Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jessie Came Out And Made Cookies

Oh, little pregnant Mama and why do I say "little" when she's six feet tall but yes, she is, she is my little girl and although she is now 24 weeks along, why I am still a bit shocked when I see her with her growing belly? I'll tell you why- because about five minutes ago she weighed 24 pounds and rode around on my hip in a sling everywhere I went and that's why and damn, how can this be?
How can this be and how can any of it be and here I am, my skin turning into a nightmare before my eyes and my face dropping off its framework and my bosoms falling lower and lower and we shall not discuss my neck. 
No. We shall NOT!
Ah, lah, children. Love yourself. Love yourself at the age of twenty and love yourself at the age of thirty and love yourself more when you hit forty- you are still so young and strong and beautiful! Love the way the skin still clings to the muscles, the bones, love the way your face has finally settled into who you are. And when you are fifty, love yourself fully and without restraint because you are truly at your most powerful, enough knowledge and wisdom accrued to let so much shit go that you do not need nor ever did and you are still strong and you are lovely. 
And oh, hell, let us love ourselves when we are sixty too, older and crankier and age-spotted and wrinkling because we are still strong enough to carry a baby on our hips, strong enough to do the work that needs to be done, capable of so much, still, and we can accept the title "crone" and cackle with the best of them and we are soft to touch in our tender parts and we still love being touched and touching. 

Oh gosh. I'm sleepy as an old cat. I yawn again and blink and wonder what I will dream of tonight. 

Being seventy? 

We shall see. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday. Sorrow. Links. Chickens. Rolling Stones. You Know.

Joe Biden's son died. I think of all the losses that Biden has had and I feel humbled. His first wife, his one-year old daughter. Now his son. My heart goes out to him, to the whole family. Biden has always struck me as someone who knows what's important and what is not. I think he learned that the hardest way.

Another famous politician's son, Michael Reagan, has written a piece about the Dugger family situation which I found to be absolutely spot-on, despite the fact that Reagan usually espouses views more conservative than those of his famous fumbling father.
That piece can be found here. 

And really, I don't have much else to say. I have no plans for today and the huge Sunday morning breakfast has been made and eaten and Mr. Moon has washed the dishes. It looks like it might rain and that would be lovely. Lily texted me this morning that she had found an amethyst necklace that I gave her when she was pregnant with Owen which was a bit startling to me in that I had just been dreaming of amethysts. I do honestly believe we have senses we are not aware of and that one day, science will figure those out and they have no more to do with the woo-woo or voodoo than the senses of sight and sound but that they have helped ensure the continuation of the species, not unlike the chicken.
And chickens are so very much not woo-woo or voodoo but plain old fact and feathers and yet, miraculous and wonderful at the same time.

And since it is Sunday, and thus the High Holy Day, we here at the Church of the Batshit Crazy must do our holy duty and report in on the Rolling Stones. They played last night in Columbus, Ohio and so of course I had to go look for reviews and the one I read here, written by Chuck Yarborough, was one of the best concert reviews I've ever read in that it sounds like something I would write.
My favorite line was this one:
"Mick Jagger, who hasn't gained an ounce since the doctor snipped his umbilical cord 71 years ago, remains the consummate showman."
So if you want to go read a review of the Rolling Stones show in Ohio last night, you have the link.

And there's a picture of our Holy Totem Spirit Animal, our Good Saint of the Light and Darkness, Keith Richards, and Darryl Jones, the Rolling Stone's bass player. The review noted that Charlie Watts even smiled last night and so you know it was a good night for our boys. Our lovely old boys.

Be well, y'all. Sundays can be tricky.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Is That A Cucumber In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

This has been one of those days which I hope to remember on my death bed because it will make me smile to remember simply for the pure uneventful miracle of it. It has been one of those days that Emily talked about from her grave in "Our Town." Nothing special happened at all. There was coffee and cantaloupe and a ham sandwich and weeding and the making of bug spray and the spraying of beans with it and the picking of cherry tomatoes and a cucumber and the watering of plants and the gathering of eggs and the sight of chickens scratching and laying in the dirt, their long chicken legs spread out, their wings unfolded to catch the sunlight, unlikely pinup gals, glamourous in their shining feathers.

I just kept moving from one thing to another and I hung the clothes on the line and gathered them in, the towels rough and sweet. I folded them and put them in the basket and brought them in and put them away. I took the trash and the recycle and I went by the post office. I trimmed the sago palms and the Canary Island date palms and I noticed something today that I have never noticed before which is what the sago's new fronds look like as they unfurl.

Those beautiful notes of uncurling softness. They will lose their softness and become the horrible pricking things which attack me as I trim them but in that stage- oh my god. How have I never seen this? How?
I do not know. But now that I have, I hope to remember it every spring, to note it, to admire it, to enjoy it.

I went next door to the abandoned house and dug up a ginger lily and purloined hydrangea blooms.

I came home and planted the ginger lily and put the blooms in water where hopefully, they will root. Such blue and purple!
I didn't get the breakfast dishes washed until just a few minutes ago. So what? So what?
And now my husband is home and he is happy after spending a day with Vergil and Jessie and helping them with their house. And look what he brought me.

"Where did you get them?" I gasped when I saw them. They are perfect in every aspect. They smell like heaven and glory and Buddha baby and lemons and Jessie's birth.
"I stole them," he said and I laughed.
Stolen flowers are making my house beautiful. And no one in this world will suffer for their loss but oh, how I am loving their presence here.

