Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ferreting out memories.

 I read somewhere a little while back that ferrets were making a comeback as Pets. Which got me to reminiscing of when my parents had ferrets.  My family, and many of our relatives, had Ferrets many, many, many years ago. Not as pets but as working animals. Back in the 19050s and early 60’s before Myxomatosis come on the scene and greatly reduced the rabbit population very quickly, the main way rabbits were contained in our area was by hunting with dogs and Ferrets. Many a Sunday afternoon of my early childhood was spent out with the dogs and ferrets with both family and friends after rabbits. One dog we had, Bluey was very good at telling us if there was a rabbit down a burrow. When we came across a burrow we would get Bluey to sniff it out. If he sniffed and walked away, we would do the same. But if he started to bark and furiously dig away at the burrow we would pull him away and put the ferret to work. Sometimes the dogs would put up a rabbit away from its burrow and if they missed it on the run and it went down a burrow, we would then put nets around all the holes we could find in the immediate area and send the Ferret or ferrets down.  Usually only one Ferret but occasionally you would send a second one down either to help the first or occasionally to enough the first one to come out again.

As hinted above Ferrets were very popular then and many had them or wanted them so my family would not only have ferrets for their own use but would also breed and sell   them too. As at least 3 Uncles also had ferrets, there was a bit of swapping of Breeding Bucks and Does among the families to ensure strong blood lines.

 Every year we would always have a half a dozen or so young ferrets for sale. In the early days Dad had the flat top of a five gallon oil drum with the wording “Ferrets for sale” on it and when he had ferrets for sale would nail it to a phone pole at the end of the drive up on the  main Eltham -Yarra glen road to attract interested prospective buyers. In later years he hardly needed to put the sign up as he had regular people either coming back themselves or recommending him to their friends.

 It was before my memory but when my older brothers were around 3 or 4, dad had quite a few young ferrets and my brothers, babies that they were, used to help my mother to feed them and thus handled them a lot.  Well the story goes that one day someone stopped by to check out the ferrets and when the box was opened, all the baby ferrets swarmed out all over my brothers who were grabbing them by the armfuls without being bitten or scratched, much to the amazement of this Customer. He was amazed at their gentleness and ease of handling, as many ferrets can be nasty even to their handlers.  He was so amazed that not only did he buy a couple there and then but through his word of mouth, all that year’s babies were sold to him and his friends.

 As said above when myxo came in it greatly reduced the need of Ferrets. And in fact even before then, when my brothers went into shotguns and spotlighting, and so the Ferrets went out of favour almost everywhere in the mid to late 60’s including at our place.

 Well that is enough reminiscing from me for now. Do you have any reminisces of Ferrets in your youth to share?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Eating Dog Biscuits?

I usually buy the wider family and casual friends’, boxes or tins of cheap Shortbread biscuits for Christmas. While doing that last year I saw some more expensive genuine Scottish Short bread biscuits in the shape of Scottish Terriers and knowing that a nephew of ours and his partner had a Scottish Terrier, I splashed out and bought them a box of these dog shaped biscuits. Which they though was cool.

Well someone gave me exactly the same dog-shaped biscuits, and so last week when our Grandchildren wanted something to eat but were being precious about what they wanted to eat, I opened the packet of Biscuits and let them try one each. Which they did and liked very much. So much so that when their mother arrived they proudly told her that they had been eating dog biscuits and that they were yummy. Well, our poor daughter! The look on her face was priceless. The horrified look only relaxing when we told her that they were in fact dog-shaped Shortbread biscuits which were indeed very yummy. Just shows what happens when what you think you heard, is not what the person was saying or meaning,  and the importance, for us older folk at least, to be clear ourselves when speaking to everyone; both young and old, and always saying what we mean and meaning what we say. And also the importance and value of asking clarifying questions if we have any doubts at all over what we heard or thought we heard.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

It's Dangerous

Our Daughter and her 3 children were holidaying with the other Grandparents last week down at their Holiday/Retirement home near the Beach. The House has two stories and lots of steps and Mr. 22 & ½ months loved to run up and down the stairs - much to his mother’s great concern; and she obviously told him many times, “its’s Dangerous.  I say obviously, because on Monday morning while at our place he came out with the phrase, “It’s dangerous”.  Which did surprise me a little bit but not half as much as I was surprised when I realized that he was using it in context with another situation which was also potentially dangerous. At the end of our block of units is an old concrete path that is wobbly and crumbling and he was on a small piece of it that was wobbly and only held to the rest of the block of concrete by the reinforcing wire. So there he is rocking on this small unstable piece of concrete proudly and loudly telling me “It’s dangerous”. It didn’t stop him from doing what he was doing but at least he realized it was potentially dangerous.

After I got over the shock of him at that tender age actually knowing and acknowledging the fact that what he was doing was dangerous, I was also intrigued that it didn’t actually stop him doing it still. Which kind of reminds me of a lot of adults too, who readily admit what they are doing is dangerous but also have no intention of stopping despite the potential and obvious dangers they see. But what about you now? Yes as we now start to get serious about the New Year ahead of us, what is it that you are doing that you realize and acknowledge “Is dangerous” and that you are now going to stop and change? Over to you now for your reflection- and action.

