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Posts Tagged ‘Small tortoiseshell’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who has been visiting the Lake District where she enjoyed one of Ruskin’s favourites, the view of Derwentwater from Friar’s Crag.

Derwentwater from Friar's Crag

After our spell of cool changeable weather, we got back to a hot summer day today and I hardly like to say this, but it was too hot!

I started the day by going down to Canonbie with Sandy.  We met fellow camera club member Stan and between the three of us, we collected the photographs that had been on display at the Canonbie Church Cafe for the past months, packed them up and took them home.  The pictures will have a brief rest and then they will be off up to Eskdalemuir, where they will be on show for the month of September.

I had a cup of coffee with Sandy when we got back and when I had taken him home afterwards, I came back and had a look round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal had told me that when she went out into the garden before breakfast, there had been a lot of butterflies about.  They were still there after coffee.  I counted seventeen peacock butterflies on one of the buddleias.

There were a few red admirals and small tortoisheshells about…

red admiral and small tortoisehell butterflies

…and lots of white butterflies….

two white butterflies

…but peacocks were everywhere…

two peacock butterflies

…busy  feeding on buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

There were also a lot of painted ladies.  This kept Mrs Tootlepedal happy as they are her favourites.

painted lady butterfly

The buddleias attract bees too and I liked this little orange bundle of fun.

orange bee

Other insects were available.  Mrs Tootlepedal found a little moth clinging to her jeans…

moth on Mrs T

…and I spotted a tiny hoverfly on a leaf.

hoverfly on leaf

I had intended to go for a longish cycle ride but a combination of tiredness and the hot sun kept me sitting indoors staring at a difficult prize crossword long after I should have set off.  In the end, I did stir my stumps and went off up the main road to the north of the town.

I had a friendly wind behind me as I headed up the gentle hill to Mosspaul and I kept up a good speed.  I did stop from time to time to admire the views.  Although it doesn’t look like it from this picture…

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…thin clouds covered the sun while I pedalled, and as a result, it wasn’t too hot for comfort.

It is very difficult to take a picture on this stretch of road without some electricity lines in it, as the main power line runs right down the middle of the valley.

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When I turned at the top of the hill after ten miles, I was bit worried that the friendly wind that had helped me along so far,  might turn out to be a bit of a handful on the way home.  In the event, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and gravity gave me enough assistance to get me home at an average of 14.8 mph for the twenty miles, a very good speed for me these days.

The sun came out just before I got home and let me have this nice view back over my route.  I had pedalled right up to those hills in the distance.

view up ewes valley from A7

I didn’t rest for long when I got home because Mrs Tootlepedal was keen on a walk.  The cycling had loosened up my joints, so I was happy to toddle along too.

Mrs Tootlepedal is looking for some new walks so we drove a few miles up the road to Bentpath, and then took the narrow single track road to Glendinning, up the Meggat valley.

Leaving the car at the car park provided for visitors to the Thomas Telford Cairn, we left the farm buildings at Glendinning behind us…

glendinning

…and walked up the track along the west bank of the Meggat Water.  There was a delightful little cascade to set us on our way…

glendinning waterfall

…and the Corlaw burn leapt down the hillside to join the Meggat Water.

side burn to meggat water

You can see the path that  we were following as it follows along the hillside above the Meggat.

walk from glendinning

It was pretty warm and we were pleased when we got into the shade proved by a stand of trees.

meggat valley

We walked up the track until we could see the large commercial forest that covers the ridge at the head of the valley.forestry above meggat

We had hoped to walk up to a bothy which has been refurbished and is a refuge for walkers and cyclists in these hills, but it was half a mile too far for us and we turned and walked back down the track.  On our way we passed a couple who were intending to stay overnight in the bothy.

The sun had dropped behind the hill and we walked in shade until we got near Glendinning again where the sun shone on us for the last part of our journey.

looking down at Glendinning

If you can’t get to Shangri-La, the Meggat valley on a beautiful August evening will do very well to be going on with.

