Redirect

The Tramp is gone. I am ending this blog and starting a new one. There are a whole bunch of reasons that I will explain but probably the most important one is that last Thursday I signed the papers that will provide me with a small but adequate pension for the rest of my life. I am not a Tramp any more.

The last two and a half years, since I separated from my wife, have been quite difficult.

A little over two years ago I was homeless, broke and quite cold so I met a girl. She was a singer in a seven piece country rock band and she had a house, with a roof on it. So I moved in and lived with her for about six months. She was a very good person but these kind of things don’t really last.

She gave me back my confidence. I was the fellow with the girl on stage. I was everybody’s best friend. We had a lot of fun with band rehearsals and gigging. She also taught me that at this time in my life I want to live alone. That is the way that I want it. I know that I could do other things but maybe later, maybe I have already done them.

The band played a style of music called “Outlaw Country” and some of it was quite raunchy. They wrote a lot of their own stuff but they did a lot of covers too. This is a song that they covered and a nice way to say goodbye.


Well that was Willow, she told me that she loved nature but all she really loved was rock and roll and I need grass and trees, that is just how it is. I hope that she is happy and well.

Tramp has run out of free storage space.

I always intended just to start paying for storage when my free space ran out but Tramp isn’t giving me what I want. In the year that it has been running I have written about five hundred posts and they have all become lost in the mist of time.

When I write something I want it to stay writ and I want to be able to easily find it again. The new blog has a series of pages running along the top that will provide links to everything written. I have only just started work on it so it is not a finished product yet but I will polish it.

Anyway you can just ignore the pages and read the posts. Pages that I create will not appear in your reader, just the posts, so I won’t be constantly bothering you with my trivia.

There will be a lot of this.

HeaderThere will also be enough of this to keep me happy.

Wild ArumI am using the same template and I have tried to keep the new design as close to Tramp as possible because I know that some people don’t like change. You shouldn’t notice a lot of difference.

Easy Wildflowers is going too but it is just becoming a part of the new blog. It will all take time but Fizz and I have got the rest of our lives now.

For a long time I have been living with the knowledge that I am in trouble and that I don’t know what is coming in the future but whatever it is I am a tough guy and I will cope with it. I have had enough of that, I am bored with it now. Time for something new.

The new title reflects my new status.

A Farm, A Forest and Fizz

No worries 🙂

Come over and see me if you like. Your friendship has kept me going and I owe you.

2Tramp is finished 🙂 Bye

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“Despair Dogs Me” or “A Tale of Two Hats”

Lesser men would have broken by now.

I don’t want this to be a sad post, I will just tell you what happened.

Yesterday I shrunk my hat. I had been out three times that day and when I finally got home I thought that my very old and much loved hat was a bit sweaty and dirty, so I threw it in the washing machine.

I should have read the washing instructions, “Wipe clean.”

This might not seem very important because I have two hats but only one of them has character.

HatsThese two hats are identical, they are both the same make and style and they were once the same colour. One of them is my hat and it has lived a life of adventure and has become a bit bleached by the sun.

Two years ago I was out shopping with a friend when I saw a copy of my hat in an end of line sale. “You must buy it,” she said, “One day you may lose your hat and I can’t imagine you without it.” So I did.

I kept it in my wardrobe and planned to wear it to weddings and funerals and maybe for the occasional court appearance but since then, well, I haven’t been arrested for ages and nobody has died, I have never worn it. I don’t really want to.

The good news is that today I defiantly wore my shrunken hat out. It was very windy and I found that it was quite an advantage to have a tight fitting hat.

Old hatI don’t know where this will end. Perhaps I am letting go of an old friend, gently.

My shoes are looking a bit shabby too.

Shabby

I expect that you would prefer to hear what Fizz and I have been up to for the last few days. We have been hunting Boars mostly.

Wild Boar have arrived on the farm. I knew that they were getting closer but a few day ago I stepped outside and came face to face with three of them at about two o’clock in the afternoon. They had just walked through my neighbours front garden and were standing in front of our house.

My landlord tells me that it is ten years since he saw a Boar on the farm but they are here now.

They always have been all around us but I have suspected that they were closing in for several weeks now. About three weeks ago I noticed fresh rooting just across the road from the house.

Rooting

RootingI didn’t really make anything of that at the time, we see a lot of that around here.

Then there was the extraordinary business of an animal eating all of the Arum Lilies.

Rooted ArumJust when I was thinking, “What sort of an animal would do that,” I stepped out of my front door and bumped right into them.

They have been here for a few weeks and I am pretty sure that they are here to stay now.

