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Posts Tagged ‘Rosa Goldfinch’

Today’s guest picture is the last from Venetia’s trip to Madeira and shows a local flower.  It is an echium known as ‘The Pride of Madeira’.  As you can see, it is popular with the locals.

Madeira flower

The forecast for tonight and tomorrow morning is pretty gloomy with strong winds and rain predicted.  As I write this, I can hear the wind sighing round the house and the rain pattering on the windows and I can only hope that the forecasters are being excessively pessimistic as they often are and we will avoid any storm damage.

The last day of our good spell of weather was grey but still warm and with gentle winds in the morning.  We couldn’t make the best of it though as I had an early appointment at the new hospital in Dumfries to see a surgeon about my low iron count.

The drive was smooth and uneventful,  the newly planted meadows round the hospital were as interesting as before…

DGRI meadow

…and since I was seen promptly and sent home with no need for further investigations, the trip was very satisfactory.  The advice was to keep taking the tablets and eat more greens.  I shall do both.

While we were in the vicinity, we went to have coffee at the very good garden centre we visited last week and while we were there, three plants, some more lawn feed and a new garden hose reel insinuated themselves unobtrusively into our shopping trolley and we had to pay for them before we could get out.  Since we had just gone for coffee, this was very odd.

When we got home, there was a lot to do in the garden before the rain came.  During the afternoon, I mowed the drying green and sieved some compost for Mrs Tootlepedal to use in her planting out work.

Because it is a great deal easier to shift compost when it is dry, I also took the opportunity to shift the contents of Bin B into Bin C and I know that discerning readers will never forgive me if I don’t record this event.

compost bin c and d

The warm dry weather has speeded up the composting process a lot and made sieving and shifting an easy task.

I also wound on the front garden hose on to the new reel…

new hose reel

…though of course, the weather will now be so bad for the rest of the summer that we will never have to use it.

In  between times, I wandered round the garden to take as many pictures as I could to record the end of our good spell.   (I apologise for the number of pictures in today’s post.)

The vegetable garden is looking very well organised….

vegetable garden

…and I was able to have a good helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s cut and come again salad leaves with my lunch.

Of particular interest to me was this…

strawberry fruit

…as I haven’t  netted the strawberries this year and I am hoping to pick as many as I can before….

blackbird

…the blackbirds notice them.

There are new flowers about.

day lilly, loosestrife and goldfinch rose

Day lily, loosestrife and the first Rosa Goldfinch

…and old friends are doing well.

astrantias

I tend to show close ups of astrantias so I thought I ought to show you the two colours on a broader scale.

At the top of the front lawn, the two box balls are in full colour…

golden box

…and all round the garden, the Sweet Williams that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out are bringing some zing to the flower beds.

sweet william

On the house wall, the climbing hydrangea is looking healthy…

hydrangea

…and there is a constant buzz as you walk past it.

hydrangea with bee

The ‘ooh la la’ clematis is thriving….

ooh la la clematis

…and as it is in a very sheltered spot, I hope it survives the wind and the rain.

When I went in for lunch, I took the opportunity to watch the birds.

We have had daily visits from pigeons and collared doves recently….

pigeon

…and the supply of siskins and goldfinches seems endless.

goldfinch and siksin

I got the composting and mowing done before the rain started and then after a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been busy on a task in the town, I decided to go for a walk as it was too windy for enjoyable cycling.

There was some occasional drizzle but not enough to discourage me.  We could certainly do with some rain as the ground is very dry and the rivers are extremely low.

River Esk low

Somewhere along the gravel at the left hand side of the river in the picture above are five oyster catchers but I had to walk along the grass to see them.

The five were two parents….

oyster catcher parents

…clucking away and watching anxiously over three youngsters.

oyster catcher young

I know that there are four pictures but there are only three birds.

On the other side of the town bridge, I caught up with a pied wagtail…

pied wagtail

…standing unusually still for such a fidgety bird.

I looked back from the Sawmill Brig…

Ewes Water Island

…and wondered if there would be enough rain to turn the green mound that you can see back into an island again.  It is covered with roses, knapweed and umbellifers.

