Wear gumboots and save your shoes
‘‘It is always harder to get motivated in cold weather, especially with the prospect of wet feet, which almost makes putting off gardening chores seem a sensible option.’’
COLUMN: I’m not sure if everyone who grew up when I did, or just the rural kids, still remember most of the words to Fred Dagg’s gumboot song.
Gumboots were an essential fashion item at the small country school I attended.
We were not into fancy ‘girly’ boots, and any hint of colour would quickly get stomped on by the more rugged, black, almost knee-high boots with chunky soles that most of us wore.
I ampretty sure Skellerup Perths were the business back then.
Who said we farm kids were not into labels?
Those boots had to handle every punishment we could throw at them, plus the legendary Westland mud; a lesser gumboot would leave you slowly sinking with cold, sludgy mud oozing over the top.
Or worse, without the chunky grip of a good pair of boots it was easy to end up on your backside in the mud when your feet slipped out from under you.
I still would not be without my ‘gummies’.
I went for cheapies for a while but I got tired of having to replace them every few months due to the horrible seeping sensation of water working its way in through a split so I bought myself a decent pair.
That was seven years ago and I am still wearing them.
While they are still Skellerups, because we are on a quarter acre in sunny Marlborough rather than a wet farm block, I swapped my Perth preference for Red Bands.
I amnot as hard on them as when I was a kid, but they still get a lot of wear – German shepherds, well, dogs in general I think, do not care what the weather is doing; when it is walk time, it is walk time.
We get a lot of big puddles out our way and I suspect a few passing motorists have probably had a snigger when they see me stomping into puddles to create splashes for the dogs to ‘catch’ when we’re out walking.
Gumboots are also great for winter gardening.
It is always harder to get motivated in cold weather, especially with the prospect of wet feet, which almost makes putting off gardening chores seem a sensible option.
Last weekend’s chore of digging out the compost bin after a bit of rain, for example, would trash a pair of sneakers pretty quickly, or, at the least, create a shoe-washing chore.
Ditto for digging in an apple tree the previous weekend, or hosing out the chook shed or digging manure into the garden.
Gumboots are also good on dewy mornings when the lawn is not as short as it would be if you had got around to mowing it.
So, if you are new to gardening, get yourself a pair of gumboots.
You do not have to go hardcore; there are plenty of colourful options.
I promise not to stomp on your toes; I have grown out of my childhood gumboot snobbery.
These days, it is all about dry feet.
‘‘Gumboots, they are wonderful, gumboots, they are swell, ‘coz they keep out the water and they keep in the smell,’’ Fred Dagg.