Monday, April 6, 2020

In Which I Leap Out Of My Foxhole


So.
Phew.
Damn.
Knowing that the virus is only going to become more widespread as each day progresses (and there's now at least one confirmed case in my county) I decided to take on that damn grocery list. I swear to you that we still carry the genes of people who knew that for the sake of their families' survival, food had to be procured, preserved, and put away for times when sources were scarce. Game traveled on to other grazing places, wild fruits and berries had their moments and were abundant and then disappeared. There were the best times to get fish and the best times to gather the herbs and green things and one must take advantage of these yearly events and then salt or dry the gatherings, the catches, the kills so that there would be something to eat when bellies touched backbones during the long, dark days of winter.
We still do have those genes.
I think they are pretty close to the surface in me.
And so this morning I re-wrote my grocery list to try and put things in order as to where they are located in the store and I got dressed in long pants and a long shirt with long sleeves so that I could strip them off when I got home and put them directly into the washing machine and I tucked my debit card in a back pocket and grabbed my Purell, my alcohol spray, and the mask that Jessie gave us. Mr. Moon had washed the mask carefully after using it himself and whether or not that was a good idea, I do not know but I do know that wearing it while still damp did not work.
So the first thing that happened when I got into the store was that I found I could not breathe.
I could not breathe.
Now. Whether this was due to the mask being damp or to me being super anxious, I do not know but when I realized that I was touching my face over and over again to try and adjust the thing so that I could breathe, I took it off.
And then I saw Lily who was doing shopping for Shipt which is a side-hustle she does occasionally and was doing today. And I cried. I just can't bear seeing my babies without being able to touch them, hold them. It's too fucking hard. THIS is my hard thing.
So within the first three minutes of being in the store I'd not been able to breathe, taken my mask off, and was crying.
Ooh boy. This is what happens when someone who is basically agoraphobic has not left her little tiny corner of the world in twelve days and goes out into the market place.
BUT, I carried on.
The store wasn't that crowded, especially at first. Few people were wearing masks of any sort. Some were though. Some were wearing gloves. No one seemed to want to look at anyone else. Announcements were being made regularly to remind people to keep six feet apart for safety. This was not always obeyed but mostly, folks did seem to try and abide by that. I entirely skipped a few aisles on my first go-through because there were others in the aisle. The only thing that I wish I'd gotten and did not was another bag of bread flour and I skipped that because there were two ladies who were standing right there and didn't seem to want to move and I just semi-freaked and went on by.
Not breathing of course.
The shelves were fairly full. Many were completely full. I even managed to get some toilet paper. The good kind. Mega rolls. There were notices on the shelf that we were limited to one package per shopper.
Good.
I got everything I think I need although, like I said, I do regret not getting the flour.
I didn't do any impulse shopping except for one thing- I got a can of corned beef. Home made corned beef hash is something that is truly a deeply loved comfort food of mine that I have not eaten in probably twenty or so years. So.
Oh! And I got hotdogs. Don't even ask me why.
I did not get buns. I am making buns. We are going to have some damn hot dogs and baked beans and sweet potato fries for supper tonight. With a salad. And that is okay.
I checked out and had another small breakdown at the cash register. I fucking apologized to the lady who was checking me out as well as the bagger.
"For what?" the checker asked me.
"Oh for everything," I said. "I'm buying so much."
"Honey, we appreciate it," she said. "Don't apologize."
More tears.
Those people are the damn heroes. Lily and Lauren and Jason and all of the people making barely above minimum wage keeping the shelves stocked and pretty and neat and tidy and helping us to find things and doing all of this for the most part without masks or gloves. Yes, our medical people are heroes too but they are, hopefully, being given protective equipment and clothing. And when you go to school to become a professional in the health care profession you accept that part of your job is going to be exposed to people with contagious diseases.
Not to this degree, certainly, but still.
Whereas when a sixteen year old fills out a form at Publix to get a job, passes the piss test and becomes an employee, I doubt it ever crosses her mind that one day she may be exposing herself daily to global pandemic.
I am humbled to my knees by them.

I loaded my car up, I used alcohol and Purell before I touched anything inside it.
I drove home, first listening to NPR, then saying, "Fuck this," and changed the station to one blasting Aretha and I turned it up and that was the best thing about my whole day.

