The Boss took us for a wander way back along the river last weekend - probably our last journey there for a while with the grass getting longer and the snakes starting to move.
That's always a pity, I reckon: the wattles are still out, lighting up the bush like the Tigers' clash jumper and there's a lot happening - the hares and foxes are breeding and the smells are never better. There's the odd wallaby or kangaroo to put up, the Ibis are roosting in the trees and the Corollas are being their pesky selves, wheeling around the sky like we shouldn't be there and kicking up a fuss.
Suddenly The Boss pulls up with a bit of a scowl and pokes around in a huff. We figure he's on to something and circle back through the tussocks and there he is, staring at three big piles of something-that-shouldn't-be-there.
It turns out to be a few loads of blackberry cuttings that someone has driven deep into the floodplain and dumped there. The sort of thing, The Boss says, that could just as easily have been dropped off at the tip with a little effort.
Wherever they came from, it would have taken a good half-hour to get in there with a trailer, The Boss reckons, along a pretty rough track. So whoever it was went to quite a bit of trouble to mess up the bush.
And mess it up it does. The Boss says once the blackberries take hold they'll soon spread, like they have in the high country - creeping along the creeks and making access difficult. It's a big job to get rid of them and there's no-one much to look after that side of things since they took the river grazing license away from the farmers.
The farmers didn't always look after it either, but most of them were pretty good and didn't abuse the frontage - it was a handy place for the cows to prop in the bitter weather and the grazing kept down the fire risk in summer.
The Department doesn't have enough people to look after it, The Boss says, so the tomato weed and thistles are taking off and covering huge tracts of ground.
It's an all-or-nothing approach that isn't serving the floodplain well. The Boss reckons the restricted grazing licenses that allow grazing in late winter and spring for just a few months are ideal, keeping the fire risk down and giving the farmers an interest in keeping the frontage tidy.
There are some licenses with these conditions but not many. As it is, The Boss will need to keep an eye on these blackberry cuttings and spray any plants popping up, even though he has no rights over the frontage. But he'll do it anyway - and maybe see the offender next time and give him a piece of his ear. Woof!