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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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.

 

We Came Down With The Rain

We decided last Saturday to make a quick 2 day visit to visit Bellalee for a farm tour with one our lease farmers. However the tour did not take place BUT the rain came tumbling down. Whilst for many it meant to loss of dry feed for animals for us it gave an opportunity to fence!

We stayed for five days and finished fencing of a little over 6 kilometres of our 25th ALG project requirements. Due to the rain I was unable to put in many of the photo monitor points as we hid in Jorns van when it was really heavy….. One area – site two – did get marked as on the last morning the rain stopped. Jorn has never been a fan of the rain however the thought of fencing in 40+ heat is also not inspiring.

The photos of this corridor show how we are using these corridors to link vegetation zones with existing projects that are located around Cockatoo Creek and the Tone River.

Whilst we we were we sort to eradicate a rabbit warren using the prescribed means in order to protect the native species of our area.IMG_2510

Birdlife Australia at Bellalee

Gratitude to Tegan from Birdlife Australia who took time out of her busy schedule to visit us this morning here at Bellalee. Tegan spent several hours with us investigating sites on the farm where we have seen the Forest Red Tailed and Carnaby’s Cockatoo’s. We spent some delightful time wandering through remnant vegetation that has ben fenced for our many regeneration projects here at Bellalee. IMG_2422

We now know how to check hollows to see if anyone is home and have had a lesson of “which cockatoo is this” by checking the markings on nuts they enjoy for feed on.

Western Australia is the only place in the world we you can see Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo. They were once numerous across the Wheatbelt and Great Southern area which is where we are. The species has been in decline since the 1950’s and in some place have become extinct. Did you know that they mate for life?

We are lucky as we have the main species of Black Cockatoo all cruising around here locally. We see this as an added dimension to the regeneration work we are doing here at Bellalee. Mark you diary – April 3rd, 2016 and look out for workshops on how you can contribute to helping these beautiful birds.

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Great Koji Cocky Count

It is magic having black-cockatoos on our property! Next years Great Cocky Count is scheduled for Sunday, 3rd April 2016. Are we on board, Birdlife Australia  would love to set up some count sites in the Kojonup – Orchid Valley – Tonebridge area, so as April approaches, we are asking you all to please do keep an eye one where you see the birds going to roost in the evening and let Birdlife Australia know, and they’ll set it up as a registered site. Information is available at http://www.birdlife.org.au or email Birdlife Australia at tegan.douglas@birdlife.org.au – Tegan is the Cockies in Crisis Project Manager.

Birdlife Australia are trying to expand the count for next year to include all three species of black-cocky found in the southwest – and around Orchid Valley you have the potential to get Baudin’s, Carnaby’s and Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo – so please spread the word and keep your eyes out!

Because it is possible to get all three species in our area, it is going to be really interesting to know what trees the birds are breeding in (are they competing with each other or do they use slightly different hollow types? – and are they managing to raise chicks successfully?). We are looking forward to Tegan from Birdlife Australia coming out to Bellalee to run a check out some of the trees in your remnant vegetation, and see what’s going on.  She will show us the way we survey for breeding birds, and they have a tree hollow camera we can use to look into any occupied hollows we find!

If you’re interested in coming on board let us know! These photos of three Forest Red-tailed cockatoos were taken a few weeks back whilst we were fencing Kayla’s Woodland a recent Southern Dirt Project at the farm.

 

Southern Dirt Sign Off

Southern Dirt Sign OffA big thank you to Southern Dirt, Kojonup who have supported us in our regeneration work here at Bellalee. With their assistance we able to put away some remnant vegetation that contains a diverse range of flora and an abundance of beautiful jarrah. Without the sheep it will prosper. In this and an adjacent woodland we have noted both the red tailed and rarer white tailed Carnaby cockatoos nesting. This has added greatly to the importance of the overall aims of the work we are doing. 

Once again we are indebted to our neighbour Colin Ednie Brown who has helped us with both the physical work and the use of his equipment. We are very privileged as we lease the farm, live and work mostly in the city of Perth and come down to play. Both of us are ardent environmentalists and happy to give back land to improve biodiversity in Orchid Valley and beyond. Okay fencing is tough going, especially this time as it is in a rocky ridge however it is very satisfying knowing that the area is now protected. We each have businesses in Perth with fabulous staff who keep everything going in our absences, the best of both worlds! 