Came home, unloaded the car little-by-little and wiped off everything with bleach cleaner before I put it away. I doubt this is helpful in the least. I KNOW what sterile procedure is and bringing groceries into a house and trying to recreate what they do in an operating room is impossible. That's all there is to it.
But you do what you can do, right?
So this took over an hour and when it was finally all done and I'd eaten some lunch and taken a shower and changed clothes again, I collapsed.
I was done and done and done and as wrung out as a pasta noodle left in a boiling pot of water for way too long.
I had to lie down and I did and I fell asleep and when I woke up Mr. Moon kept apologizing for making noises that no doubt woke me up.
I did not hear a thing.

I know that I am completely overly dramatic. I mean- I went to the grocery store. I did not cross enemy lines to save a fellow soldier. I did not do a twelve-hour shift in the contagion ICU ward. I did not do a shift at Publix. I did not go hunt the wooly mammoth.
But this is how I reacted. And this is how it felt for me to shop for groceries on April 6, 2020.

Sure didn't see this coming.

I feel better now. I've slept, I've had coffee. I've gone about my routine.
And I ain't leaving Lloyd for at least a month if I can help it.
I do believe I have enough groceries to make that happen.

Here's what I'm going to turn into our salad tonight.


Man, it's gonna suck when all these greens are gone. I'm going to plant another row of arugula tomorrow to see if I can keep some of that, at least. 

Tell me what you did today and tell me how it felt. 
Love...Ms. Moon



Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Better Day


Today I did not get half as much done as I did yesterday when gravity pulled me ten thousand times harder. Today was easy and sweet and I didn't give a rat's ass that I wasn't being productive. I spent hours working on a crossword and I talked to Lis and I talked to May and I gave the little chicks a fresh clean bin.
Since I have two of these large bins, I've just been putting the chicks in one and cleaning out the other which is honestly the easiest way to do it. This morning when I went to get the fresh one I found this large green tree frog. What a beauty! I helped him out and he hopped up to perch on the wisteria vine.


It won't be too long before the littles are ready to go outside into the baby coop but we're going to have to figure out where the bigs are going to roost at night. Last night they all went into the little coop and no one had to chase a chicken in the dark with a flashlight! 
It was thrilling. We have decided that these are the smartest chickens we've ever raised. 


Here are two of the nine this morning. 

Lis and Lon are doing well. Lis and I always talk about the same things and mostly, that would be food and what we're cooking. And what we're getting out of our gardens. We still giggle and laugh and it's such a high point of my day when I get to talk to her. 

May and Michael also seem to be doing well. We talked about food too, because isn't that what we're all talking about these days? We also talked about the horrors of how this pandemic is being handled by the administration and how all of this is shining a very bright light on the inequalities and major problems in this country. I told her how this morning I was reading an article in the local paper about the situation in Tallahassee. It was an interview with a local doctor and his prognostications about what's fixing to happen here are not optimistic in the least. As I read I found myself dissociating so badly that I had to keep anchoring myself in where I was, physically. I could feel myself losing touch with my physical surroundings in a way that was quite disturbing. When I realized what was happening I just quit reading the article. I got the gist of it. It's going to be bad. I'm already doing what I need to do to stay safe and there is little more I can do. 
Immediately I went back to my normal state of denial and the day around me became itself again, my table and walls and cardinal directions were once again solid and real and that was that. 
Besides that and some hives (inner right arm, left calf) and a fairly complete disinterest in eating (ironic, eh, considering my obsession with food and cooking?) I have been very light-hearted today and my attitude has been mainly cheerful. 
The dishwasher needs unloading, there is laundry to fold, the bed has been made and frolicsomely unmade, there is a pot of ragtag soup on the simmer made with vegetables and ground venison and pasta will be added at the end. There is loaf of sourdough in the oven. Mr. Moon is out doing something in the garden. He rode his bicycle today and went over to help a friend till his garden. 

Jessie reports that they are on staycation. They had planned a trip to a beach with Vergil's mom and her husband which of course is not happening and so they're going to make the best of it at home. Tonight, the boys and Vergil are going to sleep in a tent in the backyard. Here is the picture I got of the boys getting ready. 


August looks to be a bit more ready than his brother. 
Jessie plans to spend the evening watching something trashy like "Tiger King". 

