Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mostly Chickens


Here are some of the young hens who really need to get their shit together and start laying eggs. They are, from the left, Trinky (or Tronky), Nicey, Nancy, Nora, Tronky (or Trinky), and Honey's there in the back. The other hens which have not started laying yet are Owl and Lucy. And Darla. But I've had Darla for forever and she's never laid one egg as far as I know. She is the tub-mate of Dottie who is now raising her first hatchlings. There's also Violet, my little Banty, and Camellia, both of whom do lay, and Trixie, who hasn't laid an egg in forever and ever.

I let Trixie out of the coop where I put her the other day so she could catch a break from the roosters. She hung out with Dottie and the babies for a day or two and then indicated that she would like to leave by hanging out near the door and I let her out and she did scratch around yesterday but today she's spent most of the day in the hen house in a nest. I went in and found her and scratched her head and stroked her feathers and gave her some watermelon which she ate with enthusiasm. Poor old girl. I keep thinking she's on her way out but then she rallies and proves me wrong again. This heat can't be helping her. And it's about to be molting season and all of the chickens will lose many, many feathers and grow back new ones and while that's happening, even the most regular of hens grow less productive and I'm wondering if I'm going to get any real egg volume until it cools down in the fall.


I shelled a bunch of peas that I picked today and when I finished and came out to the porch, Camellia and Nicey were both hanging out, hoping for treats. Now Camellia comes onto the porch every day, sometimes several times and I have to admit that I've been a bad, bad chicken-keeper and have been giving her a few cat food kibbles because she's such a sweetie and she was Kathleen's and she lays me eggs. Of course this only encourages her and yes, she does poop on the porch but it's not so bad to clean up. But I'd never seen Nicey on the porch and yet, here she was. Did Camellia tell her about the cat food? 
I wouldn't put it past her. 
And doesn't that hen look old enough to lay eggs to you? She has become quite a dark shade of red and with those black tail feathers, I think she is lovely. 

I have noticed that Dottie, when I go out to feed or water her and her babies, raises up her tail feathers and spreads them out so that she looks more rooster-like. She spreads out all of her feathers, actually, and I am sure this is a protective reaction to perceived threat. She wants to look like a dangerous bad-ass to any one or any thing threatening her children. I try to take them treats every day because they can't really get much green goodness in that coop. Yesterday I took them some weeds from the garden and they scratch through the roots for whatever might be clinging to them. They also love fruit, of course, and I give them some of that daily too. Right now it's watermelon but they really do love it all. She checks out what I bring them and if she likes it, she chip, chip, chips to her babies to come and join her. The sound she makes is very much like the sound a rooster makes when he is tidbitting some found delicacies for his ladies. 

Dearie is still making himself scarce although he comes back to roost at night in the tree and has now collected almost all of the youngest hens to roost with him. He is a sly one. And a handsome one. And so far, they are doing fine in that tree. Mr. Moon says he wants to build Dearie his own home for his own flock and maybe he will. That man has a lot going on and hen houses don't just erect themselves. 

Speaking of Mr. Moon, he brought home a nice snapper and filleted it for me and I'm going to pan fry it and cook some stone-ground grits and stewed tomatoes and a little salad. He gave all the scraps of the fish to the chickens and they are happy as they can be to eat them. Very little goes to waste around here. 

I worked in the garden some today, picking and weeding and then I pulled the largest tomatoes which are neither blooming or fruiting. They are done, the cucumbers are done, the squash is all but done and some damn vine-borer seems to be killing my gourds. The edamame are slow to swell in their hairy pods, but I am watching them. The black-eyed peas and cream peas are still podding up with nice goodness and I'm still getting rattlesnake beans. I pulled a rosemary bush out of the garden today that was bigger than an end table but half of it was dead and I have another, even bigger one right beside it. I used a little of the hen house hay with poop in it to mulch that spot. The poop is too hot to plant in it right now, but by the time I plant my collards, it'll be just about right. 

We got a nice rain this afternoon, I have worked outside and in, and I have nothing whatsoever to complain about. I took a rare Ativan last night before I went to bed and I don't know whether it was that or merely the ticking across of some distant planet but I have felt mostly at peace today as I did nothing much. 

It looks, from a distance at least, as if the current administration is falling apart faster than a nice, fat pork shoulder falls apart in the crockpot and I don't think that there's enough barbecue sauce in the world to make that shit edible. 
Or credible. 

Keep the faith, babies. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Friday, July 21, 2017

Oh, July.


I have been struggling a bit lately and I'm sure it's everything all together, you know. It's the time of year when I had my first huge anxiety episode and anniversaries are always hard whether your mind remembers or not. The body does, just as it remembers the anniversaries of the deaths of people we love.
It's about to be my birthday which is also a hard time for me. Always is. The age I'm about to be- 63- sounds relatively young when I apply it to other people but when I apply it to myself, I am astounded that I'm still alive and the time has certainly passed where I will die young and leave a beautiful corpse.
Which I suppose is a good thing but still- sixty-three? Really? And please don't tell me I'm still young or that we are only as old as we feel.
I feel fucking old and I look fucking old and I feel the way I feel so there you go.

