Saturday 27 June 2020

A Different Walk, Part II

Walking across the boardwalk by the lake, with marshland either side.

The beautiful natural lake with yellow Water Lilies.

Potentilla - Creeping Cinquefoil, I believe.

There were lots of Whinberries growing, and we sampled a few.

Looking back across the Towy valley hills towards our valley.  In the photo below it starts about half way across the photo from the left and has a dark "shoulder" to it.  The beginning is in line with the darker tree in the middle.  The fields here are grazed by Exmoor ponies, but we didn't see any up this end at all.

Large Skippers mating.  I seem fated to discover the sex life of butterflies this week, as I saw a couple of Meadow Browns at it too the other day!

Finally, view across the Towy Valley on the way home - here is Dryslwyn Castle and FINALLY the car park has been unlocked and you are allowed to climb up to the castle again . . .

Fingers x'd, Keith seems to be on the mend due to a course of steroids - annoyingly, he sleeps really well with them and isn't eating like a horse!

Wednesday 24 June 2020

A different walk - at a local country park

Here is Ragged Robin growing in a damp ditch.  It has many other country names including Cuckoo Flower, Cuckoo Gilliflower, Cuckoo Hood, Indian Pink, Marsh Gilliflower, and Wild William. In Shakespeare's time it was known as "Crow Flower" and was one of the flowers in Ophelia's garland.  It is dedicated to St Barnabas, as his feast day was 11th June when hay used to be cut, and these flowers would often be found amongst the hay.  Long-tongued bees love it.

You can never have too many Foxgloves - here these were putting on a show amongst wild grass and fern, with self-seeded young trees in the background.

Common Spotted Early Marsh Orchid.  Apparently these Orchids can hybridize, which is something I didn't realize.

So now you know where we went - as the crow flies 5 miles - as the road winds, a little more.  Allowable, when you live rurally anyway and the nearest shops and your GP's surgery are 10 miles away!  Not many people about - they started arriving just as we left, and we were careful about social distancing - I had my back towards and stood well off the track if we met anyone.

This woodland path led a short way through the woods and down to a Hide to watch birds on the lake below.  There wasn't a single one when we arrived.

Purple Moor Grass, gone to seed.  I don't remember seeing this before, but I probably have down on Dartmoor.

There will be some more photos tomorrow.  I have been distracted out in the garden once it cooled down and it's time to go down and watch the next episode of The Luminaries which, if you haven't watched already, I can heartily recommend (catch it on BBC iPlayer.)  I had the book but didn't get around to reading it and I am pretty sure I gave it to the charity shop . . .  Someone kick me!

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Scenes from recent walks

I'm all behind like the donkey's tail.  Short walks have started again, so here are some scenes from recent ones.  Yesterday, Tam and I ESCAPED, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for photos from that walk.  More words later - brain in neutral this morning.  First walk is just up to the top of our hill.

Wood sage in full flower.

Below - the bridleway walk we did a couple of days ago.

Quite pleased with this final photo.  The river was ripping past at quite a speed after recent rain.

Update on Keith:  We've just had the surgery on the phone again.  He had a blood test yesterday and the result has come back showing he still has an infection, so he has to go back today and have another examination (and presumably more anti-biotics.)  We're not too surprised as his head is still giving problems.

Sunday 21 June 2020

Woken by birdsong

Mum would have called this a "Polly Dishwasher". It's a Grey Wagtail - as a child I always thought they had got the name wrong as it had a lot of yellow on it - surely it was a YELLOW Wagtail?  Here we call them Water Wagtails as they are always seen by water.  We regularly see them down by the river, an also on our land as we have a stream at the back and the two ponds at the front.  I never realized they were rare - let alone on the Red List.  I see more of these than the common Pied Wagtail.  Aren't we privileged?

Black Caps - male preening on the left and female with the brown head.  Not at all rare (over 1,200,000 breeding pairs) but you don't SEE them that often.  That said, I have seen them along the valley in spring and these ones have been nesting in the copse beside the paddock/stream here.

There are lots of Thrushes around too.  Several have nested around the paddock and we see them regularly flying about.  This one came and posed by the pond for me.

