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.

 

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We Found the Ripper and Mounder – Waiting…… 

Sometimes I feel as if the song “doing it again” should be our mantra. Here we are three years later  heading out of the farm gate on our way to picking up the same Forestry Products Commission mounder from one of their properties in Moodiarup. With the goddess Jezabelle in the back of truck on the sleep bed we headed out from Bellalee hoping to be able to load it onto the truck. The farm it was located in was some distance from Bellalee thus we did not have any friends nearby that we could call on to assist us.

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However the good old fashioned farm network where one person know another who knows another led us to Rob Hewton. Rob generously said he was happy to help us out luckily for us his dad was visiting from town; they actually took the tractor over to the FPC property and left it there for us.

Jorn’s eyes almost popped out of his head when he spotted the near new John Deere tractor just gleaming waiting for him. He had a great time testing it out and changing all the settings – as Jorn does to any machine he jumps into. It made loading the hefty ripper and mounder a breeze. He was expecting something a little older and not as heavy duty.

With the equipment tied down we headed over to Rob’s property just around the corner (about 3kms away) to see if he was home and to say thanks. Rob generously said he and dad would collect the tractor later. Very handy as I do not have a truck licence, not to mention Colin’s old faithful truck has a few nifty tricks to change the gears.

 

We luckily have time on our side with this project as once again the Ripper and Mounder needs a little tender loving care work done on it. You may recall it broke down several times last outing. With the luxury of time Jorn dismantled the “broken bits” and we shall take it to the city to have a gift of new bearings and a smoothing out of the nicks of usage.

Once again a big shout out to the Collie Foresty Products Commission for the loan of the equipment, to Morton Neilson who located it for us and asked FPC on our behalf and to Rob Hewton for the generous use of his John Deere tractor. Not to mention our neighbour Colin Ednie-Brown for the use of “old faithful” the truck.

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

Corridors of Power – 25th ALG

Yes everyone knows don’t they that the real business in done in the corridors, not the main house! Thus it is that we move onto the 25th Landcare Anniversary Grant. This grant allows us to connect our existing regeneration areas together into seamless corridors all heading towards the water systems on the property.

We are simply delighted that we have been afforded the opportunity to work with multiple authorities since we have started our regeneration projects on Bellalee. Once upon a time Jorn passed a comment that Bellalee, down by the river used to look beautiful back in the early 1970’s. Our initial two regeneration projects have fired on all cylinders with an 80% strike rate and plenty of natural regeneration to boost the sites assets. We are very proud to see projects on the Atlas Of Living Australia. With the work we will undertake with the 25th ALG we will connect remnant vegetation from differing parts of the farm and create seamless corridors down to the Creek and River. These corridors will provide regenerated amazing pathways for fauna to be able to move and flora to spill out from down to the river.

We are delighted to have spotted not only the red tailed Black Cockatoo on the property in Kayla’s Woodland (that will be be linked by one of the corridors to the River) but also the rarer white tailed Carnaby’s cockatoo. What a delight to hear them call. They are nesting in the woodland and we are simply delighted that they call Orchid Valley home.

The photo is of Jorn using Christie the superstar star picket rammer and Colin looking for a spot to put a strainer post. This is rocky country and one of the first of the areas to be fenced under the project.

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Red Tailed Cockatoos Nesting and Resting

Spotted three Red Tailed Black Cockatoos up on Kayla’s Ridge September 9th at 8:40am. Three were spotted roosting high in the tree and one was in a tree opposite. This photo takenunknownat 8:56 sees two red tailed Cockatoos together high in the tree.The rarer endangered Carnaby Cockatoo has also been spotted – we just didn’t have the camera out quick enough! However our neighbours report seeing both varieties on a fairly regular basis. It seems Orchid Valley is a favoured haunt by them.

The Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is classified as Endangered. This may surprise some people, as the species occurs over quite a wide area of south-western Western Australia, where they may rather conspicuous, scockatoosometimes congregating into relatively large flocks. However, their population has declined greatly in recent decades, mostly due to the loss and fragmentation of their preferred habitats, and they need the support of conservation programs to ensure their survival.

