The CIDER GUM (EUCALYPTUS GUNNII)

There is only one place in Australia, where the magnificent Miena Cider Gum (eucalyptus Gunnii) grows.

Miena, situated in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, the renowned for its freshwater lakes and trout fishing, has been the home for the Cider Gum for thousands of years, sadly this species has come under immense pressure from a changing climate and the browsing of native animals (like the Brush Tail Possum) which love to browse on the sweet, scented leaves.

There are two species of Cider Gum which grow in the highland area but only one is unique to Tasmania, which is the Miena Cider Gum, a similar species that grows a little lower in altitude also grows in Victoria.

I wrote this poem a few years back after witnessing the dying gums on my many trips to the lake country.

………………………………


 

The full moon ablaze in the clear night sky

Shines down on the Cider Gum skeletons

Their ghostly silhouettes, so white and stark

Bare witness to an environment under pressure

 

The Central Plateau, the high country of Tasmania

Has been the home of the Cider Gum for centuries

But they are under immense pressure from the climate

As the environment is stressed and changing fast

 

Grazed extensively by native and domestic animals

The gum was prevalent and thriving in the land of lakes

Now standing forlorn, dead, and dying in numbers

There limbs and branches bleached white by the sun

 

Aboriginals’ population of the past had many uses for the gum

The first settlers and trappers also used the Cider Gum

A brew was made from the sweet tasting leaves

And branches used to freshen up the camps and homes

 

Many attempts have been made to reintroduce the gums

But pressure from browsing and climate change has been unsuccessful

Seasonal changes and a lack of constant rain and wet weather

With the snow cover no longer lingering for weeks on end

 

 

 

For thousands of years the Cider Gum has survived

Such a unique and magnificent species of gum

Will soon be a distant memory and extinct

Unless a conservative survival effort is adopted


 

By Way2goKev (Kevin L Fairbrother) revised 2021

 

 

 


 

Keeping the home fires burning


 
 

Tasmanian winters can be quite harsh, which means that most households must have some form of heating. Homeowners use a variety of fuels to heat their homes but by far the most used heat source is burning wood in wood heaters. Other fuels used include, electric, gas and various forms of pellets.

Wood for heating is plentiful but is getting scarce and costing more. Most home- owners cut and split their own from private property or get a permit from forestry Tasmania to access the crown land forests.

Getting your own firewood has many benefits, it keeps you fit, involves the whole family and is a pleasant day’s outing.

I have the advantage of having a forest of dead trees on our property.

Keeping the home fires burning

 

 

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Tasmanians have always relied on Eucalyptus forests to stay warm during the Autumn and winter months. The forests are a ready source of firewood and taswegens have a tradition of going bush and cutting their own supply of firewood.

Most weekends the roads are filled with Utes and trailers, heading for the lake country to get their loads of firewood, many wood hookers combine the weekend with a kangaroo hunt and taking home a load of firewood

 

Tasmanian winters can be quite harsh, which means that most households must have some form of heating. Homeowners use a variety of fuels to heat their homes but by far the most used heat source is burning wood in wood heaters. Other fuels used include, electric, gas and various forms of pellets.

Wood for heating is plentiful but is getting scarce and costing more. Most home- owners cut and split their own from private property or get a permit from forestry Tasmania to access the crown land forests.

Getting your own firewood has many benefits, it keeps you fit, involves the whole family and is a pleasant day’s outing.

I have the advantage of having a forest of dead trees on our property.

The old Toyota Hilux has a rich history of being a reliable work horse and over the many years has carried a variety of loads, including livestock, wool, different types of materials and of course firewood.

 

 

 

 

Put another log on the fire.

By way2gokev

 

The days draw in as Autumn begins

The low fronts develop in the Southern Ocean

Pushing up from Antarctic circle, then

Slowly drift towards the Tassie coast

 

Tasmania situated near the roaring forties

Bares the brunt of the cold weather systems

The wind howls, the cold cuts to the bone

People rug up and head for warmth and home

 

The summer months spent gathering firewood

Builds a stockpile to see winter through

The wood-heaters once lit, rarely go out

For the nights are long and bitterly cold

 

 

So warm and cozy inside the home

Outside just rain wind and snow

Soups and stews are all the go

All eaten near the fires glow

 

Time for bed, once the fire is stoked and built

Hoping it will last till morning light

Through the long night nature calls

Whilst up put another log on the fire

 

 

 

 

Just A Bloke

By

Way2gokev

Keeping the Home Fires Burning.

 

Bob places the 066 chainsaw, with it 25-inch bar and newly sharpened chain in the back of the old Toyota ute, along with the axe and wedges, the fuel and oil container were next. For Bob was determined today to get that old dry white gum, with its top 20 feet broken off, on the ground to cut up for firewood.

Heading down the gully, on the rough bush track, Bob was glad that it was a cloudy, cool day, because he would be able to work harder and not get over heated. He could see in the distance the big old tree, standing high above the surrounding bush. Bob, thought to himself that this old gum would be at least a couple of hundred years old, probably be full of rot in the middle which makes for a scary proposition to fall and to get on the ground, as there would only be the outside shell of the trunk holding the tree up.