The light wasn’t very good and the threat of rain ever present so I didn’t dilly dally though I stopped for long enough to look at some docks…

dock

…admire the treescape on the Castleholm…

Castleholm tree view

…and check on the wild flowers along the Scholars’ Field wall…

nettle and umbellifer

……before calling in on my fern expert Mike to talk about going on a fern walk soon…

…and then going home to cook the tea.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to practise with the church organist’s summer choir and I rested my voice again.

I only went to the doctor in the first place because I was having trouble with a little hoarseness and after being thoroughly checked and cleared of any other problems, the hoarseness is still there.  I have another week of rest and then I will go back to the doctor again to see what is what if things haven’t improved.  I am missing singing more than I expected.

The flower of the day is the butter and sugar iris.  I am not sure that it will survive the night’s weather.

butter and sugar iris

I may possibly have run out of guest pictures.  Just mentioning it.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who met these sea creatures while on a walking holiday in the west.

sea creatures

According to the forecast, the weather for the rest of the week and beyond is going to be cold, wet and windy so we tried to make good use of a very pleasant day today.

After breakfast I had a little business to do on the computer and then I went up to the Archive Centre to pick some more of the sheets that the industrious data miners had piled up ready for entering into the database.

After that, I spent as much time out of doors as I could.  Mrs Tootlepedal spent all day out in the garden, planting, trimming, tidying and generally providing me with as many beautiful things to photograph over the next few months as is humanly possible in our climate.

I spent time shredding hedge clippings, trimming the clematis over the back door so it doesn’t get into the gutter….

clematis

…sieving compost and mowing lawns.

The front lawn is still very mossy so I got the scarifier out and scarified it for the third time this year.  I am anxious not to have to re-seed the lawn so I have the scarifier on a gentle setting but Mrs Tootlepedal was still impressed by how much moss came out.   I was rather de-pressed.  We shall see in a week or two whether the work was worthwhile or not.

I had plenty of time between tasks to appreciate the fruits of Mrs Tootlepedal’s labours.

philadelphus

The philadelphus between the two lawns is superb this year.

philadelphus

There are other varieties around the garden.

The white Scotch roses are looking well too.

scotch roses

I trimmed one side of the yew before the perennial nasturtium crept round the corner….

tropaeolum

…but I can’t trim this side at the moment.  The nasturtium is growing furiously.

tropaeolum

Today Wauchope Cottage, tomorrow, the world.

The Rosa Goldfinch is also thriving and makes a grand sight from a distance….

rosa goldfinch

…and from close up.

rosa goldfinch

As well as the usual crowd on the astrantia there were visitors elsewhere in the garden…

rose and insect

hawkweed and bee

…and there was a very satisfactory buzz about the place.

The violas and ox eye daisies in the bed round the bird feeder are doing exceptionally well this year and they continue to provide a feast of colour…

violas and daisies

…with the help of some geums and Welsh poppies.

For added colour, more coral peonies are coming into flower.

peony

I was anxious not to waste what might turn out to be the last decent cycling day of the month so I got the fairly speedy bike out and pedalled gently up and down the Wauchope road for 22 miles.  This brought my monthly total to 400 miles.  This means that even if I don’t get out again before July comes, I have covered enough miles to hit my target for the month of June.

I stopped on my way up the road to admire a spiky yellow wild flower….

spiky yellow wild flower

…which Mike Tinker tells me is agrimony.

Nearby, an umbellifer had the inevitable visitor.

umbellifer with insect

If you find one of these on a dry day without a friend or two, it is most unusual.

And there was also this to catch the eye.

thistle

Three flowers for the price of one stop was very good value.

I made a second stop when I was pedalling along the banks of the Esk in the town to have a look at two oyster catchers beside the river.

oyster catchers

I wonder if this is mother and child

I did stop again on my third lap when, out of the corner of my eye,  I saw that Genghis the grass cutter had failed in his attempt to slaughter every orchid beside the road.

orchid

I hope that this one will survive.

I got home in time to pick a few strawberries to make some more jam as the last batch has proved very popular and is disappearing rapidly.

My flute pupil Luke came and we did some more work on our Haydn trio.  Working out the timing for a slow movement with a good mixture of demi-semi quavers, semi-quavers, quavers and crotchets (with the occasional triplet thrown in) requires a lot of hard work and concentration but we are progressing.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and playing works by Telemann, Boismortier and Mozart gave us great pleasure.

