Thursday, May 23, 2019

Not The Best Outing At All

The day started out fine and Jessie and the boys and I drove to Monticello and August talked and talked and he talked about bulldozers and machines that can carry very, very heavy things like dirt and pieces of road and giant trees and FEMALE CHICKENS! Where did that come from?
Oh, August.
And then he asked me if for his birthday I would get him a flying thingee and Jessie and I asked him what that was and he talked and talked (he is so full of talking) about a marvelous flying thingee that sounded like a jet pack and when you are done flying it turns back into a "carrier."
I told him that he might have to invent one because I don't think we have those yet but that if I see one, I will indeed buy it for his birthday.
The Story Hour in Monticello was canceled again because Ms. Courtney had something she had to do with one of her children and Terez apologized but it was okay. We had a good time with the kid computers and books and stuffed animals.
And then we went to lunch and then Jessie dropped me off at home and I did some ironing and watched part of Above Us Only Sky, a documentary about John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Netflix and it is wonderful and you should watch it.
And then Mr. Moon came home. He had asked me yesterday if I wanted to go on a little boat ride this afternoon on the St. Marks river to try out the steering on the boat that he and Vergil worked on for hours and hours on Sunday and I said I would do that. We didn't get down to the river until six o'clock and I was grumpy already because the AC in the truck wasn't working and I know about boats. I know what they do which is to fuck up all the time and I did not have a lot of hope for this outing but I went. I was being a good wife.
Mr. Moon launched the boat and by the time we were on the water I already had two yellow fly bites and my ankles were swelling and ache-itching and it was so damn hot. SO DAMN HOT ON A RIVER AT SIX O'CLOCK IN THE EVENING and the boat steered okay but it had a big hesitation going on in the engine when we sped up and more yellow flies got on the boat when we slowed down for the manatee section of the river and then we turned around and went back to the dock and I got more bites and Mr. Moon pulled the boat out onto the trailer and then he realized that one of the tires on the trailer was flat.
Flat. Flat. Fucking flat.
I was hot. My ankles and feet were at the bursting point.
We unhooked the trailer with the boat on it and left it in a safe place at the marina and went to the only halfway decent restaurant in St. Marks and they have NO AIR CONDITIONING and there were more yellow flies and when we got our not-very good food, the regular flies came out and bombed our seafood and there was really crappy shitty rock music playing really loud.
You can only imagine how happy I was at this point. Also? I had worn my bathing suit under my dress just in case we got a chance to jump into the river which we did not and wearing a woman's bathing suit under one's clothes is not unlike wearing a body condom and it only made me hotter and more uncomfortable if that was even possible.
We drove home through the woods and forests and then Mr. Moon loaded the truck back up with the spare tire for the trailer and a jack and I don't know what all and it's 10:00 p.m. and he's now back on the road to go back to St. Mark's and put the spare on the trailer and drive home but first he has to go by Walmart for something he needs and I pleaded with him to please just call the marina and tell them that he'd be there tomorrow to fix the damn flat and get the boat and trailer out of their way although really I was just thinking that he should abandon the damn thing. Leave it there. Let them tow it away and charge us. Whatever.
He did not listen to my pleading and said he'd be fine and he wanted to get the job knocked out so I made him a coffee drink so he'll stay awake and I'm going to take at least one, maybe two Benadryl and then I'll have a shower and then I'm going to bed and, well, as I said to Mr. Moon over that accursed supper- this was not our best outing.

And I realize that really, on the whole scale of things this is not a big deal and I'm really a very weak and bitchy woman although I can't help but think of a story that Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote about an afternoon wherein she had to work outside in the Florida heat and she had some sort of bites on her legs and then got sandspurs in the bites and finally she just sort of lost it and screamed her heart out.
It was sort of like that.

Lord, I hope my husband gets home safely.

Boats. Why?

I do not know.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

My Seven Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventeenth Post

I woke up this morning dreading going to check on the little one and my fears were justified. The poor thing died in the night. I buried her in the little garden bed beside the kitchen door where her kinfolk spend so much time, clucking over and pecking the kitchen scraps I throw out for them under the bananas.
It was sad, that sweet little body so still and lifeless but if one has chickens it's just not a good thing to get completely wrapped up in any one of them, newly hatched or older.
As we all know by now.
The rest of the chicks are fine with no more of the eggs showing signs of hatching. I am going to toss the remaining four out tomorrow if there is no activity tonight. Mr. Moon and I just went out to see them and I told Darla, "Well, you killed your child."
She was completely unconcerned.

