Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Rite Of Passage

When I met Jessie at Costco today, I said, "Levon is big enough to sit in the seat now."
She pondered this and said, "He is!"
And so she set him in the seat next to his brother and there you have it- Levon being all big boy and stuff and August proud of his little brother and his little brother proud of himself.

So much more to see from the vantage point of the seat in the cart than from his car seat in the basket of the cart or even from the wrap his mama puts him in where his view is basically her chest. 

Can you see those two perfect little teeth? 

But it occurs to me that of course a baby's desire to see more of what's going on in the world develops right along with his or her ability to be in a position to do that. This is so obvious that it goes without saying but still, I don't think I've ever really put those two things together like that in my mind.
I'm slow.
I realize that.

So we had a good time at Costco and August was all about his Mer today. He wanted me to push the cart and I did. When I got a sample of some chicken stir fry thing he went a little nuts though.
"Don't eat it! NO!" he said. I'm not sure why he felt so negatively about a tiny cupful of rice and chicken and vegetables but he did. At least when it came to me ingesting it.
I, however, was starving and said, "I'll just eat it over here where you can't see me," and ducked behind a display of something.
It was pretty delicious and I haven't died yet so...
August always wants to see the giant frozen crabs at Costco. This is a thing we do every time we go. We look at those crab legs which are bigger than his legs and the absolutely enormous Alaskan Crabs which sell for almost $300 apiece.
Do people really buy those? They must. They should sample that shit.

When we checked out, the lady who unloaded our cart was the same lady who thinks August is the funniest guy in the world because when she asks him how he is, he always says, "Pretty good." She asked him today and he told her he was pretty good and she laughed and laughed and said, "I'm so glad you never change!"
August likes her. Last time we saw her he wanted to go back and see that "sweet lady."

So it was a good time at the Costco as almost always and I was glad because I've been a bit down today. One of those days where the tears are just right there behind your eyes, waiting to gush at any stray word which triggers their release. Feeling as if my life is as meaningless as a vestigial tail although not nearly as interesting.

Well. I don't need to dwell on that one.

Today was Owen and Gibson's last day of school for the year and I am looking forward to trips to the Wacissa and lunches at Japanica with them. I need to see more of those boys. I need to figure out some projects I can do with them that will keep them interested. It's not as easy as the old days when they were completely happy to sit on the stairs and have me throw a big, soft ball to them and have them throw it back while we listened to the Rolling Stones.
Oh. Those were the days, my friend.

This is what it looked like when I took my walk this morning.

Heat and moisture. I did get out a little earlier but it was only the slightest bit less torturous. 

You should see the mosquitoes which have hatched and are hungry since the storm. 
No. Not really. No one should have to see this many mosquitoes. Deet is our friend. And don't suggest anything like lavender oil because that stuff does not work for mosquitoes who are this desperate to suck blood. Trust me on this. 

Love...Ms. Moon, The Incredibly Pitiful Grandmother Whose Tick Bite Still Itches

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I Celebrate The Small

It wasn't raining this morning and my cold is but a tattered remnant and thus, I had no excuse not to walk and so I walked and it was hard.
It was really hard.
I simply HAVE to start getting out earlier when it is a little cooler.
I remember when Hank and May were teens and Lily and Jessie were still quite young how I would get up at 5:45 almost every morning and walk for an hour in the dark neighborhoods, simply because that was the only time I had to spare. My god, but I was so motivated then! I remember how it felt though, seeing the houses come awake, coming to know which houses started their days earlier than the others, feeling sorry for the sleepy children who had to be shuttled off to child care so very early so that a parent could get to an early morning shift somewhere. I walked those same streets for years, the only alone time I had all day, and as hard as it was, I think I cherished it too.

"Cherish" is not the word I would use to describe my walks but eventually, when it cools off again, I think I will.

Nothing really going on in my life right now. I suppose the biggest news is that last night almost all of the young chicks decided to spend the night in the hen house with the grown-ups. Was this a group decision? Is there a rooster in the bunch who dictated this behavior? Or was it a sudden instinct, a knowing, of them all that now it is time? I have no idea but as with so many things about chickens, I am so delighted to watch this behavior, to see how they seem to know what to do and when it's time to do it, all on their own. I wonder when we will start getting eggs. Not for months, I am sure. And until then, I will just cherish them for their presence in my life, their funny ways, their innate intelligence about all things chicken, and enjoy watching them grow and develop into such different, beautiful birds.

The black-eyed peas and okra are coming up. All of this rain has just pushed them out of the dirt.
Mick is doing okay. Every day he seems a little bit better. I can see him right now, standing sentinel by the hen house, waiting for his ladies to come in safely.

And so it goes, once again. A day of sweating and laundry and doing the grocery shopping and ironing some shirts and trying to figure out what to make for supper. The pieces of the puzzle which, when all fit together show the picture of a mostly uneventful human life. I think that some people's lives would require those teeny-tiny thousand puzzle pieces while mine is more like a puzzle for a preschooler- big, sturdy pieces that you can put together on the floor and even stomp on to make the pieces fit.

I'm not complaining.

I'm making risotto tonight. I'm pretty excited about that.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Ms. Magnolia June was happy to come and play at Mer's house today. First thing she wanted to do was to go wake up the dollies. Which she did. They were sleeping right where she'd left them the last time she visited. We had some eggs and toast for our breakfast which we both enjoyed and we walked through the rain to go let the chickens out. When it cleared some, she wanted to go feed the goats, so we did.

