigorous so I confined my efforts to a very slow tour round my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  I was quite pleased to stop for pictures on my way.

I always enjoying looking at this slightly mysterious row of trees in a field.

row of trees

Nearby, belted Galloway cattle were too busy eating the fresh grass to look up as I passed.

belted Galloway

Things have greened up well and on my ride yesterday, I  saw that some farmers have been able to take a second cut of silage.  The view from Tarcoon back to Langholm seemed to promise fair weather all the way for my ride today.

view of whita from tarcoon

And the view ahead, showed another descent from the hills to the plain.

Tarcoon view

I was a bit less confident about getting round dry as I passed Hollows Tower with five miles to go as the black clouds looked threatening…

Hollows Tower under a cloud

…but my timing was good and it had rained in Langholm and then stopped raining by the time that I got back.

Mrs Tootlepedal was entertaining our neighbours Gavin and Gaye to a cup of tea indoors when I arrived.  They had intended to try out our new bench but had been driven inside by the shower.

We had had a painter working on the  outside doors at the front of the house through the day and I hadn’t seen many birds as a result so I set up the camera to watch the birds when Gavin and Gaye left….

plump siskin

…but then left it to go outside and join Mrs Tootlepedal who was working in the garden.

The poppies are trying their best…

three poppies

…and we have two sorts of crocosmia out…

two crocosmia

…but it was hard to take a picture of a dahlia without a bee getting in the way.

bees on dahlias

I thought that the helenium was looking a bit more cheerful today.

helenium with necklace

Going back inside, I watched the birds again.

Sparrows replaced our greenfinches today.

These two were having a discussion….

two sparrows

…when they broke off to shout encouragement to another who was experimenting with vertical take off.

vertical sparrow

Siskins brought their usual behaviour to the party.

sparring siskins

I had got the timing for my cycle ride doubly right because it started to rain very heavily while I was having my post ride shower and I recorded over 1cm of rain for the day in Mary Jo’s rain gauge, all from short sharp showers.

The combination of the house moving last week and some regularly pedalling in brisk winds have left me a little tired so I was more than happy to settle down after tea and watch highly skilled athletes and swimmers battling each other in the European Championships.

The flying bird of the day is another sparrow,

flying sparrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Highland correspondent Jenni.  She went even further north from Inverness for a cruise and found herself in Alaskan waters.

alaskan cruise

We had an uncharacteristically dull day here both as far as the weather went and my level of activity.  Mrs Tootlepedal was up and at it early with a trip to Carlisle and back by bus before lunch but drizzly rain and a brisk breeze discouraged me from doing much more than a little garden tidying and a trip to the corner shop in a dry spell.

I didn’t even get my camera out until after lunch.

The dahlias don’t seem to mind the rain much…

yellow dahlia

…but a hellenium…

hellenium

..and a rudbeckia appear rather depressed.

rudbeckia

The small sunflowers make up in numbers what they lack in height…

short sunflowers

…and both the plums…

crowded plums

…and the apples can’t be accused of any lack of effort.

apples

Indeed, I have thinned the plums several times already and took off another twenty today without making any noticeable difference to the crop.

The Christmas tree, which is having its summer holiday in the vegetable garden, doesn’t seem very sure about which way it is going at all.

christmas tree august

I had some fun trying to photograph a fine red poppy.  It was exposed to the breeze and after several complete failures…

red poppy in wind 1

…I finally managed to catch it at the top of its swaying motion.

red poppy in wind 2

This little excursion completed my outdoor work for the day and I went in to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and have another unavailing round in my battle against the recalcitrant printer. Printer 4 Tom 0.

A gloomy afternoon was improved by the arrival of Luke for our weekly flute playing efforts and I got a couple of new studies from the internet for us to play.  The internet is an endless source of free flute duets and I put that in the balance against the greed and manipulation of the big internet companies.

