After months of flu last year, I was very excited when Ben Hanrahan from Greening Australia offered help with planting our new Glossy Black Cockatoo area on the steep gully behind the house.
It’s been a dry year so far, with only scattered amounts of rain making the soil just moist enough for planting. Mostly we’ve had sunny days and warm temperatures.
We’d ripped and fenced and prepared for the arrival of the mystery volunteers. Ben didn’t say who they were, just that there were lots of them. But as we waited for the buses to arrive, the sunny morning began to sour. Matthew ran around putting rocks on each coir mat to keep them from flying away. The piles of pink corflute covers heaved and flapped against the heavy weights we’d put on them.
Looking at the surging clouds, Craig, Ben and Matt began digging some “demonstration” holes, to shorten the planting process.
Then the rain came down, just as the two big buses arrived. Continue reading
Suddenly, while I was still coughing and wheezing from the flu, spring arrived on the hills around us. It seemed as if every type of wattle and fruit tree began to flower simultaneously, even while the mornings remained so cold and frosty I couldn’t step outside without going into a coughing fit. Continue reading
Brazil’s coastal rainforest could hardly be more distant from a sheep farm in New South Wales. Yet I found visiting it both inspirational and helpful for my own plans.
The rainforest plant life is nothing like our dry eucalypts and grasses. While there are a few ancient relatives of Australian plants, most of the vegetation looks as if it’s been ordered from a hothouse catalogue – heliconias, bromeliads, philodendrons, orchids and more. Continue reading
The spy camera team arrived yesterday, armed with a big blue plastic crate full of gadgets, plus a couple of star pickets and a mallet.
While the wildlife wasn’t looking, Corin, Steve and Andrew set up three cameras in plausible places for passing four-legged traffic. Or wriggling snake traffic. Or winged traffic. Continue reading
There are lots of issues clamoring for attention in our world – war, hunger, climate change, disaster, death and despair. I find reading the newspaper a dangerous activity likely to explode a blood pressure cuff across the room.
‘Nearly two years ago I got the opportunity move back to the family farm and work on making it more resilient, to help it survive the next few decades. That means living in a beautiful old house belonging to my mother, with a view over the Murrumbidgee and the surrounding hills. It means fixing up that house and the others on the farm. It means repairing or putting up new fences to protect plants and it means working out what the landscape should look like for the long term.