We safely negotiated the single track road (with some reversing in the face of oncoming traffic) and arrived home, tired but happy.  Driving slowly on narrow roads has a very pleasing effect on the power consumption of the Zoe so it was an economical outing as well as good fun.

It is going to be even hotter tomorrow according to the forecast.  I shall take things easy.

The flying bird of the day is a zinnia enjoying the sunshine.

zinnia

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  She took our new granddaughter, Evelyn Rose to the allotment in her ‘travel system’ or push chair as it used to be called.  Annie hasn’t been able to work on the allotment recently for obvious reasons but she was pleased to find her dahlias thriving on benign neglect.

annie's dahlia

I decided to give my legs a rest today so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a drive in the Zoe instead.  We ventured into England and tested out using a motorway service station charging point.  We needed to use an app on my phone to make the system work  but it turned out to be very easy to use and we had a cup of coffee and a sausage roll while the car charged.

Zoe at Southwaite

In spite of the road  and the car park being very busy, we were the only people using the chargers and the greatest excitement was in trying to find where the chargers were as I drove round in circles, ignoring sage (and correct) advice from Mrs Tootlepedal as I did so.  Slightly surprisingly to me at least was the fact that the chargers were not in the petrol station but beside the food outlets.  However, this makes sense when you think about it.

I will know next time.

When we got home, after a small diversion to a garden centre on the way, it was time for lunch. Then we did some gentle gardening in the afternoon.  The gardening was gentle because it was extremely hot in the sunshine.  The car thermometer had shown 27°C when we were in the car park at the garden centre.

The garden was alive with butterflies again, although we didn’t have as many as the fifteen painted ladies as Mike and Alison had seen in their garden yesterday.

Once again we had a good variety though, with small tortoiseshells…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…painted ladies, who have more interesting undersides to their wings than most…

painted ldy butterfly

…occasional red admirals, some looking a bit worse for a wear..

red admiral butterfly

…and lots of peacocks too.  This one was so tired that like me, it needed a sit down on our bench to recover.

peacock butterfly

I mowed the front lawn and the combination of warm weather with occasional rain has got it looking as good as it has looked for some years.  I was so overcome by its beauty that I forgot to take a picture of it.

The poppies are getting past their best but there are still quite a lot on the go, including this one, the reddest of them all.

deep red poppy

Even when they have passed their best, they still have a sort of faded glory.

faded poppy

Mallows are thriving…

three mallow

…and more clematis are coming out all the time.  This one has the best colour in my opinion.

deep purple clematis

I did some shredding of things that Mrs Tootlepedal had pruned and cleared and had to go into the house from time to time to cool down so I managed to make not a lot of activity stretch out over quite a long time.

I picked more sweet peas and had enough for a vase for us and a bouquet for our neighbour Libby, who has just come out of hospital, and I still left a good number uncut.

sweet pea uncut

The Japanese anemones have come out and though they are very welcome, they do send a message that the year is turning and the nights are getting shorter.

japanese anemone

AS far as the roses go, the Wren is determined to make the best of the warm weather while it is here and is constantly putting out new flowers…

rose Wren

…and Special Grandma is doing well too.

special grandma rose

I have been trying to get a satisfactory picture of a green euphorbia for some days now but it is so green that the camera gets confused and can’t focus properly.  This is my best effort.  It is a vividly striking plant.

green eupphorbia

I packed away the bird feeder and cleaned and stored the tray from underneath it so once again, there is no flying bird of the day.  This unassuming sunny reggae dahlia modestly takes its place instead.

sunny reggae dahlia

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who was taking some refreshment in Russell Square when she noticed that she was being watched.

Susan's owl

We had a day of almost uninterrupted sunshine and light winds, ideal for pottering about the garden so this is what I did.  I thought of going for a bike ride from time to time as it was also a perfect day for cycling but by the time that I had pottered about the garden all morning and a bit of the afternoon too, the heat of the day had rendered me too melted to pull myself together enough to go cycling.

