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Posts Tagged ‘yellow rattle’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and shows one of his dogs relaxing in his garden.  He tells me that he sun (almost) always shines in East Wemyss.

cof

When I woke up this morning, I was very happy to find that the sun was shining and my feet were not hurting.  Life was good and it got better when I went out into the garden after breakfast and found a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) sunning itself on a Sweet William.

painted lady on sweet william

Things improved even further when Dropscone arrived for coffee, bringing scones of the highest quality with him.  Add to that a passing visit from our friend Gavin who stayed for a cup of coffee and happiness was to be found all around.

In the garden, when the visitors had departed, there was plenty of cheerfulness too. We have three different astrantias and they are all doing well…

three astrantia

…and the painted lady was back showing both sides of its wings.

painted lady panel

On the feeder, a siskin stood for a moment before getting a seed.  (This is a rare siskin picture for me as it wasn’t taken through a window.)

siskin not through window

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing the garden equivalent of housekeeping after the pole excitements when she found this quite unexpected but very pretty iris in the middle of a bed.  Where it has come from is a mystery, as she didn’t plant it.

new yellow iris

Long established irises should not be overlooked though.

old blue iris

Two days of warm sunshine had brought life to the garden and plants asked to be photographed, both in the form of Jacobite roses…

Jacobite rose

…and the butter and sugar iris.

butter and sugar iris

The painted lady returned to another Sweet William and let me get a close up.

painted lady on sweet william 2

The tropoaeolum has burst into flower as well.

tropaeloum flower out

In between running around snapping at flowers, I mowed the front lawn and lent a hand with the garden tidying until it was time for Mrs Tootlepedal to drive off to Newcastleton for an embroiderers’ lunch.

I made a pan of soup for my lunch, did the crossword and then headed out on my bike to see how my legs were feeling after yesterday’s effort.

I chose a route where the wind would be across and hoped that bends in the road would mean that it would frequently change from hostile to helpful as I went along as I didn’t fancy another long spell of battering into the brisk breeze.

I chose a more hilly route but my legs were unfazed and carried me along without complaint.  My windy plan worked well and I didn’t have any long struggles into the teeth of the breeze, but all the same, I adopted a very gentle pace and stopped to take many pictures as I went along.  Here are a sample.

A mown field and a variety of greens made a interesting picture as I cycled down the hill from Peden’s View.

mowed field

There was a pretty selection of hawkweed and daises at Bentpath village (and another painted lady which didn’t get into the picture).

wild flowers at Bentpath

The Esk looked serene when viewed from the Benty Bridge.

esk from benty bridge

The shadows on the back road past Georgefield look attractive but they are a snare for cyclists as it is hard to spot potholes among them and there are plenty of potholes on this section.

road ar Westerhall

I got through safely though and was able to admire this small prairie of buttercups near Enzieholm Bridge.

filed of buttercups enzieholm

When I looked more closely, I found that below the buttercups, the field was also full of yellow rattle.

sweet ratle in buttercup filed

There was a lot of traffic on the road on my way home…

sheep on Benty road

…but I got back in good spirits after fifteen very pleasant miles.

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her lunch and was busy in the garden again so I joined her in a supervisory role and took more flower pictures from time to time.

six brilliant flowers

It was a perfect day and all the better because we have had so few good days lately.

The only fly in the ointment came in the evening with the news that Scotland had failed to hang on to a three goal lead in a crucial game in the Women’s World Cup football tournament.  I wisely hadn’t watched the game because I wasn’t in the mood for needless suffering.

I didn’t find the necessary time to catch a flying bird today as it wasn’t a good day to spend a lot of time indoors, so a sitting blackbird of the day takes the position instead.

blackbird on fence.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s trip to Sweden and shows the Stockholm’s Gröna Lund amusement park as seen from the water.  With my head for heights, there would be little amusement there for me.

stockholm funfair

We had another fine and sunny day today with light winds, just perfect for cycling.  The day had been provided by those amusing weather gods as they knew perfectly well that I had arranged to take my good bike into the bike shop for its annual service this morning.  I could hear them chuckling as I drove down the road to drop the bike off.