I wish I had a nickel for every picture of a grandchild feeding that particular goat I've posted on this blog. Maggie rubbed its little nose and shrieked with delight. 
This was unlike when she tried to pat Maurice who scratched her arm and made her cry. Which did not last long. It wasn't much of a scratch. But JESUS, Maurice! What the hell? Jack, of course let her pet him and snuggled up with us and purred because he's a normal cat. 
Well, normal for cats. 
The other night Jack did something that I'm still sort of boggling about. Before Mr. Moon comes to bed, Jack and I get all cozy in the bed and I read and he tries to get between me and my book and he taps my face or my arm with his paw which can be annoying but I tolerate it because he just wants attention and don't we all? 
Often, when my husband gets in bed with us, we spend a little time telling Jack how handsome he is and we pat his head and stroke his back and we were doing this the other night when I said, "Jack, show Daddy what you do when you want my attention when I'm reading." 
First of all, yes, we call each other "mommy" and "daddy" to the cats and that's so silly but we do it. I don't know why. We just do. 
So, Jack sits there for a minute, thinking about things, I would assume, and then he carefully reaches out his paw and taps me on the mouth a few times to illustrate what it is he does when he wants my attention. 
We were both rather boggled. I mean, he was already getting a lot of attention from us and it seriously appeared as if he was just doing what I'd asked him to do.
I have a theory that cats actually understand spoken language as well as any human but of course they do not want us to know that. I also think they can talk and I have actually heard a cat talk and I don't mean I mistook a meow for anything else. 
No. There were words. 
And every now and then a cat will let slip that they understand you and once in a very, very long while one will speak. But of course they know that any human who reports these things is going to be laughed at or disbelieved or accused of drunkenness or perhaps mental illness so they blow our minds, pretend it didn't happen, and laugh at us behind our backs. 

Oh my goodness! It is pouring rain here right now and a huge crack of thunder just announced that we are not done with the aftereffects of Alberto yet. I can't believe how tired this weather makes me. After Maggie left, it was all I could do to tidy up and eat my lunch before I had to lay down and take a little nap. Maggie certainly hadn't worn me out. She was a sweet girl and not very demanding and she wasn't here for very long. But I could hardly keep my eyes open.
But I'm not tired of the rain yet. It soothes and comforts me. It reassures me in ways I can't describe. It restores my soul, even as it restores the green earth and the blue rivers. 

Here's a picture of a few of the chicks, out in the world in between showers. 

It may well be Apricot (the bird on the right) who is the rooster. We shall see. 

And by the way- where is Melania Trump? 

I have three theories. They are as follows:

1. She's left the Donald and has moved into a new apartment but they're just not telling anyone.
2. Whatever medical issue she had was far more serious than they are letting on. 
3. She had plastic surgery and is waiting for the bruises to heal. 

What do you think? Am I petty for even wondering? 

I have no idea but I do know that I have a darling granddaughter and she makes me laugh. Especially when she's doing something she knows I wouldn't approve of so she points a pudgy little finger at me and says, "You leave now." 
That girl. She's got a mind of her own and I am in awe of it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 28, 2018


Another Rachel photo.

Stormy Weather

I've been as lazy today as I can recall being. My entire productive output besides the usual laundry and stuff was cleaning out the poopy hay in the chick night roost and in the big chicken's nests. That took about fifteen minutes including hauling it out to the garden and spreading it around for mulch.

I started sewing on a dress for Magnolia which I'd cut out the other day but something's wrong with the tension on my old Singer and I can't fix it for love nor money. I got out the amazing little instruction booklet which came with the machine but as usual when I try to figure out tension, I just give up. I have no idea how it could have gotten so out of whack unless a little person fooled around with my Featherweight last time it was out which is entirely possible. I did a full lube and oiling of the machine this morning before I started sewing and I guess I could have screwed something up there but I doubt it. Oh, who knows? But there are videos on Youtube, of course, and I'll work on it sometime but that time was not today.
Instead, I took a nap.

Subtropical Storm Alberto has turned out to be not much. We got a tiny bit of wind and some good rain but nothing scary at all. I'd say something positive about the electricity but I don't want to jinx things. I've been in good contact with the Dog Island pirates and they've been having a great time. The pictures they've sent have been tremendous.

Rachel sent me this one. 
Click on it to see the full amazingness. 

This morning Anna reported that the herons and pelicans and osprey were feeding like crazy and the mullet were jumping in large numbers. Yesterday they said the bay was filled with rays. I have to say I'm somewhat jealous. To be out there during a storm that isn't particularly dangerous but one that calls forth the storm behavior of the creatures, both of sea and of air and which draws the water up and then sends it out, which chops it into waves and then smooths it out again, which fills the sky with bruise and with silver- well. That's got to be something.
They're not going to be able to come home tomorrow which was their plan, because the boat captain doesn't want to risk the crossing until the next day.
I do not think they are too disappointed.
Or at all.
I just hope they have enough tequila.

Seems to me that Mick's been acting a bit stronger today and the chickens of the young flock have spent a lot of time scratching in the little strip of underbrush and trees between the hen house and the railroad track. They sure are growing fast right now.

Mr. Moon's been working on his bathroom all day long. He's got the floor tiled and is working on the shower floor. He so sweetly stopped work when I laid down for a nap although I told him not to. I would not trade that man for anything on this earth. We've spent a lot of alone time this weekend and it's been nice. We still make each other laugh and we're still pretty sweet on each other and I can't imagine anything better.

Ms. Magnolia's coming over tomorrow morning while her mommy gets a root canal.
Poor Lily!
But it's good that she's getting this taken care of and I'll be glad to see my granddaughter. She needs some MerMer and chicken time. Maybe we'll stroll up to the post office and then pick some green beans.
We'll see.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Something's wrong with my blog and the comments situation because I did not get notified of one comment via email on my last post and that was a bit sad for me but I just checked the actual post and see that I did get some comments and I am so grateful.
I mean- I actually DID something yesterday and had pictures of turtles and stuff. Which is far more exciting than what I usually post.
So. Thank you for the comments. Always. I try to act like it doesn't matter and I never check my stats but it is nice to know that I'm not all alone here in Lloyd. Just me and my chickens and my cats and my husband and my grandchildren and my children and my books and garden and Rolling Stones videos.
Poor me.

We've had a very low-key but very cozy day here. Alberto, the either sub-tropical or tropical storm depending on what you read and I have no idea what the difference is, is making its way up the Gulf.

