setting up camp …

so …. in the beginning there was just rainforest, beautiful dense bush in a gully, undulatinIMAG0560g, difficult to access… the piece of land no-one wanted.  The real estate told me it would cost me $20,000 alone just to put a driveway in and there is no flat land in there to build on  – maybe a polehouse she suggested. So every weekend I walked that 5 acres, bought a GPS & marked the boundaries finding a flat elevated cleared area at the very back of the block, over a seasonal creek.  So then the driveway went in with bridge over a large culvert pipe in the creek and up the other side to the house site, hooray …. IMAG0750we towed our pop-top camper in ($500 from a backpacker leaving town) and set up camp. Luckily the camper came with double bed, gas cooker & gas fridge/freezer which was enough for us girls to get started.  With the help of awesome friends we put up a HUGE tarp and large 2 bedroom tent as storage.  I bought a small second hand water tank and roughly plumbed it up to a tap on a tree branch, having water bought in until we were able to set up plumbing off our future roof.  I made a temporary compost toilet with a little second hand old jigsaw running off my generator and was given a 120W portable solar panel to charge my batteries.  IMAG1069.jpgThis prompted me to buy some good deep cycle batteries which I rotated each day out in the sun.  One of these batteries would run my laptop, charge my phone and allow me the precious gift of playing TRIPLE J !!!! What pleasures !! Our night light was and still is primarily candles and a headtorch each, such a beautiful way to end the day, very calming & helps wind the kids down for bed.   Most nights we have a open fire which we cook on sometimes and get rid of any paper rubbish or meat scraps – love the fire, it is soo relaxing and it turns out the girls are pyromaniacs so its a win / win situation.  As we started to get larger downpours of rain it occured to me we should be harvesting it somehow so I got a used IBC 1000l water tank & attached it under the V of the tarp, it filled in one night of torrential rain !!  The same night though (3 days before xmas) it took out part of our driveway and brought the tent down, everything was SODEN !!! IMAG1283 (2).jpgThanks to my wonderful friends who came in the torrential rain to help we got the tent back up, all our clothing dried, dug more trenches & added more tarps and secured them properly.  Xmas day I cried.  There is alot of responsibility doing a project like this with two small children and somedays it gets sooo overwhelming, there is nothing more to do than sit in a heap and cry, very therapeutic !!!  But to balance out all the struggles and challenges that we are faced with daily we also get to live in the most MAGIC place, it is a stunning tropical rainforest with soo much beautiful wildlife …. whipbirds, catbirds & scrub turkeys, cockatoos calling through the day, lester sooty owls & fruit bats, fireflys by night.  We lie outside by the fire at night and monitor the stars and soak up the moon as it changes its face – enjoying beautiful outdoor showers drenched in moonlight …. there is an incredible stillness here, so much beauty and so much to learn about nature & ourselves.  IMAG0888 - CopyStraight away we started building edible gardens on the edge of the rainforest with different tropical spinach, sweet potato, sweet leaf, arrowroot, gingers, herbs etc… , initially I fenced them from scrub turkeys but they don’t seem at all interested in our gardens so we kept creating more with an emphasis on edible or other beneficial plants such as Evodia for the Ulysses Butterfly, Night Jasmine around our bedroom and any kind of ginger or heliconia, just because they are such a stunning tropical flower !!

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