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Posts Tagged ‘sheep’

Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda.  She is off school but obviously getting good art lessons at home.

matilda's wolf

Here, we had another dry day with a lot of thin cloud again.  It did get slightly warmer in the afternoon and may well have got into double figures at last.

We are limited in what we can do and where we can go so my first activity was to walk round the garden and admire the primroses.

primorses garden

We are allowed a shopping trip so I cycled round to the corner shop and passed the oyster catchers on my way home.  This one likes standing on one leg a lot.

oyster catcher one leg

Then I did a little compost sieving and followed that by making some potato soup for lunch, using chives from the garden for added flavour.

After lunch, it was time for garden action again.  Mrs Tootlepedal was clearing out the old strawberry bed.  We have decided that it makes more sense to buy the excellent strawberries produced by a local grower than use up a lot of space for a not very bountiful or tasty crop of our own.

I finished sieving the compost in Bin C and started turning out the contents of Bin B into Bin C.  I am taking this in gentle stages and did about a third of the pile before hanging up my fork and going for a walk,

Apart from shopping, we are allowed one excursion for exercise each day, and as it was far too windy for comfortable cycling, a walk was the choice for today.

In decided to visit the top of Warbla and as I walked up the track from the park to the Stubholm, a ray of sunshine brightened the day…

sun on trees stubholm track

…but it didn’t cut through the haze and the rest of the walk was pleasant enough but didn’t offer anything in the way of sunny views.

I saw horses…

two horses stubholm

…and the bench that my neighbour Liz likes to sit on when she takes her dog for a walk in the morning.

bench on warbla

As I got near the top of Warbla, a gap in the cloud let the sun pick out this blasted tree…

tree on warbla

…and when I got to the summit, I was able to take a quick shot over the town before the clouds  began to close again.

town and ewes cloudy day from warbla

I couldn’t stop on the summit as the wind threatened to blow me over the edge so I began to walk down the other side of the hill towards the cattle sheds which you can see below.

view down from warbla summit

This was an adventurous route for an old man with dodgy knees, crossing rough ground and finding gaps in old walls…

warbla wall

…but fortunately there was a reassuring sign telling me that I was going in the right direction.

walks sign warbla

Just as I was getting towards the bottom of the hill, I saw a cloud of sheep ready to head upwards…

sheep gathering below warbla

…so I had to make a diversion and was able to watch them heading uphill as I passed below them.sheep at skipperscleuch

I came to Skippers Bridge and the water was low enough to let me take a picture from the upstream side….

skippers March

…where I could enjoy the clear water splashing over the rocks…

esk at skipeprs

…and get a good view of the old distillery building.

distillery March

I walked home along the Murtholm.  There are not a great many hazel catkins this year but one bush is doing very well and when I looked more closely, I could see that it also had a lot of female flowers on it.  I have never seen three flowers together like this before.

three hazel flowers

The sheep were safely grazing…

sheep eating

…and I rounded off my walk by seeing a garden escape adding a little colour to the river bank above the Park Bridge.

colour at the park bridge

When I got home, I saw the familiar pair of piebald jackdaws on the path beside the dam. It  seems amazing that that prominent white feather has not fallen off.

piebald jackdaws

I passed a family party of four on the hill and a lone dog walker on the flat during my walk so I reckon that it was isolated enough to be fine.  If the weather stays good, I hope to have a cycle ride for my permitted excursion tomorrow.

Mrs Tootlepedal is crocheting a blanket to keep herself occupied during the shut in and I am waging a losing battle against my computer security suppliers which may well take me the rest of my life.  We are both keeping busy.

The flying bird of the day is not flying.  It is a jackdaw perching on the park wall.

jackdaw on park wall

For some not very clear reason, no birds are coming to the feeder at all at the moment so flying birds will be at a premium.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He visited Kedlestone Hall in Derbyshire on one of the better recent days.

kedlestone hall

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to yet another meeting after breakfast and inspired by her vigour, I managed to get myself into my cycling gear and out of the house before coffee time.  Admittedly, I was helped in this by the knowledge that the forecast for the afternoon was very poor and it was now or never as far as comfortable cycling went.

