Bless Our Hearts

Friday, July 12, 2024

From Here To There And Back To Rock And Roll

That is what my plant ID app calls a "ditch lily" which makes a lot of sense because it is growing in a sort of ditch right beside Main Street in Lloyd. It's a type of day lily and isn't it pretty? It also tells me that it is invasive so I guess I should dig some up and plant it in my yard and let it battle it out with the glory bower, bamboo, and crocosmia. 


Now here's another thing. 

Just a block-like distance from where that day lily was growing, there is a field of these which are, I do believe, Easter lilies. I see these growing in Florida, even on St. George Island, and I'm not sure what to think about that. I just googled the matter and yes, they do grow wild in North Florida. The funny thing is, I don't remember seeing them growing wild until about fifteen years ago or so. The ones in that picture are on an empty lot that was cleared for a trailer site but there is no trailer on it now. 

I had a decent walk this morning. I saw Abe, a neighbor, and we chatted just long enough to talk about how hot it is. It was good to see him. I stopped at the post office on my way home and talked a moment to Keisha, our new post mistress. I peeked my head into the lobby window and asked how things were going. Was Lloyd being good to her? She seemed thrilled that I would ask her. I mean seriously thrilled. She told me twice how sweet it was that I'd asked her. She said that she was doing great, everyone was friendly and nice. The only problem is that the internet is down and so they can't take card payments for postage which is a huge drag. I have a feeling this has more to do with the USPS than it does with the internet provider. I wonder what the budget for Lloyd's PO is. Meager, I can assure you. It's only open until noon. It was good to see her too. 

It's gotten up to 96 today but the humidity has been lower. Down to 47% and I can't tell you how much difference that makes. It's still hot as hell but not as enervating as it is when the humidity is up in the sixty, seventy, or even higher percentiles. So I did a little tiny bit of garden work. I picked tomatoes and field peas, and staked that eggplant I had not staked before and restaked a few others. Would you look at the way these Little Fingers produce?

Crazy.

I also staked a pepper plant that was falling over and gave support to a few tomato branches. It's dry as dust out there so I've got the sprinkler going now. I had planned on doing some trimming of dead tomato limbs but I realized I had reached my limit and so I stopped and came back inside. 

Here's your (almost) daily zinnia picture.

Orange is not my favorite color. But if all orange looked like this, it might be. Little burst of joy right there. 

The sunflowers, zinnias, and arugula that I planted in the canvas bag planters about a week or so ago have all come up and look happy to be here. I wonder if I'll be able to get any blooms off the flowers at this late date and if the arugula will make me a few leaves before it falls prey to the heat. The zinnias that I planted in the little bed beside the kitchen door by basically just tossing the seeds on the ground are doing quite well and look about ready to bloom. I really need to weed that bed one morning before the sun gets to it. 

And you know how happy all of this has made me. On top of all of it I replaced a piece of clasp hardware on Mr. Moon's overalls and watched a little bit of "Reservation Dogs" and then to continue the party, started shelling my field peas. 

This is a long and laborious process but such a very, very good excuse to watch TV and those peas are heaven's gift to our species.

I washed my sheets and towels although washing the sheets was totally unnecessary. I've only slept on a about a third of the bed since the man has been gone and I take a shower every night right before I get in bed but you know- it's Friday. And his side of the bed will be extra clean when he gets back on Sunday. I talked to him today and he asked me if I was going to let him in the door when he gets home. I told him that yes, I very much would let him back in the door and he noted that sometimes when he gets home after being gone for a long time I can be a little less than exuberantly welcoming. 
"It's always a shock," I told him. "I have to adjust."
"I have to adjust too," he said. "But I'm looking forward to adjusting."

I know you guys will all be happy because my posts will be so much shorter. You know you're the only people I have to talk to when he's gone. 

Now can we talk about the Rolling Stones for a moment? Yesterday dear Elizabeth sent me a link to the LA Times review of the Stones' concert on Wednesday at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. She knew I would love the review. And I did. I've read a lot of reviews of the concerts from this summer's tour but that review threw back the covers of what everyone else is saying which is pretty much, "How can they still be going this? They're amazing!" and said what I feel about the band now. 
Here's the last paragraph:

"Even if we go to the Stones for the crushed velvet and silver jewelry, the sneers and pouts and the communal rituals of stadium rock, the band remains unsatisfied. No maudlin tributes, even to their own. No memory lanes to traverse. Just guitars and the devil, battling it out in the incandescent late years of the best rock band we’ll probably ever get."

This journalist, August Brown, cuts away the unnecessary easy assessments from the bone of the matter and leaves us with the meat and the gristle. 

