December 19, 2008

The Contrasts of the Traprock

October at Spring Creek Station

Our dams are full of dried footprints instead of water.

We found a dead cow by the track, ribs protruding.

The grass is dying and disappearing underfoot, crackling when you walk on it.

We move the stock to some sort of water supply, dirty though it might be. The costly winter feeding regime doesn’t end.

You need a gas mask driving around on the dusty roads and tracks.

Eucalypts are popping up in the creek beds.

You tap the wall of the water-tank and only hollow echoes return. We bucket water to the washing machine from another tank in the yard.

Our secondary water supply, the tank on the hill, is empty and the windmill broken. We bucket water to flush the toilets.

No water for the garden. Instead of watching it spring to life as usual after winter, I pull more and more things out, dead.

No sprinkler for the grass. The dam level is too low, the irrigation pipes exposed.

A sense of anxiety is rising, a sickening knot in the stomach.  “When will it rain?”

November at Spring Creek Station

Finally, the rains come!

The falls seem a little tentative at first, but as the days pass we enjoy steady, almost daily, registers in the gauge.

The dam levels creep up. You can’t see footprints anymore, even around the edge.

Green grass peeps out of the soil, but you have to look for it.

I check the house tank regularly, relieved to hear the sold “clunk” as the level rises.

Our expectations change. “It looks like rain again today.”

December at Spring Creek Station

More rain. Not enough to reach our annual average but encouraging none-the-less.

The dams are full.

If you listen at night, standing on the deck, you can hear the babble of the creek. It’s flowing again!

The grass is standing knee high and the paddocks a sea of green; the grass long enough to sway in the breeze.

The Traprock district is transformed! The plush green countryside, full of life and potential, pushes away the memory of our unforgiving, heart breaking start to spring. Even the Jacaranda has scattered purple blossoms.

The anxiety disappears. It is going to be a GREAT season. I’m ready for Christmas now and it’s going to be a good one.

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