Harvest time has come to my parents field. I haven’t had much involvement with it this year so I don’t know what all they planted. I know that my dad complained that they didn’t thin out their radishes like they should have so those did grow well. They seemed okay too me. Spicy as hell and a bit fibrous – perfect for snacking on if you ask me. Dad is hard to please though. I’m guessing that he wanted radishes suited for salads.
The tomato plants died en mass. This is the big thing that Dad always wants the most of and we never seem to get enough of every year. Doesn’t matter how well they do, we always run out of canned tomatoes before the next season. So yea, he was pissed when the seedlings died. Well that was an understatement.
Green beans are doing fabulous like they always do every year. These bastards are the most hardy plants I have every seen. I have no idea what breed my parents plant. I know when they plant the yellow ones that they plant the yellow butter wax beans. Both breeds are the kind that grow great big bushy plants with big broad leaves and you have to lift them up to find the beans. My parents plant multiple rows every year. After you pick a row in about a day it will be ready to be picked again. This is how productive this breed is. What I don’t understand is my dad will plant enough rows to get all the jars he wants in one or two pickings. Then he’s freaking out about all that wasted produce trying to find someone who wants them. Otherwise we’re canning them.
So here’s the thing: it’s proving to be at least just as expensive to grow all this food and process it ourselves as it is to just buy the canned vegetables en mass to stock our food storage in accordance to the Latter-Day Saint teachings. Dad claims that at least this way he can make sure there is no salt in them. Well now you can buy the canned vegetables sodium free and they’re not that expensive compared to their counterparts. Needless to say in light of this, the siblings and I have lost a lot of interest in all this mess as we have moved out. Yet he is still growing enough to feed 5+ families. Which in my opinion would be fine if he could actually do it all, but he can’t. He has doctor’s orders to not do a lot of the lifting required. I know this for fact. I’m not sure about the rest. So the bulk of the work gets dumped on Mom. And she doesn’t seem to be interested in doing it anymore either. But she doesn’t put her foot down about it. Instead she struggles to keep up with all of it. She has neuropathy and arthritis. You’d think this man would see that this is just too much. Every year he rants and raves about how he’s going to quit doing this like we are going to suddenly panic and take action. We don’t. Passive-aggressive protest at its finest I guess.
The other problem though is the fact that the soil is losing its nutrition. Each year more of the tomato plants struggle and die. He’s not rotating his fields. He’s not letting sections go fallow to recover. Well I take that back, he did only use half this year. (On a side note, there is a very interesting reason why the green beans do well due to their structure and a co-habitation with a bacteria that capitalizes on low levels of nitrates in the ground, but I digress.) I think after seeing how the potatoes got attacked yet again by those bugs and comparing prices of insecticide – chemical (not safe for people – children) and organic (safe for people) – he’s decided that it might be better to just buy the potatoes. Fertilizer of any kind is just not cheap. He tried raising animals to help out with that, but that proved to be even more expensive. The cost of raising 2 pigs I think turned out to be triple of what it cost to just buy a years worth of pork in the same amount where he can buy it. He doesn’t grow commercially and even if he did, I don’t know if he’s big enough to qualify for a farmer’s grant to help with that. But then again, when comparing costs I think he just looks at things in isolation and not as a whole. Like in raising those pigs. Did he consider the savings in fertilizer when he tallied the cost of raising them and compared the price of buying the meat as well as consider the cost of growing those vegetables versus buying them? No, I don’t think he did. So in the end I have no idea which is more expensive.
I think now the only reason he keeps growing the vegetables is because he still has working farming equipment. Well no, he just bought new equipment this year. I think this has become a very involved hobby for him. That’s fine. It really is. And a part of me wants to grow my own stuff if I would be allowed my own garden plot and grow my own separate stuff and take care of it my own way. But no. The last time I brought it up he insisted that I grow it right along in his plot and with his stuff. And I ended up with the same issue my sister had. He called first dibs on everything because it was his land and his house, etc. It didn’t matter that year I bought the seeds with my Food Stamps or anything. And some of the plants didn’t do well so I didn’t get any of those. So that was the last year I had any part of it. I know he resents my lack of help and a part of me feels guilty about it. But he still feels he was entitled. But he doesn’t understand that the moment the Food Stamps got involved was the moment he lost entitlement. This was why I wanted separate plots in the first place.
Then my middle son started eating solids and got diagnosed with Autism. His sensory issues reared its ugly head and all this became a moot point. There are very few vegetables he will eat. A very select few. Green beans are not on this list. The stuff that I would want to grow would not be the stuff Dad would be interested in. And I sure as hell would not be interested in growing it in the amounts he wants. If I ever get back into gardening it will be within my own separate plot. Period. For better or worse I am too much like my dad. I want things done my own way. It would be fine if it was his way, but often times we don’t see eye to eye on things. And gardening for me would be only on a educational and therapeutic hobby level with the bonus of getting stuff to eat out of it. Which means in his eyes would be a total waste of time.
Blah, I can tell I am riding the edge of depression. It’s not just the sense of impending doom that will never come. I get bitchy. I get petty. I seek things out to complain about. I rant more. Why is it this is when I am more likely to become the Hulk?
Seriously, my dad is a good man. Him and I do have a complex past, I admit that, but that doesn’t make him a bad person. And in the long run when it is all over years from now maybe I will be able to say the same of my husband. We’re just not compatible. Being around him is very destabilizing for me. Does this make him a bad person? At the moment in my eyes, yes. I’m not sure I will ever be able to sort out and make sense of the complexities that is the relationship with my husband other than I am not the person for him. I have truly come to the conclusion that I am just a surrogate for his ideal. So maybe yes he treats me the way he does is on purpose but it’s probably on a subconscious level. Which means it’s not going to change. I will never be the person he wants me to be. I’m getting really tired of that all away around from everyone.
Hopefully hanging out with my sister tonight will help pull me out of this funk a bit.