However, I had other things to do in the absence of cycling and having put the bike in for its service, I drove further south and enjoyed an informative and useful singing lesson from Mary, the now ex-musical director of our Langholm choir as she has retired from the post.  She is an excellent teacher and if I keep going, I may even become a singer.  I live in hope.

I got home about lunch time and would have gone to the Buccleuch Centre for lunch with Mrs Tootlepedal if we hadn’t remembered that it is shut on a Monday.  Instead we brought an egg roll from our corner shop and lunched modestly at home.

After lunch, I suggested that Mrs Tootlepedal might enjoy a ten mile cycle ride using the newly repaired Tarras road and was delighted when she agreed.  We set off for a gentle excursion with wild flowers in mind.

It is an undulating route with plenty of slow sections were there is time to scan the verges…

yellow wild flowers tarras road

The hawkweed was very prolific at one point and as it was on the longest of the hills, I was happy to stop and take a picture while Mrs Tootlepedal headed ever upwards.

yellow hawkweed

I caught up with her in time to catch her enjoying the smooth surface on the newly repaired road…

Ally on new road tarras

..and she rolled on down the hill and took a moment to admire the view from the bridge at the bottom.

tarras bridge

This was the view that she was admiring.

tarras cascade

As we went up out of the valley on the other side of the bridge, we were going slowly enough to note tightly wound thistle buds, cheerful daisies, baleful horsetail and a fine grass, possibly Yorkshire Fog.

dull wild flowers

And it was here that we saw the best treat of the day, a lone orchid.

first orchid

When we got to Claygate, we headed on down the hill….

going down to Byreburn

…and did a little gentle off road cycling along the track beside the Byre Burn.

fairy loup track june

Normally it is illegal for a man with a camera to pass the Fairy Loup waterfall, which is beside this track, without stopping to take a picture, but the leaves on the trees are so lush at the moment that I could hear the waterfall but I couldn’t see it at all today.

We got down to the Esk at Hollows and took the old A7 bike route home.  We had passed many wild geraniums on our way and I took this picture to represent them all.

wild gernanium

Before we set out, I had asked Mrs Tootlepedal to keep a special eye out for ragged robin as I thought it was about the right time to see this pretty plant, and she duly spotted a clump near Irvine House.

ragged robin

I was keeping my special eye out for yellow rattle and not far from the ragged robin, I was rewarded with a sighting.

yellow rattle

I looked it up when I got home and can tell you that Rhinanthus minor, the yellow rattle, little yellow rattle, hayrattle or cockscomb, is a flowering plant in the genus Rhinanthus in the family Orobanchaceae, native to Europe, northern North America, and Western Asia.  I thought that you might like to know that.  There is obviously a lot of it about.

yellow rattle (2)

Nearby, a clump of vetch was playing host to a large number of bees.

bees omn vetch

My final picture from the outing was this set of developing larch cones….

three larch cones

…taken just before we joined the main road for the last couple of miles home when we were too busy thinking about passing cars to worry about wild flowers.

Luckily from the point of view of taking pictures of flowers in the verges and not getting too hot while cycling, the sun had retired behind some handy clouds for most of our trip, but it was out and shining again when we got home.  As a result, after I had had a cup of tea, i went out into the garden and scarified the front lawn.

I was rather dashed to find that there were three full wheelbarrows of moss to be cleared when the scarifier had finished its work.  I had hoped that I was winning in the battle against the moss, but it is more like a stalemate at the moment.

Then my flute pupil Luke came and we practised a simple arrangement of a Scott Joplin tune which I had acquired from the internet at a modest price.  It is a wonderful world where I can think that I might like to play a piece by Joplin, look on the internet, find a piece, buy it, print it out and be playing it within five minutes of having had the idea.

After Luke went, I had a walk round the garden in the evening sun and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s French rose…

rosarie de

…and a glowing Icelandic poppy (the dead header needs to work harder)….

icelandic poppy

…and the argyranthemums which Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.

argyranthemum in chimney pot

A new clematis has come out near the pond.

purple clematis

Then it was time for tea, a second helping of yesterday’s slow cooked beef stew.

