February 4, 2017
Couldn’t really think of a snazzy title, so I just swiped a line from “Ballad of the Comeback Kid” by the New Pornographers.
It can be weird how much we don’t really notice during our childhood. Like all those things that you learn about years later and make you go, “That makes so much more sense now.” Generally as I’ve gotten older, there has been a steady reeducation about any number of things that unfolded when I was younger. A lot of it related to my family’s history with farming. With the recent foray into solar panels that has begun, I have gotten a few more details I missed.
I recall a conversation with my ex’s parents where they were asking about how my family has farmers on both sides. I believe the point I made was that “We aren’t really good at it.” Which partly me giving a bullshit, asshole response and partly truth.
My mother’s parents have a farm that my uncle has since taken over. Before I was born, my mother worked on farms in various capacities–milking, inspection work, etc. I’ve touched on some of the events that unfolded there at one point or another, but there have been a number of struggles.
On my father’s side, my dad and one of my uncles on that side had been running a farm–where the solar panels are planned to go–from before I was born to when I was about twelve. My uncle continued to farm, but at that point my father left and eventually settled into his current job. My uncle has scaled back the farm considerably, but continues to work it while planning on the solar panels.
Now, here’s what I mean by how “We aren’t really good at” farming. With my mother’s side, there have been a number of issues related to finances, business and other things. There were a few events I didn’t find out about until a decade or more after the event.
On my father’s side, it was always relatively small operation. My father leaving the farm was something at the time I was under the impression that had more to do with him wanting to spend more time with me and my sister. Which I suppose has some truth to it. But as I said, the reeducation has enlightened me to a few details that bring the picture into a bit more focus.
My mother has opened up to me about a few details having to do my father leaving the farm and the general dynamic that was going on when I was a child. The uncle that worked with my dad generally seemed fairly gruff with me and my sister when we were younger. It kind of made us… not necessarily feeling welcome out in the barn. At least to me anyway. As a kid, I was aware of it, but not really capable of comprehending exactly what it meant. My mother acknowledged that the uncle didn’t really want us on the farm, which I had figured out on some level. There could be a lot of reasons for it, but suffice to say I was discouraged from doing too much with the farming as a child and that discouragement made me a lot more… wary of farming. Still does, on some level.
More recently though, I was discussing the solar panels with my mother and she made a comment about something the uncle said recently. Something about he could have made some changes to the farm after my father left. The way my mother was talking, I think my father had some frustrations with my uncle’s methodology. Or that she did. Nothing I’m really going to ask about, ancient history really. But it does… raise some questions in my mind.
Point is, the more recent revelations about my family’s farm make me realize how little I really understood about what was unfolding at the age of twelve. How little we comprehend a lot of events that unfold when we’re kids. And how those events came to influence me later on.