Hello Again....

Hello All,

It’s been a huge amount of time since I’ve posted on here so I thought it was about time to catch up with some old friends and hopefully find a few new friends also!

It must be three years since I vanished from what really is one of the best wildlife forums online so I thought I’d post a little update of what I’ve been up to and explain why I disappeared!

When I was last on here some of you will remember that I was struggling with a bad hip, well that was sorted out with the addition of a new joint of the ceramic variety. This obviously not only put me out of action for some time but forced a premature retirement from the emergency services!

Needing an income, I set about starting a little business, but I was keen to try and focus this around my passion for wildlife, nature and of course my long-time enjoyment of gardening for wildlife.

As you can imagine as a newbie to business this has commanded a huge amount of my time and I have had to focus most of my time and effort on growing the business into something where I may actually make some sort of living out of it (maybe!) It’s amazing how much I really didn’t and still don’t know!!

I have tried to really focus on the ‘wildlife’ and ‘creating wildlife habitat’ side of gardening and garden design, but when you really specialise like this you limit your customer base to some degree. Therefore we started with more ‘average’ garden designs but encouraged people to have planting schemes for pollinators or wildlife ‘friendly’ hedges instead of fences where possible. This was a great starting place but we are now moving firmly towards real ‘wildlife’ gardens as we are getting known for this type of work and as you can imagine this kind of recognition is really encouraging. Alongside the garden design and practical ‘on your hands and knees’ side of the business, I also build bird boxes and timber products from locally sourced reclaimed materials, I still do a bit of ‘wildlife themed’ photography and use this to sell ‘wildlife themed’ greeting cards, calendars and other similar products. I also use my pictures in the wildlife presentations that I give, and have recently been asked to join the RHS speakers list where my subject is wildlife and gardening for wildlife (I think I’ve created a bit of a stir with some of the traditionalists as my ‘radical’ and out of the box ideas such as gardening for insects and allowing them eat your plants is very different to the well behaved rows of bedding plants that many are used to!) I also run wildlife events for a couple of charitable businesses, that are usually in the form of moth traps or bug/insect walks and recently we were featured on Countryfile for some of our moth recording work we have done at a community farm near to here. Finally we are just starting to supply a few wildlife friendly plants and our own Buddleia collection is up to about forty species! So all in all I’ve managed to pull a little bit off of each of these pots and at least created some kind of business! I can honestly say that it has been and continues to be a very interesting journey!

For those of you who remember my daughter, fondly nicknamed ‘Higlet’ by some on here, she is now 12 and going on 18 very quickly!! She seems to have drifted away from the wildlife stuff that we enjoyed together and that I used to report about on here. But I’m happy that she has a good knowledge base that she will always be able to use to enjoy nature in later life as I did. It is so important that our kids have a good foundation of knowledge about the beautiful world we live in and the wonderful wildlife within it, as they are the next generation to hopefully carry on the good, and often vital work started by some great people in recent years.

Much of my online time is spent on facebook these days and it’s been fab having a few old friends from here pop up on my facebook pages to say hello, I really have appreciated and enjoyed this! I mention no names (Wendy Barter you are now officially the ‘Top Fan’ complete with badge, check it out!)  ooops I said mention no names! 

As my days out with the camera have been rather ‘limited’ recently I can’t think of any funny stories that I can tell you and I certainly haven't been on any comedy middle of the night 'badger stake outs' recently!!. I do however have a nice little success story about an extremely rare Horsefly, but to ensure that I keep coming back I will save that one for my next post! So rather than rambling on anymore, I’ll say hello once again and leave you with a few pictures so that you can see what I’ve been up to over the last three years or so also...

Cheers

Higgy

  • YAY ! Higgy - you're back :) can't tell you how pleased that I and others are to see you posting again and hearing all about the busy last few years you've had. Glad you got the hip sorted and although you were forced into early retirement great to hear that you have founded a fascinating and interesting new business to get involved with which will not only help the pocket a little but help so much of our wildlife including those flower consuming insects - I could just picture one or two raised eyebrows at the RHS as they saw their neat rows of flowers being chomped on LOL You have always been a champion of all wildlife Higgy which is so admirable and you also helped me choose the right plants for my garden ensuring we had an abundance of bird, butterflies and other wildlife which brought joy as well as satisfaction that we were doing our bit too to help wildlife. Sadly, the garden got to much for us to tend but have passed it on to people who do have the same respect for keeping a pond and enjoying the wildlife around.
    Once again Higgy, it's wonderful to read your update and glad you are back onboard the " mad bus of interesting wildlife journey's and stories" again LOL Good luck with the business as well as the talks and helping more folk understand the benefits of encouraging wildlife by designing and planting up their gardens.

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Well hello Higgy, so good to have you back with us. Pleased that the hip operation went well but that it forced you into retirement, but my how you have taken to that and what you have achieved. The garden looks beautiful, with all the lovely flowers and plants and what a nice pond area. Your photos, cards, calanders and canvas' are beautiful. As ever your funny wit is still there! Look forward to hearing about the Horsefly! It is lovely to hear that you are now giving back to others by helping them learn all about nature. Look forward to your future posts. CL

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Hi Hazy, amazing to speak again! Sorry that you have had to give up your garden that must be a huge upset but I'm glad that I helped you a little with some planting ideas even if for a short amount of time!

    Even though you have given up the garden I do hope that you are keeping well?