This young female blackbird has been raised on cat biscuits by her father Spot.  He has been coming regularly to pinch leftovers from the outside cats' bowls.  He has brought up two children so far, a cock and a hen bird.  They were also coming near the bowls to be fed (despite cats about!)  They have survived so far.

We have also had Robins, Wrens, Spotted Flycatchers, Swallows, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Nuthatches, Magpies and LOTS of Sparrows nesting on our plot . . .

Finally, there will be some more Meadow Browns in the future - spotted these two mating on a track up the hill yesterday . . .

Finally, from today's walk back from the Bridleway, the river was running faster, deeper and was coffee brown . . .

Friday 19 June 2020

Didn't it RAIN?!

Well, yesterday was definitely one of those "There was no possibility of a walk that day" days.  It rained, hard, without stop, all day long. It probably did right across the UK. It was just as well my body chose yesterday to want to sleep and eat biscuits all day long.  I couldn't get enough sweet stuff - but then, your body seems to cry out for sugar when you are feeling poleaxed like that.  I am afraid I indulged it, and so losing the other half of the steroid weight (4 lbs) will take even longer to shed.  Keith is better in some ways but not in others, so it's a bit two steps forward and one back.

Theo snoozing in the office - my dad would have said "A yard of cat!"

This was the patchwork book Gabby gave me for my birthday.  It is full of gorgeous things to make.  I don't have lots of browns in my stash, but I do have . . .

Some lovely ideas.  You may surmise I am getting totally fed up with the current WIP's, especially as I have made the single quilt a couple of inches too big for the remit so have to rip it back and then sew on the border of white hexi's yet again.  There is nothing an Aries hates more than having to backstep on a project!   AGAIN!

I am hoping to get a short walk in today.  Tam and I have cabin fever!  Another 3 weeks apparently before the 5 mile limit to go anywhere is lifted . . .

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Tuesday Roundup and a recipe for Carrot and Coconut Cake

I'm glad to report that Keith is a little bit better - eyes fine now and headache easing slightly, and he has his appetite returning.  After a week sat in the chair though, he is going to have to start walking again, to get back to better fitness levels.  His shoulder has been feeble from not being used.  Use it or lose it, isn't that what they say? It doesn't take long to lose it at our age.  Rain has put off a walk today but we may go up the hill (Tam and I) in a little while.  It is SO humid, I can't go far, that's for sure.

Tam and I had cabin fever today.  I desperately needed to get OUT and as we needed a trip to the shop and PO at Dryslwyn, we did that and came the Long Way Home, via Llanfynydd.  We also stopped by my friend Pam's as she was out cleaning her windows and had our first Socially Distanced chat since we both had to retire into Shielding.  We stood in the rain, chatting, but who cares.  We shall be able to do this again now.  We explored the lane past her house as a possible walk - just as well as the first section of it is twice as long as it appears on the map, but no matter, when I am fitter again . . .

Here are a few photos of beautiful old Llanfynydd church and the God's Little Acre in front of it.  I didn't go in, but masses of Ox Eye Daisies and I don't doubt lots of other wild flowers too.

Sorry, this is the only view - as you can see, taken through the car windscreen, and it was raining quite steadily.  When we do the walk there will be much better ones.

Back at home, and here is my rambler The Garland, with bits of Adelaide D'Orleans peeping through when you stand close.

The biggest pear tree, laden with fruit again.  I shall have to dig out some recipes to mop them up.

At the front gate, the yellow rose (Golden Showers?) has an offspring of Paul's Himalayan Musk scrambling up and around the cherry tree behind it.

This was something to look forward to.  My old one has been dieing for a while (Tesco cheapie) with bits of metal covering peeling off and when there was a smell of burning plastic last week, I bit the bullet and Tam helped me chose a new one.  This is straightforward to use, the blue matches bits of blue in the room and I love the Retro look of it.  It should last a good bit longer.

Finally, I made this cake last week but forgot to put the recipe up.  If you enlarge it you should be able to read it.  Makes a nice moist cake.  I found three packets of close-to-use-by date Dessicated Coconut in the cupboard (I must have bought two on offer) so this was a bid to use some up.  I never bother with icing on the top.  Too much faffing about and extra needless calories.  Now we have no Fairs to go to (and thus cake to hand around), I am only baking now and again.