I just watched the best thing on the internet ever. Billy (you know Billy!) has a mama who's been very sad the last few weeks because of having to stay in and stay isolated so Billy secretly arranged a parade of friends to drive by and give her love from a distance. Car after car went by and slowed down and there were banners on the cars and people tossed her presents (including toilet paper) and I'm a little weepy now, after watching it. 

The best of times, the worst of times. 
Okay, this isn't really either but there sure is a lot of sweetness going on. And for right this second, that's what I'm going to concentrate on, put my focus on. I know damn well that I'm in denial about what's going on in the world and about what might happen. But I also know that worrying about it all doesn't help a soul and it creates a sickness inside of me that I cannot dare to fall into. 

Please be well. Please be safe. 
We need all of us. 

Love...Ms. Moon





Saturday, April 4, 2020

Keep Your Sanity


Porch jungle

Today I have felt pregnant. Not with life but with sorrow and ennui, with sadness and some despair. I am heavy with all of it. 
Just so heavy. 
Everything and I do mean everything has just been too hard. Thinking about cleaning the chicks' bin or getting fresh water for the teenagers has been enough to make me want to cry. Just about one of the hardest things I've ever done was peeling a few over-ripe bananas and putting them in the freezer. 
It's all just too much. 
I know that tomorrow will be different. This is just one small day of sadness. I am sure of that. And I managed- I did manage to get up and do the things that needed doing. Mr. Moon and I opened up the little coop to let the ones in there flutter out when they were ready. For the longest time only five brave (smart?) ones made the leap. 


Cleopatra was the first one out. By the end of the day, all nine were out and of course they have spent most of their time trying to figure out how to escape the coop and god knows they'll do it eventually, scaring me to death. And I just now remembered what it's like to get those critters back into the little coop for roosting and oh, how I do not want to do that. 
Well. I didn't want to peel the bananas and put them in the freezer, either. 

I gave the babies a fresh, clean bin with fresh, clean water and I cut them up some grapes and some greens and they devoured them. 

Lily brought over a few groceries and prescriptions she'd gotten for us at Publix and she brought little Pepper. Mr. Moon had not yet met her and he was charmed. She's such a darling. And Lily says that Owen is being extremely responsible for her care, even getting up at six o'clock in the morning to take her out when she wakes him up. He's actually cleaned up her few accidents without being told to. I think that this small, joyful sprite of a dog is just what Owen needs now and I am so glad that they have her. 


She loves her mommy and didn't even need to be on a leash in the yard but stayed close to Lily the whole time, sniffing and snuffling around. Lily sent us this picture when they were on the way home. 


The bebe was worn out. 
I really don't think she's going to get too big. She's delicate and her feet aren't those giant paws that you see on puppies and think, "Oh boy." But of course only time will tell. 

So seeing Lily and Pepper was cheering but nothing else has really made me smile. I haven't been able to think today, either. I mean, even worse than usual. This morning I was searching the refrigerator for the little bowl of hard-boiled eggs that I knew was in there and finally I had to ask Glen to look. They were literally right in front of my nose. 

I did manage to go out and finish weeding a part of the yard between the gate and the sidewalk but it was a sort of practically effortless kind of weeding. But. You know. I did that. 

Hank and Rachel called and they are in good spirits, it would seem. Hank who is obviously not working at his regular gig of being a Trivia Master in bars is selling trivia packets online and people are buying them to do with their friends online. He has created some for his regulars and some for Girl Scouts! He's working on educational ones too. He says that no matter what happens, this could well be something he can do after all of this is over and I'm proud of him. Not only is he very smart, he is also very creative. And he and Rachel are getting along so sweetly and their cats are keeping them entertained. It was good to hear their voices. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Moon worked hard in the garden today, planting cucumbers and flowers. He also built a trellis for his beans to run up. 


He says that I can pick the ones on the fence and he will pick the ones on the tall trellis. I love that he used some of our bamboo. He is a man who can DO things. And he does. 

