The Time Of Year When Winter And Spring Come Together In Lloyd

The Time Of Year When Winter And Spring Come Together In Lloyd

Monday, March 30, 2015

More Rooster Talk

Elvis is still hanging on. He spent a goodly portion of the afternoon under the kitchen porch. This is a popular chicken hang out so it wasn't that unusual but he wouldn't eat anything. A little while ago he came out and I made up some more pancake soaked in olive oil and fed him little pieces which he did take but it's hard for him to swallow. The hens hang with him, pecking at the gnats gathered in his wattle and his comb. I remember the gnats tormenting him last year and how bad he looked then. I wish he only looked that bad now.
Mr. Moon is leaving tomorrow to go fishing with some buddies off of Dog Island until Saturday. I hate to think of Elvis dying on my watch. Hell, I hate to think of him dying on anyone's watch. If he does go, I'll have to dig his grave and I would want to do it next to Pearl's grave, right next to where I buried Eggy Tina. I cried this afternoon when I was talking to my husband about Elvis. About how helpless I feel. About how sad I am. I know I keep saying it but he's just been such a magnificent rooster.

When Owen and Gibson were here the other day Owen had a bit of a problem with the idea of Elvis's wives marrying Mick. All I could say was that chickens are not quite like humans and do not marry in the same way. But of course, there is part of me that feels the same way. Elvis has been such a good husband to the sister-wives. Attentive, gentle (except in his love-making which is brutal by chicken nature itself) and generous in his tid-bitting. When he was trying to eat his pancakes today, the hens rushed him, confused as to why he was not sharing. Some even tried to snatch the food from his mouth, which he has always allowed. And of course, he has always been such a kind rooster to us humans. Never once pecking a man, woman, or child.

Curious and industrious, proud and pretty. He's been a part of Owen and Gibson's life since they were born. 
He's been the best rooster ever. And I like to think that he's had the best life any rooster could have. Beautiful hens to tend and love, a big yard to keep dominion over, tasty bugs and fresh green shoots to scratch and eat. Kindness and chicken feed from his humans, respect from all who know him. 

And I know he's "only" a rooster but I will tell you this without reservation- his death, whether it happens tonight or in five years, is going to be harder on me than the deaths of Buster and Dolly together. 

Well, it's getting towards night. I've made a huge number of chocolate chip, oatmeal, raisin, pecan cookies for the fishermen. I have a venison meatloaf in the oven. I've had a headache all damn day long. Well, since I took my walk. I think it's probably sinuses. The pollen is getting to everyone. There are so many birds at the feeder right now that whenever I stand up to go into the kitchen and startle them, it sounds as if the Rockettes are doing an umbrella-opening routine. Mr. Moon is doing something to his trailer or boat. I am not sure which. 

We shall see what this night brings. We can have hope and we can have acceptance. We can have appreciation for a fine creature who has brought me such joy for almost six years. 

Strange day so far. Two things which I thought were going to happen- the boys coming out and a friend of Mr. Moon's staying the night here before a fishing trip- are not happening.
I can't seem to settle into a day and it's well half-over.

Elvis is not doing well. Right now he's standing under the kitchen porch, Miss Butterscotch keeping vigil at his sickbed. I have offered him bread with yogurt and olive oil but he is not touching it. When Mr. Moon gets home we'll try and clear that crop again.
I feel so sad.
I've read so much online and so many people do actually take their chickens to the vet but I don't think I'm that sort of chicken keeper. What if we take him and they say that he'll need surgery? Which, from what I've read, is a possibility.

No. Not doing that. As magnificent as he is, as much as we love him, that just seems too precious and crazy to me.


We massaged his crop again. Not much came out. I don't think our Elvis is going to make it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trying Our Best To Save Our Rooster

We went out and Mr. Moon easily grabbed Elvis who was sipping at the water faucet by the garden. It was a bad sign that he wasn't already in the roost. He is always the one who calls the hens in at night. He was out while all the ladies and Mick were already in.

Mr. Moon held his head down (he did not fight at all) and I massaged him from crop to throat and yes, foamy stinky stuff came out. We did that over and over until nothing more issued from his throat and then we put him in the roost.

We have done our best. We patted him and I kissed him and now it is up to his own abilities to heal. We can do this again tomorrow if need be.

And we will.

An Official Slogan Is Born

It has been a day spent mostly outside and mostly in the garden. There you see my sweetie, working away at what is to be our tomato patch this year. I did some weeding and also picked all the good arugula leaves from a row and then pulled the plants, gone to bolt. I did the same with some collards. My refrigerator now holds a large bag of collard greens, one of the arugula, and another of the spinach our friend Tom brought over.
I am rich.
I also planted two types of cucumbers and two types of beans. English and Straight Eight, Blue Lake and yard longs, respectively. I hope they make this year.

