10000+ New Family Members

Friday the 15th September we gathered our new plant babies to introduce them to their new home here on the farm in Orchid Valley. With the very capable Jenny Carley from the #WarrenCatchmentCouncil to lead the team we swung into action.

This is a very different planting as the area is subject to water logging. To stabilise the area we have planted out thousands of reeds and grasses to stabilise the area. These are ably supported by mid level shrubs and trees a little higher to fill the area out. They will all merge and grow with flooded gums and white gums already in situ. We are very excited to see how it all grows.

As usual Jezabelle kept herself busy keeping us organised, however graciously bowed to Jenny during her sleeping time.

We here ably assisted by Andy and Murray, two happy quick witted expert planters, better later than never two of our friends Sandy and Michael rolled into to lend a hand.

Originally we had planned to plant one month ago ago the area was seemingly underwater, the rain simply fell and forgot to stop for quite a while. We would have been sinking up to our knees in some areas. Not to mention no vehicle could get there.

Luckily we had time on our side, favourable long term weather forecasts under our belts and hope in our hearts.

Our new seedling friends are settling into their new home, the rain as I write is gently falling assisting them to settle in.

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WCC Planting the Dream

We are delighted to be working with the Warren Catchments Council planting the dream of regenerated waterways here on Bellalee. We have been very fortunate to discover that another 10000 site appropriate native seedlings will be planted here around a creek soon to be fenced. This is very important fringe vegetation.

Fringing vegetation plays an important role in the maintenance of a biologically balanced and healthy waterway. It provides a wide range of functions that are essential for supporting plant and animal life and for maintaining the quality of the environment. These functions include: flood control; bankline stabilisation; sediment, nutrient and pollutant filtering and, most importantly, the provision of food, shelter and breeding habitats for a wide range of organisms.

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Yes They Are One, We Are One

Today is World Environment Day! This is a day to celebrate our intricate connection with the world around us – from the tiniest creatures crawling below the ground’s surface, to the tallest trees breathing fresh oxygen into our air, day in, day out.

This weekend one of our regeneration projects turned one and another turned four. Big weekends they were as friends gathered to help us plant seedlings. Our one years olds are growing everyday and are looking fabulous. We went out today with one of our friends David who was here planting last year.

Everywhere we looked all our amazing plants are reaching for the skies. Some of the growth has been phenomenal – taller than Jorn and David. Thank you to Carol, Larissa, Hayley, David, Mark, Paul and Tom for making this happen – it is always wonderful to be able to walk among the many thousands of seedlings we have planted together and see how they are thriving.

Take a moment to pause – go outside and look at a tree or up to the sky, simply stand in silence and contemplate how amazing life is.

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Can They Be Four!

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Our first regeneration project turns four this coming weekend. Four photos – Two from then and now the progress taken today. What a difference! I went walking through the projects earlier and am delighted to report that plants are springing … Continue reading

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad


That Meatloaf song was all I could think about as we swung into action on our latest project venture. We have three areas of remnant vegetation to fence and at the end of our allotted time, two are a done deal!

Marilyn the post rammer set to work, followed by Christie who makes quick work of donging in the Jio Star posts. Usually we roll the wire out at the same time we install the star posts – however we did not know how we would go time wise so we were patient and waited!

All set the following morning we arose early and ready to roll out the Waratah Stocklock which we are using for the first time after meeting the Waratah team at a recent Dowerin Field Day. Jorn is hooked and loves it. Our fencing system works and we work well together. Naturally I can fix the wire to the posts quicker than Jorn can tie off, I make sure I go extra fast if I think it is touch and go…. just a bit competitive.

We thought we would be done, however the rock underneath thwarted us albeit briefly! And at the end of the day two out of three ain’t bad. The Strainer posts are in situ on the last site so we are on the homeward stretch for next time we are down at Bellalee. Plus we have time up our sleeve as the completion date is not until June.

As usual we could not do any of this work with the assistance of our neighbours generosity with his equipment – tractors, utes and a great sense of humour. A big shout out to the great people at Waratah Fencing who are a proud Australian brand that has been around for over 130 years.

Rolling Around The Edges

The crops have been harvested, Christmas has been and now just a memory. It must be time to think about installing fences around the three pieces of remnant vegetation we are due to fence with our latest round of funding from the South West Catchment Council (SWCC).

To smooth the way around the perimeter Jorn decided to get out his rock roller, partially to clear canola stubble, another to have clear fire breaks and third just to make it easier for us to install. Believe it or not we actually like fencing, generally finding it relaxing and enjoyable. Not to mention the results at the end! 

