Shep Wallaby

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since Apr 11, 2012
I was born at a young age.
Things happened, events occurred.
And now, here we are.

(Hey! That is almost a haiku!)
Northern Rivers NSW Australia
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Recent posts by Shep Wallaby

Hi Everyone
Thanks for the generous input, all of which I entirely agree with.

At present the orchard is of a commercial design, monoculture. Ponds and other water sources will be introduced as a matter of priority, and I can see the immediate wisdom in developing habitat for small folks of the winged, scaley and buzzing varieties using a variety of shrubby and grassy varieties around the edges and by the small ponds.
Over time this orchard will be converted into a diverse permaculture food forest and market garden, so variety of flowers and plants will be the goal, but in the first place, I can see building habitat will be the priority if I want to be regarded as a good proposition for the workers.

To Brenda, the net spaces is so small, even small birds don't seem to get tangled in it. It has been up for a long time, it even has Spanish moss and stuff growing on it, and very very few breaks or repairs in it; I feel it would be festooned with little skeletons if it was a bird trap. Not really, but you know what I mean.

Actually, so obvious lol, thanks everyone.

I think probably a combination of solid habitat features as well as some sort of entry / exit system may be the plan.

8 years ago

Milan Broz wrote:Like you have a huge bird cage, but the birds are outside. Buy or catch birds that you want in your orchard and keep them in. If neccessary, build a bird boxes. If neccessary, grow some food for birds you will keep. Hopefully they will reproduce in orchard, and you might start selling birds some day

Hmmm, this has tipped my thinking slightly. I have been concentrating on coming and goings of birds, not so much on the provision of habitat for birds to move in..
I think this points to a different starting place, and that is growing habitat for a resident workforce. 'If you build it, they will come' lol

I just felt my brain grow a bit! Thanks!
8 years ago

Brenda Groth wrote:if you have fruit you have something has to be getting in unless you are hand pollinating.

birds have a tendency to forget how they got in..they may get in and not be able to get back out...they do that here with our porch, theyh'll fly in when the door is left ajar.

Yep, good point about the pollinators, certainly for the former stonefruit... and yes I have seen the phenomena of bird lost in a room. Hmmmmm... still thinking...
8 years ago
Hi All

I recently bought a lovely little farm in northern NSW Australia. It has a fully developed orchard over about 2.5 acres, which was formerly a commercial stonefruit orchard but is now planted for commercial production of custard apples. The previous farmer was not an organic farmer, used sprays, monocultural planting etc. Also a lovely guy. I am embarking upon rehabilitating the orchard into a diversified, complex permaculture system. This will take a long-ish time and much work, I know. One of the big infrastructure features of the property is the complete containment of the orchard under fine black bird/hail net, like a massive net circus tent. This kept the flying foxes (fruit bats) and hordes of parrots off the stone fruit. Actually it is really quite a feat of engineering. Anyhow, I was sitting in the orchard with a friend the other day and we sat quietly for a few minutes and...nothing happened.

Now, anyone with a rich spray free environment will know, these spaces hum, chirp, flit and buzz with living activity. I love to sit quietly and watch the wrens and finches and lizards darting about, listen to the insect chorus and consider the manic mass of life all around me (generally I refer to my 'workforce'). But sitting in the orchard, with nothing of the sort happening around me, I was struck by the silence and stillness. Not natural. Not right. Of course, years of spraying and artificial fertilizer, and a mono-culture has probably done its part in making a less lively space, but I reckon mostly it has to do with this massive net.

So, my question to permies out there is how might I make the net passable for smaller birds, insects etc?
I do not want to get rid of it, it will serve a terrific purpose in protecting crops from marauding bats and parrots. Please understand we have these species in the millions (bats) and thousands (parrots) and they will take any crop to pieces overnight. I have plenty of bush foods and there are several thousand acres of National Parks at my back... my little 2.5 acres of fruit makes not such a vast input to them; I like to share, but I know what the farmer was protecting against!