Bob pulled the old Toyota to a stop, opposite the old gum that was still standing tall on the steep bank above the creek.

Lugging the chainsaw, wedges, and axe down into the creek bed, Bob fought his way through the heavy under-growth of ferns and stink bush and eventually arrived at the base of the old tree.

Bob could see that he would have to clear the area around the trunk of old fallen limbs, wattle trees and bark. This took over an hour and he had worked up quite a sweat but now satisfied that he could get the saw into the trunk with safety and have a clear get away path.

Bobs thoughts now turned to the best position to put in a good size front (scarf) to help the tree fall where he wanted it to.

Bob started the big chainsaw up and proceeded to put in the front wedge, no sooner than he started to cut he could feel that the old tree was defiantly rotten from about 3 inches in, this observation caused him to proceed cautiously as he didn’t want the old tree to start falling before, he got in a good front. He finished the saw cut, then grabbing the axe, he chipped away at the last little bit and managed to get the wedge out with not too much trouble.

Now says Bob to himself, comes the nitty gritty part, to get this tree to fall safely and with no limbs on the tree to help pull the tree towards the creek and seeing how the trunk was standing nearly straight up, he hoped that he could get the tree on the ground with-out a mishap.

Bob grabbed the saw, then put the saw back on the ground and had a think about how to cut the rest of the trunk without splitting, knowing that there was probably less than 3 inches of good solid wood.

Bob was feeling a bit apprehensive about the task ahead, he was sweating, feeling the heat of the moment of decision, well I’m committed now and must get this old tree down.

Bob saw that on one side of the tree was quite rotten, right down to the ground- this would mean that once he cut the back and other side the tree would just pull roots and all out of the ground, he would have to make sure he was well clear of the trunk on that side as dirt, rocks and roots would fly into the air, making it a bit of a hazard.

Bob got a good grip of the saw and said to himself, “it’s now or never”. He put the saw into the tree trunk on the opposite side to where the rot was and carefully cut around to the back, noting that there was not too much holding this tree up. He stopped the saw and looked up the trunk to see if there was any movement, seeing none, he slowly headed around to the rotten side.

Bob backed off when he could feel a bit a movement in the trunk, he waited ready to pull the saw out and get to safety. “Right” he said out loud, “the last couple of feet will have to be done quickly”. Revving the saw to full bore, he cut as fast as he could the last bit and then he could see that the tree was starting to heel over, so he pulled the saw out and backed away to safety, watching the tree as it was falling all the time.

He could see the rotten side lifting out of the ground pulling roots out, but the tree was heading the right way and with an almighty thump, the tree hit the ground and splintered all the way along its length, smashing down all the scrub in the creek. The tree ended up about 15 feet from the stump and had all so broken in half at the creek. It was like a big bridge.

Bob was happy and relieved that the old tree had fell where he wanted it to go and that the chainsaw and himself were still in one piece. He waited for things to settle down, looking into the overhead trees around to make sure there were no widow makers (limbs) hanging down and that the old tree had settled.

He made his way down to the creek stepping gingerly over all the broken scrub to the head of the tree that was all smashed up with a good deal of it laying on the track. Bob said to himself, “easy pickings here for a quick load of dry firewood” so he settled in with the saw and in no time had a full ute load of firewood. He managed to get 10 loads of wood out of the old tree which was pretty good considering all the pithy rot in the center.

All up Bob reckoned he ended up with 10 ton of dry firewood, all stacked away in the shed ready for next winters fires.

“A good day’s work for a bloke in his seventies” Bob thought as he enjoyed a well-earned cupper.

 

Friends

Friends come and go at will

Some even add to your woes

Others make your day complete

Be sure to appreciate the effort

True friends are hard to find and keep

Especially the ones that never put you down

Some will sling mud behind your back

Forget them, they are not worth the effort

Take the time to visit or call and ask how was your day

Look for signs that signal, all is not right in their world

Be sure to tell your friends you value their friendship

Always keep the lines of communication open

F. = faithfull, respectful and trustworthy

R.= resilient when times are tough

I.=indescribable their leadership to you

E.= enrich your life with care and attention

N.= never say no, when trouble strikes

D.= dependable always available

S.= sustain your faith in human kind

Kevin L Fairbrother 2nd of September 2019

High country dogs

HIGH COUNTRY DOGS by Kevin L Fairbrother

On any given day in the high country, WAHARJA station awakens

To a chorus of boisterous yapping dogs, of various breeds and colors

Winter, autumn, spring and summer, the dogs are ready to please

Yapping and jumping, they strain at their chains, eager for release

She treats them with trust and respect, kind words and gentle pats

That way, she knows that the dogs will always give their best

Irene their owner and shepherd knows all the dog’s names

For a dog’s life in the high country is hard, rough and tough

All the dogs have been bred on the station and will spend their lives there

There are hunters, rousers, headers and drivers and some in-between

Short, tall, big and small with coats long, short, thick and thin

Irene knows each one individually, knows their capability

For the work could be in the yard heading or separating the sheep

Or rousing and driving the kangaroo, even a deer or two

Droving the sheep on the many runs within the farm

Or gathering round the many leases in the lake country

The dogs give their all; work all-day in all sorts of weather

From snow to driving rain, cold freezing winds or a rare summers day

They don’t complain; sneak a rest and a drink when they can

Always working tirelessly, for the dogs want to please; their boss Irene.

