Saturday, March 28, 2009

What I would import from America (given limitless resources and no pesky customs regulations)

I am a huge lover of America and things American. Regular readers may have guessed this, but I'm happy to come right out and admit it. Some of my happiest memories are of travelling through the States with my husband, whether we were staying in a watchman's house in the wildness of Tennessee's Overhill district, or watching the dusk fall over Delaware as the Amtrak wailed into the night on its way to Atlanta.
It used to be my ambition to visit every single American state, but so far I've only managed about 15. I've been through a few more on the train from New York to Atlanta, but that doesn't really count, and realistically I think that time is against me. After all, if you go somewhere like Texas, you can spend three weeks there (as I did) and still only see a fraction of what's on offer.
So I think the only answer is to try to bring a bit of America over here. What would I choose? Here's my list.

A pick-up truck
One of my best memories is of bouncing across a ranch in Arizona - I can't remember the name of it - to see some Native American pictograms. I turned to look at my kids' faces, and they were just one huge beam from ear to ear as we lurched along. Best of all, the lady who owned the ranch told us she'd been driving that way the previous day and a 6ft prairie snake had reared up out of the grass in front of her. The kids were thrilled. Me, I hate snakes. I'll have the pick-up truck but no snakes, please. Not even a harmless prairie snake.

A steel stock tank, or cattle trough
Every American garden blogger, it seems, has one of these. I want one, dadgummit! I've searched and searched on the internet but I don't think they're available in the UK. They are so cool. They look terrific planted up and they make great ponds.

Humming birds (plus feeder, of course)
Here in the UK, we have lovely garden birds, and I enjoy watching the squirrels trying to find ways to beat the baffles and steal their food. But I do hanker for a humming bird or two, and a feeder filled with coloured sugar water for them to feast on as they flutter and whirr in my backyard. (Is sugar water really what they eat? Doesn't it rot their teeth? Do they have teeth?)

A meadow full of bluebonnets
Pam at Digging posted a picture of bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) growing in her garden the other day. (Come to think of it, Pam has a stock tank or two...) She said that because of the drought, there weren't nearly so many bluebonnets growing wild this year around Austin. That's so sad. I can remember driving through the Hill Country and coming over the brow of a hill and seeing what I thought was a lake in the distance. As we got closer, I saw it was a field of bluebonnets, growing so thickly that it looked a piece of sky had fallen down on the ground. I brought back some seeds, but they didn't take.

A porch with a swing
You can buy porch swings here in the UK, and hang them on a frame, but if you don't have the traditional clapboard house complete with wide verandah, it just isn't the same. I'll need one of these in order to look out over my field of bluebonnets.