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  • Writer's pictureHuttons Valley Permaculture

The Magic Firewood Tree

I used to love reading Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree and all the adventures to be had in that tree. I'm finding that the magnificent huge trees that I have here have amazing communities within them - just like the magic faraway tree. Many varieties of birds and insects and possums call them home. I was sitting under one tree yesterday and could hear a buzzing sound. Looking up I could see the tree was in flower and buzzing around all the blooms were, what seemed like, thousands of bees. Hopefully my little bees were amongst them gathering up the sweet nectar.

So why the magic firewood tree? Well this particular tree is a wonderful resource - always dropping limbs and branches. A bit like Ruby's hair there always seems to be more just falling out. One of the twelve principles of permaculture is to obtain a yield. That's exactly what I did yesterday. Gathering up lots of smaller branches to store for kindling for the winter. The leafy ends I piled up in one area to become a future mulch source for my oak tree planting in the zone 4 woodlot. My alpacas are great at creating dust baths so by clearing this vegetation means the grass can again grow in this area and make it less appealing for a dusty alpaca bath!

Another great resource is long grass. Allowing it to grow, capturing carbon and nitrogen, means that it can be harvested and used. In this case I clipped it down and lined my duckling enclosure - giving them lovely greens to eat while also freshening up the whole area.

As soon as I've put it in place they rush over to enjoy - eating or just having a lie down. It must smell really good to them - well it would have to be better than the smell of duck poop!!

The rest of my day I spent starting to organise my wood pile. Some of it is heading towards the dam where I'm hoping it will begin to create some much needed habitat. The larger logs will be piled up in one area of the waters edge to provide some shelter for future fish. Still got to work out how to get some soil happening so I can grow water loving plants but adding a bit of organics has to help!

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