MY family lived on a 30 acre property with hills, gullies, and dams. We were also surrounded by large acreages I trespassed in.
So the 20 acre property of the foster home I lived at was a little disappointing.
It had the isolation of the bush, but it mostly contained fenced yards for horses. There was no lantana to crawl in, or creeks to paddle through, or hills to climb.
The best part of the property was near the dam at the back.
In the early days of being in the foster home I decided to build a cubby house next to the dam. Amber the bird girl helped me. At first we used several saplings for the pillars of the house, and then we used an orange plastic piece of roadwork fencing as a wall.
“We need camouflage!” Amber said, so we used thick leaved tree branches for the roof.
It took us two days to build the cubby. It was brilliant.
“We need a house warming,” I said, recalling the phrase from the book Blinky Bill. “Better yet, a tree warming.”
Everyone was invited, including my social worker; the big, fat, hairy man. Unfortunately Chuck Norris couldn’t make it. We made a camp fire and baked potatoes in foil and roasted marshmellows by the dam.
It turned out that a court mention over my custody was to be held the day before the celebration.
“You get to stay longer,” the big, fat, hairy man told me, and I was glad to finish the cubby.
In the next three years the cubby remained but I saw it less. The green leaves turned yellow, and brown, and black. I was scared to crawl in because of spiders and Tiger snakes.