Plus the heat. Every time I got out of my car today I felt as if my skin was simply going to sear like chicken skin on an overly hot grill and I remembered that I need to make an appointment with the dermatologist to get all of these suspicious places checked out and honestly, I think he'll probably just say, "We need to remove your entire epidermis," and besides that, if there's anything harder for me to do than calling a doctor's office to make an appointment, I'm not sure what it is.
Plus the everything. I just feel old and useless and ugly and taking up space that some precious new baby in this world would be more deserving of. Space and resources. Water and food. I ain't no Bodhisattva, y'all. I take up my share and then some.

Oh well. I guess as long as I'm still entertaining to my grandchildren and not a personal burden on my kids I'll be okay with sticking around.
I should try to eat less, though and at least remember to not run the water while I'm brushing my teeth until I actually need it to rinse.

I went to town today to get some inches chopped off of my hair. It's just been bugging me. Long and lank and doing no good for nothing (not unlike me) plus I wear it up all the time and in the summer, if I do anything outside I'm going to sweat so much that my hair is wet until I go to bed and I've frequently wondered why it doesn't mildew.
And then there's the Melissa factor.
Melissa, as you know, is our hair-lady, our friend, our light in the world. Just being in her presence is enough to make you feel better about everything, including yourself.
So I went to see Melissa and I showed her how much I wanted cut off and she said, "Oh, no. Not that much," and then she showed me why I didn't want that much cut off and I agreed and she cut off a goodly amount and now at least it won't take as long to dry. I looked at the pathetic lanks of my hair on the cutting floor and was glad to be rid of that stuff which was at least five years old.


It must not be too dramatic a change because when Gibson saw me he said, "Mer, I like your dress!"

I met Lily and Gibson and Magnolia June for lunch. Owen is at his first real sleep-over party with his friend Chase, whose birthday it's about to be. He and Chase are BFF's and love each other dearly and Lily said he was fit to burst when she dropped him off. Chase has a brother, a dog, AND a pool, plus they went to a movie. He is never going to want to go home. Never. Ever.

So I got to spend time with Gibson and Maggie and Lily and that was fun. Gibson is the cuddliest boy in the world. I asked him, "Gibson, why do you cuddle me so much?"
"Because I love you!" he said.
"I love you, too," I told him.
And Maggie just wanted to be held and to be fed beans off my fork and eat ice cream from a cup without a spoon and when we were leaving, she went up to a lady who was seated nearby and kept saying, "Hi! Hi!" and the lady ignored her but another lady saw her and said, "Adorable!"

She really is. Can you believe that tutu skirt?


That girl can carry off a look. She has style. She has grace, even with ice cream on her face.

She is precious, that Maggie girl. 

And they all are and soon there will be another to love on. Mr. Moon told me that he FaceTimed with August today who asked for MerMer, just as Maggie asked for her Boppa, and they had a good conversation with lots of thrown kisses. 
"Moah!" August is reported as having said. 
And his Boppy threw him moah kisses, of course.

And so there you go. Another day in the life of one old lady. I have a lovely chicken in the oven (not one of mine, thank you very much) with a tiny bit of stuffing in it. I believe I will fake-fry some okra tonight. Every day I go out and cut what is ready and I have what I believe to be two servings worth. I really want to get my hands on a big ol' bucket of the stuff and pickle it all. 
I probably could if I just set my mind to it. 

The mango/peach/cherry pie was fine. I only had a bite. Honestly, the joy for me is in the baking. Mr. Moon drove ALL THE WAY TO PUBLIX before dinner last night to buy vanilla ice cream to put on it. I was chopping vegetables for the salad when I got a phone call from him. 
"You'll never believe where I am," he said. 
Honestly, I thought he was still at the convenience store.
"Where?" I asked. 
"On the interstate," he said. "On my way to Publix to buy ice cream which is worthy of that pie."
I am not kidding you. 
He bought a vat of Haagen Dazs. 

I love that man. 

He's going fishing tomorrow and hopefully, we'll be eating snapper soon but fishing is fishing and catching is another thing all together. I am almost 63 years old and if I know one thing, that is it. 

Stay tuned. 

Love...Ms. Moon









Thursday, July 20, 2017

Can She Bake A Mango Pie?


I have one in the oven and it is beautiful in its formative stage, it's raw stage.


(Just wondering- is raw cookie dough considered a "raw food"? Like if you're on a raw food diet?)

Anyway, the deal is, a lot of my mangoes and all of the peaches I had in the house were going way too soft way too fast so I cut them up and added a few frozen cherries for excitement and tartness and added sugar and cornstarch and poured the goopy concoction into that pie shell I made. 
With my own hands. 
It'll probably just end up being a mess but I've tried. 
And if it's good, well, it'll be very, very good. 
I think.

I believe I've just been tired today. I haven't done much. I blanched and froze a few vegetables and while that sounds like something, it ain't much. I hung clothes on the line. I brought them in. I picked a few beans and peas and okra. That was enough time outside for me. 
Mr. Moon came home and said, "I can't take this heat. I just can't."
I said, "Me either."
"Let's move to Canada," he said. 
"I can't take the cold, either," I said, rolling out my pie crust. 

What to do, what to do?

I have also made some bread with asiago cheese, rosemary, and black olives. Do you know how easy it is for me to cook and bake? It's like rolling over in my sleep and adjusting the pillow without waking up. That's how easy it is. 

I slept for two hours this afternoon. Deep, heavy sleep. I dreamed again but this time things were random. I was telling someone that I was not the sort of person to live in a dorm. I instructed another person on how to download audio books from her library. I was helping people pack and we were all going to leave on a journey. 
"Let's just eat the rest of that pizza," I said. "Then we won't have to put it in anything and carry it."
I was a little-miss-know-it-all in those dreams, wasn't I?
I've always been bossy. 
But I think that was good advice about the pizza. 

