Monday, April 4, 2016

Deep Greens And Blues For The Colors I Choose

No filter. Just...that. That's what the new leaves on an oak tree look like against an April sky in north Florida. 
Oh baby. I'm swooning. 
It's been a swoony day. Some days what I need is to get out and do things with my kids and my grandchildren and some days what I need is to stay in Lloyd and be alone and dig in the dirt. Today was one of those days. 

That's what my feet looked like when I finished up in the garden. It's been a gardening day. I finished up the mulching and got my sweet potatoes planted and my cucumbers, my squashes and my zipper cream peas. Oh y'all, I can't wait to eat some more of those luscious beans. Remember last year when I was shelling peas and cooking them as fast as we could pick them? 
I'll be planting another row of a different bean when I pull the rest of the greens out because there's just nothing better. Field peas, black-eyed peas, purple-hull peas, crowder peas...
That is what I like about the south. 

Here's something I didn't like today and maybe I was just too sensitive or...something. 
I was on my walk and passed Ms. Shelly's house. I've spoken about her before. She grew up as one of thirteen children and spent her childhood taking care of babies and working in the fields picking peanuts and doing every sort of hard job there is and now she's retired and lives in her own house and never had children (her choice) and her joy is in keeping that house and her yard as tidy as a clean white handkerchief. Since she was out raking, I said hello and stopped to chat a moment and we were talking about raking (she can't abide leaves in her yard, cannot abide it) and gardening and pollen and sinus infections and kale and all sorts of things when a truck pulled up next door and two white guys got out of it. I'm not sure what they were doing there. One was younger than the other, more boy still than man, but they had some business with the owner of that house whose yard is also spotless and while they were waiting on that man to get them something from the house (perhaps a donation for a clothing drive- I think I saw him pass over some boots and maybe some clothes) the older man looked over at us, having our little chat, and he said, "I sure wish I had y'all's job!"
And out of my mouth flew the words, "You have no idea what our jobs are. Why would you say that?"
And Miss Shelly said, "I'll be glad to trade you any time."
I mean, here we were, two older ladies, one with a rake in her hand, the other with a walking stick, having our own little talk and he felt like he just needed to say something. I have no idea why that pissed me off so much but it just did. 
He was taken aback and said, "Well, I just mean, you're both outside on such a beautiful day!" and I wanted to say, "Well, so are you, motherfucker," but I didn't. We went on with our talking, ignoring him and then he said to me, "I'll bet you're a teacher, aren't you?"
"No, "I said coldly. "I am not."
And we went back to ignoring him and he finally shut up. 

Maybe he was just filled with the joy of this beautiful day and maybe he was just trying to be friendly and maybe his remark got to me in the place where I feel inferior because I don't work at a real job in the real world. And if I were a more Zen-like person I would have kept my mouth shut and honestly, it didn't really bother me that much, just a little bit like when I'm walking in the woods and a horsefly starts chasing me and no matter how much I flap and flutter my arms, it just wants to land and bite me but if I keep walking, it won't. 

So we finished talking and she told me that I could come and rake at her house any time, she had an extra rake and I told her that she could come and rake in my yard any time and we wished each other a good day and I came on home and surely had one, getting that garden in order.

It's the perfect garden right now, hardly a weed to be seen, the beans and peas coming up, the tomatoes planted, the kale and collards still fit to eat, the beets and carrots ripe for the pulling, the potatoes, both red and blue, looking damn good. 

Where I've planted the peas and the squash with the red potatoes growing to the left and the sugar snaps growing to the right.

The carrots, the blue potatoes, the beets and cilantro, the new mustards and arugula. 

I have clean, line-dried sheets on the bed, a book I'm reading with my eyes, about five New Yorkers I'm in the middle of, a brand new Vanity Fair that I pulled out of my mailbox today and a book I'm listening to which seems pretty tremendous although it's going to be hard to hear the truths it speaks of. Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. Also I have leftover tuna casserole from last night which has all of the vegetables in it. Plus noodles. 

Have I mentioned that I have hot and cold running water? In my house?

Namaste, y'all. Goodnight you moonlight ladies. 
Love...Ms. Moon

Dedicated to Lynn and Brian.


  1. I always love pictures of your yard. How large is your garden? I'm trying to picture putting one in my yard and trying to get a sense of things.

  2. I took a picture of new green leaves against a blue blue sky in Florida. So lovely. As is your garden. I have envy.
    I loved your new book. The main character is unforgettable and the story is terrible and beautiful. Enjoy :)

  3. we can all use a bit more Zen at times................. and greens and blues. Love your JT clip......brought me to tears and transported me back in time. Lovely way to end my day, thank you
    Susan M

  4. I used to sing that to my babies. And I am seeing JT in a nearby town in a few weeks-bucket list!

  5. Love JT and love Lawrence Hill. He used to live here in my town and was likely to be seen walking around with his family. His book is called The Book of Negroes here.


