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ADM Goes Exploring

12 July, 2006

ADM Goes Exploring

Still not adjusted. Still wanting more human contact. But, I got out today. Drove much further than I thought to go to the closest Trader Joe’s, because so far, I haven’t been able to find organic chicken in town. I bet there is, if I can find a butcher, and this part of the country should have butchers … Also, TJ’s has really good chocolate (70-90% — good for the endorphins) and a good wine collection, including the famed ‘Two-buck Chuck’s’, very drinkable plonk at $2 a bottle ($3 in old state, because alcohol taxes were so high). Plus, it’s a bit cheaper for things like good cheese, basmati and arborio rice, etc.

On the way back, I was driving along a country highway, but not the serious country highway — I realized that there is a very direct route to TJ Town, but much of the road has a 25-35 mph speed limit, and there are occasionally tractors. OTOH, that route is gorgeous and jam-packed with buildings that are easily a couple of hundred years old, in some places. Next time, I’ll drive that way, and stop at a cute cafe and read and lollygag. This time, I took the interstate, and it was not as interesting, but a good test of the car. But anyway, as I was looking at the trees and bushes and realizing that almost every bit of greenery was alien to me, and that even the friggin’ cows look wrong*, I glanced over, and there, as big as a real, life-sized deer, was a real, life-sized deer, grazing in the woods next to the road. A young doe, as bold as anything, in broad daylight. Also, I think I saw a female cardinal and some big bird of prey I didn’t recognize (which means not a red-tailed hawk, turkey buzzard, or bald eagle). I should buy a bird book, or at least one of those laminated bird guides.

Picked up some plants, gifts from Purposeful Woman, Computer Genius, The Mathemetician, Professor Kinsey, The Vulcanologist, and The Economist. I will take pictures of them and post them soon! But I still have several to go, because the gift of plants was extraordinatily generous. OH! I did see familiar stuff at the plant place — bougainvilla, hibiscus, lantana, and a big honking bird of paradise that cost some hundreds of dollars. Er … won’t be buying that. Apparently, most of those things are annuals here. hmph. The tomatoes are budding, though …

Then, home to swim, because it’s still in the high 80s here and something like 120% humidity. Haven’t been to the gym this week — good thing I haven’t bought the membership. I really do want to check out some other places, but am tempted to just go ahead and buy the year’s membership, because cool colleague works out there, and so does her cool friend, so I might actually be able to hang out. But it’s a little too low key — maybe. I have a feeling I might not like the co-ed gyms here. There’s way too much random testosterone, mullets, and tobacco chewing, I’m thinking. Yes, I am a snob. I may have working-class roots, but I do have some standards — decent dental care, absence of caps indoors, no overt macho bullshit … these are things I expect in my immediate society.

Anyway, the pool closes at 6, as it happens, so no swim. My apartment is reasonably clean, I have groceries, I have done laundry, and my desk and dining table are both usable. No excuse not to work tomorrow. Shoot — Thunderstorm breaking. should probably turn off the computer.

*Where I come from, cows are Hereford-y beef cows, with the occasional longhorn, or they are black and white milk cows (Holsteins, maybe?). Perhaps the occasional decorative Brahma bull or herd of Black Angus(es). These were not the cows I am used to. They were black or brown, but polled, so no telling what the horns would have looked like. All young, and I think steers, but they didn’t look like ‘beef’ cattle that I’m used to seeing. Anyway, I’ve seen cows in England and Germany, and these didn’t look like them, either — although most of those (except the hairy Scottish cows up near Inverness and Cawdor Castle) looked like milk cows. But not like these. I know. They are just cows. I’m only trying to explain that even the flora and fauna seem odd to me.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 July, 2006 2:26 am

    Funny, when I was driving out nearer where you come from, after a few days I realized that while I was used to seeing cows, I was pretty sure I wasn’t used to seeing the cows that I eat. In my experience, dairy cows are for driving by and waving at; beeves live somewhere else. After a few hundred miles of observing nice families of beef cattle, I began to rethink my attitude towards meat eating – at least temporarily.

  2. 12 July, 2006 2:42 am

    I keep thinking you’ve moved into my neighborhood, but alas, no thunderstorms around here lately.

  3. 12 July, 2006 3:13 am

    Whoohoo for Trader Joe’s! There are none in the great state of Texas, which I find depressing. I’m addicted to Trader Giotto’s pasta sauce and to its roasted red pepper and tomato soup in a box. :)I’ll get in touch with a bird-watching historian who lives in your New State, and see what the best bird book is to buy.