Well. 

There's a short clip on Youtube that I have been fascinated by lately. It sums up to me the dangerous, evil, life-affirming joy of Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones. Watch that face. And of course, we still had dear Charley at that point, a drummer and a man whom Keith loved so deeply. And if you are in any doubt about guitar weaving, this is a great example of it as Ronnie Wood and Keith do what they do.

Yes. He's the guitar player and the devil battling it out in the greatest rock and roll band we'll probably ever get. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon






Thursday, July 11, 2024

Well. My Life Just Got Better.

 


I texted a friend of mine this morning when I was on my way to the dentist's office saying that I wished I had taken an Ativan earlier because it was too late then. Going to the dentist doesn't freak me out as much as going to the doctor but it's still extremely stressful as it is for so many people. 
I'm very superstitious about my dentist visits. I've been going to the same dentist forever and he's been in the same office forever. So I always go in on the same driveway (there are two) and I always park across the lot facing away from the office, even if there are spots open right in front which there usually are. But some stupid little ancient part of my brain tells me that if I do everything in the correct order and location, all will turn out well. 
I really wonder if I have OCD. At least a little. 

I went into the office and signed in. They are all really so nice in that office. They call me Miss Mary now because I am old and that is what we do here in the south. I suppose I could resent it, but why? It is an honorific and as such, I'll take it. 
I'd brought my New Yorker magazine and sat down and began to read and had to wait a little longer than usual, but finally the hygienist came and got me and yes, it was that same sweet girl and forgive me but I can't remember her name. I did remember that she was to be married this spring to her high school boyfriend and I asked her, "So, are you a married lady now?" and she said she was and told me that her wedding day had been perfect and she remembered me talking about my husband's hunting and fishing as I remembered her talking about her's. She and her husband have bought a house and gotten a little black lab named Emmy. 
Yes. I do know the dog's name. 
So that was sweet, having our little chat before my mouth was involved with other things and again, she gave me the power of the suction wand and I thanked her. 
Everything looked great except that I have a chipped molar that I didn't even know about but she wasn't too worried about it. She said she'd mention it to the dentist. If there is one thing I do well and consistently, it is to brush and floss and somehow I lucked out for the most part and have all of my own teeth but one and there's an implant there. They are not pretty teeth, but they are mine and I like them and they are good at chewing my food. 

I knew that the dentist I've been seeing since Christ was in a diaper had retired and I thought he'd been replaced by some other guy whom I'd never met. For awhile, there was yet another dentist working there but I did not like him. He had no chair-side manner and his touch was not gentle. So when my hygienist went to fetch the dentist to come and give me a look over and returned to say, "She's talking to another patient," I was shocked. 
She?
The new dentist was a woman? 
Okay, I know that women can be dentists, are dentists, of course. But I've never once had a woman dentist. I was pretty thrilled to hear that Dr. Jones was a very, very young female dentist who, according to my hygienist was terrific, very smart, very educated, and was not a believer in unnecessary intervention and she does it all. No more need to go to an oral surgeon to get things like implants. 
The clouds parted and I could hear angels sing. 

And when Dr. Jones came into the room, we were talking about gardens and I mentioned my eggplant and she sat down in her chair beside me and said, "I'm so sorry you had to wait but were y'all talking about eggplant?" And before you know it, she's telling me about the eggplant she's growing and we were discussing eggplant recipes and talking about tomatoes and cauliflower and baby squash and, well. 
I love her.
She checked my teeth and the one with the chip and said everything looked great and if the chipped tooth didn't bother me, no need to mess with it and by the time it was all over, I told both the ladies that I am now looking forward to my next six-month visit so I can see them again. And I meant it. 

The whole experience has made me realize how very difficult it is for a woman to sit in a dentist's chair and have a man, a relatively strange man, be right up in her face, probing her mouth, doing things in her mouth that are sometimes painful and frightening. Our mouths are the very portals into our bodies and I don't know about you, but some of my worst dreams have been about teeth falling out. Another ancient part of us, I think. And male dentists talk about golf. That's okay. I got nothing against golf, but to have a dentist talk about roasting vegetables? 
It's an entirely different experience. 
Honestly, I've had many, many male OB-GYN's and that's mostly been fine. I'm not sure why. Probably because they're not right up in my face, but "down there" and it's pretty easy for me (at least) to just stare at the ceiling and disassociate, separating myself from what's going on. The experience is not that different whether I have a male or a female operating the speculum. I could be unusual in that way. 
But today's very short experience of having a female dentist has opened my eyes and my heart to the possibility of a true and distinct difference. 
I feel like I just discovered that water is wet or something. 

