The monster machine jumped and ground into the crust of the earth. Men, like ants in attendance, scurried about keeping it fed and on task. In a core of limestone, grit and sand, sleeping at 100 meters down, ancient shark teeth were found. A testament that nature is forever a vehicle for change, not to be feared but guiltlessly heard.

Water, the most important element for survival, was the goal. Food can be made and living environments sustained with it, and hold it thoughtfully we must. At Reedy Creek, we harvest the rain, achievable with the huge area of roof surface that hot houses and shedding provides, but we know not to expect with arrogance that it will always fall within our reach...

One of the many reasons we moved to Reedy Creek remoteness, was the water held here. The old bore still delivered its bounty but with age was leaking, a natural paradigm here. So, we were on a program to rehabilitate wells and bores for future security of the resource.

130 meters down and now cased in stainless steel screens, this jewel of survival, the Bowaka aquifer feeds our bore with ancient and thermal water. The 'head' or pressure that the sparkling water jumps out of the ground, without the help of a pump is 15 meters. We don't let it flow free but harness its power in thoughtful ways.

Mike, I call him my 'milo tin engineer', always inventing or fixing things, using found or recycled materials. The perceived chaos of his workshop, a buffer between our home and the nursery, is a cacophony of inherited and acquired tools and useful things. A true 'man' mystery to me, I just admire the interesting shapes, man smells and the depth of shadow in his treasured cave... From this view, he has been able to channel and use the water gift we have.

In one of the hot houses, thick sheets of foam rest snuggly on the ground, holding water pipes like black spaghetti in straight lines, covered in gravel and then tucked into a bed with weed mat. Our thermal water comes from the depths at 30 degrees celcius and - under its own pressure - runs the length of the hot house floor. The heat is used to nurture plant growth and then the cooled water races towards the watering systems to sustain, but not yet finished with, the run off trickles into the yabby dam. The yabbies grown at Reedy Creek snap their claws with a flash of blue and creases of red, in time to the tinkling squeals of grandchildren.

Gayle Quarmby

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Mike and Gayle Quarmby

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