If this does prove to be the last day of good weather for some time, at least we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

The flying bird of the day hasn’t quite taken off yet.

oyster catcher

The third oyster catcher beside the river this afternoon

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited Kew Gardens yesterday with my sister Susan.  They went to the water lily house.

Inside the water lily house

I had had a look at the weather forecast last night and as a result I had thought that an early start would be best for cycling.  These sort of plans often turn out to be more theoretical than actual but today I managed to achieve my object and was off on my bicycle while Mrs Tootlepedal was still in the land of dreams.

I had an appointment with some coffee and treacle scones later on so I stuck to my standard 20 mile round trip to Canonbie and back.  The wind was brisk but in a helpful direction, the sun was shining and my legs were in a good mood so I stuck to pedalling and didn’t stop for any pictures.

This left me with time for a walk round the garden before Dropscone arrived for coffee.  It was a good morning to be out among the flowers, with plenty of gently sparkling colour….

geranium and potentillas

A geranium and two potentillas

…and some ‘in your face’ wow factor.

geranium

Hard to ignore

peony

Very hard to ignore

The peonies were at their best…

peonies

…and the Sweet Williams were dazzling.

sweet williams

The orange hawkweed was attracting insects….

orange hawkweed

…and the pond was rich in frogs.

frogs

I enjoyed the the effect of the surface tension of the water.

A young Rosa Goldfinch flower was almost perfect…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed the waterfall of tropaeolum down the side of the yew.

Rosa Goldfinch

I just had time to admire a white campanula….

campanula

…before Dropscone arrived for coffee.

He had been playing golf at Kelso yesterday but he had been afflicted by an appalling outbreak of shanking which had spoiled his day.  (Shanking would spoil any golfer’s day to be fair.)  As one who was been afflicted with the same disease in my playing days, I was able to offer a sympathetic ear to his troubles…..and enjoy his treacle scones at the same time.  This eased the pain.

By the time that he left, the sun had gone too but it was still dry so I mowed the middle lawn, thinned out the abundant gooseberries on the gooseberry bush with Mrs Tootlepedal’s help and had another look at the flowers.

Even without the sun, they were still looking good.

The clematis at the back door is over but fortunately the climbing hydrangea is stepping to fill the gap.

Hydrangea

I saw a little stem of Rosa Goldfinch which. showed neatly how the flowers turn from yellow to white as they mature.

Rosa Goldfinch

A cotoneaster in the back bed was buzzing with bees but they were rushing around in such an excited fashion that I couldn’t get a picture of them so I settled for the flowers themselves.

cotoneaster

An overview with bee

cotoneaster

A close up

I looked at three old friends….

iris, clematis and peony

…checked out the blue lupin which has reached the opening up stage…

lupin

…and went in to stew the gooseberries and make some soup for lunch.

And that was that.

I arranged to go for a walk with Sandy in the afternoon but shortly after lunch it began to rain and didn’t let up for ages so I did the crossword, put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised being a bass and in this way, managed to fill in the rest of the afternoon.

Without the sunshine, it turned into a rather cold and miserable day and Mrs Tootlepedal, who would have liked to be out in the garden doing useful things, got rather gloomy too.  It didn’t feel like June at all.

Earlier in the morning, we had thought of going on an outing but it was just as well that we couldn’t think of anywhere to go.

On the plus side, the rock hard gooseberry thinnings turned out to be quite eatable when stewed…..and with a good splash of sugar added.

The forecast is for a much better day tomorrow and I hope that they have got that right as I am helping out on a guided walk and it won’t be much fun if it is raining.

The flying bird of the day is a single cotoneaster flower taken in the morning sunshine.

cotoneaster

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter’s visit to Devon and shows the picturesque Royal Oak in Winsford, originally a 12th C farmhouse and now a hotel and restaurant.

Royal Oak Winsford

After a very dry month of May, we are suffering from a very wet June and things are not made better by persistently strong winds.  This morning it was merely showery but the very strong wind made cycling deeply unattractive so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I did some pro relaxing on the sofa.

I roused myself for a quick look round the garden but the wind made even ‘hand held’ flower photography a bit of a trial.  Luckily the peonies are well sheltered from the prevailing wind.

peony

The first of many.

peony

I hope we get enough sun to get these ones to open fully

One of the little roses is coming out but I will need a lot less wind to do it justice.  In the absence of birds at the feeder, this goldfinch is very welcome.

