The faraway tree: our little piece of forest on the farm

From the forest into the light

From the forest into light

This has been a tedious morning of fence repairs – bending staples in decades-old wobbly hardwood posts and untangling cantankerous strands of barbed wire – so when we found a tree over the fence in the bush block, the kids and I broke it with a little “adventure”.

Inside our boundaries lies just 11 hectares of largely unremarkable bush. But it is a wonder, too, full of secret paths, dripping lichen and toadstools. After early hesitation, the kids relished their chance to explore this forgotten forest, darting here and there down the wallaby tracks, ducking under monstrous spider webs and peering into mysterious hidey-holes.

Days like this, it’s great to be a milk maid!

Something to make the heart sing

Kangaroo apple berries

One of our "Summer of Zoe" discoveries

This is officially “The Summer of Zoe”. As my dear little farmer starts school tomorrow, I have begun taking her further and further into the forest that bounds our farm to celebrate her launch into the big, wide world.

She has found herself entranced. Secret paths lead from farm to forest, amazing creatures present themselves and the bush smells wonderful.

Goanna

An inspired Zoe even made her own goanna video

Somehow, Zoe senses this is a rite of passage. She volunteers that, one day, she will show her own daughter the ways of the forest and then says “You are beautiful, Mama, and I will never forget you”. She hasn’t yet waved goodbye from the school gates but I am already missing my wonderful little soul mate.

Ravenous kangaroos don’t eat wattles

A couple of years ago, we renewed the fencing around 11 hectares of remnant forest on the farm with the help of Greening Australia so we could exclude the stock from this high-value goanna habitat.

Paddock flanked by forest

Two blocks of native forest are protected on the farm

Unfortunately, the western sides of the two bush blocks have been impacted by the wind so we moved the fence westwards and friends helped us plant about 800 trees to reinvigorate this section. The kangaroos and wallabies ate almost every tree. Almost. It seems they have a distaste for wattles, which are the only specimens that survived the onslaught.

Wattles survived grazing by kangaroos

Wattles must taste yukky to kangaroos

If you’ve had any experience protecting seedlings from macropods, please share!