Living in America

Living in America – A pictorial guide – My sister asked me what it was like where I am living, so here is my attempt to sum it all up.

Welcome to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Also features ‘Cooking with Lu’ making Egg Fried Rice

One of Heidi’s lovely lamps…

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A beady lamp, this must be the sort of things Americans use I think…

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The house is over a hundred years old and the original room divider is still fitted. There is a display cabinet attached at each side…

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The divider goes up and over…

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The other side is a fitted cabinet too. Full of beautiful things. Sewing kits and all sorts…

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This is a beautiful lamp. It has three bulbs with separate chains to pull to turn them on which is a bit of a pain, but it is worth it…

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Always wear a mask, but I find it difficult when we are eating.

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A small part of Heidi’s decorative tape collection. They are in pristine condition.

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I was feeling left out so I have stated my own tape collection…

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The original sink…

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The Butcher’s Block

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This is what cupboards are like in America…

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Or like this…

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No here is a completely different type of cupboard, wait for it, this is a pie cooler. How ‘cool’ is that! I hope these were proper pies, ie with pastry underneath and pastry on top. If it doesn’t have a pastry top it is a tart, just so you know. There is a good name for one with only pastry on the top, that is a pot pie. I might even forgive a pot pie for being just a casserole or pot roast with a pastry top. There is one other rule I intend to ensure the globe (or disc if you are  flat earther) comes to learn, it should be short crust pastry not flakey. Lesson over, mark my words well.

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Not everything here is over a hundred years old.

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Giffa gets behind the wood-burning stove where she is really really warm yet safe from flying logs…

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I thought a good way to make use of my time was to make magazine racks for filing my paper work. I am hoping to make a dozen by the end of next week…

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I decorated them. There are  enough for Heidi to store all her stationary…

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Lots…

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Little Shop of Horrors…

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Banker’s Boxes…

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Swizzled…

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That one’s going to take a bit of filling…

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The flax hangs drying, the mice climb and dine. Twigs, bits and bark partly fill paper bags to make fire-starters or firebombs. The log was all cut shorter than usual especially for our small wood burning stove…

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I need help with this thing. What is it? What is it for? How do I fill it? –

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What’s in the jug? How do you know how much to put in?

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There’s a lovely expression here in the US of A; Kitty Corner. There is a Walgreens kitty corner to us; diagonally opposite. All of America is square, I’ve worked that much out. It is all blocks. As we walked home in Scarborough in Yorkshire in Britain we went down a steep narrow hill and as we turned a tight bend and looked down at the seafront promenade below, Heidi turned to me and said, “Ah, you were right, Britain isn’t all built in blocks is it.”

Walgreens is like Boots, it’s a chemist but with beauty products and stuff. It also sells tinned food, snacks, frozen food and alcohol. Wine, beer and spirits. Each state seems to vary on this. Some you have to go to a separate shop. Others like Wisconsin you have to show ID so they can log your DOB into the computer.

Walgreens-store-image

Every house has a porch or a stoop. I guess this is a porch and it is ours. I plan to sit there whittling. We are last but one of our street with an auto repair shop at the end.

You get S for such as South Bay Street, that’s how they write it. There are cross roads everywhere. If you were able to get a bus, as it approached, a machine would call out something like, ‘Howard and Mason’. then you would know to get off, except I couldn’t work out how to use the doors.

31 (2)

I kind of understand why they say yard instead of garden. Nobody seems to do any gardening, except for sticking in a few bulbs and riding round on a grass cutter. (This one below is about the most floral I’ve seen.)

I plan to change all that one garden at a time till I’ve gone coast to coast.

howard-street-green-bay

The windows are kind of double glazed. This is a survival necessity when the snow gets to about eighteen foot deep. or so I’ve been told.

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Then you unclip them and replace them with screens. This is to protect against things called mosquitos, but quite how such creatures survive here I am not sure.

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This is the neighbour’s place and beyond are the newly built apartments. They were built by the local church on what used to be their garden and are described as affordable housing.

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This is our back yard. You can see the Buckthorn beyond the fence on the strip of land which is ours too. Now they tell me that birds eat the berries of the saplings and then poop out the seeds. They sit on the fence to do it. So as I understand it, every fence in America is lined with hundreds of Buckthorn on either side. Well, ours was. I cut back all the one inside, and I will be working on the outside ones too.

There is a dead tree on our land just beyond the fence. Well, it is half dead, but all the way down to the ground so could go at any moment. I found a chain saw in the garage and I have never used one, so I thought I might give it a go. what do you think?

Ah, Heidi is reading over my shoulder and says I can not, I repeat can not do it myself. We need to get a tree feller feller in. Not three tree feller fellers, one feller should do it.

(And not three smart fellers either.)

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Here is where I cut a load of Buckthorn back, but it still needs clearing…

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And all along the fence is roots lurking…

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Oh no, here they come…

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This is the half dead tree… (Whoever cuts it down I hope we get to keep the wood.)

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I think this must be Wisconsin… (There must be a lot of Latvians live here or something.)

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Hewey and Lewey must be confused…

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Vintage bathroom fittings…

(It’s not just Britain who don’t know what mixer taps are it seems.)

