The first to move in under the bed was a seven foot python.

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It started out as a crude single-person quarry – just me and a small backhoe digging out shale rock from the hot dry clay – in an attempt to gather larger rocks (yes, this is me again when living on 250 acres of sub-tropical wilderness with no amenities, meaning no water on tap, no sewage system of any sort, no connected electricity, no house) I was trying to build a small enclosure that might make a room, but that hole at the top of the second highest hill had potential and I wondered, wouldn’t it be easier to put a roof over a hole in the ground than to build walls first? It was on a hill, therefore elevated in its own way, and surely could be the start of our home.

Living directly on the land is something amazing. We started off with a shabby hollowed out caravan with no bed and a broken window, so rats and quolls (carnivorous marsupials about the size of a cat) moved in. The quolls would climb up underneath the drawers and enter them from the back, then sleep the day through as snug as if they were in a hollow log someplace. I’d open a drawer and encounter a flattened out, fast asleep quoll, with it’s white spotted back… and I would very carefully close the drawer again – one of those scared and rampant inside the caravan (which was my office) was not a happy thought. I left them alone and they left me alone.

We slept in a tent. The problem there was that first off, Greg set fire to it the very first night. We got the flames out quickly, but the fire had left a big hole in the wall, which we filled with an open umbrella wedged in it. As you could appreciate, that left gaps and the umbrella didn’t really keep things out. We knew early on that we needed something better than that.

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