Funny story,

No really it is one of those oh no! that’s funny, kind of stories.

The dam ended up really low, lowest we had ever seen it, it has never run dry though, I have often wondered if it is spring fed, but it doesn’t stay full just never dries up? anyhow I don’t know how it works & well I guess well there’s my next study, dam water’.

Rain! hadn’t had it for months, people in town were talking, “its the driest we’ve had in a long time”, paying for their tanks to be filled, lawns & gardens looking sad sparse, leaves in trees curled & underfoot the ground crunched & crackled, (drives me nuts when I see people mowing their lawn to dirt) anyway you get the picture it was dry.

I was excited as I had received piping not sure how big in circumference but black irrigation piping couple of hundred metres in length & a pump, petrol powered, another Mr & Mrs Great in our little street had a garage sale & allowed us to pay it all off. The piping reached from the dam which is in the middle of our property to the west paddocks where I’m going to need water often, which in distance from dam to paddock would have to reach roughly 200mtrs  or there about. I had laid all this piping out & looked into gravity fed irrigation (in case there was a time when I couldn’t afford fuel) & can you get enough pressure to hook up a sprinkler system using this method? I had all the piping laid out & now it was just a matter of waiting for bless ed rain.

Well it didn’t just rain actually it poured, bucketed flash flooding in low lying areas over night, not quite news worthy but then again our little town is very rarely on the news, never the less, it rained! Over the few days of rain I was looking out the window everyday at our little dam and it was slowly slowly filling all the way to the bottle brush bases, whos branches drape over the watery edge as if summing the water up to its thirsty leaf tips.

Very exciting as I  was sooo looking forward to testing the irrigation knowledge that I had acquired over last few months.

Ok so a couple of days later the rain had stopped & I noticed, wait what!?” the dam was all of a sudden quite low, a leak! in our dam! not now, not ever, how am going to afford to fix this can it be fixed, for  2 days I watched our little dam slowly descend into some unholy abyss, Well I’ll have to wait til the land dries out before I can even think about getting a tractor in to clean out the excess  debris & reseal the dam.

With the weather clearing over the next couple of days I was observing the swales with berms that I recently dug out as to how they were functioning, when I noticed down in the bottom corner of the west paddock there was a large body of water just lying there like, wow! those swales really do hold the water well! I must investigate this, this is amazing.  Slipping into my trusty wellies; a British term for the Aussie gumboot, Off I ventured ready to play, when I reached the fence line of the paddock I saw it. WHAT is going on, from the end of one of my newly laid out pipes water was dribbling ever so slowly, like a teething baby, just dribbling, I screaming to complete the dramatic teething moment had realised, that yes the flaming irrigation system does work & if you leave one end of a pipe in a body of water which in my case was our dam,(I had totally forgotten I had done that) will with a force all of its own filter precious liquid, all by itself.  yes folks I had proved the theory of gravity & syphoned my own dam……. almost beyond the shallows of the previous water shortage.

I had placed one end of the pipe in the dam & unrolled the pipe all the way to west end of the property & in all my productivity had forgotten to take the end out of the dam on completion.

So as the dam filled……… it syphoned. 

HA, It worked, all the water had flowed unbeknownst to me until it was too late, all the way to the west paddock where it laid teasing, taunting, I swear I could see the water waving & laughing at me for about 4 days  & disappeared, of course it was not deep enough for me to pump it back into the dam, of course it just disappeared, disappeared.!!!!

I then sat & waited for the next rains like a teary doe eyed  toddler & a broken toy, it was tragically funny.

Warning to add injury to insult when uncurling irrigation pipe by hand it can & will spring back & slap you into another star twinkling sparkly dimension  for quite some time, leaving your face & ego severely stinging & bruised.

To answer my own question about water pressure & a sprinkler it will work….lol

The photo below was about 10yrs ago, note the little bottle brushes previous owners had planted. So cute.

our dam

4 year ago, ↓
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This is today, literally this morning glorious isn’t it, a little to the left of  where the above photo was taken, but same dam, yes it needs a little clean up, everything is so much healthier though. Amazing difference, we now get wallabies, kangaroos all sorts of finches & wrens, 2 types of long legged crane birds, wild ducks & those dark coloured water birds that sit on the edge drying their wings, water dragons, dragon fly’s, an array of singing frogs & small fish & water creatures. Its own little eco system has formed.