I also planted about half a row of cilantro which did well last year, surprisingly to me, and some peppers and some eggplants. We never get much in the way of peppers or eggplants but I do not give up. They are in a completely different place this year in the garden and so I have renewed hope, once again.

I am not going to pull that beautiful row of mustards until they bolt. I have left a row of collards too, although they have bolted. I will probably pull them after our Easter dinner. The kale is still beautiful and I will leave it where it is for now. There is another row of arugula that I will be taking out soon too. I hate taking plants out, just as I hate thinning. One must be cruel to kind in gardening, though. This is just the truth.
As I pull more things in the garden, I will plant some squash, some crowder peas, some zinnias. Perhaps some more cucumbers.

I transplanted some ginger lilies that I had dug up at the apartment complex where May used to live and where Lily and Jason lived once too and where our friend Anna still lives. I only took a few of the bulbs, not many, and I doubt anyone cared. Where I had planted them here, they got zero sun and so I moved them to where they have at least as much light as this yard offers. I planted a little pot of oregano but I have a feeling that the chickens will pull it. Ah lah. I will forgive them if they do.

When Jessie and I were at the nurseries yesterday we both went a little apeshit over the tiny air plants. I bought one for a ridiculous price because it looked like an octopus and I knew where I wanted to put it.

Is that perfect or what? The small piece of resurrection fern I tried to keep alive in that mermaid's shell never did a damn thing but hopefully, the air plant will survive. The mermaid, which Jessie gave me for Christmas, hangs right between the kitchen and the laundry room and bathroom so I see it about a thousand times a day. Money well spent, if you ask me.

Another thing we saw was a display of branches hung from walls with the moss hanging from them, the lichen clinging tightly. "My god!" I said. "I spend half my life picking up branches that look just like that!"
And I do and today Mr. Moon burned all the ones I've been collecting all winter, fallen from their trees in mother nature's pruning efforts. There is an endless supply should I decide to display them. They were quite pretty in their way.

And so it has been a good day. I've watered the porch plants, I've put the Rex Begonia that I also splurged on yesterday in a pot in the back yard. I used to be such a begonia freak. There are so many more varieties than you can imagine. I think that begonias for me were a sort of a grandchildren substitute and I let so many of mine go since I got real grandchildren although I still have some, most notably the giant begonia which I rooted from a leaf that a woman working at a nursery gave me years ago. I have two huge pots of those still and two small pots of leaves that I rooted over the winter.

Here's another thing Jessie and I discovered at the nursery yesterday- there is a variety of Caladium named "Frog In A Blender."
No. I am not kidding you. Here's a picture of what they look like.

There is SO much I do not know which reminds me of something I heard a guy say the other day. He was talking to Papa Jay, getting into his truck. 
"I don't know shit," he said, pulling his legs into his vehicle, "but I know people who do."
I have decided that this would be the perfect slogan for this blog as well as for the Church of the Batshit Crazy. 

I don't know shit but I know people who do.

Yes. Perfect. And many of you are the ones I look to when I know I don't know shit because so many of you DO. For the rest, there is google and all of the books ever written. And of course my own children. Jessie, for instance, just pointed out to me why I have such a hard time parking and by golly! she was right. I am parking much better than I used to. 

Soon it will be growing growing dark and Mr. Moon and I shall try to doctor Elvis. I've read more on the subject and I hear that vinegar is NOT the way to go and that we must hold him upside down at a sixty degree angle and massage the crop area up to the throat area to see if the contents of his crop will come forth.
And that it will smell very bad. 

For Elvis, I will do this. 
And I'll let you know how it goes.

I hope you have had a good day tending whatever garden it is you tend. There are many kinds of gardens and many of them do not involve dirt at all. 
As you know.
But there is joy in tending them and all of them produce something. 

Much love...Ms. Moon

These Everyday Miracles I Worship

It is an absolutely clear and beautiful day here in Lloyd. We ate our pancakes and bacon on the back porch and watched the birds and chickens. It would be perfect if Elvis wasn't sick. We have come to think that he has something stuck in his craw. He goes to eat but then lets the food dangle out of his beak and simply closes his eyes. The color of his comb and wattle has gone from its usual bright scarlet to almost burgundy. He does not crow but makes a throat-stretching action. After a little internet research, we have determined that we should try to get some water with apple cider down him as well as some olive oil.
I got out the eye dropper and a little dish with the vinegar water and one with the olive oil but after surveying the situation (the size of his spurs) and trying twice to catch him, we decided to wait until tonight when he's in the roost drowse. I did tear up a pancake into little pieces and soak it in the olive oil and he has eaten that. So worrisome. Such a magnificent rooster he's been. Looking up the lifespan of a rooster has proven to be vague, at best. Some sources say three years. Some say up to twelve. He is almost six.
And it was Miss Sharon that was taken from us this past week. A long string of soft black feathers leads from one part of the yard to another. I have a feeling it was that damn stray cat again. I have seen her about recently.

