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!

Bridal Creeper on Death Row! Hope So.

We have begun to fightback with the information and expertise gained from Kayla Ringrose from Southern Dirt inDSC00740 Kojonup.   We are using a combination approach with both the recommended chemical application away from the waterways and spore water near the Tone River, Cockatoo Creek and Muir’s Brook (waterways on the property).

Bridal creeper has the relatively unusual ability to invade undisturbed native bushland. Dispersal of seeds by native birds enables it to reach remote and inaccessible places. Once established, the stems and foliage smother native seedlings and understorey plants, and the aggressive tuberous root system forms dense, impenetrable mats, inhibiting the establishment of native trees and shrubs. Underground tuber reserves enable the plant to survive unfavourable conditions for many years, while fragments of underground rhizomes can be spread inadvertently in soil or mulch to begin new infestations.

Bridal CreeDSC00738per is on WONS (Weeds of National Significance) one of the worst environmental weeds, posing a serious threat to our biodiversity. If you have some please consider taking up the challenge to get rid of it. Plenty of great info online to help you.

These photos were taken on a recent trip to the farm on November 27th. You can see some progress however we are well aware this will take maybe years to control. We are lucky that spore infected plants are already on the property so we did not have to search!

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18 months ago and now today.

The journey to regenerate has been amazing. Every time we get down to the farm the progress of the growing plants amazes us. We thought it would be great to have a little peak at what it was like a mere eighteen months ago compared to today.

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Southern Dirt/State NRM Project

Southern Dirt/State NRM Project.

via Southern Dirt/State NRM Project.

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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Video

Growing growing growing

Jorn has just returned from the farm. He decided to take a short video showing how well our plants are going. It is very exciting watching them thrive. Jorn has just returned, the new project underway at the farm it to rebuild the bridge crossing over the start of the Tone River. Jorn has started to construct a log bridge over the River. This will greatly assist the flow of the Cockatoo Creek into the Tone River. Our dream from a few years ago about restoring the bio-diversity, depth and beauty of the waterway and its local environment are coming true.

Stay tuned – bridge building posts will soon follow!

Happy days

Happy days

Everywhere we have planted is growing beautifully.

Everywhere we have planted is growing beautifully.

Remember this is how they started. There are 30 plants per tray. You are looking at many trays!

Remember this is how they started. There are 30 plants per tray. You are looking at many trays!

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.

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!

A ripper of a day for boys toys – mound away me hearties.

wow big big day, we have just received word that the ripper/mounder is going to be here around noon. We are very grateful to life long friend Morton Nilsson from Gunns in Bunbury who organised this for us. The machine is courtesy of Greg Hodgson from Forest Products Commission in Collie. A big shout to FPC in Collie and Greg – THANK YOU.

Ripping and mound ploughing for revegetation establishment are techniques used to improve the success (survival and growth rates) of planted seedlings.

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Mounding is great for the water logged soils around Cockatoo Creek and the Tone River. It will help to encourage early growth of the seedlngs.

Too much fun? Never.

boys having much fun\