I went to a Christmas Party yesterday. It had everything, i.e. the Christmas lights, trees, and songs etc., except for the fact that it was held in the middle of August with the temperature at 90 degrees. You bring presents along which are put underneath the Christmas tree and handed out to the kids. The difference is that instead of buying new presents, you bring along toys or presents that are no longer (or were never) used – possibly from the ‘˜winter‘ Christmas.
It was great fun. There was no turkey, but the turkey at Christmas is not so traditional in the US, especially as they have turkey at Thanksgiving a month before. There was plenty of food and drink though.
As some of you know, I live on the edge of a 500-acre wood, and in amongst the Swamp Yankees – people who come from the three southern new England States whose families have been here 150 years or more.
We had a swamp touching on our grounds (we have 11 acres), but the guy who bought the land next door broke the dam that the beavers had built years before, and the swamp has all but disappeared. I didn‘t realise till the swamp was drained that we had our own private fishing pond, as there were lots of dead fish, mainly trout, left to die.
We saw a turtle laying its eggs in our yard in early June this year. It made a hole, layed the eggs and covered them up. They take 70 days to hatch. Last year we got 11 baby 1-inch turtles from two holes, so my daughter (and myself) are waiting with baited breath to see of the baby turtles hatch again this year. We‘ll check in about a week or two.
In late June, I went to a party in the middle of a 100-acre wooded plot of land, as a guest of the local Raccoon Hunters Club who were having a Pig Roast. They had the party beside a pond of about an acre. They had a chilli contest, which we all voted on. The one that I picked won, although I didn‘t know till the announcement that it was made with venison.
The pig had to roast on a spit for 10 hours before it was ready. Whilst waiting for it get ready, there was an archery contest. After everyone had eaten they held a horseshoe throwing contest, which was still going on when we left.
It‘s very different from when I used to live in a two-bedroom flat, three floors up in London, especially as the Atlantic ocean and the beaches are only 9 miles away, and we have a ski slope 2 miles away.
There are downsides though. We had a coyote in the yard a while back in late afternoon. We often let my 4-year-old son play out there by himself. I‘m told that coyotes don‘t go after people, and much prefer a cat or small dog, but its still makes you nervous.
There is also the irritation of deer ticks and mosquitoes, although the mosquitoes are a lot less this year with the swamp (where they breed) gone.
My wife, who come from around here, hated the time she spent in London and was glad to come back. Now she misses London and wants to go back there again – no chance.
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