Of droughts and flooding rains.

Over the past few days, we have enjoyed a welcome change in the weather.  With the warm moist air in the upper atmosphere from Tropical Cyclone Owen combining with a cool low pressure system, much of the south east received heavy falls over a couple of days.

The Rock Farm was no exception.

Over the first day, we received a steady soaking 28mm.  This beautiful rain seemed to bring out the colours of the Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus Mannifera) as the mottled grey is replaced by pinks as the old bark is shed.

The rain was also a welcome opportunity to catch up on a few shed jobs.  The little buggy, now my spray rig, was overdue an oil change, and The Little Fisherman found an old alternator to pull apart.  He is on a mission at the moment to harvest as much copper as he can, which he hopes to melt down…

Before I knew it, he had done some research online, found the crucible he wanted and raided his piggy bank to give me the cash for it…  I don’t know of many 13 year old boys who are so keen to put their money into melting metal, but I am happy to support his desire to learn.  Of course we will have a few discussions about safe techniques and PPE when the time comes…

Unfortunately our enthusiasm for the rain wasn’t shared by our hound.  She disappeared, and I found her curled up on the back seat of the car in the shed…

Down it comes!

The following day we were underneath a cloud burst.  35mm of rain fell in around half an hour, turning our garden into a raging torrent.  On this occasion I was at work, but my wife was at home, and took a series of photos showing something of the water coming down the hillsides.

Our creek quickly rose to impassible.  The water was deep and quickly flowing.  Whilst the water level also fell quickly, there was a lot of debris and mud washed onto the crossing.  The next morning revealed the true extent of the damage.  The concrete base was still place, but had been covered by large rocks.  The approaches had been covered in a thick layer of mud.

It took a bit of work, but I soon cleared the approaches to the creek of most of the mud.  It made me appreciate again how having the right tool for the job is so important with the tractor and its grader blade making a reasonably neat job.

The Not-So-Little Helpers were put to work clearing some of the debris from the dam overflows.  The sheer volume of water meant a lot of the dams over-topped their walls – greatly increasing the chance of failure.  There is a lot of work still to do around the place ensuring drainage lines are cleared.

But the best part was comparing the change that had happened.  Dams that had been dry were now full.  And the creek was a whole new wonderland to explore… especially if all you want to test is how long it takes to find a hole deeper than your gumboot!

It reminds me of the immortal words of Dorothea Mackellar, in her poem My Country

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die – 
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

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