Update on tree planting – Three months in

Three months have passed since we were fortunate to have Greening Australia plant our bottom paddock with seed for thousands of trees.  I thought we would take a wander around our paddock and check out the progress.

The planting was a relatively simple process (see here: https://rockfarming.com/2016/11/03/how-to-plant-trees-lots-and-lots-of-trees/).  After preparing the site, seed was directly planted into small furrows, planted along contours.  We then herded the sheep out of the paddock and closed the gate.

This summer has been hot – at times extremely so, but we have managed to get the odd storm or two.  A couple of weeks ago we also enjoyed one day of steady rain that filled our rain gauge a wonderful 24mm.

Whilst initial glances over the paddock don’t show much progress, a close up inspection reveals plenty of young wattles and eucalyptus starting to strike.

The kids enjoyed checking out the plants – and so did Kruz – the most wonderful new addition to our family – but I’ll write more about him later.

I’m no expert on identifying the seedlings, but the seed planted had a good mix of Blakey’s Red Gum (eucalyptus blakelyi), Red Box (eucalyptus polyanthemos) and Yellow Box (eucalyptus melliodora).

It also had plenty of wattle seed too, such as Silver Wattle (acacia dealbata).

The tree I have been really looking forward to finding is the Drooping Sheaoak (Allocasuarina Verticillata).  This tree is habitat and food for the Glossy Black Cockatoo.  I found another young tree in our top paddock, bringing the total number on our place to 6, but sadly haven’t found any seedlings in our furrows yet.

That said, the trees seem to be going well.  The weeds are also starting to compete, and I know that I will eventually have to slash between the rows of trees to give them a fighting chance…  best I get me a tractor!

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Rain – Glorious Rain

Things have been a bit hot and dry on the Rock Farm over January.  The fire danger has hovered between High and Severe, with the local Rural Fire Service (RFS) Captain asking all properties to ensure they are prepared.  A fire down the road threatened the village of Sutton, and a home was lost near Tarago.   Our favourite app on the smart phone over January was the excellent “Fires Near Me” app put out by the RFS  (http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me).  If you haven’t got it, get it.

With everything so parched, it was a wonderful change to hear the pitter patter of rain on the roof top yesterday morning.   And not just a summer thunderstorm, but the steady sound of gentle rain…  all 26mm of it over the course of the day.  It might not do huge amount for our grass – as most of it is dormant over summer, it does top up the dams, and will help our trees get going.

And whilst not everyone was impressed with the rain – it was a good chance to get a few wet weather jobs down around the place.

One of the most critical jobs was to clear the tank strainers.  These often get blocked by leaves – particularly with the first rain after a break.  There is nothing more depressing than seeing precious rain water pouring anywhere but your tank due to blocked strainers.

It was also a good chance to check the driveway.  Over time, most drive ways like ours will form ruts.  These ruts become natural water courses, with water following the ruts, making them deeper.  I had tried to create a little mound to encourage the water off the road into the drain during dryer times.  When I checked it out in the rain, one side was working effectively.  The other wasn’t – requiring a little earthworks to put right!

Then again – there is only so much you can do.  There are about half a dozen drains off this part of our drive – none of them effectively working.  Perhaps next time…

And as the rain continued to fall, it was time to get a bit more creative.  I contemplated tidying up the shed….  but that didn’t happen.

And then things got really serious when I contemplated cooking the books…  but that didn’t happen either.

rainy-day

Sometimes you just gotta take the time to catch up on other important things…