Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Little Culture Shock....

So, having decided that here in The Great North Woods is the place for me, I have fully immersed myself in working here, living here, being here.
Having lived in a lot of places, but mainly in The South, I was interested in the customs/superstitions surrounding holidays and other notable dates *up nawth*.
Down South, it was ham or turkey on Christmas. Here, anything goes basically. Usually family tradition or preference. Lasagna, prime rib, roast beef, meatballs, etc.
I can deal with problem comes with the supper you fix on New Years Day.
Folks up here had never even heard of Hoppin' John!
Hoppin' John Recipe
You absolutely HAVE to have Hoppin' John on New Years Day. And collard greens.
I mean, who doesn't have that on New Years?
Alas...I am even having problems locating a can of collard greens up here!
I will also make southern fried cabbage ( a favorite of mine anyway, regardless of the day!) and cornbread! Gotta have cornbread!
After much investigation locally and a an hour so of googling, I have come to the conclusion that north of the Mason-Dixon Line, there are no traditional New Years Day foods!
Talk about *culture shock*!
The only recipes or suggestions I found were all SOUTHERN foods that apparently have been appropriated by these Yankees. Black-eye Peas, cornbread, collards, etc.
So....going to have to look around and see what I can find to make a traditional New Years Day dinner here!
Another *culture shock* item that I have discovered is that the majority (like 80%) of people up here are heavy drinkers. As in, a minimum of a fifth of hard liquor a day (usually more) with a 30 pack of beer or "Twisted Tea" as *soda chasers*.
I work in a grocery store, I sell the beer and other alcoholic *sodas* to the locals. Ninety year old ladies come in and buy two gallons of wine. Daily. Or a 30 pack of beer. We have had to refuse sales to some because they were visibly *snockered* when they came in to buy it!
People I talk to don't seem to see the *problem* with this.
I don't drink. The friends I live with don't drink. The majority of the folks I hang out with don't drink.
With a notable exception.....
A neighbor of mine who is a great guy and an excellent carpenter is a heavy drinker.
A half gallon of vodka a day. Plus beer and *Twisted Tea*.
He has been hospitalized (including a couple of weeks ago) from the cumulative effects of his habit. His heart, his liver, his whole body is failing at this point. He is diabetic now and his feet are constantly dark purple, almost black. His hands and feet are always cold. Last time he went to the hospital, I went to visit him. A doctor came in, looked at his chart, talked to him a bit and told him "I doubt you'll be here come Spring. You'll probably be dead by them."
My friend was in ICU for two days and then checked himself out.
The day after he got home I went by to see how he was. He was sitting at his kitchen table, drunk, with a half gallon of vodka on the table in front of him.
And there are many more like him up here. It is really sad.
I got myself a Christmas present....
You can order it here:

It is "garden porn", hardcore style!
Yeah, it sort of has that effect on you.....

Friday, December 23, 2016

Still Here and Better Than Ever!

     I am still in The Great North Woods. Health is still great. Still working at the grocery, getting plenty of hours.

And....I have the house and property back. All mine.
The ex and I came to an agreement. The property is mine. He has moved out of state, thankfully.

Right now, I am renting a room from friends Timi and Jim in town. I have to do some fixing up out at the house since the ex (in February) and his kids moved out (in late May) got all of their things out (late November). I changed all the locks, etc.
I inspected the house and wanted to cry....such a damn mess. But then I cheered IS MY house, after all. I can clean it and fix it up.
May have to replace plumbing. Again....sigh.

So, making plans, looking at options, etc.
I'm not selling.
I will find a way to make this work.
Frippery Farm will be a reality.
Frippery Farm IS a reality!

Yeah....I'm back, baby!