Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chainsaw action

Today was great, made some big progress in a couple of areas and dropped some problem trees which were a bit close to the road for my liking.  This chainsaw, it just powers through all this soft timber!  A number of burning piles have been renewed and stacked high, and know that Sue will have a ball burning them away! Which she did (below)...

The first area of dramatic improvement is right at the driveway (above).  I raked up all the weeds and blackberry that were choking the creek (on the road side of the creek) and must say the place is looking a bit raw and exposed.  Still, it was all necessary and I hear from a great authority that now that the ground is clear again, the dormant native seeds will now take this opportunity to renew their bid for supremacy of the creek. Now to see what emerges!

The next area needing attention was the other side of the driveway, which was too hard to get to following all the rain we have had lately.  The main tree problem here or was is hawthorn.  For the record, this is a horrible tree to work with.  Spiky, tangled, whippy and generally uncooperative.  I will be very glad to get this lot burned away!  Building this pile opened up my arms countless times and defied my thick leather gloves too.  The first pic below is deceptive, the pile is at least 2 metres tall.

This is one of the trickier trees to drop and involved a bit of clever roping off, which worked a treat.  And of course when I cut it all up I got shredded.  Payback, I suppose...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Steady progress!

Thanks to the flu I was taken out of commission for a couple of weeks, missing 2 weeks of the most glorious weather and returned to the real world of winter all over again.  It even hailed one day!  My poor little seedlings at home are very confused... On the other hand, this is perfect bonfire weather, everything is wet or damp.  Once you get the fire going, you can pretty much burn anything.  Not surprisingly, blackberry bushes burn nicely, and the weed trees, particularly willow, burn hot and fast.

Last week was my first visit in three weeks, and made up for it with some more blackberry clearing and tree felling.  Tree felling is very fun and blackberries bite.  My forearms are like pincushions!  Despite the hazards, it goes without saying that each bit of reclaimed land brings enormous satisfaction.  Sue and I have a perfect arrangement now, I build the bonfire piles and she burns them at her leisure.  Tending the fires is a surprisingly time consuming activity and it is staggering how much material can be cleared away in a few hours.   I am more than happy to do the burn pile building...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bonfire day!

I have not quite figured out how to get the text to start at the top of the posting, so this will have to do!

Today was another great day, Sue returned from her African adventure and I was able to start burning off the piles of branches and brambles I have been making.  Luckily Sue was up for a good ole fashioned bonfire or two as well! It was also excellent to have some company down on the creek as well...

 The above shots show some before and after shots and must say that it is great to see phase two of the clearing project well under way.  Phase one are the areas on either side of the driveway, and these will be next in line for a burning.  As fun as the bonfire making is, there are some key things to keep watch of, despite everything being very wet within the clearing zone.  There are overhead power and phone lines to be mindful of, so all fires are positioned as clear of these spots as well as keeping good proximity from the road as well.  It is not as easy as it sounds!  The phase 3 zone will also be one to watch with those lines as there is more material to burn there.  The plan is to do numerous small burnings.  There are lots of trees yet to bring down on the uphill side of the creek, but right now it is still a bit treacherous to climb any of those slopes safely.

The week ahead is going to be dry and unseasonably warm.  All the more incentive to get on with the burning regime!  I really do not want to be stuck with a lot of dry material, no water flowing and spring/summer rapidly approaching...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some progress

The biggest challenge I have had with really getting stuck into the creek is time.  My gardening business is just full on and to add some more pressure, the weather has been a bit grim.  The days I have allocated for the clearing have been the wettest.  Being a creek at the base of the hills, there has been just a bit more water flowing through the work zone than I feel comfortable with, despite my heavy duty gumboots, which are a godsend.  Steel cap gummies just add another layer of invincibility to stomping around very unstable ground.

The other aspect of this task which is making the world of difference is having top class equipment.  It makes the job so much easier, but even better, much safer too.  Chainsawing a lot of these trees is not easy with the super softness of the banks.  I will be using a lot of the logs to shore up these steep slopes to reduce any future erosion, and provide a secure spot for the new native plantings.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


The taming of the thicket

As you can see, there is a lot to clear here, and the more I clear the more stuff appears! So much rubbish, rotten timbers, etc and now I need a plan to clear this space better. There is still a lot of rain forecast for next week. This will slow things down considerably. Even today, after a fair bit of rain this week, the creek ran a bit more heavily than I would have preferred.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I have been given the interesting task of clearing about 300 metres of creekline along Third Creek, at the base of Old Norton Summit Road, just out of Magill. This blog is really a photo history of the transformation from weed and feral tree infested watercourse, to an area that has the right native planting for this unique and beautiful patch of Adelaide.

When I first saw the area to be cleared, I must say I was a bit overwhelmed. I visited the site a number of times to get my head around it. The only strategy was to do it in bits, otherwise it would just be too hard.

I also want to document this as a way to chronicle the upcoming evolution of the creek over the next few years too, hopefully as an example of what can be done.

The challenge here is the amount of stuff to be removed and chopped down and either burnt or used to secure those super steep hillsides for the new plantings. There are olive, willow, hawthorn and ash trees, all weed trees, that must go. There are also many rampant creeper weeds that must be sprayed, although this will be a long and ongoing process. I am still learning the names of all these weeds, and will be chronicling their demise in upcoming posts.

Part of the challenge is that upstream, all these weeds are in full control, so eradication may be impossible, but at least we can control this patch and lessen the load for other properties down stream.