After the rain, or when silt sucks

Joanne Robertson

As a follow-up to last week, I’d like to describe what happens around here after rain.

In the immediate aftermath, not much happens; since we’re on black soil downs, with the odd patch of claypan, rain means getting bogged the moment you leave the footpath to the front or back door.

We don’t go anywhere, except to feed animals that require feeding like dogs, and we pet lambs.

However, as soon as we can, we venture further afield to check on stock and fences.

You can pretty much guarantee some stock will be bogged and fences down after a sizable ‘rain event’.

At the end of the week, we headed to the northern paddocks, since the southern roads were still cut.

We had to go carefully because the terrain is notorious for having makeovers during storms.

Massive amounts of water carve and sculpt new landforms from the black soil, turning roads into ravines and causing dam banks to disappear.

There’s nothing like driving along a road you’ve mustered on countless times, only to come upon a two-metre wide ditch that wasn’t there the last time you drove it.

We managed to get around and check both stock and fences.

Happily, most of the boundary fences were intact, with one creek crossing needing some posts straightened, which will happen when it’s no longer a silt trap.

In case you’re unfamiliar, silt sucks.


It sucked a young ram into a waterhole, from which my better half extracted him.

It sucked a weaner into a newly formed ravine.

Once he was freed, he galloped as far as he could away from his rescuers.

That’s gratitude for you.

It sucked the better half’s motorbike in.


Luckily the tray back was able to pull it out both times.

In case you think I’m complaining, I’m not.

Silt, bogging, fences down, and so forth are all part of the game, facts of our lives out here.

I’ll grant they are the downside, but they are more than compensated for by the sight of green, as far as the eye can see.

They’ll be compensated for when the stock starts getting fat on that green.

And they’ll be compensated for when prices rise as those who received rain look to restock.

Meanwhile, we continue to make the rounds, tending to downed stock and propping up fences.

And, as the better half says, tipping out rain gauges so they can get a refill.

On that note, I know a couple of places I’ve heard from that weren’t fortunate enough to be under any of the rain that seemed to inundate Queensland at the end of April, so it wasn’t as widespread as it seemed.

Here’s hoping that if more rain comes, it reaches those in need.

I know how it feels to be in that bubble where no rain seems to fall and I hope those who feel similarly trapped finally have their bubbles popped.