So that was that and I spent a little more time in town afterwards, trying out the new Del Taco and then...going purse shopping! I went to Marshall's. Do y'all have Marshall's? I've found some pretty sweet purses there but not today. I did buy a new pair of shoes to wear in the garden because mine are so shitbeat. They were my walking shoes for a long time until the soles started peeling off and I've been wearing them to work outside in for years so you can imagine. 


Bless their old hearts. I will toss them into the trash with gratitude. 

It's been a good day. I've done nothing that required physical work or sweating but I will tomorrow. And tonight is the night I'm using some of my precious tomatoes. 



These glories of the garden. 


There are probably four types of tomatoes in there along with chopped basil and green onions. On top is a mixture of Duke's Mayonnaise and different cheeses. And smashed garlic.


It is nothing short of a sin. 


With it, we shall be serving my favorite roasted cauliflower recipe with olives, lemon juice, capers, and parmesan. 

I am practicing hedonism tonight. 
La-di-dah. 
La. Di. Dah. 

I think Mr. Moon is about ready to be home. I know I'm about ready to have him home. I'm not lonely but I'd love to hold those big hands of his, to have him wrap his arms around me. 
I will make him another tomato pie and cook him some of his fish and kiss him a lot. 

Meanwhile, here I am and happy to be and so very grateful not to be in Las Vegas. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Ups And Downs And All Arounds


I took another walk this morning. Knowing that I'm only going to be out for a little while makes it a lot easier than thinking I have to push myself to do many miles. Harvey and I crossed paths and he was in one of his more somber moods. I said "Good morning," and he nodded but didn't give me one of his blessing greetings. I doubt he was in the mood. He was not walking for pleasure or exercise but to get to the GDDG or the old convenience store to get what he needed. 
We got some rain last night and it was a little cooler this morning. Still hot and humid enough to snatch your breath. I've actually been breaking my routine to get out earlier which means basically that I don't try to finish the crossword, Wordle, and Connections before I go. This sounds so ridiculously small but my routine has been set in stone for quite awhile now and it's sort of a big thing for me to deviate from it. 
I walked up to the fally down house and slowly, slowly, it is sinking. 



There are bottles and cans and other detritus around the house and I can't imagine anyone going there seeking shelter. This puzzles me. Someone is obviously spending time there. But why? 

Just as my Map My Walk app alerted me to the fact that I had walked two miles, it began to rain. I knew it was going to but I figured I had time to get home first and even if I didn't, so what? I was already drenched with sweat, why not get rinsed with sweet rain? 
And so it was. And I am here to tell you that you can sweat IN the rain. But still, it felt wonderful and when I got home I felt a tiny thrill of exhilaration. The knee that's been bothering me for over a month felt so much better and the foot that's been painful and a little swollen for the past few weeks felt better too and the swelling was almost gone. Hurray for exercise! The walking, the activity! They've been paying off! 

I needed to go to town to feed Lily's kitties and stop by Costco and Publix and so when I'd gotten cooled off I did that and by the end of that trip, I was cursing walking and activity. All my leg parts hurt and I felt exhausted. I did no bamboo cutting or eggplant staking. I did no weed-pulling. But look!


I found my beloved little mending pincushion that Liz Sparks made for me a long time ago. 

I did manage to take my basket out and pick a few things and to add to the buzz kill, in the past 24 hours it would appear that the bugs have found the tomatoes and by the time the pest-control manager (Mr. Moon) gets home, my dreams of a great harvest of tomatoes will be in ashes. He has his sprayer and his "natural" potions and I don't even want to get involved with that. 
Sigh.
Let us not even discuss how the black aphids are back after their last spraying, gunking up my field peas with their bodies and the sap they drain from the plants. 
Sigh again. 

This is summer in Florida.  

And tomorrow I have to go to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I hope I get the same hygienist I got last time- the sweet little Christian girl who just married her high school sweetheart with whom she loves to hunt. Look- I'm not joking. She was precious. She may, however, have given me over to someone else because although we bonded like crazy I did tell her that I don't believe in god. 
"You don't?" she asked me, aghast. 
"No," I said. "I don't." 
But I really hope she's still going to be my girl because she let me hold the sucking thing to use when I felt the need and I could love her forever, just for that. 

