regeneration

PIXIE DUST, KITES AND PINK HATS

There’s nothing better than a beautiful day out on the hillside, unless it’s a beautiful day out with lots of lovely people planting trees.

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This year we had the wonderful team from Justin Borevitz’s lab at ANU, along with another hundred yellow box  (eucalyptus melliodora) that they raised from seed, genotyped and either pampered or subjected to all sorts of tests (drought strtrees-in-truckess, various sprays etc).  In the last two years we have planted 30 to 50 of these which despite some setbacks in the way of frost, not to mention last autumn’s endless dryness, have been doing well.   The main challenge is transporting the big pots (this year big sections of pipe) up to where they’ll be planted. The rest of our plants come from Murrumbateman Landcare, Greening Australia or Damian DiMarco’s nursery on Wallaroo Road, making as wide and balanced a range of species as we can manage. Continue reading

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OUT STANDING IN A FIELD

A few old trees make all the difference when you’re doing a bird survey.  The bare, newly planted paddocks on Carkella and Adnamira were limited to a few species, mainly parrots (galahs,red-rumps, rosellas) and a small family of magpies.

Red-rumped parrot photo by Leo from iNaturalist.org

Red-rumped parrot photo by Leo from iNaturalist.org

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A PICNIC UNDER THE MISTLETOE

We regularly see mistletoebirds (Dicaeum Hirundinaceum) around the house and around the hills.  They’re a flowerpecker with a taste for mistletoes.

Mistletoebird (Dicaeum Hirundinaceum) photo by Leo from iNaturalist.org

Mistletoebird (Dicaeum Hirundinaceum) photo by Leo from iNaturalist.org

Mistletoes grow all over the world, not just at Christmas for romantic kissing purposes. Unlike the area north of us, near Lake Burrinjuck, however, our eucalypts have few mistletoes.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe they’re too widely spaced.  It’s probably for the best given all the other stresses on them.  Parasitic mistletoes are a big drag on a host tree’s resources.

Eucalypt with mistletoe, Wee Jasper Road near Yass

Eucalypt with many  mistletoes, Wee Jasper Road near Yass

It’s puzzled me what the mistletoebirds are eating around here.

Meanwhile, Lesley Peden and I were jolting around the paddocks looking at the sites I want to use for tree-planting this year. Continue reading

BURNING THE HOUSE AT BOTH ENDS

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 When the wind gets above 45km/h every gap and crack in this old house begins to whistle.  The walls are two feet thick, made of rammed earth, but many of the windows are single-glazed and rattle…a lot.  Even the ones that are double-glazed seem to have gaps for cold drafts.

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THE PLAN – SAVE ONE LITTLE PIECE OF THE WORLD

 

View from Adnamira pine break across river 2011

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.

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