The long road home

I’m currently caretaking a 100-acre bushland reserve. This involves weeding the bush, herding any stray stock and feral animals off the property (with the assistance of my intrepid offsider, Poppy L. Birdsworth, Kelpie Esquire); mending fences, stabilising erosion-prone areas, as well as collecting a broad variety of tree and wildflower seed for regeneration.

It takes an hour to travel 4.5 km along my rugged goat trail – through paddocks, over granite hillsides and creek beds, up erosion gullies, between groves of ironbark and yellow box and red gum. My tiny city hatchback crawls at snail-pace along this rough old bush track!

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Parts of the track are badly washed out. In some areas I’m forced to venture cross-country, leaping out of the car to run ahead and check for half-buried boulders. I’ve spent many a trip crowbarring rocks out of my path or sawing off dead tree limbs, or filling erosion ditches with timber salvaged from the tip!

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

The photo makes this washout look far better than it is! It’s very steep too, and treacherous in all seasons. The carpet roll came from the tip, I’d never have made it up the hill without it! This bad section of washout – which I call the “Hill of Treachery” as I crawl towards it… then once I’m on the other side it becomes the “Hill of Triumph”! You can just see my tiny car right at the top, hiding in the long grass…

Once, during a flood, part of the road turned into a creek. I was stranded… but with the use of a couple of well-placed old carpet rolls I somehow managed to drive across, dodging turtles and manoeuvring through the reeds and mud. I credit my survival to having watched the Leyland Brothers religiously in the seventies!