Our good spell of weather looks as though it has finally come to an end, with cooler temperatures and rain forecast for every day this week until the weekend.  I will have to remember what it is like to bicycle in less than perfect conditions if I am not to fall behind my schedule again.

For some mysterious reason, there have been hardly any birds in the garden for the last two days after a very busy spell so the flying bird of the day is a solitary siskin sitting down.

siskin

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by my son Tony, is a slightly fuzzy snapshot of members of his family enjoying the rock pools at East Wemyss.  They seem to be settling in well.

dogs at Wemyss

I did some settling in myself today.  I got up, had breakfast and then settled back in bed for a snooze.  It turned out that I was slightly tired for some mysterious reason.

I got up when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to church and mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass.  Although Mary Jo’s rain gauge was registering 0mm this morning, there has been enough rain recently to keep the grass growing at a great rate.

I couldn’t help noticing the butterflies on the buddleia beside the drying green.

There was the usual peacock…

four eyed peacock butterfly

…enjoying the morning sun enough to spread out its wings and show all four eyes and a painted lady posing prettily nearby.

painted lady butterfly

Beside the butterflies was the first of the Michaelmas daisies…

michaelmas daisy

…which is an uncomfortable reminder that the year is inexorably on the march towards autumn.

I had a walk round while doing a bit of dead heading.  The calendulas rise and fall with great regularity.  We have a great number in the garden and if you keep dead heading them, they keep on coming. The same applies to the poppies so we have to keep busy with the snips.

The dahlias were attracting bumble bees.

bumble bee on dahlia

And the red buddleia had a single butterfly on it.

butterfly on red buddleia

While I was wandering, I was once again struck by the glory of the new lilies.

colourful corner

More of them come out each day.

The gaura, which I thought was going over, has got a second wind and is flowering furiously.

gauraIt seemed to have been out for a long time so I checked and found that I had taken the first picture of it on June 23rd so it has been good value for money.

The golden wedding roses have done so well in our warm summer…

many golden wedding roses

…that Mrs Tootlepedal purchased a couple more roses of a similar type but different colours a couple of days ago to add a bit of variety to our view from the kitchen window.

new roses

The test will come when they have to put up with our winter.

New poppies appear daily at the moment.

pink and white poppy

Some with added insect.

red poppy with hoverfly

And a second flush of orange hawkweed has replaced the first flowering which was trimmed off when it went over.  It has been a very good summer.

orange hawkweed

I had intended to go bicycling in the morning but having failed to do that, I made the mistake of sitting down after lunch and didn’t get up again until four o’clock when Mrs Tootlepedal summoned me out to help drive in a stake to support a really tall sunflower.

very tall sunflower

It really is really tall.

The drying green buddleia was awash with peacocks…

four peacock butterflies

…and it was tempting to hang around to try to take the definite peacock picture but now that I was up and active, I thought that I ought to make something at least of a really good summer’s day.  Our temperatures recently have been perfect for me, hovering around 20°C.

I rolled round my customary 20 mile Canonobie circuit, trying quite hard but not going very fast and only stopped for a picture when I crossed Skippers Bridge on my way back into Langholm.

Langholm distillery

I looked both ways.

River Esk from Skippers Bridge

When I got home, I took a self indulgent picture of the middle lawn which has survived a miserable winter and a drought not too badly.

middle lawn

You can see the very tall sunflower in the background.

A gentle and enjoyable day was rounded of with an excellent meal of roast chicken with vegetables from the garden all provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.

I didn’t find the time or the energy to take any bird pictures so the flowers of the day are the phlox which continue to dazzle.

phlox

 

 

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The guest picture of the day is another teapot spotted by my brother Andrew.  He has a knack for finding big teapots although he tells me that he thinks that this one is a bit of a Mickey Mouse affair.

teapot

My day can be summed up very simply: got up, saw a butterfly, went for a cycle ride, saw another butterfly, mowed the lawns, had tea, went to bed.