Rosa Goldfinch

Rosa Goldfinch

The first campanulas have arrived…..

campanula

…but they are finding it very hard to keep upright in the wind and the rain.

The Sweet Williams are much more stocky and sturdy.

Sweet William

Sweet William

And the patch of the little yellow allium moly is well sheltered at the front of a bed.

yellow allium

The main business of the day was the last flourish of our Carlisle Choir before the summer break.  A modest choral  ‘flash mob’ experience had been planned at the Cumberland Infirmary to celebrate the end of a prayer week there and a group of choir members met to be the mob.

We had a practice in our usual rehearsal place and it went remarkably well considering that there were only two tenors and three basses to offset a good bunch of sops and altos.

However, when we got to the Infirmary, the basis of the flash mob experience, i.e. that a few singers should emerge from a crowd and gradually accumulate more singers as the song develops, was slightly undermined by the fact that there were more of us than members of the public but the those members of the public who were there looked suitably amazed and reasonably entertained when we wandered up and started to sing.

The performance went as well as could be expected and we wandered off at the end and went home.  I am glad that this was the last time that I will have to sing parts from memory for a few months at least.

I was hoping to go for a walk when we got home but it started to rain just as we turned into the drive and I settled for a second go of pro relaxing in front of the telly.  We kept off the politics for a change and watched some triathlon instead.  It was very calming.

Looking at the forecast, the showers and strong winds seem set to continue for another week so I will find it hard to get any enjoyable cycle miles in.

Still, if we are confined to the house and telly watching, we should be royally entertained by the sight of our present incompetent government digging themselves an ever deeper hole to get lost in.

Mrs Tootlepedal made  a lemon surprise pudding for our evening meal but as she had told me that she was making it, I wasn’t much surprised when it arrived on the table.  It was very good though.

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Flamborough Head.  As well as seeing gannets and a puffin, he witnessed a dramatic sea rescue of a woman who had got into difficulties in the sea.  It needed a brave onlooker who plunged into the sea, a life boat and a helicopter.  Here the helicopter is lowering medical assistance  to the shore.

Helicopter

Mrs Tootlepedal was very excited when she looked out of an upstairs window after breakfast and saw that the first of her Shirley poppies,  grown from seed, had shown its colour.

Shirley poppy

I was excited too as I like them a lot.

Talking of plants grown from seed, Mrs Tootlepedal is also very pleased with the good show that her Sweet Williams are making along both sides of the drive.

Sweet William

It would be a very gloomy person who wasn’t cheered up by these bright flowers.

In the morning, I had to visit the Archive Centre to replace a bulb in one of the microfiche readers.  Luckily you can buy the bulbs in town so it was not a great problem.  I had a bit of other shopping to do and I got back home in time to watch Scotland play Japan at rugby for the second time in two weeks.  Like the first match, Scotland managed to win but once again it was a far from convincing performance.  Still, it can’t be bad if you can win matches when you are not playing your best.

By the time that the game had finished so had the dry weather and a light rain was falling.  It got heavier which put paid to any plans for a walk or cycle.  It did ease off though and both the sun and I came out into the garden.

philadelphus, peony and water lily

peony and marigold

Everything was rather wet but still looking good.

We had a  bit of a worry a few days ago when one branch of our gooseberry bush got terminally sick and had to be cut off but the rest of the bush seems to be doing very well and the fruit is developing nicely.

gooseberry

The rain came back again and I went inside.  It didn’t dampen the spirits of the sparrows who continued to trample happily on each other in the pursuit of seed.

sparrow trampling

A blackbird took advantage of a rain filled coconut shell to have a drink.

Blackbird

The rain eased off again just in time to welcome a visit from Bob to the garden.

bob

Bob had brought Mike Tinker and his daughter Liz with him.  She is a professional gardener and her visits are always welcome as she is very generous and helpful with her advice.  She had given Mrs Tootlepedal two Cardooms last year and there was a ceremonial inspection of the plants today.

They are doing well.

Cardoons

They are members of the artichoke family and should soon have big flowers.

Mike and Liz went on their way but not before Mrs Tootlepedal had pressed a dahlia on Liz.

When they had gone, I noticed a bee heading for a foxglove.

bee and foxglove

In spite of the some ominous looking dark clouds, the rain seemed to have gone away for a while so I decided on a short walk while the going was good.

