Friday, May 20, 2011

Wisconsin Life

I kept meaning to blog but I get so busy, forget, or just don't feel like staring at my computer screen now that the weather is so nice! For the most part...anyway, here's an update:

1. I went pheasant "hunting"--I use quotes because my boss, who invited me along with other coworkers and the president of the company and his son, bought about 20 pheasants and after putting them to sleep and releasing them into the prairie we and the president's dog flushed them out and shot them. Just before this, my boss taught me how to shoot a 20-gauge rifle (I think that's what it was) and we all practiced on clay pigeons. After we got the birds (a few got away) I got a lesson in cleaning them and took 4 home, gave 2 to the neighbors, one to my roommate, and I cooked one in a stir-fry. It tasted like chicken, which in this case makes sense.

2. I finally found a place to go salsa dancing here. And was it ever a good one! I danced until my feet were sore with a couple of really good dancers. Still not as good a place as my stomping grounds (or prancing grounds) back in Minnesota.

3. We had a job in a town called Racine on a hillside at a college right on Lake Michigan. It was a hot day and the lake really cooled us off and sent me into a really relaxed state, thinking of Lake Michigan on the other side every time a seagull cried or I listened to the surf. It made the job (which wasn't my favorite--fixing erosion matting) go much easier.

4. I went to a Norwegian festival--Syttende mai--in the nearby town of Stoughton, where they have a lot more (and more in your face) Norwegian heritage. I ate open-faced salmon sandwiches and yes, rommegrot. The traditional Norwegian folk dancing by the local highschoolers was a highlight, as was rosemaling. Now that takes talent!

5. My boss took me to a sort of hunting club fundraiser banquet, where there was a real live auction, some free drinks (meaning my boss's friend paid) and free dinner (another of my boss's friend's paid). I bought some raffle tickets for a gun, just for fun and to give the money to conservation efforts which my boss assured me they do. The group is called Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. One of the items for raffle was unfortunately a piece of taxidermy-ed deer butt with a bottle opener attached to the guess-where. I was disgusted but not too surprised, and my boss and his friend of course hooked on to my reaction to tease me relentlessly. I wasn't bothered by their teasing--I know to most people in the room it was funny but it was a symbol to me of the objectification our culture does of non-humans, the earth, and often of women. I come from a mindset that all life is sacred, and denigrating another life-form like that is a sin. I only hunt if I'm going to eat what I kill, not turn it into some parody of itself--including mounting heads and other nonsense.

Finally, a comment on Wisconsin culture. I didn't think I'd find it that different from Minnesota but there is something about it. The beer drinking--and drinking in general--for one seems a lot more excessive. Maybe that's just a country thing. Also, the accent is different. I will continue to observe these strange peoples...

The mayapple flowers are blooming! I love their colonies--they look like they could shelter tiny magical creatures.



  1. Well. Nice post, though it sounds more like you're in southern Mississippi than Wisconsin, to me. You and I don't always share the same world view, but I totally agree with you item 5. Ugh.

    Killing, cleaning and cooking your own fowl? Your grandmother would be proud. Though maybe not of the drugging the birds first part. Doesn't seem quite sporting, somehow. (I'm glad a few got away. Just because.)

    I'm glad you found a little piece of our big lake while you're there.

  2. It sounds like you're having a good time. It is interesting how the culture of Wisconsin differs from St Paul, but it may be city vs small town differences. I'm glad you're exploring the area's hot spots.

    Good post.

  3. I agree with Santini. Our grandmother would be proud however, not so sure about the drugging of the bird and then eating it. Was it healthy for you do eat after it had been drugged? Heard you may visit me for the July 4th time frame. Have plenty of room. Hoping you can spend a night in Grand Haven. Promise it will not be nearly as southern as the Wisconsin area you seem to be in. Contact me. I will look for some salsa type hang out before you get here.