There are now some definite signs of spring as I go round my customary 20 mile Canonbie route with daffodils out beside the road in several places.

daffs on cycle tour

Rather annoyingly, the brisk breeze was back again but one of the reasons that I like my Canonbie route so much is that it protects from the worst of a westerly wind and I get some help going home.  All the same, I had to keep my head down and pedal quite hard at times so I didn’t stop a lot.

When I did stop, the Canonbie cows were too busy to look up.

two canonbie cows

The sun came out as I was pedalling home, and with the wind behind me there were moments when it almost felt warm.

The sun picked out this dramatic tree near Irvine House.

tree a Irvine house

Mrs Tootlepedal was still out when I got home so after a quick check on the pond…

frogs

…and an inventory of growth in the garden…

garden growth

…I went off to cadge a cup of coffee and a ginger biscuit or two from Sandy.

He is remaining remarkably cheerful in spite of the tedium of being housebound for several weeks.  He has some entertainment though, as a pair of blue tits have settled into the nest box on his shed.  I caught a glimpse of one them today.

sandy's blue tit

On my way home, I was struck by these dark shapes in a tree.  They turned out to be a pair of rooks considering  redecorating the sitting room in their nest in the rookery.

two rooks holmwood

I got home in time for lunch and was joined by Mrs Tootlepedal.  Her meeting had extended itself into taking important visitors up on to the moor, where they had seen two hen harriers and several goats and kids.  Everyone had enjoyed this a lot.

After lunch, I had a moment to watch the birds.

Unlike yesterday’s neat eater, today’s siskin shows much more typical behaviour.

siskin dropping food

Goldfinches flew in from every angle…

flying goldfinches

…and once ensconced on the feeder, they looked both this way and that.

goldfinch contrast

Having checked the forecast again, I discovered that I might just have enough time for a walk before the rain started so I set out for a short walk over three bridges.

I had had the best of the day on my cycle ride. The cold was now colder, the sky was greyer and the wind was stronger but there were still definite signs of spring along the waterside on both sides of the Langholm Bridge.

signs of spring by the river

And a good supply of birds posing for the camera.

riverside birds march

The ducks have paired off for spring and these two were getting their heads together over some tasty snack just under the surface as I went over the Sawmill Brig.

ducks getting heads together

I walked up past the Estate Offices and admired the wall beside the road.  It is the stone wall with everything: ivy, peltigera lichen, hart’s tongue fern and any amount of moss.

growths on wall above ewesbank

In fact, I was quite surprised to be able to see some stones at one point.

wall above ewesbank

You see a lot more colourful sheep in the fields these days than you did when white wool was a big source of the sheep farmer’s income.

grey sheep

I went along the top of the wood and then dropped down through the snowdrops at Holmhead.  They are still looking good.

snwodrops holmhead

On my way back to the lodge, I passed a couple of sawn off tree stumps.  I imagine that recent rain and strong winds had made them unsafe so that they were cut off before they fell down completely.  The inside of the trunks didn’t look too healthy, I thought.

felled trees

The forecast had been right.  I didn’t have too much time before the rain came.  Unfortunately, because I had stopped to take so many pictures, my time ran out and the rain came on well before I got home.  I stopped taking pictures, put up the hood on my new coat which I had prudently worn, crossed the Duchess Bridge and hurried home….

…stopping only for this lovely burst of blossom beside the river behind the school.

blossom behind school

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone out for another meeting so once again, I took the hint from her industriousness and settled down at the computer to tax our car (cost £0 thanks to it being electric) and catch up on some correspondence with two old friends who had  written to me out of the blue.  As I had promised to reply in a couple of days to the one who wrote to me in January , it was none too soon to get to work.  Still, as I hadn’t seen him for nearly fifty years, a few weeks probably wouldn’t make a lot of difference.

Mike Tinker dropped in for tea and Mrs Tootlepedal returned (soaked) from her business and joined us.

Then it was time for flute playing with Luke.  He is between jobs at the moment so he has had time to practise and this has had a very good result.  I will be taking lessons from him soon.

After tea, I put most of a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before turning to the production of this post.  It has been a full day.

