Living in America too

Living in America Too. Oddities spotted along the way, and often I think, a display of my ignorance. You will probably enjoy this further glance into our life in Green Bay WI.  Oh yes, and a trip round my mother’s garden back home in Scarborough, Great Britain.

Do forgive my silly approach.

Let’s start with Yard work (that’s gardening to you Brits).

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I made this work table myself.

I love Heidi’s Wood-burner and was real pleased when Dale and Lynn brought us along another stack of logs.

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It might be a bit summery for lots of firelit evenings, but I do get to have a fire sometimes when the weather changes. While clearing out the garage I came across this pile of birch bark, and it crackles lovely.

Of course, hung up in the garage is all the flax, grown to turn to linen to weave to cloth.

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While rummaging about in the garage or basement you do find some strange things.

I don’t quite understand the approach to recycling here.

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There’s at least one thing me and Elvis Costello agree on.

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It has been a good year for the roses.

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And for hedges.

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Not sure what they are, but they are beautiful.

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“What’s that?” – “Ah they are Physiocarpus and Spirea.”

(Notice I am trying to coppice them, so they gradually intertwine. In a couple of years they will be a hedge.)

We bought some fairly expensive shrubs (Aren’t they always).

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And found some old seeds in the garage.

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Some might work.

We thought, lets feed the birds

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And the birds are like, ‘Why didn’t you get one of these in the winter when we really needed it!’

This feller is waiting for me to clear the bed around the now planted shrubs.

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Oh god look, across the street! It’s bin day!

Dwayne and Dian brought us these lovely flowers.

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They brought them along on memorial day, to recall those who fell and those who came back broken.

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This next feller has a tale to tell.

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And see, I did get the shrubs in.

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I told a friend about the above over the phone and I said it was a dwarf spruce in a weeping willy style. I don’t think I got that quite right.

(It looks like a bird’s nest by it’s finished btw)

This next little buddy will grow a bit taller so she will be hiding the gas meter.

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And I am very pleased with my new toy. There is a lot to catch up on, don’t even get me started on buckthorn, so this is a way to catch up. I am hoping, once I am fitter that I can do most by hand. For now though, lets get radical.

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In my sexy boots

And no I am not having a wee in this one.

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I am going to need a big shovel.

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Back to that hedge.

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Shrubs to plant.

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The rhubarb plant cost a small fortune but I feel I have done a good job of protecting it with potting soil, the a topping of cardboard covered in a home made mulch.

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Same with the raspberry canes. they are out the back so didn’t need the fancy mulch stuff. And the rhubarb will serve as ground cover and the leaves as green manure.

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They are supposed to be late fall rasps but they have flowers on already.

Some days you really need to water, and others not so

We didn’t water this day.

The weather is changeable here in America, well OK I only really know about Green Bay. There might be a hint in the name though.

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Now other people’s outdoor shots that have caught my eye.

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This wonderful Norwegian stave church was captured by Rune Lyseth.

I am not sure where I got this beautiful image from. If you let me know I will be grateful.

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I don’t know where I half-inched this next one from either but it is of Njardarheimr Viking Town in Gudvangen, Norway and I feel homesick.

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(I guess Green Bay is my home and my other homes are Scarborough and the home of my chieftain.)

Now come with us now on a walk to the hardware store (among other places).

I think we passed this house with a tower at just the right time, while all the folks with bows and arrows were on a meal break.

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Then just down the road was an example of unrestrained novelty gardening.

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The two big deep-voiced brusque blokes were huddled on the stoop deep in planning. “Do you think we should get another pink flamingo?” “Ah yeah, you can never have enough pink flamingos.”  There is a lesson in life to be learned here.

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We window shopped.

Then I got lost

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The we passed the Hydrant Pizza place.

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Hydrant Pizza!

Come on, you can think of a better name than that. It is hardly appetising is it! And how are people going to find you? Where is that place? Oh it is by the hydrant.

If you need water to fill your hose there is a river nearby (I think it’s the Fox). It currently is in full spate. Spate is a thing you ever in fully, never in a mild spate.