I hear that Cozumel is back to being sunny and beautiful while we're getting rain and a little wind now and then. Nothing much although I will say that when I woke up and went outside this morning I could feel that a-storm-is-coming feeling that all of us who live in hurricane target areas know so well. A literal calm before the storm which has a tint of green and uneasiness to it. But I don't think it's going to end up being much besides a lot of rain. Hank and Rachel and their posse on Dog Island are sitting it out even though there's been an evacuation order for all of the barrier islands in Franklin County. The order is seemingly being ignored by everyone and I imagine there will be a hell of a good party at Harry A's tonight on St. George Island which is just a bit west of Dog Island. St. George does have a bridge and a lot of residents and vacationers, and Harry A's is the venerable and beloved bar where everyone does indeed know your name. And if they don't, they will in about five minutes. If you haven't fallen off a bar stool at Harry A's, you aren't really a member of the community.
(And, in truth, I never have and it's not a goal of mine to do so but never say never.)

So Mr. Moon and I sat on the couch this afternoon and watched a movie and ate popcorn which we NEVER do. Dang. This is the weekend for doing things we never do. First hot dogs, now this. The movie was While We're Young and frankly, I was highly unimpressed. There were a few good moments but I liked the popcorn better than the movie. Still, it was fun just sitting on the couch and cuddling up to the man.

The rain's coming down pretty good now. I don't see any of the chickens but a little while ago Mr. Moon and I went out to do a garden viewing (the tomatoes are getting eaten into lace) and we saw that the youngsters have made it as far as the inside of the fence and we about burst our buttons with pride. As they ran the length of the fence I said, "We have a herd of chickens!" and it appears that we do. Mick is hanging in there and doing his best. He is still eating heartily which heartens me.

I have a refrigerator full of leftovers and even though I consider myself to be a master at combining things to make soup of, I just cannot figure out how to meld what I have at the moment into something edible. I could go with the venison roast with potatoes and carrots and green beans and the black beans and rice but I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how rock shrimp, cheese grits, fried tomatoes, hot dogs and baked beans could possibly marry with them.
Wouldn't be prudent, as the elder Bush always said. Throw in the carrot and raisin salad (which was delicious, by the way) and it would just be a damn mess. All of the sherry in the world would not make this taste good.
I think I'm just going to heat everything up, set it all out on the counter, put every condiment I can think of on the table and hand my husband a plate.
"Have at it!" I will say.
And whatever's left is going to the chickens because my refrigerator is so full of bags of carrots and beets and green beans and peas that I can't find anything.

What a terrible problem to have, right?

Also, my tick bite itches like holy hell and I have a chigger bite which is itching too and my house is infested with what we call sugar ants and yes, they do bite, goddamn it.
Storms, be they subtropical, tropical, or full blown hurricanes, heat, humidity, Florida Man, insects, Florida Woman, (P)rick Scott, alligators, salt-water crocodiles, bears, wild cats, snakes, and mildew- as I asked yesterday- WHY do I live in Florida?

Because I'm too lazy to move, I suppose.

I'm just livin' the dream, y'all. Living the dream. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 26, 2018

It's Hard To Beat A Two-Turtle Day

The lamp is home! And I had such a good time getting it.
It's been a good day in general. When I was having my coffee on the porch, I heard the unmistakable sound of a teenaged rooster trying out his crowing. The littles were all still in their shelter so I'm not sure which one it was but I'm thinking it might be Big Daddy because as soon as I let them out he ran straight for the door without stopping to eat a morsel while the rest of the young chicks arranged themselves around the feeder the way they do in the morning as if they had never eaten in their lives.

Mr. Moon said that he would go with me to Monticello today to buy the lamp and I was grateful because not only would that be fun but I also wanted to buy a little chest of drawers I saw yesterday. It wasn't a superior piece of furniture but would be nice in a bathroom or on a porch. So we drove back to the little town and went into Wag the Dog and wouldn't you know the dresser was already sold but the lamp was still there and I claimed it and it was mine.

We went to a real antique store and wandered around but nothing caught our eye that was priced anywhere near where we would have considered buying. What's up with these places? I looked at a nice smallish Jadeite bowl that they were asking forty-nine dollars for which is ridiculous and I bet you any amount of money that thing will still be there collecting dust a year from now. But it was pleasant to wander around and the upstairs part of the shop is the best. It feels...haunted. If not by the rooms themselves, than by the objects resting there.

It really is a beautiful space, though. Here's the room facing the street where light pours in through the windows.

Whenever I see those massive wooden headboards I always think that if I had one I would constantly be afraid that it would fall on me either in my sleep or during love making and kill me dead. 
Although dying during either of those activities would not be so bad, I suppose. 

We ate our lunch at a different place than the one Jessie and I ate at yesterday. This one is more down home and diner-like with no pretensions except for in the name which includes the word "eatery." When did "eatery" become a word? When did "conversate" become a word? When did "read" become a noun? I especially hate that one. 
"It was a really good read."
What's next? "We had a really enjoyable feed"?
That's probably already in use. 
Okay. Sorry for the senseless segue. 

But the place we ate had fried EVERYTHING! Almost. Fried dill pickles and fried green tomatoes for sure. Those were on the list of the premium side orders which you could get with your sandwich for an extra dollar. Mr. Moon and I both got chicken salad salads (yes, I had chicken salad yesterday and no, I can't get enough chicken salad) which was a big glob of chicken salad on some nice greens, period, the end. With dressing. 
It wasn't bad. It was, as August would have said, "Pretty good," although on our way home I declared that next time, fuck it, I'm just getting something fried. 

We stopped at the Winn Dixie on the way home because I needed to pick up a few things. I'd asked Mr. Moon what he wanted for supper and he said "hot dogs" which is hysterical because we NEVER eat hotdogs. Well, I think he might buy one at Lowe's now and then but, seriously?
He also wanted baked beans and potato chips. I can't even remember the last time there were potato chips in this house. 
But, that's what we're having. I got the best hot dogs the Winn Dixie had to offer as well as the best hot dog buns (Pepperidge Farm). I got canned chili sauce for hot dogs, I got Chow-Chow. I got a can of baked beans. And since we both ate about half a bushel of salad greens for lunch, I don't feel a lot of guilt about not making a real salad but I am going to make a carrot and raisin salad and I guess that's real. 
Real enough. 

