It’s that time of year … the briefest of lulls between preparing the vineyard and garlic harvest.
Spring is springing and, with some temperamental storms, everything is blooming – fruit trees, grass seeds, roses and poppy’s – and weeds. Paddock by paddock we’re still pulling the Fireweed, and slowly winning. Paddocks that were rife last year now only take a few minutes to pick over.
We’ve now hit the arena paddock at the front of the property, and I feel like I’ve been picking this piece of ground over and over since last autumn. It’s not the large, flowering, fireweed that is taking the time but rather the 20 juveniles hiding around it. The only real way to tackle this weed is to literally “crawl” along the ground, plucking as you go.
So – if you’re passing and spy a worn pair of Levi’s, attached to the end of a pair of well-loved gumboots, give me a toot.
But it’s not only whilst crawling along in the paddock that jeans and boots are a must.
Snake season has begun.
There are two main varieties of snake lurking in our area – red belly black snake and eastern brown snake. Despite finding a six foot brown snake skin behind the water tank last summer, I’ve only ever seen the red bellies and, considering we have to have some form of snake on the land in Australia, I’d much rather this variety hanging around.
The red bellies are a timid creature who, when stumbled across, will quietly slither away and leave you completely alone … whereas the brown snakes are known to be aggressive and will follow you to attack. In a strange twist of nature the red bellies will attack and drive away the browns’ – hence the red bellies are more welcome.
That snakes are on the move was bought home in two ways today. Firstly an acquaintance posted a tale on Facebook of a brown trapping her on the pool table while the snake took up residence in an aggressive Mexican standoff … and then later I watched a red belly quietly disappear into the garden undergrowth as I checked on the orchard, leaving me completely alone.
I admit I was surprised to see a snake so close to the house as the horses tend to keep them away – a theory that may be disputed by a stable owning friend who often finds snakes in her feed room.
Looks like Spot might be banished from his favourite play area – racing around on top of the rabbit mound – as I’d hate for a snake to give him a nip. But if he just can’t cope, I’ll just have to make up this natural snake repellent spray:
120mL Oil of Cloves
20mL Eucalyptus Oil
20mL Tea Tree Oil
20mL Lavender Oil
20mL Sandalwood Oil
Dilute to 1 litre with water
Re-spray every month
So, the jeans and boots will stay on and, when you see the glow-in-the-dark legs on the beach, remember they probably belong to a backbone-of-this-country farmer.
Stay safe and have a wonderful spring.