Stay hydrated, my friends and whenever possible, be in control of the fluids in your own mouth. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Tuesday, July 9, 2024

So I Felt A Little Bitchy Today


Another short walk this morning, another dance with heat stroke. I swear.
Do you remember this house? Someone is cleaning it up and as I noted last time I posted a picture of it, it was getting painted. I want so badly to go up on the porch and peek in but I am such a ridiculous rule-follower that the "Posted" sign in the window beside the door is enough to dissuade me. Although the house has been somewhat tended to and the bushes around it have been cut back, it still seems a bit creepy to me but I think that if someone with a good spirit, and a lot of love and porch plants took it over, it could be darling. 

I crossed paths with my across-the-street neighbors when they were coming out of the PO and we stopped to chat for a minute. They couldn't believe I was out walking in this heat. I assured them that it was just a short walk, done simply to "keep things moving." They laughed at that. We're about all the same age. As I told them, the problem is that if I take a walk, I'm done with being outside and can't work in the garden. Today I decided that was NOT going to happen so after I cooled off and had lunch, I took my picking basket out and found a few more green beans, an eggplant that I guess is big enough to pick, another half ton of cherry tomatoes, some field peas and some big tomatoes that were starting to color up. 


Doesn't look like much but that's a deep basket. 
And now the regular sized tomatoes are my new what in hell am I going to do with all these? problem.


I do believe it is time to make a tomato pie. 



Between the cherry tomatoes and the big ones, I have at least six varieties ripe or ripening. I have decided that the tomatoes in the paper bag do not ripen nearly as well as the ones I bring in and just set down in the open air. 

So I did that picking and I knew I should find something to do in the house but I still can't find my pin cushion which is pissing me off. Now, I know I have another pin cushion and I also have more needles (thank you, Linda Sue!) and more pins but I like the other one better. I'm just going to have to suck it up and make use of the less preferred one. 
I've been cranky all day and although it seems like being cranky when you're the only one around isn't really a thing, it is. I can be as cranky to myself as I can be to anyone else. And somehow my crankiness was telling me that I needed to do at least a little more work in the garden and that's all there was to it, just like a shrill housewife telling her husband that there are chores he must attend to so get off your lazy ass!

Not that I would ever, ever say those words to my husband but my inner cranky bitch is not shy to say the words to myself. I really wanted to stake my eggplants because they have fallen over entirely with the fruit laying on the ground. I had a long conversation with Mr. Moon about this yesterday, asking where the loppers were because I wanted to cut some bamboo to use as stakes and he told me where he thought they were and I looked and sure enough, that's where they were. 
Now here's the problem- when I'm working outside in this heat, there is a time limit and after that limit has passed, I am not even functional. I'm not kidding. So I went out and cut a bamboo that had grown up by the back fence and trimmed it and cut it into three pieces. 


Maurice supervising the bamboo cutting.

I'd made some strips to tie the eggplant to the bamboo with and had those in my pocket along with my clippers which I used to trim up the bamboo. 
I got the bamboo cut and the trimmings on the burn pile and by that time I was getting close to the limit I was speaking of. I'm dragging bamboo and carrying those loppers and sweat's pouring off of me and soaking all of my clothes and I realize, even as I'm doing this, that the stakes I'm creating are not tall enough and probably not big enough around. However. This is what I have and this is what I shall use, all the while thinking how Glen would just die if he saw me doing such a pitiful job. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right," is his motto. Let me just add, "Unless you're outside in terrible heat and humidity and you have about a hundredth of a tank of energy left, in which case, if a job's worth doing, just do it and don't let it kill you."

I got my first bamboo stake into the ground and went to tie it with one of the strips of cloth I'd prepared for that purpose and discovered that the fabric of that cloth was hardly better than nothing. It was rotten. I have no idea why. I mean, I made the strips from a napkin that I've probably had for twenty years and bleached two hundred times. 
BUT. I made do because there was no way I was going to walk all the way back to the house, a distance that seemed like five miles despite it only being about a hundred yards or something like that, to make better strips. And I did this three times for three different eggplant plants, only to realize I had FOUR eggplant plants so three are inadequately staked and one is still lying on the ground. 


My goal tomorrow is to remedy this situation. 
I have other goals too but that is the most immediate one. 
I found a nursery label for the eggplants and I think they are called something like, "Little Fingers." 
I know damn well I did not buy four of the same variety of eggplants so I suppose at least one or two were mislabeled.

And at that point, the tank was empty and I was running on reserves. I made my way the five miles back to the house and cooled off again. I wonder how much water I've drunk today? A gallon, probably. 

And I'm still cranky even though it has rained some and is cooler. It's only eighty on the porch instead of ninety which is a huge difference. Of course now it's more humid than ever. I even sat down at the piano and before I knew it, forty-five minutes had passed which was a shock and I enjoyed that and I watched an episode of "Reservation Dogs" while I snapped a few more pole beans which I may or may not can tomorrow. 