Ay-yi-yi. 

Summer's dog days and honestly, we may not even be there yet but I am. I just want to dig a hole under the porch in the cool, damp black earth and lay down and scratch my fleas in my sleep. 

Sleep and food seem to be the theme of today. 

Well. We all need both. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Dream Drained




I cannot adult today. I can not do it.
I woke up from a dream that was mostly good and sweet about a huge celebration in Roseland at the old elementary school I attended which is now a little museum.


The building where I learned to read and to sweep, two of the most valuable learnings of my life. 

The details uncovered from my subconscious were rather amazing and despite the fact that I kept losing track of my husband, my baby, and my two little brothers, I kept finding them again. They were selling seedlings of the tree which I spent many, many recesses walking on the roots of- yes, in real life that's what we did. We walked on the roots of a tree and talked. That tree was our favorite piece of playground equipment and the second favorite one was the cement top of the septic tank where we played jacks.
This dream celebration had food and drinks and antiques for sale. There was to be an exploration of the river by moonlight.
Children were playing in the branches of a different tree and I laid on my back and took a picture of their dangling legs and the leaves and the sky from below them. They were so happy in that tree.
I told people about Aunt Flonnie, who had been our bus driver and our cafeteria cook. I remembered working in that kitchen, sweeping out that bus. I remembered Aunt Flonnie's generous bosom, her generous soul, her black Cherokee hair, her strong, strong arms.

All of this has left me dream-drained and exhausted as if my memories had been pulled from me with delicate force and now I am as woozy as I would be after a surgery.

I am going to stay here, in Lloyd, in my own house and yard and porch with my cats and my chickens and listen to the chanting of the crickets as the heat builds and hang out my clothes and simply let myself drift back in time and at the same time, be here now, and I don't know whether to laugh or to cry but as Joni Mitchell said, sometime's it's the same thing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Things I Did Today


Woke up to the sweetest note from my husband which made me feel loved and appreciated.

Let chickens out. Fed them. Got them fresh water.

Went for a walk.
Almost died.
Did not.

On the way home I stopped at the post office where a HUGE box was waiting for me filled with mangoes from Roseland! What?!
Yes!
I could barely carry it home. I opened it up and my kitchen was immediately filled with the scent of heaven.
I can't even tell you how much I love getting mangoes from Roseland. The man who rents us the perfect little guest house on the Sebastion River with the magical lion pool and where my childhood fantasies all become true sent them to me.
I love him. I simply love him.

Took a shower and groomed to the extent that they would allow me in town.
Went to town. Had lunch with Hank and Rachel and Rachel's mom. Fun and delicious. Our server was an almost preternaturally beautiful man.
So- all-around good time there.

Came home and wanted a nap but did not take one.
Instead, I ironed. Mr. Moon now has many, many ironed shirts from which to choose from. While I ironed I watched...REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY!
It was amazing.

Started cooking some of those green beans with leftover Boston butt. Turned into soup. Sort of by accident and then by design.
And now I have an appallingly large potful of it.

Sigh.

And that's been my day. A good day. And I took that picture up there of the blooming pinecone lily. How can it already be time for pinecone lilies? This year is going by so fast that I can't believe it.

Also, I found this in town:


I do not know what it is but it may be some sort of beetle larva. Larvae? Whatever. It is huge. I carefully scooped it up on a CD cover and set it in the dirt under trees. I probably saved the life of some horrible invasive monster bug. 

Oh well. 

What did you do today? Was it as exciting as what I did?
I doubt it.
But tell me anyway.

Love...Ms. Moon (aka, Ms. Life In The Fast Lane)



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Too Rich To Eat My Own Chickens


I do not know what I'm going to do about all of these roosters. This morning was crazy. Dearie slept in the tree by the hen house with four or five hens so he was right there when all the action started this morning. I opened the door for the chickens who slept inside to exit and next think I knew, four roosters were all trying to copulate with hens at the same time and Mick was going crazy, trying to fuck and chase the other roosters off of what he considers to be his woman at the same time and feathers were flying and the hens were hysterical and I swear, Trixie almost got murdered.

Right this second, everything is fine. Joe Cocker and Little Richard are scratching companionably in the magnolia leaves and Mick is just a few feet away from them and hens are scattered about. I don't know where Dearie is. Possibly hiding in the goat pen again.
I went out to clean the hen house and Trixie was hiding in there and I finally just picked her up and put her in the coop with Dottie and the babies and she's resting in the next box in there. I know she won't hurt the babies and Dottie doesn't seem to mind her being there. Hell, they practically sat on those eggs together. The sweet old lady needs to catch a break.

Too bad I can't catch and release at least two roosters. It really would make a lot of sense to slaughter two of them and cook and eat them and I know it's only my first world wealth that allows me to find this prospect one that I can't face.
And dammit! I'm not even getting any eggs from any of the new hens yet!

Oh Lord.

Anyway, I haven't spent my entire day worrying about poultry. I did go to Lily's house and we went to the branch library and to the Indian restaurant and to Publix. I haven't had much energy at all today and frankly, don't feel as well as I did yesterday or Sunday but I had a huge bowl of overly mature green beans to deal with and so I did. I sat on the couch and shelled and snapped those beans and I think if I cook them for about four hours they will be mighty fine.


