Lachie has made a table for the hut with a curved-end blackwood top, which is dowelled to eucalpyt legs (from an unknown street tree!). Dowelling replicates the mortise and tenon style of the pegged framing for the hut. The table is a beautiful piece of craftmanship and will serve us well on field days and events like picnic lunches in the clearing.
Lachie has also carried out some basic maintenance such as oiling and re-liming under the eaves. He's pleasantly surprised at how well the liming has bonded with the wattle and daub, particularly given the perpetual wild wet weather we've endured this winter and spring.
We had a dozen or so people come to the picnic lunch (really a sausage sizzle) on Sunday 10 April celebrating the drop slab hut’s completion. Gary and architect Geradine Maher were interviewed by freelance journo Genevieve Barlow.The weather was perfect and people seemed to enjoy themselves. A fitting end to the project
Antanas brought 20 students to ImLal as part of his annual Forest Systems Field Trip on 24 February, 2022.
A few weeks later, 'Florry' Florentine from Federation University led his annual trip of land rehab and ecological restoration students to ImLal.
Both remarked on how "unique" our site remains, marrying both conservation and production.
We noted that three of the sequoia are now topping their guards!
After four months since planting, sheoaks and messmate growing straight and strong in Rowan Reid's tall tubes with a flexible post to cope with bouncing roos and grazing wallabies. The critters do push the sleeves up so need regular checking. The sleeves have proven too tight for spreading shrubs like the banksia.
Lime render beneath the eaves and brass handles on the double doors were the final touches added by Lachie. Below is a gallery of images of the completed 21C drop slab hut.
Annual spraying of gorse on the mullock heap top. Hakea decurrens still going strong (middle). Last of the black wattle going in (bottom). Not much gorse left to spray in ImLal South.
Spot the echidna trying to hide. She roams around the west end of ImLal South, but we hadn't seen her for a while, so it was a pleasure to re-encounter her during the spring bird survey.
We topped up patches around the southern 5ha of the biorich plantation after the spring bird survey – with 40 black wattle, 20 silver banksia and 20 messmate stringybark.
Gary had sprayed the grass twice with glyphosate and marked the various locations for planting. The long sleeves and the bendy fibreglass poles were purchased from Rowan Reid and are designed to deter bouncing roos and grazing wallabies. Hopefully, the sleeves are not too narrow for the banksia's spreading form. The ground was saturated, with water pooling after being dug into in a few spots. Will the tubestock drown? Like the long sleeves, yet another real life experiment.
The black wattle and messmate are both timber species used in our 21C drop slab hut. The silver banksia is a locally endangered species that seems to thrive at ImLal. We hope to establish a seed orchard for the silver banksia (Banksia marginata) with Seeding Victoria.
We ended the morning's events with a barbecue in the clearing next to the newly completed 21C drop slab hut. No doubt, the first of many such enjoyable occasions.
Seven of us took part in the spring bird survey led by ornithologist Tanya Loos. As enthusiastic and competent as ever.
It was a still cloudy day with a couple of serious birders joining us. While only 33 species were recorded, these were present in large numbers, such as sighting of seven or more yellow faced honeyeaters – the first-ever species we recorded at ImLal.
The plant growth this year has been truly remarkable, with even the shrubs now towering above us. One pronounced change was the dieback of the silver wattle, under serious attack from a mite.
It's been a very wet spring and there was a lot of water laying about.
Gib Wettenhall is interested in how we carry out large scale landscape restoration that involves the people who live in those landscapes. That, he believes, would build truly resilient landscapes.