The flood


It has been a tumultuous time since moving to the farm. First, we were fortunate to escape the devastating bushfires which raged across the countryside. There was an early wind change and the fire swung back on itself just 1km from our farm. Then there has been setting up the farm, a pandemic, a new baby and then about a month or so ago this area was devastated by violent flooding, with some areas recording over 800mm in a few days. I have never seen such rain. It rained day and night for days on end. Dampness seeped into everything, and it was impossible to stave off even with the wood fire going. 



Our neighbours checking out our track once the flood water had receded.


The ground groaned with water. With every footstep water would pour out like a sponge being squeezed. The creeks and rivers swelled with torrents of muddy water, bursting their banks and taking everything in its path. Trees, houses, cars, houses. All at its mercy.    

The night before the flood Grant parked his car on the other side of the creek, just in case the creek rose which it sometimes does in heavy rain, but at that point we had little idea what was coming. By morning our creek crossing was a raging torrent of water. Grant, new to his job was determined to get to work, but I decided to keep the younger boys home. Grant and Will felt the crossing out with a long stick, and they realised the crossing had been entirely eroded away. They decided to go for a walk and see if they could find an area where the water wasn't rushing so much. Concerned how they would go, I sent Grant a message asking him to let me know when they were out safe. Two hours later it showed it hadn't been delivered, meaning they hadn't made it off the property to reception. 

I grew deeply concerned that one of them might have slipped and been hurt and the other was waiting with them for help. I knew Grant would never risk a creek crossing unless he was certain, but trees were falling, and the ground was slippery. I rang the neighbours to see if they had seen his car leave, wondering if his phone might have just become wet. They hadn't. I rang his work and Wills school to check if they had arrived. They hadn't seen them either. My heart sunk. That meant they were more than likely still on the farm. 

 

By this time the creeks were raising rapidly. I rang my neighbour again and asked them to notify the SES and I loaded up the kids in the 4WD to start to search where it was safe to do so. I called the dogs to come for a run, hoping that they might be able to hear them through the sounds of the pouring rain and roar of the creek. I did a very careful lap of the property, eventually making it up onto our track. I Found tracks, meaning the boys had thankfully made it out. But in my concern for them, I managed to misjudge the height of the creek which had risen greatly in a spot I had thought would still be passable, or at least the track would remain wide enough to turn around. I was wrong. Left with nowhere to turn, I had little choice but to reverse back up the track in 4WD, whilst navigating the narrow, slippery, steep path. To the right of me there was a sheer drop off much of the way and it was a slow trip. with the window open in the rain open so I could ensure I was well clear of the soggy edge. Eventually, I got to a wider place and managed to turn around and continue the drive home facing the right way. 

 

Once I got back to the safety of the yurt, I saw a stack of missed calls. My neighbour upon the advice of the SES had been advised to escalate the call to the Police. Grant eventually got out and managed to get in contact with them they were able to call the search off before it got underway. I was relieved to hear his voice and based on the urgent flood warnings he and Will came home while it was still safe to do so. A few hours later the river burst its banks, flooding us all in on the farm for several days. Fortunately, we were all together with a well-stocked pantry, spare fuel for the generator, and spare gas on hand as well as the Aga. 

The boys got free reign on their screens while we were flooded in and there were many movies watched. 



Aside from road and creek crossings we were fortunate our home and belongings remained safe and dry. The yurt is up high and dry on the hill, and we watched the creeks rise with amazement. they reached over 30m wide in places, with whole trees being ripped out and carried downstream. However, my little garden was badly battered. I have since been going through weeding, pulling out the dry loving plants that didn't appreciate water-logged roots. I have spread a good dose of manure, replanted and mulched ready for Autumn. 


Elsie hanging out in the garden after a little TLC. 

Since the flood there has been a definite shift in the seasons on the farm. The nights are cool and crisp, our valley is shrouded in mist in the early mornings. I light the Aga every couple of days. We could survive without it most of the time still, but the warmth that radiates from it is deeply comforting and it means I can transition to cooking soups, roasts and nourishing stews.

We have a few other new and exciting projects on the go here, but I shall have to leave that for next time.  I hope you are all well. 

Much love,
Emma

xx      


















7 comments

  1. Gosh how scary for you worrying about that hours on end. Glad you are all safe and your yurt is good.

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  2. OH that is good news that everyone is safe and well. What a time of it you are having!

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  3. Goodness me Emma. You have had so many close calls during weather events. So pleased you are all safe.

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  4. How frightening for you during that time of silence between you and Grant. SO glad you are all safe! You have my complete admiration for your driving skills! Let's just say that my back up driving is atrocious even with a camera ( as evidenced by the cracked backlight).
    I pray for calmer days ahead, full of garden bounties, and comforting stews.
    Be well, Emma.
    Patricia/FL

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  5. So glad you are all safe. You are an intrepid driver! What an enormous canyon the flooded river cut!

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  6. My goodness, that sounds harrowing, Emma! Thanks God you are all safe, and your yurt is warm and dry. Those floods looked so frightening. A stockpile and wood stove sure comes in handy. I'm sure the boys enjoyed the movies...

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  7. It seems I can't respond to individual comments Im afraid! Im unsure why. I need to get in contact with Blogger I think.

    Thankyou for your concern and well wishes. It was definitely a happy reunion! We were all a bit wiped out after the intense emotions and spent the time of the flood resting. Even though we knew we were safe, listening to the roar of the creek, the smell of mud and silt and seeing photos of what others were going through was an anxious time.

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