In fact, I am thinking that a meal made with those beans cooked with some nice ham and onions, along with potato salad, sliced tomatoes, and deviled eggs might be the best meal I ever ate. 
Sounds like Sunday in the south to me. 

Miss Maggie is going through the phase of wanting to do things herself. She wants to buckle her own buckle in the car seat and this morning when I tried to put her dress on her she yelled at me and said, "NO!" 
I let her try to do it herself and after about three minutes she handed me the dress back and I got her head and one arm in it and then she told me no again and took over and it did not work the way she thought it would and Owen wanted me to see his clean room so I told Maggie's mama that she could dress the woman baby. 
And she did. 
And let me say that Owen and Gibson's room is as tidy as a pin and I am very proud of them because they cleaned it themselves. 

Speaking of proud, it has been reported that August peed in his potty today after reading an instructional manual on the subject. 


He's going to be an engineer, just like his daddy. 

All right. That's the news from Lloyd on this day in the summer of 2017. 

I will add that Gibson pointed out that I have armpit hair when I was kissing him good-bye and he is right. He should check out my legs. 
Grooming. What a concept. 

Love...Ms. Moon







Monday, July 17, 2017

Chicken Polyamory And Human Genius


Dottie wallowed out a place in the dirt which has allowed her babies to scoot out of the box when they want to. They were following her around all day and it makes me a little scared but I know she's a good mama and if a snake did manage to get in she'd call them into the little cage-coop and sit on them. And try to kill the snake. She'd make some noise and that's for sure. Like I told Mr. Moon, the only way to really keep them safe would be to lock them in a metal box and we can't do that.
Oh, chickens.
Lily got a rare few hours off this afternoon because I took care of the kids. She went to lunch with a friend and then they did a little shopping and Lily went with her friend to a hair appointment with our Melissa. The kids were good and I kept them relatively entertained and very much alive so I did my job. We all went over to visit Dearie in the goat pen next door where he's still hiding out.
"Dearie! Come back!" said Gibson, who considers himself Dearie's human. Dearie is going to be one of the most handsome roosters I've ever seen and I'd like him to come back too.
"Why won't he come back?" Gibson asked.
"Because he doesn't want Mick to kill him," I said.
"Why would Mick kill him?" he asked.
I pondered this question and how I should answer it and said, "Well, roosters like to be the only rooster."
"Why?" he asked.
"Think about it," I said. "What if another man came into your house and said to your daddy, 'I want to be your wife's other husband and your kids' other daddy.' Do you think your daddy would like that?"
He didn't even have to think about it.
"No!" he said.
"Well, that's sort of the way it is with roosters. Mick doesn't want any other husbands or daddies around. He wants to be the only one."
And that is the truth of it. And I know I should get rid of Joe Cocker and Little Richard too because they are just causing all sorts of upset in the flock and besides that, as Jessie pointed out- it's not fair to the hens who bear the literal brunt of the roosters' urges.
But dammit. No one needs any more roosters. NO ONE. And I just can't bear the thought of us eating those guys. I have developed an affection for them and I'm slightly in love with Dearie myself.

And that's enough chicken news. The rest of the day was spent dispensing snacks and sweeping up broken things and laughing with the kids. I was most gratified when Owen did a puzzle by himself and Gibson played solo-Monopoly with his own rules for a good forty-five minutes and I was able to focus on Ms. Maggie.


I tried to get her interested in the big wooden alphabet puzzle but she's way too young for that. 
I have to tell you though, that she did do something which sort of amazes me. She found the sidewalk chalk in the library and took four pieces out to the porch and this is what she did with them:


That's the wooden lattice work on the back porch screened door and she stuck the chalk into some of the holes of it. It's so precise and even color coordinated that I have to wonder if that was merely a coincidence or whether she carefully and purposefully arranged it that way. If so, she may be an artistic genius. 

(Said her grandmother.)

Well, they're all geniuses in one way or another and so are you. 
I guarantee it. 

Let's all embrace the genius within us and may our dreams channel our most creative and happy thoughts tonight. Okay? 
Okay. 

Big Love...Ms. Moon




Asheville- As Cool As It Is Charming


It occurs to me that Jessie and Vergil heading up to Asheville in the summers has enriched Mr. Moon's and my life immensely. I never would have known the joys of that particular mountainous hip spot if they hadn't. I mean- let's face it- I am mostly overly content to stay in my own little safe place in Lloyd, venturing out mostly to go to Tallahassee to the library, the grocery store, to have lunch with my family, and to do things with my kids and grandkids. I am not the adventuresome type and when I do leave home on trips, it's mostly to the same places. Mexico, Roseland. And then there was that trip to Cuba but I never would have done that if Lis hadn't kicked my ass into it and I am so glad she did.

But Asheville.

It's such an interesting place. It is a place which is filled with natural beauty. The surrounding areas with their hills and mountains, their rivers and vistas- gorgeous. And because Vergil grew up there, we are blessed with the ability to go places and see things that many visitors do not. The view from his mother's house alone stuns me. It's cinematic in scope, it's stunning and dramatic and as alien to me, a flatlander my entire life, as being on Mars would be.
And it's good for me to go up there and experience that. Although I feel at home on the little island of Cozumel in a way I can't explain and will never quite feel at home on a mountain, it is a fine thing to be reminded that the view from a mountain top is as mind-expanding and soul-enriching as the view over a sea of blue-green translucence.

