Tree following, February 2017 – Liz’s Tulip poplar

This is a little like Where’s Waldo? with Dulcie helping me search for the Tulip poplar (Lirodendron tulipifera) sapling I got as a freebie at last year’s Arbor Day.  The sixty year old silver maple that had provided afternoon shade at the back of the house had run its course and had to be removed just over a year ago. Hence the pile of ground stump with pots submerged and tree stumps in the rear.


tree-following-feb17-lizs-tulip-poplar-3Dulcie isn’t looking in the right direction but provides some background to the three feet tree. Here’s a look at it from the other direction.

The Tulip poplar is a member of the magnolia family, and is the state tree of Kentucky. According to the University of Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture… “Tulip poplar is one of the tallest of the native American hardwoods. Kentucky was home to to some of the most magnificent of these stately trees.  The tree has winter features including duck’s bill-shaped buds and furrowed bark. It also offers striking flowers in May and June. Leaves emerge folded and yellow and become green with age. They turn  a clear yellow in autumn.”

tree-following-feb17-lizs-tulip-poplar-1There isn’t much to see of my tree at the moment but Dulcie, Charlie and I hope to provide you with more details and pictures in the coming months.


My thanks to Mike for letting me guest post and to Pat, The Squirrelbasket, for hosting Tree following.


Have a good weekend!

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There are times…

when I’m on the plot that I’m happy to just look and not take any photos even though I could have done.   One such occasion was a couple of summers ago.  I’d finished watering and was sitting down sipping a mug of water when I noticed a fox over on the nearby path. Slowly, and warily, it headed towards the pond, which meant coming very close to me.  I could see that although thin it otherwise looked okay but kept stopping and was panting.

I remained where I was and softly spoke to it as it reached the pond which was only a few feet away.  It lapped the water, constantly stopping to look at me, before heading back onto the path.  I got the impression that had it sat or laid down it wouldn’t have managed to get up again.  I watched it pad down the path towards the fence eventually losing sight of it. The next day I walked along where it had gone but couldn’t see it and never did again.

Missy Fox

Missy Fox

I used to see the resident foxes quite a lot, and had this close encounter with Missy Fox outside the site gates nearly eight years ago.

Recently I’ve only caught a few glimpses of one or two of them but judging by the numerous paw prints I see across the plot they are around after dark.


Have a good week!

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This marking time…

pot-marigolds-end-of-oct16This week it’s been damp, dull and relatively mild in contrast to the previous few weeks which were mostly cold,  frosty and sunny.  I’ve made few visits to the plot when I’ve only had a brief look round.  One bright spot is seeing more crocuses and daffodils starting to appear.  This marking time period is frustrating for gardeners who are wanting to get started on the new growing season.  Even when the weather does improve all I’ll probably be doing this month is some hoeing and maybe digging out the compost heap.


nasturtiums-end-of-oct16Sunday morning saw me reporting to the horticultural society trading shed to do my first stint as a helper/steward.  I’ve done it before, some years ago, so I know the routine and the first thing I did was to check that the kettle was filled and switched on.  It was a miserably wet morning so not surprisingly few people appeared.  Being so quiet I mostly drank tea, ate biscuits and chatted.

I did the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch over the weekend and, as usual, only saw a small number of birds.

Lastly thanks from Liz and myself for the all your positive comments on last weeks post Sofa reading, January 2017.

The two pictures, of pot marigolds and nasturtiums, were taken at the end of October last year as a reminder of what a good autumn it was.

Have a good weekend!

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Better late than never

doris-day-magazine-collectors-editionOn Thursday I received a padded A4 envelope in the post that contained a copy of this Doris Day Collector’s Edition magazine sent to me by Glo/Porcelain Rose, who sadly stopped blogging nearly a year ago.  It’s a glossy magazine celebrating an American icon.  Glo’s card with it said…A different kind of sofa-lounging reading material! Couldn’t resist!  Merry Christmas, Mike.

If you’re slightly confused I should add that Glo posted this to me back on 7th December so it’s taken a while to arrive.  I would also point out that she knows that I’m a longtime Doris Day fan and back in 2013 she sent me a postcard from The Cypress Inn in Carmel, California where you can enjoy Doris’ Signature Tea everyday from 1 to 4 pm, husbands and pets welcome!

