I've spent hours and hours over the past two weeks working down the small bank near the new(ish) house here at Struan Farm. This all started with weeding the bank so that we could deploy the mountain of chip mulch left us by the roading crew around our native landscaping. That job has been done, but since we still have heaps of chip left to use I made the mistake taking a good close look down at the bottom of the bank. You know how that goes, when one small project morphs into a monster?
By way of back story, a few years ago when we built the new house John and I needed to take down twelve or so black wattle trees before the power lines could be installed. John's dad Maurie had planted these many years ago for firewood. And while we continue to enjoy the firewood, what he didn't know at the time is that the trees are a noxious weed (officially designated so in Australia and South Africa, not NZ as yet). The stumps and seeds, which can live in the ground for 30 years, have continued to sprout out of control. People tell you they're easy to kill via a combination of pulling them out and/or poison, but I don't think these people have really had to contend with the reincarnations of a number of these huge trees themselves. Much easier said than done.
We now have several hundred young wattle trees in various stages growing away. No exaggeration, and a problem since they're embedded in the bush with other trees and plants growing around them. They've already been pulled out and/or poisoned two-three times, although perhaps not in an excessively compulsive way.
Enter Karen, who's decided that compulsion is indeed required or this will just get more and more out of control. I've started weeding around the mother tree stumps, after which I will pull out or poison the growing wattles, then spread chip to keep weed growth around the stumps suppressed so we can actually see the wattles when they start to re-sprout (nephew Mike will do that last bit). Once this work is done I'll hunt down the wattles that are growing in the adjacent bush, pulling them out and/or cutting them off and poisoning them.
Have you ever had that daunting feeling you'll be doing something for the rest of your life, hoping to make (at least) a dent over the next 20 or so years? This would be one of those.