Araucaria's habitat.

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

  1. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Thanks AB, good to be able to pay the bills and have some funds for redevelopment and to put some back into the drought bonds we used up in the last three dry sessions. Collected the 150 Australian Bass fingerlings from the fish breeding guys and released into the largest dam. They are a lot more expensive now. The first lot I put in in 1988 were 20 cents each, in 1993 they were 30 cents, now $2.00 each. I didn't get silver perch again this time as they taste too muddy for my liking, probably as they eat a fair bit of weed as well as bugs etc, whereas the Bass are more insectivorous and taste "cleaner". The fish guys seemed to be promoting a new fish called the "Jade Perch" but I was reluctant to get any until I have done the homework. I am at the headwaters of the Mary River and do not want to trigger an environmental nasty.
    I have just come in from de-suckering the Lady Finger bananas and feeding the tops to the cows. The bunches that we have harvested lately are really sweet and dehydrate really well for storage.
    The weather today is just beautiful, 31 C 60% relative humidity, 15km/hr SE breeze off the ocean. Time to sit back with a couple of cold Pilseners under the big persimmon tree and take it all in . Bye.
     
  2. Australian Beekeeper

    Australian Beekeeper Junior Member

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    when researching jade perch also look for Barcoo grunter (their other name). Sorry other then what they look like I don't know much about them. Very sensible that you are looking into any possible environmental impact before diving in. Should be more of it! :)

    I have actually just started researching dehydration methods for food storage. If you don't mind me asking how do you do your bananas etc? May give me a head start on how to go about it :)
     
  3. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    A.B, the biggest trouble with dehydration of fruit is the oxidation and fermentation before it gets dry enough to not support bacterial and fungal growth. I slice my bananas into thin wafers longitudinally and lay out on the plastic mesh circles that come with my Fowler electric dehydrator and place them in the sun on a hot, sunny day in poly broccoli boxes with fly wire gauze over the top, if it doesn't go quick enough I put them in the electric dehydrator. Others I place on a large window ledge facing east on plates and turn them once or twice a day and I might finish them in the oven. In winter I dry them on stainless cake racks over the top of the wood fire place. Jerked meats I marinate in wine, oil, soy sauce, garlic, palm sugar, salt and herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary for a couple of days in the fridge and then dry on the cake racks on top of the wood heater and also in the Fowler dehydrator at a fairly high temperature. I am drying chillies at the moment and just using the sun on a window ledge they take about 5 days.
    The Jade Perch are OK to use in an aquaponics type system, but not for farm dam use in my area. You also need a special DAFF permit to grow them as well. I find it unusual that we have no naturally occurring barramundi in my creeks, yet it is Ok by the DAFF to stock farm dams which drain to the eastern seaboard as far South as the catchments of the Mary R. where I live, the same goes for Silver Perch too. Further to the south east on one of my other blocks the Stanley River feeds into the Brisbane River at Somerset Dam, I recently went angling there and was amazed at the number of introduced Tilapia and red claw that we caught and trapped, something like 25 fish and a dozen large crays each in a couple of hours. I have heard that these species are spreading further in Queensland also. Tilapia are good to eat, but the law says that no fish or parts thereof must be taken from the Dam.
     
  4. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    196mm of rain since November at the home block, so green it hurts the eyes. The grass has seeded all over and it looks great. About a fifth of our normal wet season rainfall. The trouble is we have had no runoff rain to fill the dams and make the creeks flow. The BOM forecast was for between 250 -300 mm from December to February, not too far off. Planted some blady grass country in the showers today with lime coated Wynn Cassia at 3 kg/Ha, Chicory 3 kg/Ha and red and white clovers at 2 kg/ha by broadcasting it mixed with 2 tonnes of poultry sawdust litter per ha and then slashing the spelled pastures with a tractor. The same country next paddock over planted 2 years ago is well established after a 3 month spell with the cassia seeding and the Pinto peanut flowering and setting seed under the ground. This new country was keyline ploughed with a Yeoman plough 3 months ago and has absorbed all the recent showers and is still really soft and spongy underfoot. We have destocked this country of cattle and sold many or moved them to another block with more rainfall. Too bad the feral red deer have discovered it, counted 14 hinds there yesterday at 5.00 am. Amazing how patchy this rain has been across the whole of Southern Queensland. 5km away west from this block as the crow flies in the Conondale Valley we have recorded 500mm since November, it is usually hotter and drier down there than here. My lease block on the eastern escarpment below Mary Cairncross Park overlooking the Glass House Mountains has recorded 600mm since November only 9 km away to the SE as the crow flies. The block in town in between has recorded 300mm and still with no runoff. 12 km to the south the hoop pine block on the Wootha/Booroobin escarpment has had just over 500mm at the top end at 400 m elevation and 200mm of rain at the bottom where it meets the Stanley River. Talk about a topsy turvy season! No rain depressions on the horizon, time to mulch up the food forest again and cut some firewood piles for an early winter.
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    that is a large number of blocks! how many people do you employ?
     
