Posts Tagged ‘silage’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He sent me this picture of a fine East Wemyss fungus and then went back at my request to photograph the underside too.

The wind finally calmed down here and after a misty start, the skies cleared and we had a very acceptably warm but not too hot day. Mrs Tootlepedal had a Moorland business Zoom meeting after breakfast so I crept about trying to make as little noise as possible while getting ready to get out for the first cycle ride for six days.

After her virtual meeting, Mrs Tootlepedal went out for a real meeting with our socially distanced street coffee drinking neighbours, while I set off to get some easy miles in after my vigorous walk yesterday.

I headed down the A7, the main road out of the town, hoping that the easing of the lockdown wouldn’t lead to more traffic than was comfortable to ride among. There was more traffic but it wasn’t too bad and I pedalled along cheerfully enough until I came to Longtown where I stopped to admire the repaired parapet on the bridge.

I didn’t get the chance to see if they have repaired the hole in the other side of the bridge, but I am assuming that they haven’t done that yet because the traffic light one way system for crossing the bridge is still in place.

My next stop was at another bridge where I enjoyed a view of the peaceful River Lyne and the surrounding pastoral English countryside.

When I came to the bench at Newtown on the Roman Wall after 20 miles, I didn’t stop for a rest as usual but headed on to add a 10 mile loop to my trip.

This took me down over the River Irthing and into Brampton, up the hill out of the town…

…and back down to the River Irthing again, which I crossed by the new bridge. This gave me a view of the old bridge beside it.

It is called the Abbey Bridge because across the field from the bridge is Lanercost Abbey…

The abbey has an excellent tea room. It would normally have been hotching with visitors on a day like this. Today though, it was closed, so I had half a banana and a ginger biscuit beside the elegant abbey gate…

…and completed my loop back to Newtown by way of yet another bridge.

If there is a down side to a bridge, it is the fact that they tend to live at the bottom of hills. There were two substantial climbs for me to puff up before I got to Walton and headed back down to join the Newtown roa. There I crossed yet another bridge and had to climb back up to the village. In the course of five miles, I had crossed the line of the Roman Wall four times but I had seen no sign of it at all as all the stone must have disappeared into local buildings over the years before conservation became fashionable.

Just before I got to the main road, I passed this fine house set in its own grounds…

…and once again resolved to live in a house just like this when I grow up.

I was pleased to be back on the relatively flat main roads after my hilly loop, and happy to find that the cross wind was offering more help than hindrance as I headed back to Longtown, and even more help when I turned onto the A7 and pedalled home.

I made one stop before Longtown, my second of the day at the bridge over the River Lyne. Like Skippers Bridge, this bridge has been considerably widened to cope with modern traffic.

The farmers were mowing grass and collecting it up for silage all along my route and the recent rain must have helped them get a reasonable crop.

I saw two nice tree combinations on my ride.

It had been a perfect day for cycling but the traffic on the A7 as I headed home to Langholm sent me the message that peaceful days on main roads are probably over. A steady stream of cars and lorries was not dangerous but was enough to make cycling a noisy business. The almost complete lack of traffic has been good while it lasted but it would be selfish to hope that nobody ever went back to work.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden when I got home so I wandered about while she toiled.

She is still fighting the endless war against the depredations of the sparrows in her vegetable garden but her broad beans must not be to their taste as they are looking really healthy.

We will be full of beans soon.

The peonies are coming on all the time…

…and they are being joined by new roses.

The Moyesii (on the left in the panel above) has been badly damaged by the frost and many of the exposed flowers are dead, but those that were protected by foliage are doing well.

There was plenty to see both new and old.

Among the new, a rhododendron which fortunately started to come out after the frost…

…and a nectaroscordum, one of those flowers which require the cameraman to lie on his back to get a shot of the flower itself.

Among old friends, a dancing dicentra…

…a pink aquilegia…

…and my current favourite, a pink lupin.

I didn’t get a chance to catch a decent flying bird shot today so this poor effort is all I have to show.

Footnote: After the recent welcome rain, we are back to a dry spell and have had to start watering in the garden again.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture  comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She is wandering abroad again and has ended up with her head in the clouds in Madeira.


Our spell of good weather continues and although it means quite a bit of time spent watering in the garden, it is very welcome after two cold and rainy  years.

I had a look round the garden after breakfast.

The hydrangea on the wall of the house is developing well.


I was drawn to plant patterns, both straight and round.

plant patterns

And there were bees everywhere.


