Beating around the bush

Sunday is no day of rest.Today it is back to clearing the property,we have an absolute jungle of Hedge Wattle that is dead,this stuff is the stuff of nightmares..although it gets a beautiful blossom when it gets out of hand it is a shocker.The prickles on this plant get in to everything ,skin,hair,clothes,boots…and usually you find one a week later that has hidden in the far corners of a boot and gets you on the hop..literally ..ImageNasty little lurkers.So the plan is to remove the dead bushes(excepting those with disused birds nests)and as we remove them we are replacing with bottlebrushes and other native bird attracting plant species.

Now the problem is the ground,and you will note i did not call it ‘soil’ or even ‘dirt’ is horrible.Years of mining for gold and then cattle grazing has degraded the ground.It’s quartz,shale and quartz…with a bit of shale. Improving the ground involves adding to it,so a compost site has been set up..hoping this does not attract too many critters.After much sweat,swearing and tool throwing,i managed to get 12 bottlebrushes in the ground.All that digging and still no gold! We have used some old coffee bean hessian bags to protect them from the elements and hopefully with some TLC they may survive.ImageSo today we are going to burn off,done with great care and respect for our surrounds,this hedge wattle when green send up spirals of fire …dry it’s not good.What choice do we have ..this is the great Australian question..the bush needs to be protected from wildfire but in order to do that we have to burn.We leave as much leaf litter as we can,this is what the native animals need,we also do not disturb tree hollows or larger fallen tree branches that provide homes for the little creatures.

Diversity of wildlife is amazing and so with great care we do what we do.I have been taking photos here since we bought the property and i know that even though some standing trees are dead,the birds that frequent them call them home.Disused nests are often revisited so the bushes that have them are left alone also..even if dead.

ImageWhile we do all this bush bashing we are being closely watched by the guardians of the land.

Eastern Rosellas like to look down from the tree tops,Welcome swallows soar over head,way too busy riding thermals to pay attention to us.Honeyeaters of all varieties hop around the trees chasing each other,Tree creepers jump up and down the trunks picking insects from beneath the bark (doing their own conservation) and of course our friends the Grey Kangaroos…they will be lazing in the paddock and peep up to see if we are behaving.You can hear them as theirImagetails and feet thump the ground when they gracefully glide through the bush…moving great distances in a single bound..bit like superman..So off i head now…long sleeves (really a token gesture more than helpful) gumboots…pre -filled with prickles i am sure overalls…just an added layer to catch prickles and gloves..more to protect my bright pink nails than anything else.

I wonder what the bush will show me today.