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Dad & Me - An Old Photo by © Karin  Taylor

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Polkadot Snake by Matt Mawson
Matt created the above vector version of my photo today from the goodness of his heart – I am deeply moved Matt, thank you

Hello everyone,

I rave on a lot about my dad, coz really he is some kind of hero to me. This is me when i was little with my dad handling a snake in the backyard in the very western town of Tottenham…(or as i used to call it Totnamham) it is actually pronounced …. Tot – Nam, NSW, where my dad was the only police officer in town, what they call a one-man station.

He was ever encouraging me to ‘touch’ the wildlife and not be afraid….. after growing up in the mountains of Katoomba and being introduced to rockpools and snorkelling at a young age while on a holiday, my dad’s love for nature grew and grew and grew.

That early encouragement to ‘touch’ things could explain why at age 10 i got my thumb stuck in a giant clam on Keswick Island, a then uninhabited island in the Whitsunday Group, and perhaps that’s why he and i both touched the leaves on the Qld Stinging Tree and really regretted it…. yes, looking back, perhaps that explains a lot of things :)

I am much more at home with animals than people….give me a cat to cuddle and I’m much more me….. although…i do love snakes….. i much prefer lizards, they are my favourite reptile..after that comes the turtle.

I am very partial to baby chicks as we raised a lot of them by hand when i was young….i also hand raised 3 baby mice who’s mother had died of heatstroke because the garage where we kept them got so hot in the summer…the little black and white one died, and it broke my heart….i had a special burial ceremony for him and never forgave myself, because i killed him with kindness by overfeeding the delicate little sweetheart…and he was my favourite. The baby mice were only about 1cm long….and about 7 others all died before i could revive them.. I fed them milk through a tiny rubber flange by sticking a needle through the end of it to create a teet and pinching the other end between my fingers..

We had many unusual pets growing up, including a blue ringed octopus, crabs, lion fish, a baby crocodile, a cockatoo, quails, parrots, snakes, baby foxes, turkeys and little baby chicks which i remember had hardly any feathers, looked a bit like they’d been skinned and we would feed them until their ’craw’s were really full and poking out…..then we knew each one had had their fill. The one thing i love more than most other things, are baby lizards. This love apparently comes from the time I saw lizards born live. If only I could remember, but I have to rely on my parents retell. Shingleback lizards bear their young live…and i was lucky to witness the miracle once…..screaming ‘Born lizards, born lizards’!!

It was not unusual for us to have octopi crawling around the back yard and lobsters too…..i used to so enjoy listening to their crackly noises from yabbies we caught in the dam in the buckets of water…and watching the little fishies dad would catch for the fish tanks…swimming round n round in the little yellow bucket.

Our home was a haven for crab casings, beautiful exotic shells, wahoo and marlin heads mounted on timber…and every specimen under heaven that dad could inject with formalin to preserve in some way…there were fishing nets hung from the ceilings with all manner of things stuck up there, including the glass buoys i so love and starfish, and all manner of spider and spanner crabs…etc..etc…

On yet another occasion, i scrubbed the baby turkey chics and almost killed them all, in an effort to clean off their specks…..perhaps that’s when the OCD first began (lol)

I’ve been very reminiscent about the past lately, mainly because it seems the more i share my stories, it appears i had rather an unusual upbringing.. I always thought that everyone was brought up this way….

No need for you to comment on the image above, because it is just something i’d like to buy for myself as a card to give to my dad, to show him my appreciation for all the stuff he introduced me to as a child, for all the adventures we had……

….just reminiscing :)

ps… if dad caught a marlin today, he would simply release it, he no longer has the desire to kill beautiful creatures. I’ll never forget the day we caught a beautiful jewelled Dolphin Fish…it was almost as tall as myself..and as I lifted it from the ocean with all my might, it seemed to me to be a treasure chest of glittering rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds..then his glorious colours faded once I’d hauled him into the boat… they fade before you can even take a photo… but there has been nothing like this in brilliance that I’ve ever seen out to sea before… other things were amazing, but nothing this gorgeous… we ate him for dinner that night, and i always regret not giving him back to his ocean home and leaving him be :(

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All rights reserved © Karin Taylor 1965 – 2013*
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These images are the exclusive property of myself, Karin Taylor and are protected under the Australian and International Copyright laws. These images must not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of myself, Karin Taylor.

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  • Patricia Anne McCarty-Tamayo
    Patricia Anne ...over 6 years ago

    How CUTE!

  • thank you Patricia Anne :)
    I’m so glad this came to mind… it will be so fun to give this to dad on a greeting card one day :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • WhiteDove Studio kj gordon
    WhiteDove Stud...over 6 years ago dad always had a cig in his mouth too…..they didn’t know………

  • hey kj…yeah, dad always (and still does) had a ciggie hangin out his mouth….he still does his gardening, fishing or whatever …. but the ciggie will always be there…

    – © Karin Taylor

  • picketty
    pickettyover 6 years ago

    wow you did so much you ran out of room. Where is the rest of the story Karin…what happened to the turkeys you scrubbed? However dont be scared of people…most of us dont bite

  • ..nearly all the chicks survived, they were revived by a fire to warm them, it took a few hours…

    i’d only seen yellow chicks from the hens before that, and assumed the turkey chicks splodges and colourings were dirt….