As the day draws down and the work is done, time to head home

Irene horse Frosty, picks up the pace as the dogs follow along side

It’s been a hard, cold wet day gathering the sheep out of the hills

Now penned safely in the yards behind the shearing shed

The dogs wet and with tongues hanging out feel the strain of their effort

But still faithfully stay close at hand ready to jump to Irene’s commands

As the lights of home and a warm bed plus a feed of kangaroo draw near

For the day is done and tomorrow there is more work to be done

A brilliant red western sky slowly darkens beneath the horizon

Heralding a cool but sunny day, ideal for high country workday

The dogs now fed and snug in kennels, the horse, given his oats

Time for Irene to cook a feed, stoke the fire and call it a day

Droving the mob of sheep with the help of the dogs. Set in the Highlands of Tasmania.

Junk

Junk

By

Kevin L Fairbrother

Scattered memories, some-ones pride and joy

Tangled wreckage, twisted and fractured

Once a prized possession, loved and enjoyed

Now a piece of worthless junk, no hope of resurrection

The value diminished, damaged and broken

Confined to landfill or scrap, buried or sent overseas

Small amount recycled or could be in the eyes of others

A sculpture and piece of art,, rejuvenated for others to see

China turns our waste into, cheap and nasty products

Then sell it to a throw away society, swallowed into landfill and scrap

Plastic remnants float in our oceans, eddie’s of mountains of rubbish

Swallowed by unsuspecting wildlife, tainting the shores of Islands, worldwide

Gone are the days of quality products, cheap rubbish fills our shelves

Inferior materials of dubious origin, made with toxic chemicals

No pride in workmanship, build it, ship it, who cares if your life cut short

They take your money and run, a message to us all who buy this crap

Cheap is no option for quality in materials and workmanship

Think about the environment and the lasting effects of plastic

Mother Nature will reward us if we do the right thing by the planet

Take notice and heed the words of wisdom and truth.

Scarred and Blackened

Scarred and Blackened

Tasmania’s rugged but scenic South West

Lies an ancient land of pristine wilderness

Protected by a World Heritage Listing

An eco-system a thousand years nesting

A land of Aboriginal spiritual dreamtime

Where rare native flora survives, like Pencil Pine

And fauna abound on the Button Grass plains

With rugged mountain ranges never tamed

Hunter Gatherers burned to reduce the fuel load

The protectors now heading down the wrong road

By letting the fuel build to immense dimensions

A massive fire just waiting to turn the land ashen

The spirit of storm clouds gathers up high

For the rangers this is pleasing to the eye

But alas, this building spiral of cloud is dry

Just building thunder heads in the sky

The inner circle of the clouds one big mass

Intermingle, then with violence they clash

Spewing bolts of lightning to the ground

But not a drop of precious rain to be found

A searing bolt of lightning grounds

Amid the drought-stricken pencil pines

An explosion of sparks, then flames

A fire is born the lightening to blame

Spreading quickly with the brisk westerly winds

The fire races through the dry Button grass plains

A massive cloud of smoke drifts east

Alerting the protectors to this massive beast

The call goes out for fire fighters and water bombers

As the black smoke causes concern to near-by loggers

For the fire now a catastrophic inferno

Consuming the wilderness like no tomorrow

The water bombers and man-power useless

Against this cataclysm of wild fire that has unleashed

Thousands of acres of pristine wilderness

Now blackened and scared, a nothingness

For weeks it burned, some 100,000 acres

Now tamed by remote area fire-fighters

But the scars from the fire yet to discover

A landscape that will take years to recover

Penned May 2019 by K.L.Fairbrother

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Name Blanks

Way2gokev's Blog

As I grow older, I tend to remember less and less

Especially peoples names, which I always forget

Their faces I recall in my brain somewhere

But for the love of me, I can’t remember their name

In Australia a lot of people especially men call their friends not by their proper names. Popular names like Mate, Cobber, Bloke, Blue and many others, now there is another to add to the many “HARRY”

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Daily Prompt: Tea

via Daily Prompt: Tea

TEA

Tea is not the same as tee

Tee is all about a game of golf

Tea is like a cup of tea…..or

In Australia the night time meal

 

A cup of tea with scones, jam and cream

Is what we have for afternoon tea

Tea time is a cooked meal like a roast

Served with lots of vegies on your plate

 

Now supper is not a bit like tea

That’s America’s night time meal

The English have tea but call it dinner

In Australia, tea is the nightly meal

 

Cups of tea I’ll have through out the day

With a snack of biscuits and cheese

So when one mentions tea is ready

I know it is my night time meal