This is a superb opportunity for the naturalist in me, I can actually lie in bed and watch for them in the fields across from me. The trail camera is out.

It is not so good for everybody else. The Boar are not dangerous and they will always try and escape us unless..

A: You corner an animal and leave it no escape.

B: You or your dog attack their babies. They will defend their young and they are powerful animals.

In the wood that I owned in East Sussex a Rottweiller was killed by Boar just before I bought the land. It was an aggressive dog and the owner had taken to walking it in the wood at night to avoid other dog walkers. A Rottie is no match for a female boar with young. I don’t know what a Rottweiller normally weighs but my GSD was forty kilos and a mature female Boar would be about a hundred and twenty kilos and they are not pussy cats.

I have never considered them to be dangerous but then I have never tried to eat their babies. I am just not that stupid.

What it does mean is that there are places now where I cannot walk Fizz off lead (she is that stupid). The farm fields are still good as I can see everything around, tight and overgrown country lanes are out of bounds for a bit.

Fizz does a really good job of protecting me from Bears and Wolves, the very least that I can do in return is to protect her from herself.

Sentry DutyIs it still safe in the garden?

It’s safe.

Good girl.

I can walk her amongst the Boar on a lead. They will not attack me and if they come too close I will just pick her up. So we went up to the Bluebell woods to hunt for them.

WoodlandAt this point some sort of trained tracker dog would have been useful but I just had to go with what was available. In the video that I am about to show you (when You Tube has uploaded it) Fizz is really trying to find a Boar for me but she has never seen one and doesn’t realise how big they are. She keeps looking under leaves for them.

I am looking at how Boar relate to the Bluebells. One of the arguments put forward by their detractors is that Boar uproot and destroy bluebell woods and that they eat Bluebell bulbs. My old wood was a Bluebell wood with Wild Boar in it and I have been watching them for fifteen years. They have no interest in Bluebells.

Boar rooting.They root up the tracks that run through the Bluebells but they stay on the tracks and avoid the flowers. If they wanted to eat them these woods would be a feast for them. (This is where we filmed the young Boar recently, there are plenty of animals in this wood)

RootingBluebells are actually poisonous to most animals but then so are Arum Lilies.


We didn’t find any Boars but we did see some nice flowers.

Bluebell

BluebellThis characteristic one sided droop is often given as an identifying feature of our native Bluebells and it is but…

It is important to note that the flowers grow from all sides of the stem and this elegance is only a stage in their lives.

BluebellWhen the flowers first emerge the stem is completely upright and later as the flowers go to seed it straightens out again.

BluebellThis next flower is a genuine native Hyacinthoides non-scripta but just at a slightly inelegant stage of it’s development and that happens.

BluebellOn the edge of this wood the Arum Lilies are giving a fine display.

Arum maculatum

Arum maculatum

Arum maculatumEither the Boar here have no taste for this poisonous root or they just haven’t found them yet. I like this flower, I think that it is very beautiful and it is a shame to see it singled out for destruction but animals have to eat.

Arum maculatumOne of the nicest things about this wood is that the walk up here takes us through the farm fields. There is no danger of me being surprised by wild animals here and Fizz gets plenty of opportunity to run and play.

FarmI will leave you with a few images of Fizz preventing me from photographing a beautiful little Speedwell and otherwise doing what she does best 🙂

SpeedwellGet off me you stupid animal!

Stupid FizzThere is nothing in my pocket!

Stupid Fizz

Fizz

Fizz

Fizz

Trails of Destruction

This isn’t going to be a sad post. It is going to be quite an interesting post, I just need to tell you about what happened yesterday.

You remember the little black lamb that I showed you a few days ago? Well sadly I found him dead on the roadside, hit by a car. It happens and I guess he was always going to be the last one that they saw.

Black SheepIf you walk in the countryside you get used to seeing  Badgers, Foxes and Rabbits lying by the roadside and this is not really any different but I did feel sorry for him.

What really spoilt my day was what happened next. His Mum was not going to leave her dead lamb and she was wandering up and down a busy road with her other lamb trotting along behind her, it was pretty obvious that there was going to be another accident if we didn’t get her off the road and I got met with a bit of a  negative response.

Eventually Jeremy (for that was his name) came out and picked up his dead lamb and moved the others to safety. So that was that.

I hear a lot of, “Oh you townies just don’t understand our country ways,” but I do.

Sorry little lamb, I should have stolen you.

Black Sheep

Then my day picked up, when I went to see the little dog downstairs.

Fizz is a philosopher and she ought to be studied in universities. She is a bit like that Frenchman, Jean Paul Sartre but brighter and she doesn’t use so many words, in fact her whole philosophical argument could be summed up in a single sentence.

