Yet life returns, thanks especially to a slow gentle rain that fell steadily for nearly 24 hours three weeks later.
With the winter vegetable plantings in good shape by my Easter deadline, the family crossed the ranges on Easter Saturday to inspect the property and to sit around the campfire for a couple of nights spinning yarns.
The hillsides are tinged green by the returning grasses and small flowering plants. Ants are busy breeding up, the occasional kangaroo can be spotted feeding off in the distance and birdlife from rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles, cockatoos and galahs to thornbills and Australian pipits can be spotted as usual.
There’s no hope for the shed and the old Land Cruiser, but I like the orange rust colour of the wreckage; I’ll just leave it there for the grandchildren to play on someday. Restoring the old girl has been crossed off my bucket list should I ever retire.
Many trees planted over so many years with such effort are inexorably gone, yet all around one finds tiny bursts of life at the base or at the very top of seemingly ruined trees; Australian native trees have evolved to survive fire thanks to 50,000 years of Aboriginal 'fire-stick farming’ practices.
Ironically, the fire has returned much needed potash and nutrients to the soil as drifts of leaves and ash caught by the wind and shifted into the drainage gullies.
Now, If only I’d had some native tree seedlings on my seed table instead of leek, turnips, beetroot and all that other stuff – I’d have been able to plant them out to take advantage of the changed conditions and the coming autumn rains.
Time to re-join Trees for Life, I reckon…