So it goes, so it goes. 

I wanted to say that when I write about some of the things that happened to me as a child, I am not necessarily sad. Please don't feel sorry for me. I am not going to say that plenty of other people have had worse, MUCH worse happen to them because my trauma is my trauma. Your trauma is your trauma. There is no contest here about whose was worse. And of course, having said that, I feel that I must rush in and say that compared to others, mine was not so bad. Because that is how we are taught to feel. 
I write about it simply to say that this is what happened to me and this is how it affects me to this day and that I know many of you have been through things that you cope with and deal with in your own way every moment of your life and by god, here we are. 
And isn't that amazing?
I think so. Even when I am cranky, I think so. 

I do believe I will have a lovely bacon and tomato sandwich for supper tonight. I wonder what Mr. Moon will be eating for his dining pleasure. He sent me a picture a little while ago of him and Brenda, the volleyball girl, her parents, and a cousin and his wife and I'd love to post it but...privacy. Take my word that there are some tall people in that picture. 

I've droned on plenty long enough. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Monday, July 8, 2024

Another Spider Warning, Also Trigger Warning For Sexual Abuse So, Yeah, Maybe Don't Bother With This One

I woke up this morning determined to take a walk. If I can weed in the garden for an hour, I can walk for half an hour. I wasn't being ridiculous- it's been so long since I've really taken a walk and it is so hot that I determined to only go a mile.
It was hot but I kept it short and I constantly reminded myself to slow down. The hotter it is, the faster I tend to walk because I want to be done with it. This is not the best strategy. I also tried to do most of it in the shade, which considering all of our trees here, is harder than you'd imagine. 

I ended up doing a little over a mile and I didn't feel stressed nor did I feel like I was going to die which is always good in a walk. Now. Can I do it again tomorrow? 
I'll try. 

I also went to town, but only as far as Publix and the library. I had a book to drop off and at Publix I got my bottled lemon juice and a few other fun things. Nothing crazy. I was happy to realize that I could still participate in casual conversation which was reassuring. 

I has a very vivid dream last night about my abuser that was deeply visceral by which I mean in the dream I could feel the many emotions that the abuse had caused in me all those years ago. One thing that did not happen in real life but which did happen in the dream was that I kept screaming at my stepfather to go away, to leave me alone, that he was not allowed to touch me. I remember the first time I had a dream about him in which I hit him and I truly thought that perhaps, I was on my way to healing, to putting it all behind me. I was proud I had come that far. 
And that was probably almost forty years ago. 
My mother was in the dream too, and I yelled at her as well, telling her that her husband was a pedophile and she needed to leave him for the sake of her children but she ignored me. This, too, is part and parcel of these trauma dreams. I sometimes wonder if her inability to protect me and (I think) my brothers, is as big a part of my trauma as the actual abuse was. Or even more so. 
I'll never know.
And I'll also never entirely "get over this." That is something I do know. I read an article yesterday about how differently people process trauma in their lives and yet, how in the end, it is all so similar. 
And I have come to understand that being alone is so comforting to me because I feel safest alone. Now of course, this is not entirely true. Mr. Moon makes me feel very, very safe but the comfort I feel when he is here is different than the comfort I feel when he is away. I can't really explain it. But I know exactly where this comes from. 

I remember once, when I was probably a junior in high school, and my mother and brothers were going to be out of town and so was my stepfather, although at a different place. I was trusted to stay by myself and this issue was mostly forced by the fact that I was also trusted to take care of my brothers when my mother and stepfather went out of town, even for fairly long stretches of time. So there was no rational way that they could refuse to let me stay by myself although this almost never happened. Ever. And on this night, that I remember so clearly, I had just finished doing a few days' run of a community production of "Our Town" in which I played Emily. I loved doing that play. It was such a joy. And after the play, I went to a friend's house with some other people, some from the play, and that was where I had my first sip of alcohol. Boone's Farm Apple Wine, thank you very much. 
I did not get drunk or even tipsy, really. I was just so...happy. I had done well in the play, I had loved doing it, and I was going to be able to spend the night alone without the lurking, dark presence of my stepfather there. 

And yet, when my boyfriend dropped me off (see what a good girl I was?), I realized that the lights were on, the TV was on, and there he was, sitting in the blue glare of television. Because of the way our house was set up, the Florida room where everyone watched TV and was really the living area of the house, was directly across a small outside area with plants in it from my room. And no matter how tightly I closed my curtains, I could see the light from the TV coming into my room every night. By this time, the actual physical part of the abuse had ceased (had I aged out? was he afraid I was old enough to know that what he was doing was wrong?) but there was always that fear, the threat, of it happening again. And he would sit in front of the TV long into the night, reminding me that he...was...there.
And there was no lock on my door. He wouldn't allow it. 

