With the big rains of the last couple of weeks, it feels like we’re approaching an break in the seasons. In most parts of the property, the cracks that open in the clay over summer are softening and closing, and there’s a green fuzz of new growth on the ground (especially in the areas with existing, dry ground cover, we’ve noticed). The sheep march briskly between discoveries of fresh grass and happily fan out over new paddocks.
Despite all the rain, the ground is still dry, and the dam drier still. Some of the seedlings are putting on new growth, but many seem unfazed and are waiting for the real rain to come. In one of our paddocks, the sheep went to town and bared out some sections, so we haven’t rotated them through that pasture for months. While broadcasting seed on the bare patches, I discovered a red gum pushing up through a crack in the clay, grown from seed blown upwind from the big gums. It’s our third official tree to self-regenerate, and while it’s located itself in the centre of a future woodlot, such tenacity is to be rewarded with a tree guard!
We have a resident white-faced heron that we’ve noticed stalking prey all over property through the seasons. As the water in the dam has receded, we’ve noticed claws littering the shallows and assumed they were imported by the heron from the coastal rock-pools not far away. Now with the dam completely dry, we’ve found whole yabby exoskeletons, a more than a few claws, and in the banks, evidence of yabby burrows. Yabbies are notorious for burrowing through dam walls when preparing to hibernate in the dry, so when the water rises again, we’ll have to test their presence with yabby nets!