So the funny story ended quite stunningly don’t you think. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Family

Ok so I’m awake, after tending to my family who I will introduce you to, I make myself a coffee & sitting at my computer desk which overlooks the front of the property, faces south. I get to type & share my story as the sun rises, well it is cloudy today but that doesn’t stop the birds singing & dancing amongst whatever open flowers there are & just to top it off, a rooster who is getting his crow which at the moment just sounds like a strangled galah blasts out in the distance, of course its ours!.

Meet just some of my crew.

20180224_151257.jpgThis is Edward & his pet dog Walter, these 2 are inseparable, yes they are kept in at night except for

2017-07-13 19.42.12.jpgTurbo she’s our special one with little bent front legs & a kink in her tail there is a name for her condition, I just cant remember what it is. She is more wallaby than anything & tolerates her family, when she feels like it. She is incapable of  damaging the wildlife, has to be protected from possible intruders, as she can’t protect herself. An absolute treasure.

20160819_155428Of course you have met our hero Princess In a previous blog.

20170924_145748.jpgDanny is yes a little scrawny (don’t judge), doesn’t matter how much we feed him or have worked him he is always a little scrawny, part Arab, 23yrs old, taught my kids how to ride, pony club, cutting, trail riding an awesome all-rounder, one of those once in a lifetime ponies, will never find another like him!

Who's thirstiest.jpgThis is Marlo, my sons horse, which he is sadly selling as Wils work commitments don’t allow him the time Marlo needs. Beautiful natured loves a cuddle & will give kisses in return, Marlo that is not Wil…..

20180307_160003.jpgJust one of our odd lot cluck bunch & the rest of her gang are in the chook chapel in the background, she is obviously not impressed with her blog debut…

20170313_153959And then there’s20170817_123448.jpg Squirt(Shian),  does prefer squirt, curiouser & curiouser  best describes our squirt, she was given to us along with a beautiful thoroughbred, Harley, who sadly had to be put down. Squirt is just adorable loves a good scratch on the butt & absolutely panics if her four-legged family are out of her line of sight, then she is placed in the house yard to be closer to the 2 legged & the other 4 legged crew.

So there you have it that’s the family, you have met my Mum in a previous  blog & I will introduce you to my daughter in a later blog.

So all the four-legged family & then some, you have now met. They have helped settle me into a morning routine, which my son helps out when he can,  there’s feeding & the cleaning of paddocks, (great filler for the garden), egg collecting, topping up water troughs just to name a few daily starters.

I would be lost without my extended family they are what keep me sane.

So there you have my adorable crew. More to be added in the near future of course.!

 

 

 

 

 

Never leave the house without the Jack Russell!

I’m minding my own business, shovel, rake, A frame  even chainsaw in hand attacking a particular area of the property working on a particular project. Then WHAM it hits me, not in a paranoid state of affliction rather, a curious question, who is watching me?. I feel it, it’s a sense, oh & I’m sure there are a myriad of creatures running around frantically trying to prepare themselves for whatever dangerous onslaught I might have in mind to alter their existence, without me realizing of course. We get visitors unexpected, like the time….. let me think for a minute which one will I share first? Ok there are quite  a few, I’ll give you this one first; on first moving here 11 years almost 12 ago, we had pulled sawn & dug out the majority of almost 2 storey lantana that had taken over the East end of the property, there were some logs & stumps laying around; now we had been moving & heaving treasure around for quite sometime, we have a little Jack Russel named appropriately, we thought, Princess, whom followed us everywhere on the property.