  6. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi Songbird,
    just little, old me, it's a one man band here mostly with the help of my partner and a son or two on the weekends plus a half dozen or so cattle dogs and a hand full of nags. We do a lot of neighbour swap work too. I might fall timber for a week for someone and they do fencing with me for a week in return etc. Start time at the moment is 5.30 am with the overcast, showery weather, mechanical work today, have to pull the head off a Falcon ute engine and do up the valves, put in a new head gasket, replace the front end brake disks and pads as they are worn and an oil and filter change. The old girl has done a tad over 500000 km and is a little tired. Also have to complete an outside order for a 3 metre long property sign that I have carved in a flitch of ironbark with the aid of a router for a cash job if the showers hang around. I usually knock off at 3.00 pm. in the summer and go for a swim or a walk or ride with the dogs. Always plenty to do, I was supposed to go out fishing offshore for three days with my mates, but the weather has blown up so it has been postponed until Anzac day weekend instead. I have been doing it for over 35 years, so I've had plenty of experience on how to minimize labour inputs. The timber blocks only need a visit once a month or so to check the bullock's water and health and do a bit of tree thinning and limb pruning, I also have remote, movement sensing cameras with a twice daily dawn and dark snapshot function which feed back to my mobile and computer on all of them as well, plus a couple of caretakers in the cottages who keep an eye on things and sometimes plant trees and keep the food gardens going as they get all the food they wish as well. Some of those good folk have become part of the family and have lived there for over 40 years, so no boat rocking allowed. My sons and a couple of nephews and nieces ( I have 19 adult nephews and nieces) are starting to get their shit sorted after the early 20's and 30's travel and wanderlust has mellowed and with their partners and young families are taking over a few enterprises, so I will slowly sneak aside in my dotage. I mainly do the mechanical work and livestock work like mustering, weaning and fencing and the timber work- falling, snigging and milling. I also do the slaughtering and butchery, sausage making, beer making etc. with a few family apprentices. One of my nephews is an apprentice chef in "Brisvegus" and has taken a great interest in the meat side of things. The food gardens and tree crops are mostly done by my 19 year old son, as well as the fish dams and cray ponds. Around here I get called the "Dinosaur Hippy" by the younger generation on a regular basis. Life is fulfilling and good at the moment. You only realize as you get older that family and personal health, rather than work and the accumulation of material wealth is the most important thing in your life. I have tended to overcompensate with the material side of life, rather than the spiritual because of a relatively lower socioeconomic background. I am a product of a large, rural, traditional extended family in the mid-50's, through the 60's and 70's I suppose. There is a 20 year spread of children, now from their early 40's to the 60's. In hindsight my Mum and Dad did the same, they left school at 12 and 13 to work during the depression of the 30's and 40's and always wanted to have more education but later WW2 intervened and then when Dad came home a big family came along, so we were all drilled from the word go that education was the only way to get ahead. (Plus the only way to escape home and get a life. It seemed at the time that I was always at loggerheads with my parents, just part of the booting yourself out of the nest process I suppose). As a result we have an overcompensating couple of Teachers, a Land Surveyor, a Vet, a Civil Engineer, a Private secretary, a Mechanical Engineer and a Scientist, each one with a handful of adult kids, many with grandkids. I digress!
     
  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    you're definitely an inspiration. : ) reading you and mischief make me feel exhausted at times just imagining as i read along.

    i think it helps to be raised with animals and to know what to do.

    for those of us who come to permaculture later in life much of what is being talked about can be very hard to accomplish and perhaps that means it takes alternative forms. i surely cannot run large animals on our limited space and also constraints from the other current resident leave me with few options for adding animals. however, that all said, i have found a smaller version that works for me with worms as my main fodder and scrap recycler.
     