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There is an attic, apparently, but I have never dared go up there…

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There are many things about America which frighten me. This house has a basement! I am going to be sucked into a swirling hole. Aliens are trying to break the gratings. I shouldn’t have gone off on my own wearing just T shirt and Jeans when there is a killer around taking us out one at a time. I have seen too many movies. I think that American movies (Yes there are other types) are more scary if you are not from America. If you are American watching a film, you are like, oh yeah its a basement. You all have them. They are a far less common commodity in other countries.

Lots of thing scare me. UPS vans. I am not even sure which film it was where one kept appearing and you start thinking, he turns up every time there is  a disappearance. Those traffic lights which go over the top of the road, I expect a gang with bandanas to turn up next to our bus and shout, drive or are you chicken!

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Everyone in America collects novelty spoons, or everyone in my experience anyway…

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My pal Judson asked me to get him a Green Bay Packers cap; I think they play some sort of game or something. Most people seem to have heard of them though.

I am having trouble with communicating over here. Oscar Wilde said Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language. It seems he was right. Back to those Buckthorn roots. I spent several hours searching for a place which would hire us a piece of equipment that would destroy them there pesky roots. I was looking for a rotavator. I stated that I wanted a hand-held one. It turns out, what I need was a stump-grinder. A walk-behind stump-grinder. Hours.

My pal Dwayne is on the case and once he finds one which will fit through our gate to the yard and isn’t $200 dollars a day to hire (no really) he will be out there turning them woody critters to dust.

Why I mention this here, I tried all sorts of phrases in my searches. At one point my attempts to hire garden equipment resulted in a whole page of links to the Green Bay Packers. What on earth they have to do with yard work I have no idea. I mentioned this to one of the students I am working with, (on line), he said, You are in Wisconsin, any search will end up going to the Packers.

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The place we pass by at a cross roads, at some point of the compass, which seems a vital method of giving directions here, which is a problem for someone who has no idea which way is which, any way; the big sign says Trucks. I don’t think any of them are trucks. They all have a flag on top. That is several hundred flags. I would stick a for sale sign there myelf, but hey ho.

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When I asked a lady in Minot what this was, in the picture below,  she said she was of a family of farmers and their main cop was flax. I said how Heidi had grown this and then I went on to demonstrated how it was worked into fibres. She said, we use a big machine, it’s a lot quicker.

On the large crate below this hanging flax were tons of little brown round things. I asked Heidi what they were and she said they were they flax seeds which had fallen off. They are all over the garage so I investigated. No they weren’t. They were very light and empty. Mice had climbed up the wall along the barn and down the corn sheaves. They had taken one seed at a time and carefully opened it. Then dropped the outer casing. These were empty little packets which once held a seed each.

I told my pal Greg of the Lakota, who is now connected to the corn-growing Oneida tribe, and he told me of how they grew corn. They hung it from beams in the barn, but they created bowl-shaped wrappings that went around the corn just above the cobs. When you turned the light on and went into the barn there were all these little mice faces looking down, obviously thinking, How do we get down there to that tasty corn?

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Every month a box turns up full of Japanese stationary. This is a very exciting time and involves shrieking. They are treasured and kept forever…

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Not more decorated boxes!

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Yes more…

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Just how many does one household need? Many…

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Here these are known as biscuits. I was wonderfully excited to find some actual biscuits recently in Walgreens; Biscoff. Ooooo, said Heidi, Cookies. No, I said if they bend they are cookies, if they snap they are biscuits. Biscuits are not sweet, you have them with gravy. The gravy is white!

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They come in a pretend tin made of cardboard…

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Them aint biscuits. We didn’t make white sausage gravy, whatever that is, We had them split and hot with lashings of melted butter.

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We found a great store Nearby. A Mexican store. It is great to be able to get fresh produce just around the corner. There are a few interesting things worth a photograph. Pork Scratching warning. Now this is an enormous scratching. Bigger than an American football…

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Now some really horrid produce. (I am going to post a tin to Martin, anyone else want an order?) –

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Beautiful Icons…

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Archangels…

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Do you want a cigarette? There’s plenty here…

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The owner makes this. It is raw and needs cooking. We asked if it was spicy. We were told no. – It wasn’t hot and tasted like chorizo…

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I may spend a lot of time looking out. I do practice social distancing though. I particularly wanted to distance myself from this feller…

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I think he was collecting scrap. That must be what they do in America. Oh no. he’s coming over!

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We have stockpiled to a degree…

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I can think of nicer things to make cough syrup of…

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My daughter Lucy’s ‘how to’ on making egg fried rice

And if you click here you can see the second in the series of Living in America with more quirky photos.

Click here for two fun videos are in Living in America 3

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Saying Thank You

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14 thoughts on “Living in America

  1. Great post Adrian. Some really good photos. Interesting how similar but different everything is. Did you find out what that scary looking machine was? I had another question but I’ve forgotten now 😂. It took me longer to read than I thought.

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        1. adrianspendlowblog.com

          someone thinks its a tiller, it like digs the soil. but it might not be heavy duty enough to handle the roots.

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  2. adrianspendlowblog.com

    One thing I will never understand here is signs at the cross roads saying, ‘No turning on red when children are present’.

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  3. I really like your tape collection. You can make it big, evrything`s big in America!
    Hope you will get back to Gudvangen some day!
    Oh, and I really love all her creative stuff, thats inspiration!
    Hugs from me!

    Liked by 1 person

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