The call of the Wild

Following on from our discovery of the Boar tracks in the wood, Fizz and I have been out hunting. We left the camera out for three nights and it returned one hundred and ninety videos. The pesky Fox above made around a hundred and sixty of those. At least it was good enough to show up in the daytime.


You may have noticed that I have been neglecting the blog in recent weeks. I am coming to a time when I have to think about my future and maybe leaving the farm. It kinda stifles my creativity but everything is fine.

I came here with the intention of taking a year off, following my divorce. Just to give me time to think and get rid of any negative thoughts that may have been bothering me. That worked pretty well, I feel happy in myself but my year off has stretched to sixteen months now.

You know that if I leave the farm, what else I will have to leave, don’t you? It stifles my creativity.

FizzI haven’t spoken to her about this yet. I am working on a plan that will give me another year here and if all goes well, I will leave next April.

Nothing is forever.

When I came here my plan was to take my year off and then seek to rehabilitate myself. Go down to the job centre and start a new life.

There isn’t any work around here, I would have to move into one of the local towns and then with luck find myself a job stacking shelves in a supermarket, something like that. It just isn’t ticking all the boxes for me. I am an adventurer and I am not that afraid of life. There must be something better than that, so I will go and find it.

It all stifles my creativity. But…

and it is a big BUT….

Today life is beautiful and we need to enjoy every moment of it, don’t think that we haven’t been doing just that.

FizzHow to track and capture Wild Boar

Boar Tracks

Ah ha!Hoglet tracks

This ought to work…CameraWatch closely….

The two adult animals in that video are mature sows and I believe they are the mothers of all the little hoglets that you are going to see running around.

There are two other large animals in this sounder, one male and one female. They are last years litter. The female will probably stay with this sounder but the male will leave in the summer. Males are solitary animals.

You can see the two juveniles in this next clip and in case you can’t tell the male is the stroppy one. He is a magnificent looking animal.

Normally we think of a sounder being composed of females and their offspring but the young males will stay with the sounder until they are about sixteen months old and they don’t start growing tusks until they are two years old.

He looks impressive but he is still a lot smaller than his mum as you will see in this next video.

These beautiful animals were kind to me and I got quite a few videos but that will do for now. I don’t want to bore you πŸ™‚

I brought the camera in for the weekend, I might stick it back up there next week. I would quite like to have one more look at them.

I have to be very careful. The local rag printed a single letter condemning last weeks headlines as I expected and that was of course buried on the letters page. It also ran this little story.

ArrowWhat has been reported as an arrow is almost certainly a crossbow bolt, around here that is the favoured tool of poachers, it is powerful enough to kill and you don’t need a firearms licence.

The bottom line is Β that you can get Β£6.50 a kilo for wild boar meat unbutchered. An adult female weighs around 100-120 kilos and 70% of that is meat. At that rate that’s about Β£450 for one of those mothers, say it’s less, a little one Β£200. There is an element here that see the Boar as fair game, in fact you would be daft not to take one (regardless of whether or not it is suckling young). Have you seen that film “Whiskey Galore?” Well the Boar are our local bounty. That is why there is so much hatred stirred up against them. When somebody kills one he is almost doing a public service (They eat children, remember)

I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, “Aye Lad, seen any Boar yet?”

“No mate. Not a one, the old FC must have shot them all.” πŸ™‚

Wild flowers:

We went up to photograph the Early Dog Violets and they were very nice…

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog VioletOn the way up there we found these….

Town Hall Clock

Town Hall ClockThey are the first buds of what will soon become the beautiful and multi-faceted Town Hall Clock (Adoxa moschatellina)

Town Hall ClockBut today they are just buds.

Town Hall Clock

Town Hall ClockI know that some of you are still up to your necks in snow but here, everything is beautiful.

Let’s skip the Sweet Violets…

Sweet Violets

Sweet Violets“Woke up one morning half asleep,”

Lesser Celandine“With all my blankets in a heap,”

Lesser Celandine“And yellow roses gathered all around me.” (Lesser Celandine)

Lesser CelandineI’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain.

Wild Dafodill“Feel the power of the rain,”

Wild DafodillIn amongst the Lent Lilies I found my first Wood Anemones.

They don’t really like the rain.

Wood Anemone

Wood AnemoneSuddenly there isn’t any shortage of flowers. I don’t have enough time to post all off the species that I photographed.

