Where was I? Oh, yes, out on the 250 acres of wilderness block in the Northern Territory, aiming between two trees in a backhoe I’d only taught myself to drive that morning, putting a road in down to the flatland below the steep hill.
Fortunately a backhoe is a fairly slow-going machine, although it does speed up on a steep incline, and this was steep. The bucket down and scraping along the surface acted as a brake and I was able to keep between the trees. It was a job that needed repeating several times to scrape down to clear earth, but that first time through the maze and all the way down the hill to level ground felt good. I hadn’t taken out a single tree (I like trees and our intention with the block was to enjoy the wilderness).
Turning around, of course, meant I had to come back up again. That was actually scarier. I kept everything low because the feeling was, if the bucket had been up, the whole lot might have tumbled over backwards.
That night, Greg returned home to find the backhoe missing. Fortunately, I wasn’t missing with it, and I could show him what I had done with the road down the hill – and point out the backhoe on the way. 😀
As it was after dark when Greg got home, we drove the length of my road by car with the headlights on. Greg was quite impressed. The road stretched almost one km (about half a mile). Returning up the hill to our campsite, Greg noticed the same issue I had with the steepness of the hill. Knowing I had run up and down several times, he asked the obvious question.
“How did you get the backhoe up each time? Did you drive it up backwards?”
“No,” I replied.
“Bloody hell,” he replied, “I would have.”
So, where was the backhoe?
It was down by the first creek. Getting adventurous and wanting to extend the road further, I’d driven it into a field of mud and bogged it – Four times! How I got it out each time by myself, until nightfall forced me to quit on the final one, is the topic of my next post on our wilderness Living.
Quite a full first day driving the backhoe and it was fun!
How does any of this fit in with writing? This is the block where I lived off-grid and without a house for nearly five years, where I wrote in perfect isolation, and where my sci-fi Khekarian series came into being – complete with wilderness planets born from love of wilderness living.
Cheers all! 😀