The flying bird of the day is an angry goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She saw this early show of daffodils on her walk to Kenwood House today.

dav

We were up and about quite smartly today as our church organist had arranged a choir practice in the morning as he had a day off work.   When we got to the church, we found other members of the choir hanging about on the bridge so it was obvious that Henyy had not arrived yet.

This gave us the chance to chat, admire the ample lichen on the bridge parapet…

lichen on church bridge

…and look up at two oyster catchers who perched on the church roof and laughed at us down below.

oyster catchers on church roof

A bird on the tree beside the bridge was doing more than enough singing for all of us.

thrush at church

Henry arrived after an horrendous drive down from Edinburgh, and as it turned out that he had had a very late night last night when the bus he was driving broke down, we were very sympathetic and did our best in the choir practice to keep him happy.

When we got home, I had a moment to exchanged nods with a chaffinch in Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree…

chaffinch in fake tree

…before I went off to visit Sandy for a coffee.  Understandably, he is getting a bit bored, cooped up in the house as he is, so I helped him out by eating several of his ginger biscuits.  This seemed to cheer him up.

I didn’t have time to do much when I got home as we were going out to a patrons’ lunch at the Buccleuch Centre.  The patrons’ lunch always comes embellished with a speaker and this month we listened to an encouraging talk about the project to build a new sports centre and swimming pool in the town.  The organising committee have gone about it in a very methodical way, and there seems to be much more chance of it actually happening than I had thought.  I hope that they succeed, as I would like to be able to go for a swim.

When we got home, the sun was out and the flowers were grateful.

crocus snowdrop crocus

I should have gone cycling but the forecast had a bit of rain in  it and the wind was quite breezy so I wasted time watching the birds and doing a tricky crossword and pretending that I was a cyclist.

I was pleased to see a chaffinch giving a couple of siskins a lesson in how to eat seed neatly.

chaffinch eating neatly

One of the siskins didn’t seem to be very interested.

A female chaffinch seemed a bit put out to find herself not just being abused by a siskin as usual but by a male chaffinch as well.

chaffinch being shouted at

This male chaffinch was in the zone though and paid no attention to a rude siskin.

chaffinch and siskin

There was plenty of action at the feeder as a counterpoint to my lack of action indoors.

I liked the optimistic air of this chaffinch as it circled round to the far side of the feeder.  It was due to be disappointed when it found that there was siskin already there.

chaffinch looking round corner

I finally managed to get myself moving and set off on the bike rather late in the day.  It was cloudy and cold but the wind wasn’t quite as strong as it has been lately.  I just pottered along and stopped to greet some reliable gorse flowers on the road to Cleuchfoot…

gorse cleuchfoot

… and admire these artistically posed sheep on the bank above the gorse.

artistic sheep

When I got to the top of Callister, I found a rather curious cloud formation.  It looked as though the clouds were breaking apart and had had to be tied together with a bit of old rope.

clouds with binder twine

The clouds did part enough on my way home to let a tall cyclist accompany me for a while.

shadow cyclist

And by the time that I got to the bottom of the hill, the light was gorgeous.

tree bigholms

There must have been some clouds still about though, because not long afterwards, I looked up to see this.

wauchope rainbow half

There was a complete bow, but unfortunately I was too close for my little camera to get the whole thing in…

wauchope rainbow most

…so I took three pictures and when I got home, Photoshop kindly stitched them together for me.  Not perfect but not bad, I thought.

wauchope rainbow stitched

I had hoped to do twenty miles but it got dark and rather chilly so I settled for eighteen miles instead.  I should have gone out earlier!

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy when I was pedalling and she was very happy to have done some good organising in the garden.

After tea, she invited me to go back to the Bucceuch Centre with her where the film of Downton Abbey was showing.  I couldn’t raise much enthusiasm for spending time with the gilded classes so I stayed at home while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to enjoy herself in the company of a very loyal blog reader.  As the blog reader is in the church choir and also sat next to us at the patrons’ lunch, she and Mrs Tootlepedal may well have run out of conversation before the evening is out.