I have enough leftovers from last night to make another shrimp salad for us and there will be sweet yellow cherry tomatoes and the still-warm-from-the-sun cucumber in it. There will be bread.

That's it. That has been my perfect day.
Dirt and light and chickens and cat and plants, and rosemary oil and Dr. Bronner's soap sprayed on bean plants. The coolness of water through a hose, sprayed upon thirsty plants. Laundry hung on a line. A body that did not grow weary or overheated. Not once.
Very few words were involved. Not spoken ones, at least. I have kept constant quiet counsel with myself and this little bit of land I get to tend.

Peace. Contentment. Sweetness.

A day so ordinary that it could easily slip by unnoticed and un-noted. But so representative of the things I love that I can not let it do so.

And there it is- this small story of this small day.

Thank you for sharing it with me.

Love...Ms. Moon

An Entire Universe, Right Here In My Back Yard

To no one's surprise, least of all my own, I slept until almost ten this morning.
By the time I got up, Mr. Moon had already gone to town to help Jessie and Vergil with their kitchen. Mr. Moon called me though and told me that if I went into his garage and looked over by the rakes and stuff, I'd find a surprise.
I knew what it had to be. I've been saying that Camellia is laying in that garage and I'd looked but I couldn't find her cache.

Well. There is is.

I picked up two dozen eggs. 

I don't even think I'm going to wash and do the float test on them. I believe I'm just going to heave them into the woods. 
Jesus, Camellia! Reminds me of the cat I had once who gave birth IN A BUCKET OF NAILS! Animals are not always as full of wisdom as we'd like to think. 

Last night Jessie and Vergil took a little walk out to the giant oak where Vergil had asked Jessie to marry him. It's the same oak that let go part of itself a few years ago. I was sitting right here on the back porch when it happened and I heard a ripping as if part of the universe was coming unglued and then an endless pause and then a tearing, a sheering, and the ground shook when the huge part of the tree hit the earth and it reached all the way across the back yard. Anyway, the tree has lived on, still magnificent, and as Jessie and Vergil discovered last night, is now the home to a very busy hive of bees. 

You can't see the bees in the picture but they are darting and in out of that slit in the middle. Is that tree now filled with honey? With an entire universe of working bees? I hope so. 

More mystery-of-life here in Lloyd this morning:

I heard the baby chicks making their call just now and went out to check. Mama Hen was pecking and scratching a few feet from the hen house, no babies around her. The sound was coming from inside the hen house and I found this.

I believe that she's trying to teach them to stay in one place without her for a few moments. Now I can see her leading them back over to the ivy. She is a good mother. She is teaching them what they need to know to take care of themselves. Sometimes animals ARE full of wisdom. And could there be a sweeter picture of the two chicks? I swear, they finally posed.

So hello and good morning and I believe I am going to go put on my overalls and get dirty. I feel good in spirits and in body and although my dreams were strange as ever, they were a bit spicy (in a good way) as well. One of the chickens has now laid an egg and she and another hen are cackling and cackling about it, the air is humming with crickets, the light is dancing across the yard and it is a most beautiful day and I am most grateful to be alive in it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

One More Birthday Party

First things first- Mama hen and the babies made it safely all day out in the world and she took them back to bed in the little roost box.


And we had the party. Everyone but May and Jason made it. They were working. Of course. And we missed them sorely.

So it was Lily and the boys and Vergil and Jessie and Hank and Taylor and Anna and Jerry and Lucia (Hank's otro parents, as Lynn used to say) and me and Mr. Moon.

The menu was simple.

Chips and salsa.

Shrimp salad.


Key Lime pie with whipped cream.

The shrimp I got were so beautiful. Here's what they looked like before I peeled and cut them into pieces-

Large, pink and firm.
(Oh my.)

Here's what Vergil's salad looked like after he built it.

Hank wanted it salad bar style and so that's how we did it. There were bowls of lettuce, chopped red peppers, quartered boiled eggs, cut-up Havarti cheese, tiny seashell pasta, beautiful mixed cut-up tomatoes, black olives, and goop. And avocados. And shrimp. 

The boys got a frozen cheese pizza. Don't worry. We baked it. Then Gibson got on my lap and ate shrimps and cheese and seashell pasta. Then he asked for a bowl of noodles. He got them. 

Owen decorated the pie with candles. I did not take a picture but here's what it looked like when Hank and Gibson blew out the candles. 

"Make a wish!" I said. You damn well can't waste a wish so I always remind the birthday person. 

Owen did not want pie. He wanted a purple cow but I had no sherbet. "Would you like a root-beer float?" I asked him. 
He did. 
I made it. 
He told everyone who was interested, "Mer spoils me."
"Speak the truth and shame the devil," I told him. 

You know that you're living a life of meaningfulness when you can lock eyes with anyone in the room and trade an unspoken message. From every one of my kids to my grandkids to my husband, to Anna, to Taylor, to my ex, to his wife, to my son-in-law. 

Lock eyes and know that they know what you're thinking and that they're thinking it back. 

And that at any time you can hug and kiss any one of those people and be hugged and kissed back. 

I do not want a lot of friends. I do not care for casual social intercourse. 
I want real. I want, I-know-you-and-you-know-me-and-we-love-each-other. 

