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!

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.

 

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!

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!

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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Growing growing growing

Jorn has just returned from the farm. He decided to take a short video showing how well our plants are going. It is very exciting watching them thrive. Jorn has just returned, the new project underway at the farm it to rebuild the bridge crossing over the start of the Tone River. Jorn has started to construct a log bridge over the River. This will greatly assist the flow of the Cockatoo Creek into the Tone River. Our dream from a few years ago about restoring the bio-diversity, depth and beauty of the waterway and its local environment are coming true.

Stay tuned – bridge building posts will soon follow!

Happy days

Happy days

Everywhere we have planted is growing beautifully.

Everywhere we have planted is growing beautifully.

Remember this is how they started. There are 30 plants per tray. You are looking at many trays!

Remember this is how they started. There are 30 plants per tray. You are looking at many trays!

we’ve only just begun!

We have signed of on one of our two projects. In this one project 52 hectares has been given back to assist regeneration of of the creek and river system. By the time we add both projects together over 100 hectares is now forming a corridor for wildlife and an ambitious regeneration plan to improve the biodiversity of the area.Image

Plants, plants everywhere there are plants

We would load up our buckets full of a variety of differing species and head down a mound.

We would load up our buckets full of a variety of differing species and head down a mound.

Carol and Cassie back at the trailer for more plants. Sometimes it seemed endless, head down and off we go - again....
Carol and Cassie back at the trailer for more plants. Sometimes it seemed endless, head down and off we go – again….

Yes we could always rely of Jezabel the dogess to cast her knowing eye over the proceedings.

Yes we could always rely of Jezabel the dogess to cast her knowing eye over the proceedings.

We fed everybody a hearty lunch. A combination of red lentil and spicy carrot soup, and a harissa soup with sourdough garlic bread, followed up with fruit and Evelyns fruits and nut cake. Yum!

We fed everybody a hearty lunch. A combination of red lentil and spicy carrot soup, and a harissa soup with sourdough garlic bread, followed up with fruit and Evelyns fruits and nut cake. Yum!

Potty what? Ki, eh????

Jorn and Steve with two pottutkis he has loaned us to assist with the planting

Jorn and Steve with two pottutkis he has loaned us to assist with the planting

Phew a Pottiputki is an amazing Finnish invention from the 1970’s. specifically designed for manual tree planting. You may recall we have just under 18,000 to plant over the upcoming long weekend. Steve Blyth from Blyth Tree Farm supplied two of the planters we used. Local farmers, the Warberton’s supplied another two and good friend David Lee loaned another.  Fully kitted out of we set.

the planter strikes the Pottiputki  into the ground, you put the plant down the tube and stamp on the slide at the bottom of the devise. The mechanism does the planting as at the bottom of the devise are two claws that look a little like a duckbill. They open after pushing an opening into the ground for the plant. The claws open and drop the plant into the slot, you push the soil bank at your foot in to seal the young seedling into position and move on. Simple, especially 18,000 odd times……..

Well we were an odd wonderful lot of humans and the doggess Jezabel. Hard going left use thinking,….. Jorn Ramel came up with version two, an old 50 odd cm hexagon shaped wooden rod (a former roller from a blind), a a series of 50cm PVC tubes. One person went ahead stamping a slot into the ground and the planters followed, putting the plant down thw tube, stamping it closed and onto the next hole. Horray, horray, horray. EASY…. That is what we like.

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Jorn now with the wooden stamper…. i persevered with the pottiputki. Later I actually like to use it over the tubes.

Grounded pottiputki!
Grounded pottiputki!