my adventures

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2010

January 31st, 2010

Well Happy New Year everyone. What is your new year's resolution this year? Does it really matter anyway? I wonder how many people put environment as one of their resolution this year? The fruit forest project has been a mixed success. The existing pump that transfer water from the weir to the fruit forest area needs maintenance work. It's my fault as I really never use it for the past 10 years. So I will need to sell it or simply give it away. I will need to install a solar pump, hmm that will be lots of cost or should I just wait until the dam is full? Let's see if there is lots of rain then there is a slight chance of the dam filling up otherwise I should really invest in solar pump.
As for the pioneer trees surprisingly lots of them sort of bounced back and a couple of trees are about my height now. That's really good news. In my next visit I will build the main pond with solar fountain that I just ordered tonight. It will look good. I will also divert water from the second tank to the ditches or pond. So as usual there are lots of work, and I will try to get a few helpers again.

March 8th, 2010

Today I have received a bill for my electricity this quarter. It was a pleasant surprise indeed. Why? Because the bill is -$9.05, yes that's right! The electricity provider actually has to pay me $9! The last quarter also had many overcast days which reduces the electricity generation and this was also based on 1 kW panel.Those who have installed 1.5 kW system should be getting 50% more!
As for the fruit forest project, well there was really not much progress except that there had been lots of rain in the area. The next visit there will be soon so it will be interesting how much has the pioneer trees grown and how full the dam is. As promised the main pond and solar fountain will go in next. In the mean time I am in the middle of building a PED
(Possum Exclusion Device) here in Sydney which I will take picture and post later on.

April 17th, 2010

My PED is near completion. It's not very straight, but it will do the job. In the process of making it, I also learned a lot on what should be done in the future. I am curious how long this structure will last, but I believe it should be at least a couple of years. The total cost is less than $50, as usual I am re-using many existing materials, unfortunately this means that the completion time is actually longer.
The fruit forest project was boosted by recent rain. The pioneer trees are really doing well. The fence does the job in keeping wombat and wallaby out. To my amazement the mulched area is completely green! Grasses and weeds are everywhere including green manure plants. I have to trim the grasses and cut flowering weeds, but no major removal or soil turn yet as I need them to keep the evaporation down. I have now stopped the irrigation from the tank in preparation for installation of a new pressure pump for drip irrigation purpose. The dam is also now half full and if the dam builder is right then I will have 700,000 liter of water, which should be enough to irrigate the fruit trees if needed, however I am going to rely on my water tank and rain in the mean time. If my calculation is right, the water tank is big enough to supply water for all the trees for 3 months without rain. I am full of optimism and I will have to order the fruit trees next month.

May 29th, 2010

Lots of things to share this month. I just came back from holidays in Jakarta, Bali and Northern Territory. The Jakarta visit is to celebrate mum's 80th birthday. In Bali, I stayed in Nusa Dua and it is clear to me that Bali really needs Bali Clean Up Day to rid of the rubbish which is everywhere especially along the beach. Apart from that cycling along Nusa Dua beach was quite fun despite the hot weather. In NT, I visited three National Parks, Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Litchfield. They are simply amazing and very different. The size of the park (especially Kakadu) is really staggering. However, Kakadu is in danger of getting pollutants from Uranium mining nearby.
World cup is on again, that will probably mean lack of sleep for many days.
The PED is 99% complete, it just needs a finishing touch. The next step is to set up the irrigation and then buy the compost and seedlings. I have been watching Costa on SBS lately and he introduced quite a few revolutionary idea on gardening including this one: http://www.aquaponics.net.au
My fruit forest project is doing well, although it is quite slow. The surviving pioneer trees are well established. The ground cover are completely overgrown. The piping for the irrigation was set up last week. Unfortunately, I missed out a component so I can not try it. The tree planting is now due on 10 July. I have placed deposit for about 25 trees altogether, half of the total number of trees that will eventually be planted. Hopefully some of the trees can bear fruits in a couple years time.

June 1st, 2010

I am determined to include major environment news that happened or is happening every week or month. Obviously the past few weeks have been dominated by the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to oil spill from deep water oil rig which blew up. I am quite sad that the reaction is still very mild. I would expect many American will make a stand over the spill and at least reduce their oil dependency.
Another major news last week was the creation of the latest national park in NSW along the Murray river in order to protect Red Gum forest. The new park is about 100,000ha in size which is pretty substantial.

July 12th, 2010

So much so for my determination on weekly news on environment front! Anyway, the news is still dominated by the oil leak in Gulf of Mexico. Unbelievable amount of destruction must be happening in the area and I am not sure how long will it take before things will get to normal again if ever. Someone mentioned on the web that Americans have finally invented car that run on water, but that water must be from Gulf of Mexico ugh.
On Fruit forest front, the major news is that 21 trees were planted yesterday with the help of TG, KR and MK.
It was really hard work but satisfying. The irrigation is up and running and tested with a single dripper. The pump does not oscillate for a long time. I need to visit in a few weeks time to ensure that the soil is not completely dried.

August 5th, 2010

Australian election is in just over 2 weeks time. I can not imagine what would happen if Tony is to win the election. His stance on the environment is simply ludicrous. If elected he will put a brake on marine sanctuary, what a fool! Has he watched "The End of The Line"? Obviously not. The climate change is also a non-event. Labour promise to have discussion forum on it is a big joke. When you have 100 odds people discussing something, there's bound to be disagreement and in the end nothing will get done.
The only thing that's looking up is my fruit forest project. I have now re-layout the irrigation and it now looks more professional thanks to the addition of 50 m of both 25mm and 19mm poly pipe! Each tree also have a dripper, but due to the wet weather I have to ensure that the they drip away from the trees, until my next visit there. This Spring is a
real test to see how many trees actually make it.

October 5th, 2010

The good news about election result is that the Greens will be a major player in the current government both lower and upper house. Although I am still rather skeptical that any major changes will take place on the environment point of view. I just came back from Canada and Hawaii holiday with lots of trekking in both Banff and Jasper National Parks. The two parks are just magnificent, no words can describe them. It's a special place that will always be in my mind. As for the fruit forest projects, I have been to Ilford twice since my last entry. Most of the fruit trees are showing sign of life with either flowers or leaves. The dam was overflowing and there is good rain every 2 weeks or so. The latest addition for the fruit forest project is the grape and kiwi trellis in the shape of an arc. I have now increased the irrigation frequency to 3x a week as Spring is truly here and the warm weather really starts to show in the form of drier soil surface. I spent a full day cutting grasses that were 1m tall to reasonable height.

April 4th, 2011

Long time no blog as I have been busy with CC and FF. FF stands for Fruits Forest while CC will be revealed soon. My fruits forest is doing OK. Three weeks ago I installed a pump that pumps water from the dam to the irrigation water tank. It's only a small pump but it delivers according to specification. It takes a looong time to fill up the irrigation tank due to the sheer size of it. Some trees are doing OK, a couple are struggling. One is a cherry tree whose leaves looked burnt. The other is pear tree whose leaves are being ravaged by a small black caterpillar that eats the chlorophyl. I am yet to find out what it is and how to control it. The experimental vegie bed was a big success. So far I had two bok-choy harvests. I plan to plant other stuff starting next Spring.