Mr. Moon and I had a moment on the porch and we kissed and I bit his lip and Owen was hiding behind the door and he saw us. 
"I saw you!" he said. 
"Yes," I told him. "Boppy and I were making out."
"I know!" he crowed. 
And he laughed. 

Love is good. That's all I have to say about that. Love is good and it changes as we grow older and our babies become our friends and Jessie laid down on the bed and I palpated her uterus and we tried to get that little bean to move so that I could feel him but he was lazy. 
That's okay. I know he's there. 
And soon enough, he will know I am here too.
And he will be part of all of this love. As will Lily's baby. Someone asked Owen tonight if he will be in charge of all the children at our parties when the new babies are born and get bigger. 
"I guess so," he said. And he will. 

I'm tired. But I will sleep well tonight, knowing that Mama Hen has her babies safely tucked away, that my grandchildren, both born and un- are also safely tucked away and that all of us are fine. 
And that Boppy and I will be sleeping soundly together, and we will know that no matter what, we have done our job and that more love leads to more love and has led to more love. 

Happy birthday, Hank. Thanks for being the first one to show me what love really is and to continue to show me what love really is and to bring us all together on this night. 

Love...Ms. Mama Moon

I HOPE It's The Little Things That Matter

I know it's hard to see them but if you look carefully, you might see Mama and her babies there, pecking and scratching in the ivy. This is the big deal of the day and I sure do hope those chicks make it in the big wide world. I also hope that Mama takes them back into roost tonight.
Aw. Chickens.
It's crazy how much of my heart my chickens have managed to occupy. And the duck of course. And Maurice who held my hand in her paws for a long time last night while we slept. Usually, she holds my hand so she can bite it off and she was probably just too sleepy to bare her teeth and claws but still, it was sweetness.

It's a beautiful coolish day in Lloyd and I'm about to go make key lime pies.

I'm so boring I'm putting myself to sleep.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 28, 2015

From This To That And Back Home Again

Owen graduated, yes he did! And he did fabulously well! He had to announce a song and he did and he did it perfectly. The children sang songs and they were all so precious and so perfect. While they filed offstage to get lined up to get their diplomas, they showed a video with a picture of each child as a baby and what they look like now and they played music behind it. Just as Owen's picture came up, this song came on.

And if there is a recording in this world which is so immediately attached to my heart and tears, I have yet to encounter it. I sat there and cried and cried and cried and just finding the video and listening to a few seconds of it has made me cry again.
I remember when Lynn died and we had her after-party here and Shayla and I danced in the hallway together to this song and I will never forget it and fuck if I'm not just weeping now.

Hold on.

Oh, Iz. You were an angel. I wish I had known you...

Okay, okay.

Here's how happy Owen was after it was all over. Gibson was not having it though. He was DONE. It'll be him graduating from pre-K before you know it. Sheesh.

They decided not to go to Chuck E Cheese right after the ceremony and so I got out of that one. Thank you, sweet baby Jebus. Instead I went to the New Leaf and bought rosemary oil so that I can try to figure out how to make bug-spray for the garden with it. Hell, if it works on ants...
I figure I'll blend up some hot peppers, put those and a little of the rosemary oil and some soap, maybe a little oil, in water and see if that'll blast the aphids. Or whatever. It can't hurt, right? The yard-long beans are covered in them and although I've seen a few lady bugs hard at work  I'm not sure they're up to the task. Here's what the bloom of that particular vegetable looks like.

Tiny orchid-looking beauty.

Anyway, I went to the seafood market after the New Leaf. I love that place. I feel so right-at-home there. I bought shrimp for Hank's party tomorrow night (he wants shrimp salad and key lime pie) and then to the Publix where I bought the rest of the stuff I'll need.

Lily's best friend from forever ago had her baby boy today. Lily sent me this picture when she went up to the hospital to see her.

Jessie is her nurse!
The mama had a right smart labor, pretty short and all is well.
Life just keeps going on, doesn't it?
And tomorrow night we will celebrate Hank. His birthday isn't until June 10 but he's going to be in Pennsylvania when the actual day arrives so we're going to have his family party tomorrow. I'm going to go boil eggs for the salad. The shrimp salad I make is one that our Norwegian friend, Anne-Helena used to make and it is a cherished favorite. Lettuces, shrimps, Havarti cheese, red peppers, avocados, tomatoes, corn, tiny seashell pasta, hard-boiled eggs. And the dressing (goop) I make from (I swear to god) Heinz chili sauce and mayonnaise. Just like what my grandmother used to make to serve with crab legs.

There will be bread, as well.

What a day. And tomorrow will be a joy with the cooking and baking and making of bug spray, the cleaning out of the hen house, the celebrating of my boy Hank, the gathering again of this family.

Love...Ms. Moon

Have We Seen This?

And now we know.

Arghh, arghh, arghh.
I have so much to do today and it's almost noon and all I've done is take my walk and soon I'll be going to town to attend the preschool graduation and it's a beautiful day and I'm sweating and definitely need a shower and why do I always feel as if I have to rush?
No idea.
I feel like the balance in my life is sort of out of whack and who doesn't?

Well. Let's all strive for that. Balance.

Let me know how it's working for you.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Granny Goodwitch

Maurice the gardening cat poses beside a small rosemary I just planted today. I've lost my mind this year with gardening and I know it's because for once, I've stayed on top of the weeds and I keep mulching, mulching, mulching which means raking up leaves and hauling them to the garden and I can pluck this blade of nutgrass and that blade of nutgrass and it's nothing like facing an entire garden-full of nutgrass.

