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.

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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!

Christmas came early for Bellalee

December 18th almost 300 community groups and individuals across Australia received a wonderful Christmas present. An email that let us know will we share in $5 million to enable communities to take practical action as part of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. Yes we were one of the privileged successful individuals given the go ahead.

We are still pinching ourselves. This funding will allow us to neatly finish most of the regeneration recommendations we received in our original Land For Wildlife Report. That report marked the official start of this journey.

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Bridal Creeper on Death Row! Hope So.

We have begun to fightback with the information and expertise gained from Kayla Ringrose from Southern Dirt inDSC00740 Kojonup.   We are using a combination approach with both the recommended chemical application away from the waterways and spore water near the Tone River, Cockatoo Creek and Muir’s Brook (waterways on the property).

Bridal creeper has the relatively unusual ability to invade undisturbed native bushland. Dispersal of seeds by native birds enables it to reach remote and inaccessible places. Once established, the stems and foliage smother native seedlings and understorey plants, and the aggressive tuberous root system forms dense, impenetrable mats, inhibiting the establishment of native trees and shrubs. Underground tuber reserves enable the plant to survive unfavourable conditions for many years, while fragments of underground rhizomes can be spread inadvertently in soil or mulch to begin new infestations.

Bridal CreeDSC00738per is on WONS (Weeds of National Significance) one of the worst environmental weeds, posing a serious threat to our biodiversity. If you have some please consider taking up the challenge to get rid of it. Plenty of great info online to help you.

These photos were taken on a recent trip to the farm on November 27th. You can see some progress however we are well aware this will take maybe years to control. We are lucky that spore infected plants are already on the property so we did not have to search!

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Southern Dirt/State NRM Project

Southern Dirt/State NRM Project.

via Southern Dirt/State NRM Project.

10.5 months later – amazing!

We have just returned from the farm and are amazed by the growth and health of the plants. We have had a long hot summer and they are thriving. The summer has officially ended, although we have had no rain. The days are a little cooler, early to mid 20’s and the nights around 10. It is a loverly time at the farm before the business of planting this seasons crops.

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The plant is nearly as tall as Jorn!

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Jezabelle supervising us as usual

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a few of our thriving plants

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Along one of the rows to give you an idea

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Jorn swimming in a spring fed pool in Cockatoo Creek, the water is beautiful, clear and drinkable.

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a few more rows to give you an idea of the scope of the project

Empties!

Eventually we ran out of plants – they were planted!  It was almost and anti-climax when we didn’t have to return to the shearing shed to load more plants onto the trailer. On our return to Perth, we dropped into the Blyth Tree Farm in Katanning to return the trays to Steve.

Just some of the empty trays stacked up outside the shearing shed.

Just some of the empty trays stacked up outside the shearing shed.

Jezabel the dogess is in the background making sure all the trays are returned

Jezabel the dogess is in the background making sure all the trays are returned

Carol and Wanda the camper pleased that the work is complete!

Carol and Wanda the camper pleased that the work is complete!

A mounding we will go

On the western side of the Tone

On the western side of the Tone

Looking over the recently installed fence at the newly ripped and mounded land.

Looking over the recently installed fence at the newly ripped and mounded land.

Fun stuff for boys and toys. Jorn got drive the Same tractor. He loves driving around in big machines. Think most boys do.

A big thank you to our neighbour Colin Ednie-Brown for the use it on this project. You see the action here slowly pulling the ripper and mounder kindly supplied by Greg Hodgson from Forest Products Commission in Collie. We could not have managed this project without the generous support a a great many people.

And back he comes, Slow work, but with the discs under so much tension it is the only way to go.

And back he comes, Slow work, but with the discs under so much tension it is the only way to go.

Testing testing, the evening before the right hand side of the mounders bolts sheared  away leaving it laying on the ground. Got to tell you it was heavy and not so easy to get onto the trailer. We spent the evening finding and putting rated bolts onto it. Jorn thought it best to take it for a spin on a roadside paddock for a few lines before going out to the real deal.

Testing testing, the evening before the right hand side of the mounders bolts sheared away leaving it laying on the ground. Got to tell you it was heavy and not so easy to get onto the trailer. We spent the evening finding and putting rated bolts onto it. Jorn thought it best to take it for a spin on a roadside paddock for a few lines before going out to the real deal.

South West Catchments Council pre inspection

Jezabel hard work ensuring a quality job is done with our SWCC funding.

Jezabel hard work ensuring a quality job is done with our SWCC funding.

Jezabel decided she had better look over the newly completed fencing section to ensure when we have the real site inspection of Jun 6th that is all passes muster.

It was a stunning sunny cool day. Perfect that day we strained and fixed 1.1 kilometres of fencing wire, part of which you see here. We duel strained it as we had a very sharp corner to go around. Sorry no pics of the back hoe in action as we were both running from one end of the fence to the other.

The following day we continued and installed another 1 kilometre of fencing.

It is a great sense of satisfaction watching it all come together. We just get on with it and do the job! Fall into bed at night exhausted not only from all that fresh air they have out there but from the work.

The same area but a little cloudy and a little rainy looking over part of the SWCC funded regeneration project. Looking towards the Tone River.

The same area but a little cloudy and a little rainy looking over part of the SWCC funded regeneration project. Looking towards the Tone River.

Pound away

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These two posts will become not only strainer posts but gate posts in front of the Tone River.

Can you imagine how difficult it would have been to get these former power poles – returned to a useful life as strainer posts in the ground without the post rammer.  Jorn actually made it many many years ago when he was farming in Donnybrook. Although now he needs to borrow it from his good mate David Lee as he sold it to him a few years ago.

Jorn beside the post rammer

Jorn beside the post rammer

Sometimes even with the post rammer they will not go – granite below…… we have a few sad looking bent poles around that we will cut out soon. More ramming as after the big rammer comes little rammer! Both terrific machines that make lighter work of a big job.

me photographing the small  post rammer supplied by Kojonup Ag Supplies. Each post is approximately 8 metres apart.

me photographing the small post rammer supplied by Kojonup Ag Supplies. Each post is approximately 8 metres apart.

me photographing the small post rammer supplied by Kojonup Ag Supplies. Each post is approximately 8 metres apart.