And then there's that other part of Asheville that I love- the hipness. The sense and feeling that it is a place where self-expression is cherished, where music and art and food and friendliness and breweries and amazing restaurants and bookstores and the love of the outdoors all come together in a very cool way. I joke that when I go to Asheville in summers, I come away knowing what the next hip thing will be.
Last year, it was bone broth!
I gleaned that one from the fancy uber-hip natural foods grocery store across the street from where we stayed last year at a beautiful AirBnB place near where Jessie and Vergil were staying then. I loved going to that place to observe the awesome hairstyles, the fantastic clothing styles, the way the mamas and daddies carried their babies and wore them on their bodies and walked with such obvious fitness and pure rude health that they radiated pure white light.

This year they are living with two friends of theirs who live in West Asheville, which is the new up and coming area of the city. I don't think we went downtown once this trip and it was, in fact, a different scene. The house where the Weatherfords are living is pretty much a typical Asheville house, filled with flowers in the front yard and there's a steep back yard with hens in a run down at the flat part of the property.


Real estate prices are going through the roof, even in the tiniest neighborhoods where the houses range from dilapidated shacks to charming jewels of lovingly restored cottages as well as fairly tasteful new houses. It's sort of a mishmash and the AirBnB we stayed in, although only about a mile and a half away from them, was in a real, true, All-American suburban neighborhood. 
It was a bit shocking to me when we followed Siri's directions to it and drove down the driveway of a brick and wood house at the end of a cul-de-sac. 
It was an interesting place to stay, I have to admit. 
I am not going to name the listing and I am going to say right up front that it was extremely clean and the owners were exceptionally responsive to any and all needs we might have but it was, well...different. 
Here's a picture of Mr. Moon reading to August on the bed the day we arrived.


It was a basement apartment, remodeled and tricked out for the AirBnB trade. The ceilings were a bit low for my husband who felt closed in but of course that didn't bother me. The toilet in the bathroom was placed immediately in front of and facing the bathroom door. Honestly, that was the only place it could have been situated due to the space. But it was odd. The bed was in what I would have considered the living room- the room you walked into first while there was a futon that made out into a bed in another room which had an actual door for privacy. 

So...you know. Suburban, basement, odd placement of things. 

But the backyard, as I have said, was beyond all expectations and if you're like me and enjoy sitting outside and listening to the birds wake up in the morning or sing themselves to sleep at night, it was perfect. And peaceful. You would never know you were a few blocks away from one of Asheville's most heavily traveled roads and that was wonderful. 

But oh, my goodness. When I was flipping through the notebook of house rules and instructions I found this:


Can you click on it and read it? Because it's about the funniest thing I've ever read. And oh my god, we all joked about that for the entire week we were there. 

And as Vergil commented, "Some things are really just best left unsaid."
And I will say they had plenty of towels and also, we didn't see any bugs at all so no need to go and measure out a three-inch strip of tape.

But isn't that the good thing about traveling away from home? Encountering new things, funny things, inspiring things, absurd things, things that make you think and open your mind and laugh and ponder and wonder at?

Here's another thing I'm wondering about- WHY ARE WE BEING SO LEFT BEHIND IN THE PUBLIX GAME?
We went to a brand new Publix outside of Asheville and it was stunning. We stopped in to get some sandwiches to take up to the mountain and it was like being in a Publix but maybe in a parallel universe.


August loved it.


Aromatherapy products at PUBLIX???
WTF???!!!

It was awesome and Publix is having to push its game because North Carolina has a chain of grocery stores that are wonderful. Ingles. Some of them have a Starbucks in the stores. Which is so cool for people who like Starbucks. And the people around Asheville expect a lot more from their grocery stores, I suppose, since they have such a wide range of options from wonderful tail-gate Farmer's Markets to those fancy natural foods places where styles and trends are set and noted.

I love the town. It's hip, it's cool, it's beautiful, it's southern. Here's the side-dish menu for a restaurant we had breakfast in twice.


Sauteed kale OR collard greens with ham?
A choice of lamb gravy or herb gravy?
Sweet potato hush puppies?

Oh yeah. 
Plus, they brought August a basket of toys every time we went there and the food was awesome. 


And you know I loved their name. 

I feel comfortable in Asheville. Hell, I wear my overalls and a tank top while I'm there and mostly not even a bra. Part of that is figuring that no one knows me anyway and part of it is that I'm old and don't care and part of it is that Asheville just seems like a place where it's cool to be your own comfortable self. 

One of the best things I heard there was when we were in a very cool new brewery one late afternoon. Kids were running around and people were standing in line to get their awesome in-house brewed drafts and we ran into some friends of Jessie and Vergil's. Jessie was giving August a snack and offered some to the friends for their little girl and the dad said, "Nah, that's okay. We ordered from the food truck and have a few banh's comin'. 
It was a Vietnamese food truck and business was rocking. 

I will admit here and now that I've never eaten a banh in my life but if I wanted to, I could have eaten one that night. 
And then we went to a Rasta place and it was delicious.

That's Asheville. 
And as much as it breaks my heart when those people head up north every summer, I have come to love that they do because it means we get to spend time there too. 

It's a beautiful thing for all of us. 