After I took care of the boys for a little while today, I went to the nursery and bought a new packet of purple hull peas to replace the one I accidentally washed last night. I can't stay out of the damn nursery!

But why should I? It's beautiful!
I bought my pack of peas and the rosemary was buy one, get one and so I did. 

I came home and weeded and mulched and raked and mulched and planted the two little rosemary's, a good row of purple hull peas. What am I going to do if all of this food comes in? Have you ever sat down to shell a basket of peas? Field peas or black-eyed peas or crowder peas? 
I have. 
Oh my. Perhaps my children will come out for pea-shelling parties. It could happen, I suppose. 

And actually, I am not going to count either my chickens or my peas until they are hatched and for now, at this time of this life, for whatever reason, I am loving the planting and the tending like I never have before. Perhaps it is my own response to pregnant daughters. Whatever it is, it's keeping me out of the pool halls. 


And Maurice is there to help. She neither offers advice nor actually does a damn thing but watch. Still, she encourages me. She keeps me company. She makes me smile. I sure am glad she picked my porch to meow upon a little over a year ago. 
I sure am glad she's here. I just love that cat. 
And she, being a cat, would die before she'd let me know that she gives one good damn about any of that and she continues to pretend that she is never following me but merely somehow, some way, just shows up wherever I am. 
Unless she has something better to do.

I couldn't ask for more in a companion. 
Lord. I have become an old lady and that reminds me- when I was leaving the nursery today to get into my car, a little child in a car next to mine called out, "Hey Granny!" when I walked by. The woman in the car was so embarrassed and apologized but I thought it was lovely.
"Do I look like a granny?" I asked the child.
"Yes!" he said. 
"Well, I am," I told him. And then I got in my car and drove away to come home and do my granny things which are making me ever-so happy. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Season Of Growth

Remember when I said that Mother's Day this year was the BEST Mother's Day ever? That's because that was the day that Lily told us she was having another baby.
I had suspected it but had not yet brought up and then, she got me alone and said, "I have something to tell you," but before she could get all the words out of her mouth, I said, "You're pregnant!" and yes, that was the news and I was so thrilled for her and when I think of her baby and Jessie's baby being just a few months apart and being raised together...well. I couldn't be much happier.
She told me that she was a little afraid to tell her daddy. "He's so practical," she said.
"Oh, just go tell him," I told her and she did and he was thrilled too.
And then she told Hank and May, and Jessie already knew and it was such a fine thing, all of us hugging and smiling and getting a little weepy. Lily and Jason are so happy.
She and Jason waited to tell the boys until just a few days ago because she knew that Owen would tell everyone and so he has. He can't imagine anything better than a new baby brother or sister. He says that if it is a girl, her name shall be "Magnolia" and if it is a boy, his name shall be "Oliver."
All will be revealed eventually.

And so it goes, the number of grandchildren I have will be doubled by the beginning of next year.
I can hardly believe it.

And in the meantime, we go on about our business, don't we?

The baby chicks are getting bigger every day and perhaps on Friday I shall let them out of the coop. I have to go to town both today and tomorrow and I want to be here when they are out, to keep an eye and an ear on them. Today I am going to town to stay with the boys for a little while and tomorrow is Owen's preschool graduation, after which we are invited to go to Chuck E Cheese. I have staunchly refused to go to that evil place for decades and have told Owen that I will not ever be going there with him.
"Yes," he says calmly, "you will."
We shall see about that, too.

Pictures from the yard and my walk.

Can you peek into the darkness there and see all of those baby cherry tomatoes?

The first zinnia bloom. I have actually planted an entire row of zinnias this year but that one is a volunteer, seeded from last year's crop. Which were all volunteers.

The growing English cucumber.

A blooming mimosa tree along my walk route. It is alive with bees and fragrance. 

It is truly growing hot now. The beauty berries are starting to form, the blackberries are ripening. The magnolias continue to bloom and perfume the air. Summer is here in all but name. And soon...babies will be coming. 

There is so much to wonder at, so much to be grateful for. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Your device won't open the video, it's a little bit of sweetness wherein Lily and Jason tell Owen and Gibson that Mommy is going to give them a new baby brother or sister. 

Uh-huh. That's right. 

I Lied

I do have something to talk about but I wasn't given permission until tonight.
But hey- let me just give you this.

We are all as thrilled as Owen.

Can you believe it?! More love, more love, more love.

Much love...Ms. Moon

Layin' Low, Movin' Slow

Lily texted me early this afternoon to ask if I was okay because I hadn't posted anything.
I told her that I was and that I just hadn't felt like I had anything to say.
"Not that that's ever stopped me," I said.

I still don't really have anything to say. I went to the store. I worked in the garden. I got some more cucumber seeds planted as well as three watermelon plants and six cantaloupe plants. I figured I might as well go for the plants rather than the seeds because I'm already so late.

Okay. So I just looked, really, at this spray I use on the ants. It's cool.
It's 5% rosemary oil and the rest of it is water, wintergreen oil, mineral oil, carbon dioxide and lecithin.
You could practically use it in salad dressing.

So there is that. It looks like this:

It is more practical for me to use than borax because borax can only be sprinkled on flat surfaces and this stuff can be sprayed on the wall where the ants are marching in columns of thousands. And on the baseboards. And yeah, it smells really strong but it does dissipate.