The Elm trees flowered, I have been watching them closely and waiting for this.


ElmA lot of the stuff that I do is technical, it is because I want to have pictures of a particular stage in a plants development for my “Easy Wildflowers” blog and it isn’t always easy to understand why I get so excited.

I enjoyed seeing the sepal development on theΒ Tussilago farfara (Coltsfoot)

ColtsfootSo my future is riding on a Horse. I have put my entire fortune on a magnificent mare called, “Bendy Peg Leg,” if anyone can do it then she can.

Assuming that she wins, this is what will happen.:

I will stay at the farm for one more year because I want to write Easy Wildflowers. There are not enough local wildflowers to keep me interested beyond a year. I will go homeless next April. I will put my belongings on my back and go into the wild. How long that I will stay in the wild?, Β Ha!

I will take a tablet and a solar charger and I will blog from the wilderness and it will be great.

If the Horse loses? She is a sure thing. Bendy Peg Leg, I got it on good authority.

Umm…. Trust me, I know something about animals.




72 thoughts on “The call of the Wild”

  1. How many legs does the horse have, Colin? I hope you stay another 12 months. How can Fizz manage without you? Could she go too? I hope easy wild flowers will be published. I want a few copies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Andrew πŸ™‚ I saw it run and it looked like six legs but it the paddock I could only see three. I would like to take a dog with me when I go walkabout. If everything goes to plan I will ask Fizz’s owner to help me find one. She might say, “You should take Fizz” but if she didn’t I wouldn’t ask. People love their dogs. I will find my own little Shih Tzu puppy and start again πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Crossroads are never easy to figure out, especially when you have to leave a loved one behind. At least we will have another year of your wonderful adventures (that’s if I understood correctly). I’m hoping that book you’re working on is for publishing, and good luck on the horse race. You do know animals!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds delightful. It’s a beautiful world out there. Maybe you can adopt a friend for Fizz and you’ll then have company on your travels.


  3. Yes, each day is a gift and today is your present. We’ll enjoy everything you post until whenever, but you have to do what’s right for yourself. It’s a long ways off till you go, and I hope we’ll still hear from you after that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an impact you’ve made on so many of us in so short a time. Be gentle with Fizz, it will be a blow to both of you when it’s time to move. In the interim, I expect to keep finding delight in the daily joys you discover and share. The video of the fox is just a wonderful capture.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It takes awhile after a divorce to re-coop emotionally. I was able to at least cope after one year, better after two. Wherever you end up, share it with us. You’ll know when and if to go. As difficult as they can be, good-byes are necessary for new hellos.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Joy πŸ™‚ It was difficult at first but the farm has been a wonderful place to get over it. I never really think about that part of my life now.


  6. Have you thought about writing a book? You are very knowledgeable and your writing is so accessible and you make us laugh. All of which are great assets in any book. In Irish we say ‘Go n-Γ©irΓ­ an bΓ³thar leat’ – meaning may you find success what ever road you take.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you RR πŸ™‚ I was really pleased to get the Boar and I will probably have one more go with the camera up there. I would love to get them in the daylight and they do move about in the early morning.


  7. Coilin, I concur with all the sentiments above. You have a way with words, and I would happily buy your wildflower book, and an autobiographical nature diary. My two cents comes in the form of a line from a favorite poem.
    β€œTravelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.”
    ― Antonio Machado

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m agreeing with those of us who think you should write a book. You have all your material. I can see it . . . you and Fizz, your stories, your flowers and all their information. Go for it, Colin. Do what you love. Share your experiences, good and bad. Get to the core of people’s hearts. You already have a great following. We would all buy your books! If you get another year on the farm, I hope you consider our suggestion. You could title it, “Fizz and Me”, or “Me and Fizz”, or just “Me”. Just a suggestion to get you started. Happy Trails!


  8. Wonderful boar videos – truly splendid to watch – same with the handsome fox. So many lovely flowers, too.
    I’m reminded of that old David Bowie song, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” when you write of doing something new. Change is a part of life. I’m heartened to hear that you intend to continue to post, though we will miss Fizz a lot. And she is going to miss her walking mate very badly. Maybe you won’t be so far away that you can’t occasionally visit and give us updates about how she is getting on. At least we have another year of her delightful antics. Best wishes, Colin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eliza πŸ™‚ I used to have a German Shepherd Dog and if strangers came to the door he would bark at them. My son went off to Australia and we didn’t see him for two years. One day there was a knock on the door and their was this six foot four, deeply tanned fellow with a broad Australian accent. I wasn’t sure who he was but the dog was ecstatic. Two years had passed and the dog remembered him as if he had never left the house. Yes I worry about Fizz, she will miss her walks but I don’t think that there is much that I can do about that. Hopefully the next tenant will walk her.