I got two sunny possibilities for the flying bird of the day today and as I couldn’t choose between them, I have….

flying chaffinch

…put them both in.

flying chaffinch close

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s Northumbrian holiday.  It shows Bamburgh Castle, which he visited with his daughters and granddaughter even though he had to pay to get in.  His granddaughter got in free in her pushchair though.

bamburgh castle dennis

As Mrs Tootlepedal had an assignation to have coffee with her ex-work colleagues, I walked up the hill to have coffee with Sandy.  With Dropscone being away, there has been a scone drought so I was very happy to find that through the good wishes of an earlier visitor, Sandy had a supply of unlicensed scones to go with our coffee.  They went down well with some raspberry jam.

After our recent sunny days, it was back to normal today and it rained from morning until after dark.  When I left Sandy’s, the rain had eased back to a gentle drizzle so I took the opportunity to stretch my legs with a walk across the Becks Burn.

A horse and and I had a meeting of minds on the state of the weather.

horse giving me the eye

There has still been no demand for the fallen crab apples beside the track.

fallen apples becks track

A sheep posed nicely for me and showed off how wet the ground is now.

sheep becks track

When I got to the Becks Burn, I was able to see the law of unintended consequences in action.    The stream used to flow straight on when it was flooded making access to the bottom of the steps on the far bank very difficult if not impossible.  Someone created a serviceable dam out of natural materials and now the stream stays in its bed and it is possible to get to the steps on dry ground.

bank dammed becks burn

However, the strength of the stream as it is forced to go round a corner instead of going straight on has eaten away at the opposite bank so that support for a walkway has been undermined and getting down to the bridge is getting more difficult all the time.

bank collapsed becks burn

It is still passable though so I crossed the bridge and walked up the steps to get to the road home.

There were several crops of fungus, bright enough to catch the eye on the way.

fungi becks trackfungi becks burn 2fungi becks burn 1

As I walked back down the hill to the town, I could see that the snowdrops are nearing the end of their flowering life…

snowdrop becks road

…but there is never any shortage of lichen on the hedge plants…

lichen on hedge becks road

…or moss.

mossy hedge pool corner

The trees by the river are mossy too.

mossy branches pool corner

Mrs Tootlepedal was still out when I got back so I did the crossword, had a light lunch and occasionally watched birds.

There hadn’t been many about after breakfast…

birds on feeder

…but I had changed the feeder before I went to Sandy’s and two greenfinches were enjoying the new feeder.  They were managing to waste a lot of my expensive seed.  I will have to offer the birds lessons in neat feeding.

two greenfinches dropping food

On the whole, the birds were a bit shy…

shy chaffinch

….and as the light was poor, I didn’t do a lot of bird watching.

Mrs Tootlepedal got back thoroughly soaked from bicycling around the town on business but the heavier rain didn’t discourage the siskins who arrived later…

siksin on feeder

…and instantly…

ill bred siskin behaviour 2

…started arguing.

ill bred siskin behaviour 1

A blackbird kept well out of the way.

balckbird crocus

I spent some useful time practising songs for the Carlisle Choir and looking at hymns for Sunday’s church service and managed not to get too depressed by the return of the rain.

Mrs Tootlepedal watched a news item which said that Scotland has had twice the normal rainfall this February. February is usually the driest winter month apparently, but with it being a leap year so the month has an extra day and another named storm arriving tomorrow, this month is going out in whatever the opposite of a blaze of glory is.

For our tea, Mrs Tootlepedal made a delicious toad in the hole with some sausages lightly flavoured with chillis and perfect batter.  The evening was further brightened by a visit from Mike and Alison who were pleased to find that the rain had stopped by the time that they came round for their usual Friday evening visit.  I enjoyed the duets with Alison.

It hadn’t stopped when I took the flying bird of the day picture earlier on. The chaffinch was expertly avoiding the heavier raindrops.

flying chaffinch

Welly boot note: The Norwegian weather forecast says that we are not going to be too oppressed by Storm Jorge tomorrow.   I hope that they are right.  The BBC was more gloomy.

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Today’s guest picture is another of Paul’s Lake District delights.  Knowing that I like bridges, he sent me this one of a the bridge at Rosthwaite in Borrowdale.