I saw two butterflies after breakfast.

two spot white butterflymorning peacock butterfly

The buddleia is working hard.

As you can see, the sun was shining and as the forecast suggested a dry day, I left the butterflies behind and headed westward into the wind.  The first twenty five miles took me two hours and eight minutes.  The next thirty took me two hours and three minutes.

The verge mowers have been everywhere so I didn’t stop for a picture until I came across a patch of yellow flowers that are not dandelions.  Each one came with its own insect.

insects on wildflowers

As I was on a longish ride, I stopped frequently for a stretch and a drink but wild flowers were hard to find so I settled for a lichen encrusted twig instead.

yellow lichen on twig

I took a picture of the old main road near Lockerbie to show the state of the verges.

old A74 near Lockerbie

Very neatly mowed!  The white line on the left marks off a cycle lane.  As you can see, on a Saturday this is a pretty quiet road considering it used to be the main western  road between England and Scotland but it is busier on a weekday and the cycle lane is welcome.

I was stopped in my tracks by this bright red burst of berries, sticking out of a hedge all by themselves.

red berries

I crossed the River Annan twice but waited until I got to the town of Annan itself before taking a picture of a bridge.

Annan bridge

A party of goosanders was cruising up the river nearby.

goosanders

Passing through Annan, I stopped a few miles later for a fruit scone and a coffee at a museum in Eastriggs.

devil's porridge

It celebrates the story of the largest munitions factory in the world  during the First World war.  They manufactured cordite there and this accounted for the size of the factory which was spread over several miles of deserted sea coast. (You can find out more by clicking this link.)

I didn’t go into the museum but had my coffee outside beside an impressive flower pot.

When I got to Gretna, I was going to go down to the sea shore to take exciting pictures but when I looked…

Solway at Gretna

…I saw that the sea was out so I turned and headed for home.

My route was planned to make the most of a friendly wind on my way back westwards and you may be able to tell that all the leaves on these trees have their backs to me…

Glenzier road at KPF

…so the plan worked out well.

I did worry for a moment when some threatening clouds loomed up when I was about ten miles from home…

 

dark clouds

…but they blew away and the sun was out when I got back to the garden.

And so were the butterflies.

I only saw peacock butterflies today but there were a lot about…

afternoon peacock butterfly

…and the buddleia was heaving with them.

pair of peacock butterfly

I mowed both lawns and then, since I thought that they were looking quite neat, I went round the edges with the strimmer too.

Next, while Mrs Tootlepedal did some ‘neatening up’ in the vegetable garden, I dead headed poppies, mallow and calendula and took a few pictures.

One of the new lilies looks right at home among the phlox, zinnias and mallow.

lily with zinnia, phlox and mallow

The buddleia may attract butterflies but the dahlias are a treat for the bees and it is rare to pass them without finding a bee about.

dahlia with bee

And I like the poppies.

pink poppy

I was taking the dead headings to the compost bin when I noticed that the snow berry which grows behind the bins is out.  It is a bit of a pest but I like it.

snowberry

If the blog stops appearing and there is no sign to be seen of the Tootlepedals, it is most likely that we will be found buried under a great heap of courgettes.  The supply is never ending at the moment.

courgettes

I had courgette soup with potatoes for my tea.

I sadly neglected to take any bird pictures today so the flying bird of the day is the giant flower pot at the Devil’s Porridge Museum.

giant flowerpot

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle-on-Tyne correspondent and shows her children posing beside Stephenson’s Rocket.

rocket with mengers

It rained several times today but disappointingly not enough to register any amount on Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge.  Still, the lightness of the occasional drizzle and the sunny spells in between allowed me to spend a productive and enjoyable day.

We were both surprised (and pleased) to find that yesterday’s furniture removal work had not had any bad effects and Mrs Tootlepedal was out working in the garden at every opportunity.

I had a wander round while dead heading after breakfast.

I was impressed by the very straight back of the big white lily…

big lily two

…and the fact that its flowers don’t talk to each other at all.