Then Dropscone came round, bringing treacle scones with him and we had a cup of coffee or two before he went off to play golf.

After he left, I did some shredding of bits of box hedge as Mrs Tootlepedal is hard at work on a scheme to lower some of the box hedges round the front lawn.  This is very labour intensive and she is resolved not to cut too much before the last set of clippings has been shredded.

While I was in tidying up mode, I trimmed the hedge along the road….

trimmed hedge

…and swept up the trimmings and shredded them too.

I followed this by mowing the middle lawn and putting the sprinkler on it.

I was ready for lunch by this time but was distracted by a couple of really impressive bumble bees with bright red tails.  I think that they may be red tailed bumbles bees.  This is just a wild guess.

They liked the chives.

bumble bee

bumble bee (2)

After lunch, I got out my new bike and went for a cycle ride.  I couldn’t get up any real speed today, perhaps as a result of my busy morning, but this gave me the chance to look around as I went along.  There were any amount of wild flowers in the verges…

wild flowers Gair

A selection from the Gair road

wild iris

Wild iris near kennedy’s Corner

wild flowers near langholm

Some more from the bike path as I got near Langholm

The buttercups let me know that they felt a little undervalued considering how much colour they add to my journey…


…so here is a patch of them at their best.

It wasn’t the wild flowers though that provided the most enjoyment for me today.  The sun was shining, the countryside was green and the pastoral views were a treat from start to finish.

fields from Gair roadfields from Gair road (2)silage cuttingsilage baling

It was twenty seven miles of leisurely pleasure.

When I got home, I found that the indefatigable Mrs Tootlepedal had been planting things out all over the garden.  Dahlias, cosmos, grasses and salvias had all found homes and I look forward to taking pictures of them as the weeks pass by.

I went out into the garden to do some watering and found another agitated blackbird…


…but this seemed more to be a question of claiming territory as I couldn’t find anything that it should have been alarmed by and it soon flew off.

I was looking at the newly trimmed hedge when I noticed that it had a thrush sitting on it.  The thrush didn’t seem very impressed by my handiwork.


After tea, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a most enjoyable time playing music.  We don’t always get every note in exactly the right place but we always enjoy ourselves enormously.

I did try to get a flying bird picture but there are not a lot of birds coming to the feeder at present and with so much going on in the garden, it is not easy to find enough time to do a good flying bird job.  I found two siskins today….

flying siskins

…but I think that I am going to concentrate on finding a good picture to be flower of the day for the next few weeks.  If I catch a flying bird by chance, it will appear but I am mainly going to say it with flowers for a while.

The flower of the day today is Lilian Austin, a very pretty rose.

Lilian Austin rose

I would like to thank readers who have sent me good wishes for my health. I am just having a couple of precautionary checks while doctors consider this and that and I am quite rightly keeping extremely calm.


Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker who is on holiday in Wales.  He tells me , “I came across this interesting ancient monument while walking here in New Radnor -it is strangely called Four Stones.”  I think that I have worked out how it got its title.

Four Stones Radnor

We had a really pleasant day today – warm and dry, not too windy and with some occasional sunny spells.  I should have been out on my bike all day as I am still short of miles for June but a combination of mild asthma and sore feet kept me off the bike in the morning.

This gave me the chance to go bee hunting again.

bee on geranium

This one was exploring a chive

bee on geranium

This one was getting really stuck into a geranium.

We are getting a good variety of bees which is pleasing.

There are plenty of  bright flowers for the bees to visit.

iceland poppy and iris

And lots of detail for the bees to admire when they make their visits.

flower hearts

I was very pleased to see some flowers on the potatoes…

potato flowers

…and I am looking forward to some new potatoes from the garden in the not too distant future.

After a look at the tropaeolum….


…which I see has had to be tied down to stop it flying off, I got the hover mower out and gave the greenhouse grass and the drying green a haircut.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy with the strimmer so although these areas are in the working part of the garden, they look very neat.

I was just thinking about going for a cycle ride after lunch when a knock on the back door heralded the arrival of Dropscone at a very non standard time.  He had purchased four brioche rolls at such an advantageous price (10p for all four) when passing through Hawick just before the supermarket closed for the night that he felt he had to share them with me.  This was very kind of him and we enjoyed two each over a cup of tea.

After he left, I finally got kitted up and went off on the fairly speedy bike.  I pottered round the 20  mile trip down to Canonbie and back with plenty of stops for photos.  They haven’t got round to mowing the verges immediately out of the town so I was able to enjoy a colourful mixture of buttercups and clover….

buttercups and clover

…with an attendant bee…

bee on clover

This bee really is in clover.

