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Posts Tagged ‘yellow bedstraw’

Today’s guest picture is another from Stephen’s visit to North Queensland. As well as idyllic beaches, he and his wife visited the Kuranda aviary where amongst others, they encountered this striking pair of birds.

Australian birds

The weather gods relented today, and after sending us more overnight rain, they let up by morning and allowed us to enjoy a dry and sometimes sunny day today. This gave us the chance to do some work in the garden and let me take a few pictures while I was out there.

Well, to be honest, I took a lot of pictures but I am putting in this panel of four pale flowers to stand for them all.

four pale flowers

It was pleasantly warm and the wind was noticeable but not offensive so there was really no reason why I should not have gone out for a cycle ride after breakfast to make good use of the day. All the same, I managed to find several reasons; a crossword, coffee, dead heading, picking sweet peas and so on until I finally ran out of excuses and set off for a pedal about midday.

To tell the truth, I didn’t feel exactly enthusiastic about the idea so I started off very slowly and stopped to look at wild flowers at the earliest opportunity.

The yellow bedstraw beside the Wauchope road is very striking at the moment…

yeloow bedstraw by road

…as are the pink heads on the yarrow when they first come out.

yarrow by road

The verge trimmers have left this road alone so there are a number of orchids around…

orchid by road

…but this little tormentil flower is so low to the ground that it might well escape the mower even if it does come.

tormentil by road

As I went on, the sun came out and in spite of having to pedal into the wind, my spirits lifted and I decided to take a diversion to investigate the road along which the turbines for the new windfarm at Solwaybank will arrive.

It was a narrow and poorly surfaced road but now it has been resurfaced and a extra bit of width has been added.

solwaybank road

The arrival of the turbines has been delayed because of financial problems with the suppliers so the extra width has got many traffic cones on it to stop it getting worn out before the big lorries finally come.

It was a treat to cycle along a well surfaced back road but when the time came that a brand new windfarm road had been built across country….

solwaybank road for windfarm

…I was left pedalling up the old narrow road.

new solwaybank road

However, as it had been resurfaced not too long ago and was still in fair condition, and as there were foxgloves on the way…

foxgloves solwaybank road

…I wasn’t complaining.

The new windfarm will be the fourth in our area and as I cycled along, I passed under a power line that was built for one of the previous sites.

The people who put the poles up must had a very good piece of string as they are in a really straight line from one corner to the next.

windmill power line

Once I had got to the end of this road, I turned for home and with the wind now behind me, I found that I was going too fast to think of stopping for every wild flower that I passed and it wasn’t until my legs started complaining as I got near the end of my ride, that I stopped again.

I was looking to admire a fine spread of knapweed on the old A7 near Hagg-on-Esk and I was lucky to find a hoverfly with same idea.

hoverfly

The knapweed and daisies are in good form along the road here,

verge irvine house road

When I got back to Langholm after 36 miles, I was seized with decimal mania and cycled through the town and out of the other side for two miles. The verge cutters had been slaughtering wild flowers here.

mowed verge A7 terrona

The extra four miles brought my trip up to 40 miles and my mileage for the first ten days of the month of July up to 200, the most that I have cycled in such a short spell this year.

If I stick to cycling, and don’t try to do any walking, my feet are not too bad and in recent days I have found myself feeling quite a bit happier about taking exercise. This is a tribute to the healing skills of Dr Velo.

I had enough energy left when I got home to get the mower out and mow the two lawns. We are going down to London again for a few days on family business tomorrow so they needed a cut before we went.

While I was out, I checked on the new fuchsia in the chimney pot. It is settling in well.

fuchsia chimney

The hostas are bursting onto flower…

hosta flowers

…but they can’t compare with the magnificence of our neighbour Liz’s filipendula.

liz's astilbe

When I went in, I spent a little time checking on the birds.

A reader suggested that the collective term for our siskins should be ‘squabble of siskins’ but he pointed out that it has already been taken by seagulls. This is a pity as it really fits the feisty little things.

siskins sparring

If they are not squabbling over the seed, they are kicking one another.

a squabble of siskins

Some more sensible siskins prefer to nibble the nuts in peace.

siskin on nuts

Watching the recording of today’s stage Tour de France once again provided an opportunity for some relaxing sofa testing in the evening.

With some potentially heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, we are keeping our fingers crossed that our transport all works smoothly for out journey south.