Since it was still a lovely evening after tea, I improved the shining  hour by mowing the middle lawn.  I am definitely winning the battle against the moss there.

In all this activity, I didn’t have any time to spend watching the birds, so there is no flying bird of the day today.  A flower of the day appears in its place,  a case of going from the  sublime sparrow to the ranunculus.

pale ranunculus

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was on a bus crossing Waterloo Bridge when she came over all Wordsworth and admired the view.  (I know, I know; he was crossing Westminster Bridge but that is not far away).

View from bus window while crossing Waterloo Bridge

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:

After rain overnight, we had a fine and occasionally sunny day today so Mrs Tootlepedal made the most of it and toiled away in the garden morning and afternoon with a break for a committee meeting after lunch.

I went out for a look around after breakfast and saw Mrs Tootlepedal’s least favourite bird sighting , a sparrow in the vegetable garden looking for vegetables to destroy.

sparrow in veg garden

Sometimes when we got out there are twenty or more sparrows lurking about among the plants.  This one didn’t stop long though.

flying sparrow

I noticed that a young bird was lost in the greenhouse and looking pensive….

sparrow in greenhouse

…but it found its own way out in the end.

It was quite damp as you can see but it soon dried out and I mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass rather carefully.  We keep the grass there quite long so I even took the trouble to get the grass rake out first and make sure the grass was standing up to meet the mower.  In an uncooperative way though, quite a lot of the grass lay down again between me putting the  rake away and getting the mower out.

I had a look at the gooseberry bush to check for sawfly….

gooseberry bush

…and was pleased to find that there were none about.  The Solomon’s seal is being eaten by sawfly so the gooseberry may well be next.

I then got some lawn feed out and finished feeding the middle lawn.

While I was at work, our neighbours Liz and Ken walked over to see what was going on and I was telling them about my fern walk yesterday.  I lifted up the leaves of one of the ferns in our garden and they were impressed by what lay behind.

fern

So was I.

After all this excitement, I went in and watched the birds.

I saw a blue tit, an infrequent visitor…

blue tit…and several regulars too.

goldfinch and siskin

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went to her committee meeting and I got the new bike out and pedalled round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

I checked to see if all the recent rain had put a bit more water into the Wauchope….

Wauchope Water cascade

…and found the little cascade was busy but not overflowing.

The grass beside the river was full of these little yellow spikes.

yellow wild flower

I need help in identifying them

Not long after I set off,  I became a bit worried about the weather, both behind me…

bloch view

..and in front…

bloch road view

…but the grey clouds passed me by and I had an enjoyable ride with the brisk breeze being more helpful than not.

When I got into the Esk valley, it was easy to see by the river that it had been raining quite a lot.

River esk at hollows

I said confidently to a reader the other day that there was lots of yellow rattle about but since then it has been hard to find so I was pleased to find a good sprinkling about beside the old A7 today.

P1110652

And there was a lot of knapweed there too…

knapweed

…and a mini meadow of daisies, knapweed and meadow vetchling as well.

wild flowers old A7

Thanks to the helpful wind, I got home in good time and found Mrs Tootlepedal back from her meeting and busy improving the back border.

I mowed the front lawn.  It is showing the benefit from the feed that I gave it last week and now definitely has more grass than moss on it.  I regard this as a minor triumph considering that earlier in our very wet and cold spring, I was seriously thinking about digging the whole thing up and starting again .

Then I went to sieve compost as Mrs Tootlepedal is using it by the bucket to improve the soil in the back border.

I checked and found that the bees are still finding pollen on the astrantias.

bee on astrantia

This concluded my outdoor activity for the day except for a few minutes of thinning out the gooseberries.  I stewed the thinnings and had them with cream in the evening.

Following my new schedule, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before tea.  I am trying not to take too many photographs so I don’t have to spend so much time looking through them but it is hard.

The flower of the day is a Martagon Lily, taken in the morning when things were still damp.

martagon lily

 

 

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In lieu of any new material, I have returned to Venetia’s  trip to Madeira for the guest picture of the day.  Somewhere between the mountains and the sea, she passed through this narrow gap.