“The world is full of stuff that is not Fizz but that is not important.”

It is perhaps not as complex as existentialism but it is true and it helps me to exist.

So off we went to La La Land…..

Dr FizzFizz knows some nice places to walk and she can make even an angry heart forget.

Trail

Orange TipHelp me little animal for I have been hurt.

Orange TipAre you magic? How come you are there when I need you? Why do you even exist?

Orange TipThank you and here, have a nice flower.

Orange TipHello!

Was that butterfly called Fizz?

I don’t think so.

FizzI am going to crawl under the gate now.

If you follow me you can tickle my tummy.

I want to look at flowers.

Bush VetchBush Vetch, It’s a pea and so it has those grab onto anything tendrils and I think that it is wonderful. It is one of those plants that helps to make the jungle an absolute mess.

Bush Vetch

Bush VetchI can’t wait forever.

Fizz

Fizz

Bush VetchOkay I am just going to take a few moments out to check that they did her hair cut properly. Sometimes people are slackers and they miss the little important bits, you know what I mean?

Fizz

Fizz

FizzEverything seems to be in order and they have done a good job.

Fizz

FizzGet down little Monkey! I am fixed.

FizzI am ready to begin my tale.

We are walking along the track, observing nature and playing games with the flowers….

Dog’s Mercury,

Dogs MercuryThis is the female of the species.

Dogs MercuryThis is a Dog in Mercury.

Dogs MercuryAll right! I am fixed all ready.

Dogs MercuryAs we are walking along I have been noticing signs of animal activity. Little holes everywhere.

Snuffle HolesIn my mind I am seeing “snuffle holes.” These are little holes that Badger’s make as they dig for worms. They sometimes look like little animal burrows but they don’t go anywhere, they are only about six to eight inches deep.

There is not much that is unusual about this. We are very close to a Badger main sett and there is a lot of activity further along the track but there is a lot here and I am a bit surprised because we are still a way from the sett. Very active Badgers, I think.

Then I noticed something beside this hole.

Wild ArumThis isn’t actually a “snuffle hole,” this one is where an animal has dug up and eaten the root of Wild Arum.

Badgers do eat the roots of Wild Arum. I have read of this described as a winter activity when food is short and we are in Badger country.

This is Wild Arum (Arum maculatum)

Wild ArumTo us this is a deadly poisonous plant. Every part of it contains toxins that can kill a Human. The reason that it doesn’t kill people is that those toxins cause immediate and painful burns and blisters and if we accidentally put it in our mouths then we quickly spit it out again.

However we can eat it. The roots are edible but they need preparation (I think it is roasting but that is only from memory). This is not a good one to eat unless you are starving  but remember that most animals are starving.

Wild ArumThis next one is very edible and in fact if you don’t eat this then you are an American Donkey (an Ass).

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Wild GarlicThis is Wild Garlic.

(In fact the Americans do not use the word Ass to describe a Donkey but this is only because they have not mastered the English language and particularly spelling, to me “American Donkey” is just a euphemism, what I meant was that you would be a fool not to eat this wonderful herb 🙂 I said it crudely because I like crude it is very different from rude but I don’t like crudities, I prefer to dunk soft white bread into my soup. Consider this to be my soup. There are some very beautiful and expressive words in the English language and you would have to be an American Donkey to diminish them, you don’t always have to use them.)

Wild GarlicThen…

Here is another one.

Uprootedand another…

Uprootedand another….

Uprootedand another….

UprootedThis is getting weird. Something has walked along this track and systematically and selectively dug up and ate every Arum Lily that it could find. I saw more than thirty of these holes and photographed them.

What on earth does this?

If you know me then you might think, “Colin would know the answer,” but Colin does not know the answer.

PhilosopherStop it. I can see your beauty.

PhilosopherI choose my stuff carefully, I am not a fool and I love you.

PhilosopherI am trying to concentrate.

Something is eating our flowers.

We need to put our tracker hats on, Badgers are obviously in the frame but something doesn’t ring true. The other animal that would do this is Wild Boar and I know that they are also here.

printThese prints are partial, the ground has been quite hard. A Boar has dew claws that leave an impression behind the hooves and I can’t see them, but they could be Boar (or Sheep or Deer) I don’t know.

PrintIt is all a bit weird.

Mystery

Mystery

Mystery

MysterySo I don’t know what to say about all of this, except…

IdiotLet me take you by the hand and lead you through a place that doesn’t have any streets, I will show you something that will make you change your mind.