I have nothing else to say. I've almost gotten through this hard day and I feel guilty saying that because any difficulty has come from my own outlook. But. Just as I am not judging others on how they are coping with these things, I am trying not to judge myself. And honestly, it's not really the day-to-day business of life that is difficult. I'm not bored. We have plenty to eat. I have beloved friends and family to reach out to. I have a co-quarantiner whom I love to talk to, to hug, to hold and 
be helped by. I have life all around me to tend and to watch grow. No. It's not the day-to-day so much as it is the uncertainty of it all. Will my loved ones stay safe? Will the stores keep having food? And what will the world look like when this has become not an emergency situation but a problem we have a good handle on? Will there be such a time? 
I think so. I really do. And as a guy named Adrian Cozumel said today on his post, "Don't lose your sanity." 
Things are much more buttoned down there. It is such a small island and there are so many people living cheek-to-jowl. The military is making sure that people keep the rules of isolation and although that sounds completely antithetical to what we in the US believe, it is absolutely imperative for them. They only have a few small hospitals with a very limited amount of supplies and staff. They have to do what they have to do. 
And they are doing it. And because they are used to doing without, used to sharing what they have, they will absolutely make it through this time of no tourists and no income. 
And you know what? 
We will make it through too. 

Here I go to make some shrimp and grits. Bacon and cheese will be involved. 

I wish I could hug every one of you deep and hard, heart-to-heart. Have I said this before? Well, bears repeating. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Friday, April 3, 2020

Feel Free To Laugh If You Can


Those are some of the roses blooming around here right now. I mean they are BUSTING out. That particular rose (and no, I don't know its name) was here when we moved in but in another location. The man we bought the house from said that no matter what we did or did not do to it, it would not die. He was right about that. Mr. Moon ran over it several times in his truck because where it was planted was right in front of a gate and we never once watered it or fertilized it and yet, it just kept on living. The little flowers are hardly worth picking because if you do, the petals are apt to flutter gently to the ground. Finally, Mr. Moon asked if he could relocate it so it would not impede his truck access. I said that yes, he could and he did and it's just as happy as it can be snugged up against the garden. I occasionally put the poopy chicken hay I clean out of the nest boxes around it and I try to keep it weeded and it does get water from the garden sprinklers so it's in high cotton now. The problem is keeping it pruned back enough.

So. Nest boxes. I found a big old oak snake in one today. Those of you who've been around here for awhile have seen a few of those in my pictures. Here's one from September, 2018.


Now that one, as you can plainly see, was ingesting an egg. The one I found today did not seem to have had the opportunity yet. I didn't take a picture because Mr. Moon told me not to disturb it because he wanted to get it out of there before it slithered off into a crack somewhere, hiding and waiting and biding its time. So I did not disturb it and got out a used scratch feed bag and he grabbed the snake and put it in the bag while I held it open and when he went to town he stopped and let it out some miles down the road. Now there are only a very few things that freak out my husband but snakes are one of them and it was incredibly brave of him to do that. He was already upset because a friend of his had called him today to tell him that he'd tested positive for the virus. The friend, not Mr. Moon. They haven't seen each other in forever but he's a dear friend to my man and of course he hated hearing that news. So far, he's asymptomatic and we hope he stays that way but it does point out the fact that people can be walking around spreading and shedding virus without having the slightest idea of what they're doing. Ironically, he was tested because he'd been exposed to a woman who had all of the symptoms and while his test came back positive, hers came back negative. 
How accurate do you suppose these tests are? 
Okay. I just looked that up and the answer appears to be- we don't know. 
More false negatives than positives, it would seem. 
Okay. 
Seems to me that there are a whole shitpile of things we don't know about this virus and that's scary as hell but hopefully, by the time my grandchildren are grown, all will have been revealed and people will be vaccinated. 
I sure hope so. 

Besides the snake, things were pretty normal around here today for me. I took a short walk this morning, knowing that I really did need to get some ya-ya's out. And then I did a bunch of stuff that I can't recall doing but I must have done them because I didn't eat lunch until after two again. I enjoyed my all-healthy-and-shit quinoa salad a lot more today because I put some of the sauce I made for last night's supper on it. By the way, here's what that supper looked like.


Now is that a good-looking supper or what? 
It was delicious. Sheet pan chicken with potatoes and greens and arugula on top with the sauce which is Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice, a lot of garlic, salt and pepper and some chopped up wild onions I have growing about a foot away from the kitchen steps. 
Highly recommend. 
The asparagus was good too. 

You want to hear something cool? 
May woke up yesterday to find that three of her plants had disappeared from where they'd been sitting right behind her house. She posted a picture of them on Facebook and instead of cussing out the thief, she made it clear that she realized that someone could have thought they were abandoned plants because someone did just move out of the building but that no, they were not, they were her cherished plants and if someone had taken them by mistake, she sure would like to have them back. 
And this morning, this had happened.


