Tag Archives: Sweet Violet

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.

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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

Hmmmm…
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 🙂

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  that you can get £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 £450 for one of those mothers, say it’s less, a little one £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.” 🙂

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.

Elm

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 the 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?,  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.

Fizz

Fizz

Fizz

A Walk in the Woods

C’mon, let’s go for a walk.

Sticky WillyThat’s Sticky Willy, (Goose Grass or Cleavers) growing in amongst the Ivy, I thought that it looked pretty.

Ivy-leaved SpeedwellThis is the tiny Ivy-leaved Speedwell.

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Ivy-leaved SpeedwellI came along this track to photograph the Early Dog Violets but the wind was blowing so strongly today that I couldn’t really get any decent shots.

Early Dog VioletWe will have to come back to them on a quieter day. It doesn’t matter much because in a bit we are going to find another Violet,

Fizz want’s me to go out into the farm fields, I think that she has something planned and as that just happens to be on the way to a wood that I want to visit, I agree.

Up until today nectar has been in short supply and I have been searching these fields for signs of any flower. That has all changed.

All over the field are little splashes of colour. Small and isolated at first this is the start of one of nature’s Spring spectaculars.

Dandelion

Dandelion

Dandelion

DandelionSoon these fields will be a sea of yellow flowers and there will be more nectar than you can shake a stick at.

So this is what Fizz has been up to, she has brought me up here to see the Sheep.

SheepTen Sheep is all that we have left now, the other twenty six have gone to market. They were Blue Texels and they have been sold as breeding stock rather than stock cubes, they will be happy in their new home.

This was the scene from my kitchen window last Wednesday, very early in the morning.

SheepThere is a story about how those Sheep came to be in the orchard.

A few days earlier the farmer and a friend went up to the fields to get the sheep in. They drive around in Land Rovers, tooting their horns and driving the sheep before them but it hadn’t gone well, the animals panicked and ran everywhere and it was a right kerfuffle.

The farmers wife had seen me walking around in the field being followed by thirty six Sheep, so he asked me if I thought that I could bring them down and sure enough they all followed me right into the orchard, where he was able to sort them out.

He said that it was amazing and he had never seen anything like it and that from now on I was “The Pied Piper.” I think that it is pretty cool to surprise somebody who has been working with animals all of his life. (I just used my loaf 🙂 )

Plans

Whisper, whisper, whisper…..

This is the “treat” that Fizz has organised for me. She knows that I am down in the dumps about losing my Robin and she knows how much I like to have little animals eating out of my hand.

Ha Ha! Thank you ladies 🙂

Sheep

Sheep

SheepSo anyway, as I said, we are on our way to a wood that is up behind the fields. I am going to see the Lent Lilies.

On the way to the wood we found our second Violet of the day. These are Sweet Violets.

Sweet Violets

Sweet Violets

Sweet Violets

Sweet VioletsThey weren’t very perky it was not a very nice day today. There will be better pictures when the sun shines.

Sweet VioletThe leaves in that picture above are mostly Lesser Celandine, the Violets are growing through it.

That wasn’t very perky either, it likes the sun and closes when it’s overcast.

Lesser CelandineThis next picture is the leaf of the Sweet Violet. (a lovely little round thing with a scalloped edge)

Sweet Violet leafEventually we did get to the wood and the first thing that we saw were these signs of activity.

Boar tracksThis is where Wild Boar have been turning over the soil looking for food and all around were the sweetest little tracks.

Boar tracks

Boar tracksRegular readers will know that a few weeks ago I put a trail camera up here to look for Boar and as soon as I found them I retreated.

What we got on camera was four animals walking across the screen. That told me quite a lot. It told me that they were females, the males are solitary and also the time of year told me that they would be having their litters soon. I felt then, that it was best to leave them in peace and especially not to draw attention to them.

Now I am just going to “Go off on one!”

This is the front page of this weeks local rag.

The Yellow PressUnder the main headline it says,

“Now the boar have tasted blood, what’s stopping them attacking a young child?”

The first lines are,

“CHILDREN’S lives could be at risk, following wild boar attacks and the killing of new born lambs.”

The article continues on page three saying “They attack in packs. If one begins to chase, the rest will follow.”

In case you don’t know that is absolute garbage. Nobody has ever been hurt by a Wild Boar since they were reintroduced here more than twenty years ago. They have never attacked anybody, not even a scratch and they don’t hunt children in packs 🙂

This fear and hatred is what I have to protect my animals from.

People who live here in the Forest have the right as commoners to let their animals loose to roam around. It is a trade off, they avoid the expense of renting land but the sheep are uncared for and they will lose some.

These are lambs born in the wild.

Forest LambsI know that our Sheep require a lot of looking after. These free ranging Sheep wander onto the roads and they get involved in accidents, some of them don’t make it, they are not cared for but as I say, it is a trade off, they will lose a few but they will avoid the expense of owning or renting land.

At the very end of the article and deep inside the paper it says,

“The Forestry Commission has received reports of three to four new born lambs being killed by boar, but not “in packs” and there is no first hand witness testimony.”

If that is the case then why print such rubbish on the front page?

Boar tracksI think we should put the camera back up there now, for a bit.

Lent Lilies, I saved the best for last.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus, the Wild Daffodil (Doesn’t eat children)

Wild Daffodil

Wild Daffodil

Wild Daffodil

Wild Daffodil

Wild Daffodil

Wild DaffodilThank you Fizz.

Fizz🙂

Scruffy Dogs, Early Dogs and Common Dogs

This post is going to be another retrospective because the weather isn’t letting up and it is just too dark or to put it another way…. There are some things about today that I really want to photograph but if I wait for better light I will get much better pictures. I don’t really want to do them badly.

I thought that we could look at some Dogs.

Scruffy DogEarly spring flowers, these haven’t been seen here before because I didn’t start this blog until May. These are Violets, the Early Dog Violet and the Common Dog Violet. Guess which one appears first…

Both Violets are out in March but the Early one edges it.

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog VioletThis next one is a Common Dog Violet.

Common Dog VioletSuperficially they look very similar and for a long time I didn’t realise that I had two different species living side by side. They are both Dog Violets.

The Common one has deeper and more pronounced veining on the lower petals and I think that this makes it the prettier of the two but there is a much quicker and easier way to tell them apart.

Common Dog VioletBoth Violets have a spur at the back of the flower.

The spur of the Early Dog Violet is darker than the flower.

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog VioletThe spur of the Common Dog Violet is paler, almost white.  This is so easy, it is the feature that I always look for.

Common Dog Violet

Common Dog VioletThere is another little violet that pops up here around about the same time and that is the Sweet Violet. It doesn’t really look like the other two and comes in a variety of colours.

Sweet Violet

Sweet Violet

Sweet VioletThe Sweet Violet is so called because it is sweetly scented and the Dog Violets are Dogs because they have no scent. I find that very funny because I have known a few dogs in my life and I have always found them to be warmly scented animals. A scent that I enjoy very much, like a new puppy. It is funny to call something a Dog because it doesn’t smell 🙂 (No offence Fizz)

As for the scruffy one, don’t worry about her, she’s with me.

Scruffy DogBut it is too dark even to take her picture properly.

Canis lupus Familiaris (odorata)I have lot’s of posts that I am eager to write. There is a tree near here that I have long believed to be possessed by demons. Well it turns out that it is not Demons at all but an extraordinary type of fungus. There are also King Alfred’s Cakes growing just outside of my door and I have a need to set fire to them. Yes indeed I have got Cramp Balls. There are lots of things about but I might have to do Daffodils next if the weather doesn’t improve a bit.