On the trip home we saw this.

Prettiest little Florida box turtle you ever saw, seemingly paralyzed on the center line. We turned around and pulled off the road and took it to the side it had been heading before he (she?) became confused or scared or whatever.

That's its little nose peaking out. 

And THEN, on another road, we saw another Florida box turtle crossing the road. 
Pull over. Check it out. 
This little guy was not paralyzed and by the time we got to it, he'd made his way safely into the weeds. He'd gotten rained on a little bit so his shell was nice and shiny and lovely. 

I guess it's mating season or something. This may sound ridiculous, but it was thrilling for me to have two such encounters in one day. 

And then, to top it all off, I got a row of black-eyed peas and a row of okra planted. I'm so glad. What a relief! Since we're about to get a whole bunch of rain, it was good timing. 
There was a lot more I could have done in the garden but I'm not feeling that great so I stopped at those two rows and came in and took a shower. While I was taking that shower I discovered a tick embedded in one of my bosoms. Really? In my own personal breast? Indeed it was. 
I hate those motherfuckers. 

But it's been a full day and the news about Ireland giving women the ability to control their own bodies and lives is thrilling. I have been reading the "In Her Shoes" posts on Facebook which Jo has shared which have horrified, angered, and touched me so deeply. I am so proud of Ireland for standing up to the powerful Catholic church which has held that country in such tight chains for so long. First, same-sex marriage and now this! 

Oh! Here's what the magnolias look like today.

If you could only smell my hallway...

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 25, 2018

I'm Just A Little Bit Sick Which Is A Huge Relief

So yesterday I was whining about how wimpy I've been on my walks this week, how the heat and humidity have just slayed me and how I had NO ENERGY and blah, blah, blah and suddenly, I realized after I posted that I am sick.
Yep. I'm so rarely sick with anything that it takes me awhile to realize it when I am but Jessie and her boys have all had a cold this the past week or so and now I have it too. Sore throat, congestion, cough, aches and pains and no energy? Hmmmm....
It must not be too bad- I mean, I did walk over twenty miles this week but yeah, it wasn't easy and there's a reason.
Well, besides being old and it being very hot and humid. But it would appear that I am not dying which is what my anxious old woman brain always tells me is happening if I don't feel well.
"Yep. It's finally happening. You are dying. Get your affairs in order. This is a terminal illness. Code red. Code red. Code red."

I did let the chicks out this morning and I'm not sure they all took advantage but some of them surely have. Right now I'm waiting to see if they can figure out how to get back in. Life is not easy for young chickens and there is a lot to learn. I saw Vera (or was it Viv?) scratching in the same space as Darla who reached over and beaked her head and thus, the pecking order is already being established.

Anyway, Jessie and the boys came out and we had a Monticello outing. We went to our favorite place to eat which is called The Rev cafe and Jessie got a blackened redfish sandwich and I got a chicken salad sandwich and it was delicious. Here's the view from the Rev.

Jefferson County Courthouse. Stately, isn't it? The clock tower bells chime on the hour and traffic goes politely around the round-about and stops for pedestrians. Monticello is pretty darn cool in some ways. 

After lunch of course we had to go to Wag The Dog, a thrift store which supports the humane society where we always find treasures for cheap. August got to play with toys and so did Levon and the cranky old lady who doesn't like kids to play with the toys wasn't there so all was well. Here's August wearing roller skates and holding a telescoping Mickey Mouse light saber. We think it was a light saber. 

His little legs were just going everywhere and he was laughing and laughing. 

I got some nice old dishtowels, the kind that are made of good heavy cotton, a large vegetable ristra, 

and a book. I saw a lamp that I liked but Jessie and a friend I texted the picture to both said, "NO!"

The shade was really nice and dang it, I think I might go back tomorrow and buy it. Fifteen bucks. I'm the queen of funky lamps and that one is truly oldish and why not? Life is short. 
Putti are simply under appreciated these days. 

So that was fun but I was ready to come home and so we bought our cool stuff and stopped at the Farmers Market for green peanuts to boil and green tomatoes to fry. 

Here's what Levon looked like today.

Cute as always. 

We're supposed to be getting a sub-tropical storm this weekend. Sub-tropical. Hmmmm...
What that means, supposedly, is that we're going to get a bunch of rain. Right now the system is forming over Cozumel and is going to head up through the gulf straight towards us as these things always do. Hank and his cohorts are on Dog Island for the weekend and for their sake, I hope it's not too bad. Thank GOD that Rachel is going because she planned and organized the food and supplies and so I know they won't die of hunger or thirst if they get stranded out there because the boat which transports them can't risk the seas. 
Let us wish them luck. Going to the Dog is always an adventure.

In sad news, Mick does not seem to be doing well today. He has been eating and moving around but his walking seems more difficult and he's spent a lot of time laying down which is not usual for him. Or for any chickens, really. Unless they're laying down and taking a nap in the sand or dirt, they are on two legs, walking about and scratching or searching for new places to scratch. 
I'll let you know how that goes. 
Not to be heartless but I wonder if my neighbor would give me Dearie The Rooster back? Although I have no idea how I'd catch him. 

And please note those magnolias in the first picture. Mr. Moon brought them home to me today and my hallway smells like lemony heaven. I'll take a picture tomorrow when they open for the daylight. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Happy Birthday, May!