Fizz

Red Campion

Herb Robert

Greater StitchwortI wrote this through the night and it is now Friday. Yesterday we had a General Election in the UK. I have no idea who won.

Good people never win. Niceness isn’t a winning trait and I already know that the worst man in the country is now our President. That is the failing of democracy. Let them come into the Jungle and we will see who wins.

I haven’t told you about this but I once lived for a year with a Member of Parliament. It’s okay, my wife knew about it. He was a decent man and a friend who helped me out of a jam but I could tell you some stories (and they would include naked MPs, another day perhaps 🙂  but probably not)

One more deep breath and then I will go and see who is now my Glorious Leader.

Orange Tip

Yellow Archangel

Bluebells

Get out of the mud.Disrespect

The Leader is coming 🙂

An Unexpected Change Of Plan

At two thirty this afternoon Haircut was outside of my kitchen window.

HaircutShe was trying to express in doggie language that contrary to my expectations, three hours at the beauty parlour  had not made her day complete.

This is what she said.


What are you gonna do?

I will take you out but you must promise to stay well away from the mud,

It takes three hours at the parlour because the first hour is spent telling Margaret what a terrible owner she is for getting her dog in such a state and then giving her training in the proper way to care for her pet.

It is not Margaret’s fault. It is not even my fault  but obviously I don’t want to upset Margaret later in the day.

No muddy  puddles. Okay?

FizzThis dog smells really sweet. It must be the shampoo that they use and she has got the cleanest feet that I have ever seen.

How can it be my fault? It is not like I invented mud, it is just there.

FizzAnyway I thought that you might like to see the new Fizz.

Fizz Fizz Fizz Fizz FizzShe isn’t very much different from the old Fizz.

I kept her as clean as I could. She has been through a tough ordeal today and I guess that when it was over she just needed to get back to nature. Nature can fix anything.

FizzNature and a little bit of love 🙂

 

There’s No Sun Up In The Sky

We are being battered this morning. The wind is bashing things about. The old farm sheds have a lot of loose corrugated iron and the wind can always find it and bang it about. Rain is crashing noisily against the glass in my windows.

Margaret has just rung me (She is Fizz’s owner) and she said, “I want to keep Fizz in this morning, she is going to the beauty parlour today.”and she went on, “I left it as long as I could because I thought it was still a bit cold but I can’t leave it any longer.”

Why? What’s wrong with Fizz?

FizzWell in my experience women have a finer eye for this sort of detail than men do and anyway it is not very nice out.

I may not even walk her today and if I do I won’t take my camera. It is not because of the bad weather but I always feel guilty waiting for her to come back from the beauty parlour.

It must cost a few bob and they go to all this trouble to get a lovely clean, tidy dog and the moment she gets home we go out and roll in mud. I might let them enjoy their clean dog for one day.

I walk Fizz more to give her the stimulation and interest than to exercise her, she could run around on her hamster wheel if she needed exercise. I expect that she will find three hours at the BP stimulating enough for today.

So what to do?

I am going to talk about Bluebells (we will be going to see them soon)

When I was out finding new Speedwells I noticed a few other flowers about. There was a lot of Bugle.

BugleBut this is really such a nice flower that it deserves a post of it’s own (when the weather is better)

BugleThe other thing that I saw a lot of was The Enemy.

Hybrid BluebellThis is not a Bluebell. Well it is not a Hyacinthoides non-scripta, a native British Bluebell.

It doesn’t really look anything like a Bluebell, it is not the same shape. This is a hybrid of the Spanish Bluebell and a sweet and innocent English Bluebell that was seduced because of her innocence.

The key to telling the species apart is normally given as the pollen colour.

Come here you! Show them!

Hybrid Bluebell

Hybrid BluebellThis is what The Natural History Museum has to say,

“The easiest way to tell the difference between native and non-native bluebells is to look at the colour of the pollen.

If it is creamy-white then the bluebell is a native.  If it is any other colour, such as pale green or blue, then it is definitely not native.”

These are native.

Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Hyacinthoides non-scriptaSo what is this?

Hybrid Bluebell

Hybrid Bluebell“If it is creamy-white then the bluebell is a native.”

No Sir. You are wrong.

Growing in amongst these obvious hybrids there were a lot of white hybrids.

Hybrid BluebellI searched every flower and there was not a trace of blue or green pollen to be seen, every single one was creamy white.

Once upon a  time these flowers would have been shot as spies, they are out of uniform but they most definitely are not Hyacinthoides non-scripta.

Hybrid BluebellThis is what a white native Bluebell looks like.

Hyacinthoides-non-scriptaThe enemy is at our door and it seems that in many cases they are becoming smarter than us. More vigilance is called for.