  4. 12 July, 2006 5:48 am

    Sadly, I don’t think that many beef cattle roam around in fields to be viewed – my sense is that most of them are penned up somewhere being fed antibiotics and whatnot. It is weird going to a new part of the world, though, and having to figure out new trees and animals and whatnot. There are all sorts of flowering things where I am that I never grew up with or had in previous home states (including bougainvilla). It takes a while to adjust.

  5. 12 July, 2006 6:19 am

    No caps indoors? Then you can’t come visit California either.Either the Golden Bird Guide or the Roger Tory Peterson Birds of the Eastern US will be more than adequate for your purposes. Whatever you do, don’t get the NatGeo.

  6. 12 July, 2006 9:01 am

    I remember having this sort of experience with sheep. Where I grew up the sheep are fat, very white (with black faces and legs for added contrast) and fluffy, and just somehow smug (and it was standard practice to dock their tails. It was years before I discovered that the breed actually had tails).Then I ended up in Wales among the millions of hill sheep, which are all skinny, scruffy, stroppy little sods covered in muck (especially their disgusting filth-encrusted tails). They’re only just recognisable as the same species.

  7. 12 July, 2006 2:04 pm

    Sharon — do they have black or white faces? Oh — I once took an art history course with the stupidest woman ever (Her name was Bunny and she must have been a studio artist adjuncting the AH course, and was probably not stupid except for AH). Someone asked about the long tails on the medieval sheep, and she said they were a different breed … Tiruncula and NK — in Original Home State, Beeves regularly lie around under Live Oak trees when they are young. I think it’s only veals that are tortured unmerciful, which is why I don’t eat them.Rebecca — Damn! I forgot the soup! I love that kind, too.Timna — I wish! But I think within a long drive?meg — I usually go with Peterson’s, but I had a great foldable laminated guide (I think also Peterson’s) for Beachy U County, and that’s more what I was thinking of. Although the full guide would show overhead silhouettes …

  8. 12 July, 2006 2:50 pm

    Those nasty mountain sheep should have white faces if they’re purebred welsh mountain sheep. On the other hand, the breed type of the scraggy beasts that infest the mountains around Aberystwyth is occasionally somewhat opaque, although I think there’s a huge number of Welsh Hill Speckled Faces round Aber.This may be a very stupid British question, ADM, but can’t you get a delivery service for all the big shopping stuff rather than having to slog out to Trader Joe’s (picturesque though the drive obviously is)?

  9. 12 July, 2006 3:25 pm

    Hi Wegie — there are actually perfectly adequate supermarkets in new town. But TJs is kind of special. Partially, it’s a “reminds me of home” thing. But TJs also doesn’t carry genetically modified foods, they have lots of organics, you can get organic, free-trade, shade-grown decent coffee for half the price of anywhere else … They buy in bulk and repackage under their own house labels, and somehow that ends up meaning savings. None of their meat or dairy has been treated with hormones … and, if you are fortunate enough to live in a state where markets are allowed to sell liquor (not this one), the prices are amazing. When I was visiting family in CA a couple of months ago, I bought a bottle of their Trader Jock’s (or something) single malt. It was 15 YO Bowmore in a TJs bottle, and on special for about $25. The port- and sherry-cask finished Glenmorangie run at less than $30 a bottle …What I really need is to find a place that sells methi leaves.

  10. 12 July, 2006 4:04 pm

    Ahhhh. Light dawns. A completely different retail environment. I shall have to explore the new(ish) TJ’s in New York when I’m over there with my husband next month, as the hotel he stays at does have kitchenettes in their suites. But over here treating your cows with hormones is very illegal (it’s one of the reasons why the EU occasionally tries to ban the import of US beef), and GMOs have pretty much been forced out of the market by public complaints. I get my big sets of shopping on the internet from Ocado and all the foodstuffs are guaranteed GM free, there’s a huge selection of organic coffee, and I can get in the boring stuff like kitchen cleaner (ecologically sensitive range) and toilet roll (recyled of course ;-)at the same time.But I hope you bought some of that re-badged Bowmore, as the 15yo retails for about twenty-five quid over here! Methi Leaves . . . thank you for the inspiration! I’ve got some sweet potatoes in the fridge that need using . . . veggie curry night beckons.

  11. 12 July, 2006 4:11 pm

    I don’t think I’ve been to Trader Joe’s since the Wegmans opened up not too far from us. Maybe I should go back, but how many grocery stores can you shop at?

  12. 12 July, 2006 4:43 pm

    Depends on how much you’re avoiding work!

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