It is well and truly May's birthday today and I spoke with her this morning before she headed off to St. Augustine. This is the birthday she is turning forty and how I, a forty-seven year old woman (in my own head) have a forty-year old child is beyond me and let's not mention that Hank is going to turn 42 in a few weeks.
I told her what I'd written on her card yesterday which is that I honestly think that a woman's forties are her best decade when she is at the peak of her powers and her glory.
She said that when she woke up this morning she felt relieved. That here it was and let's see what happens now.
I love the post I wrote about her birth three years ago and you can read that here, if you never have. I look back on the memories of the day she was born and I can't even believe that I was ever twenty-three years old, giving birth to my second child and already the mother of an almost two-year old. But I was and May was my newborn baby and I was starry-eyed in wonder and bliss and as happy as a human woman can be, having just given birth and thus, having assisted in the process of a person coming into being, from that world to this.
That universe to this?
Whatever. I had been the portal and was now infinitely rewarded with this precious baby, this unique and wonderful life, my May baby.

Of course I've been thinking about all of that all day long and it has been a long day for me. My walks are just getting almost too hard to continue with at this pace and length in this heat and humidity. Instead of feeling as if I am getting stronger, I feel as if I am doing the opposite, being wimpier every day as I climb the hills and wish for nothing more than it all to be over with. And it is hard to get to sleep at night. My left leg bothers me from thigh to foot and it takes a long, long time to get comfortable enough to fall asleep and if I do fall asleep, I constantly wake up, in another sort of discomfort. After my walk I have little energy left for the rest of the day and that's not good. And forget naps- again, I can't get comfortable.
And if that doesn't suck, I don't know what does.
So why am I doing this?
Oh hell. I have no idea. Because I'm a stubborn old woman, I suppose. And because I can.

Anyway, so I took my walk and I've tried my best to be somewhat productive for the rest of the day. I cut out a dress for Ms. Maggie June and I tried out the new iron I bought myself at Costco yesterday as a present (haha! just kidding, no, not really kidding) and it had parts made of the sort of crap plastic that you might see toys made out of at the Dollar Store and it appeared not to be designed for human use so fuck it- I'll be taking that back. I also mopped the kitchen and microscopic laundry space and teeny tiny bathroom. It's been so long since I've done that that Maurice was a bit worried and disconcerted.

What the hell, human?

There have been no more chicken incidents although I have decided to let the littles out of the coop tomorrow. I think they are big enough and ready. They literally hurl themselves against the door which I've been keeping closed which allows access from the hen house and outside to the coop. How do they know that this is how to get out? I do not know but when they aren't hurling, they are huddling against it. They want to join the big world of scratching and hunting and exploring and dirt-napping and sunbathing and it's just time. 
I dreamed last night that I was taking care of a bunch of baby chicks and I had a habitat to put them in but I kept forgetting that they weren't fish and so I would fill the habitat with water and then panic, remembering that they were chicks and draining the water but then cats kept coming in to get them and I had to wrestle babies away from cat paws and I couldn't find anything to put over the shelter to keep the cats out and, well, I guess I'm having a little anxiety about their safety.
What a strange and wonderful thing evolution is which gives us all the innate sense that we need to protect babies, whether our own or others in the human sense and also chicks and kittens and puppies and wild birds and, and, and...
Not to mention how some of us feel about seedlings.
And can I just say that interspecies mothering is one of my very favorite things about life on earth?

And then there's this.

We just can't help it. 

Love is love. 

OH! It's Bob Dylan's birthday today too. He is seventy-seven. Let's wish him all the best and like all of my favorite musicians who are still alive, he's still touring, still playing, still being no one but himself, doing what he was put here on earth to do. 

Okay. I'm tired. I swear to you that I am more exhausted right now than I was on the night of May's birth. 
Age'll do that to you. Also, a lack of hormones. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Whole Big Crazy Soup Of It All

I swear to god, I need to learn my lesson. It seems to me that every time I write a whole bunch about my chickens, something happens.
And last night was a prime example and I am so sad and so confused and feel so guilty.
As sometimes happened, we didn't get around to closing up the chickens until later in the evening. Like, okay, it was after nine. And Mr. Moon went out to do it and he didn't come in for a long time and when he did I only had to look at him to know something was wrong.
And it was.
He had found a small dead possum near the clothesline which is about fifty or so feet from the hen house and Camellia was gone.
Now. How these two are connected, I do not know but that's what he found.
And something traumatic must have happened because Mick and the girls did not want to go outside today and I just feel so, so terrible.
My dear Camellia. The chicken that Kathleen left me. The hen that came on the porch every time she saw me, wanting a little handful of cat food.
Hell, some of her poop is still on the porch.
But she is gone.
I found a few feathers leading to the woods and I'm sure something dragged her off but how that has anything to do with a dead possum I can't begin to tell you. And no, I don't think it was that dog because the dog kills but he doesn't eat and in this case, there was no body.

So. I started my day with woe and had had strange and upsetting dreams and I no more wanted to walk than I wanted to go dig a ditch but I knew I needed to get out and walk off a bit of my sadness and anxiety. So I did. I only did three miles but they were fast miles. And I feel as if I'd gone seven miles and I am seriously not sure how long I'm going to be able to keep this up as the heat increases.
But. That's a matter for another day.

Part of the reason I was rushing was because we were all meeting up where May works because tomorrow is her birthday and she and her beloved Michael are leaving to go to St. Augustine tomorrow to stay a few days, to relax and have fun and NOT WORK. But we all wanted to see her and we had a sweet lunch even though, to add to my perpetual guilt, my darling girl had to work while we were celebrating her.
Ah-lah. You make do as you can.
And in between customers there were presents and cards.

And of course there were babies and hugs and kisses. 

That little girl got mad at me because I wouldn't let her have the gum she snitched out of my purse and she tapped me on the forehead and said, "YOU GO YOUR HOME!" 
Which I thought was the funniest thing ever. 
Of course, by the time she left, she was begging to ride in my car and come to my home herself so there you go. She's a spitfire, that one. And oh, how I love her! 

Here we all are and I cried when I gave May her last hug goodbye because I love this family so much. We are so different in so many ways and yet, we just purely love each other. I know it sounds absurd but there just don't seem to be any small niggling grudges or resentments. We joke about our strengths and our weaknesses, we tell stories on ourselves and each other and we laugh and we laugh. We are the luckiest people I know in so many ways because we have each other. 

Hank and Rachel gave me a card for my blogoversary. 

And what Shel Silverstein said there is probably exactly what I'm trying to say. We tell each other all the time how fabulous we all are and we know it to be the truth. 
Am I bragging? 
Oh, I don't know. Maybe. 
But maybe I'm just a very proud mama and maybe what my family considers to be fabulousness is not what every family would consider to be fabulousness but we know what we know. We believe what we believe. 

See? Fabulousness. You just can't deny it. 

Rest in peace, dear Camellia. You were loved immensely and we appreciate all of the beautiful pale green eggs you gave us which delighted us in their form and fed us with their delicious protein. I wish I had done better by you. I really do. You, too, were fabulous in every way. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. I just saw Mick have his way with Darla. I think he's going to live. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Blogoversary. No Cake, But There Are Chicken Pictures

Another hot, muggy day. I'd like to say that the weather is "sultry" but I think that "practically unbearable" would be more accurately descriptive. I tried to wait until the rain passed before taking my walk because the radar showed that it would and I mostly did but by then it had heated up considerably and, well, I kept my eyes to the ground on the uphill parts and just did not stop which was more of an exercise in will than of body. And yes, I got rained on. Which was fine.

Blah, blah, blah. The fact is, no one is holding a gun to my head, forcing me to do this.

So in the picture above, starting with that reddish bird in the lower left hand corner of the circle (haha!) we have Nicey, and moving clockwise you see either Vera or Viv, then Babette, Apricot, Dearie, Hawkeye, Vera or Viv, Dixie, and Pansy. The one up at the top there is Eggy Tina.
I think. I sent this picture to Mr. Moon.

"Name your eagle!" I texted him. 
He wrote back, "Big Daddy works unless it's a Big Momma." 
We are going to go with Big Momma for now. Or, Big Mama, as I would spell it. Isn't she pretty? 

For one more lagniappe chicken picture I give you this.

Eggy Tina perched on a collard stalk. 

Mick is truly and noticeably walking better and has been more active today. I am so glad. 
The little ones are soon going to be big enough to leave the coop and boy, do they want to! They rush the sliding door which I close before I let them out of their shelter in the morning, knowing somehow that this is the portal to the outside. Pansy is still so little that I'm a bit wary of letting them go out but it will happen before too long. It will be so interesting to see if any of them are roosters and claims them as his flock or if Mick will be the husband to them all. There is always a lot of social standing stuff to be worked out when new ones join an established flock. I seriously find it fascinating to watch personalities come out as every one finds their place in the whole. 

I am actually following a recipe for tonight's supper. A black bean soup from the New York Times. It is not your traditional black bean soup but it seemed intriguing and so we shall test that out. Once again, I love the comments made on the recipe site, one woman did not even pretend to mess with the recipe that the NYT's presented but who gave her own basic recipe with the assurance that this is the way to make black bean soup. I also used a recipe for Cuban bread which is rising but I've never been able to fully succeed with that one. Mine never has the right combination of crunchy crust and soft insides but who knows? Perhaps tonight will be the night. 

And so it goes, once again. Another day completely filled with the tiniest things, the many prosaic threads which, woven together, create the colorful tapestry which is my very own life. It is actually the eleventh anniversary of Blessourhearts and there is no way I can believe that. 
As always, THANKS HANK!
Google assures me that I have published 7, 541 posts and I don't doubt that. As I said the other day, I talk too much. 
Well, la-di-dah. 
I love this blog with all of my heart and I love every one of you who's ever come here and found something of worth. If there is such a thing as a room of one's own, I've found it here. 
And in doing so, I've found a community which nourishes, delights, amazes, astounds, comforts, and educates me. 
I have found heart-sisters and heart-brothers, too. In times of joy, my joy has been shared. In times of despair, I have found help. 
Pretty crazy. 
Pretty precious.
Pretty much a miracle. 

See you tomorrow. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 21, 2018

Nature Is Out To Kill Us All

It's muggy and although it's not that hot, I'm sticky even after having taken a shower after my walk. It's raining intermittently, the sound of it comes and goes, one moment the sun shining brightly above all as if it had never rained, would never rain again and then as soon as you turn your head, it's gray again and the patter or flood continues. The frogs croak, birds are whistling for some reason near the back porch. Is there a baby in distress which the parents are talking about?
I hope not but nature guarantees nothing when it comes to the safety of a nest full of baby birds.
Mick appears a little stronger every day. He even crowed a bit this morning. I suppose that it's sensible natural instinct for a wounded rooster not to crow. He doesn't want to attract any sort of belligerent or threatening attention. Best to slip under the radar as best he can, simply following his girls around, calling them if he finds something tasty to eat. I cleared a few leftovers from the refrigerator today and split them up between the babies and the big birds which everyone seemed to appreciate but greens from the garden still seem to be the babies' favorite food. I picked them a kale plant today and they rushed to it with great fervor, standing on the stalk to get to the bug-eaten leaves and probably some of the bugs as well.
I don't know why but I simply love being able to give my chickens garden food almost as much as I love being able to serve it to my humans. It is a satisfaction. It is a thing I can do which just seems correct in all regards. When the greens are past our eating them, the chickens are so glad to take what is left. And as they eat these greens, they will grow faster and stronger and in a few months, will be laying us eggs.
If all goes well.
If there's one thing I've learned it's that not only is it unwise to count our chickens before they are hatched, it is also senseless to count our eggs until they are laid.
I am glad I have given them names. That is completely silly but still, I like being able to say, "Hello Pansy. How's it going, Dixie? Oh, Hawkeye, you are looking fetching today."
And so forth.
Of course no one but me ever remembers the names I give these chickens although Jessie may remember this flock's names, seeing as she literally has the sister flock.
Still. Humans like to name things whether with Latin names or common names or proper noun names. It is the way we are.

My walk this morning slayed me. The anti-chafing measures I took worked well so that was not the problem. I am going to blame it on the fact that it had been since last Wednesday that I had walked and also this humidity. I did go seven miles but had truly wanted to go eight. I had no real plans today except the usual housework stuff and going to Publix so time wasn't an issue.
For my mind, maybe.
It appeared to be for my body though which after about three miles was unhappy as could be but you know- when you're out there in the middle of nowhere there's not much to do except keep walking. You can't call a cab, as I have said so often.
And I felt beat down considerably after it was all over and honestly, still do. But I have kept going and done what needed to be done and even ironed a bit. The yellow flies are back and seem to be bigger this year than I've ever seen them. I got bit on my walk and also got bit several times when I was in the garden although I did take my time and slap the hellfire out of one of them on my leg, remembering what Kathleen taught me which is that they do not take off straight up when they are alarmed, but aim forwards as they try to escape and I killed that demon insect without doubt.
There was blood.
Motherfuckers. How I hate them. The bites hurt and itch and torment me. I am generally a very tolerant person when it comes to bugs whether they be spiders or caterpillars or beetles or even the little black sugar ants which get into everything I don't take the time to put away properly which means to put in the refrigerator.
But when it comes to mosquitoes and roaches and the yellow flies, I feel no mercy. It's me against them and although I know exactly who is going to win the game for planetary superiority, I still have to make my stand when it comes to my own personal house and body.
Ah, Florida.
I always think of my grandparents and some of their friends who, for a few years, spent their winters in Roseland where the weather was so mild and sunny compared to what it was like in their homes on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee and who eventually sold those mountain homes and moved to Roseland full time.
Yes, of course they could enjoy picking their own citrus off their own trees and yes, they probably saved thousands in heating costs but my god, suddenly they were dealing with bugs and snakes and critters and jungle and unrelenting summer heat which must have been a most unpleasant shock.
But they traded their wool suits for seersucker and they kept hoes and machetes to kill the rattlesnakes and coral snakes with and they bought fans which oscillated and learned to eat tuna salad for supper rather than pot roast and they played canasta and tended their fruit trees and loved their birds at the feeder and watched the sun set over the river and they did not whine about any of it.

Well, I am not them but I honor them and their ability to adjust, to cope, to learn to drink warm sulfur water and to burn Pic Mosquito Repelling Coils and to welcome the truck which sprayed what must have been pure DDT but which solved the bug problem for a little while at least.

Time to go make supper.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 20, 2018

I Talk Too Much

Last night was so sweet. August was tired because he was too excited to take a nap yesterday and he sort of fought eating his supper a teeny tiny bit as he knew that was the first step in getting ready to go to bed for the night. But as soon as we sat him down in front of his plate he ate almost an entire sweet potato, a half an ear of corn, some green beans and some pork chop. He gobbled that food down!
Then it was bath time and he swam about the big tub for awhile and then I washed him up and dried him off and got him in his pajamas and his Boppy read him a book. "Corduroy" which is one of all of the children's favorites. I read three or four more books and then it was time to get in the bed and he was a little weepy but not much and he wanted water and he got water and then it was REALLY time to get in bed and I said, "Do you want to sleep with the monkey?"
I have a very old Zippy doll that I hardly let the children touch but I knew he was going to be asleep in moments so I offered it.
"I want two monkeys," he said. Zippy sits on the mantel in that room with a miniature sock monkey that Lily made for me long ago. I handed both of them to him and he laid down and let me cover him up and I said, "I'll be right here," and I laid down on the bed next to his bed and he was asleep within a cat's twitch of a whisker.

He slept all night long, not waking until a little after eight and I heard him call me and went to him and he said, "I awake now," and I said, "I see that." How did you sleep?"
"Pretty good," he said.
Of course.
He ran to find his Boppy who'd already gotten up and I went back to sleep for a little while.
When I got up I realized that overnight, August's hair had gone all Liberace. He had a curl on the top that would not stop and where these curls have suddenly come from, I do not know. We attribute Maggie's curls to her other grandmother who has gloriously curly hair but August's curls must simply be from god.

There was chicken feeding and pancakes, there was more TV and lots of playing. 
When his mama and brother and daddy showed up, he barely registered them. I think Levon was glad to see August, though. He crawled all over him. 
Vergil helped Mr. Moon with the bathroom project for a bit and so I got to hang out with Jessie and the boys. That Levon is such a beautiful goofy fellow with his two perfect teeth in his big baby smile. I can't help but reach out for him every time he gets within arm's length. 

When it came time to leave, August cried a few tears, holding on to his grandfather but would not deign to kiss or hug his Mer. 
It was okay though because earlier when I had put his shoes on he said, "Mer is so sweet."
As with all of the grandchildren, he is his own person and whereas Magnolia can't get enough hugs and kisses, August needs very few. One must respect that and I do. 

I had a hard time sleeping last night and so I kept going through the baby chicks in my mind and I think I have named them all now. 
1. The Buff Orpington- Apricot
2. The Barred Rock- Babette
3. The smaller Americauna- Pansy
4. The larger Americauna- Eggy Tina
5. One of the black Vulture-looking Jungle Fowl- Viv
6. The other black Vulture-looking Jungle Fowl- Vera
7. One of the red/brown Jungle Fowl- Hawkeye
8. The other red/brown Jungle Fowl- Dearie
9. The Rhode Island Red- Nicey
10. The Dixie Rainbow- Dixie
11. The Wyandotte- Mr. Moon is going to name her. He likes her especially because she looks like an eagle.

So there you go for the Spring 2018 flock of chickens. I am thinking that Apricot may well be a rooster. As soon as I open the door for them in the morning, she/he flies out and begins pecking all of the other birds as they exit the little shelter. Not serious pecking but pecking nonetheless.
The pecking order is being established and if she turns out to be he I will give him a different name. A rock star name because that is how I do it. 

You know what? When I was a girl, the idea of living into the 2,000's was absolutely unfathomable. And if you'd told me that not only would I do that but that I would have the most fabulous husband in the world, four children and five grandchildren and CHICKENS, I never would have believed you. 
Nope. Would not have believed you. 
Whatever dreams I may have had (and they were few), they did not include those things. 