They are big flowers.  By comparison,  a new white poppy looked very modest.

white poppy

The arrival of Dropscone bringing the traditional Friday treacle scones brightened one of the gloomier weather moments of the morning.  It was good to catch up on his news after a gap of two weeks.

When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal decided to stop gardening and go off to buy some more plants and other necessities like fertilizer and bamboos sticks.

While she was gone, I sieved all the compost that was left in Bin D and then turned the contents of Bin C into the empty Bin D.  To save my back a bit, I employed a nifty raking and kicking process which left me with minimum lifting to do.  I haven’t taken any pictures of this as I felt that too much excitement might not be good for some of my more elderly readers.

I went in and had another round in my fight against the whimsicalities of my printer.  I did a lot.  I updated the printer operating system, I muttered imprecations both loudly and under my breath, I turned things off and on.  I worked hard.  The score so far?  Printer 3 Tom 0.

I had lunch (courgette soup) and then set the camera up to look at the birds.  Goldfinches have been scarce lately so I was pleased to see one today.

goldfinch

A rather ragged jackdaw dropped in too.

jackdaw molting

There were plenty of greenfinches again and the contest for available perches was continuous.

flying goldfinch triptych

Mostly the sitting tenants won today.

Birds keep producing young and I saw a chaffinch feeding a youngster in the plum tree.

chaffinch and young

Mrs Tootlepedal eventually returned after visiting two garden centres in order to find what she wanted.  As this meant that she had been able to buy some good cheese for me from the one that has a food hall, I was very happy.

I had a walk round the garden with her and we saw some peacock butterflies on the buddleia but I couldn’t get a good picture.  The weather looked to be set fair for a while so I took a picture of the colourphul phlox…

phine phlox

…and then put my camera away and got out my bicycle.

It was one of those days when the shelter of the garden gives a false impression of how strong the breeze is.  When I got out of town, I found that there was a decidedly brisk breeze in my face.  Not wanting to overtax my legs, I settled for an up and down the road twenty miles so that I didn’t have to face into the wind for too long at a time.

As I cycled towards the bottom of Callister, a buzzard took off and flew lazily up the road ahead of me.  It turned and flew over my head a couple of times and then hovered in the wind above the banking beside the road.  I stopped, got my camera out and pointed it at the spot where the buzzard had been until two seconds before I pressed the shutter button.

wauchope road no buzzard

A buzzard fee zone

Apart from the breeze, it was a perfect day for a pedal, warm but not too hot and with a little shade provided by white fluffy clouds from time to time.

My route took me through the town and out on the north side before I turned back and rounded off the trip with another six miles to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, keeping in the shelter of the valley bottom.

The countryside is looking a lot fresher after our recent rain.

wauchope view

Looking down the Bigholms Burn

Ewes valley

Looking up towards Ewes

wauchope white bull

The white bull looked just about as happy as can be.

When I got back, I noticed a flurry of movement on the buddleia.  We had been invaded by a small army of butterflies.  There were our usual white butterflies but there were also several peacocks…

peacock butterfly on buddleia

…two small tortoiseshells which I spotted…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

..and a single painted lady which caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.

painted lady butterfly on buddleia

It makes the heart sing to see such beauty.

I had time to enjoy the flower of another of the big lilies among the rose mallows….

big lily

…and to reflect on the clematis on the fence which apparently produces flowers with different numbers of petals.

clematis 6 petalsclematis 4 petals

…until you look more closely, before I went in for my shower and a catch up on my correspondence.

Mrs Tootlepedal used some of our courgette mountain to make courgette fritters for tea and then Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday visit.  Before we played, Alison told me that their buddleia too had been covered on butterflies this afternoon.  This is good news as there were worries that the butterfly population might have been hit by the cold late spring this year.

The music was as enjoyable as ever and sometimes we both played the right notes at the right time and this created a very pleasing effect and rounded off a good day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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