Ok sorry there is no pudding although I think maybe the horses & wildlife think there is.
Last year in what we call the middle paddock, it is north side of the property smack bang in the middle. This area was full of weed, now that has been a constant job & still weed pulling & burning is needed at certain times of the year although nowhere near as often, now we weed seasonally so between March & April & again October, November this seems to be just on flowering time & before seeding starts, the amount of weed is less & less. You will never be rid of them completely as you will have wildlife spread seeds from other properties & also if your neighbours don’t keep on top of their land it does have a flow on effect, it is minimal, you will find also that while the land & environment is healthy it actually chokes out the bad & did you know that not all that grows is bad either.
Oh my crickey there is so much to it all, honestly once you start it never ends & really truly the hope that you find in what you learn & what you see restoring itself is truly completely mind-body & soul healing stuff, anyhow sorry a little sidetracked there.
I know right, yes this is the same paddock, how green is it & it is mainly native grasses which is healthier for the horses & the wildlife, it has only taken a year(I wish I had before photos sorry)as you can see I found a few before photos, for this part of the property to heal itself only after I placed berms in, again very strategically. You see for us it wouldn’t have been as beneficial or logical to place a series of berms all throughout this paddock as for one, it is underneath large power lines that the electricity mob need to access from time to time which is fine, but anything I planted with traditionally placed berms would have been destroyed. There are still patches that are clay but each time it rains there are little areas of build up where new grass grows. There are almost enough swales to do the job well.
The runoff through this paddock comes straight from the overflow from the dam. I was tired of watching the water blast its way down the hill-top soil & all into the neighbours property below while the paddock went from dry & barren to full of nasty weeds.
From the dam I have a photo somewhere, found it!
The large puddle you see in the first photo is from the dam, we did make the berm a little wider than this in the end, but you get the jist.
I have dug a large swale that forces the overflow across the paddock again using the A frame to get contours right, then about 4foot below & at the end of that swale I placed another swale & at the end of that one another one & so on & so forth like in a series of stairs walking down the property. In all there are only 6 swales in this paddock & on further investigation will be placing one more. The water does slow right down & from the end of each berm ebb gently out & down to the next berm which isn’t quite the traditional way but it still works as you can see the proof is in the pictures.
There is still a bit of work to be done here & the horses are fat & happy in this paddock at the moment, they will eat it down dramatically but we are finding the healthier the land the quicker it is to recover & keep producing.
Funny the grins that I get from people when I talk to them about what I am doing, they can be quite condescending, I have so many people tell me to knock down all my trees & clear my land if I want more produce for my animals, if only they would come & take a closer look at the moisture under the berms when it has been dry for months, the healthy grasses coming up, the swales that slow the flow of water & the top soil we are creating through mulch & composting & the little fodder trees I have planted that in a few years time will carry all our animals through drought & low slow feed producing seasons. Even on explaining this some roll there eyes & a condescending “ooooooh is that right” is what I get a lot of.
Never take it to heart though, keep sharing your journey, because maybe not right now but in the years to come the proof will really be in the pudding & what a beautiful scrumptuous pudding it will be.
Hours of holding the A frame while I raked. My amazing Mum, Is so funny sometimes. We would get our ups & downs mixed up & depending on the slope, Mums balance, the amount of pressure warping the A frame as Mum tried to keep her balance on the A frame & the padlock at times could get quite a swing up, it was hilarious.
Let me explain what & how we did it because I know you’re wondering why? what? A frame? raking? I don’t understand! Well our land is quite steep in areas, only 5 acres of clay, no machinery & a household to tend too. I could not get the little flags into the ground, no money for paint & there was so much raking to do it made sense to have Mum line up the A frame level & then I would rake along the front of it & we would work our way along A frame, rake, A frame, rake, A frame, rake & so on.
Then when Mum had done enough I would go back along & rake a bit more from top down, so the berm would be thicker & more distinctive & believe me it takes a lot less energy to rake down than up & raking down actually adds strength to the berm. I would then take three steps down from that berm & off we would go again giggling & carrying on at our brains going left & right & forward & back & up & down depending on how much balance Mum was getting from the A frame & whether the left side or right side of my brain was more dominant. That’s how we have done 5 acres of this & then I have gone back in some areas & actually dug out swales where i could only after heavy rain.
Remember in all of this hard work STOP appreciate the little wild flowers coming out or that you have uncovered, little birds that come to pick at whatever insects we have disturbed, the way the light changes through the trees throughout the day, the gentle breeze that cools you down just enough to give you strength to keep going. Never stop appreciating or marveling at what you have been blessed with.