Well, there you go.
Life is not only what happens when you're busy making other plans, it is also what happens when you have no plans at all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Weekend Update

Well, there you go. Levon can pull up. All by himself. And Jessie reports that he just keeps doing it and it makes him so happy. If I ever saw a child determined to keep up with an older sibling, it is that child.
Well, besides Jessie.
She herself started walking at eight months and it was hysterical because she was about as big as a Barbie doll and people stared in wonder at the sight of such a miniature thing walking like a real human being. But, like Levon, she had places to go and people to keep up with. Her big sister Lily in particular.

So Levon's brother is here for the night. He arrived with his Boppy and came to find me. I was taking a nap. Unlike yesterday, I really was lazy today. Some days I can take the heat and today was not one of those days. I got out of bed and scooped that boy up and kissed him and put him down and he said, "First thing, TV!"
Mr. Moon had told me earlier today that he was just going to tell August that the TV was broken which is sort of true in that he accidentally cut the lines to the Direct TV the other day when he was trimming azaleas but of course we do have Netflix. "He's going to figure that out," I told Mr. Moon and by the time I'd washed my face and gotten myself together from my nap, they two guys were sitting in Mr. Moon's chair watching something animated about the frontier and horses and a train and a little girl and so forth. I took a picture and Mr. Moon said, "Don't send that to his mama," but I did, of course.
She doesn't care. She texted me that about an hour before Boppy showed up, August had his giraffe backpack on his back and said, "I'm just going to sit here on the floor until Boppy comes."
This reminds me of when Owen was a little fellow and he used to pull the tall stool up to the kitchen door and sit on it and wait until he saw his grandfather drive into the yard.
These kids love their Boppy so much and they should. He is the sort of man that a child can look up to in all ways and they intuit that as well as knowing how much he loves them which is immensely. I can't imagine a child feeling any safer than in his company.

Watching TV can make a man peckish so I made some delicious popcorn for the Big and Little Boppies. Boppys? Whatever.

But then August spied a peppermint in the egg bowl and wanted that and so, because we are the grandparents, we let him have it and he licked it like a cat and Mr. Washcloth had to come and get all of the peppermint stickiness off his hands. Mr. Washcloth is very fond of peppermint. 

The alphabet puzzle was put together.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've helped a little person put that thing together. 

Mick is doing all right today. He seems to be hobbling with a little less effort. Still no resolution on the dog situation. His rear end makes me so sad, though. And one of his feet seems to be a bit wonky although he can put weight on it. We'll coat his butt with the magic ointment again tonight. 

I did not get up to watch the royal wedding but every bit of it that I've seen online makes me happy if for no other reason than the fact that when Harry and Meghan look at each other they sure do seem to mean it. It would appear that Harry (how I love that name) adores her and if she doesn't adore him then she truly is one of the best actors in the world. 
And just...DAMN on how beautiful it was to see her mother sitting in that ancient chapel, trying to hold herself together and can you even imagine what was going through her mind?   
I can't. 

I better go get supper started. August didn't get a nap and I know he's going to need to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I asked him if he wanted to sleep in the big bed instead of the Pack-n-Play (not the same one that I raised the baby chicks in-don't worry) and he said, "No. I don't like a big bed."
Well, you don't put a tiny sproutling in a giant pot and he can sleep where he wants to. 

May we ALL sleep well tonight. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Tour Of Coop And Garden

Went out this morning, a little afraid of what I'd find in the chicken coop. Last night Mr. Moon held Mick and I swabbed him good with the goop I'd made of comfrey ointment, antibiotic cream, and golden seal. He did not fight us or struggle and we set him gently up in the roost. He had not been able to fly up on his own. His ladies were agitated. They know when something is very wrong. Death upsets them. Injuries do too. And of course, they had been threatened.
But this morning I found him in the coop, walking very, very slowly but eating and moving about a little bit. I thought I'd just let him hang out in the coop all day with the babies but when his hens started clucking for him, he wanted to join them and so I let him. It would be harder on him, I think, to know that his girls were untended than it was to let him roam with them the best he could.

And I've stayed here all day, keeping an eye on things. I sat on the porch this morning with the rain falling down and watched a few videos of the Stones' concert in Dublin yesterday. Ah, the old boys. I seriously do not think they will quit until one of them falls dead onstage and if it's Keith, I bet he'll have a smile on his face.
Of course that won't happen for another forty years or so.
Mick's face is ravaged, as all of their faces are except for Charlie Watts who rarely changes expression and who has lived a tamer life than the rest, I believe, but Mick has the body of a fourteen year old. That little tushy is a thing of wonder and his ability to still dance and strut and sing and run and skip is truly unbelievable. I mean, he's a great grandfather. He'll be 75 in July.
So that was a pleasant morning and I determined that I would be consciously lazy today but then it quit raining and something clicked inside of me and I started laundry and hung out sheets and then got in the garden and harvested carrots and did some weeding.

I brought all of the carrots in and scrubbed them gently. Can you see the boy carrot there? 

It was hot and it was steamy but I got back outside and pulled the shallots and the onions and oh, god. I have so many shallots. 

What am I going to do with all of those shallots? 
I have no idea. But there they are, resting on the porch to dry and cure along with some onions. 

And then I went BACK out and picked green beans and a few of the last remaining sugar snap peas. 

Maurice is unimpressed, as always. 

And that's been my day, this day which has seen yet another tragedy involving school children and guns. 
You know what? "Tragedy" does not begin to be the right word for these horrific occurrences. And to be honest with you, I feel completely hopeless. 
To the point where I have nothing to say. 
My words are as useless as hopes and prayers. 

And so I'm going to cook some grouper tonight and some of the vegetables I pulled from the earth today and I'm going to put that salve on my rooster's butt tonight and make sure that all of the chickens are as safe as they can be. I am going to sleep on my clean sheets with my husband and tomorrow night August is going to stay with us. 
What else can I do? 

I'd say Happy Friday but, hey. You know. 

Peace, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon