Working on our environment — the land
Much has happened in 2019-2021. With the 8 year drought leading into the savage bushfires 2019-20. Rocklily was hit by 2 firestorms 31st December and followed with a flood of over 1 metre of rain in a few days starting Feb 14th 2020.
This has changed the landscape dramatically and the challenges for the few remaining wildlife have been difficult. We have been tackling it with the following projects which you can find more information in our Wildlife projects are.
- 50 nestbox's to start to replace missing nesting trees
- Increase grass for wildlife to eat by reseeding and trying to control the new sugre in weeds we have never before had
- Nectar shrubs and tree's. Replanting native and non native shrubs and trees to give a full years nectar bearing flowers for insects, birds and gliders. This has been made difficult with almost continious rain in 2022 and tubestock and new plants simply rotting in the ground. We continue to plant and trench to drain the natural springs around new clumps of replantings.
- Water diversions around existing wombat burrows. Where they were once behind logs and under trees, these have now gone so water is running into burrows, and soaking strainght through pourous ground.
- Installing shelters for wallabys from rain, snow and wind with dense area's of bush no longer here.
- Clearing ash filled dams that are now growing green alge and not being used by wildlife. We have already attempted to clean out orur main dam, but oneed the rain to stop so we can drain it otherwise we will have to do a total reconstruct of a dam that we had jusr refurbished in aug 2019 before the bushfires.
- Clearing a circuit around edge of defendable area that we can mow an keep slashed. Hire of bulldozer nessary in winter 2022.
- Dealing with contaminated pens after a viral encephalitis outbreak in 2021
We are continually updateing website with all these happenings. Were still trying to recover and catch up. Most in individual posts such as Nest box's, Wombat burrows and we still have got to do the following: nectar gardens , cleaning out tree ale in dams and removal of falling burnt trees, were 75% burnt are dead. And the weeds are well more than we can cope with.
The name Wombeyan means 'grassy valley' and the artists back in First Fleet days painted more open forests than we have now. They say as the forests are no longer being burnt like they used to be, we have changed the tree cover to species that thrive after hot fires and there is more undergrowth too. We are aiming to recreate this landsacpe for more fire protection.
Rocklily late 1800's was a sheep then cattle property in steep hill country that had been cleared in the late 1800s. When we purchased Rocklily in 2002 it had been 8 years in drought, and still a bit of green pick and water in the spring-fed dams. We took a pass on the pallet of superphosphate offered by the previous owner, good intentions there. After investigating various land repair methods, we started biodynamically with making and spreading 500 on ours and our neighbour Lyn's place. Through the biodynamic group we came across Peter Andrews who had been rehabilitating Gary Harvey's property. After an educational visit we started with contour ripping to get water back into the ground and a couple of slow up dams to catch big rainfalls and allow some to soak back into the soil. We have planted fruit trees and other bee-friendly plants and let the steep pastures reforest. We got the dams cleaned out and repaired. We purchased native grasses local to the area and sowed this everywhere we had disturbed. Weed seeds were removed from what weeds we had, and the weeds were allowed to die down and return nutrition to the soil. We make weed teas as a way of getting rid of weed seed heads. It's been slow work.
In 2017 we realised all the regrowth was too close to the house, sheds and wombatoriums and macropod enclosure. The hills are steep, 15-20 degrees and ripped by pigs, so even driving our stable tractor up and down to slash the tea-tree and bracken was not an option. With some of the funds from our calendar we have had Mick and his 13-ton digger in to clear around 30% of this regrowth around the main area, leaving a more park like area studded with the odd shade tree. Millable trees have been kept for later and many single trees kept with the slopes, raked so we can now drive the 4 x 4 mower up and down. We can keep control of the bracken and make it fire safe, and this actually gives us more grass for the wildlife. We have also removed a row of large cypress pines from near the house and trimmed up the bottom of 100-year-old pines up to help stop fires running up them.