Madeira

Being Friday, I had made an arrangement to have coffee and treacle scones with Dropscone.  The forecast for the afternoon was rather dubious so I had made a vague plan with myself to get up early and go for a bicycle ride before coffee.  I didn’t have any great confidence in the plan but much to my amazement, I did in fact get up early and cycled 20 miles before breakfast.

The wind had dropped since yesterday but there was still quite enough of it (and from an unhelpful direction) to keep my head down so I didn’t see a lot more than the road in front of my nose.   However, just at the highest point of the trip, I was going so slowly that I had time to notice a good crop of yellow rattle…

yellow rattle

…and stopped to take a picture.

Mrs Tootlepedal had also got up early and was hard at work in the garden when I got back, tidying up unruly plants and picking up debris from yesterday’s strong winds.

I lent a hand by shredding what I could of the material and then and took the opportunity to admire a couple of yellow roses.

Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta, a long time resident of the garden

golden wedding rose

And a newcomer.  This little rose came in a presentation pot from a friend as a present for our golden wedding and has now found a home in the garden.

The coffee and scones were well up to standard and Dropscone was very cheerful because he had been part of a golf team which had recently come second in a competition.  He went off to play more golf and I mowed the middle lawn and took more pictures.

There were quite a few bees about but they were concentrating on a few plants, the hydrangea, a martagon lily and nectaroscordum.

bees

The nectarosordum proved very popular and there were still bees visiting it several hours later.

It was pleasing to see that the peonies had survived the wind and the rain very well indeed.

peony

New flowers have come out to join them.

clematis

Another clematis by the front door.

campanula

The first of many campanulas

moss rose

A moss rose

perennial nasturtium

A perennial nasturtium

Although it is not new, I couldn’t pass by the pale astrantia without clicking the shutter finger as it was looking superb.

astrantia

Over lunch, I took time to watch the birds.  The feeder was busy….

busy feeder

…and I had to fill it twice today.

busy feeder (2)

Doves and pigeons came to cast their beady eyes on fallen seeds.

dove and pigeon

And sparrows flew this way and that.

flying sparrows

There was more shredding to do after lunch as Mrs Tootlepedal had kept busy and then I mowed the front lawn.  The forecast rain stayed away so I went off for a walk.

There were lots of wild flowers (and a rabbit) to look at as I went round Easton’s and Gaskell’s walks.

Eastons and gaskells

I would welcome suggestions as to what the very small yellow flower is

The wind had torn a lot of leaves from the trees and you can see in the top right panel above that one section of the walk was carpeted by the results.

The summer growth is in full swing on Gaskell’s Walk…

gaskell's

…and I found geums, hawkbit with friends and ragged robin beside the path.

wild flowers

There was reedy grass and the first bramble flowers too.

grass and bramble

I wasn’t unobserved as I walked past a field at the Stubholm.

watching sheep

Several days ago, my neighbour Liz told me a story about finding a host of flies on the gate at the end of Gaskell’s Walk.  I didn’t have an opportunity to check the gate out and had forgotten all about it until I came to the gate today…..

flies on gaskells gate

…and found the flies were still there.  They were quite alive and flew off when I got too close.  You might wonder what they would find so attractive on the metal bar of a gate.

I was just going to take a truly wonderful picture of the Auld Stane Brig when my camera battery unexpectedly gave up so you will just have to take my word about the picture and for the fact that I passed two unicorns on my way home.   It was a bit annoying as I had put in a fresh battery before I set out and can only assume that I had failed to switch the charger on.

The sun was out and it was a very nice afternoon by the time that I got home and Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat on the new bench and enjoyed the sights and smells of the garden before going in for a cup of tea.

I watched the birds again and saw a young greenfinch falling off its perch at the feeder.

greenfinch

You don’t often see birds falling off a perch.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a healthy meal with spinach and broccoli for our tea.  I am eating so much iron rich food that if it rains a lot, I feel I may be in danger of going rusty.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted, Alison and I played music.  Several of the notes were in the right place, at the right time and in the right key.  We enjoyed ourselves.

