Rain, glorious rain: 115mms over the week, a perfect follow-up to 82.5mm in early February.
From dust and fire anxiety to sodden ground and green vistas in every direction, creeks running, most dams and tanks full, all in four weeks! It feels like 1983, when Bob Hawke joked that he broke the drought. Only this time Scomo probably thinks that he has! A miracle turnaround, how good is that?
Our nursery full of trees now feels like an asset. During the heatwaves the nursery needed watering every day and sometimes I wondered “what for”? Now I can't wait to get out there and plant.
Searing summer temperatures have fuelled my interest in planting more shade trees. Oaks, elms, black locusts, ash, poplars. We need them dotted through every paddock to shade the sheep and cool the environment. Likewise, global warming has fuelled my interest in more trees everywhere. It has been suggested that one trillion new trees would go a long way to absorbing carbon and stabilizing the climate. To encourage mass tree planting, our local landcare group is planning an online resource that provides all the information you could possibly need in order to source, plant and nurture trees. The project will be called “Trees for Climate”.
The catastrophic bushfires of the summer have taught us that careful consideration must be given to which trees must be planted and where. Eucalypts and pines should never be close to buildings. Deciduous trees should. The Monga fire east of Braidwood slowed down and was contained when it reached the oak trees at Peter Marshall's property, Sunningdale.
Deciduous trees also proved to be a valuable fodder reserve in recent months. The sheep and cattle came running whenever they heard the chainsaw revving up. They soon worked out that the sound of the chainsaw meant nutritious prunings and loppings were in the offing.
An agroforestry book I have claims that prunings from 10 hectares of poplar sustained 1700 sheep for 8 weeks during drought.
In “The City Forest”, P.A. Yeomans suggested drought fodder should be grown by putting poplar plantations below, and watered from keyline dams. If I win the lottery I am going to do it.
In the meantime, if you would like to come and help plant carbon-sequestering trees on Millpost, please get in touch. There is a lot of work to do over the next few months! We are planning a tree planting day and picnic on Sunday the 26th of April, coincidentally an anniversary of a similar working bee we held here in 1982 (the poster below has pride of place in our kitchen).
If you’re interested in joining us on the day, let us know at email@example.com and we will keep you in the loop!
David Watson 10/03/2020