We’re just chipping at the tip of the iceberg


Tim likes to refer to many tasks we undertake on Deal Island as Sisyphean (endless and fruitless as that of Sisyphus whose task in Hades was to push uphill a stone that at once rolled down again). I am trying to photo document this term with his hand moving a boulder up a hill. I haven’t gotten there yet but I understand what he means. We spent several days working on the lighthouse track. We cleared the ditches alongside its length of sheoke needles and silt. We went back after our record setting rainstorm and one of the concrete culverts vanished completely, buried under silt. Now to dig it out again from under the silt, a week later. IT’S BACK!


Rabbits were introduced on Deal Island by Admiral Stokes aboard the Beagle as a food source for shipwrecked sailors in the 1800’s. The population waxes and wanes. It’s in a waxing mode now. They’re not in the garden but they dig holes all around the yard. Some quite deep. Then they leave their poo nearby. The funny thing is, they seem to remove the dirt and bring it elsewhere. There is usually not a pile of dug up dirt next to the hole. The other day, I filled the big holes and put patches of grass over them like repairing a divot on a golf course. THEY’RE BACK! Tim thinks with a vengeance. As if to say, oh yeah, try and stop me. They are a good predictor of water sources though. Most of their holes are over either clay or pvc water pipes, which are buried underground.

The geese preferentially poo on any concrete around the compound. The same day I filled the rabbit holes, I cleaned up goose poo. They apparently like the area very clean and immediately shat all over it. THEY’RE BACK!

Next is weed management. Sea spurge is an invasive introduced plant on Deal Island. It is waterborne and arrives from the southern coast of Australia. There are large projects by Wildcare to eradicate it, or at least control it. Tim cleared a bank about a month ago. IT’S BACK!

Mow the lawn, it grows again. Weed the garden, the weeds grow again. We wrangle the wallabies out of the compound, we turn around and THEY”RE BACK. Make a meal, we eat it and IT”S GONE! Maybe that’s what life is all about. Simply a series of repetitive, Sisyphean tasks.


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