Araucaria's habitat.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Curramore1, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    A busy morning

    View attachment 2907 Sausage making for the family Christmas BBQ. Beef with fennel seed, sage leaves, thyme leaves, black pepper, coriander seed and cumin seed. I think folk in the US call coriander Cilantro.
     

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  2. Australian Beekeeper

    Australian Beekeeper Junior Member

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    Hasn't the rain and temps been great :) Looks like lots of green new growth there!
     
  3. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi A.B,
    yes the warm weather, long day length and a drop of rain combine to make plant growth and all associated organisms go into over drive, including this household, up at 4.30 am and into it until 7.15 pm, no need for sleep inducement I assure you. Make hay while the sun shines!
     
  4. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Today it is Midsummer's Eve here with tomorrow Dec. the 22nd, Midsummers Day. Broached the first Xmas leg of ham laid down in the winter for brekky with poached eggs, mustard pickles and champers with orange juice as the family have gathered for the fray, some from a couple of thousand klicks away. Next year I might cold smoke it for a little longer in hickory chips smoke. I really enjoy the period from The spring equinox until now, the flowering of fruit trees is complete and all the young citrus fruit are in early stages of development, harvesting tree ripened peaches, macadamias and jaboticaba fruit today and cut the first rhubarb stalks of the season for Christmas dinner dessert. Planted pumpkins seeds, soybean seeds, chillies and some okra. The first sweet corn cobs, new potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes will be ready just in time for Christmas dinner. Plant growth is rampant, climbing choko tendrils grow a metre a day. It is so green here you need sunglasses! Minimum 24 C , max 31 C today here with a gentle SE breeze off the sea. The growth period here is from now until Easter, then the nights become much cooler as the nights lengthen and the plants slow and nature settles down for the coming winter.
    I hope that it is warming up for those in the Northern hemisphere. Merry Christmas to all.
     
  5. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    And Happy Solstice to all!!!
     
  6. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Beware the Jabberwocky!

    Beware the Jabberwocky!
    After a couple of hours early morning rambling through the place this morning I looked back through my diaries over the past 30 years for other hot, dry summers here and came across a few possible trends or signs I've noticed. The black wattle trees blossoming so profusely has always preceded a hotter and dryer year ahead in every instance. This is backed also by local aboriginal lore as well. The bunya trees have dropped a lot of premature female cones and there were very few set cones anyway this year, as in other dryer, hotter years following this. The understory Bolwarra plants have set no fruit as in other years where a hotter, dryer year follows. The native tamarind trees and the plum pines fruited a month earlier than normal here and were loaded with fruit to the point of branches breaking as preceded other hotter, dryer years. There is a complete absence of fruit bats or flying foxes, only ever occurs before a hot, dry year. The arrival of the Channel billed cuckoos was a month late and they are only laying eggs in crow nests now instead of late November. This has occurred in most, but not all of the dryer than average summers in the past. Please note that these observations are limited to an area of about 100 square km and that there have only been six really hot and dry years with close to or less than half of the annual average summer rainfall in those thirty years of recorded observation.
    The Southern Oscillation index has remained low for some time without an El Nino being declared. The signs here to date after the summer solstice are enough to prompt me to increase mulching and summer prune harder, thin out fruit and decrease grazing animal numbers even further. The green hiatus that we are currently experiencing is deceiving, I planted some passionfruit vines yesterday and the subsoil was bone dry down 150mm under the surface, very unusual for here at this time of the year.
    I hope that I am dead wrong and all my gut feelings are just from too much rich tucker at Christmas time.
    Wishing you all a wonderful New Year for 2015.
     
  7. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Marinated lamb with tamarillo sauce.

    View attachment 2928 Tamarillo or Tree tomato fruit beginning to ripen.
     

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  8. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Sounds good to me. I'll stop sowing seeds and cut down on plant numbers to compensate. Hopefully all the ones I get in survive.

    Thank you so much for sharing your observations. Do hot, dry years have winter frosts associated with them?
     
  9. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi SOP,
    winter frosts here are associated mostly with a lack of air movement, rather than just low temperature air blowing in from down South. We get frosts in the air-locked gullies here from as early as Mid-May until mid September. August westerlies are chilly but reduce frost incidence as they prevent cold air from settling here in the hills. I have no data to suggest a correlation between dry, hot summers and winter frosts. I think that when we are in drought, frosts seem worse as they burn off and brown out a lot of winter herbage. Winter rain here is the worst for grazing as it causes the standing dry feed to break down, but promotes winter herbage growth, also good for soil organic matter conversion and nutrient cycling and an early planting window when soil temps rise in the spring. Late frosts and cooler weather in the spring delays grass seeding and promotes more leaf growth with higher protein value before they go to seed when the protein levels drop and the percentage dry matter increases as is the case later in the season after Christmas. The grasses bolted straight to seed this year due to the later and lesser rains and the warmer than average spring and early summer. I predict an earlier than normal arrival of autumn season minimum temperatures with warm, dry days and cool mornings ahead.
     
  10. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Green grass everywhere! No runoff as yet, dams are not full and the subsoil dry down below 200mm. Cows better eat and get fat for the dry, lean times ahead. View attachment 2936

    Bunya nut trees a couple of weeks away from shedding cones yet, wild pigs have visited already to check out the early windfall cones.
     

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  11. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Better rain finally arrived 49mm today, still no runoff. SOI at -7 and dropping. Predictions of lower than average summer rainfall here are spot on although some nearby areas have had thrice what we have had. Livestock prices have knee jerked through the roof this week and have booked in a truckload of joined heifers and cull cows later next week. Prices live-weight for 350 kg heifers have jumped in a week from less than a $1.00/kg to $2.60/kg, yearling steers $1.65/kg live weight to $2.70/kg +, Meatworks cows $3.00/kg to $4.40/kg. With pastures looking so green and tall after a long period of drought, prices are on a high. We would fatten more stores here but the surface waters are not full yet and the soil moisture profile is not full below 200 mm. This week I have been topping the pastures on the ridge country with a slasher and broadcasting more coated Wynn Cassia and Shaw Creeping Vigna seed before slashing to increase the soil organic matter levels and knock off the mature seed heads to increase the protein % of the pastures through the autumn and early winter. Also have been continuing with the keyline ploughing and associated tree planting on a 5 ha renovating paddock. Great to see the native kangaroo grasses and bluegrass returning amongst the Rhodes, Blady grass and Kikuyu and setting a heap of seed. The pinto peanut has finished flowering, so have been digging up runners and planting along the keylines in rows 15m or so apart. Egg plants in overdrive in the food garden with 15-20 fruit a day, sweet corn, tomatoes, bananas, lychees, wampi, zucchini, cucumber and winged beans harvested daily. I have had to put electricity through the National park boundary fence as the red deer stags are in full velvet with tatters of skin being rubbed off everywhere, an early rut this year I guess as they are already marking out their roar trees. They love my avocadoes for some reason and have helped themselves to the salt licks a lot more this season as well. Might have to make some venison snags and marinate some jerky for the winter. As I get older I just enjoy watching them and taking photos rather than eating them, must be getting soft! The first Bunya cones have fallen and have been duly sampled, smaller nuts with less grease than normal due to the dry year.
     
  12. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Wow, great thread and beautiful looking country there Curramore1. Hopefully the rain will pick up a bit for you and this winter won't be as dry as the last.
     
  13. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Thanks Chookie,
    I also hope that the following seasons will be back to near normal. I love this country and 50 or so years ago as a kid when falling bridge girders with my Dad and camping under a canvas for weeks while we worked here I said to myself this is my place! Only took me another 40 years to get there and realize part of my life's destiny. Kill me now and I will die a happy man. My wife may have a slightly different opinion I hope. I rejoice in the new, post drought explosion of plant growth and the uplifting of my spirits from the rains. Another cycle of seasons begins as the day length shortens until the Autumnal equilux/equinox towards the 22nd of March. Feel the sense of well-being as the seasons change and I feel not only collected and prepared for the following seasons but looking forward to the seasonal change and the social, dietary and olfactory wonders of the season ahead. Nice to feel part of the whole cycle isn't it? Might just have to brew up a celebratory beverage to share at the equinox, a light malty number with a hop infusion of Amarillo, Cascade and a touch of Nelson Sauvin?
     
  14. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    for some reason (i think it was because i spent many years near a dairy farm) i've always loved the sight (and smells too!) of cattle grazing a nice green field. yours is a breath of nice green air this time of the year for me where it is frozen and white outside.

    recently while driving i've seen more signs of rotational grazing being taken up so i hope the practice will keep spreading.

    i hope the rains continue!
     
  15. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Thanks Songbird,
    Glad to provide an image to inspire your memory. Snow is a rare thing for me and mainly only occurs on high country in the states to the south of me here in the land of Aus. Many travelling tourists take pictures of my cows and paddocks as they overlook some fantastic views, they appear on postcards etc. and we often have couples take their wedding photographs here and I regularly have to clean up impromptu picnic sites of empty wine bottles and chicken bones. Years ago an inventive soul even planted a crop of green and medicinal species which thrived on the hillside to the right of that pic. It still comes up wild there from time to time.
    No rain at the moment, just 100% humidity, 28 degrees C at 10.00 am and very bright sunshine with a steady, monotonous hum of insects like cicada and cricket in the background. You can see the grass grow it seems, feels like a mid afternoon storm is due.
    Only here at this time of day because I promised to critique some University papers for a friend and the going is heavy and I am looking for a displacement activity to regain momentum.
     
  16. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    The passionfruit vines that I planted a few weeks ago have really taken off and spread 3metres along the fence trellis already. Plenty of bunches of bananas full and ready to cut and de-hand, some of the fingers are yellowing on the tree, so I am a bit late. I planted another couple of lychee Kwai mai Pink and they are doing well as are the jak fruit seedlings. The Wampi fruits are plentiful, but are dry and juiceless this year because of the dry weather. Figs are about a week off ripening so have put bird net over parts of them, way too many for us, friends and neighbours to use, more fruit this year, but smaller. Rosellas are starting to flower as is the okra. The citrus have dumped a lot of their green fruit because of the humid, overcast weather of late, still no runoff rain. The deck of Droughtmaster heifers made $2.25/kg liveweight and averaged 365 kg, the steers made $2.70/kg average 410 kg, the best money we have ever returned for beef, due to the widespread rain elsewhere, the low Aussie dollar against the greenback and the return of the live export trade to Indo and a new trade to Vietnam. The aged, cull cows sent to the works made $4.15/kg and averaged 360 kg dressed. Money to pay the rates, reduce the debts, add to the solar power setup, fence off a bit more riparian zone, stock a couple of dams with native fish and put up a bit more dog proof and electric fencing on the National Park boundary. We will also invest in a couple of new, 2 year old stud bulls to replace a few 10 year old bulls ready for the never-never.
     
  17. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Thats great news, glad to hear the prices are back up :y:

    Curious to know which fish are you using for the dams?
     
  18. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Freshwater native fish

    Pot sized Yellow belly. View attachment 2959
    Hello Chookie,the fingerlings are local genome Australian Bass, Yellow belly and Silver Perch, but not all three species together in the one dam though. One dam has already a healthy population of red-claw crayfish from a neighbour's dam further up the system, it also has some tandans or eel tail catfish already. We also have a healthy population of the local native, protected, spiny crays in the vine forested sections of the creeks. Just finished installing a fish gate on the by-washes and a temporary netted bird safe area in the biggest dam in one corner under the overhanging trees to protect them against cormorants, herons and egrets until they get a bit of size about them. Thinking of building a small domestic duck pen for Indian runners over the water, so that the ducks can enter the water safely and have a fox proof roost at night, and their waste can drop below to feed the fish. We already have an island in the middle where the native black ducks and swamp hens camp and nest. We have had silver perch in the past, which took about 3 years to get to a kilo or so, fed them bread scraps once a week and chook pellets on occasion, so they were easy to harvest by angling with a bread bait, but in the recent drought we netted them and moved them to another site 15 km away as the dams dried up to small pools. The boys thought it was great to be able to go down with their mates when they liked, take a loaf of bread and salt and catch a couple of fish, build a fire and fry them up in an old skillet we used to hang in a tree on the dam wall. The yellow belly do get a bit fatty if you let them get too big, over a kilo or two. We have put in Eastern Mary River Cod before but they must have cleared off in a flood I think as we have only ever caught and released one. The red claw are delicious and we trap them in an opera house trap with rockmelon, a cob of corn or pumpkin for bait. Lends a bit of variety to the diet anyway.
     

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  19. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    WOW! I didn't realise it was on such a large scale, that is fantastic stuff! Love the idea about the ducks, I think indian runners have such personality. Always been interested in keeping ducks or geese but just not keen on their mess! Much better on a larger scale properly like yours. Would love a Dam full of red claw crayfish mmmmmmm yum!
     
  20. Australian Beekeeper

    Australian Beekeeper Junior Member

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    That is so great with the dams and fish, must be heaps of fun. Good prices for the beef too. I had listened to a story on country wide rn recently about the prices going up, good to here it has worked well for you :)
     

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