    Time is always a problem for me and I should probably be doing my accounts now but I do intend to try and keep popping back, as we used to all have so much fun on here and I do miss that. Facebook is good from a business point of view and Twitter I use for IDing stuff and post ups but the chat rooms here were always abuzz in comparison.

    Speak soon

    Best regards

    Higgy

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Hello there CL!!
    Thank you, I'm intending to try and keep popping in as time allows.
    Yes the op went OK although it was a rather painful experience and a long long recovery process as they let me get to the stage where I almost couldn't walk due to my age! I have arthritis in my other joints including my ankles but I figure if I just keep going and stay mobile and can keep going and gradually get fitter with time (that's the plan anyway!!)
    The pictures of the ponds are actually ponds in clients gardens so that's some of the work that I have been doing. The only one of my own garden is the one with the rustic wooden arch and as you can see the garden really is 'wild'! I've planned to get on top of it over the last two years but just haven't managed it and now I'm fixing other peoples gardens! I think 2020 is going to be rather busy here!
    I shall keep you in suspense about the horsefly for now but will pop back and post up the story soon!
    Lovely to speak and thanks for the reply.
    Best regards
    Higgy

  • Great to hear from you Higgy, thanks for my badge, come back soon!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Though Higgy we've never met on here, probably because I joined after you had to step away, but I'll still say welcome back, and what a lovely selection of photos.

    As a parent of a 23yo son, I know exactly what you mean about the teenaged straying away from nature and the outdoors, our son was just  the same, because it just isn't the done thing, for many, not all, teenagers.

    However, he seems to be slowly returning back to the outdoors, so who knows where that will end up.

    Good luck with the new venture and I know only too well what it feels like to be suddenly debilitated, five years ago, some inconsiderate motorist ran a red light while I was on a pelican crossing, shattering the tibia and fibula, and causing substantial soft tissue damage, including the leg muscle.

    I'm not sure what role you took with the emergency services, but if it was medical, then you will probably have come across the Taylor Spatial Frame, which I had on my leg for just short of two years.

    There is life after major surgery, while I'm no longer able to climb mountains, have managed to get around nature reserves with my camera. I had a quick nosey at your Flickr pages, there's some fabulous photos there.

    ATB, and I'm sure we will chat again very soon,

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    You can't get away from me that easy see Wendy, especially as you're now my 'star reader' on facebook! :-)

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you it is nice to speak with you also and wow what a nasty injury that was! The worst thing is taht it was all as some Pratt ran a red light. (In a previous life, I'd of been the one going after him after that sort of assault!)

    I'm glad that you have now made a recovery as it does feel like a long long journey sometimes!

    As you can see from the pictures I'm back working and although it's physical I just have to be aware of my limits! I also started playing a little bit of 'walking football' about a year ago and this is amazing! I never thought I'd play any sort of football again after a new hip or at my age, so this is a blessing and surprisingly good exercise! Unfortunately like my photography it's just finding the time to do it on a regular basis!

    My Flickr page is hopelessly out of date and most stuff now gets posted on my 'Somerset Wildlife photography' page on face book. I need to get out into our reserves more this summer and try and find some more rare bugs!

    Hopefully speak again soon and thank you for the 're-welcome' :-)

    Best regards

    Higgy

  • Higgy, Welcome back! Congratulations on your new business and best wishes for its growing success. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with Equisetum? We discovered that our new (as of April 2019) garden has Equisetum just about everywhere. Of course we'd looked at the house and garden in the winter, although I doubt that if we had known about the problem it would have put us off because the house is fine. One neighbour told Mr GB not to think he's mad if we see him down on his knees using sandpaper on the Equisetum stems in his garden. Mr. GB waged a campaign against it in our garden last summer (although he has not yet resorted to sandpaper!) but we expect to see more Equisetum again this year. Hopes for introducing several new trees and shrubs have been delayed for a bit, unfortunately.

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • In reply to higgy50:

    higgy50 said:
    Hi Mike,

    Thank you it is nice to speak with you also and wow what a nasty injury that was! The worst thing is taht it was all as some Pratt ran a red light. (In a previous life, I'd of been the one going after him after that sort of assault!)

    I'm glad that you have now made a recovery as it does feel like a long long journey sometimes!

    As you can see from the pictures I'm back working and although it's physical I just have to be aware of my limits! I also started playing a little bit of 'walking football' about a year ago and this is amazing! I never thought I'd play any sort of football again after a new hip or at my age, so this is a blessing and surprisingly good exercise! Unfortunately like my photography it's just finding the time to do it on a regular basis!

    My Flickr page is hopelessly out of date and most stuff now gets posted on my 'Somerset Wildlife photography' page on face book. I need to get out into our reserves more this summer and try and find some more rare bugs!

    Hopefully speak again soon and thank you for the 're-welcome' :-)

    Best regards

    Higgy

    I feel for you, because the basics are the same as mine, some one ignoring, (deliberately I suspect) a red light, mine was someone in rush to get home.

    I think my mobility is as good as it will get, I still need a stick  to support me, but I aim to move on.

    No longer will I be in the mountains, something I miss very much. However, I've always had an interest in photography, loved the outdoors from a nature perspective, and this has been a good path to wander down not second best, a new avenue, a new chapter.

    I used to maintain a blog (its still there, a record of previous conquests) of the places I walked, and camped, but it has become a struggle to keep up, mainly because I've nothing relevant to share.

    I'm sure in good time, your Flickr pages will get sorted and I'm sure we'll converse many times.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler