Acacia abounds

Through the cold, damp haze of August, the first promise of spring starts to appear across the landscape. The expanse of green in the forest turns a lovely shade of yellow as the wattle trees flower. With over 1,000 species of Acacia worldwide, around 950 are native to Australia. We mainly have two species on our property, both are endemic to eastern Australia. Acacia melanoxylon grows to 40 metres in Tasmania, twice the height if its mainland siblings, and can live over 100 years. The Tasmanian blackwood is a beautiful tree and we are surrounded by them.

1.Tasmanian blackwood

The timber, with its variable colours and grains, is sought after for furniture making. The Aborigines used a hot infusion of roasted bark to bathe rheumatic joints. The same potion was used to stun fish to make them easier to catch. The creamy yellow flowers have a fluffy appearance and grow in clusters.

2.Tasmanian blackwood flowers

Our morning walks with Poppy look quite different when the wattles are flowering.

3.forest walk

Acacia verticillata is my favourite. Prickly Moses doesn’t actually have thorns but the small, flattened leaf stalks are prickly.

4.Prickly Moses

The flowers are quite different to the blackwood, a brighter yellow and cylindrical in shape.

5.Prickly Moses

The dense, prickly foliage offers a safe home for little critters like bandicoots and birds.

6.Prickly Moses

I have seen Acacia mucronata, or Narrow-leaved wattle, in the conservation area adjoining our property. It has creamy yellow cylindrical flowers and, not surprisingly, narrow leaves.

7.Narrow-leaved Wattle

I’ve often wondered why Acacias are called wattles. Apparently, it comes from the term, “wattle & daub”, a technique used by the early British settlers for building their huts. The branches were used to make the framework which were then daubed with mud (and perhaps a few cow pats). The Acacias were used mostly and so, they became known as wattles.

Boranup Forest

After a day of indulging in the digestible delights of the Margaret River region, it was time to walk off some of the damage. Boranup Karri Forest was the perfect destination. It is possible to drive through the forest but calories are not burned that way. We parked the car

1.Boranup Karri forest

and choosing a walking track,

2.Boranup Karri forest

we were soon surrounded by towering Karri trees.

3.Karri forest4.Karri trees

The Karri is a eucalypt, native to south western Australia, with a light coloured trunk that turns brown before it is shed.

5.Karri tree

The leaves are dark green on top and lighter underneath, hence the botanical name Eucalyptus diversicolor. The third tallest tree species in the world, mature trees branch only from the top third of the trunk.

6.Karri trees

At ground level, there were cosy homes for the wildlife

7.Karri tree

and a few early wildflowers added colour to the forest.

It’s hard to believe these magnificent trees are little more than 100 years old. The area was extensively logged between 1884 and 1913, the long, straight timber widely used in the building industry.

12.Karri forest

Hopefully, these trees will be left in the forest for future generations to enjoy.

13.Karri forest

wistful walks

Poppy is usually accompanied on her walks by Michael but he has fallen victim to a nasty virus and so, Poppy has been taking me instead. We have been exploring the different paths and finding all sorts of interesting things. The morning mist as we start the River Walk is breathtaking

1-river-walk

and the forest is serene.

2-river-walk3-river-walk

Despite the lingering cold and wet, the spring flowers are trying their best.

I haven’t been along Spooky Path for a while. Soon after we moved here, I was walking this path with Poppy and was unnerved by the thumping sounds around me. Memories of the movie, ‘Predator’, whipped my nerves into a frenzy along with my imagination. Hence, Spooky Path was named. Where the path becomes swallowed by scrub, the valley drops out of sight to the Blythe River below and the ridge opposite seems so close.

13-spooky-path14-spooky-path

Poppy found some special newcomers in the forest.

14a-baby-birds

They grew very quickly and soon flew the nest.

14b-baby-birds

Down in the rainforest, the water is tumbling along in the stream

17-stream

and the manferns are lush with new growth.

On a damp morning

21-raindrops

we walked Pat’s Path, named for my sister who first discovered the path when she came for a holiday soon after we moved here.

22-pats-path

The views of the rainforest are stunning from this higher ground.

23-pats-path24-pats-path

After a while, the path disappears into the trees and we have to retrace our steps.

25-pats-path

You never know who you might meet on the way back home.

26-parrot

Of course, Poppy is always ready to do one more path.

27-poppy

wondrous walk

My favourite walk with Poppy is one we call the river walk. The Blythe Conservation Area meets our property at the eastern boundary. Across the paddock and through a gate, we join a walking track. A short distance along, I look to my right and am awestruck at the realisation we live in our own patch of Tasmanian wilderness.

1.valley1

The view across the valley changes with the seasons.

2.valley23.valley3

Now and then there is a little surprise

and the forest embraces from all sides as the track continues.

7.forest18.forest210.forest4

Nature’s debris has its own beauty

and the trees reach for the sky.

15.lookup

About a kilometre into the forest, the track descends steeply to the Blythe River,

18.river317.river2

a serene spot for a few hours of fishing.

16.river119.river4

The light reflects the natural tannins in the water.

20.river5

The best time of day to walk the river track is early morning, the rising sun glistening through the trees is spectacular.

24.sunrise4

27.sunrise7

Just another day in paradise.