Anyhoo... I have considered making a series of cuts in the net at the height of the top wire of fence outside the net, and inserting a 2 inch collar made from large plumbing pipe or similar, fastening the bit so the net does not unravel, and the little collar of pipe is firmly held. My idea is basically to make little portals through the net large enough for insects, wrens, finches etc, but not large enough for the big raiders. If I did a large number along the forest edge it would look like a wide perforated line along the net. I thought then to plant millet and other tasty treats along the fence line to encourage the small birds to the 'portals'. I reckon, if there is a lush food site through the holes, they will figure it out and enter and leave the orchard without a problem. Critters are smart! A similar arrangement along the bottom of the net could provide ingress points for lizards, frogs etc...

Well..those are my thoughts...
Anyone else have a brilliant idea to let the world into the orchard without entirely removing the net?
8 years ago

Megan Wantoch wrote:Lots of tea bags are now being made out of stuff that doesn't compost, so there's another good reason to switch.

That is a really good point, actually.
8 years ago
I cannot even imagine a garden without comfrey. I am rehabilitating a commercial orchard space into an organic permaculture space, and on the top of the list is comfrey, comfrey, and more comfrey. I do not intend to buy any though...anywhere you can find it growing, just hack some away with a mattock or shovel, break the root pieces down to an inch or so, and plant. Anyone with comfrey, I have found, understand why it is so sought after, and happily share it away.

Also, chooks with access to comfrey lay eggs with psychedelic orange yolks lol
8 years ago
Laughing at the phrase 'snot rocket'. Here (Australia) we refer to using the 'bush hanky'. All very well when in the bush or whatever, really horrid to witness on the street in town!!!
8 years ago

Dave Muckle wrote:

JRTgirl wrote:
I mean, afterall, humans have been blowing their noses in handkerchiefs for quite a while and have survived.

Did they survive?  It seems to me that back in the days before disposable tissues, disease and plagues were much more widespread.  Of course I'm not blaming the handkerchief entirely, but now that you brought it up... I can think of a number of ways it may not have been advantageous.


I would like to suggest that the overall death rate of humans has been 100% for some thousands of years lol

I use a cloth bandana aka snot rag. Like others here, I use it judiciously, wash my hands after using, and replace it at least daily with a clean one. IF no handy hanky, I use toilet paper. I have not bought tissues for...well, I cannot remember the last time I bought them.

8 years ago
Go a step further (or backwards since I am going to talk about tea bags lol)...I like Chai (Indian spiced tea) which takes ages to make really well from scratch. I found a few good chai tea bag options... but they work out pricey at the rate I consume them. I decided instead to get a bunch of the spices and empty them into a tea caddy with a heap of inexpensive black tea in bags, and give them a mix or shake whenever I am in the kitchen. After a few days the tea tastes of the spices just enough to be delicious.

For those who would like to know, the basic spices are cinnamon sticks, cardomon pods, nutmegs, star anise..and a slice of fresh ginger in the cup finishes the whole thing off.
Yummy and about 25% of the price of the prepared product.
8 years ago

Blue Dog wrote:I don't have any advice but want to affirm that you are in the right. You shouldn't have to choose between shooting dogs and protecting your own pets and livestock. I would be tempted to trap the loose dogs and shave them up like poodles with a note attatched. Maybe that would get their owner's attention.

I laughed when I read this, the mental picture of dogs returning home shaved lolololol Brilliant!

I live in country NSW and the standard understanding is that any dog caught harassing stock of any kind earns a bullet. Don't get me wrong, I would not relish shooting a dog, but that is the outcome when people do not respect the place they are living, or the dog, or the neighbours. There are people's livelihoods at stake.

A hot wire with a good jolt sounds like the prime idea in terms of protecting your stock, but it does nothing to educate the dog owners.

Trap and THAT is fantastic. OR trap and turn the dog over to the authorities so the owners have to identify collect and pay could be an idea too.

8 years ago