Rosthwaite in Borrowdale used

We had a chilly day here, but as it was above freezing and dry, we weren’t complaining.  I thought that it was too cold for cycling though and I spent an idle morning indoors.  I didn’t shift myself until Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her annual embroiderers’ lunch.

I had a couple of slices of bread and marmalade for my own lunch and set out for a walk.  There was a brisk wind blowing when I got out of the shelter of the town that made my decision to avoid cycling feel sensible.

I am trying to get a bit fitter as far as walking goes so I set off down the track beside the river at a good speed and didn’t stop for a mile.

I wasn’t going to stop when I got to Skippers Bridge but a glance over the parapet revealed an old friend standing beside the river, possibly looking at the same turbulent little cascade that I like.

heron at skipeprs

I crossed the bridge and walked along the road on the other side of the river, still heading downstream, until I left the river and walked up the hill towards the bird hide.

As always, walls and fence posts were rich with things to look at.

moss and lichen

This wall in particular is a favourite of mine as it is covered in moss and lichen…

mossy wall

…and ferns.  The ferns were covered in sporangia.

ferns on wall

I didn’t go as far up the road as the bird hide, but turned off at Broomholmshiels to head back home.

A bare tree caught my eye, and on this occasion, I didn’t mind the power lines behind it as they would be a help to me later on.

tree and power lines

Two sheep checked on my progress.

two blackfaced sheep

Normally, if I walk back to the town from Broomholmshiels, I  take a track that runs though oak and birch woods to the Round House, but there has been a lot of recent maintenance work on the pylons in our area and a new road has been built to give access to one of them.

You can see the woods for my usual route on the left in this picture.  I followed the new road up the hill to the right.new pylon track

On the open hill, the wind was very nippy and I looked around for a hint of sunshine.  it was brighter over there behind the trees….

bare trees broomholm track

…and there was a definite spot of sunshine straight ahead…

patch of sun

…but it remained grey where I was walking.  The new road soon ran out, and I followed the line of pylons on a well trodden walking path through the bracken.

path to pylon

It was refreshing to mind and soul to be out on the hill with good views and good conditions underfoot.  I was particularly pleased not to be over there….

stormy weather

…where they might have had sun but it looked as though there was a heavy rain shower too.

I lost track of the path for a while and found myself ploughing through heather and bracken for a few hundred yards.  This was hard going so I was happy when the town came into sight and gave me an excuse to stop and take a picture.

Langholm from pylon track

I caught up with the path again when I got to the stile over the wall at the quarries.  This stile is always welcome as not only it is a good photo opportunity, but it also signals that it is all downhill to get home from here.

stile on whita wall

Although it was a grey day, my walk wasn’t entirely devoid of colour as there was a mass of haws on the hawthorns near the quarry…

 

hawthorns on Whita

…and a good set of flowers on the gorse near the golf course.

gorse near golf course

I walked down the golf course passing the fifth green where the wind was bending the flagpole and extending the flag.

fifth green flag

I had taken enough pictures by now so I concentrated on not slipping over as I walked down the steep hill back into town and kept my camera in my pocket until I got to the Kirk Bridge where the Wauhope Water joins the Esk.

A year ago, this scene would have looked very different with all the water going under the left hand arch but a recent flood altered the deposition of the gravel and now both arches enjoy a share of the flow but with a good gravel bank dividing the water once it is through the bridge.

kirk brig

I had a walk round the garden when I got back and found that the St John’s Wort in the vegetable garden still has a good crop of berries on it.  I read that the berries are fleshy and not attractive to birds until they split and reveal the seeds.

st johns wort berries

When I went into the house, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had come back from her lunch and was watching horse racing on the telly so I sat down and watched a few races with her.

I was very pleased to find when I checked that I had walked five miles, some of it over rough ground and with quite a lot of uphill work in it too.  I had taken more or less exactly two hours.  This may not sound very far or fast, but considering that I was having quite a lot of difficulty in walking at all in the early months of the year because of sore feet, this was a great improvement.  Better shoes, good insoles and a regular routine of exercises have all helped the turn around.

All the same, I was quite tired and happily spent the rest of the afternoon and evening doing nothing more adventurous than cooking corn beef hash for tea and watching the final of Strictly Come Dancing with Mrs Tootlepedal.