Colour My World

Our beautiful seedlings are now just over two years of age. We took and extensive walk through the sites this week during a break from our current round of fencing projects. It is always uplifting to walk amount the rows of plants seeing howIMG_1714-0 they are faring.

They are doing so well, we estimate we have an 80% strike rate which is phenomenal. Plus the dormant seed bank has started to really kick in and a great mix of local flora has popped up in around the the sites, especially along the river banks. The entire area is looking vibrant and healthy. The former water logged areas are now stabilizing with a thick matting of native Sandfire and native grasses  spreading ins between the rows giving the whole area a lush wealthy feel. We look out a former head of Landcare for a walking tour and he could not believe how much work had been done and how good the projects looked after such a short time.

Early spring has seen soIMG_1710-0me of the plants bloom, so we though we would share a little of the colour that has come to life here in both the SWCC and NRM project sites on the western side of the Tone River and Cockatoo Creek.

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Happy birthday dear p and p

Projects and plants of course! Yes our first two projects are about to turn two. As we cast our eyes across the fields and walk among the rows of happy plants we estimate we have around an 80% success rate. On top of this an abundance of flooded gums have come through as well as quite a few other native species. There is evidence of native fauna taking refuge.

We cannot have imagined how these projects would breath life into the entire farm. All along the banks of the creek and river are looking lusher, denser, happier for being fenced away from the sheep. Look how it has all changed in these few photos from two year ago to now. No blog is complete with a photo of the dog. She is sound asleep on the couch after a long day supervising us.

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Our plant babies

Our plant babies

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Return visit, only took 25 years!

Anna with a glass of champagne waiting for yet another glorious Western Australian sunset overlooking City Beach.

Anna Ringborg last visited the farm 25 years ago when Jörns parents were still farming there. It was fabulous to show her around. Here is Anna at the coast (we didn’t have one of here at the farm…..). Anna travels DownUnder most summers, she is a renowned equestrian specialist who fell in love with our long hot summers and the Indian Ocean many moons ago.  besides it is winter and sooooo cold in Sweden whilst she is here.  Yes it was raining (something she was not used to seeing here) when we embarked on the farm tour with Anna.                   Above is a photo in the driveway looking back. Great to see the older trees in the background with our babies in the foreground. This is our own personal little regeneration area.   A great shot by Anna looking at Cockatoo Creek. There is a lot of water there for this time of the year. Plus we have noticed that the trees and bushes around the creek and river are looking healthier.

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Yes the dogess Jezabelle supervising the farm tour, unusually from the back seat of the van. She prefers the front seat….. naturally …. and a beautiful tree I call the sentinel as it overlook sees our regeneration projects on the farm. The tree is truly majestic and a powerful presence helping our dreams for the farm   IMG_2036 IMG_2037

Jorn looking busy!

Looking back towards the road this is the driveway into the property.

yes she is heavy…. and unwilling

no the plant has not died – it lives on!

out for a walk in the countryside!

Kayla’s Woodland

yes we have begun! The year ahead sees us spending plenty of time at the farm in Orchid Valley. Sunday March 15th our project officer from Southern Dirt, Kayla Ringrose and her husband Dereck travelled out from Kojonup to visit us for a farm tour. They had a little trouble finding us as Tone Rd has a big kink in it…… Orchid Valley Road naturally goes straight ahead and Tone Rd turns, why not. except the Tone Rd sign seems to have gone AWOL. Luckily we had one dot of reception so a few phone calls and text messages soon had themdriving towards us.

They didn’t get too far inside the farm gate far as we have a small regeneration project on Tone Rd, the perfect place to start. We then took them to see our two previously funded projects and showed them where a lot of the 25th Anniversay Landcare work would be done.

Naturally we left the best till last, the Southern Dirt project! Now officially named named Kayla’s Woodland. we have laid out the strainer posts and are tinkering with the amount of land we will give back. We will once again return to nature more than we originally planned. Once you get out there and start you see how valuable the regeneration work is  you become more generous. Jorn and I had toured to the back of one of the projects a few days prior and we can easily see how much healthier the tea trees and other vegetation is after only 21 months.

Dereck, Kayla and Jorn in the SWCC regeneration zone

Standing on the Eastern side of the Jarrah Woodland soon to be fenced to exclude livestock.

 

So let’s raise a toast to the beginning of this project “Kayla’s Woodland”.