So gosh. I think that's about all I have to say. I don't feel philosophic or funny or even pissed off. I'm Digging in the dirt and spraying ants with rosemary oil. It's not much of a life, but it's mine.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Potato Harvest Is In! We Shall Not Starve!

Mr. Moon dug the potatoes this morning and then washed them and we've set them in the mud room to dry before we store them for use. That's a lot of potatoes! He was soaked through with sweat and filthy by the time that job was finished. He is my hero!
Think of all the lovely green beans and potatoes we shall be eating! Oh my goodness. This seems to be one of those rare years when the temperatures and rainfall have conspired so that things actually grow in the garden. I know. I speak too soon. We're not even into summer yet, but so far, it's been just beautiful.
I pulled the rest of the kale and gave it to the goats next door along with the pea vines. I am sad to see both of those go but there will be more next winter and spring. If I were worth my salt, I would be out there right now, doing some more weeding and then raking up leaves to mulch where things have been pulled. I will do that. Just not today. I am tired. I want to plant another row of purple hull peas and I also want to plant a few watermelons and cantaloupe. It may already be too late but so what? We're out three bucks for the seeds if it is and if it's not- glory!

Here's something that's not a glory. We have tiny little black sugar ants everywhere. EVERYWHERE! They are on this table as I write and for all I know, my computer is filled with them. They get on us and sting. They climb the walls in columns, come out of drains, get into every sort of food item they can. Sometimes they swarm the cat's bowl. They are a painful nuisance. I have a spray which works quite well and it claims to be "safe to use around pets and children," which always makes me wonder if there's not a tiny disclaimer somewhere which says, "unless you don't want them poisoned." The smell of it is strong as hell and is exactly like lineament. I do not love having a home which reeks of Ben Gay. But it beats having the damn little ants everywhere. Mr. Moon feels as if he is back in the gymnasium and locker room when I use the spray. So he's cool with it. I am fairly insect tolerant but ants and roaches can truly get out of control. I saw a roach in the kitchen a few weeks ago that was so fucking big I doubt he could have fit into the door of the Roach Motel. Did I already tell you this?
Anyway. True story.
The yellow flies are biting now too. They look like this:

They are fierce biters and you don't know one's on you until you feel the excruciating pain. Those motherfuckers draw blood when they bite and the bite location itches for at least hours. And I don't mean itch like a mosquito bite. I mean itch like HELL and the site puffs up and gets red and they're just evil. Although, as I just discovered through vast research on the internet, it is only the females who bite (not unlike mosquitoes) and the males just go about their business which is pollination. And they are hard to kill. Kathleen, who was an entomologist, told me that when they take off from your arm or leg, they fly forward, and not straight up. Since I learned this, I have been better at slapping the shit out of them but it's still not easy. However, when I do manage to score a good kill, I am thrilled.
No Buddhist am I.

Well, that's enough of that although I haven't even touched upon horseflies and ground wasps and regular wasps and mosquitoes and no-see-ums yet. The no-see-ums may be the worst of them all because they are so tiny (hence, their name) and can attack with such ferocity and in such numbers that you will be driven insane within seconds. They especially love to feed on us at sunset near the water. Screens cannot deter them.
Look- I've said it before and I will say it again- the people who settled Florida, whether Native, white, African or whatever, were the bravest, most rugged and tough people who have ever lived.
You see these women?

They did everything I do and their potato harvest wasn't a fucking joke. Making a crop was life or death. They slopped hogs, ground corn which they grew themselves, hauled water, cooked on wood, had no refrigeration or ice, made their own soap and everything else they used, sewed their own clothes, birthed their own babies, educated their own children, peed and pooped in an outhouse (if they were lucky), made quilts in their spare (!) time, and canned and pickled everything they could grow. They battled panthers and snakes and bears, had to tolerate all the insects I mentioned plus just plain old flies, went through menopause without hormones or fans or air-conditioning, and doctored their families through every horrible malady known to mankind with no antibiotics or pain relievers. Their chicken flocks weren't a hobby. If something got into their coop and killed their hens, it was a tragedy, not a mere sadness. Oh- and what about hurricanes?

How about this woman?

You think maybe her life was difficult?

I'm sure the men suffered too but I can't help but think that the women took on more than their share of the burden.

Compared to these women, I am naught but a pretender. I couldn't have made it a month in the conditions the women who lived in this house back in the 1800's suffered. Not in summer, not in winter. Not even in spring or summer. And especially not wearing those clothes. Jesus Christ.

I can't even begin to imagine the lives of Black women or Seminole women in this state.

So yeah. I have itchy legs from ant and yellow fly bites. But I can go into the kitchen and get a nice cool glass of ice water and cook my supper on a sweet little gas stove and oh, sure, I am going to sleep tonight in my line-dried sheets but I washed them in a machine with store-bought detergent and they are tucked onto and into my Therapedic™mattress, not one I made myself out of either corn shucks or spanish moss. And the air conditioning will be set at whatever I desire. And if my bites are still itching, I can take a Benadryl which I buy generically for a song.

Here's something those Florida women of old and I share.

A magnolia blossom, still in the cup stage. It's on the tree right behind my porch and one of those Florida women of long ago probably planted that tree.