The flower of the day is another of my favourite peonies.

peony (2)

 

 

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Today’s guest picture from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia, shows what is going on on the street….or to be more accurate, a sunset in the churchyard in the village of Street in Somerset.

Street

I felt rather weedy in the morning with very little get up and go in evidence and as a result when Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing in the church choir and I had made a allegedly Bulgarian chicken dish for the slow cooker, I didn’t take advantage of  a very calm and pleasant day to do anything energetic at all.

I did manage to take my lethargy for a walk round the garden late in the morning.

The shrub roses are doing us proud.

shrub roses

I lifted my eyes from the flower for long enough to notice a row of starlings practising a Leonard Cohen number….

starlings

With some good one-legged work in evidence

…but soon got back to looking the flowers.  It is a wonderful time of year with new flowers appearing almost every day.

philadelphus and weigela

Philadelphus and weigela

dark irises

These irises appear nearly black in real life.

The later rhododendrons are coming into their own.

rhododendron

rhododendron

One bee was enjoying the Japanese azalea…

bee on Japanese azalea

…and another one was tucking into an Iris…

bee on iris

…showing the white tail which give the bee its name.

In spite of the good weather, the garden has not been full of bumble bees as I would have expected.  I really had to search around for these two.

.I hope that we will see more soon.

There are any amount of aquilegias to see though, which makes me very happy.

aquilegias

I am very impressed by the beneficial effect Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress  has had on the peas.  If you keep the sparrows off, then you get good results.

pea fortress

Some flowers can look interesting even after the petals have fallen off….

fancy buttercup

…but most probably look better with the petals on.

fancy buttercup

Although I enjoy loud flowers, I like soft ones too.

pale pink flowers

The comfrey on the right is grown as green manure and will be cut down soon.

I was greatly perked up by a light lunch and felt a good deal more cheerful as we went to Carlisle for the final rehearsal with the Carlisle Community Choir before its end of term concert next Sunday.

As always, it was a pleasure to work hard under the eagle eye of our conductor, Andrew Nunn but there is no doubt that I will have to do a good deal of work at home over the next week to drum the songs that we have to learn by heart into my reluctant brain.

Although I may think that I have learned a song at home, when the time for actually singing with the choir comes round and I am trying to remember to shape the vowel sounds correctly,  get the volume right and relax the space inside my head to avoid any hint of tension on the voice, it is all to easy to forget what song you are singing, let alone whether this is the moment when you go up instead of down.

I am going to be a soprano and sing the tune when I come back in my next life.

When we got home, I was happy to find that I had remembered to turn the slow cooker on and the Bulgarian style chicken went down well for our tea.  I even had enough energy to mow the middle lawn while the potatoes were cooking.  It always looks at its best on a sunny evening…

middle lawn

…but you can still see the holes that the jackdaws made in the middle of the lawn.

Since the forecast for tomorrow is for temperatures ten degrees lower than recent days (and with added rain), Mrs Tootlepedal and I thought that we should mark the end of the short good spell of weather by going for a little cycle ride after tea.  Sadly, the sun failed to live up to the moment and hid behind thin clouds just as we set out.  Still, it was warm and the wind was light so we enjoyed our 6 mile pedal.

To make up for the lack of sunshine, a heron posed for me at Pool Corner.

heron

It had very good balance to be able to stand on a sloping caul with a good flow of water going over it.

I couldn’t help noticing the hawthorns again.  The banks along the road are lined with them for much of the distance up to Wauchope School.

hawthorns

The verges were interesting too.  We saw Helvetian bugle (ajuga)….

bugle

…and lesser yellow rattle…

rattle

…among the crosswort, silverleaf, trefoil, campion and clover which have appeared in recent posts.

We also saw dippers on the river and hares in a field but the fading light combined with the speed of the creatures meant that they went unrecorded.

As the leaves grow on the trees, getting good shots of rivers and bridges becomes harder.

Wauchope

The Wauchope Water seen from the School bridge

A good sing, a nourishing meal and the sight of some new wild flowers left me feeling a great deal better at the end of the day than I was feeling at the beginning and I look forward to next week, even though it has two choir concerts in it, with renewed vigour.

 

 

 

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