Through the day, flowers caught the eye, both singly…

four bright flowers

…and in clumps…

four bright clumps

…and they caught the eyes of insects too and the garden was loud with buzzing.

bee and hoverfly on poppy

In the face of hot competition, this was my favourite single flower of the day…

calendula

…though for a knock ’em dead effect, it was hard to ignore the phlox…

phlox phlurry

…which is phlourishing greatly.

another phlox phlurry

I kept an eye out for butterflies while I was picking beans and digging potatoes in the morning.

We had a good selection today:

A red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…a peacock…

peacock butterfly

…a painted lady…

painted lady butterfly

…and a small tortoiseshell…

small tortoisesgell butterfly

…and lots of plainer butterflies too.

white butterfly

There were several of each variety and it was hard to miss the butterflies as they flew about the garden.

It was pretty warm in the sun so I had to go inside from time to time just to cool down.  Not being able to stand the heat outside at one point, I went into the kitchen and made some soup for lunch using potatoes, beans and an onion from the garden.

Later, I spent some time inside watching the birds and was pleased to see a few goldfinches about.

goldfinch sparrow siskin

The number of siskins has decreased lately so they must be moving on but the goldfinches still had to wait for a free perch…

goldfinch perching

…. because there are a great number of sparrows about and they are very boisterous…

sparring sparrows

…very boisterous indeed.

squabbling sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal had been at a series of meetings in the morning but she buckled down to some serious gardening in the afternoon and only paused when these three wise men appeared at our gate.

three old men

Gavin, Mike and Charlie had been out on the hills checking on one of the Langholm Walks routes and replacing marker discs on the guideposts where necessary.  Their voluntary work is valuable as the walks bring many visitors into the town.

I mowed the front lawn and then I did some compost sieving.

As I found that I had emptied Bin D when I had finished, I shifted the compost that hadn’t gone through the sieve and which had been resting in Bin C back into Bin D and then, after a short sit down, I shifted the contents of Bin B into Bin C.

This is exciting work but I needed another sit down after it so I took a camera in hand and sat on a chair beside the front lawn.  I was greatly entertained as I rested by the persistent demands of a young blackbird to be fed by its long suffering parent.  One worm was never enough.

blackbird feeding young

Then I went in and made incessant demands of my own until Mrs Tootlepedal made our evening meal.

I haven’t done much walking lately, as I am trying not to make my feet worse but it was such a lovely evening after tea, that it seemed a crime not to go for a short walk, so I went.

A reflection in the dam caught my attention as I crossed the bridge when I left the house.

dam reflection

The park and the river beside it were full of children swimming in the river and cycling round the park so in Langholm at least, the idea that all children these days spend their time sitting inside staring at their screens is obviously not true.

The park was looking at its best.

 

Buccleuch Park

Several of the poplar trees along the river bank had to be cut down in recent years but the ones that remain look good on a day like today.

Poplars in Buccleuch Park

I walked nervously past two monsters…

two monsters Buccleuch Park

…and through the wood until I got to the Murtholm.

murtholm

It was such a lovely warm night that I was tempted to walk along the river bank to Skippers Bridge and back on the far side of the river but good sense prevailed and I turned back and walked home along the track on the top of the bank above the river.

easton's walk

This is the last post for some time in which birds on the feeder will appear, as the warm wet weather and the tendency of siskins to spill seeds when they eat has made the feeder area too smelly for comfort and I am pausing the feeding for a while.  There is plenty of other food for the birds about.

So the flying bird of the day today is a farewell sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda’s grandfather Francis.  He was there to watch Matilda trying out Mrs Tootlepedal’s restored rocking horse a day or two ago under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Eileen.

(Those wondering about Matilda’s hand gesture are obviously not familiar with Woody from Toy Story.)

dav

We have had several inches of rain this week, either in short, heavy thundery downpours or persistent rain like yesterday’s, so it was good to have a fine and mostly sunny day today.

I went out into the garden after breakfast to find that the bees had been busy visiting our poppies.

opium poppy

It was still very humid and singing in the church choir taxed my breathing skills to the limit so I was glad to have a sit down and a cup of coffee when we got home.

It didn’t take me long to perk up after the coffee and I went out into to the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

I helped her pick the last of our first crop of peas and beans and then I cut as many of the sweet peas as I could before my patience ran out.