So. I had looked forward so much to having one night with no light coming into my bedroom window, no threat of him entering my room. And there he was. 
And there was nobody else in the house. 

If this does not explain my ease and comfort in being alone, I do not know what would. For many, many years I could not sleep with any light coming into the bedroom at all. I am more at ease now with some light coming in but it is still a thing I do not like. No nightlights, no lights on electrical devices, no light from a distant room. Moonlight does not disturb me as much and that makes sense too. And it occurs to me that there are probably many people who cannot sleep in total darkness because of their own particular traumatic experiences. 
Different. But the same. 

It also occurs to me that I have told this story before but the dream I had last night and my circumstance of being alone right now has reminded me of it again. It is a true testament of my love and trust in my husband that I am able to sleep well and deeply when he is here. But I will tell you that I have slept more soundly in the last few days than I usually do. 

I think I will sleep well again tonight. I canned my tomato sauce after I got back from town. 

I know- it looks nothing like the tomato sauce we're all used to but it's made with the sweet, sweet Sungold tomatoes that are filling my picking basket. It is, I have to say, delicious. 

Before I leave I will show you my first picture of the year of one of our banana spiders, or, to be more accurate- a golden orb weaver. 

She is nowhere near as big as she's going to get if she is able to keep on living. Her web is right near the mailbox in front of the house by the front gate and her tiny mate, not seen in this photo, was right behind her. 

I have played a little piano which brought me some joy, swept the back porch which sorely needed doing, and tried to do some mending, realizing that my little pincushion with my pins and needles is not where it should be and for the life of me, I cannot find it. 
Sigh. 
And ARGGGH!
I even moved out the couch to look beneath it and dug through my various baskets and bags where somehow it might have gotten stashed and in the process, caught my toe on a table leg but life goes on. It has to be somewhere. 

Meanwhile, let us all try to accept and love ourselves for how we've come to deal with the things that have happened in our lives because all of us, each and every one, has to deal with something that we probably shouldn't have had to. 
Okay? We do the best we can. 

Love...Ms. Moon








Sunday, July 7, 2024

Story Time


That was my granddaddy's scale and I've been using it for at least fifty years to weigh my vegetables for canning purposes. Still works great. I decided this afternoon to go ahead and try to make some sauce out of all those cherry tomatoes. I'd been outside to pick and the heat was just brutal. I mean, it really feels as if it could knock you down like it's trying to kill you. I talked to Glen and he said that although it's 105 degrees in Vegas right now, it just doesn't feel as hot. "Dry heat" as we say. Not here. Going outside is like immediately being wrapped and trapped in blankets that have been sitting in a sauna for a year or two and then thrust into an oven. And that sticky heat feeling is not going to go away entirely until you take a shower and hang out in the AC for awhile, or, go jump in a spring-fed river which I thought about doing today but not on a Sunday when everyone and their great grandmother is going to be there. Hell, they probably haven't cleaned up all the chicken bones from the 4th yet. I need a secret, easy-to-access place to cool off. 
Don't we all? 

So yeah. I started looking at recipes for cherry tomato sauce and I found one that looked pretty okay. I didn't follow all the directions exactly but who cares? This is not rocket science nor is it brain surgery. The recipe called for a pound of carrots so I used a giant carrot that I grew this year and I scrubbed it and chopped it into pretty large chunks and put it in the food processor with some chopped onion and garlic and herbs. I cooked all of that some in olive oil and then I dumped in my tomatoes. I had four and a half pounds of those. I added salt, pepper, a little bit of red wine and a glug of balsamic vinegar. Then I cooked all of that for a couple of hours. You cannot imagine how good my kitchen smelled. When it had cooked down quite a bit, I strained the vegetables and ran them through the food processor, added that all back to the liquid and cooked it some more. 
It tastes so good.


I was going to can it today but the recipe called for either citric acid or bottled lemon juice, not fresh.
I checked a recipe for tomato sauce in the little booklet that came with my pressure canner and it said the same thing. Bottled lemon juice, not fresh. So I did a little googling and found out that because citrus can vary so much in acidity, it's best to use the bottled stuff which is constant in it. You need the acidity to ensure safe canning.
I put the pot in the refrigerator after I let it cool off a little bit and I'll go get some bottled lemon juice tomorrow and finish up the project. I'm not sure how many pints that'll make. I should have measured it before I put it back in the pot but I didn't. 