  6. Your body was well and hard used today judging from your feet, your description of all you planted and those neat rows. I am amazed at how you get yourself moving everyday with something productive. And clean sheets so often. Enjoy all your reading.

  7. I was looking at the new green leaves and the blue, blue sky here in South Carolina today, too, and thinking how beautiful the colors of April are. I love this time of year, before the heat sucks the life out of everything.

    Goodnight Ms Moon.

  8. I think maybe your inner knowing sensed something ungenerous about those men and that's why their comment bothered you. Sometimes we can't quite name a thing but we recognize it anyway. I didn't know you have those feelings about not working a traditional job but I hope you can lay them aside because you are the planet around so many worlds spin and you hold them/us firm in your sure and loving gravitational pull. You're doing great work in this life. And I am grateful for you. Love.

  9. You are the planet around *whom* we spin...typos. Hugs.

  10. Like invisigal said, Lawrence Hill's book is called The Book of Negroes here in Canada. And I would also echo Mel, who call it terrible and beautiful. I think you will like it very much.

  11. We are sisters. Your job is very important.
    Hot running water has me grateful every day.

  12. Do tell...what are zipper cream peas? Is it just a southern thing? I'd love me some peas in my garden. Hubby doesn't care for them, but along with Brussels sprouts and Lima beans, they're my fave. Yesterday I pulled weeds in my flower gardens for four freakin' hours and slept with my homemade heating pad last night (white rice in a tube sock, microwaved for three minutes).

  13. That new Vanity Fair has a Rolling Stones article in it -- as I'm sure you've already seen!

    That guy probably didn't mean his remark the way it sounded, but still -- sometimes things just hit wrong, and maybe next time he'll think about what he's going to say. You know? The implication does seem sort of snide.

    I used to be more Zen than I am now!

  14. Your garden is a glorious thing and isn't the satisfaction of getting your garden in then basking after one of the most enjoyably rich feelings in the world?

  15. I love your garden. I wish mine was as big. I got my tomatoes in in February and early March it was so warm I wondered if I would get any at all. then the weather turned cold, had a frost and nights have been in the 40s or upper 30s though the days warm up. they aren't growing, they aren't blooming and everything else has yellowed. I'm going to put some ironite on the garden today. anyway, I spent two days outside and my feet looked very much like yours.

  16. I never knew what collard greens were till we went to FLorida and our friends cooked some for us. Yummy! I love all those different kind of peas and beans. I got a great recipe for black beans in FL also. You are lucky! and that lovely tree, I'd be swooning too!

  17. NOLA- I am not sure how big it is. But I tell you what- if I had to do it all over again, I'd do raised beds. So much easier to deal with. And control.

    Mel- After all my years I am still constantly blown away by the way things change every spring. You'd think I'd be a little more blase about it by now but it's a brand new delight and miracle every year!

    Susan M- You are so welcome.

    Ashley- I saw him play once with my dear friend Lynn who adored him. You will enjoy it so much.

    Joanne- I HAVE to have a plan every day. Otherwise I just seem to fall apart. Weird.

    Jennifer- Exactly. Because the heat WILL suck all the life out of us. Eventually.

    Angella- Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yes. I do feel guilty quite often that I don't work for a living. I do know I work hard and that I do good work but it's something I've always felt guilty about. I think you're right about my feelings about that guy. And I'm having a real problem right now with people getting in my personal space, even if that space is the great outdoors and I'm having a conversation with someone that does not involve them.

    Jenny_o- I think you are right. I've been listening to it much of today.

    Mwa- And your job is too and don't you forget it, woman! Yes. We have much in common. Sisters indeed! Or, hell, I could be your mother...

    Catrina- Here's a link to some information about them:
    They are delicious! I like your heating pad idea.

    Steve Reed- Read that article today. Made me sort of sad. Keith keeps saying that Mick will always be his mate, always be his brother, but Mick doesn't seem to agree. And if you look at pictures of them- either Charlie or Ron is almost always between them. I think Mick wants it that way.
    Yeah. That guy just pissed me off.

    Rebecca- Exactly! As I have often said, a just-planted and sprouting garden is like a baby- still pretty perfect in every way.

    Ellen Abbott- Some years are good for tomatoes and some just aren't. You planted yours early, I'm getting mine in a bit late. Who knows? Not me. I never used to wear shoes to garden in and then I got sick and tired of getting ant bit because there are always red ants in the garden. So now I mostly do but yesterday I didn't and yes, I got ant bit. And filthy. But it felt great.

    Jenny Woolf- Black beans are so damn good. I got introduced to them through Cuban restaurants in Tampa. I was delighted to discover that they are the staple bean in the Yucatan peninsula too. I love to cook them. I just love beans.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.