Tag Archive: Drought



Cracks in the Earth

Cracks in the EarthThese cracks have been known to go down 60 - 80 Feet.

 
These cracks have been known to go down 60 – 80 Feet.

Black Soil Plains

The black self-mulching clay of the Moree Basin is constantly on the move.  In summer it bakes in the hot sun much like a large chocolate cake. As moisture evaporates in its rich core, cracks open across its surface; form into a network of veins to score its fleshy crust. These cracks can be wide enough to swallow an unwary foot and have been known to go as deep as 60 – 80 feet.

When it rains, the soil swells and the cracks close. A crust of earth will form like icing over the top concealing any evidence of their presence. At times this crust can form before the cracks have fully closed. This can prove perilous for unwary feet and the odd gumboot can be dislodged this way.  It can also break an animal/human leg.

With moderate rain, the clay becomes extremely sticky and will build up on the soles of shoes to the point that bare feet can be the only option. If there is enough rain the surface becomes a giant bog ready to engulf a foot half way up to the knee. Cars bog.  4WD’s struggle and or bog, it is wise to stay on gravel or tarred surfaces.  Large machinery can go down to their sumps.

These cracks serve as a natural habitat for the local fauna. Insects, mice, reptiles and probably many other creatures use them to shelter from the torments of nature.

The self-mulching action of the soil as it constantly opens and closes airates the earth and renews the top soil as the old surface topples into the deep cracks.

The Moree Plains is a rich mixture of moving, breathing, chocolate earthen cake. Although it may look good  I don’t think I’ll take a bite.  🙂

 

(c) musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

 

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It dawned on me this morning that things in my world are not quite what could be considered normal. When I say “normal”, I mean common, or are they?

Being Australian I have grown up with droughts that last for so long it’s a novelty when it actually rains. Well that’s what we get because we live in the driest country on earth….or so I have been led to believe. Of course, when it does rain, it either teases us with just a few spits or comes down in buckets that wash half the country away. Not much balance in between really. Except that we are always up to our eye balls in either dust or mud.

Pictured: The Mehi River 2012 an hour before it cut Moree in half and submerged it in its murky arms. It topped over 10m the highest recorded depth for many decades.

Picture: My front yard 2009 Dust, dust and more dust.

My front yard. Got to love the dust.

Then there’s the heat. They talk about Global warming but I’ve got news for you. It’s always been hot. Over the years the temperatures have fluxed a fair bit. In summer we close the doors and windows because we have air-conditioning and in winter we open them because it’s warmer outside than in. My house is actually colder in the day time than at night which is weird. I think cooking the Evening meal may help to warm it. We do have a gas heater but I’m thinking of trading it in for a candle.

When I was a kid our house was also freezing cold in Winter. We had a wood fire and the flu was very dodgy because it had a right hand bend in it. It had been installed that way. A super intelligence was behind that one no doubt. Every time we lit the fire the house would fill with smoke so we would be forced to open all the doors and windows to let it out. It kind of shot down the reason for lighting the fire in the first place. However, all the running around fanning the air with magazines and newspapers to clear the smoke did seem to warm us up. The neighbours never called the fire brigade, but we did seem to attract a fair audience at the fence at times, probably due to the copious amounts of smoke belching from the windows and doors.

The snakes on the other hand are not doing what’s considered normal either. In summer they surface in the cooler times of the day – Evening through to early mid-morning. They don’t like it too hot. In winter however they are supposed to hibernate because of the cold. Wrong! This winter, which is one of the coldest we’ve ever had, they haven’t hibernated at all. In fact they are even breeding. We have had several encounters and this is mid-Winter for us. Last week my 8yr old son almost stepped on a King Brown that was sunning itself at our office door way. Its tail flicked his leg as it moved away beneath the building. The neighbours found a cluster of young ones beneath a sheet of iron as well. Do I look forward to Spring? No. That’s the time that they are supposed to come out of hibernation, mate..etc…etc. Someone obviously forgot to tell THEM that.

Perhaps I’ve lost the plot. I don’t know what is normal anymore. These things keep happening. That makes them common. So maybe my world is normal after-all. What do you think?

(c) musicgal2012 All Rights Reserved.

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