As I have said, they stayed and fought off the bushfire and successfully saved their house. And they are safe and relatively unscathed (a minor burn on dad's wrist, a heat rash on mum's legs).
All of their beautiful front garden, with established trees and shrubs and much colour, is gone - wiped clean; nothing but blackened bare earth and some skeletal trees remained (however, nature is already fighting on).
Half of dad's fruit orchard - cherries, plums, apples, apricots, pears, quinces, and various berries - have been either burnt or scorched by the flames' radiant heat. With good-sized dams, dad is working hard to ensure the remaining trees survive, but at the moment it is 'wait and see' what will survive.
A spot-fire from a flying ember and the intense heat of nearby flames burnt or frazzled the corn, much of the beans, many of the tomatoes, and the cucumbers that dad had planted for mum to pickle. We spent much of Saturday clearing those plots out. Some of the zucchinis, some squash, rhubarb and carrots were far enough away to escape too much damage.
And some roses, gladioli and other trees and flowers near those tough little chickens also escaped the heat and flames. So look one way, there is utter, blank devastation; pivot 90 degrees and there is colour and life.
As amazing as the story of the garden is, this post is not about which plants survived and which ones didn't.
This is about my phenomenal parents.
It was not until I saw how extensive the damage was to the garden - how wide that fire front must have been, which leapt onto their property in an instant with a sudden change of wind direction, taking them from safe to danger - and just how close it got to their house did I realise how brave, hard working, determined, amazing my parents must have been. I am in shock and awe and immensely proud and overwhelmed by what they did on that day.
They told me they watched the fire in the dry paddock across the road from them travel past in one direction; dad said to mum at the time, 'if the wind stays that way, we'll be safe'. No sooner had he spoken those words than the wind did change and the flames leapt onto their property.
And then I can only imagine that they just started working - dad with his irrigating hoses, pumping water from the dam, mum with buckets - to fight and defeat those flames.
People have said they were lucky. No. Luck and weather conditions played only a very small part in them saving their house and staying alive. My parents' unwavering, determined and courageous physical hard work won the day.
I will forever be in awe of them.