On Friday the post included two envelopes of interest.  One was from Jim, a longtime friend, which contained a birthday card.  That confused me as my birthday was three months ago.  I then noticed that he had posted it, first class, on 21st October, and he only lives a few miles away.

The other envelope was from Nikki over in Southern California and also contained a birthday card. I was even more confused and then when I looked at the envelope astounded to see that she’d posted it to me on 19th October 2015!  It was correctly addressed but someone had written Return to sender! on the back so goodness knows where it went or where it’s been for the past fifteen months.

Have a good week!

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Sofa reading, January 2017

For me, and I’m sure most other readers, settling down on the sofa to read a good book is one of life’s best, simple pleasures. I’m a lifelong book buff and I’m always reading at least two books at any one time.  I’m hoping to do a regular Sofa reading post towards the end of each month mentioning one or two books that I’ve read during that month.

I’m happy to say that Liz, who has been guest posting Tree following posts the past couple of years,  will also be contributing with her book(s) of the month.  Here’s what she says…On occasion Mike and I have emailed emailed each other about the books that we’re reading so when he invited me to join him with my take on one or two good reads I accepted with pleasure.  I do love a good book in which to lose myself for an hour or two at a time.  Sometimes I get so caught up in a story line that it’s a straight read from start to finish.

Today we’re looking back at our top reads for 2016, starting with Liz’s.

From last year there are two books, both published earlier, that remain with me (Liz).


All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was published in 2014, and won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. It is a beautifully crafted story of a blind French girl fleeing as the Nazis advance on Paris in WW2 and of a young German man with a talent for science and mechanics and is recruited into the German occupation in France.

We follow these two main characters through harrowing circumstances, both separately and then as their lives intersect.


old-filthAnything written by Jane Gardam is welcome news to me.  When Old Filth came out in 2004 I read it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy.  Filth is an acronym for Failed in London try Hong Kong, and the nickname given to Sir  Edward Feathers, QC. The sun is setting on the British Empire and his story is one of an a Raj orphan.  We learn of his lonely childhood, distinguished life as a barrister in Hong Kong then his retirement to Dorset.  Gardam captures her character  with wit and pathos in equal measure.

Reading, and rereading this book was a sheer delight.  It is fortunate that this story is followed by two more to make a magnificent trilogy.



The most enjoyable book that I (Flighty) read last year was  The Ballroom by Anna Hope, and was an unlikely choice given what I usually read.

The story is set in 1911 in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire moors where men and women are kept apart by high walls and barred windows.  The ballroom is where they are allowed to come together to dance every Friday evening.  It’s an enduring story of love, madness and sanity, and I have to admit that the last few pages had me tearing up.



Happy reading, have a good weekend and don’t forget it’s the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

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Onions and potatoes

It was frosty and sunny again this morning so I had a quick look round the plot before heading across the road to the horticultural society trading shed where I bought the onions and potatoes that I’ll be growing this year.



The onion sets are the usual variety Sturon which I’ve always done reasonably well with. There’s slightly less than half a kilo here which only cost me a £1.

Last year I didn’t grow enough so I’m already having to buy them, whereas they would usually last through to around Easter time.



seed-potatoesI’m growing two varieties of first early potatoes, Pentland Javelin and Red Duke of York,  rather than one as I have previously.  I’ve not not grown the first of these before but they are a recommended popular variety.  The second early, salad, potatoes  Charlotte are my favourites so I always grow them and do well with them. This year I’m growing more than I usually do. Lastly I’m growing the usual main crop variety Desiree.  All varieties were £1-50 per kilo, and sold loose enabling me to buy the quantity and quality I wanted.  Sometime over the next week or so I will check all these over then start to chit them.

In a way this starts to get the new growing season underway even though it’ll be late March onwards before I start planting them out, providing that the weather is suitable. Let’s hope that spring this year is a better one than last year.

Have a good week.

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Just a picture today…

of some Flighty’s favourites pot marigolds.


Have a good weekend!

Posted in Flighty's plot | 20 Comments