If any of this is interesting to you, I would advise you to go to your library and check out some books by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The rivers and woods and prairies and people of Florida were her blood and she was an amazing writer. Also,  "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Nora Zeale Hurston.

And to sum it all up, my darling Lis's song about Florida. I've posted this before but I'm posting it again.

I'm not talking about Disney. 

Time to go herd the chickens.

Love...Ms. Moon

Last Night, San Diego

So. When those ladies, young enough to be those gentlemen's granddaughters, look at these guys with their big-eyes and find themselves oddly excited, do they feel weird about being so moved by such elderly men?

Maybe. For about a second. And then rock and roll overcomes them and the messengers become the message and it's... all... right... now.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Age Of Miracles

I met May and Michael in Railroad Square which is a trendy area in Tallahassee which I never go to being beyond trendy myself, of course and so trendy in fact that no other trendiness can compare.
We went to a wonderful vintage place but the wonder was somewhat diminished by the lack of AC. There were fans everywhere but it is hot. And for some reason, I just am not dealing well with heat right now. But we had a good time and I bought a beautiful old mixing bowl and an ancient Fanny Farmer cookbook, circa 1936, and May got me a Catholic children's booklet entitled, "Mary My Mother," which cracks me up.

And in reading a bit of it, I am extremely grateful that I was not raised Catholic. I was born with enough guilt. Add in the amount the Church tries to shovel in on children and I would have become a nun who spent her life displaying stigmata, weeping tears of blood and whipping herself with a cat-o-nine-tails.

Well, if that isn't the essence of the joyful word of God, I don't even know what is.
Are they still trying to make little children believe this horseshit?

But it is true- Mary is May's mother and that's a fact, Jack. May gave me a card and in it she wrote such beautiful things that I can't even begin to process them. For her birthday. Her's.

I am so lucky in all ways but in the ways of family and love, I, like that other Mary, am Queen.

And so it's been a very nice day and an especially interesting one in the poultry department. I saw something this morning that I have never seen before in my life.
Mick tried to fuck the duck.
He did his little dance around her and got all fluffed up and tried to make a move on her and she looked at him like, "Who do you think you are?!" and he stopped in his tracks, his eyes still glazed over, but he backed off.
I swear to you, this happened.
Also, I believe that every hen AND the duck gave me an egg today. Eleven possible laying birds and eleven eggs. Even old Trixie and Mabel! Full-sized, even if a bit misshapen.

The two in the center, there. Bless their old hearts. 

And so this day has gone. The celebration of miracles, large and small. Mr. Moon has changed out the leaky faucet in the kitchen. We ate pancakes. We will eat some more of that delicious soup I made on Friday for our supper tonight. We split the first cherry tomato from the garden this morning- more flavor in that one little golden orb bite than in an entire store-bought tomato. My dreams have started trying to resolve themselves in small ways. I still dream of the houses and chaos but I am beginning to make progress in sorting, in tidying, in making things work, in finding beautiful things among the dross, rather than just complete trash. I find this interesting. And who knows what tonight will bring? 

Okay. Best picture from the vintage/thrift shop.

Although I am sure that Mr. Moon would love me in that, I did not buy it. I can't imagine why.
What gal wouldn't look fab in a nylon tank top imprinted with a buck posed before a full moon on it, sewed to a black net tutu bottom?

The world is a wild and wondrous place my friends.
Mr. Moon just informed me that FSU's baseball team won the ACLU or something. No, that's not correct. Well, it was important. I gave him a high five. That's the appropriate thing to do in that situation, right?

And now I'm going to go make him a peach cobbler.

I have a recipe.

Looks like someone tried it!

Love...Ms. Moon

A Birthday Post, This Time My May's

Thirty-seven years ago today that girl was born to me. I have told the story so many times. The first time I mentioned it was on my second post written eight years ago and if you care to, you can go HERE and read it.

May was born at home which was a ten-by-fifty foot trailer with red wall-to-wall carpet, deep in the woods just about seven miles down the road from here and she was delivered by my midwife friend, Ellen, who had had to go back to town before I delivered to catch another baby who decided to beat May in the baby race and got to my place, just as the sun was coming up and May was coming out.
Born at dawn.
She still likes to get up early, that one.

How can that day have been thirty-seven years ago? I just don't understand it. I remember the midwives and my friends tidying everything up and leaving in time to go home and deal with their families for the day. I will never be able to thank them enough for the grace they showed me. I remember getting dressed a few hours later so that we could take perfect May into town for her first doctor exam. I remember the doctor looking at her little navel cord, tied with a shoe string (we had sterilized it!) and cooing in delight. Thank god we got him and not the one who had tried to convince me not to have a home birth by bringing in Sainted Doctor Brickler to warn me of the dangers of home birth and who had looked at me kindly and said, "Well, if you have any problems, come on in and we'll help you," leaving the physician speechless in complete and utter bafflement.
I remember coming back home and being so glad to be in my tiny trailer with my Hank and my husband and my beautiful, precious new baby, her hair and eyes so dark. She was a wise thing. I could tell. She nursed and we slept and I got up and made a supper of chicken and peas and potatoes from the garden and it was one of the best days of my entire, whole life. I was twenty-three years old, the mother of an almost-two year old, strong and so high on the birth of my baby that I probably could have run a marathon with her in my arms.

And then we went to bed and we woke up and it's thirty-seven years later and she is my twin, my heart, my soul. As I always say- between the two of us- one is redundant. We not only look alike, we sound alike, we think alike, we laugh at the same evil things.
She is not me, however. She is May. May Ellen Thigpen. She is brilliant and art-talented like you cannot believe. She has the voice of the family. She can write like nobody's business and has kept a journal since she learned how to hold a pen and make words. She works harder than anyone I know. She is an amazing cook. She loves to read.
And she has a heart as big as the universe.
And of course, she's beautiful, although I feel weird saying that because she looks so much like me, or at least, like I used to look. But she is. Beautiful. Heart, soul, face, blood, bone. Strong and kind and funny and loving and giving.

Here's a funny thing- two older ladies come into the cafe where May is manager and server and they adore May. They literally adore her. I have met them and they spent at least five minutes telling me just how precious and wonderful my daughter is, how lucky I am to be her mother.
Turns out that one of those ladies is the wife of Sainted Doctor Brickler.
Odd how these things happen, isn't it?

She's having brunch today with her fellow and her father and other-mother and in a few hours I'm going to go to town to spend a few hours with her. She doesn't want the big party this year. And Jessie's out of town and Lily is working and so it goes. We'll all get together for Hank's birthday.

I just got an e-mail from one of my brothers. In it, he said, "I've always been in love with May's spirit so much."

He's not the only one.

Happy birthday, my darling May! I did good work the day I had you. Thank you for coming to me.
Your mama.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Home And Safe. A Trip Report

Well, we are home and I am glad we went and I'm glad we are home. All chickens put away and safe and Maurice brought us a lizard which she had killed and left it in the dining room. Such a smart cat.

It was fun. I got to see Lis and Lon and they played an amazing set with their band, The Driftwoods and of course we got to see Jessie and Vergil. And Jessie's set which was wonderful. The girls sounded fantastic. And I know I'm her mother but dang- she is absolutely beautiful. And it's so bizarre for me to watch her do this thing she does which I have no idea how to do. To play music. I'm not sure anything thrills me in quite that way. Just watching her adjust the mic is enough to slay me so you can imagine how I feel when she plays a beautiful mandolin break not to mention the fact that every time she straps on her guitar I'm like, Holy Shit! She plays guitar, too! And it's all due to Lon and Lis, her fairy godparents, as well as her high school music teacher, Thom Henderson. 
And of course her very own talent and efforts.

So. Festivals. Why? Some people just LOVE them. They go to all the festivals. And it's hot and there are porta-potties and all the food sort of sucks and I'm sure it's the same food at every festival and the venders- well, I mean- okay but really? Can you make a living selling pottery at festivals? Or bamboo flutes? And I have to say that when all of us old hippies die, a lot of these festivals are going to die too. I haven't seen that much gray hair in one place since the last time I visited the assisted living where my mother lived. Good GOD, the tie dye. Also? A man dressed in golden robes with a red turban told me that my tan was uneven.

But hey- it was good to get out, it was precious to get to see The Cicada Ladies and the Driftwoods. And on the way back, for a treat, we stopped at the place I call "The Las Vegas Bathrooms."
It's a huge place off the interstate that sells everything from regular convenience store food to, well- check this out:

(Betsy- this is for you.)

Not to mention alligator paw backscratchers.

I sort of really wanted one. 
And they sold the alligator heads to match. As well as jewelry and gourmet jerky and there's a wine aisle and handmade fudge in every flavor known to mankind and...oh hell. I don't even know. We didn't buy any of it. But we did use the Las Vegas bathrooms.

That doesn't begin to do the place justice. There are living plants outside each individual bathroom AND they're not just stalls, y'all. They are actual rooms, each one with it's own real door and real walls and oh, it's just glamorous as all get-out. Uh-huh. 

It's a trippy place, to say the least. 

And we survived it all. 

Banjo was involved. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Another beautiful day here in Lloyd. Mr. Moon and I just had our breakfast, late enough to be brunch but it wasn't brunch because there was no cantaloupe.

I am feeling very, very fragile.

Meanwhile, the world goes on. Miss Lilly is having a very active dip in the pond, diving down and shaking her feathers. Now she's out and grooming herself. Nope. Back in. The water must feel really good today. She hangs out with the chickens all the time now, greedily shoveling into her mouth whatever comes to her. She lays me an egg every day. She is a lovely duck and I am glad that she is not grieving herself to death.

Mr. Moon and I are starting to talk about letting the baby chicks out into the world with their mother. They are still small enough to be very tempting to a predator bird or cat but big enough and with enough flight capability to probably avoid being taken by a snake in the daytime. I know they want out but I'd rather err on the side of caution, even with such a fierce mother as they have. I bring them the weeds I've pulled so that they can peck through the dirt on the roots for bugs. Same with the now-lacey collards and kale I'm pulling which have tiny worms on the undersides of the leaves.
Eat and be eaten.
Nature goes back and forth on that equation.
I tell you something that occurred to me today though and it was not the first time I've had this thought- hens are frequently better mothers than humans. So are pigs and dogs and cats from what I've seen.
I'll leave that one there.

We're going to leave here in a little while to go see these girls play a set at the Florida Folk Festival which is a big, big deal.

(Thanks Melissa- I stole your Facebook photo!)

