Ferreting

Am I the only person who has never had any experience of these strange little creatures?

I have Spring frenzy. A balmy Spring day saw me spending my day working in the garden, too busy even to be taking photos of my progress. I’ll do that tomorrow.

I wondered if anyone might be interested in last weekend’s activity on the farm. We had visitors arrive with their ferrets and ferreting gear, hopeful that they might catch a rabbit or two. These ferrets are all being raised for the purpose of chasing rabbits out of their burrows. They all have names and are extremely well loved and trained by the family who care for them. Snowball, Queenie and Snowwhite all had quite different personalities.

My only experience, or lack of it, with ferrets led me to believe that they were vicious, nasty animals. Far from it. Though I’m too nervous to touch them, the kids who raise them, cuddle them and claim that they make great pets.

In this case a net was quickly erected around the burrow. Then the ferrets were let loose. They disappear into the burrow and a little while later the rabbits will emerge stressed and frantic to escape. They head straight into the nets and get tangled. They are extracted from the nets and put into cages. They can be used for food or fed to the dogs and/or ferrets.

This area on the farm will be growing lucerne again after some rain. However, during the winter the rabbits have invaded and created some extensive burrows. We are reluctant to use poison on the rabbits, so we are using other techniques try to reduce their numbers.

It’s a win for everyone except the poor bunnies. Over 20 were caught. Sadly for us, that doesn’t make much of a dint in their numbers.

Tree row

When we first bought our farm about 30 years ago, it was a run down ex-dairy farm. It is two kilometres of dirt track from a main road. The dairy was no longer functional and it had few fences that would keep an animal enclosed. Much of the land was salt affected and non productive. The agent suggested we run the tractor through the house and start again.

We gathered seed from the few trees around and carefully grew young trees in our first purchase, a glasshouse. We planted rows and rows of trees in an effort to reduce the water table, fix the salt problem and return health to the soil. Keeping the trees alive was a struggle. We fought rabbits, kangaroos, heat, lack of water and salty soils.

Since the covid lock down we have been cleaning up one of the tree rows. It’s a huge job, with a chain saw and fire. We’ve removed lots of dead branches on the ground. It’s become a problem because the rabbits have taken a liking to the shelter and are being very destructive. We cut tree limbs off fences and pruned trees and bushes. Hard work but we can see results starting to happen. AND bonus, we’ve taken the time to enjoy the winter sunshine and the outdoors.

Our favorite spot is in a remote spot that we nearly gave up on when we first started establishing the trees. We finally got some really tough little pine trees to grow where nothing else would. The sound of the wind in the pine needles really changes the ambiance of the little grove of trees.

Spring cleaning in winter

Yesterday was one of those magic days that started off very cold and then the sun slowly warmed the day. It was a perfect day to go and get some farm work underway. Although it is early winter, we did a spot of spring cleaning along one of our fences. It is overdue for replacement, but first it needed some cleaning up around it. The wattle trees have a short life span anyway and needed to be trimmed back. The trees had dropped limbs, making access difficult.

Getting rid of the rubbish was satisfying after a hard day’s work.

and while were we on a roll, a patch of weedy reeds as well