I just spent a couple of days out on the Western Downs. While I was away we had 20 mm of rain here at home, and another 16 mm fell tonight after we returned.
But around Chinchilla it is dry as drought is.
The cattle are scrawny. Even the brumbies are ring barking the trees as they chew off the bark to sustain themselves and many dead kangaroos dot the roadside because they put themselves at pedestrian risk in their hunt for food.
On the drive back we must have seen close to a dozen dead kangaroos.
My friends' cattle property is on marginal land and they are doing it tough these past 18 months since they last had good rain.
Here's the only green to be seen: a slim film on the dry creek bed.
But when you walk the land, the promise and potential is very evident -- if only there was some moisture. Theirs' is a wooded block with an amazing ecology of interlocking zones as they try to work with the land in order to renew it.
It's a humbling experience to explore given the easy resources we have access to in suburbia. The closest town or shop is 40 km away. Water and electricity are resources you make yourself.
In the past -- during the good years -- previous owners were running dairy cattle and growing pumpkins on this land. Now, while it may seem at the end of its tether, it still brims with life.
It's been keenly logged and all the big trees have been taken, but the wet and dry breeds tough vegetation.
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