Then I had a look round.

Poppies were doing their best to look presentable after yesterday’s soaking…

six pink poppies

…and there is plenty of growth still going on.   Buddleia and rambler roses compete for attention and Mrs Tootlepedal has filled the new bed by the new electricity pole with mustard as green manure again.  I may have remarked before that she is very keen on mustard.

roses, mustard, phlox, sweet peas

The sweet peas are growing faster than I can cut them and we have several vases on the go in the house.  And the phlox is phlourishing.

The garden is full of birds as well as flowers.  We have families of starlings in a neighbour’s holly tree and blackbirds have been nesting in the garden.  This one was standing on our neighbour’s shed roof…

starling and blackbird

…but the biggest gang of birds at the moment is made up of sparrows.

sparrow horde on gfence

After a couple of days of neglect while visitors and rain where about, grass cried out for care so I mowed everything, the front lawn, the middle lawn, the greenhouse grass and the drying green. The combination of warm weather and rain had made the grass grow but it also meant that things looked good when the mowing was finished.

Mrs Tootlepedal made some delicious soup from the peas and beans that we had picked, together with a potato and an onion from the garden, and using some chicken stock that she had made while cooking a meal for our visitors.  This was a meal with food metres rather than food miles.

I had another look round the garden after lunch. I would have liked to go for a walk but my feet are not being very helpful so the garden is the limit for most of my walks at present.

I was pleased to see that the clematis along the back fence is growing well…

clemtais back fence

…and The Wren goes from strength to strength.

wren rose

It was not hard to find butterflies on the two buddleias by the back fence and I was happy to find a couple of peacocks among the small tortoiseshells.

tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies

There were probably more white butterflies flitting about than coloured ones so I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and waited to see if I catch catch one sitting still, or even better, catch one actually flitting about.  Patience paid off.

white butterfly panel

You can never rest on your laurels where grass care is concerned, so after the butterfly capture,  I spread a little of the fertiliser that contains the magic moss eating ingredient on the middle lawn.  I will be most interested to see if I can keep the lawns a bit more moss free over the winter than they were last year.

While I was waiting for the white butterflies to come along, I saw a siskin keeping a wary eye out.

siskin staring

When I went in and looked out, I could see why a wary eye out was probably the thing to keep.  The action was non stop again….

busy siskin panel

…and led one poor sparrow to bang its head against the feeder pole in sheer desparation.

headbanger sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal sat down to watch the final stage of the Tour de France and I went out for a short cycle ride in the real world.  I was a little worried that it might be too hot but luckily the sun went in and my ride was merely warm.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it rained in the garden shortly after I set off, but I missed that and had a dry run.

My cycling camera is playing up a bit but I liked this family cow portrait at the Bloch farm so I have put it in even though the focus isn’t quite right.

staring cows

I don’t think that I have had a picture of my three favourite trees at Grainstonehead on the blog since they got their leaves on.  They always look to me as though they are about to break into a wild dance.

three trees

New and bigger daisies are out on the Canonbie by-pass and ragwort is appearing all over the place.

daisy and ragwort

I pottered round my habitual Canonbie 20 mile circuit, worried about a brisk wind but finding it more across than against or behind for most of the ride so I was able to enjoy myself.

I had a last look round the garden when I got home and noted the first zinnia of the year..

first zinnia

…and a rather lonely fuchsia flower.

first fuchsia

It has not been a good year for our permanent fuchsias.

I was able to have my evening meal and still be in time to watch the very final moments of the final stage of the Tour de France.  It has been one of the best tours to watch for some time and we will miss it now that it has gone.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch which appeared among the clouds of siskins.

flying greenfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who discovered Rio coming to Derby as participants got ready for a procession in Derby marketplace.

Derby Mardi Gras

We had a warm grey morning but after a disturbed night of thunder and lightning, with rain drumming on the Velux windows, quite a lot of the morning passed before we got up.  I just had tome to finish breakfast and have a quick practice sing before Dropscone arrived for coffee.

