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Well, the reserve was deserted today, no staff in sight. Could payday have something to do with it?

The alternative management team (read FOVS) went into full swing anyway and the alien removal team got busy in the vicinity of the Bridge Lookout site and hacked patches of Australian Myrtle and also Hakea while the chainsaw team cleaned up yet another tree on the main picnic site. Our previous stack of branches had been burned as promised so we could make a new heap.


After tea we got busy rearranging the shade house. It is wonderful to have that extra space and we managed to put the plants into more logical groupings. Good time as well to do some weeding.

This took us way past lunchtime and not much else was done except a quick wade to the island to plant some Arums and give the trees there a Bounce Back boost. The trees are looking very healthy but we need to go back to clear some Virgilia which threaten to take over.

Lastly we also swung by the Arboretum to feed the trees there as well and take some measurements in the bird hide for the posters,

The log bench

As I was not completely satisfied with the first log bench I made for the braai area I had a go at making another one and I must say I am happier with this one.

Apparently Goodman was too as he gave it the thumbs up. We ended up having an impromptu meeting about various things going on in and around the reserve. This is a good thing to keep communication going but not so good to get things done.

After tea though we got going with the cleaning up of yet another tree while Neil carried on with the shade house extension, almost ready to put the shade cloth on, put plastic down and move some plants. Rob and Cathy have decided to hack after tea as well because otherwise the monthly program just does not get finished.

In the afternoon we distributed the pile of pine logs in the arboretum, it looks a bit untidy now though once the grass has grown it should form a nice border and hopefully home for some insects and snakes.

When that was done we returned to the nursery because the nursery has gotten the stepchild treatment lately and it shows. Especially the vygies need lots of weeding and some repotting. Unfortunately we have to make that our first priority from now on and drop something else.

Goodman has promised lots, clear along the pipe before the burn, have a hole dug to find the water connection to the braai, push the dead blue gum stalks over, clean up logs, plant trees so we live in hope.

Proof at last

After speculating about the various spoor shown in the previous post Rob caught a mug shot of a water mongoose on the camera so now we have proof of the source of at least some of the tracks. Well done!

Today the Van Stadens Forum meeting was held at the Reserve. This is always a good opportunity to find out little snippets of information about what the various municipal and government agencies are up to. For us it was interesting to find out that at present the water from Van Stadens, Bulkriver and Sandriver is not used by the metro at all due to decaying infrastructure so there is plenty of water for us to use. Not that we need any at the moment with all the rain we’ve had.

There was also talk about the need for preventative burning of a section of the reserve, promises were made so we’ll see.

Rob, Cathy and Keith have moved their activities to the area behind the main picnic site. It is very encouraging to note that the Podalyria invasion is greatly reduced and the blue gum seedlings are not too bad. It is still too big a job for three people to keep the reserve alien free though and more help is needed. At least we have stopped the invasion from our own blue gums.

Neil put his holiday to good use again too and carried on with the extension of the shade house which involved planting of poles and lots of fighting with thick, stubborn wire, quite a strenuous job even for much younger person than us and it looks very promising.

After lunch we eventually got to some ‘real’ work and cleaned up another tree’s branches. Sisanie arrived to gratefully collect a scoop full of firewood and he promised to burn our stacks of branches and remove more wood so there is good progress.

Finally we braved the cold water to plant a holly tree on the island. The water was ok but the wind chill forced us to make a quick job of it. The warm cup of coffee we looked forward did not happen because just at that time there was load shedding.

Entrance circle

Our monthly meeting and a good opportunity to do something about the overgrown entrance circle and also to finish off the edging of the west bank. We had our usual small group of volunteers when there is work to be done. The advantage of this is that they don’t need much in way of instruction or showing so they all got stuck in while I went off to clear some more of the pine tree logs.

P1020092A few loads of these to the arboretum where we will distribute them and provide food and nesting places for the bugs and in due time turn to compost.

When I returned to the circle there was amazing progress in spite of the chatter and banter.

Digging up the invading grass was quite a job, so were some Searsia stumps but the result was so satisfying that teatime was delayed somewhat because the job had to finished. I wonder if we will get any reaction at the Van Stadens forum on Thursday.

After the break Ellie wanted a table moved on the picnic site, quite a job judging by the body language.

The poor trailer was creaking under the load but we got there.

After lunch we relaxed and had a nice group stroll around the arboretum area identifying this and that and when everyone had gone we had another look for a flowering Aloe gracilis.

That still wasn’t quite it, we were curious if the Nymph trail wasn’t overgrown yet so we walked a section and were treated to a lovely sight on Turtle Creek, all our ducks in a row:

While there we saw interesting spoor, hopefully Rob can identify some of them.

Finally, finally back to the office to tidy up, put the chairs straight and get the things back to the Fovs room.