Monday, October 15, 2012

We took a trip over to friend's house to do some gutter mending today. It's amazing how the island has come into flower, the ti-tree particularly. I really need to move on the bees! Spring is well on the way and the roadkill is sprouting flies :-(. The downside of the island and its high animal population.

On the veggie front, the one variety of zucchini (romanesco - not much use, except it is early) is getting going like a train. The other I grow (black) won't even germinate yet. The summer squash is growing fine too. We're getting reasonable amounts of lettuce and silverbeet, and the first cauliflower is almost ready. Tomatoes, sadly are still barely one true leaf stage. I really need to set out the rock melons and watermelons (or we'll run out of summer) that I managed to germinate but the ground needs to be prepared and they need little individual hothouses.

Anyway, I need to go and get a wallaby. Dogs are nearly out of tucker, and we could use some too. For some, hunting is fun... for me, it's part of living.


  1. Two questions for you --Is ti-tree what produces the "tea tree oil" -- very strong-smelling essential oil used as antiseptic and anti-fungal agent? If so, I hope the flowers don't smell, nor the honey taste, like the oil!

    And, how big are wallabies? How long can you and the dogs eat off one?

    Inquiring minds that will probably never make it to the Antipodes love having your window into the experience.

    Good luck on those bees. Mine have just demonstrated that they are very satisfactorily self-sufficient, surviving and thriving during a summer while I was stuck in town with a broken ankle, and they got checked on about three times total.

  2. Yep, that's it. Melaleuca - surprisingly, in flower smell and in the honey it's rather nice. The resultant honey, used for medicinal purposes - as well as just eating, is dark but not unpleasant. Sold as a 'medicinal' honey it can fetch up to $300 a kg I believe.

    Wallaby -we have two species and they vary a LOT in in size as adults, dressed out - ribs down (there is not much meat above that) Anywhere between 5 pounds (a female red) to about 16 pounds (a good size grey male). The dogs get a half-pound a day each. On average I need a wallaby every 10 days to feed them. Basically wallaby are our rabbits - with the difference being that on the island the only predator they have is man - and occasionally dogs (there are no wild dogs, and dogs running wild tend to get shot for stock-worrying). They're grazers in a place which USED, naturally, to have extremely little grazing. Now about 2/3 of the island is grazing - so a population explosion. There are perhaps 200 people shooting wallaby - mostly farmers, in 1333 square km. The wallaby are quite prolific breeders and respond to abundance. As a result in droughts they've had to resort to poison as the animals are starving and eating all the grazing for the sheep and cows. They're actually bordering on being a problem animal, here. There is only one commercial hunter, and I have seen him shoot 50 in 2 fields - and come back three nights in a row. We don't abut directly onto any forest land, so there are probably never more than maybe a thousand on the farm. (there are more than 7000 sheep, and more than a thousand cattle).