I know that if we went to the Farm and Feed we could get some new chicks and I am sorely tempted. Which is completely ridiculous. We are drowning in eggs as it is. But the chicken-love disease is strong upon me and I think of Kathleen, just last spring, getting new chicks.
Well, for now, I am staying far away from the Farm and Feed.

It is Palm Sunday and so I have taken pictures of some of the palms I have planted in this yard. I love palms and am pretty sure I could never live in a place where they do not grow.

There are more, but they are not as photogenic in this day's light. 

I remember as a child that on Palm Sunday, my mother would cut small pieces of palmetto fronds and pin them to our church clothes. As we all know, the legend of Jesus is not one that I believe in. The Palm Sunday services where his triumphant entry into Jerusalem is celebrated- I mean, we know how that story turns out. Good Friday which I always announce by saying, "Happy Day they crucified our Lord!" And then Easter itself with its so obvious borrowings from pagan rituals and symbols. 

Oh. Poor Jesus. Having to go through all of that in order to save us poor humans from our perceived sins and guarantee us life eternal. 

Look around. Every palm, every fern, every chicken, every egg, every one of us is proof that life is eternal. 
Until, you know, we bomb ourselves and planet into oblivion or heat our planet into dead lifelessness. 

And even then, somewhere, there will be another miraculous meeting of hydrogen and oxygen or something else that will lead to more of something we might call life. It's probably already happened. 

And quite frankly, the idea that I would have to spend eternity with some of my relatives does not please me at all. Not one damn bit. It would be interesting to see some of them. Have a little chat. But eternity? 
Oh please.

I always hate that argument for religion- what if you're wrong, you unbeliever? What if you're wrong and thus don't get to live forever in heaven? 
What a strange carrot on a stick. What a waste of a lifetime if the believers are wrong. Spending a life completely consumed with what their own version of a god would want instead of worshipping that which is here and now and worth worshipping and glorifying in. The sun, the dirt, the rain, the sea, the trees, the creatures, the love between us that we might be blessed to have. 
Demanding that we have the right to discriminate against our fellow humans based on some bullshit written before people even knew the earth was round. 

There are religious people I do admire and respect very much. They love the coming together in fellowship and they do good deeds. They manifest a godliness which I can respect. 
I am sure their number is legion although unfortunately, those who use religion as a weapon to defend their prejudices, their ignorance, their inability to imagine that there are those of us who do not need carrots-on-a-stick to do what is right, what is loving, are so very vocal that we forget that not all of the religious are insane idiots. 
And quite frankly, I do not need the death of anyone to save me from my sins. I refuse to celebrate the cruel death of any human as a fine thing, even if he did supposedly get resurrected which frankly, I find a creepy myth, rather than a redeeming one. 

But I do love palms and I do love my chickens and as I have said over and over again, I believe that chickens have done more to provide for the continuation of our species than Jesus Christ ever did. 
Bless his heart. 
And besides, chickens are beautiful and soothing and are the closest living relatives to dinosaurs. 

That's about all the magic I need. 

I hope we can resurrect our beautiful Elvis from whatever is ailing him.

I am going to dig in the dirt today. I am going to hold my man close to me. I am going to be so very grateful for this beautiful day in spring living this life where I am so honored to love and be loved. I am going to recognize and believe in that which I can see and touch and know for certain and am satisfied beyond anything I can imagine to call these things miracles, to be content in their promise. Not believing in an afterlife allows me to believe that I should live in this one here and now as fully as I can. 

Happy Palm Sunday. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, March 28, 2015

There Are Many Ways To Make Our Bread

I got to eat lunch with Jessie and Vergil today. We went to a place in town not too far from where they live and I got what I always get in that restaurant which is a mahi sandwich with the delicious coleslaw.
Jessie was craving meat and got a hamburger and it came with french fries and I was so happy because I was planning on stealing some.
They brought her a pitiful number of fries and I came this close to telling our server (Ryan!) that excuse me, my daughter is pregnant, and she needs more fries than that.

I didn't. Oh well.

Vergil got the Pasta Ya-Ya which I think is just a really fun thing to say. It was all really good and I had a great time but I think I talked like a meth addict on crack. Vergil was wondering if they should try to steer their children towards college or not. He himself has a master's degree and he makes real good money doing what he does but he doesn't enjoy sitting in an office all day. I think he yearns to be doing construction again, or something that requires him to use his hands as well as his brain.
It was odd because last night I had the thought that it would be such a different world if everyone could make their livings doing what they really loved to do. I'd listened to that Ann Patchett book and one of the essays was about whether or not going to a graduate writing program was worth it. She attended the Iowa Writer's Program herself and she was very pragmatic about it. There had been things about the program that were definitely worth it but she said that if someone had to take out huge loans to attend such a program, it was NOT worth it because no, you are not going to graduate with a huge book deal and jobs teaching writing are hard to get and don't pay well.
She supported herself after graduation by waitressing at TGIF's and then with writing for magazines including "Seventeen" until she finished her first novel "That Patron Saints Of Liars" and got a very good book deal.
And she is the exception which proves the rule. She is also a self-proclaimed work-horse and doesn't believe in writer's block and when all of the book stores in Nashville closed, opened one herself with a partner. 