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As I’m cleaning up treasured timber & having that sense that something is watching & I scanning around us from to time; Princess had her nose frantically stuffed under a small log, all the while whimpering & digging, I questioned her about what poor defenceless creature had she cornered thinking rabbit! as we had seen quite a few little fluffy bums scamper away, or maybe a little water dragon. I moved Princess to one side & placed my fingers under the edge of the log & lifted!?…. Have you ever watched anaconda? well don’t its freaky, not quite to the same scale of anaconda & it was like in slow motion.

I lifted the log to see in a split second, the blink of an eye, a very angry, very large open mouthed, I swear I could see the poison dripping from its fangs, rise up & go straight for my face at which moment, & it was just a moment, a split second, the blink of an eye, that Princess threw herself at this beast, grabbed it, flung it away from me, shook the life out of it,  literally & proceeded to eat it, ew.

Gone in sixty seconds, forget fast cars this was crazy. A HUGE BROWN SNAKE, we have since seen bigger but at the time our first siting was probably about a metre in length well-rounded with bunny bums, I’m presuming.

Lets just say my stupidity did teach me well & I do now still to this day take note of my instincts & Princess is my instinctive companion. So I had planned to tell you more than just one occasion but being a little long in thought & story there you have one.

I will try incorporate others into my permaculture adventures as adventure it all is. Stay tuned.

 

Move

No don’t move house well only if you want to.

Moving logs I mean, 9ft in length, different thicknesses, we had 3 huge trees dropped that were termite ridden & rotting about 3 & 4 metres from the house.

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I know right how beautiful are they, sorry they were gonna destroy our home, it was only a matter of time, I had been keeping an eye out for a few months before hand to make sure nothing was nesting.

As you can imagine the clean up, well this is part of it

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Remember I have no tractor to move all of this, I have a friend who has offered to come & chainsaw the huge pieces into post lengths. I will let them dry & then split them myself. I am almost at that point now, how am I moving all this? Here goes I will show you a couple of photos to demonstrate.

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This post is about 9ft weighs a lot, we have just had rain so add wet weight to that. You can see at either end I have placed a small offcut, I have rolled the log, dont lift just lay the offcuts beside your log & roll it onto 2 small round offcuts, you can use bigger pieces if you like, as our property is slopped & I didn’t want to be chasing it down hill hence the smaller pieces.

All you need to do after that is push or tie  a bit of something to the end & pull, (I just push as I get a bit gung-ho when I start a job & the less fiddling the better)moving the back offcut to the front then push, then move the back off cut to the front & keep going.

I’m probably not explaining it very well, as you roll the log forward the offcuts roll & the offcut at the back will roll out from underneath, pick it up & place it under the front of the log & push again when the offcut rolls out from the back, pick it up & place it under the front, its like a relay race sort of kind of.

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I am getting closer & closer to my destination, so far I had moved it about 6mtrs, using this method taking all of 5 mins. I am aiming for the small stack of other potential posts you can see in the background. By using the offcuts almost like wheels I have had to do no lifting, the momentum does all the work.

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This technic I have used all over the property & it has never failed me. To lift it onto the pile you can place a handle or long thin log underneath as far as you can, & lift, this will pick up the whole log & slide it into place, remember your stacks dont have to be high & should really be crisscrossed like jenga for better drying enviroment but for now this is where they’ll stay.

I hope this has given you hope in any project you put your hand to & even with little money or none there is a way to get things done. Yes this is hard work, I am not a people person, so for me this is my therapy my life. My family is  also part of that driving force that keeps me motivated as well.

This is not all for me rather for future generations, I am looking forward to sitting around with the grandkids (one day), talking about how ya ninny of a Nanny by the grace of God, made all this with her bare hands, little machinery & them in mind the whole time.

Now race ya through the jungle to the tree house.

Can’t wait.

 

 

Amazing Mr & Mrs Great

have just gone through all, well nearly all of my photos of our little slice of heaven & found that I have pictures that are much clearer & a greater self explanatory value than my yabbering on. I have added a couple to my proof is in the pudding segment, take a look, our little Shetland squirt has accomplished her first photo bomb with my son, looks like he has a pony face, very cute.