What with one thing and another, I was never at the right place at the right time to catch a flying bird today and there were very few birds about anyway, so this fluffy greenfinch is standing in for the flying bird of the day today.

greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike and Alison’s recent trip to New Zealand to visit their son and his family.  Knowing that I like a bridge, Alison showed me this picture to prove that they have bridges in New Zealand too.

NX bridge

I am pleased to have a little sunshine in the guest picture because there wasn’t a hint of  sunshine here today.  It was grey, very windy (45 mph gusts) and often very rainy too.

The birds weren’t keen to fly in to the feeder but our resident dunnocks pottered about on the ground in the shelter of the hedge behind the feeder…

dunnock

…and a lone goldfinch appeared.

goldfinch

When I was taking the picture of the goldfinch, I realised that it had stopped raining for a while at least, so I put on every waterproof I could find just in case and went out for a short walk to stretch my legs.

There was a fair bit of water going down the river but that didn’t put off a dipper from doing a little dipping…

dipper in Esk

…and two crows found rocks to stand on as the water rushed by.

two crows in the water

I crossed the Town bridge and went on to the Kilngreen where there were a few gulls about. The wind was so strong that when they tried to fly into it, they went slowly enough for even my pocket camera with the zoom well zoomed to catch them in the air.

flying gull lumix 2

I couldn’t do much about the light though so the results are far from perfect.  I took the pictures  just to show how strong the wind was.

flying gull lumix 3

Looking at the Meeting of the Waters where the Ewes coming from the right joins the Esk, it was easy to see where it had been raining the hardest.

meeting of the waters

The Sawmill Brig was getting its feet wet today.

sawmill brig with water

And I got my feet a bit wet as I puddled along the path round the bottom of the Castleholm.

puddles on path

Sheep were astonished at the sheer beauty of my rainy day get up (woolly hat with cap underneath, scarf, big coat, waterproof trousers and a grumpy expression).

inquisitive sheep castleholm

But it was quite warm and it wasn’t raining so after admiring some artistic lichen on a gate…

lic hen on gate

…and some more on the gatepost..

lichen on gatepost

…I decided not to cross the Jubilee Bridge…

jubilee bridge

…but to walk a little further up river and cross the Duchess Bridge.

I was just admiring a fern garden on a tree and thinking how much rain is needed to get a result like that….

ferns on tree

…when it started to rain very heavily.

I was grateful for my ample clothing and for the shelter from the wind that walking along the river bank provided, but the last few hundred yards of my walk through the town got me and my gear thoroughly soaked.  The wind was so strong at one point that my legs were going  forwards but my body was going backwards.

I got home safely though and enjoyed cold beef and fried bubble and squeak for lunch.

After lunch, the weather settled down to being constantly beastly so I settled down to putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Database.

I then tidied up the front room a bit for the most important gathering of the year, The Langholm Archive Group Annual General Meeting. (Drum roll and fanfare.)

Eight members were present and we congratulated ourselves on having extended the newspaper index from 1848 to 1901 and past the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the South African war.  The photographic collection has increased too, thanks to the work of Sandy and as we get a continuous trickle of inquiries and many remarks about the usefulness and interest of the website, we decided to keep our work going for yet another year.

Thanks go to all the volunteers who make it happen.

In spite of its great importance, the meeting was over in twenty five minutes and I was soon able to sit down to an evening meal of baked potatoes followed by baked apples, a warming treat on a miserable day.

I couldn’t get a flying bird in the garden so the flying bird of the day is one of gulls at the Kilngreen battling into the wind.

flying gull lumix 1

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who felt that he could prove that East Wemyss has fine trees as well as seemingly eternal sunshine.

East wemyss

For a change, we had some sunshine here too today, but as it came hand in hand with a very gusty and nippy east wind and a drop in the temperature, it was not quite as welcome as it might have been.