I did not know the answer to Vergil's question. All I could offer was that all parents should watch their children very closely to see what they love doing. What they seemed to have a passion for. And to encourage that, whether it be mathematics, art, or welding or studying bugs.

Ann Patchett herself knew that she wanted to be a writer even before she knew how to read or write, even though no one in her family or at her school, told her that being a writer was something that a human being could do.
She was one of the lucky ones. She knew what she wanted and she did whatever it took to get there.

Well, speaking as one who obviously always wanted to be a mother (and a writer) I can only say that we all do the best we can within the confines of our passions and our cultures and our families and our societies and our need to make a living.

I'm one of the lucky ones. Jessie and Vergil's children will be too, as are Owen and Gibson.

Cherish, observe, nurture, love, encourage.

Our children and ourselves.

Here's a picture I took at one of the nurseries Jessie and I went to today.

We saw and bought some amazing plants and seeds but these green pots- they inspired me in a way that nothing else did.
I have no idea why.

Time to go serve up the leftovers. I am so grateful that my hungry husband doesn't complain when I spend time writing when I could be serving him his supper. Even if I make no money at it, he understands that it is my passion.

Which is a whole other blog topic.

Love...Ms. Moon

Beauty And Beasts And Roosters And Shit

It's such a beautiful day here, chilly and cloudless and bright and I'm in a pissy mood. I just watched Maurice do a vertical leap and snatch a tiny bird. One of my old black hens is missing. Elvis is depressed and aging fast, probably due to me introducing Mick to the flock. All he does is stand around and not even crow. I feel terrible about this. Meanwhile Mick's all Yeah, I'm the man!

I need to get to town to buy plants and seeds for the summer garden. And sheets for the beds on Dog Island. It's Springtime Tallahassee today which means that thousands of people will be downtown and I'll have to avoid that whole area which is no problem, really.

Goddamn it! Maurice just did it again.

I swear. Nature.

I'll report in later.

Love...Ms. Pissy

Friday, March 27, 2015

One Fine Full Day

Oh! The horrible agony of kicking bamboo and having to use it as a sword or a club or a weapon of some sort! And then the even worse agony of spending fifteen minutes peeling it and demanding that your grandmother cook it for dinner for his Boppy.
I suppose if we were starving...

Those boys are still here but Boppy is home and playing with them at the moment. We've had such a good day.

Boys in the bamboo jungle with wisteria petals. A bit of magic. 

Owen in the chinaberry tree, playing something he's making up, involving a T-Rex. 

Gibson smiling behind the Paparazzi hand-block. "Higher!" he keeps saying as I swing him back and forth. "Higher!" He wanted to push me on the regular swing so I let him. Every time he hit my butt he laughed like a hyena in his old bluesman rumbly laugh. I would have let him do it all day but it's one of those stupid rubber swings that cradles your ass and rubs the side of my hips and hurts no matter how I sit in it. It's for kids. Let's face it. And I do not have a kid-sized ass. 

Speaking of ass, Owen and I discussed different words for butt. He desperately wanted to say the word "ass" so I said it for him and then said, "So, do you know that there are so many words for ass?"
"No," he said. 
I began to list them. 

"You know," I told him, "you're not supposed to say ass." 
He knows. He also knows I don't give a flying fuck if he does. 

We walked down to Papa Jay's. I would not let them get candy today. So for a more healthy alternative, I allowed them to get Cool Ranch Doritos. 
"Do you like Doritos?" asked Owen on our way home.
"I love Doritos," I said. "Everyone loves Doritos." 
"Yes. Everyone, although not everyone eats them because they aren't very good for you."

They enjoyed them thoroughly. I had a few myself. They were delicious. 

Owen stubbed his toe and it hurt him badly. I put ice on it and told his mama about it in a text. "Tell him he can go to the hospital if he wants," she texted back.
I told Owen that as he was limping about, using an old man's cane. 
"Yes," he said. "I think I do. After I eat." The cheese pizza was in the oven. He was about to eat his appetizer of peanut butter toast. 
"Well you know," I told him, "even if it is broken, they can't do anything about it."
"What?" he said, incredulous. "They don't put a pinkie cast on it?"
"No," I said. "It just has to heal back itself."

He seems fine now. He's eating his pizza. 