Love...Ms. Moon













Sunday, July 16, 2017

In Which We Are Reunited With The Other Grands


"Oh!" I thought this morning as the children came running up to meet me in the yard, "They have missed me!"
Gibson got to me first and indeed, he hugged me around the waist and looked up at me with his perfect Gibson face and said, "Mer! Can I play with your tablet?"
Then Owen got to me and he hugged me and his head is just about up to mine these days and he looked at me and said, "Can we play Wii?"
And THEN, Maggie came running to me on her fine, sturdy, juicy legs and I picked her up and she said, "Boppa?"
Sigh...
And then they all ran to their grandfather and he showed them the baby chicks and before you know it, the iPad was on the charger and between Owen and I, we got the Wii games started.
It was so good to see them.
We had oat bran, banana, sweet potato, apple and strawberry pancakes this morning with our bacon. They were delicious.
Here's the Woman Baby playing peek-a-boo from the high chair.




She is a hoot, that Magnolia June. She can get up my stairs so fast we haven't realized that she's left the room and every time it happens my heart stops. You should see her big brother Owen running up after her and carrying her down, though. SUCH a good big brother. I watched him put her in her high chair and give her her plate, too. 

So. The boys have named the chicks. They are Pearl, Rose, and Amethyst which are the names of the Crystal Gems in a show that Hank and the boys are all in love with called Steven Universe and which I know nothing about. But I have to admit that those are perfect chick names. 
And the chicks are all doing well today. I even gave them and their mama some watermelon. Tomorrow I need to get out there and clean the hen house and the chick nursery and just try to create some fresh-hay order. Right now it's all sort of funky, to tell you the truth. 
But I have not been sitting on my ass today. Well, except for the hour or so that I talked to May on the phone. We just cannot talk less than an hour. Chat, chat, chat, chat, laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh, chat, chat, chat, chat, laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh. 
Rinse, repeat. 
So we caught up and there was a beautiful rainstorm that whole time and after it was over I went out and picked green beans which are so overly mature that we'll mostly be eating the shelled bean-seeds of them, 


and Mr. Moon picked more peas and he's shelling them right now. I changed into my long overalls and went back out and pulled weeds. I got the edamame and the okra weeded and sweated like a Trojan, as my granny used to say. The edamame is just about ready to start picking. Look at these beautiful, prolific, fuzzy pods!


Aren't they stunning? 
Well. I think they are. But you know- I'm nuts. 

I guess it's obvious that I feel about ten thousand times better today. I've had good energy and good spirits and I don't hurt anywhere more than usual and in a way, I feel reborn. It wasn't much of an illness at all to tell you the truth, just a little ol' cold virus and I didn't even get all of the snot that Jessie and August got so that's good. 

And thus, it's been a very nice day in Lloyd and we're going to eat delicious leftovers from last night. I made a tomato and eggplant pie and Mr. Moon smoked a Boston butt and I also cooked field peas and rice and all of those things will taste even better tonight than they did last night. I sent Lily home today with shelled peas and pickles and watermelon that her daddy had cut up and a whole other Boston butt (Mr. Moon is of the opinion that you might as well cook two as one) and I feel all frontier woman and shit and as I have said so many times- richer than hell. 

It occurred to me today that we may have reached the apex, the pinnacle of civilization in our time and are now in the crumbling, deteriorating beginnings of a sort of dark ages. It seems to me that history has repeated itself so many times before in human history and enlightenment is always followed by darkness and superstition and fear and if my theory is true, I feel grateful to have some of the skills and knowledge of the peasant who, no matter what, will continue on with that which is seemingly eternal- the dirt, the chicken, the seed, the flame, the family. 

I am probably wrong and I hope I am. And I have certainly not adopted a life-style involving dirt and chickens with that in mind. It is just what has come naturally to me. 

I'm just an old hippie grandma who has her little piece of heaven and the support and help and strength of a good and strong partner to carry on with the things she loves. 

Works for me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Worlds In Which I Live

Woke up this morning feeling pretty rough, even though I slept fine except for waking up when the earth was shaking with thunder and then the electricity went out and electronic battery back-up things beeped and the fan quit running and then, sometime later it all came back on and it rained too.

So yes, I felt rough because of this cold thing but I managed to move slowly through the day, getting a few things done. I took the trash and went to the post office to get my mail and ran into a neighbor who told me about his son's emergency surgery last week for an abdominal thing. He said it was horribly scary but that the boy is fine and last night they went to the Mexican restaurant and he cleaned his plate so recovery is well underway. We talked about how a hundred years ago the child would have just died because surgery would not have been available. Mr. Moon's granddad died from a cut he got in the barn. One day he was fine, the next day, he was dead.
I am not the biggest proponent of western medicine in the world and how it and the pharmaceutical industry work but I sure am grateful for some of the strides that have been made. I know that Mr. Moon himself once got cellulitis so bad that they thought they were going to have to put him in the hospital for IV antibiotics and it was frightening as hell, watching the ugly redness move swiftly up his leg, despite the oral antibiotics he was on. I swear on the Bible and the Joy of Cooking that an antibiotic shot they gave him at Urgent Care caused the redness to start receding before we got out of there. Talk about your miracles!

Anyway, where the hell was I?
Oh yeah. Feeling rough. So I could not help myself but had to go out and pick some of those field peas and on the way I checked on the babies. They are so dang cute. And Dottie, despite not being the Bio-Mom of any of them, is being incredibly protective and taking such good care of them. Here they are.


