Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
While we were living in the caravan in the backyard of my grandparent’s house, my parents must have been saving every cent they could spare. Apart from repaying the loans to buy the large block of land (52 hectares), there were many expenses to come. The new block of land (from now on I will call it ‘the farm’) did not have any infrastructure at all; no access track, no water supply, no garbage pickup, no sewerage, no electricity, no telephone, no postal service. After they bought our secondhand caravan, the first priority was the preparation of an access track, stretching 1km from the highway to ‘the farm’.
I have a distinct memory of walking along a grassy path up to the farm when I must have been only 5 years old, before any access track had been excavated. I was the smallest person in the group and it was a long walk for my short legs but it was exciting because we were going to find a site for our new home.
I can recall that the grass was long and my rubber boots were short and I remember a sharp pain in my foot. We stopped to empty my boot of bits of grass heads and other detritus, but also a spider that was about 3cm long. It had bitten me after falling into my boot. Thankfully it wasn’t one of Australia’s many dangerous spiders! I was fine.
We continued to live in the caravan in my grandparents yard while my parents saved money. Before too long my parents hired a local man to bring his earthmoving equipment to the site and scrape and dig into the hillsides and across the creeks, up and down the gulleys from the highway to the farm. It created an ugly yellow-red slash in the green pastures of my uncle’s dairy farm. The farm was so hilly and steep that there wasn’t a single naturally flat piece of land where we could build our home or even park our caravan! Next the excavator was used to gouge into the soft bedrock to form a bench of flat ground for us to live on. The next chapter was ready to unfold.