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.

IMG_2010 IMG_2007 IMG_2019

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.

Southern Dirt/State NRM Project

Southern Dirt/State NRM Project.

via Southern Dirt/State NRM Project.

The long and winding road……


Just over twelve months ago we started fencing of land to prepare for our biodiversity projects at Bellalee.

Some said it will never work, others advised they had tried and not a single plant had survived. Others helpfully suggested we were being foolhardy and to expect nothing. Another high ranker suggested that if we had a 20% stick rate after the first twelve months we will done done exceptionally well.

All very disheartening.

We listened however took no heed.

We have a 90% strike rate……. Every where we planted there are wonderful healthy little plants dreaming of becoming big plants. They have survived the long summer and are looking forward to some steady rain. 


Late December Regeneration update.

photo 1 photo 2Late December 2013 and here we are. The plants are very healthy and going the distance.

Tom (my eldest son), who was one of the volunteers at planting time, recently went down the farm with his mates for a short break from city life. He reported back to us and we are delighted with the progress and that the plants are thriving.

Our bush regeneration attempts to protect and enhance the plant biodiversity along Cockatoo Creek and the Tone River as they flow through Bellalie. We hope that we have provided conditions conductive to the recruitment and survival of our native seedlings. Plus it is envisaged that dormant seed stock will sprout adding to the bio-diversity.

Australian plant communities require some level of perturbation to trigger germination from long-buried seed banks. Some areas of the project were not only ripped and mounded but had additional disturbance-based burning to trigger new growth.

We are very proud to be involved in an active conservation program for remnant vegetation. The aim of this bush regeneration, is to restore and maintain ecosystem health by facilitating the natural regeneration of indigenous flora and to provide linked corridors for wildlife.

Thank you to the South West Catchment Council (SWCC), Land for Wildlife, and the the Department of Conservation for the grants we received and the invaluable assistance in guiding the projects.

The plants are happy.

The little plants have settled into their new home and are looking good

The little plants have settled into their new home and are looking good

Oops, I thought I had published this post…… Our plants have weathered the winter and are growing strong. We now have to have a fingers crossed that the parrots do not clip them to ground level. Those birds have fun, however can wreck young plants! These photos are from the in front of Cockatoo Creek, an area we are really wanting to assist.

To our delight all the seedlings are happy and healthy.

Few have been trimmed by the birds but live on. Thus far we have not found a single dead plant.

They were planted nearly six weeks ago.

photoWe have had some good rainfalls and the only two frosts. Our strike rate at this stage is 100%. The plants had been taken from their home in the trays they were grown in, uprooted and stamped into the ground they are thriving.

A happy visit to the farm.


Eventually we ran out of plants – they were planted!  It was almost and anti-climax when we didn’t have to return to the shearing shed to load more plants onto the trailer. On our return to Perth, we dropped into the Blyth Tree Farm in Katanning to return the trays to Steve.

Just some of the empty trays stacked up outside the shearing shed.

Just some of the empty trays stacked up outside the shearing shed.

Jezabel the dogess is in the background making sure all the trays are returned

Jezabel the dogess is in the background making sure all the trays are returned

Carol and Wanda the camper pleased that the work is complete!

Carol and Wanda the camper pleased that the work is complete!

planting time

Jezabel supervising Cassie

Jezabel supervising Cassie

Wednesday June 10 and we are back in the city.

Now two weekends ago, it was a long weekend here in Western Australia. Many months of planning and fencing were about to see the plants not only arrive but be planted! Amazing. Over 16,500 native plants  were planted to create a bio diverse environment for wildlife. They have now all been given there place out on a mound.

Every plant have now been been planted on Bellalee. They were delivered by Steve Blyth from Blyth Tree Farm WA on Wednesday May 29th in the afternoon afternoon.

Out on site with a small selection of the plants

Out on site with a small selection of the plants

The plants will cover approximately 16 kilometres of mounds. We omitted to tell our wonderful team just how far they would walk… Even to me the scale seemed a little surreal.

Our thanks to our wonderful team:

Carol Canzirri , Alida and Bob Dohrmann, my eldest son Thomas Zaunmayr, his girlfriend Cassie Paxman, their friends Sarah Mullins and Alicia. 2.5 days of intense work over the Foundation Day long weekend. A special mention to the sustaining fruit and nut cake supplied kindly by Evelyn Bowen, plus the guidance given as usual by Jezabel the dogess.

A planting we will go

A planting we will go

Cassie watering the plants prior to us planting them
Cassie watering the plants prior to us planting them
Jezabel the dogess checking out progress

Jezabel the dogess checking out progress

— with Jorn Ramel.

First line…….

Under the watchful eye of Morton and Ric, Jorn takes to the field.                                      the all important first line

Site preparation usually involves two elements: weed control, and soil disturbance. Both aim to allow seed or seedlings to grow more easily. Weed control is needed before establishment of new plants can occur as weed species compete for nutrients, water and light on the site.

Soil disturbance aims to destroy competing plants and loosen soil so that germinating
plants can access nutrients, water and other resources more easily, and so that roots have space to grow. It is usually undertaken using equipment, such as you see here