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!

The humble beginnings

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It was many moons ago back in 1971 when the desire for adventure brought three members of the Swedish born Ramel family to Western Australia. Jorn, Maj and their youngest son also called Jorn, then eight. Jorn senior was in search for adventure and new lands to farm. The family has over a 500 year history farming in Sweden which continues today in Skane, Sweden.

Bellalee is actually an aboriginal name for place of the two eagles. The property is blessed with Cockatoo Creek and Muir’s Brook that marks the beginning of the Tone River which is a tributary running into the renowned Warren River. Even today at summers end the Tone has water.

In 1971 it was a magnificent waterway, heavily treed with an abundance of flora. The Ramel’s were not the first to farm Bellalee. Move forward 40 years, the flow of Cockatoo Creek and Muirs Brook is a little sad, the Tone River still deep but shrunk from its original banks. However it has water even at the end of summer but pleading for help.

Jorn mentioned how beautiful it once was this marked the start of our efforts to return it to what it once was or at least give it our best shot. It took over a year just to get started, we lucked out in meeting Mr Phil Worts from Land for Wildlife. This marked the turn to not one but two regeneration projects this year.

Whilst we have been down several times tinkering around the edges of the projects the Easter long weekend we got serious. As we had secured funding from the Department of Conservation’s 2012-13 Enviornmental Community Grant we moved efficiently and installed just under 4kms of fencing for the first phase of the project.

Today we have confirmation that SWCC – (the South West Catchments Council) have given pre-approval (contracts are yet to be signed) for the second phase of the project. We are in grateful to Mr Terry Brooks from SWCC for his site assessment to assist us is obtaining grant number two.

With these two grants all of Cockatoo Creek, Muirs Brook and the Tone river that are on the property will be fenced and regenerated creating a significant natural corridor for the local flora and fauna. The Tone River has permanent pools that provide refuge for water fowl and aquatic fauna during seasonally dry summer months

To date we would like to thank the follow people:

Mr Phil Wort, Land for Wildlife whose expertise an amazing report has proved invaluable assistance.

DEC and the ECI for granting us funding for the first phase.

Mr Terry Brooks from SWCC and the panel grant number two.

Jane Kowald, Southern Dirt for her expertise in local flora.

Kojonup Agricultural Supplies for  the use of the small post rammer

Mr David Lee for the loan of the post rammer for the strainer posts.

Mr Colin-Ednie Brown for the use of his tractor (to fit the strainer post-rammer) and his diesel 4

WD ute to house the small post rammer.

Mr Steve Blyth, Blyth Tree Farm for his knowledge and assistance re local flora

along the start of the Tone River at the end of summer

along the start of the Tone River at the end of summer

Jezabel the doggess, looking from the creek line over towards part of the first project regeneration area

Jezabel the doggess, looking from the creek line over towards part of the first project regeneration area

Tone river this week after a little last a fortnight ago

Tone river this week after a little rain a fortnight ago

The humble beginning

the start of the Tone River

the start of the Tone River at summers end

looking towards Cockatoo Creek

looking towards Cockatoo Creek

Woodenup Pool, a haven for fauna during the summer month's

Woodenup Pool, a haven for fauna during the summer month’s

Jorn hard at work on the back of the trailer

Jorn hard at work on the back of the trailer