The world-famous, beautiful Cicada Ladies! For those of you who may be newish here, this is a group that Jessie started playing with in high school. And although going to a festival is probably the last thing on earth I'd choose to do today, seeing my daughter and those girls whom I have known and adored for so long is not to be missed. Jessie and Melissa, the girl next to her, have been friends since middle school. And these performances this weekend are Jessie's baby boy's first gigs! So I can't/won't miss that. And Lon and Lis will be playing too. It'll be good for me. I've asked my husband to just hold hands with me a lot. He promises he will. 

And. Thirty-seven years ago today, I was in labor with my May just about seven miles down the road and it was a day as beautiful as this one. Her birthday is tomorrow. I am the queen of long labors but every one of them was the most worthwhile thing I have ever experienced. I talked to that sweet woman this morning. It is so hard for me to comprehend how these babies of mine have grown up to be my very best friends, but it is true. In a few weeks it'll be Hank's birthday and he is going to be in Pennsylvania but we shall have a family party next weekend, I believe, before he leaves. May wants to hang out tomorrow afternoon, shopping in a funky part of Tallahassee and that will be fun. 

Lily just sent me this picture with the text, "When he puts his underwear on himself."

Oh, Gibson! How you do make me laugh!

Can I say that I find Ireland's vote to legalize gay marriage to be one of the most beautiful and heart-touching things I've heard about in years? People flew home from all over the world to cast their votes for equality and love. 
Yeah, the world is full of a great deal of horror and shit but sometimes...sometimes...we get it right. 

Maybe not the first time (see picture of Gibson above) and maybe not the ten millionth time. But eventually, sometimes we do.

All right. Here we are. Let's do our best to concentrate on that which is beautiful and true and real and good. Banjos may be involved. 

Much Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 22, 2015

Religion. What On Earth Is It Good For?

I have moved slowly but constantly all day long. One step, one step, one step. Weed this, water this, sweep this, hang this on the line, chop this, saute that, mix this, knead that, stir, taste, season, take things off the line, fold, put away. In short, I've done all the things I needed to do to just not drown.
And I got a lot done, truthfully. My favorite part was weeding the beans with Maurice's help. She reached under the fence and tried to kill my hand as I worked but because I was wearing gloves, she soon tired of the attempt and stalked off. I pitchforked composted hen house hay and used that to mulch and fertilize my beans and when I got down below the surface of the hay, there was delicious, crumbly stuff with worms wiggling all in it.
I am obsessed with my garden this year. I admit it.

My beans with the hay mulch. 

Tiny English cucumbers. 

So many blooms on the cucumbers. I hope to make a vat of Glen's mama's sweet pickles this summer. The ones that take fourteen days of labor and THEN canning because every cucumber molecule is replaced by sugar. It is work and it is worth it. They are so bad for you. They are so delicious. Hopefully I'll make dill pickles too, and maybe pickled beans and the okra, too, if that happens. 
We shall see, we shall see. 

I've made red bean and venison and vegetable soup.

Bread. Ready to go into the oven.

We just had our Friday evening martini walk-about. My herd of chickens

and the loudly quacking duck followed me to the coop where I let them in. 

Mama hen ate from my hand today but she didn't really want to. I took a piece of bread out for her and held a bit out and she did snatch it and call her babies to come eat. I felt honored. 

And when we went into the hen house, Mr. Moon said, "Look at this!" and he pulled out the tiniest egg ever. 

Green and small as an olive. I saw Mabel sitting on the nest yesterday and I asked her, "What are you doing there, you sweet old thing?"
Laying that miniature egg. 

So. Peace here in Lloyd and I feel better. But I tell you something that I keep thinking about which is making me sick. 
Those fucking Duggers and their quiver-full of children, their freakishly large family, their goddamn Christian fucking family, whose eldest son molested his sisters and other girls when he was a teenager. 

The thing that's really making me ache is that his parents found out about it years ago and did nothing but discipline him, pray about it, and take him to talk to a friend of theirs who was a highway patrolman. Who himself is now serving 56 years in prison for possession of child pornography. 
The father stated that the whole thing helped his family to "get closer to God."
And my comment was as follows:

As a woman who was sexually abused as a child in my home (usually on Sunday mornings before church) I know that those girls who were his victims are going to need years of therapy and that prayer is not the answer. But beyond that- the fact that their parents did not protect them and indeed, hid it all under the rug- is probably going to be the hardest part to ever heal from. If anyone has prayers, pray that these girls get the help they need. And that their parents apologize to them for the incredible damage they allowed to happen.

I am so angry that I could spit fire. TLC has canceled their show but I think that they probably knew about this long ago and so they, too, are guilty of a cover-up in my book. 

There is NO excuse for parents to ever protect anyone who is molesting any of their children. Even if the molester is also one of theirs. Their protection belongs to the victims. This son is guilty of what he did and he should atone for that in some way (and just asking forgiveness is not enough) but his parents were adults and as such, were charged with the protection of their other children. 

Sick, sick, sickness. 

And that boy has grown up to get married and have children of his own. And his parents have gone on to have baby after baby after baby and make tons of money on their Christian, god-loving schtick and those girls will suffer a lifetime of pain and problems. And if they don't lose their faith in their religion I will be vastly surprised. 

All right. That's enough of that. But dammit, I take this shit personally. I can't help it. 

The bread needs to come out of the oven. 

It's a crazy, fucked-up world and there is no wonder that I choose to stay here and tend what I have with what I can. 

I may feel crazy but I am not insane. 

Love...Ms. Moon