The temperature is dropping. Do you see that the boys are wearing some of my laundry-shrunken Goodwill cashmere? Gibson's sweater is clothes-pinned on the back of the too-big neck. 
He told me that his toe, too, hurt. And that he wanted ice. 
I got him an ice bag. He was surprised that it was cold. He decided he didn't want it. Now he's wearing a pair of giant wooden shoes around the house, clomping as he goes. 


Their daddy has come and gotten them and taken them home. The sun is almost down. Mr. Moon and I are having a martini although he's outside, getting the grill ready for pork chops that I've had marinating in spices and Mojo and orange juice and garlic and lime and olive oil and garlic. 

When Owen was sitting in the kitchen today he said, "Mer. I love your house."
"Really? What is it that you love about my house?"
"You," he said. 
"What about all my decorations?" I asked him, looking around at the aprons and flashing star lights and Mexican roosters and stuff all over the place. 
"I LOVE your decorations," he said. "But I love you the most."

One more picture.

Miss Nicey on the porch. I left the door to the deck open and she walked right in and through the mud room and onto the porch. I let her peck around a bit and then I picked her up, which she allowed me to do, and took her back outside. 

A good day. When I kissed Owen goodbye as he was in the car, I said, "It's been one of the best days ever, even though you hurt your toe."
"Yes," he said. "It has been."
And Gibson pulled my face to his and kissed me over and over until I finally said, "Boppy's going to come kiss you now."
And he did. 

And after they left, I kissed Boppy over and over again. 

This is what life can be. 

Can you even believe it? I can't. And I'm living it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

And I Won't Forget To Put Roses On Your Grave

I know who the note came from. But who did the darling coffee cup come from? Jo? Was it you? I tried to email you. Am I using the wrong email address? Anyway, I love this cup. It is perfect and it fits my hand just right and is neither too big nor too small and it shows a lovely maid hanging clothes on the line and it has three hens and a fancy rooster on it.
Thank you. It is already well in use.

I just got back from my walk. 3.5 miles, thank you very much. And since I used the health app I don't know how long it took me because I forgot to check the time when I started but less than an hour. I feel good, pushing it. I downloaded two of the other apps suggested and one wanted all sorts of information and one started flashing ads and I deleted them both.
See how fussy I am?

Anyway, so how's life where you are today? It's gray in Lloyd and I barely beat the rain on my walk. All this rain has had its way with the trees. Some of it good, some of it a bit scary. Last night Mr. Moon and I heard a great crash and I, wearing shoes, grabbed the flashlight and went out to see what had fallen and where. No cars were hurt, the sheds had intact roofs. Then I noticed a car going by my house and having to slow down and then the sound of crunching.
I went to the front yard and shined the flashlight on the road to see a largish but not huge rotten limb, fallen from a water oak in my front yard right across the pavement. I proceeded to drag it over to the side of the road so that no one wrecked because of it and was picking up sheets of soft, resurrection-covered fern when a truck came down the road. The driver stopped and said, "Are you all right?"
"Yes!" I said. "I am fine! Thank-you!"
"Just wanted to check," he said. He pulled into the driveway of the church next door, turned around and went back in the direction he had come from. I think he had been stopped at the light and saw me with my flashlight out in the road and drove down just to make sure all was well.
There are good people in Lloyd. We help take care of each other.

I started using a comfrey cream which I bought in Apalachicola a few years ago on my burn. It's some locally made stuff and has, beyond comfrey in it, other stuff which I can't read off the label because my eyes suck which is due to the fact that I'm old. I mean, my eyes have always sucked, but only for far-away. I need a damn magnifying glass these days to read small print and luckily, I have the one my grandfather used to use but I don't feel like getting it out. Anyway, the stuff smells lovely and my burn, since applying the cream, has begun to heal at the speed of light. It truly is amazing. I am also starting to get feeling back in the afflicted area which I think is probably a good thing.

Anyway, la-di-dah, the boys are coming over soon and I'm feeling a bit Keithy. How about you? You'd love to hear a little music? A little Keith, a little Willie?

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Another Laugh

Okay. This is in no way an endorsement of the cookbook, although I am sure it's a very fine cookbook but damn! This is funny.

And clever. And makes people like me give the cookbook free attention.

Shit. I'm such a sucker for a good load of well-used profanity.

Whoa, Grandma!

Thank all of you who made suggestions about pedometer apps today. I think I will start with one and see if I like it, and if not, go on to the next.
Why not? I'm only going for the free ones anyway.

It's been a fine day and has rained and nothing extraordinary happened but this made me laugh so hard.

I hope it makes you laugh as well.