He had been playing golf yesterday on the course where he inadvertently drove his golf buggy into a bunker and broke several ribs not so long ago.  He didn’t take a buggy this time and went round on foot safely.  Unfortunately his golf ball unsportingly did not avoid the bunkers and proved a bit reluctant to come out of one of them when hit so his score wasn’t quite as good as he had hoped.  Still, the weather had been good and he had enjoyed his day out.

He went off laden with rhubarb and I picked some more sweet peas which are flowering unceasingly.

I had been too late to find any butterflies in the garden yesterday but I couldn’t miss them today.

tortoiseshell buttefly on red buddleia

It was mostly small tortoiseshells and they were on Sweet Williams…

tortoiseshell on sweet william

…and both buddleias, often in groups of two or three….

two small tortoiseshells

…sometimes sharing a flower with the many bees that were about too.

butterflies amnd bees on buddleaia

When I looked at the privet, it was covered with small tortoiseshells too.

privet with butterflies

Several cabbage whites and the  occasional red admiral like this one could be spotted.

red admiral

The sun had come out by this time and the flowers were looking splendid, notably unaffected by the overnight storm.

Roses were making the case for their retention in the gardening scheme of things…

two roses twice

…and generally things were smiling.  I particularly liked the snake’s tongue on the salvia.

clematis, salvia, waterlilly, calendula

The poppy of the day had to share with other flowers as there were so many to admire today.

poppy, fuchsia, rose, calendulas

I didn’t just wander around taking pictures.  I mowed the greenhouse grass while I was out and went round to the corner shop to get some rolls for lunch..

After yesterday’s fifty mile outing, I had a plan to do nothing very strenuous in the afternoon and then perhaps, weather permitting, to go for a short ride in the evening.

I did get some rest in but the day was too nice to sit indoors so I went out and mowed the front and middle lawns, then I edged them and then I trimmed the hedge along the road.  You may be able to guess that we have visitors coming for the Common Riding on Friday.

I hadn’t watched the birds at the feeder so I snapped a passing flock of homing pigeons taking their afternoon exercise just in case I needed a flying bird of the day.

homing pigeons

We had a salad for tea and afterwards, while I was noting the brisk wind which was blowing and considering the effort required to go pedalling, Mrs Tootlepedal asked if I would fancy a drive up on to the Langholm Moor.  That seemed like a much better idea than puffing into a brisk breeze so we jumped into the Zoe and glided up the hill to see what we could see.

This is part of the ground that people in the town are hoping to be able to purchase in a community land acquisition scheme.   There is a good deal of anxiety that it might be covered in commercial forestry if the buy out is not successful.

Langholm Moor July

Mrs Tootlepedal is always hopeful of seeing our local hen harriers in flight when we visit the moor but the moor is big and the birds few in number so we often do not see them.

We look for other things too though and today we couldn’t help seeing large numbers of bog asphodel shining brightly among the heather and grass on the hill.

bog asphodel and fence

This is another flower that repays a closer look.

bog asphodel close up

And then we saw a harrier.  At least we think it was a harrier.  There is always the possibility of mistaking a buzzard for a harrier.    There have been several harrier youngsters successfully reared in three nests this year and we think that this was one of them.

harrier in flight

It was a long way away but I had my big lens with me and was able to get some sort of shot of the bird in flight

While I was snapping away, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had her binoculars out,  spotted a large black bird perched on a wall near the harrier and moments later, it sprang into action.

harrier and raven

We think that it might be a raven and we wonder if this set of birds perched further along the same wall, might be its family…. or they might just be a gang of crows.  They were too far away for us to get a good look.

possible ravens on wall

The bird that was arguing with the harrier flew up into the sky and it certainly looked big enough to be a raven.

raven in flight

Whatever it was, the harrier didn’t like it!

harrier attacking raven

We had a happy time watching harriers and corvids flying.  From time to time they would take a break and if you look carefully, you can see a harrier resting on the wall.

on wall

After a while, we drove on as far as the county boundary and after enjoying the view down the road to Newcastleton..

The road to Copshaw in the evening

…we drove home, passing a definite harrier hunting over the moor as we went along.

