Tag Archives: herbicide free bio-diversity

More Rain.

In-between showers I take the camera out and photograph, searching for the extraordinary explosion of fungi sprouting on fallen branches, patches of exposed soil and tree trunks. Recycling in its purest form, not inhibited by herbicides or pesticides.

In the pond this afternoon.

Click on photo to enlarge.

The tadpoles feasting on a pineapple top. Click on photos to see their eyes.


Distressing news this morning on the upsurge of Queensland’s  land clearing.  Seems to fit nicely with the Queensland’s labour government’s fill steam ahead with the Adani Coal mine approval.

Why do we have environment ministers, both federal and state when laws are not enforced and banks profits come way ahead on the environment ?




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My letter to Dawn Walker……………New State MP.

I read you inaugural speech you gave on International Women’s day.
Thank-you, inspiring and I wish you a dynamic career as a defender of our ecology and the potential for worthwhile employment.
I really liked what you said about the environment and when you walked with your Dad and drinking from a fresh water creek with cupped hands. I can still do that safely here on my Herbicide-free regeneration property. Yes, and the water is sweet and a total experience when I drink after working.
My concern though has increased over the years as we see poisoned Coral trees falling into the Wilson Creek, spraying along side drains and general common sense fence maintenance being done with herbicides. The F rating of the Richmond River at Ballina is a shocking reality.
Also this week we read that Byron Shire Council is to spray the Bangalow sports fields with Metsulfuron methyl and MSMA, both with negative readings from PAN, the opposite from the herbicide makers selling advertising.
In your speech you talk of employment. Late last year the final days of the now disbanded Green Army came and worked with us,  Huonbrook Herbicide-Free Active Volunteers, as we removed the targeted jump-seed from the side of the public road. Land-care and Council’s contractors wanted it sprayed. Over the last three years, a small group of volunteers have hand removed 2 tons of the plant.
 A keen, knowledgeable ,delightful group of young people who expressed concern on their future employment prospects. In my volunteer work alongside the public road I see numerous rain forest seedlings emerging amongst the privets, camphor’s ect.   These volunteers knew their plants and under the tutor guidance of their leader, John McVicar,  I felt what a waste if these young people couldn’t find worth while employment following this down at ground level education and experience.
I see employment potential everywhere alongside our poorly maintained roads. Causeways needing to be cleared out, plantings on erosion points around these causeways. transplanting’s of the many indigenous trees emerging from the silt sites, rock walls around drain run-offs into creeks ect. Coppicing of misplaced plants and on it goes. If hands on maintenance was in place, our roads would function better as problems were dealt with as they emerged.
Huge potential to give young keen budding environmentalists a worthwhile employment opportunity to become true guardian’s of our remaining ecology.
A three day working week perhaps?
We need a massive re think re our environment as climate change is rapidly changing reality on the ground level.
A positive read for me has been Fred Pearce’s “THE NEW WILD” with an endorsement from James Lovelock.
A view I have held after 40 years of owning my property here is that invasive species can have a positive role in maintaining a new balance as wide spread ecological damage adapts to climate change. I see numerous nectar seeking birds and parrots feeding on the introduced Coral tree flowers in winter. Volunteers road side weeding workers have been delighted to witness black cockatoos amongst the pigeons feasting with their young,  from the camphor laurel seeds. Many more examples of birds adaptation abound. If these introduced plants had not replaced the wholesale milling of indigenous trees we would have even fewer bird species surviving.
Vanilla orchids are grown on Coral trees in India. Economic value is there if we seek it. We just have to adapt and let go of an outdated view of our ecology, usually based in a pre European settlement ideal by the old conservationists………………as Fred Pearce says ” the dynamism of “alien species” and the novel eco systems they create are helping nature regenerate. Embracing the NEW WILD is our best chance for the future.
Thanks for reading this far………………our frustrations at the lack of progress regarding herbicide use in the Byron Shire is increasing for the growing number of concerned environmentalists. Opportunity being squandered in our Shire where we should be growing our organic food production and reducing our dependence on artificial fertilisers and poisonous pesticides and herbicides.

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Herbicide-free work season beginning.

The first day of my herbicide-free work season was cancelled because of the very welcome rain. Still humid though so we will be governed by the weather during the duration of March.

With the F ( very poor) rating the Richmond River copped at its opening into the ocean, it seems those of us who live inland have to pull our socks up in how we treat the water that runs through our properties. For a starter get herbicides and artificial fertilisers out of our land practices, fence off creek edges where live stock have direct access and generally replant erosion edges with lomandras ect. Install water tanks where rain water can be collected and become a real live guardian of our precious waterways.

And from a study sent to me from the UK, the concluding paragraph should be noted by advocates of glyphosate ( round-up) use.