They were back! Several people had shared May's original post and so someone saw it and actually and truly brought them home. 
I was gobsmacked. 
She posted a message thanking whoever brought them back from the bottom of her heart. 
And then she moved them inside. 
Here's are two pictures of May's apartment. 



As you can see, she gets plenty of light, as I reported a few weeks ago. Isn't it lovely? 

So. What else? 
Well, this is what the pushing-up field peas look like.


See those pretty little sprouts coming forth from their mothers? 

The baby chicks are getting big enough to flutter up to sit on top of their feeder and waterer. In fact one took the leap out of the bin today but Mr. Moon caught the little critter and put it back and placed the screened lid he made over the top. I think that tomorrow I may let the teenagers out into the coop and let them expand their world by about two thousand percent. 
That's always a joyful day. 

I did not go to the grocery today but Lily picked me up a few things that we sort of really need and will bring them over tomorrow. I will go shopping next week. I feel so spoiled and taken care of. 
I feel lucky as hell in all ways. 

And let me ask you a question- do you feel like you're spending a lot less money these days? I mean, casual shopping has gone out the window and yes, of course we can still shop online for some things but frankly, I'm not doing that because I don't want to be part of anyone having to go to work to pack and mail or deliver anything that's not a necessity. 
I don't think I generally go to the grocery store that often but I'm obviously going a lot less these days and I'm being so very careful to use every part of what I buy and what I cook. No impulse shopping involved. Every thing I buy is planned out and put on a list and carefully considered. I am finding it very amusing to see what my husband adds to the list. He seems to have developed a craving for the queso made with Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes. And by god, I'll buy the ingredients. AND a bag of chips, of course, because one does need an excuse to eat the stuff and by that, I don't mean owning a spoon. He also wanted some pimento cheese and I offered to make him some but he said that he'd really like some of the plain old regular orange stuff so that he can put it on some Ritz crackers when he gets hungry. 
I asked Lily to get plain old orange pimento cheese and Ritz crackers in our short list of necessities. 

Friday night and yes, they're singing at the church next door. The first damn thing on the list of exemptions for Florida's way-too-late statewide restriction of movement mandate is religious gatherings and if that isn't the most stupid damn thing you've ever heard I want to hear what is. Gun shops are also considered "essential". 
Even my husband who is a hunter and who generally stays out of political discussions is disgusted about both of those things. 

Oh well. We just had a cocktail hour chat with Lon and Lis on speakerphone and it was lovely. We all laughed a lot. We talked mostly about gardens and hummingbirds and snakes in the hen house and a knife accident that Lon had (he's fine) and what we're having for supper. 
And so it goes again. 

Here's a picture Lily just sent. She's home from work and Pepper is happy to see her. 


She reports that about 1/5 of the people in Publix were wearing masks including (and here she said, "I shit you not") one of these over her mouth and nose region. 


"It was literally the pink sparkly one," she said. 

What more is there to be said?

Happy Friday or whatever passes for happy these days. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Another Day


That is Black Creek, a little meandering thing that we cross over almost every time we drive to town, but never truly see. Isn't it beautiful? I walked there today, almost two miles exactly to the bridge, two miles back. Not so far but far enough for me.

It's been another almost perfect day, weather-wise. I doubt there's been one cloud in the sky and the air is dry enough and the temperature is cool enough that I made the house as accessible to the outdoors as possible, doors open, the boundaries between inside and porches and outside blurred. This is how I love it.
Soon it will be so hot that the outdoors will require shielding ourselves from with closed doors and windows. Mothers will scream at their children, "You're letting the cold air out!" every time they open a door. Frustrated cat owners will say to their pets, "In or out? In or out? GODDAMMIT, Decide NOW!" while the cats stand by an open door, taking their own sweet time to decide whether they want to go snooze  in the shade under a tree or sit on a pillow on a chair over an air vent in the house.
But for right now it is perfect.