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As for this tree stump

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I just like this tree stump. I have nothing to complain about it at all.

Now here is something I am very happy about. Tea grown in Yorkshire.

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Yorkshire Tea

And no, you don’t ever have cream in tea.

These I was intrigued by.

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(Crackers)

It just doesn’t ring right. either it should be animal crackers or the crackers should be in brackets. Crackers!

Then to my horror I opened them. I had my cheese and chutney ready and my marmite. I was hanging back slightly though because I have noticed very small seashells to throw in your soup being called crackers, so they might not be big enough for my chunks of cheese.

I had after all  heard the song; Animal Crackers in my soup.

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Wild

After asking which animal was which I realised the great bounty I had discovered. I had to put away the cheese and chutney, for these were biscuits! Proper biscuits, like what we get in Britain. Not weird bread you put white sauce on and call it gravy. These were like Edinburgh shortcake. Wow I will be finding custard creams next.

We nearly went in here, for the free gifts.it is impolite to say toilet paper here, so people say TP.  Oh I said it.

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It is wrong to say toilet, but it is OK to say back-side. I am learning, I am learning.

I am not sure saying, you are going to need toilet roll, is a good way to advertise your food outlet.

We passed a jewellery store but I don’t think the decorations outside gave the right level of sophistication.

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Plastic beads instore perhaps.

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I don’t understand how making your religion part of your business sign helps keep the jobs coming in. Might other faiths be put off? And isn’t the main point good roofs?

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The above reminds me of all the businesses in Britain who, as soon as we left Europe, put out England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Island flags. Less than thirty per cent of the voting public voted for it. Don’t they want those people in their pubs and cafes?

Rant over. (Rant one)

I didn’t understand this little garden ornament I saw for sale.

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See nothing, Say nothing and Hear nothing. Or is the middle one Smell nothing?

What so everybody stops? I was stood here for ages.

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Heidi was calling and calling for me to come on, but it said stop.

I told my pal Rob that he was welcome anytime.

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When he heard about Gus’s Gun Bar he said he was bringing all the lads. Having eight pints of beer and then being able to buy an automatic rifle was their idea of a great night out.

(BTW I am thinking of going in this place and criticising their use of apostrophes, what do you think?)

Maybe I should just have a drink of water instead.

Is this outside the Waterpump Pizza place?

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On our way to the hardware store I noticed this.

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On our very first ‘almost’ date I walked Heidi into this. We made it to the store this time.

Now, I get very cross about the fact that it is called Martin Hardware, when it should be called Martin’s Hardware,  but they do have a very nice little history section.

And as for Hardees.

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Come on, are they charred or boiled??

Drainpipes aren’t the same here. They don’t go into the drains. so maybe they aren’t called drainpipes. Lawn waterers or something. I dunno. I do think this is a good use of an old paddling pool (there is one in the garage so I am wondering about digging a big hole).

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We could get frogs. Maybe otters?

While we are on this walk to the hardware store I was wondering if we should get some vodka? For her.

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At first glance she might not look thirsty, but she does come as part of a set.

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Cone-cat survives the raccoon attack.

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“Soon as I get this thing off I am sneaking back out there.” Mr Stumpy considers revenge.

But he does have delicate moments, he is seeking a lot of fuss and support.

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Egbert is happy some of the time. Eggroll! Eggroll!

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Or is he just trying to escape from Bumper-cone?

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He has started using it as a battering ram to move everyone out of his way.

Did I mention revenge?

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(We let him out of his cone for five minutes and he is ready to kill.)

His ‘girlfriend’ Giffa sometimes has to get away from him.

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She stays away from him for a very long time.

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Viking Section

Not sure where I got this pic (So am happy for comments and corrections) but I like these hog back stones.

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The ones in the Yorkshire Museum in Museum Gardens in York are described as burial stones, but I don’t think so. Tell me if I am wrong but I reckon no bodies have ever been found under them; so they are memorial stones.

I will take advice on these too.

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Can I cook them or burn them or anything?