..before pedalling on wondering how they could bring themselves to cut verges when they look like this.

There was a different sort of growth beside the road at the top of the hill on the Kerr road.

new trees

These tubes all contain broad leaved saplings as the landowners can’t get permission to plant conifers unless they provide a fringe of native trees round the new plantations.  On the other side of this little summit are rows of identical conifers.

I am looking for views taken in Canonbie Parish to enter into the Canonbie Flower Show in August so I tested out a few possibilities as I went from Langholm Parish into Canonbie and then back out again.


A typical scene

baling the silage Canonbie

Baling the silage

The natives were interested in what I was doing.

Canonbie cows

In between taking those two views, my route took me down the main Canonbie by-pass. This is quite a busy road with fast traffic  and and I don’t usually stop for picture opportunities while I am on it but some bright colour caught my eye today and I applied the brakes.


More orchids


Lots more orchids

For a short section of the road, the verge was full of orchids.  They must bloom there every year but I have never noticed them before.  I couldn’t miss them today.

I stopped for my three favourite trees in full summer rig out….

Canonbie trees

…before cycling through the village and back up the Esk to Langholm.

The verges on the old road hadn’t been cut and I stopped twice for things that got my attention.

ragged robin

Ragged Robin

an umbellifer and friend

An umbellifer and friend

I was going to take a picture of a yellow rose in the garden when I had a walk round after I got home but on closer inspection, I decided that it might not be quite what the readers would want to see…

rose with flies

The downside of a warm and calm day

…so I didn’t take it.

After tea, another excellent fish pie from Mrs Tootlepedal, I went off to sing with the small choir that is practising to sing three songs in a concert in the town in July.  There were nine sopranos and trebles, four altos and three tenors.  I modestly took my place as the one  and only bass but I certainly didn’t oompah up and down the square.

We had a most enjoyable practice and I have got a month to try and get a bit of tone quality into my unused low notes.

No flying birds or bees today.


Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture, sent by my sister Mary, shows a stained glass window from the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow.

More stained glass

Once again we enjoyed  fine weather today which was better than the forecast.  I was pleased to be able to get out for a pedal after breakfast in dry conditions and with a tolerable breeze blowing.

I stopped at the newly gravelled section of the road.

Wauchope road with gravel

It looks wonderfully smooth but in fact contains hundreds and thousands of little bumps, every one of which you feel as you cycle over it.  Not only does it bump you about but it slows you down too as energy is dissipated by the uneven ride.  Add to that the possibility of being peppered by grapeshot as cars rush past you, grossly exceeding the recommended speed limit, and you can see why it makes me a bit grumpy.

It doesn’t last for long though and I enjoyed the rest of my ride on smoother roads.

Waterbeck road

The farmers are very busy on every side and many fields have been cut for silage already….

silage cut

…turning the country from rich green to a pale dull brown.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was seeing two cuckoos flying past when I was on the top of the hill at Callister.  I often heard them but I don’t think that I have ever seen a cuckoo before.  I was able to identify these two because one or both of them was going ‘cuckoo’ as they flew past me.  I also met wagtails, curlews, oyster catchers and a buzzard on my way.

The cycling did my aching joints quite a bit of good and I spent the rest of the day feeling quite cheerful.

The garden is a riot of colour at the moment and today I was concentrating on things that are blue or at least blueish…

Iris, Geranium and Aquilegia

Iris, Geranium and Aquilegia

Lupin, lithodora and bluebell

Lupin, Lithodora and bluebell

Viola, Aubretia and Polemonium

Viola, Aubretia and Polemonium

…when Mrs Tootlepedal distracted me with two new primulas by the pond….


These are going to look very pretty in a day or two.


…and I distracted myself by noticing some curiously claw like additions to the Euphorbia flowers.


Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day in the garden but I had to go off to man the Tourist Information Point at the Kilngreen after lunch.  My usual day is Friday but I have swapped with another volunteer this week.  I used to do Tuesdays but got fed up because I never saw any tourists to give information to and today wasn’t any different.  Only one visitor came in and he was just killing time and didn’t need or want me to tell him anything.

Luckily Sandy came in to keep me company and this gave me time to pop down to the river to see the heron…


Standing on a rock near the Town Bridge today

…and go to the dentist to get some treatment  after my recent tooth extraction.

I was seen to very promptly and got back to the TIP and Sandy went off to do some resting at home.