Owing to the potential public health impact of glyphosate, which is an extensively used pesticide, it is essential that all scientific evidence relating to its possible carcinogenicity is publicly accessible and reviewed transparently in accordance with established scientific criteria.

The Great Barrier Reef is copping another devastating bleaching event.*

Deathly white coral, choked by acidic, warming water. Is this the legacy we want to leave to our kids? Coal is to blame for this tragedy, yet mining giant Adani wants to build what would be Australia’s largest coal project in one of the sunniest parts of the world, on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. And our Government and banks are letting them get away it. The injustice can’t be overstated.

That’s why, in 2 weeks, we’re joining with local and international speakers to unveil a plan to step up the #StopAdani fight and move Australia beyond coal. Will you be there?

It beggars belief that Adani is getting away with their ridiculous plans. The tragic Reef bleaching we are seeing is just the tip of the fast-melting iceberg in Adani’s reckless world. We can and must stop Adani’s carbon bomb before it gets started. We have an abundance of clean energy to replace dirty, outdated coal. But we can’t do any of this without you.

If the past year has made you wonder whether to keep trying, you’re not alone. Times are tough but this is the fight of our generation. We’ve come so far, held off this mine for so long. Now it’s time to lock in the win. The coal lobby wouldn’t be putting up such a fight if we weren’t making an impact.

BREAKING: Sickening aerial footage indicates the Great Barrier Reef is undergoing another mass bleaching event due to climate change. Adani’s mega coal mine will tip the Reef over the edge. But you can stop this – find out how at the Sydney #StopAdani Roadshow.









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Ludovico Einaudi.


As Australia swelters and our PM sounding like a shrill desperado, Ludovico Einaudi’s beautiful piece is somehow soothing despite its grim reality background. A reality our politicians’ continue to ignore.

Thank you Green peace.

And for my own peace of mind in this my birthday week,  a slow walk through the forest here.


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2017 ??


New Years Day started for me at 6.

Cloudy and still humid with the chorus of the birds almost deafening. The searing heat of yesterday ( 38 here) has brought out many insects. Spangled drongos were darting and swooping on their breakfast.



Another year flown by.

Looking at my photos from last January and it felt like yesterday.

A busy and satisfying year here. A couple of wwoofers ( Simon and Yoko ) in January and February.  Great dinners prepared by new influences into my kitchen. More sea weed into my diet. Wide range of herbs and leaf from the gardens . The wonderful extra with some wwoofers is their food choices.


My regeneration continual work progressed well with Tim, Victor and others slashing, pulling and mulching. Continual light rain punctuated the days we could work. Leeches, windy days, when boughs of higher trees come darting down, and strong sun, even as early as August, lessened our working hours.

Thank-you to all my real physical workers….. Both the volunteers on the road verges and the paid workers here……great effort too with helping me prepare 500 kilos of turmeric for dispatch.

Overall it was with much satisfaction, as we climbed to our present work site,  through emerging rain forest canopy. From metres above, frogmouth owls watched, brown pigeons scattered to a higher branch, to watch us climb through. The odd yellow breasted robin escorted us through its territory.  Night Caps cliffs look down on us and the emergent bangalow palm forest is now clearly visible.

Surely one of the more beautiful working sites.


Through-out the year. Heather, my sister, came for a very happy laughing time with her. Others too so socially a very good year. My big night out highlight was thwarted by a flood, and I couldn’t attend Barb Jungr’s Byron Bay concert. She kindly sent us her CD singing Dylan and Cohen.  Thank-you Barb.


Politics left me depressed. From our elections here in Australia to the debacle we saw from the US.

Day by day from now on.

Greens take heed. Many of us are disillusioned.


My reading was restricted to those below…………….  THE NEW WILD………….  a positive reassurance in what I am doing here and my approach to regeneration.  With many facts on plants migration and the niches some fill, in a new land, as humans rampage through, this book by Fred Pearce has opened my eyes wider with hope. Anything that grows in our depleted soil is showing us the way is his thesis.

Galvanized my thinking to a satisfactory and comfortable  level and strengthened my approach against herbicides. As Peter Wohllenben says in THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES……………  we deaf and dumb our ecology with our lack of understanding that plants communicate. He was talking about modern whole sale farming practices and the use of herbicides on our food growing areas and hybrid seed. And essentially how that impacts all health, from the micro soil life to us at the top of the food chain.



Radio National is my daily back ground along with Bay FM.  I wait with hesitation, the new programming for Radio National in 2017.  Does not look promising for us old timers. Many programmes I follow when indoors going.

TV, flicked through the food programmes, always about over eating  with Come Dine With Me reflecting our disconnect with the food we take for granted. Food waste is now an epidemic.

SBS Food channel disappointing to the extreme with further encouragement for binge eating.