Love...Ms. Moon

Asking For Suggestions

When I got my new phone and transferred all my data I lost one app. My pedometer app. And when I went to try and reload it, I realized it must have been discontinued because I have not been able to find it anywhere in the app store and now I can't even remember what it was called.
It was, for me, the perfect walking app, perhaps only because I was familiar with it but it did all I wanted it to do and it didn't do anything I didn't want it to do. I could hit "start" when I began and "end" when I got home and it would tell me how many miles I had walked, how long it had taken me, and what my mph were. It would also show me a map of where I'd walked if I wanted to see that but since I'd seen where I'd walked on my walk, not being blindfolded or anything, I rarely messed with that function.
And now, dammit, I can't find another pedometer app I like to save my life. And there are hundreds. At least.
Everyone seems to use "Map My Walk" because I see the reports of their walks on FB and that is fine for them but the idea makes me cringe, personally. I am sure you can opt out of the FB thing but what if I didn't by mistake? Do I want the world knowing that I only walked 2.43 miles on a certain Monday? And that it took me an hour?
No. I do fucking not.
This is for me and me alone. The pedometer is merely a tool to help me push myself a bit. Yesterday I walked this far and it took me this long. Can I do a bit better today? I am not training for any event nor am I obsessive. I am a sixty-year old woman who knows that I have to get out and walk for a myriad of reasons and that the faster and farther I walk, the better.

The iPhone has a health app which comes with it and it has a pedometer and I CAN use that but it has no "start" and "end" function but instead, tells you how many steps you've taken and how much distance you've covered in the course of a day. Although that might be good to know, I'm really only interested in the part when I'm actually walking. On my walk.

Do any of you have a pedometer app that you use that you could recommend? I don't want a Fitbit. I don't trust them. I don't want to know how many times I woke up at night, either. Nor do I want a bracelet made of plastic. I don't want to know what my heart rate is or my respiratory rate, either. far, how fast? Or slow in my case.

Well, I have taken my walk today. It looks like rain. I need to go to town so I need a shower. But first I'm going to eat a bowl of that soup and have a slice of that bread. They were awesome. I have no doubt they will be today as well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I am feeling all gourmet and shit tonight. I had leftovers from my roasted root vegetables that we had last night and decided to make a soup with them and some sweet potatoes. For the base of the recipe I used the one found here, which I have made before and love. My soup tonight will have no butternut squash in it at all, but instead, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, purple sweet potatoes, onions and apples. (Note: purple sweet potatoes are not very sweet.)
I also picked some of my giant mustard leaves and some kale and have some of those cooking with one slice of chopped Very Good bacon (not from Papa Jay's) and onions and tomatoes.
AND...I've made up a loaf of oat and molasses bread with cloves and golden raisins although that is going to be one heavy, hearty loaf because it is just not rising but who cares? Mr. Moon and I both have a full set of teeth and we know how to use them.

My soup already tastes good and it doesn't have the coconut milk in it yet, nor the Thai green curry paste that I'm going to add to the pot in a while. And oh! My kitchen smells like heaven and so does my yard which smells sweetly of tea olive and wisteria and I don't know if this is true everywhere but the bees are showing up in large numbers and they did not last year and I am heartened by this.

I am so glad that I got to go to Europe when I was young to taste real food, as opposed to the mostly-crap I'd been raised on from cans and boxes and bags (the joy! the joy! when instant mashed potatoes flakes were invented!) and for the presence of the old woman we called Granny Mathews who cooked with real food, grabbing a bit of this, a pinch of that from the dried peppers and herbs she had hanging in her kitchen, to add to the pot while smoking an impossibly long cigarette with an impossibly long ash at the end of it and wearing a negligee and last, but not least, to the ultimate in hippie restaurants I used to eat at in Denver, Colorado in the early seventies, called Hanuman's Conscious Cookery where I once saw Alan Ginsberg dining at the same time I was and yes, I have talked about all of these things before but it bears repeating.
I do love to cook as I do love to eat and I feel comfortable cooking everything from what we might call traditional soul food to hippie vegetarian to hunter's wife venison cuisine to homemade pizza. A good part of my life is taken up with the garden which provides us vegetables and the chickens which provide us eggs. And give me some fresh grouper and I'll do it justice.

It's been a good day in all regards and I'm about to go blend up the vegetables and cashews to make the creamy soup and I'm not sure that Mr. Moon will enjoy it that much (he's not a big curry fan) but I will and he'll eat almost anything and appreciate it so it will be okay.

We are all hungry. We all need to eat. We who can cook are blessed in that we can make what it is that we want to eat and we who are blessed to have dirt to grow things in and who are married to hunters and fishermen are possibly the most blessed.

And may I add that when I went to make bread I realized I didn't have enough flour and then remembered that I could simply walk down to Papa Jay's and buy some?


Bon appetit!

Love...Ms. Moon

This Is What It Feels Like To Be Happy

I have absolutely been having the most interesting day.
Okay. I write that and then I think, really Mary? and then I think, hell, yes!

For me, at least.

