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.
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.
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!
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Who could forget that fateful day of rowing in the women’s Aussie 8, way out front and a certain gold medal then one crew member……. lays down. Well one of our strainers and struts must have been channeling Sally because she failed to strut her stuff and did the same thing out in Kayla’s Woodland. Here we are a mere week and a bit since we signed of on the project and a section of fence is laying down because the strainer failed to stay uptight, errr upright. The area is governed by sheet rock just below the surface so the usual depths you would put in a strainer post are simply not possible.
Colin and Jorn quickly swung into action. Colin with the big front end loader and Jorn on the tractor with the post rammer along with chains and a handy length of wire all raced out to help Sally the Strainer post back in the boat so to speak to strain away for another day. The boys had a fabulous time engaging the services of an old faithful piece of timber – you will see from the pictures she was once a mighty big tree in her hey day. The tree was moved into position, wired up and entwined with the strainer post and viola the race was won with Sally back upright in the boat.
Colin and Jorn had a great time as you can see, I came along late so sadly no photographs of lay down Sally however you can see the remedial action taken to remedy the situation.
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 takenat 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, sometimes 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.
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 how 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 some 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.