Monday, 6 August 2012

It's that time of the year again when everything can go woof!

Living on the top of a mountain can have it's advantages and disadvantages.

This morning I saw a joey wallaby with his mum on the side of the driveway as we headed off to work - advantage.

If there were to be a bushfire, our house it's a gonna - disadvantage.

So, last year, in a moment of (as MOTH clearly defines it "WHAT WERE YOU BLOODY THINKING...") - I call it focus - I joined the local rural fire brigade. Not only was I interested in how we might protect our property (which I quickly learnt was defined as "non defendable") but it was also a way that I could contribute to our local community. BTW - we do have a 5 minute evacuation plan which involves grabbing laptops, animals and getting the f**k out of there... oh, and of course, the kids (my bad).

One year on and who'd thought I'd now have a tertiary qualification in operating a chainsaw, am also certified to assist in road traffic accidents, renewed my first aid and am learning to drive a truck!  Oh, and I now am also a qualified rural firefighter.

Anyway... the purpose of my message is to highlight that bushfire season is upon us and it's time for anyone who lives in a bush area (in or out of the city limits) to start preparing for, what is being touted as one of the potentially biggest bushfire seasons in years. You only have to go for a drive and look at what's lying on the ground under the trees to realise the fuel load is scary. So, what to do...

There are plenty of options you can take ahead of a bushfire to minimise the risk to your property. Clean up any dead trees or rubbish, get rid of any leaves in your guttering and on your roof, and, if possible create firebreaks. Another option is one that we adopted last weekend at our own fire station - hazard reduction burning. This is a very controlled, low impact burn that clears away the potential fuel load in a managed way. I've attached some photos to give you an idea on how it all goes down.

As always, if you need a hand, just call your local urban or rural fire brigade - before there's a problem - they'll appreciate the call and will more than likely be able to help.

And if you really don't know where to start - contact me and I'll make sure someone contacts you from your local brigade.

Here's hoping everyone stays safe this fire season.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Harvesting and pruning

We've had visitors staying with us and Linley agreed to help me prune my roses and surrounding rosemary hedge. I know it's a bit late to prune roses in Brisbane but they have had a fairly traumatic few years and I wanted to leave it as long as I could. As a result of the floods in Brisbane 2011, I had to urgently move my roses before the earthmoving machines moved in to repair the massive landslide directly behind our home. I had to prune them to nothing and move them with little notice. Luckily, I had been composting up a new garden bed and it has ended up being a great location for them. I also planted a functional hedge of rosemary around them as a box hedge to provide some grey contrasting foliage and act as a pesticide resistance for the roses.

So not only did we get in and prune my poor roses to try and help them grow and prosper, but we gave the rosemary a good old haircut. It grows prolifically and the more I hedge it, the more it seems to grow. So, I have heaps of rosemary to give away at work tomorrow (like about 5 buckets of it).

Then it was off the check on my galangal plant and see if I could harvest some of it. The plant (I should have taken a photo before I cut the tops off it) is about 8 foot tall and looks and flowers like a ginger plant. They are closely related but galangal has a different flavour - awesome in asian cooking. After about 20 minutes, we had the prize in our hands... problem was there was so much of it we couldn't lift it. After we'd washed and trimmed off the roots into manageable pieces, I still have HEAPS (about 5 years worth for us). So now I have no idea what to do with several kilos of galangal...