We are hoping our integrated connected regeneration projects will be a haven not only for cockatoos but many other native fauna as well.

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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The Window Opened, Strainer Posts IN

just ring, please….. Yes that intuitive sense kicked in and I felt there was a window of opportunity for us be able to use an amazing Post Rammer belonging to the gentle Kim Sanders, one of our local fencing contractors.

Timing was crazy, we had adjust arrived back from our holiday up north to the Pilbara and Jorn was re packed and headed down to Bellalee.

We have now managed to ram in the strainer posts and set our photo monitoring sites. I like to use strainer posts to make it easier for me.

All going well we will run the wire soon, then call Kayla to come and take a look at the finished project.

  Looking East Photo Monitoring Point 1
  Looking West Photo Monitoring Point 1    Looking East Photo Monitoring Point 2
    Looking West Photo Monitoring Point 2
      Looking East Photo Monitoring Point 1
   Looking West Photo Monitoring Point 2

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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IMG_2062IMG_2055Jorn and Jezza 2093

Ridgey didge we need a light sabre errr life saver

“You do know where it is don’t you”, said Jorn as I happily announced we had been successful in obtaining funding from Southern Dirt for more re-generation work. “Yes, Land for Wildlife site 5”, says I, not really knowing where it was. Okay, over there as I clearly point to the map of the farm. Not really knowing exactly where, you know over there…

Apparently it is rocky ridge country, blink of eye lashes, and this means? River views? Location location in real estate parlance. Good Internet connection potential? Certainly none down at the house.

“How are we going to IMG_2022get the posts in”, clearly I think Jorn is having a lend of me, I am after all country born but lived most of my life as a city girl, I bring a smile and enthusiasm however very little practical knowledge….. I am good at the paper work and writing submissions for grants (apparently). My answer clearly, we do it the way we always do, with the Donnybrook donger Jorn made back in early 1980’s. Here is Jorn out one of the areas to be fenced under the 25th Anniversary Landcare project. Easy, flat, no rocks. We apparently need a little more that old faithful.

As luck and a few telephone calls would have it we have found our saviour in the form of Orchid Valley fencing contractor Kim Sanders. Over we went to visit with some test poles in hand. We use former electricity poles, a bit more work as we have to cut them to size however cheaper than commercially available poles and quicker than finding wood to use from the farm.

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Kim has opted in to rescue us! All we need is a little patience (something that I do not possess). Kim is in demand,very, very busy. However he along with his hydraulic post rammer and tractor are spot on for the task to ram the strainer posts into the very rocky ridges that is “Kayla’s Woodland”. (And yes there are views.)

Action plan implemented! The poles aka strainer posts, are all laid out ready to go. We just need to wait for a window of opportunity for the light sabre!

We could never have undertaken any of the work we have done without the unfailing generosity of friends and neighbours. Bellalee has been leased since the year 2000, thus the majority of the equipment used is begged and borrowed. We feel very blessed to have been able undertake this work.

Bridal Creeper and South African Reed given their exit orders

IMG_1095Six months ago we added Bridal Creeper to the list of weeds to eradicate/control at the farm. Kayla Ringrose from Southern Dirt was a fabulous teacher on the various ways to control Bridal Creeper. Six months later I walked through the areas we are targeting to check out the progress. (Keep in mind here this is a seven year programme!). Along the creek line luckily there was only one small patch, however not so lucky in other areas. Once again of I went, spray pack on my back on a murderous spree with the prescribed dosage of weed killer for the problem. Delighted to see very little re-growth after the long summer. Kayla stressed diligence was needed! The Bridal creeper here is in one of the areas soon to be fenced under our 25th Anniversary Landcare agreement.

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Spiny Rush is in an increasing problem in the local area. It can be found along drainage lines and low lying areas. Spiny Rush favours areas where its tolerance to salt allows it to out compete other plants and dominate. Choking waterways and providing harbour for foxes and rabbits, we have been working to control spiny rush before it can form into dense infestations. It can be easily confused with native rushes however once you get you eye it in it is easy to spot. Yes I spent a few days mattock in hand digging up spiny rush, section by section.

Like the Bridal Creeper this is a long term project to rid Bellalee of the invading pest!