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!
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!
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!