Every now and then I get a bit excited and tackle a major disappearing act here at the farm. This week included one of those acts. Before we go any further though, a bit of history is necessary. Many years and also many owners ago, this farm which just happens to be in the middle of a Eucalyptus obliqua forest, was logged for timber. Unfortunately for me, historically, the people logging the forests usually never considered completely removing the dead tree stumps. It is not hard to understand why that happened though. The timber is just soooo hard!
To add insult to injury, somehow or other those tree stumps were generally burnt which has the effect of killing them, otherwise they’d produce coppiced branches from that stump. As a fun fact, most Eucalyptus trees can be cut down to the ground 6 times and they will still regrow from that stump (i.e. That is what coppicing means). How hardy is that?
Here however, for some strange reason the stumps have been mostly burnt either deliberately or through a bushfire – it matters not. It actually really doesn’t make any difference because the tree stump is simply dead. The burning process on the other hand acts like a preserving agent and those tree stumps don’t rot and thus return to the soil. There are logs on the ground here which still show the impacts of the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires which tore through this farm.
So there has been this dead tree stump near the chicken enclosure which has been taunting me for years.
|Burnt tree stump before demolition|
Every time - for years now - that I’ve been supervising the chicken’s daily activities as they all happily scratch around in the shady orchard, this tree stump has been taunting me. The tree stump just dares me to take action.
This week and to its ultimate demise, I took serious action. After about two and a half hours of work with the chainsaw but mostly with the axe, I can honestly say that the stump has now met its final demise. That’ll teach it for taunting me! The disappearing act was completed by smoothing the ground out and back filling the area with material taken from the deep litter in the chickens enclosure. Hard work!
|After the chicken litter was distributed and the ground smoothed|
That wasn’t all though as the disappearing acts at the farm continued as I had to dig a few trenches to install a new tap and bushfire sprinkler for the second pump near the new water tanks.
|Buried pipes and cables|
That disappearing act was completed by backfilling the trenches with the original excavated material. It all looked pretty dodgy and was just waiting for the first heavy rain to turn the whole area completely to mud. Have I mentioned before that I hate mud? Anyway, I applied some of the locally quarried rock material which also happens to contain a good dose of lime and the entire area no longer looks as if it has just been an excavation site, plus all of the infrastructure is now in place. A disappearing act accomplished!
|After another day of excavations|
You can see in the photo that there are now two blue bushfire sprinklers covering that area completely should the need ever arise.
Peak rocks is continuing to be avoided at the farm as I’m now moving rocks which I’d previously considered to be too hard to move. I’m sure that I’ve done something really bad in a past life because I always seem to be having to move ever larger rocks about the place here. Anyway, this week it started getting a bit silly. The rock in the photo below weighed more than I do and it is so big, it makes the wheelbarrow look like a child’s toy. It is a full size builder’s wheel barrow after all…
|This rock was probably a bit big for the wheelbarrow|
|Burn off of fallen forest fuels|
I produce very little waste here at the farm as everything that can be composted gets turned into healthy topsoil. Metal and glass however, won’t obviously compost and every now and then I have to take them to the tip for recycling. Today was very exciting as I took a trip to the local tip. Construction of the first shed should begin within the month so I thought I’d take the trailer down to the tip and see if they have any sheet metal at the tip shop.
Have I mentioned before that I love the tip shop? At the same time, I am absolutely ruthless and no material ever comes back to the farm that does not have a short term use. Truly, I would be uncomfortable living in a graveyard of failed or never started projects!
Today, I hit pay dirt at the tip shop and picked up 17 long sheets of corrugated galvanised iron sheeting which will be of immediate use on the new shed which is shortly to be constructed.
|Corrugated iron sheets brought back from the tip shop|
The old corrugated iron sheets are being dumped at the tip I was told, because after the bushfires in February, insurance companies are replacing farm older sheds with replacement brand new sheds built using the newer zinc-alume alloy sheeting. As an interesting side note, I also coincidentally met several local people that I knew at the tip shop so it was a very social occasion!
Many thanks to Damo’s suggestion, I now have a video camera in the form of my digital SLR (Pentax K-r) after the untimely death of the old Sony handycam. All of the talk over at the ADR this week started me thinking about herbs, so I took the camera out for a walk around one area of the farm to check out some of the herbs growing there. Just to put the video into perspective, the area covered in the video is only about a third of the area set aside for herbs and flowers at the farm here. I hope you enjoy the journey (warning 15 minutes of me banging on! Hehe!). If you have any questions about the plants, feel free to post a comment.
This past week has really sunny and warm. Right now however, the sunny warm weather has departed and it is raining for the first time this week. The temperature outside here at about 9.00pm is 13.6 degrees Celsius (56.5’F) and so far this year there has been 622.2mm (24.5 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week’s total of 618.8mm (24.4 inches).