Yes They Are One, We Are One

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.

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Can They Be Four!

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Our first regeneration project turns four this coming weekend. Four photos – Two from then and now the progress taken today. What a difference! I went walking through the projects earlier and am delighted to report that plants are springing … Continue reading

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad


That Meatloaf song was all I could think about as we swung into action on our latest project venture. We have three areas of remnant vegetation to fence and at the end of our allotted time, two are a done deal!

Marilyn the post rammer set to work, followed by Christie who makes quick work of donging in the Jio Star posts. Usually we roll the wire out at the same time we install the star posts – however we did not know how we would go time wise so we were patient and waited!

All set the following morning we arose early and ready to roll out the Waratah Stocklock which we are using for the first time after meeting the Waratah team at a recent Dowerin Field Day. Jorn is hooked and loves it. Our fencing system works and we work well together. Naturally I can fix the wire to the posts quicker than Jorn can tie off, I make sure I go extra fast if I think it is touch and go…. just a bit competitive.

We thought we would be done, however the rock underneath thwarted us albeit briefly! And at the end of the day two out of three ain’t bad. The Strainer posts are in situ on the last site so we are on the homeward stretch for next time we are down at Bellalee. Plus we have time up our sleeve as the completion date is not until June.

As usual we could not do any of this work with the assistance of our neighbours generosity with his equipment – tractors, utes and a great sense of humour. A big shout out to the great people at Waratah Fencing who are a proud Australian brand that has been around for over 130 years.

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!

Long Wet Winter

Whilst we escaped to Sweden for the long wet winter our baby plants were left to fend for themselves. We often heard from family and friends that we had a lucky escape, that the rain and cold weather had settled in. Finally we returned and couldn’t wait to get down to the farm to see how our baby pants were faring in their new home.

We have had so much rain that we had to leave the car behind and go out on the four wheeler. Even then we parked just across the creek and walked rather than sink the bike and walk a few kilometres back to the house.

Here are a few of our brave plants, they look so tiny, especially when we look across the creek and river towards the plants that we planted just over three years! They are so tall, you really do forget that once they too were the size of our new plant offspring. We are sure they are looking forward to some warmer weather. Not that we have had any yet!

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Seriously there is a row of plants growing!

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!

Site preparation – looking towards the Tone River

One of the ares in front of the start of the Tone River that was subject to a slow controlled burn.

One of the ares in front of the start of the Tone River that was subject to a slow controlled burn.

The overcast day gave Jorn a chance to slowly burn out the grasses of an area that will be regenerated. The thickness of the thatch meant that is could not be ripped and mounded without being burnt first.

Two farmers fire trucks were on standby, shovels and two ways just in case the day did not go as planned.

Fire is taken very seriously down here, all the farmers look out and support each each other.