Monday, 17 October 2011

Preparation for Fire and Snake Season

We live on a hill surrounded by bush.  It's fantastic to regularly see kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, wombats, kookaburras....... we are so lucky, but part of our lifestyle includes a very busy period preparing for summer.

As soon as we have finished thinking about wood to keep us warm in winter, we go straight into our summer preparation.  We have spent the weekend cutting the grass down in our house yard (I will post soon about our wild house yard) as well as the usual busy spring gardening.  We try to the manage the animals  in such a way that they are able to be of use.  We've been tethering the goats to our west side for the past week or so and will continue to do so.  The west and north are the sides that a fire is most likely to come from, but we need to address all areas around the house so that we don't have undergrowth that will lead fire to the house.  We used to just let our pony and sheep out and they would eat all the grass outside our house yard, but over the last couple of years I have accidentally planted a few precious plant outside the yard fence!  I just can't help myself - the garden slowly creeps beyond it boundaries!

Next weekend, we (that means hubby) will cut the grass in the orchard.  A lovely part of all our preparation was our trip yesterday to get some geese!  We are going to put these in the orchard in the hopes of keeping the grass down without having to do all the work ourselves.   Of course, going to pick up our geese meant visiting and sharing dinner with some good friends, so work and play melded nicely!  Can anyone tell me how many geese will eat the grass at a reasonable rate over a quarter acre orchard?  I am currently surveying the geese warily, wondering whether they are more afraid of me, or me of them.  Any geese whisperers out there, please drop me a line.  We have had ducks, chooks, turkeys, guinea fowl but geese are brand new to us.

A few years ago, soon after we moved here, we established a Community Fireguard group.  These groups are worth their weight in gold.  For people living in a high risk bushfire area, the CFA can send someone out to conduct meetings.  These meetings educate people as to how fire behaves, how to prepare your property, how to form a bushfire survival plan, etc.  They also provide an opportunity to exchange details and maybe form a phone tree with your neighbours, so that you can support each other in the event of a fire.  We had quite a few meetings early on, when we were still learning the basics, but now we meet on an annual basis.   In a couple of weeks we will be hosting this year's meeting.  It will be a nice and casual "bring some afternoon tea to share", so these meetings also serve as a social catch up.  I would recommend that everyone educate themselves on fire risks no matter where they live.

Even our urban friends could find themselves caught out while camping, visiting a country area, etc.  It never hurts to be knowledgeable about safety.  Too much these days, people don't rely on themselves for safety, but expect instead that some authority or another will keep them safe.  This is not a great attitude to have because not only do people lose skills and the ability to think clearly for themselves, but it is an erroneous attitude - the CFA can not be everywhere at once.  They do NOT individually protect houses!  Think of how many trucks they would need in your town to make this possible.  My little town has one truck and over three hundred properties.  The maths isn't great if you choose to sit and wait for the truck to arrive!

Soooooooo, over the next month or so, our yard will become neat and pretty, as well as being productive.  I love the busy spring time!

Do you have seasonal jobs that determine what you need to be doing?


Linda said...

You will love having geese. Of all the animals we have tried over the years, geese are among the favourites, both for usefulness and for enjoyment. They are hardy and fairly resilient against predators. We've had one taken by wild dogs, but that was when we only had a pair. Now we have five adults, they are formidable enough to see off a fox or a goanna. It is hard to tell how much land they would keep mowed, as we have wallabies helping. But they are good grazers. And you get to love them. They welcome us home (noisily), they are curious and engaging, and very picturesque. The only downsides are that they are noisy, and early in the morning, so you have to like the early morning. And they can be intimidating. Ours aren't aggressive - maybe because we feed them and give them attention - but their manner of saying hello is pretty scary. And I have no doubt a bite could hurt! Ours have just had goslings, and they're the cutest things ever. We are theoretically planning to raise them for goose dinners, but right now it's a bit hard to imagine.

Linda said...

Thanks Linda, You have made me feel more optimistic about being a goose owner. As for noise, I don't think they could beat our guinea fowl! They just DON'T SHUT UP!!! I read about your awful storm and your goslings this morning but I haven't watched the video yet. What an amazing mother your goose is! I hope you don't have too much work ahead of you, with your storm clean up.

Linda said...

PS. Any tricks for telling the boys and girls apart?

Kim said...

We are tethering our goats at the moment along some fencelines. I have never seen such rapid spring growth. We too have been thinking about our animals and their usefulness. I am so grateful that the goats happily eat weeds for us and then give us milk.
Your geese look lovely.I am sure you will get lots of enjoyment from them.

Stitchin' time said...

We only have one goose - Lucy - and she is a darling. She's more a pet than anything but she is first to warn of visitors, before the dogs do, and first to make welcome home noises :).
Have fun with your geese!