Reminds me of a Japanese saying ” one grain of rice left in your bowl is a bead of sweat on the brow of a rice farmer”.  Why not some vegetarian and vegan cooking programmes?

Land-line always informative. Science programme CATALYST axed. Why ?

Solar rebate ends today. Paying us 6 cents when the sun shines and selling it back to us for 36 plus cents. Time to off grid.


The renovation shows along with Grand Designs, reflect the status of home builders which is more than often dominated by the third bathroom and space large enough to house 10 instead of two or four.

How do we adapt to climate reality I ask?  AUSTRALIA’s carbon output is still rising. And no real debate or incentive to do anything to reduce it.

There is no real will and my thinking along that line is reinforced when high profile so called environmentalists fly off to another countries campaign while our koalas and many of our indigenous creatures are in rapid free fall in  numbers here. So few want to get involved on the ground.

And life style changes with-in the home, like turning off all standbys, is seen by many as pointless.

The Green party should have their feet on the ground as close to local ecological reality and inform the general population on very real environmental issues, like herbicides in our creeks and drains and on our food.

Advise and engage with what the individual can do. We have been talking about plastic bags in this Shire for over 10 years to finally see initiative from our local IGA and the Mullumbimby Music festival in 2016. Many of those ten years we had a Green dominated Council.

Climate change is about adaptation and softening our carbon and other outputs. Not wasting food, car pooling, growing where you can instead of mowing and encouraging local food self sufficiency.


Our leadership in our no herbicide approach to plants someone decides to poison, has gathered momentum and support. More non chemical company research is being published, after peer review, and its not finding most herbicides a plus for the planet.

A total of 80 hours I, along with Jayne, have put in each, to the hand removal of jump-seed from the public road’s verges. Our volunteer workers, Lou, Shea, Lil, Pav and Tim have had some enjoyable work mornings as we laughed and talked and sung as we mattock  out the beautiful jump-seed, with its soft green broad leaf centred with a dark red. Always a good feeling after we finish.


My projected hopes for 2017 ?

Continue our herbicide free Shire campaign, gather information on a setup for a Shire wide Organic Certifying body  through a public meeting. Publish peer reviewed fact on herbicides.

Will ask to contribute,  Nadia, Ellen and Mary Gardener, Geoff Dawe.



Continue the gardens and ready for a winter harvest of turmeric, ginger, galangal, yacons and yams.

And have a good steady slash, pull and mulch of lantana throughout the winter months here.


Happy New Year.

The year facts will overwhelm fiction.


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Enjoy a walk through the forest behind the vegetable gardens.

tree-14 On the extreme heat days I started reading PETER WOHLLEBEN’s  THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES.

He discovers trees are social beings. he draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families. Tree parents live together with their children. Communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those sick or struggling and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben shares his deep love of forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration from what he has observed.

And as Tim Flannery says ” Opening this book, you are about to enter a wonderland.

So out I went after the rain had stopped and walked through my emerging new forest behind the gardens. It was a wonderland……………….many photos. Hope you enjoyed.






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Putting real physical action ahead of Green rhetoric.

Working bee, Saturday 29th October at 7 15 am, parking first left after MILL road heading out towards Huonbrook.  We are racing against time due to the rapid growth of the JUMP-SEED we are removing. Some are already developing flower sets. We need two extra pair of hands.

Phone 66840104 or chemfreeregen@gmail.com for confirmation.

Gloves, hat, covering clothing, water and sturdy boots. We have mattocks and bags for removal.

This is an initiative from HUONBROOK HERBICIDE FREE volunteers, supported by Byron Shire Council.



Such a relief to work back slashing, pulling and mulching lantana.  Watching and listening to the media is not good for one’s mental health.

Unusually cool mornings have made work easier. Flocks of brown pigeons feasting on the tobacco bush with crimson rosellas darting all around.  Tobacco bush is a regular target for herbicide removal.  An important food source for many of our remaining birds which had their original food sources removed when humans advanced into their habitat.

In my observations here over the years is that tobacco is one of the first to colonize after we have removed and mulched lantana (pic below), along with scotch thistle – signifying a rich soil nitrogen content. We hoe around any emerging rain forest seedlings which soon flourish, over whelming the tobacco and any other grounded introduced so called weeds within three or four years. Another visual reality is the rapidity of the growth of plants now, reported as a result of the increased carbon in the atmosphere.


Clusters of red, white and pencil cedars are emerging throughout the earlier worked areas.  I will transplant out on the first wet week opportunity. There are 100s so if anyone wishes to pot any on, welcome to come and participate.

My pigeon companion keeping an eye on me as I work.




Watch The Drum   ABC TV 25th October  Sue HIgginson from the EDO plus 2 others with the Institute of Public Affairs.

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