  8. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Just got lucky! With the rain, that is, 300 mm of tropical low rain over past 48 hours off the tail of category 5 cyclone Marcia, filled the dams and the soil moisture profile. Only a few days of summer left on the calendar and a month until the autumnal equinox. Grasses and legumes all seeded up as well. I have a week's job at a relative's farm down on the river re-doing flood fences and clearing flood debris as the Mary broke her banks. Lucky we mustered all the cattle to high country the day before. The riparian tree plants are completely gone and a long, large waterhole remains where they once were. Where we grassed it instead of building berms and planting trees the grass just lay flat and zero erosion. Go figure? A lovely free topdressing of 100mm of silt over 15 Ha of the flats, 15000 cubic metres of free nutrients and free weed seeds from above. I am going to plant a couple of kilograms of pumpkin seeds into the silt. I feel for the Gympie and district folk and those further north expecting a major flood from this downstream. The highway north was still cut by floodwaters last night. A growing trend here lately with dryer late winters and springs and the summer with the rains later and later each year. Warm, summer rain is always welcome.
    Just started to rain again, so the plan is to fire up the forge today and noisily belt a bit of steel around on the anvil to make some gate hinges and a new boot scraper for the back landing. One way to work up a thirst.
     
  9. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Thanks Songbird,
    it is not about scale, but diversity and the complexity of the relationships between all the entities in a system. Sounds like you have all that in your system already Songbird.
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    glad to hear the rains came through for you at last. did you get enough to go over the tops of the dams or are they still needing more rain to fill them up?

    with the recent flooding i hope you can get comparison pictures from areas so you can show them to people. one thing we can always use is more people seeing the actual results of improved design and resistance to storm flows or the ability to soak up more of that rain instead of having it run off.

    i agree that it is a helpful system that is diverse and interrelated so that various gaps if they happen can be covered by an alternate flow within a system.
     
  11. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Yes, Songbird, Dams are all full and creeks all cleaned out with a gully-raking weekend with 300+mm rain over 48 hours. Topping fallowed pastures today with a Nobili mulcher, after having broadcast seeded at 5kg/Ha with lime coated and inoculated Wynn Cassia, red clover, white clover, chicory and woolly pod vetch with a common, waggle-tail fertilizer spreader. Plenty of moisture around with the recent rains. Mulch planting is the easiest way to renovate pastures and plant legumes at the same time without disturbing the soil surface at all. The autumn is the best time to do this as the grasses slow in growth and there is plenty of seed heads and dry matter in the grass to make a good mulch and the mulching lessens competition from the grass and allows new, higher protein shoots to grow on the grass where the old, high dry matter, low protein % seeded grass was, in addition to providing a seed bed for the legume seeds. This will be ready to graze again in 6-8 weeks later in autumn after the legume roots are well enough established. Added some rye and forage oat seed at 15 kg/Ha as well over a few Ha to provide some winter feed for the sheep which have suffered with the recent heavy rains, humidity and lack of sunshine. When we have a wet autumn I try to add four or five more different persistent perennials to the pastures to increase diversity. So far Amarillo Peanut, Wynn Cassia, Chicory and red clovers have persisted in the kikuyu the most and spread over a 10 year period , but the real winner is Shaw Creeping Vigna, a pity the seed availability is so scarce. The combination of keyline ploughing every few years and and occasional mulch planting have changed this pasture from a soil-compacted blady grass and bracken fern fire hazard into a much more diverse, and probably 10 fold more productive and resilient a pasture. Scores of fat, red neck wallabies, feral deer and hares seem to think it's Ok too. By the way, made the mistake of throwing in a couple of hundred grams of Okra seed in one patch last autumn and it came up like hairs on a cat's back. There is only so much Okra you can eat!
     
  12. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    does that one event give you enough ground moisture for the whole following season? will the dams supply enough now that they're topped up for the next dry season?

    i easily admit i'm envious of anyone who has pastureage and a means of improving it.

    the keyline plowing should have helped soak up that heavy rain event. just to help recharge the ground water and to keep the creeks flowing longer through the dry spells. have you noticed that? do you have wells that are pumped where you track the water levels?

    red clover grows very well here, i have it mixed in with the alfalfa and trefoil, but it will quickly take over any open spaces in the gardens so i dig up clumps of it and leave it for the worms to digest. i need to have some open spaces for the coming season when i add strawberry plants and some other veggies.
     