Can you believe how exciting my life is? I also sat down at the piano and discovered that middle C sharp and the D next to it weren't working. I think I got those back again but there's another note way down the keyboard that's not making a sound. This is what happens when you let an instrument become idle. I fumbled around anyway and made the same exact mistakes I've been making for sixty years but I enjoyed it very much. There are a few notes in the upper register, however, that for some reason have gained an almost shimmering quality, sort of like an old lady's vibrato only better. This surprised me. But hell- I have no musical ear except that I know what I like and I'm pretty good with pitch and being able to tell if a musician is in tune and also, because I've been to so, so many gigs of performers I have loved and do still love, I'm a good second pair of ears for the sound system, knowing when someone needs to turn up and someone needs to turn down. 

Okay. Here's a story. 
Back in the mid-seventies, when I got together with my first husband who was a guitar player, he and a good friend of mine, Bill Wharton, formed a band together. Bill, who was and still is a rather unusual and yet incredibly talented songwriter and musician was having a hard time making any money doing what he did and he had a wife and two kids. Jerry, my ex, had been playing hard-ass rock and roll for years, even at the tender age of twenty-one or so, and they figured that together, they could create something that could possibly be commercially viable. Bill played a lot of his own songs and Jerry played a lot of other people's songs and the plan was to just blow everyone away with what they wanted to hear but in their own fashion. 
They found a bass player (and for awhile, Tom was actually their bass player) and they took him on and also a drummer although for the life of me I can't remember who that was originally. They sometimes had a lady back-up singer or two and I have great and deep feelings of unforgiving resentment for one of them and you can probably figure out why, while the other one turned out to be the midwife who delivered Lily and Jessie. 
Y'all- times were different.
And somewhere in all of this, Bill had an encounter with a Tallahassee musician who was known for his amazing guitar playing abilities. He was young, barely legal to drink which was eighteen at the time, and he was crazy. I mean...bless his heart. 
His mama had died in an accident when he was young and his father was dead too, but he was from an old Tallahassee family and he managed to survive with the help of his siblings and friends and girlfriends. He was gorgeous with a body like a whippet and eyes like the prettiest pup you ever saw and he had...that thing. He was sweet. He was incredibly talented. And he was so fucked up. 
Bill and Jerry had been playing at a local dive when Floyd showed up with a woman and announced that they'd just been married upstairs amongst the pool tables and he was as messed up on drugs and alcohol as you can imagine which at that time was not necessarily a bad thing, just a little piece of data to put into your pocket when considering someone. And in his altered state, he stepped on Bill's guitar. 
You don't do that. And Floyd, knowing you don't do that was incredibly apologetic. The guitar was okay but Floyd kept on apologizing and finally Bill said, "Hey Floyd! Have you gotten your guitar out of hock yet?"
He'd pawned his guitar. That's how low he'd come. 
Floyd told him he hadn't and Bill said, "Well on Monday, let's go down and get your axe out of hock and you can join my band."
That was Bill Wharton. 

Can I tell you that Jerry was not happy about this? HE was the electric guitar player (Bill mostly played amplified acoustic) and so not only did he not want to bring another guitar into the mix, there were already too many people in the band for anyone to make any money, which was usually whatever they collected at the door and on a good night added up to enough to pay for the gas it had taken to get to the gig and if they were really lucky, a two-piece Kentucky Fried chicken dinner. 
But Bill was the one who got to make the final decisions and so Floyd joined the band and thus began one of the strangest and most deeply dark and yet at the same time, most celestial times of my life. There's a whole book in that story. 

Maybe this week I'll write more about that. 

But what I was talking about before which triggered this memory, was how Jerry and Floyd battled it out on stage with their amps. They both wanted to be the one who shone the brightest. They both wanted to be the one to have an amp dial that went to eleven.* 
I pleaded with them to try and use their different techniques and talents to create something unique between them. When I read Keith Richards' memoir and he talked about "the ancient art of guitar weaving" I knew exactly what he meant. That's what I had wanted Floyd and Jerry to do. 
But they were young and like two just-come-of-age bucks, they clashed their antlers together and made a lot of noise and no one benefited from this in the least. 

I wonder what would have happened if they had been able to grow up and older together. Another thing that's triggered this memory is a video I saw on FB of Jerry and his childhood friend David, playing music on the porch of Jerry and his wife's cabin in Vermont. David is a world-class violinist and he and Jerry have been playing together forever. I have never seen an ego-clash between the two of them. They weave notes beautifully. 
David is how I met Bill Wharton. David is actually how I met Jerry. 

