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!

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!

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”.

Creepy Bridal Creeper……

Kayla showing the way

Kayla showing the way

yes we have some and yes we are getting rid of it……
Seems crazy to think that this weed was still used in bridal bouquets in the 1990’s. Originally introduced into Australia in 1895 and sold commercially in nurseries from 1905 it is now out of control and strangling everything it wraps itself around. Yes it may look pretty however the affects on our native bush are devastating. It literally smothers everything it envelops
Yesterday we joined with a number of concerned caring citizens at Lesser Hall, Kojonup to become better informed and equipped to deal with Bridal Creeper. it is on the national weed register Australia wide and in the top twenty of nasties we need to try and control.
Southern Dirt applied for a grant from the State National Resource Management (NRM) office to raise awareness within the local community. They are working closely with the Kojonup Shire to reduce the spread of the weed.
Kayla from Southern Dirt gave us a detailed information session in the morning on various control methods.
Personally we were very keen to learn about the biological control of the weed using spore water. I had read about it but did not know where to purchase it and was hoping to come back to the farm with some! Well thankful it is much simpler than that. The Spore water is easily made, all we needed was some rust infected Bridal Creeper. If you are interested you can obtain information from your local DAFWA Biosecurity officer. To assist there is plenty of information available online from http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/ . Another great resource if you are outside the Kojonup district is to contact your local Landcare officer, shire council even YouTube. Put Bridal Creeper biological control in to the search box and some excellent information comes up. The big stress is that it can take up to seven years to control a single bridal creeper plant. Persistence plus is required.
A big thank-you to the Country Kitchen who supplied a great selection of scones to fuel us up for the field trip.
Kayla had been out earlier and set up the site for us, collecting rust infected bridal creeper to put into the large buckets or rain water, swirl it in the water, strain into the pump packs and of we set spraying up and down Denny Road. A few of the local farmers joined us as they wanted to know what we were up to. This really is about awareness, once they were shown the creeper, they, like us spotted it everywhere. This was also our experience. We thought we had one small patch, then we we really looked we noted just how far it had spread. It is easily spread. We came down from Perth the night before especially for this workshop. Kayla helped us collect some rust infect creeper to bring back to the farm. From July through to September is the optimal time to collect the rust infected plants. The great thing about this method is no other plant is affected.
If you are in the Kojonup district and want more information including where to find rust infect creeper you can email Kayla at projects@southerndirt.com.au she is very passionate and eager to spread the good news on how you can help.

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