In the circumstances, you might not be too surprised to discover that the flying bird of the day is not a pigeon but a hen harrier (or possibly a buzzard).

harrier in flight (2)

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom in South Africa, who sent me this view taken on his morning walk.

DSC_0444

There was a threat of rain in the morning and the promise of sunshine in the afternoon, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went shopping in Carlisle in the morning.  The rain came and went but we stayed dry as we shopped.  It rained heavily again after we got home and then, as promised, the day  improved and there were some pleasantly sunny moments.

I had time for a quick look round the garden in a dry spell before we went shopping.

P1030716

The privet is filling the garden with its scent and pulling in the bees in a wholesale way.

P1030720

I liked this knapweed.  It has a cheery air about it.

P1030725

I took two shots of poppies and friends.

P1030726P1030727

We got back to Langholm from Carlisle just in time for me to collect a camera and walk up through the town where people were gathering to watch the cornet lead a procession of horsemen  galloping up this steep hill at the start of the Castle Craigs ride out, the last of several rides out which take place in the week before our Common Riding week.  (By tradition, this ride out is a men only affair although other rides out and the Common Riding procession itself are open to all.)

_DSC3244

I didn’t stop to watch the riders there but headed on up the Kirk Wynd, past massed ranks of rosebay willowherb…

_DSC3246

…and onto the open hillside.

_DSC3251

I had time to admire the flowers on the hill…

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…before the cornet and his followers appeared below.

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They too left the wynd and headed up onto the hill.

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Henry, our cornet, is also the church organist and choirmaster so I was pleased that he had a moment to wave at me as he passed.

_DSC3266

The cornet is always accompanied by the cornets of the past two years who make up the ‘front row’ and they stopped to let the mounted followers catch up, and had a small refreshment as they waited.

_DSC3269

I admired the view until…

_DSC3273

…the company was united.

_DSC3274

After a short rest, they set off again…

_DSC3280

…following a track that would lead them..

_DSC3281

…up the hill and past a cairn.

_DSC3284

I was impressed by the colour co-ordination among the horses…

_DSC3285_DSC3286

The cavalcade made a fine sight as it snaked up the path towards the shoulder of the hill.

_DSC3293

The riders were pursued by some foot followers…

_DSC3294

…and an unfortunate horseman whose saddle had slipped further down the hill and who was now going up at his own speed.

_DSC3295

As the procession disappeared from sight on their way to visit the Castle Craigs on the far side of Whita…

_DSC3296

…I headed back down the hill, alarming some sheep…

_DSC3297

…and keeping my eye out for interest on the way.

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I arrived by a roundabout route at the Kilngreen where black headed gulls were jostling each other in an attempt to be recognised as flying bird of the day.

_DSC3308

The riders had got a grand day for their outing.

_DSC3320

Not having done much walking on the hills lately, I was ready for a sit down when i got home and once again, a stage of the Tour de France offered the perfect excuse.

When the stage had finished, I picked myself up, shook myself down and went for a 16 miles circular cycle ride.  It was a grand day for cycling as well as horse riding.

P1180519

When I passed Hollows tower near the end of my ride, I noticed that they have constructed an extensive new balustrade round the top of the tower, presumably  to allow visitors to walk safely there.

P1180521

In 1972, Neil Armstrong, the astronaut stood there when he visited Langholm.

from our collection

I got home safely and while I was in energetic mode, I mowed the middle and front lawns, picked some sweet peas and a few raspberries and strawberries and kept an eye out for small tortoiseshell butterflies.

P1180523P1030737

As I was now ready for another sit down, it was very fortunate that Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared a tasty evening meal for me to eat while I sat.

I apologise for the excessive number of pictures but I have tried to keep the text down to a minimum.

This was the black headed gull that won the prize for flying bird of the day.

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Fountains Abbey.  As well as some impressive ruins, it has a lovely garden.

Fountains Abbey garden

We had a very nice summer day here today, warm and calm and often sunny.  It might well have been a good day for a pedal but the recent travelling about and some  emotional expense around the arrival of a new granddaughter led me to think that a quiet day at home might be the thing.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busier than me with the business of the proposed community buy out of our local moor giving her a lot to do, but I had a quiet day.  I started with a walk round the garden to see if the dead heading of poppies yesterday had encouraged growth today.