On my walks lately I've been seeing a man also walking whom I've never seen until recently. He walks with a golf club and always wears sunglasses and he's the one who laughs when he sees me and tells me that I walk fast. Today we actually chatted a bit and he said that since he's started walking he's lost weight and no longer needs medication for his blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes. We agreed that walking is a very good thing and went on our separate ways. I was listening to a book of essays by Ann Patchett called "This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage." Most engaging and interesting but then I switched over to the Diane Rhem's show which today was a discussion on another book I've read and loved recently, Anthony Doerr's, "All The Light We Cannot See." So I was in a bit of literary heaven as I walked past blazing overgrown bushes of azaleas and the Cherokee roses and the dewberry vines, thick with blossoms and I went the route today takes me into the woods and by the fields and by the pond and down the path which is littered with trash dumped by assholes and then down the road by the horse farm named Lloyd Subdivision Road. This road is wooded and lined on both sides by modest and well-kept houses and I speak sometimes to one of the women who lives on the road at the top of a small rise. Her name is Shelly and she walks too. She was out raking her yard today and I stopped to say hey and before I knew it, I was up in her yard and we were truly talking.
My god! I learned so much from her!
She grew up in Lloyd, had fourteen siblings, twelve of whom survived. I can't remember how we got onto the subject but she began to tell me about some of her siblings and damn if she's not the sister of not only the man I talked to today but also to a man I always thought had the name of Bubba, but no, he's Willie, and also, The Sheik, who is in all reality, called The Sheik, which I thought was just a name we'd made up because back in the seventies when I lived in Lloyd before, he always wore a head-covering that resembled something a man from the middle east would wear and as I have mentioned before, he still dresses in a most sartorial fashion.
Shelly's family has had its share of woes. House fires and car accidents and illnesses. Willy lost his leg in a hit and run and the driver's defense, when they found him, was that he wasn't trying to kill Willy, but someone else entirely. The Sheik has had several heart procedures and has lost an eye. The man who walks with the golf club (I've already forgotten his name) also lost an eye in a fight. Now I know why both men wear sunglasses all of the time.
I told Shelly that I often see The Sheik up at Miss Liola's and she said that yes, he goes by there frequently as do many of the local fellows because Miss Liola is the "alley cat mama."
I loved that! The alley cat mama!
They check in with her because she cares about them and because they care about her.

We discussed gardening and yards and she told me that her grandfather had a plantation where he raised and butchered his own hogs and beef and grew everything he needed. He ground his own corn meal, made his own cane syrup, had his own honey bee hives. He lived to be a hundred. She herself grew up taking care of all of her siblings, making soap with her mother from beef fat and lye, pulling sweet potatoes, peanuts, picking greens, blackberries, and beans. And hell, I don't even remember what all she did. She told me that she was working outside once and a man stopped who'd known her mother and said, "You'll never be half the woman your mother was."
She replied, "If I have to have over a dozen children to be the woman she was I'm not interested."
I think she said she has one child. And she certainly did say that it wasn't fair for children to grow up in a family that big. That none of them got the care and attention they needed. That she was carrying babies around when she was five and that her body suffers from it now.
"I had no choice," she told me. "There were so many babies and Mama worked."

My god.

I said something about how some people claim that god will never give them more children than they can handle and then I worried I might have insulted her because she does invoke the name of God in conversation but in this instance, she agreed completely with me.
"God gave us some common sense, too," she said. "We should use it."

I was just completely blown away to have had this conversation with her. I feel like I know so much more about the history of where I live now and she feels like such a kindred spirit. I certainly did not work nearly as hard as she did when I was young- I mean, there's no comparison- but I did help raise my siblings and we both love our yards so much and are so much happier to spend time outside than in. She said that she gets so tired from working in the yard some days but then she goes in and takes a hot shower and makes a cup of tea and just sits and looks at her yard and I knew exactly what she meant.
Okay. So I am more apt to make a martini than a cup of tea, but the experience is much the same.
She's retired from whatever work it was that she did for most of her life and I think that she is very content now to live in her house at the top of a hill, working in her yard, taking her walks, still worrying about and fussing over her brothers.

And I know more about Miss Liola and the guys I see almost daily and oh! also she says that the subs from Papa Jay's are out of this world and she bought one yesterday to eat for her lunch today but she ended up eating it for breakfast because it was so good. Another thing we agreed on was that Lloyd can benefit greatly from that little store and that we both hope he makes a go of it.

Here I am now, home, and it is such a beautiful day and I had thought to go to town to run a few errands but no, I just want to stay here. I counted nine red-winged blackbirds at the feeder and although that is fifteen less than is required for a pie to set before the king, it was a goodly plenty. They are singing their melodious songs and my chickens are scratching, Maurice is napping in her border grass nest, I got beautiful things in the mail, and although my legs and hips are aching as they almost always do, I think of Shelly and how she told me that she too, hurts all the time and we agreed that we have done things to our bodies that we are now paying for- using them from early ages to do what had to be done- but that we are both still strong and capable of doing what we want and need to do.