I had intended to go cycling, but it wasn’t appetising, and I had  coffee and a ginger biscuit with Sandy instead.  Mrs Tootlepedal had a very busy morning of meetings so when Sandy had left, I had a quiet time.  I did go to visit our translated corner shop though.

two shops

The new shop (on the left in the panel) is bigger, brighter and has a nifty new sign but the old shop was on a proper corner so I shall miss it.  Still, my cycle route to the new shop takes me along the river and I hope to be able to catch a few waterside bird pictures from time to time when I go to get my groceries.

The better weather brought more birds to the feeder….

busy feeder

…and the better light let me capture a pair of greenfinches coming and going.

flying greenfinches

Even occasional light showers didn’t put the birds off…

chaffinchlanding rain

..and flying chaffinches were ten a penny, rain or shine.

flying chaffinch panel

I made some leek and potato soup for lunch (leeks and onions from the garden but we have had to start buying potatoes again after 5 months of eating home grown).

After lunch, I went out for a walk, touring the garden before I went.

There is still a little colour, fresh from the jasmine, medium from the wallflower and faded from Rosy Cheeks…

jasmine, wallflower, rosy cheeks

…and some interesting greens too, the perennial nasturtium in the yew, unseasonable leaves still on a clematis and promise of flowers from a sarcococca by the back door.

yew, clematis sarcococca

I started out on my walk just after two o’clock and the sun was already setting behind the hill, so one side of the river was already in shade.

esk in November

I directed my feet to the sunny side of the street and went up a bit of a hill too in an effort to keep in the sun.

The wall, as I went up Hallpath had a good deal of interest with hart’s tongue fern, spleenwort and ample supplies of moss on some sections.

three wall hall path

I looked up from the wall and admired a lofty tree.  A man gardening nearby told me that it is a Wellingtonia.

wellingtonia

As I walked on, the sun was getting lower all the time and I had to walk tall to get my head warm as I passed between a wall and a beech hedge.

beech hedge hallpath

I took the track along to the round house and passed a tree which has been gradually eating a ‘neighbourhood watch’ plaque.  It looked like this in 2016…

tree eating notice…and it looked like this today.

tree eating sign

I wonder how long it will be before the plaque disappears entirely.

The sun had all but disappeared by the time that I passed the round house…

round house…and headed on down through the little oak wood….

oak branch mossy

…to the old railway and took the path back towards town.  There was a lot to see on the short stretch of old railway.  The green lichen was surprisingly bright and the script lichen on the tree was comprehensive if not comprehensible…

four thing son old railway fungus

…and the leaves came from a very young sapling but I don’t know whether the growth on the fallen branch was another lichen or a fungus.  I would happy if a knowledgeable reader could shed some light for me.

I passed Skippers Bridge by without stopping to take yet another picture….or maybe I didn’t and succumbed to temptation…

 

skippers bridge end of november

…and a sheep looked at me as I walked along the Murtholm track with a hint of censoriousness in its gaze as a result.

sheep murtholm

Perhaps I shouldn’t have dallied at the bridge because although I could see sunlight on Meikleholm Hill…

meikleholm evening sun

…it started to rain on me as I walked along.

It was patchy rain.  I could still see sunlight picking out a house on the hill to my right…

sun on house

…but I was in the patch where it was  definitely raining so I hurried home without taking any more pictures.

Mrs Tootlepedal was in the garden when I arrived back so we had a walk round (the rain had stopped) before going in.

We discovered a Lilian Austin flower and there were a lot of buds still forming on the bush.  A cowslip was also flowering….

lilian austin and cowslip november

…but as we are due to have quite  sharp frost tonight, maybe that will be that for both of them.

Regular readers will perhaps be asking why we were not in Edinburgh visiting Matilda as it is a Thursday today and they would be right to ask.  We should have been in Edinburgh but half the children at Matilda’s school have fallen victim to the winter virus and Matilda is in the unlucky half.

As we neither wanted to catch the virus nor bring it back to Langholm, we wisely stayed at home.  An evening phone call revealed that Matilda, after an unhappy morning, was making good progress so we have our fingers crossed that neither she nor her parents will be too badly affected.

There was no hint of sun left by the time we had had a cup of tea so the rest of the day was spent indoors doing little tasks.

The sunnier weather did let me catch a much improved flying bird of the day even though it was raining when it flew past me..

flying chaffinch

 

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