We rescued a baby

While you were gorging on chocolate bunnies this past long weekend, Marcus and I were being quite heroic (well up to the point where I accidentally stabbed him with a fishing knife, but that's a story for another day). We rescued a little baby joey. And yes, it was very cute. And very sad at the same time.

This is what happened.

Marcus had been on the farm building fences (as he does) and he mentioned to me that he'd seen an old roo looking a bit poorly down at the bottom paddock. I promptly made my way in that general direction to check if the poor thing was ok (as I do).

I didn't make it to the bottom paddock though. On my way there, I found a very little baby kangaroo stuck in one of the a barbed wire fences we'd pegged to be removed. The poor thing had its legs caught between two lines of barbed wire and was obviously very uncomfortable. He was laying on his back with both his legs in the air (or the wire, as the case may be) and was quite unable to move.

Poor thing.

Well, what to do!? I called Marcus over to the rescue (as I do). And Marcus being the hero that he is came a runnin'! Carefully, we untangled the poor thing and helped him out. We carefully inspected his little legs that seemed unbroken, though a little cut up. We set him on his two back legs and crossed our fingers that he'd be capable of bounding off into the sunset. But the poor little sod was both so young and so shaken that he couldn't make those legs of his do what he wanted and had quite a difficult time scampering away. So we gathered him up again, and marched him over to our next door neighbours who have been living in the area for 10 years.

Fortunately, they knew just what to do! We called up the local Wildlife Rescue number and found a local vet nurse to look after the little guy. She was only a short car trip away, so we bundled him up into a makeshift fake kangaroo pouch (a pillowcase) and delivered him to the real hero of the story.

She was quite sad to see the poor little tacker in such distress. She explained to me that he was so little he'd likely not been out of his mother's pouch very long at all, so no wonder he couldn't get the hand of the bouncing thing. Plus he was probably in shock and a bit hungry. She explained too that in general, animals are released back into the wild as soon as they're well enough - so with any luck, we will see him bouncing around our farm again before we know it!

I never did find the old roo, though.

Needless to say, I was so worried about the poor thing I didn't think to take more photos. Wish I had though - he was SO cute and LITTLE! These will have to suffice!

A note on barbed wire. As we've discussed in previous posts, the fences on our property were in quite a state of disrepair when we took possession, and Marcus is slowly working on fixing them. In their current state, most of the fences on the farm are seriously dangerous to wildlife, as this story shows us. When our new fences are up and running they will include one piece of barbed wire, but this is largely to ensure livestock (cows, sheep, goats) don't escape. When barbed wire fences are well erected and maintained, they shouldn't pose too serious a risk to native animals. We like native animals (not the introduced pests so much) and we're actually planning on installing little "cat doors" to make sure our farm is friendly to the little guys, and that they aren't tempted to try and jump the fences and hurt themselves.

Fencing

One of the most interesting challenges to taking over a largely neglected rural block is the state of disrepair the fences have fallen into.

This isn't so serious now, but in the not too distant future when we have lots of delicious vegies and an orchard possibly sheep or other furry animals on the property we want them to be protected from unwanted wild animals or pests, including rabbits, foxes, or feral dogs and cats.

It must be said though, that most of our visitors are of the kangaroo variety, which isn't so much of a problem and we like having them around to enjoy the scenery, except if we don't keep a bit of an eye on things they can eat a hell of a lot of grass and not leave enough to feed our flock.

All this said, repairing the fences had been one of the first tasks we (mostly Marcus) have taken on.

So, on Australia Day, Marcus and I made our way to the farm ready for a big couple of days of fencing - pulling apart the old fence and installing a shiny new one in its place.

We were pretty disappointed when we arrived to find the trailer we'd left there some weeks earlier loaded with fencing equipment had been stolen. Yep, front gate unlocked with bolt cutters, trailer locks broken with bolt cutters and our borrowed trailer gone - no sign of it at all!

Never the less, Marcus soldiered on, ripping the old fence down and making a good start on the new fence with the equipment we had available.

Fortunately, much of the fencing mesh, though a bit dilapidated, was of a good enough condition to be reused. Many of the steel posts too, could be cleaned up and reinstated. Sadly, almost all of the wire and the wooden posts are completely worn out, rusted or rotten. The wire will have to go to the scrap metal recyclers and the wooden posts will make great firewood.

Marcus did manage to erect a fair stretch of fence, complete with new corner posts. It looks a fair bit straighter and sturdier than the one we pulled apart.

I think the new version looks much nicer and will hopefully stand the test of time and keep out any unfriendly furry fellas.

So it wasn't a complete disaster after all. Marcus did a great job, I helped a little. We both got sunburned and met our next door neighbours.

We also visited some fairly amazing places in the area. More on this to come soon!

The first step

The first of many small steps to our dream of owning and operating an organic and free range farm has been taken. Today, we made an offer on 80 acres of vacant land - and much to our delight it was accepted.

We now await the settlement date - set for December 1, which seems excruciatingly far away.

Many adventures to come - but thrilled to have taken our very first step.