      1. Probably not to the degree you do, but as you said, not much you can do about that. Maybe the landlord can make it a condition of rental. πŸ˜‰


  9. Transitions periods can be very difficult. I am sort of in limbo myself at the moment. When my financial responsibilities end here in 1-2 years, I am not sure what I will do – what country I will be in. I want to travel, wander, see places, enjoy nature, live simply. I don’t know where. It does require money though and I am getting older. It’s hard to plan. I live more day to day. I am happiest out in nature and taking photos. So while my circumstances are not exactly the same, I do understand a few of the feelings and sincerely hope life becomes what you want it to be, Colin. It is hard when you become attached to a dear creature like Fizz to contemplate saying goodbye. I am so impressed by your knowledge and experience and ability to entertain with these posts. I would love to see your finished wildflowers project. I wish you all the best for the future. Great wildlife pics and videos! We had wild boar when we lived on farms. They are extremely intelligent creatures.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Jane πŸ™‚ It is funny, you saying how intelligent they are. Up until now the Sheep have been the only animals that notice the camera but I had several clips this time of the Boar, snuffling and licking the camera and generally trying to dislodge it and remove the batteries πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I cannot imagine my blogging world without your input. But more seriously I can understand the conflict in working out the future. I have thought for a long time that you will miss that little dog when the time comes and she will be devastated if you go. So here is my suggestion. Set yourself up as a walking tour guide. Only take small groups and wander through the forest showing the plants and giving tips on how to take the photographs. You have enough of a local following to start you off and it would build. And you would be in control of where you go and how many people you take.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you John πŸ™‚ That sounds like a great idea but this isn’t the right place. The Forest of Dean is historically an industrial area, focussed on Iron mining and stone quarrying and of course forestry. The local towns are quite ugly. When I first arrived here my landlord told me a joke, “There was an earthquake in Cinderford last year, it caused nearly a million pounds worth of improvements.” πŸ™‚ This should be a great tourist attraction but it just isn’t, I couldn’t even get a hotel when I first arrived here and had to stay in the nearest city. The main problem is that the forest is managed by the Forestry Commission and they are not interested in tourism. The forest is for forestry and they are set against any change of use. I personally think it would be much better managed by Walt Disney, they would build a few holiday camps but they would have preserved the value of the forest and not cut half of it down and planted conifers.


  11. What an exciting future to look forward to.
    Nothing beats the freedom in not planning, not knowing…… and setting out with an open heart and open mind.

    The freedom of being able to pack your possessions on your back is something that I am envious of (being in the task of packing and moving house at the moment).

    As I sit here this morning, surrounded by boxes sealed and some still open (to receive lighter fillings), I so wish I was you.

    PS Love the flower images – you’re my one link to Mother Nature at the moment as I am too weary to go for a Nature Walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Vicki πŸ™‚ It is very exciting. I have seen your pictures of your new riverside walk and it looks absolutely beautiful I can’t wait for you to get moved and I expect you would like to put the move behind you too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Trini πŸ™‚ I loved your post. For a very long time now I have believed that I am accompanied on my walks by a huge invisible bear that walks beside me. I didn’t know why he was following me and I didn’t like to ask, I just felt that he was benevolent. Anyway I try not to talk about the giant invisible Bear. Maybe he wants me to see the unseen world πŸ™‚


  12. We will miss you once your adventure here ends. Perhaps being a ranger/conservation assistant for the National Trust might suit you? Or working for a wildlife sanctuary somewhere? Wishing you happy flower watching for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m fairly new to your blog Colin, but you have given me great enjoyment (and lots of nature knowledge!) in the short time I’ve been reading. After your last post, it moved me to write this poem about you and Fizz. I hope you don’t mind and I hope you like!


