Preparing for a July celebration.

In July it will be 40 years I have had guardianship of this land at Huonbrook.   A naïve starting point for me, when the steep hills were struggling to support a number of cattle, many suffering from brucellosis, an infectious disease of cattle, goats and pigs, caused by a bacteria of the genus Brucella and is transmittable to humans. Kikuyu  grass, introduced from South Africa, had been planted to impede the heavy loss of soil after the forest had been removed and exported. Unfortunately for the suffering cattle,  it supplied a poor nutrient value to their diet and did not fare well with the then 2 metre plus average rainfall.

Feral dogs in packs, (older farmers left their dogs here when they moved to town) could be seen dragging new born emaciated calves into the undercover. Already dying at birth, the calves either succumbed to ticks which circle their necks or provided an easy meal for wedge tail eagles or the dogs.

Most hard wood trees had been removed and what did remain, lease holders, before my purchase, had ripped out every stag horn, birds nest and bangalow palm to sell on.  Fishing nylon line had been tied around trees to grow on  epiphytes for the city markets. Many trees had begun to die.

My first task was to remove the cattle from the denuded hills which saw the beginning of the slow recovery into what mostly is now rain forest. Cut the fishing line off scores of trees and I began to really watch nature evolve and become my teacher and guide.

Lantana followed the removal of the cattle and that I am still slowly peeling back. I am very lucky lantana colonized the disturbed degraded soil. It could have been blackberry.  Protecting the remaining soil from heavy rain and intense sun, it was an ideal cover plant to shelter the durable rain forest seeds dormant in the soil.  Peeling it back is like the removal of a wrapping on a present, beneath lies a whole new micro life waiting to be activated by light.

Herbicides, to my knowledge have never been used on this land.

Its been an incredible journey……..from the early days here, when the rainy season was fairly predictable, the gales used to arrive like clock work, to roar throughout the month of August. Not unusual then to see rain fall continually for 6 months of the year.

Not predictable any more.

Winter time was our dry cool season. Now, in 2017 the weather is entirely unpredictable as we are seeing now this second deluge during our autumn and winter.

What a poser I am…………… by Rodney Weidland.

Read what other communities are doing to combat herbicide and pesticide use. Dicamba, now used by our Council on sports fields despite  investing our money in a steam weeding machine.



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Another 86 mls of rain.

Considerable damage in the gardens too with pawpaws and bananas collapsing. The causeway (photo above) has also seen wash out so a day of rock work ahead.

Worth a read.

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
(Rumi, Bahai)

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June 13, 2017 · 2:00 am

Time to start governing for the future.

Santos’ main environment statement on its proposed $3 billion coal seam gas project in north-west NSW lacks key data on groundwater impacts, salt disposal, air pollution and biodiversity, government agencies have found.

In their submissions, agencies such as the NSW Environmental Protection Agency and DPI Water said they did not find “critical” issues to recommend the project not succeed. They do, however, detail gaps in many aspects of the project’s environmental impact statement (EIS) that hinder their ability to assess those effects.

Want to shop GM-free? Well you’re in luck! We’ve compiled this list to celebrate the growing number of companies choosing to label their products GM-free or non-GM. By voting with our wallets, we can support our GM-free farmers and food producers.

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260 mls of rain so far.

Totally unexpected this long week-end with another period of flooding. So far and everything crossed, the land lines remain intact.

Gay B and her daughter J visited with this beautiful tarte for dessert after our lunch.

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Tweed Gallery.

Enjoyed my day with friends in Murwillumbah. I always like the town centre. It reminds me of how NZ smaller towns were like when I was growing up.  A mix of shops, lots of eating places, old fashioned to a city modern equivalent.

I enjoyed a haloumi salad lunch and a well brewed coffee.

View from the gallery.

Byron Bay in the distance.  Taken from Brunswick Heads.

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Byron Chemical Free New site.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare’s next fortnightly working bee will be on Saturday, the 17th of June, from 9 am to 1 pm, at Brunswick Heads Crown Land Reserve site. Meet at the end of South Beach Road fire track gate, not far from the Surf Club. We will be working on the front dune, doing Bitou Bush seedlings.

This month we also will held an event on the 12th of June, public holiday, at Federal Community Preschool. We will be removing Duranta, another popular nursery plant, that has become a  environmental weed. It’s seeds are highly poisonous to pets and children, with one death of a 2.5 year old being recorded in Queensland. We will prune it and remove with the tree poppers. All welcome to come and help, I have 10 pairs of loppers to share. Thick leather gloves, as it has large thorns.The Pre school is located at 898 Binna Burra Road, FEDERAL NSW 2480.

Please wear boots, long sleeved shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves, and bring water, rain coat and some morning tea. Tools and first aid kit will be provided. Please call 0478272300 to find us if you come later.

Letter from The Greens.

Dear Donald, thanks for your email regarding the use of Glyphosate.
The Greens are supporters of chemical-free weed control methods. Only this year, new Greens Leader and health spokesperson Richard Di Natale wrote to the Office of Chemical Safety requesting a review of glyphosate use in Australia following research by the International Agency for Research on that claimed that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen. See:

A new study finds that Indian farmers in rain-fed areas are being driven to suicide from the increased cost of growing Bt GMO cotton varieties that confer no benefits to them, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. The extra expenses arise from buying new seeds each year, along with increased chemical inputs, while suffering inadequate access to agronomic information.

Alternative systems such as organic farming have already been shown to produce superior yields. Bt cotton, instead of bringing farmers out of debt, is fuelling the problem and should be replaced by short-season, local and organically grown varieties.
A new study directly links the crisis of suicides among Indian farmers to Bt cotton adoption in rain-fed areas, where most of India’s cotton is grown.

Many fall into a cycle of debt from the purchase of expensive, commercialised GM seeds and chemical inputs that then fail to yield enough to sustain farmers’ livelihoods.

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Monarch butterfly just emerged from its cocoon.

Busy garden morning clearing and composting. Sydney guest staying so the appearance of a couple of snakes has had the phone cameras clicking.  No mobile coverage though.

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