We’re a wildlife sanctuary!

A number of people in the area have agreed to join the Wildlife Land Trust in protecting the local flora and fauna. Since we’ve heard koalas in our canyon during mating season and enjoyed countless varieties of birds, wildlife, and flora — we have been accepted as a member sanctuary.

About the Wildlife Land Trust

In 2007 Humane Society International launched the Wildlife Land Trust (WLT) Australia in an effort to preserve and protect our vital native habitats and the animals that depend on them, in a network of sanctuaries both throughout the country and internationally.

Working under the guiding principle of “humane stewardship”, the Wildlife Land Trust protects not only vast and impressive landscapes but also the smaller, humbler places that provide for the needs of all wildlife, rare and common species alike. Our members make up a community of wildlife carers, conservation enthusiasts and environmentally responsible landowners around Australia. We encourage our members to practice sustainable and eco-friendly land management whilst preserving the valuable ecosystems and native species on their land.

Since being initiated by The Humane Society of the United States in 1993, the WLT has grown to protect more than 1.8 million acres of habitat in Australia, Canada, South Africa, USA, Belize, Romania, Jamaica, India and Indonesia. Our goal is to see the protection of one million acres of wildlife habitat across Australia and to expand Wildlife Land Trust sanctuary partnerships throughout Africa, India and south-east Asia.

Feel free to check out our YUNDA listing on the Wildlife Land Trust website.

P.S. don’t worry about snakes… they are few and far between. ;<)

Coffee anyone?

Our dearest Sista years ago gave us two gorgeous coffee bushes and we’ve enjoyed them as potted plants for several years. Today they found their permanent home close to the garden and water tank in the shade of a nearby tree. The volcanic soil and position are perfect for coffee so we welcome YOU to come try our handiwork (in a few months) as they produce well already.

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All things progress…

A day of rest after Arnaud’s departure was in order (only planting a few trees and hanging out with Jaffa). I started back at the barn early and between bouts of rain, managed to get half of the roof fir strips (for the tin to re-attach to) by mid afternoon. I had to get to Frank’s and pick-up the side wall tin and a few pieces of steel fence for the compost pens before 16:00. I managed, with Frank’s helper, Hamish’s help, to get everything loaded and back before dark.

Here I am with the barn fir strips half done (and looking serious! ;<)

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And speaking of progress… the planters, especially the tomatoes, are doing well and enjoying the heat and rain.

Standing dead timber

The heritage barn on our property had been hit on a corner by a large 40cm diameter x 25M tall red gum tree. While the barn is amazingly robust, sadly it was knocked about. Arnaud and I had felled a smaller 30cm x 20M tree and it landed atop the carport. The next, a 50-60cm x 30M red gum landed downhill below the barn. The final tree was right against the carport and between the green lockers and a very tricky tree to fell. Gladly, it too fell just like we wanted it to – just alongside the end of the blue 20’ container and away from harm. Only after these three trees were felled was the barn and forest area safe. We will be proud to use the timber for the gazebo or our home when we get started with its timber framing. They are gorgeous and massive red gum trees which are perfect for construction.

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First substantial rain in our water tank and home alone

Rained off and on last night from around 17:30 onwards. Read 44mm this morning and appeared ~50mm new rain in the tank. While our spring still flows as usual — the grass has gone brown and even many trees are showing stress with curling leaves. This amount of rain, while not extravagant, will revive them.

Nick is still in Sydney and working from the AURA office today. It was Fair Day weekend — so plenty to do and see and always great to catch up with friends. While I enjoy the tranquility, sadly, that leave me to take care of his kids… Little Joe is always fun, as he dances around playfully. Jam is sweet, yet slow to walk along and kind of slow in general. Tik, however, remains the alpha goat. She is showing the most these days and hopefully will birth soon. They are entertaining yet quite a lot of time and work to maintain.

I spent much of the day working on the pens near the greenhouse for chickens and goat containment. I was able to reuse a portion of the old fence wire and chicken wire mesh. The post had to be driven, holes dug, trees fell (we have an abundance of standing dead wood in our forest — so harvesting them makes the forest safer during wind storms and great fence posts!) and finally, tamping the wooden posts into the ground. Its hard work — yet satisfying and certainly helps with fitness!