Photos of a newly shorn Fizz will be coming up soon 🙂

Educated Fleas

I thought that I would take Fizz up in the fields and take her picture in amongst the Dandelions…

Fizz

FizzBut I became distracted.

This is St Mark’s Fly (Bibio marci)

St Mark's FlyWe call it that because they all emerge around about the same time, April the twenty fifth and that is St Mark’s Day. They are a little bit late this year.

These first picture are of the male. He has large eyes and clear wings, also very long back legs that hang below him in flight. Last year I searched in vain for a female of the species. They look quite different.

The problem is that the adults only live for about a week and as they all emerge at the same time there is very little opportunity to see them.

St Mark's FlyAnd there she was, distracting me… I forgot all about Fizz.

St Mark's FlyShe has small eyes , she is a little bit longer than the male and has dark wings.

St Mark's FlyBut even though she looks so different I am quite confident that this is the female of the species.

St Mark's Fly

St Mark's FlyI have heard it said that the male has such big eyes so that he can find the female and that is quite believable. I had a lot of trouble finding her.

The Dandelions are beginning to fade now.

FizzThe Buttercups are just starting to appear.

As soon as the Dandelions go these fields will fill with Buttercups.Buttercup

ButtercupIt looks like these fields are going to be grown for silage again this year, the grass is already too long for Sheep. That is good because for a few months we will get long grass and lots of wildflowers and all of the associated insects.

I will leave you with the firework display called Ribwort Plantain.

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

 

My New Speedo’s

Oh No !

MudfaceI am going to write a post about a Speedwell flower.

I discovered one today that I hadn’t seen before, there are quite a lot of them. Anyway, you are not even in my post tonight.

Oh Please.

Mucky pupDid you wash your face this morning?

Veronica filiformis. This is Slender speedwell.

Slender SpeedwellWorldwide there are about 500 species in the Veronica genus and in the UK we have about two dozen different Speedwell flowers. Half of those are quite rare and the rest… Well, it is just a case of finding them and photographing them. This is number seven for me.

lender SpeedwellWith so many little blue flowers around the problem is usually recognising that I am looking at a species that I haven’t seen before. It is very easy to see a little blue flower and just think, “Speedwell.”

In this case I saw a fairly dense matt of pale flowers and thought, “Wow, speedwells without any leaves.”

They do have leaves , they are just quite small.

lSender Speedwell

Slender Speedwell

Slender Speedwell

Slender SpeedwellSo here is my list to date.

Germander Speedwell(Germander Speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys)

Heath Speedwell(Heath Speedwell, Veronica officinalis)

Ivy-leaved Speedwell(Ivy-leaved Speedwell, Veronica hederifolia)

Persian Speedwell(Persian  or Common Field Speedwell, Veronica persica)

Thyme-leaved Speedwell(Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Veronica serpyllifolia)

Wood Speedwell(Wood Speedwell, Veronica montana)

And now of course…

Slender Speedwell(Slender Speedwell, Veronica filiformis)

So many Veronicas 🙂

I love finding new flowers and I love my Speedwell collection. I would like to add a few more this summer.

I am sorry that this daily post is late. We have been having power cuts all day. It goes on and it goes off and it has been going on for ages, very strange. I am probably the only person being bothered by it because it is now the middle of the night and everybody else is asleep but it is still annoying me.

Fortunately I have got my “light in a bag.”

LuminaidIt is called a Luminaid and it is a solar charged lantern. It throws out enough light to fill the room that I am in and I can read by it and for sleeping in the woods and stuff like that it is perfect. It charges itself in the day and runs all night.

I am not being sponsored to say this but I will see if I can find a video about it because I am loving my Luminaid tonight. (Fizz hasn’t got one but she is asleep)

THIS IS NOT AN ADVERT (I think it is a kind of charity thing)

I am not sure that I am allowed to put adverts on here but nobody is getting paid for anything here and if you want one then  you have to go and find one for yourself and all sorts of places sell them.

I did get approached by a company recently who asked if I would like to write about their product on  my blog but I didn’t really know what it was and so that is on hold for the moment. This little light really works and deserves a free mention tonight because it is dark here. (on and off)

I might like to do some kit reviews one day. It would be things like Buffalo Pile clothing (I bought my first Buffalo sleeping bag thirty years ago), Frosts, knife makers of Sweden (they are called Mora now but I still have my “Frosty”) My little Vango wood burning stove (that has been on here once). There  is kit that I have used for ages and I know that it is good but it wouldn’t be “paid for” advertising.

On that controversial note I will say Goodnight (Good morning)

A nature diary from the Forest of Dean.

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