It had, and this was my pick as poppy of the day.

poppy of the day

New flowers have appeared including the first phlox (the phirst flox?)…

phlox

…and a pollen laden lily.

lily pollen

In the shade behind the greenhouse, a hosta dangled flowers like jewels from a necklace…

hosta jewels

…and nearby, the orange hawkweed looked as though it might be reaching the end of the line.

ornge hawkweed seed

In fact, when Mrs Tootlepedal started some gardening later in the day, the orange hawkweed did indeed meet the end of the line.

cut orange hawkweed

Meanwhile, I sat outside the kitchen window on a handy bench and watched the birds.

The siskins were are disagreeable as ever…

sparrow shouted at by siskin

…with this one actually taking to the air in mid nibble to make its point to a slightly shattered sparrow.

flying siskins

Another siskin used the old sunflower stalk as a staging post on its way to the seed…

siskin on sunflower stalk

…and I am happy to say that Mrs Tootlepedal has a new one growing nearby for next year.

new sunflower

I was happy to welcome another visitor to the garden when Sandy came for coffee.

sandy arriving

He told me that his feet were still stopping him from going for walks but he is hoping that an operation in October will sort his problem out.  I hope so too as I have missed our walks this year.  On the other hand, he has tried out a friend’s electric bicycle and was so taken by the experience that he is thinking of getting one himself.  That would mean that we might substitute cycle outings for walks which would be fun….though he would have to learn to wait for me at the top of every hill of course.

When he left, I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and did some light work.  This included more dead heading and picking the enormous number of sweet peas that had appeared overnight.

I also kept an eye on a family of young blackbirds which were lurking near the compost bins…

two young blackbirds

…while trying to catch a swirling flock of swifts circling over head.

two swifts

Two of our buddleias have come out and I kept an eye on them to see if any butterflies were attracted by their flowers.

Several small tortoiseshells arrived on cue.

small tortoiseshell butterfly 1

The two different plants were both in the butterfly magnet business.

small tortoiseshell butterfly 2`

We dug up another of our early potatoes and were very pleased to find that it had produced 17 new potatoes, a very good return  we thought.  We ate several of them, along with some lettuce from the garden for our lunchtime salad.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off for a meeting and I didn’t go for a cycle ride.  I thought about it quite a lot, but that was as far as  got.  I did do some compost sieving and greenhouse grass mowing instead but I did quite a lot of sitting down as well.

I admired the roses on the fence…

rambler rose on fance

…and the berries that have appeared on the tropaeolum flowers…

tropaeolum berries

…and I had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when she got back from her meeting and then, finally, I got so embarrassed about wasting such a glorious day that I did get my bike out at last and cycled 14 miles.

By this time the wind had got a bit frisky and I did the first five miles up the gentle hill and into the wind at 9 miles an hour and then did the second five miles down the gentle hill and with the wind behind me at 19 miles an hour.  I might have gone a little faster if a lad driving a tractor while talking on his mobile phone hadn’t driven out of a side road in front of me and forced me to a halt.  He gave me a cheery wave though.

My route took me out of the town past some hawkweed rich verges…

hawkweed beside road

…with a lot of bird’s foot trefoil about…

bird's foot trefoil

…until I got to the top of the first straight on Callister after five miles…

callister with verges

…where I turned round and cycled back through the town and then went for two miles out of the other side…

ewes valley in evening

It was tempting to go further on such a lovely evening, but the evening meal was waiting

…before heading for home.

Some more of our home grown potatoes went into one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fine fish pies for our tea.  It was garnished with turnips from the garden and followed by rhubarb and custard for a pudding.

As we also had picked, cooked and eaten some beetroot, it was a good garden-to-mouth day.

The weather looks as though it might be a bit more changeable over the next few days  so I might regret my poor cycling efforts today but it can’t be helped, I just didn’t have the get up and go.

The flying bird of the day is a bee.

flying bee

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