A goldfinch, leaving the siskins to fight it out among themselves, is the flying bird of the day.

goldfinch leaving

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is on the Isle of Arran.  Unlike me, he saw a squirrel at breakfast time.

Arran squirrel

Our spell of good weather continued with a pleasantly warm and often sunny day.  At the moment we are getting some sunny days without it getting too hot for comfort and the only thing lacking to make things perfect is a few overnight showers to save the need for watering the vegetables.

I had time before going to sing in church to have a quick walk round the garden.  It was worth it.

poppy, lily, courgette

Perhaps the biggest and most flamboyant flower in the garden at the moment is in the vegetable patch but the courgette (bottom left in the panel above) looks quite at home.

We have got some very nice white foxgloves on the go among all the colour.

whiute foxglove

The hostas are covered with flowers,  They are doing well this year.

hosta with flowers

Our church organist has been elected cornet so he has been very busy attending common ridings in neighbouring towns lately, but he found time to come and play for us today and it was good to have him at the organ.

After church, there was time for another garden wander and some dead heading.  I noticed the last of our lupins…

new lupin

..and took a general view of the borders on the front lawn.

front lawn border

The front lawn is much better than it was, but it is still a bit patchy.  I did think about photoshopping the brown patches out but restrained myself.

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoys a bright red perlagonium which she rescued from a ‘past its best’ tray at a garden centre last year.  It has repaid her care.  I like it too, but it is so bright that it frightens the camera.

geraniums red

I went inside to have coffee and had a look at the birds.

There is a lot of blackbird activity in the garden and this looks like a growing youngster.

young blackbird

A siskin looked as though it was being distracted by an arriving sparrow from the threat from another siskin behind it.

sparrow landing

Later on, two siskins got very up close and personal.

mixed siskins

After lunch, we went off for a cycle ride.

During the ‘sit and stitch’ session at the producers’ market yesterday, Mrs Tootlepedal had been reminded by one of her embroidering friends that members of the Waterbeck village hall committee serve cream teas every Sunday afternoon in July.  Waterbeck is ten miles away from Langholm so a ten mile bike ride seemed a good way to work up an appetite and the ten miles back seemed like a good way to work off the calories acquired.

We went at a leisurely pace and kept an eye out for orchids.  Mrs Tootlepedal spotted some on the way out and some more on the way back…

two orchids

…and in the end, she saw so many that she stopped pointing them out.

As well as wild flowers, we saw animals pondering on life…

three bulls

…and a busy sand martins’ nesting site…

sand martin nests

…though my pocket camera couldn’t capture any of the sand martins which were flitting in and out of the nest holes.

The verges have not been mown recently and are very lush with waving grasses.

waving grasses

We encountered a small stream of old cars on a group outing but I only managed to get my camera out of my pocket by the time that they had almost all passed us.  This was the last in the queue (with a modern car behind it).

old car

We arrived safely at the hall and enjoyed an excellent cup of tea, a cream and strawberry scone and a delightful plate of cakes as well.  I would have shown you the scones but they had all mysteriously disappeared in no time at all.

waterbeck cream tea table

There was a light breeze in our faces on the way home and the hills are steeper going towards Langholm than on the way out, so we didn’t rush back in spite of being well fuelled with scones and cake.  We had time to stop and look at more flowers.

The vetch and the yellow bedstraw were very striking…

four wauchope wild flowers

…but the more subdued meadowsweet and two active red soldier beetles also provided photo opportunities.

The most surprising stop of the trip was to photograph a hare on the top of Callister.  It thought that the best way of hiding from me was to stand very still in full view.

hare on Callister

More animals should adopt this scheme.

We made a judicious pause half way up the steepest hill to admire the view.

view from Callister

Mrs Tootlepedal did the trip on her shopping bike.  It is the one that has been recently serviced and now has a fully functioning ‘granny gear’ on it.   The hills gave it a good test and it passed well.

An evening meal consisting of a fry-up of liver, bacon, egg and mushroom rounded off a very satisfactory day and we sat down to watch a recording of the team time trial stage of the Tour de France after we had had one last walk round the garden.