Well we have some of the most lovely people in our street, a couple moved in up the road a few years back,  I was out front doing something & this woman turned into my driveway to tell me that if we ever needed a hand clearing trees her husbands happy place was doing just that lopping trees, hes been doing it for years,  we introduced ourselves & that was that. After a while of waving & chatting I was in need of a hand with some large dangerous trees up top of the property, real narley trees that have very shallow roots, they kind of twist as they grow, if not cut properly can flick around & do all sorts of damage & when they are quite large they drop, with a cresounding thud taking out everything & anyhing in their path.

I am not going to mention their names for their own privacy but I’ll call them Mr & Mrs Great.

I paid a visit to Mr & Mrs Great & double checked that Mr Great was ok with giving us a hand(I hate inconveniencing people at all) a day was chosen, he wouldn’t take any money for his efforts so my daughter baked them up some scones, with jam & cream. The CWA would’ve been very proud.

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You can see why I was not going to touch this lot. The ground around was extremely dry we hadn’t had rain for a while, its like plants & trees that are not well just sap all the goodness out of everything around them. That’s what I have noticed anyway. So it didn’t take Mr Great that long to finish the job even creating a bit of a chair for my Mum out of 1 of the stumps (after all that hard work still thinking of others) I love some peoples hearts their just so selfless.

p55.jpgSorry its not the clearest photo but you kind of get the idea. I will incorporate a new updated photo of the same area today sometime or just sometime.

 

The Proof is in the pudding

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

The little patch

Well it has finally been laid out, after only 10 years of reorganizing & moving from one section of the yard to another, I am pretty much back where I had started but now from a permaculture perspective, I cant remember what it is referred to as I think a guild?! I’m not sure it’s where you have fruit trees & veggies & beneficial flowering plants  all growing together to create the most gorgeous little echo system.

So here’s ours 20180327_152911.jpg

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The photos don’t do it a complete justice, but you get the general idea & remember it has only just been started.

Everything we grow has a purpose wether it be to feed friends or family or our animals, nothing is to waste. The treasure mound up the back is already home to little lizards, the birds have built their nest in the nut-tree it’s just brilliant.

The areas where you see the hay are the actual garden beds & I have dug & scraped out as much good soil from the paths as possible. It is in no way the traditional garden bed & each bed is placed in the optimal position to catch & hold water runoff. The paths are wide & as flat as possible as my amazing Mum had a stroke a couple of months ago & her balance isn’t what it used to be so my paths accommodate her & her walker.  There are areas that she can stop her walker in the shade & sit. I will build a shelter so if it rains Mum will be sheltered.

There are several gates so access to the garden can be made pretty much from all sides, this allows ease of access to goat enclosure, chook chapel, compost bin & to the house. The fencing around the perimeter is mainly for protection from escapee chooks, rabbits, the dogs & horses.

We have found that in our environment we cannot use the recommended thickness of straw or hay on the garden beds as it stays too moist in the straw the soil stays completely dry & we end up with all the wrong bugs invading the plants. It’s a minimal amount of straw that has to be churned into the soil slightly so as water can penetrate the soil & it just gives more of a visual of where the garden beds are as well as holding the moisture.

So far capsicum, spinach, beans, beetroot & tomatoes all varieties seem to be the easiest growing in our soil & environment. I am hoping over time as the soil improves & the area settles into its own ever-growing echo system I will introduce more & more produce. It really is a matter of working with the land & what works rather trying to force the land to produce something that is nothing but hard work & time consuming & fruitless.

Wildlife is the perfect example of a healthy environment, the small birds I have lost count of the breeds they are just stunning, butterflies, native bees (I will be building a native bee home) & little dragon lizards just adorable. We also have a Magpie family, Tawny frogmouths, Wallabies, Kangaroos, Hares, kookaburra & butcher birds that all have their seasonal visits. When our land is healthy & clean the amount of pest species is zero. I don’t see the hares, wallabies or kangaroos as pests as they have never decimated our produce they only eat what they need & leave for a while, like they know how to manage their own food supply without it running out, we can learn a lot from nature if we just take the time to observe. That is how it works for us.

Thanks for reading I hope a little was helpful to some one.