She is sixty-eight. I am sixty. We are both women who have lived lives and who still are. We both live in Lloyd, Florida. She has told me things today that I will ponder for the rest of my life. She has answered questions I have wondered about forever.

Ann Patchett is waiting for me to tell me more of her stories. The hen house has been cleaned out, there are clothes ready to hang on the line.

None of this sounds like much, perhaps, but it is my world and today it seems full of everything I could need or want.

So yes, it's been an interesting day. And I am so glad to be here in it. A good day to be alive.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Boys And Chickens And Other Things

About ten years ago, probably, I bought that pretty little Chinese silk shirt at a Goodwill. No one I knew could wear it but it was just such a nice garment and had a tag written in characters, not words, and so I bought it and it's been hanging on one wall of mine or another for all those years until I looked at recently and thought, "Hmmmm. I bet Owen could wear that."
And I offered it to him to wear and it fits him beautifully and now it is his.
He loves it and wore it to kick bamboo and walk up to Papa Jay's and to pick sour flowers in the yard with his brother and eat them, to feed chickens and to collect eggs as well.
We had a short visit today, but it was a good one.
Gibson is talking so well these days. His vocabulary is probably increasing by a hundred words a week and he uses such expressive hand gestures when he talks that I am sure his Italian heritage on his other grandmother's side is coming through. He makes me laugh and he likes to cuddle and when he doesn't want to do something he still says, "I can't," and that is, as far as he concerned, the end of that. 
So it's been a sweet and peaceful day. I took a picture of the grand oak next door, decorated for spring.

If you look closely, you can see that it is draped in wisteria and what you cannot see is the fact that the vine goes all the way to the top of the magnificent tree.

I have a dish of purple sweet potatoes from Whole Foods and carrots and turnips from the garden and onions and apples roasting in the oven. I don't know how good it will be but it sure is pretty.

I should be serving it with steamed greens and quinoa or something but instead I am mismatching it in an unholy alliance with a roasted chicken. There will also be asparagus.
The sun is going down and Mr. Moon is just pulling into the yard. Mick, the sex fiend, is trying to slip into the hen house without Elvis noticing. The boys and I were sitting on the side porch this afternoon and Mick had Miss Nicey twice in about ten seconds right in front of us. Owen, of course, has seen this behavior before and I have explained it by saying that the roosters are fertilizing the hens. This is as far as I care to go with sex education with a five-year old and he seems to accept it.
"Look," he said today. "Mick is fertilizing Nicey."

I have been thinking recently about how, when I was being raised, everything was explained with psychological reasoning and that most problems were believed to be caused by mothers, of course, whether the problems were schizophrenia or low self-esteem, and potty training and attitudes about sex were at the root of most everything. And so I worry a great deal that I am going to do something to damage these boys for the rest of their life without even realizing it but I'm pretty sure that telling them what is basically a truth- that the rooster is fertilizing the hens- is not going to require years of therapy as they grow older.
I hope not.

And so it has gone. Another day in the life. I have done as best I could and I feel certain that you have too.

See you tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

No Plan, No Problem

The Cherokee Roses are blooming and I saw these on my walk today and I was happy to see them. I admire their simple and pristine beauty but they are the thorniest things and so I will never plant them. I already have enough thorny things in my life to deal with but I can enjoy the ones that grow elsewhere. They would make an excellent hedgerow to discourage people and predators and friendly bringers of the Truth armed with leaflets, that last one a cross between the first two.

Yes. It is getting close to Easter so I will be discussing religion a bit more than usual. This is my annual ritual. I don't really have anything to talk about today in that regard. Right now, the thought of Easter only brings to mind the thought of ham. I believe I may be hungry.

The boys may or may not be coming out today. This depends on Jason's schedule which today is dependent on inventory. I told Owen yesterday that if they came out today we could kick the bamboo. He acted as if this was going to be slave labor and a huge horrible waste of time which is funny because he loves to kick bamboo and then he and his brother use the long sturdy shoots as swords. However, I told him that if they do kick bamboo for me, we can walk up to Papa Jay's and get penny candy. That idea did intrigue him and he allowed as how he could probably manage to kick a little bamboo.

And so my day is a bit up in the air but I am in a good mood and have sheets in the laundry and plenty to do if I do not end up playing with two little boys. I have perused enough Facebook to know that assholes are assholes and that some people start prayer chains for financial purposes.
Okay, okay. I'll shut up on that for now.

Spring is coming along nicely, it is cooler today, we need to get our tomatoes and peppers and squash and beans in the ground. My burn is healing although it still looks horrific. I am interested to see what the scar will look like and I think I will eat some lunch and proceed to see where this day will lead.

Much love...Ms. Moon