I am fairly sure that this chick is Camellia's baby. Camellia is the hen I got from Kathleen's flock and she's a darling chicken. She's the one who comes onto the porch every day and stares me down for treats.


And these, I believe, are Violet's children. Violet is the little gray/lavender bantie hen.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is nothing in this world as cute as a baby chick and the cutest of the cute are baby chicks who are being raised by their mommy instead of say, in a bathtub.
Gosh, I hope they make it. I would just love that.

Anyway, after I visited the nursery, I went over to the side yard because I had a gut feeling about where Dearie might be and sure enough, he was hanging out in the neighbor's goat pen which is right next to their chickens.


I assume he is keeping away from Mick because he's Mr. Jagger-Rooster's main threat. Gosh, he's a pretty guy. I said, "Hey, Dearie! Whatchu doing over there?"
And he said, "Plotting World Wide Hen Domination. What else?"

Maybe I was just hallucinating that part. 

Then I picked a big bowlful of peas and Maurice helped me. I know I didn't get them all and the green beans need picking too and I didn't get one of them. 


But that's what I did pick and for two hours I sat on the couch and watched The Real Housewives of New York City and shelled peas. It was a sort of heaven and I'm not even kidding. Since they're so big, it was easy to shell them and now I have some cooking on the stove and some are in a ziplock in the refrigerator. Lily thinks it's hysterical that I love those stupid "real" housewives so much. I just can't help it. They are my complete opposites in almost every way. They wouldn't know how to pick or shell a field pea if their lives depended on it. Hell, they get their make-up done professionally to go out for drinks. And I never wear make-up these days. Maybe once every three months. They get plastic surgery and Botox and lasered and I doubt they have a body hair on their entire bodies below the waist. And they seem to spend their lives drinking and eating tiny foods on giant plates and discussing each other and going to stay in fabulous villas in distant countries and if they have children, we never see them. Some of their biggest problems seem to be what social media is saying about them. 
But hell- it's escapism sure and true, and some of them seem to have genuine hearts which have been tried by the fires of grief WHICH IS NO EXCUSE FOR MY ENJOYING WATCHING THIS BULLSHIT. 
Still. 
I love it. 

So I did that and some laundry and got my house back to where I feel as if I am the mistress of it again and I watered my porch plants and even took a little nap and I am feeling okay. 
I am home. 

Hopefully I'll see the Lily-Babies tomorrow and maybe even make pancakes if I feel up to it. I just need not to kiss them or slobber on them, I guess. I miss them and their mama so. 

Home and Little Richard is still walking around outside the hen house even though the rest of the chickens are in bed because he has to wait until Mick is on the roosting-doze like an opium addict on a silk divan because if Mick is still awake, he'll peck and chase him out again. 

We're about to eat a mostly home-grown supper and I'm glad to be in Lloyd although I wish I could be everywhere at once. 

Maybe in a parallel universe I am. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Finest Journey You Can Imagine


Cher! You may say. What the hell are you doing on Ms. Moon's blog?
Well, I will tell you. Last night Mr. Moon and I stayed in Macon, Georgia and instead of staying at a Day's Inn or a Travel Lodge, we went for the big adventure and stayed in an old inn downtown called the 1842 Inn which was, supposedly, the only building in Macon that Sherman didn't burn when he made his way down through Georgia, and on the wall of celebrities, there was a picture of Our Lady Of Perpetual Cherness.
Also this note.


She had stayed there when her former husband, Gregg Allman died recently. 
Oprah's picture was there too. 
Also, Ivanka Trump's. 
So, you know it was a fine and fancy place and I have to say that if you are a man and you want some lovin', take your sweetie to a fine and fancy place where the bed is huge




 and the amenities are luxurious and make her feel like she belongs there and chances are, you might get lucky. 
You might get real lucky. 

Lord, I feel like I've been time-traveling, universe-traveling, and all-American automobile traveling. 
And I have. 

Two nights ago we were on Black Mountain, visiting Vergil's family where we ate supper with his sister and her husband and their three beautiful children and his mama and stepdaddy at his mother's house where the view over her garden looks like this.


Can you believe that? 

And then that breakfast the next morning at the Five Points where you can take your biscuits and tomatoes and make a sandwich of them and where I cried and we said good-bye. 
We drove all day long, not having a plan or a clue and stopped at several places to look at antiques and junk and stuff and it was fun and then last night we stayed there at the 1842 and this morning we had our complimentary breakfast in the courtyard of eggs and bacon and stone-ground cheese grits and all sorts of amazing foods. 


Breakfast.

Courtyard. 

And then we finally dragged ourselves away from the room and headed south on every tiny road in Georgia and stopped in one tiny town to buy baby chick starter at a feed store and at another tiny town where we had a late lunch which I will remember longer and more fondly even than that breakfast. 
We passed a little place called Josie's.



We turned around and came back and parked and went in and damn. Just...damn. 
We got in line and were served cafeteria style. Our choices were almost too much to bear. Barbecued pork chops, fried chicken, fried fish, cabbage, greens, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken and dressing and cranberry sauce, green beans, peas and carrots, cole slaw. 
Here's what we both ended up with.


Good GOD, y'all. 
Montezuma, Georgia. Josie's restaurant. They close at three and have to lock the door because people still want to get in. 