  13. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hello Songbird, We are at the top of a range at 500 odd metres above sea level. We can see a 70 odd km stretch of coastline about 20 km away on a clear day and Brisvegus 70km away. The average annual rainfall here is close to 2000 mm, with about 1200mm of this falling in December, January and February, tapering off to March and then May drizzle and then April showers, then cooler, misty June , dry July, cold westerly winds and dry August, Dry September, late October dry or hail ridden lightning storms, November more rain and intensity in the storms and hotter days leading to 3.00 p.m sudden events, then back to the summer monsoonal influence. It is never really dry here except when the late spring, early summer rains are late. We have a couple of megalitres of deep 10 metres plus dam storage and two permanently flowing creeks, one with a glockemann pump and the othe with a Billabong hydraulic ram pump and a dozen or so springs, one with a jet spear pump and another with a Comet windmill. Mostly we use the Glockeman and the hydraulic ram pump to lift water to 50000litres of header tanks which gravity feed the rest of the system. The soil moisture profile is now full, I have just topped the pastures that were keyline ploughed in the late spring which have mature seed, to both mulch the surface to conserve the moisture within and to encourage better quality high protein pasture to sprout as well as allowing the soil organisms a chance to break down the organic matter and release plant available nutrients before the soil temperature drops as well as providing a seed bank and fodder source for the soil macro and micro greeblies for the next spring. At the same time I spread legume seed before mulching to diversify the plant populations. The pastures provide our main cash flow as yet, so we work to improve their dry matter and protein yield, their biodiversity, productivity and resilience. In a 10 year period at the home system we have fenced and planted out our riparian zones, extended the agroforestry on the less stable, less arable pastured slopes, yet increased the diversity and carrying capacity of the pastures more than 300%, we could stock higher but the soil would become poached and compacted and erosion on animal tracks would become a problem. No added outside nutrient inputs. Just low stocking rates to begin with, modified pasture cell grazing, keyline ploughing, mulch planting of legumes and pasture topping. We love deep rooted plants such as horse radish, spear thistle, balloon cotton and chicory to bring back those nutrients to the surface feeders from deeper in the soil profile during the summer.
     
  14. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    ah, ok, thanks for answering my questions. i'm always curious about what people are up to here. : ) sounds like you've done very well for yourself and your properties.
     
  15. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Glad to hear you got rain you were after, great news. We got flooded pretty bad. My yard has a few low spots which are still bogged and they keep recharging from subsurface water flowing down the hill, gumboots are essential at the moment:p That was a lot of rain indeed!
     
  16. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hello Chookie,
    Thanks for your good thoughts regarding a break in the drought. Hard to think that there is still about 65% of Queensland land area alone still in the grip of a nasty drought. We don't hear about it because only about 5% of our human population live there.
    Sure sounds like kang Kong, water cress, Taro, Arrowroot, Turmeric for you then and maybe even water chestnuts at this rate! Probably going to be a biennial event for you by the sounds of it. Keep your mud boots handy!
     
  17. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Indian Summer has suddenly transformed into Winter. I just appreciate the changing of the seasons and rejoice in the first bites of winter's past. The crisp, crystal clear mountain mornings with foggy mist in the valleys below until mid morning. Today, I hear the distant shots of the Deer poachers killing trophies for the long winters of lonesome discontent they will suffer in their dotage. I had two 12 yr old bucks which used to overwinter in our mountain paddocks, one is now gone as a double six trophy head to some poacher I see on Bookface. RIP "Heinrich". The thing that really pisses me off is that they left 90% of his useful carcass to rot and that they killed my hand reared stag on my own land. He was a pain in the arse with the roaring bit. He did f''k up a lot of plantings. He did scare the shit out of travelling hawkers. He was a dumb shit,human trusting stag but fair game in this neck of the woods. RIP Heinrick.
     
  18. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    I always hate to hear about poachers, would love a season for hunting them myself. Terribly sorry for the loss and waste of your buck, RIP Heinrick.
     
  19. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    awww! i would be upset too.
     
  20. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    That's just dreadful , like shooting a pet sheep , would take extraordinary skill NOT , the twit that did this probably doesn't even realise how dopey he is .
     

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