Monday, September 25, 2017

More Heathmont Bush. 25.9.2017

Went across the Railway track this morning (with the dog) and went through one of the Bush reserves on that side of the tracks. While following a self guided walk (according to the posted sighs) I came across a Garden bench (Much like my cheap ones) with a sight saying “This Birdwatcher’s Bench kindly donated by Therese Starling.”And the only thing I could think of was, I hope there are better birds there to see than Starlings! Dirty, messy little ‘mice with wings’.

Bushland at Heathmont (Dad would have loved it!) 23.9.2017

 Whilst our lastborn and family have been away on holidays I have been going over to walk the dog along the Dandenong Creek trail near their home. As I have already covered a lot of the nearby  area from previous walks I decided this time to both extend the area I covered and also to cover some of the nearby bush reserves too.

 While walking through Dexter’s Reserve along its footworn narrow tracks, the thought came to me that my father would have loved it there, even though he was never a city person! That said once (when he was thinking of retiring from the Green Grocery Round,)  he did briefly contemplate doing an Uncle Ted. That is selling the farm (In Uncle Ted’s case, it was an Orchard,) and buying a house In Panton Hill, close to the shops etc. I think Mum would have liked that with a newer house and more modern facilities, but I think one of my cousins talked him out of that reminding him of the open land still around him compared to suburban closeness.

 Whatever the reason, it never happened and they remained there and Dad, for as long as he could, lived out his retirement there and often taking long walks with the dog, children or Grandchildren up along the creek and along bush tracks and enjoying the bush and sights there. The memory of those walks came back to me as I was walking along the bush tracks through the small but seemingly large Dexter reserve. And the thought came to me that I loved it there too. Although very close to the heart of Melbourne, there, along the Dandenong Creek it seemed like one really was out in the bush in the middle of nowhere!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Whose Memory Is Correct?

  Many years ago I started to write some of my memories from my youth down (and they are still around somewhere on Floppy Discs,) but I was discouraged when someone challenged my memories and so I stopped. Recently however, I have been encouraged by my son to jot some more down on paper. Well at least, on the computer. So I am currently doing so now, but in no particular order or chronology, but simply when currently inspired to jot them down. This brings me to the point of this particular Blog. Whose Memory is correct?

 Often, as I found to my discouragement, others memories disagree with ours. Yes, this can be so, but does that make any of them/us fully right or fully wrong? Remember these memories are of how one particular person experienced a certain event, and often people can experience the same event from a different angle or perspective to you and have a completely different memory to yours.

When I was not even a month past 11 years of age, the 1962 Bushfires passed around our house and so has become an indelible time line in my life, with just a few memories before it and a host after it. Getting married; Becoming a believer In Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour; Going to Africa; and coming back from Africa, have also become major defining times in my life.

 Going back to the 62 Fires, are my memories of it correct? Depends it seems on who you talk to. For instance I was talking to my two brothers earlier this year about the 62 Bushfires.  My oldest brother was there at the time, as was I, but our other brother was on Holiday with a mate and his family at Philip Island.  During our discussion earlier this year I mentioned one aspect about the Fire and a certain Gentleman who was there and who took charge of things where I was. My oldest brother started to disagree strongly saying that the person whom I mentioned wasn’t even there then. At which point our other brother (who wasn’t there at the time of the Fire) backed my story, saying that dad had often mentioned that the man I had mentioned, had indeed been there, and taken charge of things because initially, dad was not back from fighting the fire elsewhere.. At which point my older brother remembered that he and I, had in fact been on different sides of the Creek and with a different group of people, hence our experiences and memories differed greatly. Not because either of us were wrong but because both of us saw and experienced it from a different side of the Creek and from a different angle and perspective.

 So, if someone’s memories differ from yours, it is possible that they or you are wrong but more likely that they have seen and experienced it from different angles. So please check your facts before commenting and if they, or even I, have gotten the facts wrong, please forgive and please gently correct where needed. However, do remember that even though many people may experience the same event, that doesn’t mean that they experienced it in the same way or angle as you, and thus may well remember it differently to you. Again this does not make either of you right or wrong.  It just means that you may have experienced it from different angles.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Do you know/understand what a virgule is?

I feel/ suspect that you, like me till today, have no idea what a virgule is. Nor how to properly pronounce it (\VUR-gyool\) But while you may not know/understand what a virgule is, I believe/know that you see and use them regularly.  In fact in just reading this far, you have seen/read six of them so far and will see another five before you finish. If you finish!

So what is a virgule? According to Word of the day for July 28/2016, a virgule is 1. a short oblique stroke (/) between two words indicating that whichever is appropriate may be chosen to complete the sense of the text in which they occur: The defendant and his/her attorney must appear in court.
2. a dividing line, as in dates, fractions, a run-in passage of poetry to show verse division, etc.: 3/21/27;

 So a virgule is a thing most of us use regularly without knowing its name and are happy enough about that so far, not to even want to know its name. Which is fine for things I guess but not fine when we treat people like that, is it?

I wonder how many of us treat people like we treat the virgule. We see them, even use them or their services, but barely recognise them, let alone know their names. Maybe you are even being treated like a virgule yourself. What say you from your perspective and what can you do about it. Wood love to hear from you on this subject. TOWPG.