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That’s it for Vikings in this edition.

Artwork

Heidi’s late husband Arnold designed this t shirt (and the album cover too) and I thought a few of you might have heard of the band.

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That’s all the art I have for you this time.

Oh no hang on. I just spotted this amazing piece of art of a hero of mine. Such feeling and character. I hope my wonderful friend Linda doesn’t mind me sharing her joyful skill.

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by Linda Hunter

Now artwork from the family in the Zoom family quiz. We had to recreate some classic pieces of work with only as few minutes to see it and then sort it.

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I pinched this one too.

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Before the distasteful pictures of chicken’s feet etc here is a feature from Scarborough, Yorkshire, Great Britain.

No, before the garden, here are a couple of old family photos. Carefully preserved by my sister.

My Mum and Dad and Ginny my sister. Circa 1957.

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From around the same period, four generations of women. Toddler, (Ginny), mother (Connie), Nana, (Mary) and my great grandmother.

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(Oh yes and a duck.)

My Mum’s Garden

Ah, but first here is a pic I got from the Facebook page I Love Scarborough of way back when a whole hotel fell into the sea.

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Stories are that they knew there might be subsidence so they charged the guests at supper time. Other’s say that guests were eating breakfast and were told the hotel was actually moving and people sat and finished their black pudding and beans etc before running for their lives.

A guy who used to drive me to the hospital told me he worked there and it wasn’t erosion from the sea it was subsidence from above. The beck or stream or creek had been built over and the water went down into the lime stone and eroded it from under the hotel.

Anyway my mum’s beautiful garden which looks up at the castle above.

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I think there is a glimpse of the castle up at the top. There’s my mum’s palm tree behind her roses. This is the top rank and then there is grassland, then woodland, then the castle.

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I am most pleased to see the marigold, I put seeds all over that wild banking and at least this one came up.

Note the bunting all over the gooseberry bushes, this is to keep the birds off the fruit.

These lilies were kindly planted in memorial for my father.

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We get more every year.

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This next plant is doing very well, and I don’t think mum is very pleased about it. It started off as a tiny rock plant when I bought it (For less than a pound.) and it turned into a monster.

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I think we are indoors for this beauty.

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This next one is adorable.

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As is the whole garden (Well done Heidi Two, er I mean Kirsten. Mum gets their names muddled up all the time.) A great job Kirsten.

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And this amazing shot from the Facebook page I Love Scarborough this amazing shot of just along the road from mum’s. the boat is just off shore from fifteen minutes walk away.

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I think this was taken in Scarborough. this is an example of taking social distancing too far. You could never hit the pan standing that far away.

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Below this link – The final section; the food section, perhaps needs to come with a warning. I’ve been trying some horrid food!

For the first edition in the series click here Living in America

Now I am hoping this is just what I’ve been looking for. Back home in the UK I love a Chinese curry sauce. They come under the extras list, and my go to dish is crispy duck with fried rice.

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The hot takeaway deli had some great food, I wasn’t too sure about this ‘ocean going fish’ but I had to try it. It wasn’t worth five dollars.

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We also got these ‘cute’ ready to eat fish in a basket.

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Now what do we have here?

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Talk about feeding the two thousand.

Then on to the wonderful Mexican store, great stuff and real friendly.

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These are caught in droplets and flash frozen. Well that is what I am guessing.

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At last I found baked beans. It was a Pick and Save I think. Look what was in them.

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We had this given by a first nation hunter girl and are unsure what to do with it; it is bear fat.

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(I wondered if it could be used in anything Viking related?)

Have a look on YouTube for Cooking with Lu for some really great recipes; especially Chinese and Mexican related foods.

This is my attempt at her wonderful Crispy Beef recipe.

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I told you about horror food.

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Yes it is chicken’s feet.

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Who star in their own adult themed monster movie.

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And to finish, it is the turn for dogs. I am not sure if I should include this pic. It is the stuff of nightmares. I stole it, I think from Chloe and it is the dog toy to end all dog toys.

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For the first edition in the series click here Living in America

For the third click here

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Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

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