As an adult, far from the clutches of family, a person can look back over time and realise just how strange things were. A few weeks ago I wrote about an extreme and rather violent incident which found me on the wrong end of a sharp knife blade as a young bloke. At the time, you assume such things are normal. However, with a few more years under your belt, and observation of more functional families, let’s just say: the comparison was hardly flattering.
My mother was a single mother. She was a touch wild and wayward. My father left the household at such a young age, there are no memories of him there. After the divorce, on Sunday’s he’d drag my two older sisters and I to his mothers house, where my grandmother spent the day entertaining us, whilst also putting us to work. She was really nice and there are pleasant memories like the consistently creaky gate, the smell of roasting meats, and her exclamation: “Oooo, lurve, g’day!” My father used to sleep in front of the television, wake up to consume the Sunday roast and then watch the races or football with his father. Then we’d head home again. On birthday’s my dad would send me a card and a five or ten buck note. The newspaper rounds netted more mad cash than that, not that he knew such things. The Sunday excursions with him stopped. And after a while, even the birthday cards stopped too.
A few weeks ago I learned that my mother had died way back in 2017. Nobody had thought that this news would be of interest to me, and on the funeral notice, among the family members names, my name was not mentioned. In not mentioning me, it was as if I’d died to them long ago. We’d all been estranged for decades, so the news was initially a shock, but soon settled in to the background of other day to day concerns.
From a certain perspective, it’s really weird that nowadays all of the adults from my childhood life who were such a pain, are now dead. But then, I’d heard that time sorts out all manner of problems, and it’s true.
The thing is, the news wasn’t traumatic for me, if only because the grief had been processed decades ago. That’s the funny thing about being a young bloke and observing comparisons with more functional families, your own situation doesn’t end up looking all that great. After a while you stop wondering why you were the only kid in school who had to catch the public buses home after school camp. You know things aren’t good, and just you do your best to be independent and maintain distance from the careless and hurtful ones.
You can’t do some things on your own though, and you only know what you know. At the age of seventeen I entered the full time work force, and after board was handed over (almost half my earnings), there was some mad cash left. Back in those days, there was no interweb to ask stupid questions like: Is it normal when your step father takes a knife to your throat? Nope, I had to pay for a psychologist. That was expensive, but also a useful experience. Books were cheaper, and fortunately there was plenty of good advice to be found in them.
As a late teenager, with new knowledge in hand and a vision cleared of many abstractions, I walked away from them all. It was a hard decision, and not the accepted narrative of happy families. I’ve even encountered some people whom have blamed me, and that’s an option I guess. But I kept them all at a distance, and life just went better. Around the time of my marriage to Sandra, she worked at building a relationship with my immediate family. It was all good, until they turned on her one day for no real reason I can understand. It was brutal. I just maintained the distance, and after that experience, so did Sandra.
My mothers father, who would be my grandfather, seeing me without a dad, took me under his wing. I liked him a lot, and he gave me his time, and he may even have shared some wisdom. I wish I’d absorbed more of his gardening knowledge because he had an extensive vegetable patch in the enormous backyard, but I was too young to take much notice. A week or so before his death, the old bloke asked me to fix the rift with the family. I didn’t want him going to his grave with false hopes, and he seemed like a pragmatic kind of guy, so probably understood. Maybe.
After his death, I spotted the above article in the business section of the newspaper. I miss the old bloke, but life does tend to end in death. And now all of the generation below him have passed on. I don’t miss them, and haven’t for a very long time.
The weather was marginally drier this week. There were even a few days of sunny spring weather. That was a nice change from the bonkers cold and wet year that it has been to date. We were even able to use a few machines without too much ripping up of the wet paddocks.
The machines were used to bring quantities of rocks down to one of the steel rock gabion cages near to the large shed. The cage was filled, and then sewn shut. The rock gabion cages are awesome, super strong and can hold back large volumes of soil.
At the moment there is no water near to the greenhouse. Everyday I have to walk buckets of water down to the greenhouse so that the plants growing inside can enjoy a drink of water. This week, we placed some treated pine sleepers immediately below the greenhouse where a couple of water pumps will sit.
Over the next week or so, two water pumps will be installed, and I’ll no longer have to take buckets of water down to the plants in the greenhouse. There’ll be a tap (spigot) and hoses inside the greenhouse.
The regular mixture of coffee grounds and agricultural lime (Calcium Carbonate) continues to be added to the area where the tomatoes will grow later this year. In that area, we also discovered an old tree stump and then ground it out.
And we did another large burn off cleaning up some of the mess that the loggers left over the past century of their activities. I’d heard a new theory from a neighbour as to why so much forest materials were dumped into that area. My neighbour suggested that it may have not been the loggers, but rather the activities of the road builders, who pushed the materials down to that area. Possibly they may have hoped that the stuff remained out of sight, but alas, ’twas not so!
After all that work, and forestry work is very heavy going, Ollie decided to take a nap in the cool spring sunshine.
A few days ago, the dogs alerted me to a presence in the wood shed. Not something you want to experience, but I poked my head inside the shed anyway and was alarmed to see a large reptile in there. The dogs went back inside the house, I grabbed the long sleeved welding gloves and relocated the Blue Tongue Lizard to a more beneficial location far from the wood shed. The lizard would have appreciated the many rock shelves and hidey holes in the new location. Those lizards are feed for Eastern Brown Snakes, and have no reason to be in the firewood shed.
The bird life is enjoying the warmer weather, and the King Parrots now have more to eat and will hopefully be less destructive in the garden.
As the spring soil slowly warms, more Asparagus spears are poking through the earth. They’re a very tasty vegetable and we cook them by frying the spears in olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper. So tasty!
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 838.6mm (33.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 833.4mm (32.8 inches)