The first area often sees Forest Red-Tailed and Carnabys cockatoos socialising and feeding. There are some great food sources up there for them. The second and third Sites are high on the farm leading down to the Tone River and I have taken to calling it ‘eagle ridge’ as they are a common sight up there.

Remnant Wonders

Some things just keep on going. We are truly lucky people! As you all know we are passionate about the environment and the regeneration works we have undertaken here at the farm in Orchid Valley. We often joke the soon the entire place will be turned back to nature!

We have been we lucky recipients in a new round of environmental project funding by the South West Catchments Council (SWCC).  We will be fencing  three remnant vegetation areas on the farm. This is the third project we have undertaken with SWCC. We are delighted to be working with them once again.

One of the areas to be fenced is a favourite haunt for the Carnaby Cockatoos – they are often spotted socialising in the afternoons. I spot them flying over the house and like to go up and watch them.

To get the project underway more fencing supplies have been ordered and picked up – this time from Elders in Kojonup. A shout out to Waratah who assisted us with the quote. We were actually in Sweden when we applied for the grant. We had met the people from Waratah at the Dowerin Field Day in 2015 and they passed over their business cards telling us to give them call as they loved what we were doing on the farm with the regeneration work.

Pictured here is Paula helping Jorn load the supplies onto Colin’s truck. Yes we are still using all of our friends equipment!

Long Wet Winter

Whilst we escaped to Sweden for the long wet winter our baby plants were left to fend for themselves. We often heard from family and friends that we had a lucky escape, that the rain and cold weather had settled in. Finally we returned and couldn’t wait to get down to the farm to see how our baby pants were faring in their new home.

We have had so much rain that we had to leave the car behind and go out on the four wheeler. Even then we parked just across the creek and walked rather than sink the bike and walk a few kilometres back to the house.

Here are a few of our brave plants, they look so tiny, especially when we look across the creek and river towards the plants that we planted just over three years! They are so tall, you really do forget that once they too were the size of our new plant offspring. We are sure they are looking forward to some warmer weather. Not that we have had any yet!

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Seriously there is a row of plants growing!

Where Did June Go!

Our friends gathered around us and joined in the fun as 23,000 seedlings arrived earlier in the week. That was over two months ago now. Time has flown and the seedlings have grown. However here, belatedly; we take a peek at that first long weekend  in June and the days that followed. Larissa and Dave ready and firing away!

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Our thanks to Larissa, Carol, Hayley, Dave, Mark, Paul and eventually my son Tom who graciously assisted in planting our little seedlings into their new home on the eastern side of the creek and river. We proved the ground and placed them down, closing the soil around them so that they may thrive. We lucked out with the weather, the rain and cold cold forecast did not arrive. The food was abundant and the days flowed by. Happy days and nights indeed.

And so it began and we thought it would never end. Potty Putkis and stampers, feeding tubes and basket and basket went out all day long. However plenty of laughs and good food saw us down and dirty and ploughing through.

We both collapsed once the weekend was done with still quite a few thousand to be planted once our friends had gone. Over the days that followed Jorn, myself and naturally Jezabelle continued to plant. We were really glad when the job was finally done. Reporting to follow then in a moment we were gone! Thank you SWCC for the funds we received, and the land thanks you even more.

 

SWCC Meet 25th ALG – 25th ALG Meet SWCC

The major component of our funding for the 25th Anniversary Land Grant (ALG) was that we undertook to fence both remnant vegetation and link existing projects via fenced off corridors to Cockatoo Creek and the Tone River. Today we strained the final piece of fencing in the jigsaw, twitched the remaining wire and put up the gates to allow both fire and general farm access when needed (pest control!)

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Lunch time

This has been challenging with the terrain at times high and very rocky through to vehicle sinking lowlands after the rain and a lot of fun at the same time, it is simply wonderful to see how all the land now connects down to the creek  and river. Providing a safe haven for our native fauna and increased regeneration of native species. Yes removal of imported pests on a needs basis….. be gone bridal creeper, cape tulip, South African Rush, rabbits and foxes…….  Am sure there are more however that will do for now.

The final piece was connecting the 25th ALG corridor from our pristine bushland down to the creek – this bushland actually has two corridors at either end through to the water. The original work was down under a South West Catchments Council grant three years in 2013. The side we  have connected with is the western side that was not re-planted. That said the natural regeneration is fantastic – it is amazing what happens when the sheep cannot come and feed freely.

It was a loverly sunny day plus we are about 3.5kms from the house so I brought along a picnic for us to have at lunch time.