So today at 2 o'clock in the afternoon I had not even made my lunch. What in hell had I been doing all day? Hmmm...
I made breakfast. I actually cooked things. Mr. Moon wanted some eggs and bacon but he didn't want any vegetables in his eggs. He wanted to TASTE the eggs. So I did that.
And I went on a walk.
And I washed the clothes and hung them out.
And I gave the teenager chickens greens and fresh food.
I picked a few carrots and some arugula to make my lunch. Which, as I say, I got around to doing after two. I made a quinoa and tuna and vegetable salad, chopping up celery and carrots and onions and cucumbers and tomatoes and the arugula. I cooked the quinoa and cooled it, mixed all that up with some tuna and olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar and salt and pepper and garlic, a little stone-ground mustard, a bit of Tamari.
It was...okay.
All healthy and shit, you know.
I ate that and then I cleaned up the kitchen and made the bed and fixed up a clean bin for the baby chicks and cut up grapes and greens for them, gave them fresh water and chick feed. I took the teen chicks some grapes as well, along with a strange veggie patty I made awhile back. They attacked all of it.

I kicked bamboo.
I did some crossword puzzles.
And that is all I have done today.

Mr. Moon went on a good bike ride and saw a tom turkey. He visited (from a distance) a friend of ours who lives out in the woods nearby. He braved the Monticello feed store for cucumber seeds. I just looked up the number of cases (so far) in Jefferson County where Monticello is and they have zero. So far.
Perhaps I should be doing my shopping at the Winn Dixie.

I'm keeping a running list of things that we are going to need. We do not need anything in an emergency way at all. Not one darn thing. But the list keeps getting longer and longer and I'm wondering if it's smarter to just wait and go next week or if it's safer to go, oh, say tomorrow, because every day that passes means more infected and contagious people walking around. I know that Lily is quite willing to bring me things from when she's working but I cannot ask her to tote an entire cart's worth of things like frozen vegetables and canned tomatoes. I could, and she would, but I won't.
I think I'll just wait until next week. We have pasta, potatoes, rice, proteins from beans to venison, plenty of eggs, flour, sugar, coffee, yogurt, and yes, even toilet paper. Grits and greens. We got 'em. Cornmeal and a can of sardines.
Yeah. I do believe I've talked myself out of going to town any time soon.

I talked to Jessie a little while ago. She wanted to know how I made a certain salad dressing and I told her. Then she said, "Well, I better go and get this supper on the table. These boys should have been in bed hours ago."
It was six o'clock. I laughed.
"They should have been in bed right after Levon woke up from his nap!" she said.

Lily sent this picture earlier.


The accompanying text said, "Trying to do things takes so much longer when there are kids underfoot everywhere!" 
She was trying to make soup and bread to take to a friend who just had a baby. 
I guess Magnolia was helping. 

I found this in the yard while I was kicking bamboo.


I sent the picture out to the kids and Hank suggests that it may be a cloche. A fancy glass thing to set over little curiosity displays or to make a tiny terrarium under. I think he may be right but I'm putting it out here to see if anyone knows for sure. The glass is very thin and I am surprised that it's undamaged. I dug the algae gunk out of the decorative end (top?) and am going to give it a good washing. 

I haven't really read any news all day. What's the point? The joy of staying at home is that no matter what's happening "out there" I am safe here. To know more is to become absolutely terrified. 
That's my theory although I have had hives all day so I suppose that some part of me is at least, uh, disturbed. 

Time to go make supper. I'm making a sheet pan chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt sauce. What have you been doing in the kitchen? Where are you on the emotion-meter? Redlining? Down there in the green somewhere? Or is your needle flashing back and forth so fast you can't keep up with it? 

We're going to make it through this. Just keep thinking about the world's most brilliant scientists who are working on it. 
As dear John Gray says, "Tits up!" 
Speaking of which, when was the last time you put on a bra? If there is ONE positive thing about this whole situation it's that bras are not even anything I have to think about from one end of the week to another.

Just let the bosoms fall where they may.

Love...Ms. Moon


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Well, that's supposed to be a panoramic picture of a place in the woods I ducked into this morning to pee while I was on my walk. It was so quiet and beautiful. I guess you had to be there.
It's been a beautiful day all the way around, cool and utterly cloudless, birds singing and lizards sunning. Yesterday's rain, as insufficient as it was, has cleared the air of pollen for a moment at least and all the greens seem greener. The magnolia leaves appear to have been polished and are gleaming and glowing in the late afternoon sun.

