We have had such a long, cool spring in Perth that everything grew, and grew so much that for most of November we have had to slash, burn, mow, rake and that isn’t just the firebreaks! Although we haven’t had to do much watering because of the cool, wet weather, it is certainly warming up now so all the sprinkler systems have also been put in order.
In between all of this, we have had goslings, ducklings, chicks…. and a late lamb! There has also been a pesky fox, brazen as anything, hanging around in the daytime as well as night time so it is a constant juggling act to keep the animals safe but let them get out of their pens to roam. There is never nothing to do at McCarthy Park.
As mentioned before, we have been particularly busy working on reducing the fire hazards around the house. This has involved endless raking up, fortunately mostly using the big rake on the back of the tractor, plus professional tree loppers. We hired Branching Out, and they did a great job thinning out the trees too tall for us around the ‘snake lake’ mulching and clearing as they went.
When we say tall trees, they really were very tall! The aim was to stop a fire in the leaf litter below getting up into the tree canopy and putting the house at risk.
This height really needs a professional!
Raking the leaves and twigs
Taking the leaves away from the house
Bushfires are always a possible threat here with so many trees around, so it pays to be prepared. We have always had sprinklers on the roof of the house, which wet the entire roof and surrounding area. Of course we rely on the electricity still working though! This year, we have had a couple of close calls again so have redone the roof sprinklers with a larger diameter pipe to enable a higher water flow. We also added roof sprinklers to the Flopsies House (rabbit house) and the adjoining workshop which houses the tractor.
In addition, we bought a second hand, unlicensed trailer from the local rubbish dump shop and fitted it out with a water tank, pump, and hose. Now, with the tractor, we can tow it anywhere on the property where spot fires may come in as a result of fires and strong winds in the area, rather than just relying on the electricity to power the sprinkler systems.
Mobile firefighting unit
Filling the tank from one of the sprinklers
Well, within four weeks of the ‘big bushfire’ there is some regrowth happening-even before the rains!
Grass trees sprouting up just three weeks after the fire
Sprouts of green shooting from the burnt ground
Time will tell whether some of the Spearwoods and Melaleucas will grow back, but the Grasstrees certainly have.
But this time it did burn through about 5 of our 10 acres…..fortunately for us the back five acres away from the house and animal/food production areas.
Fire burning in the paddock behind the veggie garden and orchard
Nonetheless, it caused plenty of damage to the natural bush plus the areas we had been regenerating-
Not a lot left!
the fences were either burnt or cut by the fire brigade to get to the fire. What an amazing job they do!
Leaving to get more water
The water pipes to each paddock for the sheep were melted, and we lost four struts and strainers for the gates…..
Strut and strainer and sheep feeder burnt
The Australian bush is amazing though, and will often come back very well after a bushfire…..so fingers crossed.
The challenges of country living continue! In the space of four weeks we left a pump on running the water tank dry (our only source of water)- fortunately the pump wasn’t damaged. The following week was the snake in the house, then the fox attack….and this week a bushfire!
We were awoken around 5.30am with the strong smell of smoke, soon followed by the sound of numerous fire engines. It was obviously close by.
Water bomber in action
The view from the back door at 6.00am
Sunrise through the smoke
Thanks to the Bushfire Brigades! Now hopefully the unsavoury person who lit it (FESA say the cause is ‘suspicious’) will get caught.