Letters to Family and Planting Yellow Onions

Yesterday I planted storage onions and asparagus plants and started digging up ground for potatoes because thanks to El Nino this is an early spring and I’m already behind. I used to dislike planting because it takes time and is tedious work, but now I enjoy it. I can sit and plant carefully and do it right and probably chat a little with the neighbors who stop to talk about the weather and I can think. Usually the thinking part includes remembering that my sister expects me to till my entire garden by poking it with a potato fork and if she finds out I’m not doing that I expect she will want the potato fork back, she is like that. So for at least one day every spring this chain of events has to intrude and ruin my planting mood for a little while. Last night I vented a bit by writing this next part and today I’ve gone back to take out the F words but I still feel the same way about this.

I don’t get along with family very well. I don’t ascribe to the concept of duty to family at all, even though I did my part in all that. I was born into this world without tools or weapons and I will do what I can. The best thing you can do for family is to be independent and to teach them independence. My attitude towards family is that, when I was young, I rode out the gate and didn’t look back. Forty years later I got a letter in the mail from a cousin I didn’t remember who gave me a list of people who died.

Maybe it’s just me, I could be a total lunatic, but I don’t agree that if you have the poor sense to make new children that your children should be forever bound to take care of you until you die, and that is all that modern family life is about. I think, if you make kids, they should be free to do whatever the hell they want to do, just go on with life and enjoy, you are not responsible for your parents because they made their own karma, and for the children it’s the same, it’s a brave new world and do what you can.

Here’s a letter I wrote to my sister P but never mailed because it is less trouble to not mail it:

“To P and J mostly, copy to B. If I can’t say what I think about such things there’s no point in talking. This is a test! The Emergency Broadcast System is conducting a Test! I’m sure you all must remember that.

OK, just asking, just testing waters in barter format. A few years ago you insisted I needed a potato fork because I could till my whole garden with it and incorporate maybe ten ounces of compost that way and I’d be fine! so to avoid argument I accepted it. I’m not being ornery! I swear! I did this because it thought it was the simplest way to deal with advice I don’t need or want! But honestly I have never needed the potato fork, is totally useless here except for digging potatoes and I have other ways that work way better for digging potatoes. So, if you want it back, I will gladly ship it back to you and incur the cost of shipping, but the cutoff date for that is November this year when the gov starts docking me $150 a month to cover medical care I will never need, never mind that I might want food and other pleasures, is just the way my life has unfolded and I have a nice cave staked out if I need it, is not a problem.

But! again not wanting be a bastard ornery person but just saying, in the past you gave me a honey extractor that didn’t work and I fixed it, thought I might sell it because it turned out I lived in the worst possible county in Arkansas for honey production and that was a lost cause. You objected because that wasn’t what you intended when you gave it to me. So you got it back, all repaired at no charge. Another time, you gave me a nice chainsaw, said “This is yours.” I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that chainsaw, I was in dire circumstances then and it was vital to what I was trying to do and yes, I would have kissed feet to get that saw. But Dad expected me to somehow cut an entire winter’s worth of firewood AND somehow make a living without the help of the VA, and that’s impossible, I told him to get a propane stove. Then when Dad died you wanted the chainsaw back, I still needed it. I argued this point and kept the saw. (I burnt it up later trying to resaw lumber with it here in Indiana, that never works). But I remember all this, I know the way you think about such, is fine with me. If you want the potato fork back, I will send it. Otherwise I might sell it or let it rot or forget about it. Is a nice tool, I know a lot about old tools and this is a nice one. When you gave it to me, I said to myself, oh cripes, here we go again. I knew it was useless here, also is useless to argue with my sister, I often feel doomed in family things.”

Now that this is done, I can plant potatoes.

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About JTHats

Avid backpacker and outdoorsman with old skills and interests in old ways of doing things; equally fascinated by electronics, from the days of Sputnik, to the Zilog Z80A, to the present day of black box circuitry. Sixty years of experience with growing my own food and living simply. Certified electronics technician, professional woodturner, woodcarver, and graduate of two military survival courses — Arctic and Jungle.

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