Then we drove down every other two-lane road in Georgia and I read and read and read to Mr. Moon and fell in love with Duane's Depressed for about the tenth or maybe twentieth time and we bought lottery scratch-offs and I won fifteen dollars and we realized that the south is absolutely filled with gorgeous old houses and they are still standing and still proud and straight and life is still being lived in them and we saw fields of cotton and corn and we finally got...home.

And here we are and I'm exhausted and I think I've brought home Jessie and August's cold but I had so much fun with them and there were so many kisses and so much sharing of food and wah-wee (which is what August calls water) that it almost feels like an honor to have gotten this little virus. 

I'm not kidding. 

Do you think I miss this guy?


That's him getting his pirate tattoos that I bought him. 

I miss him so damn much I can't tell you. 

But I also miss my Owen and my Gibson and my Maggie and here we are, back in Lloyd and I'll get my hands on everyone soon enough. We seem to be missing a few chickens including Dearie which sort of breaks my heart but maybe he'll show up tomorrow. Dottie has only let me see one of the babies and it's darling. 
Maurice hasn't come around yet and I'm sure I'll have to pay for my abandonment. Jack, of course, has come in to eat. I think he eats in the kitchens of at least two other neighbors so he hasn't suffered too badly. 

And here we are. I have to say that I think that perhaps this was one of the very best vacation trips of my entire life. Maybe the absolute best one that didn't involve Mexico. 

There was just about every sort of love that you can imagine and there were laughs and there was grace and there was fun and there were rivers and mountains and romance and delicious foods and August at a restaurant saying to the waiter, "Waffa- please."


Until he got his waffa. 
And there were hipsters and country folks and ladies serving up food whom I know go to church every time the doors are open, wearing aprons and taking care of business. 

And I haven't even talked about the karaoke. 
And I probably won't. Except to say that no, I did not sing. 

We're home. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Heart

We are leaving Asheville after our breakfast with Jessie and Vergil and August. We ate at the wonderful real people restaurant called Five Points and I tried to keep my tears held back the whole time. August was his merry self, eating bits and pieces of everything and sharing generously as he does. He handed me a little butter package that he'd put a strawberry bite in and I ate the sweet fruit and returned the little cup with a few tiny bites of bacon in it in trade. 
He ate the bacon. 
It has been every kind of magic and I'm pretty sure my heart is three sizes bigger than it was. 
All precious and magnicent and perfect sweetness. 
We will see them again soon and now I'm on my way south with my love driving me through the mountains. We are going to take our time. 
Anna reports that Dottie hatched three eggs yesterday and that is another sweetness and another reason to go home and I have missed those other grand babies and my other children too and I will be glad to put my arms around all of them again. 
What a life. What an amazing good life. 
And I know it to my bones. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017





We started out the day yesterday by going to Jessie's midwife appointment. I loved the North Carolina midwife. She looked exactly like you'd think a midwife should look and was sweet and funny and curious and patient. August knew what we were there for and sat so seriously in his daddy's lap. 
"Beep," he said. 
And after awhile it was time to hear the beep and the midwife let him help and we all heard the good strong heartbeat of his little brother. 
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. 
And then we heard August's heartbeeps and then Daddy's which was slow and so loud. 
It all made me cry, of course. 

Then back in the car and up another mountain to the river where we swam last year. 
Another dream, another picnic, another perfect sunny day in the mountains of North Carolina with this little family and I smiled and smiled. It was exactly what I wanted to do. 



The view from our picnic spot. 



August with the cheese doodles and his water. He has everything he needs. 



The boy on the river with his daddy. 

I just stood in the water for awhile, the water rushing past me, around me, almost through me in its current, my feet on the rocky bed, my eyes on peaceful glory. 

And I never want to forget the way August can trot up and down the mountain trails on  his sturdy little golden legs. He dances more than walks and he is beautiful in all regards. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Sunday, July 9, 2017



We didn't raft down a river today because Jessie has a pretty bad cold and just didn't feel up to it but we had a beautiful day anyway. We drove through gorgeous mountains, up and up and around hairpin turns with drop offs that would surely lead to death if a second's inattention occurred. We stopped at a state park and got out and hiked up a nice little rocky trail which August managed like a mountain goat. We reached what they call a bald which is where we spread our sheet and ate our picnic and basked in the cool sunny air. 
I felt as if I were Julie Andrews and should spread wide my arms and skirts and bust into a chorus of The Hills Are Alive but I did not. 

We packed up and went back down the trail through the ferns and rhododendrons and then drove to another park where we got out and Mr. Moon and Vergil and I swam in the most heavenly river. 



The water was cold but not too cold and it was splendid in all regards. After I got in I thanked Vergil for sharing this with us. It could not have been a more perfect dip. Jessie stayed in the car and rested and August took his nap. I felt so bad for her. I came back to spell her and she did go down to the water but just didn't feel like getting in. 
See that guy beside the blue tube? He informed me that he was really, really stoned. I felt honored that he had shared that with me.

We drove back to Asheville and got our supper and then we dropped Jessie and Vergil and August back at their house and now we're at the AirBnB sitting outside watching the night come in. I am exhausted and bedtime will come early tonight. Tomorrow's plans are up in the air but we are going to Jessie's midwife appointment with her in the morning. 

So. Another day. Another day with our little shining boy who is happy almost every second of the day and his beautiful shining parents. 

The lightening bugs are coming out. 

And oh! Here are some of the blooming rhododendrons we saw today. 




North Carolina may have some pretty severe problems, politically but it will also catch your heart. It is gorgeous. 

Love...Ms. Moon