    I was just trying to ‘help’ lol

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Of Land & Ocean - Samantha Goode
    Of Land & Ocea...over 6 years ago

    Karin, what a fantastic photograph! and I love your writing with it too. Wonderful stories. (for some reason though, I can’t read all of it, only to the paragraph of you scurbbing the chicks to remove their specks, after that paragraph – the RB banner on the bottom of the screen – about support etc covers the rest of your writing – and I’d love to know how it ends!! :-) xx

  • Hey Samantha..
    The chicks had to be warmed and rubbed near a stoked fire…..most were revived….
    my mum says i was tugging her skirt to tell her “I washed the birdies” but she and dad thought i wanted them to ‘watch the birdies’ and delayed coming to see…

    Upon arrival at the scene, it was duly noted, I had ‘laid them all out in a row’….the poor little chicks….

    I was only trying to ‘help’!!

    – © Karin Taylor

  • thanks again Sam…i’ve ordered the book ‘My Family and Other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell through my local library…should have it soon….and i really will enjoy reading this!!

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Of Land & Ocean - Samantha Goode
    Of Land & Ocea...over 6 years ago

    Karin ignore me! – I can see it all now

  • thank you so much Sam…sorry i forgot to thank you earlier :) glad you can see it all now :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • MKWhite
    MKWhiteover 6 years ago

    What a great photo :) It’s kinda funny in a way, my parents were never into taking photos or videos. There’s a few photos around from my childhood but nothing like this. Thank you for sharing this and the story with us. :)

  • ..hey thank you !!
    I didn’t expect anyone to really respond… that’s very nice that you did. I was born in 1965 and being the firstborn, did have a lot of photos taken…. it’s such a shame not to have them, but as long as you have the memories… sometimes for me, the photos bring back, or help recapture fading’s lovely to have them…

    now and then, i stop and just look at them and reminisce…it’s a lovely feeling to be able to do that…

    i keep this photo in a dear little pebbled frame in my studio and when i look at it, it lifts my spirit and i feel connected, strengthened and encouraged to perservere :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • tonilouise
    tonilouiseover 6 years ago

    What beautiful memories Karin..Look at you touching that snake, absolutely no fear at all…Gorgeous image..xx

  • Hi tonilouise, thank you so much for looking and commenting….i am so happy you like my childhood memory captured in a snap…thank you again! Hugs xox

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Of Land & Ocean - Samantha Goode
    Of Land & Ocea...over 6 years ago

    sorry – have you ever read My family and other animals? it’s about the author and him growing up on a small Greek Island (actually where I lived) – I’m sure you’d like it from reading about the animals you had growing up. It’s by Gerald Durrell, it’s one of my all time favourite books.

  • oh no Sam..i have not heard of this book…i’ll try and google it and see if i can find it tho….i did always love Dr Doolittle (still do) and his travels and chats with the animals :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Hey Sam, i just located some text on the internet, it sounds wonderful…i will have a good old read of this later on :)
    thank you so much!

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Marilyn Harris
    Marilyn Harrisover 6 years ago

    Sounds like you had a childhood filled with adventure!! What a wonderful photo – Great memories for your Dad I’m sure!!! Good one Karin!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Hi blossom…it certainly seems that way … thank you very much….(now you see why your images capture something special for me hey!!)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Keith Richardson
    Keith Richardsonover 6 years ago

    Hi Karin! You and Byron (Barnsis) both write beautifully of your childhood and upbringing. It can be so rewarding teasing out the multitude of experiences that have produced what we are today… As I read your account (thank you so much for sharing it!) I found myself wondering about the impact I might perhaps have had on my three children, camping and hiking through the bush, dissecting fish we had caught, or shooing Tasmanian Devils out of our night-time tent, in the Tassie wilderness…. We all need encouraging as parents and grandparents to keep on giving our offspring experiences that can perhaps shape their future personalities… Keith.

  • Hi Keith, yes, thank you so much! It does make one ponder about these things. The only thing i’m very good at with my children is taking them to the rockpools…i love to find things and explain what they are…i have a great fascination for things that are ‘dangerous’………we had fun one day (as grown ups) with my children when my dad came to visit….he could just tell there was an ‘occy’ under the ledge of the rockpool…because of the little bubbles floating to the surface….he jammed his hand in their and reefed the poor thing out and we all (my children included ran screaming and jumping with excitement)….
    I wish I’d done more with my kids, to show them nature…but a child has also to find wonder in nature…and not all children these days find this an easy task with computers etc…. and the norm being to ‘stay inside’….i would encourage them with ‘bug catchers’ out in the back yard, and to look at the beauty inside the flower, or the leaves…. now they come running to tell me when there’s a beautiful sky to be viewed, etc… so perhaps they do now begin to show a love for nature. My sisters children are very lucky because they live right near my father…(their grandfather) and he has instilled this love of nature in them.

    Every afternoon, at a certain time, dad feeds all the birds …. hundreds of them flock to mum and dad’s verandah…at first there were just maggies (magpies) but now there are all sorts, and it’s magnificent to watch…not to mention that from their view on the hill they have a 180 degree view of the ocean and ‘whale watch’ the season from start to finish… i wish we didn’t live so far away (only an hour) but too far to be there for such occasions……ie…quick, look, there’s a whale going by…. i often am on the phone, and mum will start gasping and i’m saying….what’s goin on Mum?? and she’ll say o shit…the fishtank just burst… or omigod your father just split his leg open doing some crazy thing…or stop everything, the whales are jumping!!!

    so yes, what a wonderful life they gave me and what a wonderful life they still have, always surrounded by their love of nature :)

    I’m sure you would have had a super impact on your children….i have always adored the TassieDevils….

    – © Karin Taylor

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