Lay Down Sally Strikes Again…

IMG_2348 IMG_2341Who 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.

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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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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!

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”.

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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18 months ago and now today.

The journey to regenerate has been amazing. Every time we get down to the farm the progress of the growing plants amazes us. We thought it would be great to have a little peak at what it was like a mere eighteen months ago compared to today.

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