Weaving is not done just by textile artists or musicians. It is done by all of us in creating the very cloth of our lives. We look back and we are sometimes amazed at the different ways the different threads have come together in our life-looms. 

That's what I'm thinking about right now. 

Love...Ms. Moon

*

Saturday, July 6, 2024

The Stone Cold Miracle Of Getting What You Need



Now I know you need to know what I ended up making for supper last night and that's a hint. And yes, tofu was involved. I am proud of that pile of vegetables. There are peppers, carrots, a green tomato, green beans, eggplant, and basil in there that we grew. Neither the cauliflower or red onion came from our garden but that's still a lot of homegrown vegetables. And I have to say it was a pretty tasty supper and I ate some more for lunch and I'll probably do the same tomorrow. 

It's been a garden-intensive day for me and I've loved it.


It's hard to tell but there are a lot of different plants in that picture. To your right are the pole bean vines, that big area in the left front is field peas (aka Black Aphid Acres), there are tomatoes and cucumbers and some zinnias in there too. I did some picking this morning and by golly, I think the pole beans might be done but that's good because the field peas are starting to come on, black aphids or not. I picked a handful of those today and soon, hopefully, I'll be sitting on the couch shelling those beauties and watching more of "Reservation Dogs." These beans I freeze as they freeze beautifully. 

After I picked, I did as much weeding as I could stand being outside to do. All in all, there are far fewer weeds than usual at this time of year. I think we've done a pretty good job of keeping on top of them. While I was weeding I pulled up a big chunk of some sort of grass and when these guys came flooding out at the disturbance of their colony, I backed up in a hurry.


Can you see them? Those are carpenter ants or bull ants and they can bite and sting like motherfuckers. You do NOT want to get into a nest of them. By some stroke of luck, I didn't get one bite and I left the rest of the weeds in that corner right where they were. To get an idea of their size, let me offer the fact that the leaves they're on are magnolia leaves, albeit of the little Little Gem variety which means they're only about as big as my hand and part of my wrist. 
I know alla y'll are just dying to move to Florida, aren't you? 

My plan for the rest of the afternoon was to make some dilly beans and so I did. I had a good amount of beans in the refrigerator and I added the few I got today, got out the old water-bath canner, and began to prep the beans. I had forgotten how much work it is to make pickled green beans. Here's what my kitchen looked like when I finally got my jars in the canner.



It's all tidied up now. I cannot abide a messy kitchen. I WILL not abide a messy kitchen. 

And this is what my pints look like. 


I don't even know if they'll be fit to eat but I did it. Seven jars. And every one sealed.

Now. Look at all these cherry tomatoes. 


I'm eating them three times a day and cooking them with everything I can and there is no way I can keep up with them. I have to find some recipes to use them in and then can that, I guess. They are sweet as candy. And the regular tomatoes are ripening nicely in their paper bags. 


These are Cherokee tomatoes and when the bottoms are ripe, they're ready to eat. 
I texted Mr. Moon to tell him that he might have to come home to help me with all these tomatoes. He wrote back, "Sounds like an emergency to me. 
😎"

I am sticky and still sweaty, rather weary from standing on my feet all that time in the kitchen, and completely content. When I was in the garden earlier I looked around me, not just at what was in the area within the fence but the trees too, and I was struck like a true believer when the preacher is so worked-up he's speaking in tongues and lays his hand on the believer's forehead who falls backwards into the waiting arms of the faithful, right there and ready, almost as if they had known this was going to happen. 
Yes, children, as I knelt in the dirt I was struck by the spirit of the True And Living Green and was infused by the light and knowledge that this is what feeds me, metaphorically, spiritually, and literally. 
All this life. 
I am so lucky. 

And the Church of the Batshit Crazy has proven its truth and beauty to me once again.  

And here are our altar flowers. 








And because any church worth its tax exemption needs a good hymn, here's ours for today. This is a long video, yes, but it is beautifully filmed and it comes from the concert that the Rolling Stones did on Good Friday in Havana, Cuba a week after Barack Obama and his family visited the island. 
Remember those days? Not that long ago. 2016. And yet, it feels like it's been eons since we had that much hope and yes, such a sense of possibility. 

Well. Enjoy if you'd like. Keith looks especially happy here. And of course Charlie Watts, dear Charlie, was still with us. I feel a whole lot of love when I watch it. 

 


I know that tomorrow is Sunday but for me, today has been the Sabbath, and I have kept it wholly. 

Love...Ms. Moon.