The air was heavy and there was that warm smell of impending spring rain in the air as I cycled home after shutting up shop but it came to nothing and when Mrs Tootlepedal went up to get some manure from her manure mine, I went with her, camera in hand.

The bluebells are still showing well on the hillside beside the road…


…and the lambs in the field….


…and the new growth on the conifers beside the field…


…all made for a very pleasant scene.  I walked along the path through the wood beside the river…

woodland path

…in the hope of catching a glimpse of a squirrel but I had to settle for the pleasure of the walk alone as the squirrels remained hidden.

When we got back, I but several watering cans of buck-you-uppo onto the front lawn and had another look round.  There are some yellow flowers by the pond.

poached egg plants

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these are called poached egg plants and when they were originally planted had white rims round the flowers which gave them their name.  These ones are self seeded from the originals and have lost the white in the petals altogether.

Reading Mrs Uphilldowndale’s blog last night had made me look at the ferns in the garden more closely today.  They were worth the look.


The blackbirds had been entertaining the gardener all day with their antics but by this time, they had calmed down a little.


After tea, I picked up Susan and we went to Carlisle to play with our recorder group.  All six of us were present this week and we had an excellent time playing the varied music which Roy had picked out for us.    This was all the more welcome because I have been short of playing opportunities lately.

The was a truly wonderful sunset on the way home but it was over before I could get near a camera.  It rounded off a fine day.

The non flying flower of the day is a new dark blue iris.







Read Full Post »

After yesterday’s exciting picture of the hobby horses in the Banbury Mayor’s procession, here is the mayor himself walking through a crowd of well wishers. I’m glad that my brother lives in Banbury and not I.  The excitement might be too much for me.

Banbury Town Mayor

Here, on a another warm and sunny day, I avoided too much excitement by going for a very staid pedal by myself as Dropscone was busy.  I left after a late breakfast and apart from meeting Catriona and Sue, who were out for a drive and who kindly slowed down to let me take a picture…

Catriona and Sue

… my 25 mile ride to Paddockhole and back by Waterbeck was uneventful in the extreme.  I did stop to admire some serious lawn mowing…


…and the gulls who had collected to see what they could find in a field across the road where the grass had been swept up.


The grass goes for animal feed for the coming winter.

When I got back, I started a new sourdough loaf and with the cycling this filled up the morning nicely.  Then it was time to head off to the tourist information point at the Kilngreen where I was able to sit almost undisturbed for a couple of hours doing the crossword and reading.  After enjoying an ice cream from the Pelosi’s van, I headed for home.

Mrs Tootlepedal was lying flat out on the sofa having attempted a short cycle ride herself in the hottest part of the day.  It seemed a good moment to relax and watch the Tour de France come into St Malo, particularly as we ourselves had pedalled out of St Malo on a trip to visit Mrs Tootlepedal’s sister near Carcassonne  a few years ago.

After the finish of the stage, I went out into the garden to sieve a little more compost and was soon joined by Mrs Tootlepedal who had a busy day, when not cycling, trimming hedges…

trimmed hedge

…and box balls.

trimmed box ball

I didn’t have much time for photography today but I had time for a quick nip round the flower beds.  There is new colour….

lily and delphinium

A pale blue delphinium has arrived.

new flower

…and ever whiter whites.


This white campanula caught the late afternoon sunshine.


This Philadelphus is groaning with blossom.

I passed a siskin posing on the feeder.


It soon had to turn to see off a looming chaffinch.


The chaffinch made an excuse and left.

Then it was time for tea.  I had a suitably summery salad garnished with some new potatoes from my ‘potatoes in a bag’ in the greenhouse.  Here is the crop from three seed potatoes.

potatoes in a bag

It was not a sensational crop but more than sevenfold and very, very clean with not a slug in sight.  They tasted very good too.

The sourdough bread came out well, being the most regularly shaped yet.  I need to get a sharper knife than I have (possibly a craft knife) to cut the surface before baking and then I will have something to be proud of.   The warm weather makes the rising of the dough a much quicker proposition than before.

In the evening, Susan drove me to Carlisle  to our recorder group and we enjoyed playing quartets and quintets as one of our members was absent, sensibly sitting in the sunshine in her garden recovering from a hard day at the office.  We played well and we had an good selection of music to play.

Although you may find it hard to believe, I do try not to take too many pictures of the same thing too often but I couldn’t resist another look at the yellow irises which for the time being are my favourite flowers in the garden (and nice to photograph).

yellow irises

A siskin, sneaking past the feeder support, has to do for the flying bird of the day.









Read Full Post »