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Posts Tagged ‘rhododendrons’

Today’s guest picture comes from a reader in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. Spurred on by my biscuit making efforts, Lisa has produced her own Garibaldi biscuits which are very nicely presented.

It was a day of constant wind here today, often gusting at over 40mph. As a result, apart from going out for a very short street coffee morning, we had a quiet day indoors as there was definite danger of being blown over if you were not paying attention when you were in the garden.

To be truthful, I did spend a few moments in the garden after coffee seeing if I could get plants to stop waving about for long enough for me to get a picture. One or two obliged.

There were dancing feet to be seen on a Jacob’s Ladder….

…and a Veronica.

More flowers that survived the frost are showing which is a cheerful sight.

Old tulips are fading away gracefully while the Welsh poppies are doing their best to fill any gaps

A shy ranunculus has just come up. Its delicate colour is a challenge to my camera but the dull light this morning was helpful.

I couldn’t miss a second flower on the clematis at the front door. The front door variety may not have the huge number of flowers that the back door clematis has but each of its flowers packs a bit of a punch.

It didn’t take me long to get back inside out of the wind and I frittered away much of the rest of the morning reading newspapers, doing the crossword and looking at birds (and occasionally mentioning to Mrs Tootlepedal that there was a bit of a wind out there).

There were plenty of birds to watch. While the feeder was not very full, sparrows congregated on the bottom plate…

…and when I filled it, a siskin sensibly took the high road.

During the afternoon, a tentative beak appeared…

…which was followed by the rest of the bird…

…and a hearty snack ensued.

Now you know what a happy rook looks like

We did think about going for a walk after lunch but several punishing gusts of wind in quick succession, persuaded us that the chance of fun was strictly limited and we found more things to do indoors.

I put some accompaniments onto the computer so that I can play trios without breaking any isolating rules.

We have been cooking for ourselves since the lockdown began but following a suggestion from a friend, we applied to a local hotel for a hot meal to be delivered this evening, and bang on schedule delicious portions of fish and chips and vegetarian lasagna arrived from The Douglas, fully as tasty as they would have been if we were eating in their dining room.

However, this was a much more substantial amount of food than we have been used to eating, so afterwards I felt the need to ignore the elements and go for a walk to shake the meal down.

Luckily the wind had dropped a bit and the sun had come out and it was by no means a hardship to do a quick three bridges.

The church was looking good without the trees in front of it…

In spite of an inch of rain recorded by Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge over recent days, there was still not much water in the river but there were plenty of oyster catchers and a wagtail to be seen.

The nesting mother, the anxious father, and another pair further upstream The wagtail was wagging its tail.

I saw a goosander but as it had its head continuously under water and was trawling at speed, it didn’t offer a photo opportunity.

The brisk wind made things a bit chilly and I didn’t hang about too long as I went round the new path on the Castleholm and crossed the Jubilee Bridge…

…but as always, there were things to see along the way, like a thrush in the Clinthead Garden

It was very tame and hopped about until I had got my picture.

…and some neat planting there….

….trees and flowers on the Castleholm and Scholars’ Field…

…and the the heavily tree lined banks of the Esk as I crossed the bridge.

I was pleased to have taken some exercise, especially as the wind is due to continue for a day or two, so cycling is not on the menu until Monday at the earliest.

The flying bird of the day is one of the many sparrows about at the moment.

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s Lake District trip and shows the path to Easedale Tarn.

Looking back down path to Easedale TarnIf only I could have persuaded myself to get up at 6 o’clock when I opened my eyes to see strong sunshine outside, I would have been able to make the best of the day.  As it was, my eyes snapped shut again and by the time that I got up, the weather was trying to break all records for the number of sharp showers in a single day.

The short spells of brilliant sunshine between the showers made this all the more annoying.  Every time the rain stopped, it looked as though summer had come but fifteen minutes later, the clouds were back, the wind gusted,  the temperature dropped and the next shower was on its way.

I started the day with a visit to fill up the Moorland feeders and while I was lurking in the hide for half an hour, two showers passed over.  All the same, I had a very entertaining time as the glade was the arena for six woodpeckers to chase each other up and down the trees and on and off the feeders.

Mostly they were half hidden by branches or too quick for me but from time to time, I was able to catch them at work.

woodpeckerswoodpeckerswoodpeckerswoodpeckersAt one stage, one of them was joined by a jay.

jay and woodpeckerBut the jay soon left.

There were a few other birds about.

chaffinch

A chaffinch posed for lovers of peaceful bird shots.  This was in one of the rain showers.

greenfinch

There seem to be quite a few greenfinches about this year in spite of the disease that struck them last season.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was trying to get some useful gardening done in between the showers and was pleased to have managed to uproot a considerable amount of creeping buttercup, one of the banes of her gardening life.

I found a couple, of breaks in the rain to finish shifting the last of the compost from Bin C to Bin D.

compost binsIt was rather soggy work today.  The next task is transferring Bin A to Bin C.  This will take time as it requires the use of a wheelbarrow.

In the sunny spells, there was quite a bit of colour in the garden.  The rhododendrons are working hard.

rhododendrons

An azalea sneaked into the montage.

Less showy flowers are to be seen too.

allium and japanese azalea

An allium and a Japanese azalea

euphorbia and chive

Can anyone tell me what  botanical purpose the crab like claws on the euphorbia serve?

In the garden, I saw a great tit….

great tit…and there were still a lot of starlings about.

starlingFinally, later in the afternoon, there seemed to be enough stability in the weather to let me out for a short stroll and I ventured round Gaskell’s Walk with one eye on the wild flowers and the other on some looming clouds.  I wisely didn’t spend too much time looking for photo opportunities and got back home before the rain started again but I did see a few things along the way.

lichen

A thriving lichen on a wall beside the road.

geum and blue flower

I know that the plant on the left is a geum but I don’t know the blue flower

red flower and butterfly

The may be red campion on the left and it is definitely a butterfly enjoying a bluebell on the right.

red flower and hawthorn

An unknown (to me) red flower and some potential hawthorn blossom

rhododendron in the park

A rhododendron in the park

It was time for a cup of tea with Mike Tinker who was visiting Granny when I got home and not long afterwards, Mike and Frankie, Mrs Tootlepedal’s brother and sister-in-law,  returned from their short holiday in Troon and Mull.  They hadn’t enjoyed the best of weather but a reunion with old friends and  the scenery had made the trip worthwhile.

In the evening, Granny took us all out for an excellent farewell meal at the Douglas Hotel as she is going to go home with Mike and Frankie tomorrow.  We will be sorry to see her go and hope to see her again next year.

More wind and rain is forecast for the next few days.  I was hoping for a few more bike miles before the end of May but it will take a mighty big (and improbable) effort to get me out in these conditions.

The flying bird of the day is that jay from the Moorland Feeders.

flying jay

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