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Posts Tagged ‘poppy’

Today’s guest picture is another from the seaside outside our son Tony’s new house on the north shore of the Forth.  As well as seal spotting, he has been curlew catching.

curlew at Wemyss

We had very little encouragement to do anything outside here today as it rained on and off the the whole time in a very dispiriting sort of way.

wet poppy

Although a little rain doesn’t seem to deter the bees which I find rather surprising.

bee on white cosmos

And the mint is enjoying the weather.

mint spreading

(I meant to put it in yesterday’s post but I forgot so I will mention that the rain for last week, as measured by Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge, was 4 cm or just over an inch and half.)

Luckily I had plenty to do, including some local shopping in the car, preparing a beef stew for the slow cooker and grappling with a very tricky crossword so time passed quite cheerfully.

What made a gloomy day feel better was the second visit in two days of a nuthatch.  I didn’t have my camera set up and it flew off but I set the camera up at the kitchen window more in hope that expectation of a return visit and was rewarded when the nuthatch not only came back but hung about on the elder…

nuthatch on elder

…and gave me a hard stare when it caught me taking its picture.

nuthatch staring

It is a beautiful bird and a very rare visitor to our garden indeed so this was a special treat.

While I was finishing off my cooking, I was looking at the feeder again through the window as I worked.  The nuthatch was long gone and there was nothing out of the ordinary, just a couple of chaffinches…

chaffinches

…who soon gave way to greenfinches flying in from this side…

flying greenfinch 1

…and that side.

flying greenfinch 2

After lunch, with the rain still coming down, I sanded down the new garden bench which is sheltering in the garage for the moment and gave it a coat of decking oil.  Then I adjourned for some flute practice and watched a bit of the F1 race on the telly.

In this way, I passed a quiet day very comfortably.  Mrs Tootlepedal went to sing in the church choir in the morning and then devoted herself to curtains.

In the evening, while I was preparing some potatoes to go with the stew, I cast a hopeful eye  on the feeder.  There was a sole soggy goldfinch to look at…

damp goldfinch

…until, very satisfactorily, either the same nuthatch returned…

nuthatch on feeder pole

…or one remarkably like it.

It descended onto the seed feeder and waited until I had got the best picture that poor light and the handheld Lumix would allow.

nuthatch on feeder

…and then it flew off again.

I hope it becomes a regular visitor, at least for a while.

The stew turned out well and we had a few raspberries from the garden with a drop of cream to follow.  All in all, what could have been a very dismal day turned out well.

The flying bird of the day is probably jumping more than flying!

leaping nuthatch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He knows that I enjoy his photographs of teapots so he sent me this teapot cascade from Derby. (He was going for a cup of coffee when he passed it.)

derby teapots

It was another very grey and gloomy morning today, with occasional drizzle to make things even gloomier.

I took the weather as an excuse to have a lie in and a very leisurely breakfast.  In fact it was so leisurely that I had to get dressed in a hurry when Sandy checked to see if coffee was available.

After coffee, Sandy went off with a plum or two for company and I retired back indoors to put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  Sandy, who had woken early, told me that he had put a week in well before breakfast so between us, we should be catching up on the data miners.

It was too damp and gloomy for a walk, a pedal, photography or any gardening so I did the crossword and then made tomato and courgette soup for lunch, following a recipe that Sandy had suggested.  It was very tasty.

The weather was improving little by little as the day went on and after had I done some business in the town and helped Mrs Tootlepedal with the insertion of some press stud fasteners into fabric, I thought that the day was nice enough to warrant a cycle ride.

It was quite late by now so I settled for a quick dash round my Canonbie circuit and thanks to a helpful wind, it was quite quick and I only  stopped twice for to take a picture.

In previous years, people have suggested that this tree at Hagg-on Esk resembles an excited poodle.

poodle tree

Sometimes I see it and sometimes I don’t.  It may be a jockey on a horse rearing out of the starting gate…or it may just be a tree.

By the time that I got back to Langholm, the shadows were lengthening but it was turning out to be a lovely evening…

Langholm Distillery late august

…and I was able to take the camera out into the garden when I got home.

It hadn’t taken much sunshine to bring the butterflies out.  For every coloured butterfly this summer, there have been five white ones…

white butterfly

…and there was only one peacock out today.

peacock butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted a lot of fancy cosmos this year and they have enjoyed the weather a lot.

fancy cosmos

On top of the compost bins, the snowberry peeped out at the evening sunshine.

snowberry

I should have picked the sweet peas and taken them inside to encourage more to grow but I shot them in situ today.

sweet pea 2sweet pea 3

Mrs Tootlepedal has surrounded the plum tree with white hostas.

white hostas

And her 50p geranium is proving excellent value for money.

cheap geranium

The dahlia of the day had a bee visiting of course.

fancy dahlia

The poppies have not enjoyed the weather at all but a few keep battling on.

pale poppy

And after seeing the dicentra seed pods recently, I was surprised to notice this bunch of  fresh looking flowers and even more surprised to see that one of them had attracted a bee.

white dicentra with bee august

Elsewhere, a bee and a dahlia had become almost indistinguishable.

red dahlia with bee 2

Mrs Tootlepedal has greatly reduced the amount of sedum in the garden from previous years but we still have some and it is just beginning to show some colour.

sedum buds

During the day, Ross, the joiner, had been hard at work putting new doors into our garage.  After forty years of struggling with an intractable folding door system which opened inwards, we decided that it was time for a change and Ross has put in two hinged doors that open outward….

new garage doors

…immediately creating a lot more space inside.   In an exciting development, I hope to have a picture of the doors standing open in tomorrow’s post.  And before anyone asks, we don’t use the garage for our car.  It is the home of bicycles and lawn mowers….and quite a lot of ‘stuff’ besides.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had completed her press stud work and the resulting black out blind was in place upstairs, press studded onto a Velux window.

blackout blind

She likes to have a project and she always has some spare material about.

Mrs Tootlepedal then made a really tasty one pot sausage and tomato penne dish for our tea so a day which had started out looking most unpromising, turned out very well in the end.

I even found a pigeon in retreat as an elegant  flying bird of the day.

flying pigeon

 

 

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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 greenfinches…

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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