The evening light was delightful.

poppy bobbie james delphinium philadelphus

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that one of the many Iceland poppies which spring up in the garden had developed some rather fancy petals.

ragged iceland poppy

I liked the steely gaze of the delphiniums.

delphinium

According to the forecast, we have one more good day to go before the weather changes and it starts to rain for several days, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to cycle a few miles and have had so many pretty flowers to look at during this past week.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch heading up to the feeder.

chaffinch flying

 

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Keith, a correspondent from Edmonton, Canada says,”Many of the buildings here in Edmonton feature limestone that is just chock-full of fossils and hunting them is a good way to pass time when one is taking shelter from a thunderstorm.”  I think that there must have been a storm because he sent me this as today’s guest picture.

Edmonton fossils

We were far from stormy here today as our spell of very reasonable weather continued.

We had a lull in the appearance of new poppies so I had to settle for purple pictures from the back bed….

moss rose, buddleia and knapweed

…and phlocks of phlox.  The white ones are doing well and have flower heads almost the size of phootballs.

phlox

In the vegetable garden, the cardoon is threatening to take over the world and now towers over me.

Cardoon

Photo courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal Photo Services Inc

It has a several flowers waiting to come out but sadly they may be just too high in the sky for ordinary mortals to enjoy.

While we were in the veg garden, there was quite a lot of sympathetic nodding to be done as Mrs Tootlepedal bewailed the incessant depredations of the sparrows which constantly nip the tops off growing plants.  We may not get any runner beans this year at all thanks to them.

Somehow I managed to pass the morning without doing anything more meaningful than the crossword and making coffee and taking a few more pictures in the garden.

Among the new arrivals are these alstroemeria…

alstromeria

…and this Japanese anemone.

Japanese anemone

Welcome as new flowers are, these two signal the turning of the year and the start of the descent into autumn so the welcome for them is a bit ambivalent.

Nasturtiums are in the same camp.

nasturtium

It feels that the later flowers are a bit early this year but we have had an untypical weather pattern to contend with so maybe the flowers are confused.

We are not short of colourful corners though.

colourful corner

Spirea, ligularia, nasturtium and roses

One thing that caught my eye today were these petals on this clematis which have neatly curled up to make a point.

clematis

After lunch, we settled down to watch a short but exciting stage of the Tour de France.  I took the precaution of changing into my cycling gear, pumping up the tyres on the fairly speedy bike and filling the water bottle  before I started watching the telly so that as soon as the race finished, I could get going and not loll about just thinking about going.

This cunning plan worked well and I was soon off on the twenty mile trip down to Canonbie and back.  Tuesday’s long ride had left my legs in fine fettle and I pedalled away very happily, easily able to persuade myself that the casual spectator would have had a hard time distinguishing between me and a real cyclist.

in spite of the best efforts of Genghis the Grasscutter, wild flowers are still to be seen beside the Wauchope road.

orchid and harebell

Sometimes in large numbers.

Yellow agrimony

Yellow agrimony

I took a closer look at the agrimony and the thistle too.

Yellow agrimony and thistle

I need three things to come together for a vigorous ride – good legs, good breathing and a friendly breeze and today for once, I had all three.  After I had taken the wild flower pictures,  I pressed on, enjoying the feeling of going well.  It may sound a bit silly but so pleasant is the sensation of cycling when all is going well that it is easy to day dream a bit and remember younger days.

Small hills soon put a stop to that sort of thing but it is not a bad thing to have some illusions in life.

I stopped for a second look at wild flowers when I was nearly home.  The knapweed is glorious on the old A7.

knapweed

Mixed in with it were some greater birdsfoot trefoil (thanks to Clare Pooley for the ID) and a clump of bright yellow flowers which Mrs Tootlepedal thinks is yellow bedstraw.

trefoil and yellow flowers

To my great delight, I managed to achieve an average speed of 15 mph for the Canonbie circuit today for the first time this year and it goes to show what a good idea it is to watch some top class cyclists going like the wind just before you set off for a ride.

There was time for another walk round the garden when I got home.

The lilies on land are thriving….

lilies

…and there is a lily on the water in the pond too…

Water Lily

….though it is a bit cramped for space.

The rose of the day is Special Grandma which is flowering freely.

Special Grandma

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and more wind was expended in blowing my flute as Alison and I played through the three excellent pieces which Alison bought on her recent Welsh holiday.  I will not be short of music to practise for some weeks or  months yet.

The flying bird of the day was resting on a hedge.

blackbird

 

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