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!

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”.

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!

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.

Breakdown…….

one lonely disc

this part was operated on in town

this part was operated on in town

It happens! The right hand disc on the mounder parted company, this required quite a few hours of Jorn’s time and the assistance of the engineering firm in town, all up the mounder was out of action for 36 hours. We continued on with the fencing (in the rain) whilst the bit that attached the disc to the post went in hospital for emergency surgery. Oh and we had two trips to town! Just to break up the fencing rountine….

in the emergency room - aka the shearing shed

in the emergency room – aka the shearing shed

Putting it back together again

Putting it back together again

missing in action - one disc

missing in action – one disc