My walk was a good one. I was out for over an hour soaking up the sun and cool air like a thirsty sponge and I could feel my calves being glad for the reminder of past strength. When I got home I made us our lunches of leftovers. Fish for him, soup for me. I have eaten that soup at least five days in a row and I think that despite the fact there is actually one more serving of it, I am done. For a soup that I had such poor prospects for, it has turned out to be pretty good and definitely nourishing but honestly- I've had enough.

I did a little crocosmia and Japanese paper plant pulling in the shade and appreciated the coolness with all of my heart. I worked at it in a leisurely manner until I didn't want to do it anymore and then I stopped. What a luxury! I've hung clothes on the line, I've folded and brought them in. I went through the cabinets and here's what I have discovered:
I definitely need more Miracle Whip and Duke's mayonnaise. I have no spares.
I have plenty of homemade pickles and I need to remember to start putting them out for our lunches. I hoard those things and they ain't gonna last forever. Dills, fourteen day pickles and mustard pickles. Also a large jar of applesauce that might need to be thrown away. It's been there for quite awhile but it was made with Vergil's mama's apples and I hate to do that. Again- saving something because it's special is really not the smartest thing to do, whether we're talking applesauce or the good china. If there was ever a time to enjoy the good stuff, this would be it.
I also have three cans of sweetened condensed milk. Really? Why? I only use it for making lime or lemon pies and I may make one or two of those a year. Have you ever put sweetened condensed milk in your coffee? It's just about the best thing in the world.
Beyond those things, I was not much surprised at what I found and what I did not find. Well, I did find that I have more canning jar lids and rings than I was aware of. I'll be happy as I can be if I get to use some of those this summer. Mr. Moon hasn't planted any cucumbers yet though. Maybe he'll tempt fate tomorrow and go to the feed store in Monticello and buy seeds. God knows that without cucumbers, there can be no dill pickles and no sweet pickles either.
His beans are coming up fine and so are the squash and the potatoes. The tomatoes are putting out a few blooms. The onions still look good and the collards don't show signs of bolting yet. I was talking to Lon about bolting greens the other day and we discussed the fact that both of us have had collards that lasted throughout the summer.
"I wonder what the factors were in making that happen?" I asked.
"Neglect, probably," he said.
Benign neglect is vastly underrated in my opinion.
We have discovered the problem with the sugar-snap peas. The chickens are nipping them as fast as they can. They love those vines and leaves and we plant them next to the fence to have support on which to grow so they just reach right through the fence with their long dinosaur necks and snip the tender growth with their sharp beaks.
Sigh.

Our governor finally and at last put out a stay-at-home order today. It'll start Friday morning at 12:01 a.m. It doesn't have much teeth to it though. People can go out to shop for groceries and necessities, they can pick up food from restaurants, they can go out to exercise and recreate although more than ten people can not congregate doing any of this.
Well, duh.

The people in Franklin County which is where Dog Island and Apalachicola are located are incensed because a Georgia congressman, Senator Bruce Thompson (Republican, of course) decided to recuperate from the coronavirus at his beach home on St. George Island because his doctor said it would be "good for his lungs"  after he spent time in the intensive care unit in a hospital in his home state.
In the You-Can't-Make-This-Shit-Up vein, his home on the island is in a gated community called The Plantation and he is from White, Georgia.
Also, he had written (on Twitter? Facebook?) “I ask everyone to join me in doing your part to #FlattenTheCurve and #StayHome as we fight the spread of COVID-19,” 

The sheriff of Franklin County was not amused. 
In a statement he said, “He says he’s cured,” said Smith. “He lives north of Atlanta. I don’t know why he didn’t stay there, It perplexes me.”
“I talked to him yesterday,” said A.J. Smith Wednesday morning. “I think he needs to go back to Georgia.”

In the latest update I've read, Senator Thompson is indeed going back to Georgia. 

Quite frankly, if I had a home on St. George, I'd want to be there. Who wouldn't? 

But I'm quite content to be where I am and given the circumstances, I am actually thrilled to be in Lloyd. As I keep saying, if people weren't getting sick and suffering and dying all over the world and I could hug my kids and grandkids, this would be one of the most beautiful times of my life. My husband expressed similar emotions today and we both agreed that although we feel guilty saying these things, it's true. We're finally being able to enjoy what we've worked so hard for all these years. 

Well, check back with me in a month or two. 

And of course, at the back of my mind the thought of the people on the front lines of this battle never leaves me. But for once in my life, I am doing all that I can do and I know that with certainty. 

