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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Return visit, only took 25 years!

Anna with a glass of champagne waiting for yet another glorious Western Australian sunset overlooking City Beach.

Anna Ringborg last visited the farm 25 years ago when Jörns parents were still farming there. It was fabulous to show her around. Here is Anna at the coast (we didn’t have one of here at the farm…..). Anna travels DownUnder most summers, she is a renowned equestrian specialist who fell in love with our long hot summers and the Indian Ocean many moons ago.  besides it is winter and sooooo cold in Sweden whilst she is here.  Yes it was raining (something she was not used to seeing here) when we embarked on the farm tour with Anna.                   Above is a photo in the driveway looking back. Great to see the older trees in the background with our babies in the foreground. This is our own personal little regeneration area.   A great shot by Anna looking at Cockatoo Creek. There is a lot of water there for this time of the year. Plus we have noticed that the trees and bushes around the creek and river are looking healthier.

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Yes the dogess Jezabelle supervising the farm tour, unusually from the back seat of the van. She prefers the front seat….. naturally …. and a beautiful tree I call the sentinel as it overlook sees our regeneration projects on the farm. The tree is truly majestic and a powerful presence helping our dreams for the farm   IMG_2036 IMG_2037

Jorn looking busy!

Looking back towards the road this is the driveway into the property.

yes she is heavy…. and unwilling

no the plant has not died – it lives on!

out for a walk in the countryside!

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”.

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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10.5 months later – amazing!

We have just returned from the farm and are amazed by the growth and health of the plants. We have had a long hot summer and they are thriving. The summer has officially ended, although we have had no rain. The days are a little cooler, early to mid 20’s and the nights around 10. It is a loverly time at the farm before the business of planting this seasons crops.

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The plant is nearly as tall as Jorn!

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Jezabelle supervising us as usual

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a few of our thriving plants

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Along one of the rows to give you an idea

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Jorn swimming in a spring fed pool in Cockatoo Creek, the water is beautiful, clear and drinkable.

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a few more rows to give you an idea of the scope of the project

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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!

The long and winding road……

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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. 

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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!