Tag Archives: wilderness living

Backhoe Lesson 101 – Just Do It.

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Out there in the wilderness on my very first day alone, I had envisioned a day of writing, only there was a backhoe to master, a hill to work out and a road to put in – I thought I had better start early.

With the driveway Greg had already put in at my back, I had three options off the hill. Right, left or straight ahead. On closer inspection, it became clear that I only really had one option. The right side of the hill dipped away far too steeply to consider, dropping into a gully that a person might climb but not walk. To the left was a little better, except for when the rocks formed a cliff drop closer to the bottom. So, straight ahead it was, steep as it was, or give up entirely and find another way into the block.

I wanted to keep the trees, also, so needed to find a suitable way through them that wouldn’t take me over the edge of something and leave in a crumpled wreckage at the bottom of the hill. It was morning still and the sun was barely up. Greg wouldn’t be home again until after dark, and I didn’t want to spend the day trapped in wreckage.

First off, though, I had to learn those controls. What did what? For starters, the pedal was a three-pronged monstrosity – each prong doing something different as it titled the main pedal in a different direction, and of course it had different levers, which raised and extended the arm into different configurations, raised and tilted the bucket at the front or the scoop at the back, and lowered or raised the feet that helped steady the machine through certain operations. All of these jolted the machine alarmingly if employed too roughly. It needed a gentle touch.

With that sorted and a plan of action in mind, I lowered the bucket, aimed between two trees and started off over the brow of the hill.

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A Tent in the Great Outdoors – On Fire, More’s the Pity.

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In my last Exciting Adventures in the Wilderness post (“Two Creeks in our Wilderness, Both Annually Drying Up!”), I finished with Greg set fire to the tent – The whole point of a tent was to keep us dry and protected from whatever wildlife might come snooping around at night, insects more than animals, but animals, too – nothing wrong with wanting to sleep soundly and unbitten, especially when you don’t know exactly what might be out there.

The caravan was to provide us with a twin office and a kitchen of sorts. It was there to protect our computers and also to provide a work station where I could write science fiction while acting as Land Manager and Guard Dog over our camp. As we couldn’t run to two caravans, that meant our bedroom had to be elsewhere. A tent it was.

So, we ripped out the bed that had come with the caravan and set it up in our canvas dwelling, a two-room tent, then settled in with great enthusiasm. On the first night, however, Greg set some candles on the tent floor to light our way to bed. A lovely thought, but before we turned in, the wind billowed in the walls and the canvas set on fire.

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What the Heck is a Quoll? True Life.

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A quoll is cute until it opens its mouth, then you are introduced to its serious side – Quolls are an Australian marsupial carnivore, cousin to the Tasmanian Tiger, but only about the size of a cat – although with canine teeth like a dog – They are nocturnal and eat whatever meat they can catch of small and medium-sized creatures, including possums.

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Out in the wilderness of the Northern Territory, we had quolls all over our camp every evening. They came out at dusk and got up to mischief all night. They broke into our early idea of meat-safe (a foam lidded box) and ate our meat. They tried to eat our cat more than once, too, but he got wise to them and learned to keep out of their way.

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They even moved into my office caravan. It was an old van with gaps and holes that we didn’t even know about. I opened a drawer one day and found a fair-sized quoll splayed out and fast asleep right on top of the papers that were in there. He had climbed in up through the floor and in through the back of the drawer.

I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too busy closing the drawer really carefully so as not to wake him and have him go Wild-Animal all over my office. 😀

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The pictures shown in this post were NOT taken of our local population. These pictures are all borrowed from the Internet as we never could get a good clear picture of one.

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