      1. Thank you BB πŸ™‚ The poem is beautiful. Fizz has inspired quite a few poems and great works of art but I don’t think that I have ever been included before. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so pleased you like it! And of course you must be included. We can’t have Fizz taking all the glory now, can we?! And perhaps a limerick next time…:)


  14. You give us much to ponder, Colin. We can only wish you all the best. We hope you can stay another year because you have wonderful posts.I am a recent Follower and have enjoyed each read.. Today you offer videos, lovely violets and then you show Fizz, the precious sidekick you would be leaving behind and I almost cried….you would each pine over a parting. But, you do have to consider your future and I’m sure we all hope it is a decision that takes you on a fulfilling path.I am happy to see you are finding more lovely flowers…especially the kind
    “that don’t eat children.”


  15. Such a wonderful video of that fox – how wary he is! Awful to hear about that boar who’s been shot, every time I hear bout poaching it sends shivers down my spine. I honestly don’t know how some humans can bring themselves to inflict pain on such a beautiful wild animal.


  16. Don’t let circumstances put you in a box.You will never be happy. It would be like putting a wild bird in a cage. It breaks their spirit. You are a free spirit. Don’t let anyone or anything take that from you. Be true to yourself in all that you do. You’re a good man and I’ve grown fond of you and the things you post. My heart hurts thinking that I won’t see you and Fizz when you leave the farm. May God always be with you. I pray things will work out so you can stay on the farm longer. Happy Trails!


  17. You’re right, lot can happen in a year. But fortunately, you’re free and that means that you can do anything you like. πŸ™‚ I hope the year you just had truly did heal you, or help in some way. I’m looking forward to your book. I enjoyed your videos and the photographs of the beautiful flowers. You’ll find your way, I’m sure of it.


  18. Oh dear! I don’t know what to say. I have read everyone else’s comments and they have all said most of the things I was thinking about. I have been wondering why you hadn’t posted much lately. I knew you were upset about the robin but didn’t think that was all there was to it.
    Moving on and being sensible would be so easy if love didn’t get in the way. I am referring to Fizz of course. I am a ‘something will turn up eventually’ kind of person and I think that is all you can do at the moment. Trying to put the thought of the decision you will have to make in the future out of your mind and live for today is so difficult though. I have had a few health worries recently and I haven’t been able to think of anything interesting to post about so I know how difficult things are for you at the moment.
    Of course, your future job/career is of paramount importance. The Wildlife Trusts may be able to advise you. You should e-mail them and provide a link to your two blogs. Plantlife may also have suggestions to make. I also think a book form of your Easy Wild Flowers would be something to consider but that is for the future.
    You have given yourself time to get over the separation and get to know yourself again and now you want something more. This is wonderful! I really hope you can find something fulfilling to do. Jobs are very difficult to get at present. Quite easy to get a voluntary job but one with pay is difficult. My eldest daughter has a degree, two MA’s and a PhD (almost) and she has a part-time job filling shelves in a library. Not enough money to pay her bills and eat enough and spends hours applying for jobs with people who don’t even acknowledge receipt of her application let alone call her for an interview.
    I loved the videos of the fox and the boars. I also loved the photos of the flowers. I will miss this terribly if you are unable to blog in the future. I saw a Brimstone butterfly today ❀


  19. Colin, I have to tell you, you have made my day so many times. You and Fizz. I really do thank you. Now I feel very sad but life is life and one must go on. We have another year of this don’t we? :- )
    You seem to have video editing skills. I think short videos of your walks with Fizz aimed at children along with a simple narration would be a big hit on a (cough) ‘monetized’ YouTube channel.
    And as for the ‘starting over’ angle of things, as well as the leaving behind a little creature of the ‘shih’ variety, well, I’ve been there, and…and…and…sometimes all one can say is ‘and…’


  20. Hello Colin
    It seems strange but we’ve both been blogging far less lately.

    Reading your posts over the last year we have learnt a little of your character, and it doesn’t seem suited to repetitive shelf stacking work.

    Hopefully you can play to your strengths, and use your passion for nature to make a living.

    One thing you could possibly start is a revenue stream from the existing blog. By being on the wordpress platform I get all manner of adverts. I don’t see them on your site, but it may be possible (if you know a website specialist) to use A Tramp in the Woods to make affiliate income.

    Keep up the walks, and seek out opportunities that will work for you.




  21. Interesting, isn’t it, how a divorce or even a bereavement can be an opportunity for growth. Good luck Colin. It’s maybe time to grow some more — you have so much talent and plenty of application and of course your little helper!


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