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Bob the kookaburra perched in a tree nearby for a while to watch over what I was doing. Seems he must have been satisfied as he flew off after a while. I also found a new tree species… this, a massive near 20m/60ft tree with vibrant green leaves (even in the dry) and fruit that reminds me of chestnuts — yet about 10 times the size! Funny to hear them drop to the ground every few minutes — guess they must be ready. Must find out what they actually are before eating…

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The skies were clear much of the day yet as the sun advanced to set for the day, the dark flint colour appeared to the North West and a fantastic pinkish orange glared brightly towards the East. It was a stellar sunset period.

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Cows invade the garden!

The three massive cows raided us (again) last night – up early to see the aftermath… Minimal damage yet goats are probably traumatised (as they ran past their Goatel before running through a fence nearby in the middle of the night). Went to neighbour downhill at 07:00 and roused him (James, who seems quite the mus’o has a bandstand rear building). He denied they were his cows, kept says QLD law meant both parties have to pay for any fence – yet we should’t need one since it’d been that way ”forever”. The said cows had been agisted 10 years ago, removed 3 years ago, these were left — and he couldn’t remember who owned them… Very frustrating… though James offered star posts and to “put up a few posts” — too much to do… Said we could discuss it another day — left to get cows out away from garden.

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Spent from 08:00 until 15:00 replacing fence just downhill from front gate. A ravine washout area had had wire pulled back along remaining fence further down and wooden post had been broken off. 4 trees and numerous lantana were across the fence

Cut and applied filter media over agie pipe in white centre beds (only planters that were unsocked). Prepared piping and drain holes for sand on remaining planters. Added sugar cane mulch above sand layer (to reduce organic materials in water reservoir and prevent pH issues). Final layer topsoil to be added to all outstanding beds.

Terry Gill and his brother Ash came out near 16:30 and toured the place. Ash took off yet Tezza stayed for BBQ dinner. Come to find out, his family ginger farm is only about 20 minutes away near Imbil in the Mary Valley (we are on the edge of it).

Garden Enclosure “Greenhouse” Construction

Our garden is progressing nicely. We’ve built a greenhouse to keep pests away and are in the process of planting now. So far, have red and bell peppers, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, several types of beans, peas, beet root and okra started… SO looking forward to them yielding bounty!

Occasionally arranging helpers yet, after a poor experience with the Dutch couple as they were separating while here (come to find out) and the girl was a militant vegan who ate us out of house and home. Not a good experience — but they’re gone. A Parisian engineer guy is due this Friday (wish us luck!)

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The garden cover is constructed of 1 1/2 inch irrigation pipe cut, arched, then stuck on the end of galvanised 1.5 meter steel pipe which are driven half way into the ground. The baling twine helps hold it all in place and makes it quite rigid then the electric fence wire rope keeps it strong and durable.

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The planters are made from 1000 litre fluid totes (or IBCs) which have been washed. The black ones are near new and carried saline water for water purification (so no worries with nasties!) I measure and marke them before using my angle grinder to cut them in half. Seems they go a treat on hot days but are harder to cut when its cool. In the bottom of each (after all opening have been siliconed shut and water tight) I lay 7.5 meters of socked slotted agie pipe (use typically for wastewater drains). These are spun in circles, a filler neck fitted, and zip tied in place. Then the all important drainage holes are drilled about 150mm (or leaving about 150 litres of water in the tank AND overflow holes near the filler (in case it floods, the planters need to shed the excess water). Then, about two wheel barrows full of sand, then a layer of sugar cane mulch (to keep the nutrients from the soil and plants for making the water cavity down below to acidic from fermentation), and finally the top layer of two or so wheel barrows full of topsoil. They are quite a lot of work — yet conserve 80% of the water of usual in ground gardening, they make tending to them easier as they are raised, reduce the amount of weeds, and keep plants in their designated spots with out effort. Each should last for many years and only occasionally need to be refreshed soil wise and weekly water top-ups with a hose.

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