Bare feet sensations

I feel sorry for people who aren’t able to walk around in bare feet – for whatever reason. Maybe I’m just very tactile, but part of the anticipation of washing the floor today was the thought of how nice it would be when I’d finished and I could walk across the timber floors in my barefeet. As a bonus today there was a strong breeze blowing that made sure the floors dried really quickly. The dust will have settled on them again by tomorrow but in the meantime I can enjoy the soft feel of the smooth wood against my calloused feet.

My feet enjoy all sorts of surfaces, if there’s not a valid reason for footwear then I’ll always choose to wear none. There’s one particular patch of the lawn that has soft cool clover with no prickles, it’s particularly nice to stand on during the hot days when it’s in the shade. You can’t get much more connected to nature than standing in bare feet on soft green grass….or in the mud.

When we’re blessed with rain – as we were yesterday for a change – then it’s lovely to walk in the mud and squeeze it between your toes.

I even have a very strong memory as a young girl – maybe 8 years old – visiting a friend on a farm and she introduced me to the feel of fresh green sloppy cow manure oozing between my toes. I don’t think her mother was terribly impressed when we washed it off at the back door of her house though! I’ve been living on a farm now for thirty years and I’ve never felt the need to re-experience that particular sensation 🙂

I’m not much of a beach person, but when I do go to the beach I walk along the edge of the water and often just stand still and let the waves dig  my feet further into the sand. It’s a very peaceful feeling.

Clean floors, soft grass, wet sand and cool mud should all be enjoyed by barefeet as often as possible.

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Family history

150 yrs ago one set of my ancestors eloped from Ireland to become Pioneers at Oxley Victoria (near Wangaratta). I’ve spent countless hours over the past 7 years attempting to trace their story, including visiting Ireland.  This resulted in a mini-family reunion at Oxley  on this past weekend, where we swapped stories, met cousins we didn’t know we had and visited places our grandparents and their parents (and in some cases, their parents and grandparents!) had lived and worked. Needless to say these events don’t just happen, it does help that I’ve felt the need to reconnect this family for years, but it has taken a lot of last minute time also – hence no blog here for the past week 🙂

I feel it’s a symptom of our increased frenetic lifestyle, but for the first 100 years in Australia this family were close. They visited each other, supported each other when sick or aged, knew each other’s children, celebrated their achievements and milestones…..and then over a decade it eased off, until the older generation had passed on. Consequently in the last 40 years there has been absolutely no contact between any of the branches – and this is a family that didn’t have dozens of children. There were 8 children born to the original Irish couple, and 22 grandchildren, but only 20 great-grandchildren.

I saw this as a chance to re-connect all the branches of the original 8 children – although one child died as a 3 yr old, another had no children, and another had no grandchildren, so only 5 branches to track….and I succeeded….except for one….still can’t find the current descendants of brothers Jeffrey and Kevin Martin from Belmore, NSW – born in the 1940s. That bugs me, that there’s still one I haven’t made contact with….but on the bright side we have now shared information between the other 4 families: Tom’s, Annie’s, Kate’s, and Maggie’s.

Annie is my great-great grandmother, I think she’s what would have been termed ‘a handsome woman’, an extremely strong willed and hard working woman that had a very difficult life at times – but I believe it’s wonderful family support that makes the difference to how well we get through life, and Annie had that. I’m glad she passed that on.

Annie Lang

 

Snakes

Snake……It’s that scary word that many people fear and where we live all the snakes are highly venomous so it’s understandable to a degree. We’ve lost half a dozen dogs over the years to snakebite, but the latest dogs have been trained (as best we can) to not attack the snakes. I don’t mind the snakes living around the place, as long as they keep out of the way of people and dogs. The exception is when they start lurking around the house yard and verandah, or in the chook house (chicken coop for the Northern Hemisphere people) – when we had chooks (which I plan to re-establish soon!). In those instances I have to hope that my son is around.  In years gone by it was always assumed that you killed the snake, shot it generally, but I’m not a big fan of killing anything unless necessary and he loves snakes and happily picks them up and puts them in a sack to relocate. A bit scary to watch…..at the time his 6’1″ frame is usually standing  in nothing but a pair of shorts and with bare feet, and he’s wielding a broom handle to pin it with so he can grab it…..but otherwise it’s all good.

I can usually tell when there’s a tiger snake lurking around because the frog population which generally hangs off my windows for most of Summer is notably absent.  Around our place it’s usually a tiger snake or a brown snake,  tigers are more nocturnal so I don’t wander around my garden or lawn after dark in Summer. Haven’t had a brown snake here for a couple of years now….maybe they’re just hiding….and that’s ok.

More info at The Australian Museum if you’re interested, just search for tiger snake and eastern brown snake.

tiger snake

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Nan & Pop have put sonic snake deterrent devices around their house and it seems to have worked. When you walk into the yard you can hear a slight buzzing sound, like somebody’s hearing aid is not quite right…or your phone’s on vibrate….so I’m not convinced that it’s good to alter the vibrational frequency of the entire house yard  therefore ‘m not implementing them myself, but they do appear to have kept the snakes away for the past two years….

Personally I think the traffic in the cities is more dangerous than the snakes in the country.

Trees

Trees are an amazing part of nature.  They bend they break they’re lashed by storms, seared by heat, eaten by grazing animals, yet they still push upwards, flourish, and flower…..well, the survivors do. I was looking at the trees around my house today. We’re in the middle of a very hot Summer, and the shade the trees give makes an enormous difference to the temperature around the house. Not that gum trees are renowned for shade, it’s always dappled not solid, but it still stops the constant heat from the sun. I do love gum trees, they are all uniquely shaped, with different personalities – and yes, I have been known to talk to the trees 🙂

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Then there’s the beautiful crepe myrtles that flower when the rest of the garden seems to be getting singed by the heat. The Wagtail family reared their two chicks from a beautifully neat and comfortable looking nest within the crepe myrtle’s branches. The lining of the nest consisted of the bits of wool that the sheep have happily provided via their self-shedding process in the earlier months. Having finished their accommodation duties, the bushes are now a veritable delicatessen for the myriad of bees that have descended on them. Making a soft buzzing noise in the otherwise silent heat. There’s another two bushes either side of the gateway into our property and I love driving through them every time I go into or out of town.

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