So. You? 

Take good care, people. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Ratty and George are so lonely. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Kiss Of The Spider Man And The Raising Of Spirits

This morning I wrote the following:

Another day, another path to navigate, each one so similar, yet each one so different, the light perhaps less bright or falling from a different angle, giving a strange perspective when one thought that the view was fairly clear by this time.

Today everything is making me weepy. An e-mail from a friend. A video from Cozumel where the speaker says, "Yes, we are scared," but goes on to say that we must all love each other, remember the beauty. The ocean is behind him and two fish swim by, naked to the eye in the clear Caribbean waters completely unaware of anything except that suddenly their home, the sea, is empty of humans and their boats. This makes me cry too, for so many reasons. In the background I can hear the sweet melodious whistle of the black birds who live there and I tear up again.

I can't seem to move today. Oh, sure, I can move. But my mind is absolutely gone away somewhere and the simplest things have become so complex, requiring what seems to be Einsteinian thought processes and I just had to look up how to spell Einstein.

My husband keeps suggesting things we can do together that would take us off the property but safely isolated, and my reaction is always swift and horrified. I want to scream at him- don't take me away from my safety! My safety is not only this space, it is my routine, as small and meaningless as it is.
None of this is logical.
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

It's early evening now. My "regular" time to write. Another part of my ironclad routine.
The day has gotten better. Jessie and the boys dropped off jade plant starters at Lily's house and while there, the boys got to see Pepper and Jessie fell in love and now she wants a Pepper sibling. We'll see how that goes. Here's a picture of Sammy and Pepper that Lily sent this morning.


Dog friends. One old man. One little girl. I think they will be happy together. 
Jessie also dropped off an N95 mask for Lily that Vergil had for dusty work. It won't protect anyone from her but it will protect her from others better than anything I could make and besides, it turns out that homemade masks are not acceptable for employees. Lily does report that Publix is giving everyone raises which will stay in place after this is all over and that every employee will get a $50 gift card for groceries each week for the duration. 
Better than nothing. Much needed. 
Jessie also picked up a bottle of alcohol that Jason had been able to score at his Publix and she brought that and a mask for us and a jade plant for me and a cutting of Swedish ivy. 
Oh, my heart when I saw those baby boys! I wanted more than anything in this world to pick up Levon and hold him close to me, even though I know that's not exactly what Levon would probably want. I wanted to let August snuggle up to me while I read him a book and I wanted to hold Jessie in my arms, heart-to-heart. 
Well. 
Instead, Mr. Moon brought out the baby chicks for the boys to see. 


August wanted to hold them. Levon did not. He seems to know quite clearly that things are off and yet, of course, he's too young to even grasp the small amount of the big picture that his brother can. 
There was some mulberry picking and garden admiring and Jessie got some collards and mustards to cook for their supper tonight. It started to rain a bit while they were here and so Jessie packed them up in the car to go home. Before August got buckled in, I got this series of pictures. 




Oh, those boys. 
"Good-bye, good-bye!" we called when they left. "We love you!" 
"Good-bye," they answered out of the open windows. 
And I cried a little more. 

It began to rain a bit more seriously and although we did not get nearly as much as I would have liked, it made a beautiful hour or so for a nap. 

I had one goal today which was to go through my cabinets and see what it is that I really have and don't have. Of course I never accomplished that. But I did get through the day without breaking down. I made sure that the chickens were all fed and tended and given water. I got to see Jessie and the boys. I got to rest in my husband's arms while the rain fell softly outside. I found a book to listen to which I think is going to be amazing. I'll let you know about that. 

The rain was part of a "cold front" that's coming through. It's already cool enough that we've turned off the air conditioner and have opened the house. It's supposed to get down to 48 degrees tonight, 46 tomorrow. I may put the duck on the bed for one last bit of luxurious warmth before summer assaults us with its hot wet breath. 

Lily just texted the group saying, "Can we talk about how hard it is to get Owen to do anything because he just wants to cuddle the puppy?"
With this picture. 


It's very hard to blame the boy and he's always been a gentle, loving soul who loves little ones. 

Okay. That's quite enough of my rambling. Let me know how you're doing, from the tears to the fears to the beers to the quiet appreciation of the sweetness we may encounter as these strange days progress, as we continue down this unexpected path. 

Love...Ms. Moon