The view of the church from Caroline Street is much improved since a tree on the river bank had to be felled.  You can see the stump in front of the wall.

Langholm Parish Church

This is where Mrs Tootlepedal sings in the choir on Sundays.

I passed the family of oyster catchers between the bridges on the Esk.

oyster catchers

Both the adults tried to lead me away from the youngster.

I walked along the Kilngreen taking in the sights both welcome…

Mallard

A mallard making waves….well ripples.

…and less welcome.

Giant hogweed

This looks like giant hogweed on the Castleholm bank, a real pest among weeds

My walk took me towards the cricket ground and I noticed that there was a match on in spite of the rain earlier.

Cricket notice

I see that the most important spectator attraction is in the biggest writing

I kept away from the bar but stood on the boundary watching the game for several overs.

Langholm Cricket Ground

For those unfamiliar with the game of  cricket, there are bowlers who hurl balls at…

bowlers

…batsmen….

batsmen

…who fend the balls off with a bat.

They are surrounded by fielders who collect the balls that the batsmen hit and catch them out if they are in the air.  On the occasion though, the fielders failed to keep hold of two very easy catches and the batsmen biffed and bashed and won the game.

I walked home when the game ended.

As I am still a bit tired after missing a whole night’s sleep, I was very happy that it had just been a short walk and to make things even better, Mrs Tootlepedal made the tea.

We followed the main dish up with a plate of strawberries and cream.  It seems bad that we have to eat strawberries and cream every day just now as the strawberry plants are very productive but someone has to do it.

The flower of the day is a Goldfinch Rose.  It is yellow when it comes out at first but soon changes to white as it develops.

Goldfinch rose

The flying bird of the day is two siskins.

flying siskins

 

 

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Today’s picture, sent by Gavin who is on holiday, shows a tower that houses barn owls.  I’ll have to up my bird feeder game to keep up with this sort of thing.

photo(3)

We woke to a miserable wet and windy day.  It was a pity as it was our daughter’s last morning with us and we drove her to the train in Carlisle in gloomy mood.  I took the opportunity to top up my supply of coffee beans with a nice selection from around the world.  Ironically, as soon as Annie had got onto the train, the weather improved and by teatime, it was a beautiful sunny, summer day.

It stayed fairly windy and as I was feeling pretty tired, I did quite a bit of pro resting while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help with the driving for the disabled.  I managed to find the energy to mow the middle lawn and while I was doing this, Sandy arrived and we had a cup of tea.

Mike Tinker also called round and that was about all the excitement that the day offered.

I did a little gentle garden snapping from time to time.

A Rosa Goldfinch has started to flower and I like the way that it goes from this at the start…

rosa goldfinch

…through this….

rosa goldfinch

…and ends up like this.

rosa goldfinch

Three for the price of one.

There is a philadelphus near the plum tree that was nearly strangled by a clematis.  Mrs Tootlepedal has cleared away the clematis and pruned the philadephus and it seems to be happy.

philadelphus

White is big in the garden at the moment and the pinks are whiter than ever.

pinks

In our little pond we have some little water lilies which struggle to find enough space to grow.  From a photographer’s point of view, it is annoying that they almost always attract little black flies which slightly spoil the picture.

water lily

The white peony had attracted a bee into its secretly coloured interior.

white peony with bee

The blue delphinium had its admirers too.

delphinium with bee

The birds were much as usual with no exciting strangers visiting but as always, they gave great pleasure to anyone with the time to watch them.

chaffinch

A chaffinch for my sister Susan

chaffinch

A diagonal chaffinch

siskin and greenfinch

A siskin faces up to a greenfinch but in this case the greenfinch won and the siskin moved off.

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Jean (Sandy was off gallivanting somewhere) and we did some good work but I was generally so tired that we didn’t stop for a refreshment afterwards.

One of my correspondents asked for a picture of the inside of the sourdough loaf so, ever attentive to the requirements of the readers, here it is.

sourdough loaf

It tastes good whatever it looks like.

We are promised a spell of good weather and I shall try to get rested and find a few more interesting things to snap away at over the next few days.  I am hoping to get a new set of cool cycling glasses tomorrow morning and they will make me cycle much further and faster with a lot less effort (I hope).

There was no shortage of flying birds to day so here are two.

flying chaffinch

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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