So I did an odd thing today. For me. May's birthday is coming up in two days and I went to town to shop for her a present. And I actually rather enjoyed it. May asked for presents this year that will make her feel pretty. I sure do understand that. She also said that no one had to get her a present at all and it wouldn't hurt her feelings but hey! She's my baby. So I went to a place that sells pretty-making things and I won't go into it because she might read this but I literally spent an hour walking up and down aisles and I didn't get stressed out at all. I'd stopped into an Old Navy before that and ended up getting all my toddler grands each an outfit on major sale. Little shorts and shirts for all. Now THAT got sort of stressful. Do you KNOW how many different T-shirts Old Navy has for little kids?
And after all of that I went to another store where I swear to god- I came THIS close to buying another purse. I am still in the honeymoon phase with the last purse I bought but this one was so soft. SO soft. And smooshy. My favorite. And it was a backpack bag. Which I have NO NEED OF WHATSOEVER and yet, how I wanted it. I could envision buying it, bringing it home and hiding it in my closet. Hiding it from myself because my husband certainly wouldn't mind. I imagined how I'd feel with a tiny spark of knowing that there was a brand new, completely squishy lovely bag in my closet, just waiting for me to determine it was the right time to use it. And it was on clearance!
Somehow, though, I managed not to buy it. And no, I didn't steal it either.
By the time I finished up all of this shopping, it was after three and I had not eaten lunch. I thought about going and getting a sandwich somewhere but I kept thinking about the tacos we had last night that I made with that fresh ham that I'd roasted in banana leaves. They may have been some of the best tacos I ever ate and I am not kidding. I marinated that meat for twenty four hours and then wrapped it and the marinade in banana leaves from one of my plants and then in aluminum foil and cooked it in a very slow oven for hours and hours and by the time I unwrapped it yesterday it was so tender that shredding it could have been done with spoons. It was completely unlike farm-raised pig in that it had almost no fat to it and yet, it was as juicy as could be. I mixed up the shredded meat with a sort of sauce I'd made with chili's and lime juice and tomatoes, cilantro, and a little vinegar and it looked like this.

I did a quick pickling of some finely sliced cabbage and red onions and heated up corn tortillas. The meat, the pickles, some avocados, and a little sour cream were the whole deal and we ate those tacos like we were in Mexico. 
Seriously, they could hardly have been better. 
And so I wanted more of them for my lunch and I came home and had some. It was worth the wait. 
And if you can't tell, I'm sort of proud of that meal. I am not sure I've ever used banana leaves in my cooking before but I'll be doing that again. 
And quite frankly- I'll take all the small wild pigs you bring me. In case you're wondering, there really is no such thing as a "wild" pig. Not around here, at least. They are actually ferals who have descended from escaped domestic pigs and they are considered to be a nuisance animal as they are not native and they do cause a lot of destruction to the native habitat of the indigenous animal population. 
Obviously, I have meat-eater guilt. At least I admit that. 

And one more thing- today is the 12th anniversary of the very first post of blessourhearts. I want to say that for twelve years now I have been so incredibly lucky to be able to write out my thoughts, to record births and birthdays and marriages and accomplishments and troubles and joys and gardens and chickens and insanities and Mexican sunsets and friendships and yes, even deaths of people whom I have loved tremendously. Not to mention recipes and household hints. This is a place where I've been allowed (by me!) to be profane and blasphemous and to share what is holy in my heart. 
And the community of YOU has sustained and comforted me, educated me and made me laugh for twelve years. 

Thanks, Hank! You told me to do it and I did. 
As always, my children are the boss of me and that usually turns out for the best. 

Thanks, y'all. Alla y'all. 

I love you dearly.

Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fucking Summer Already

I am miserable today. Just purely miserable. This heat is already overwhelming me. It's not even June yet and I'm not seeing how I am going to last the summer unless I spend most of my time indoors which is a little bit like being in prison for me. A beautiful prison but still- I am NOT an indoors-all-the-time person. I'm not what you'd call an outdoor woman. At least not in the sense that I like to hike and cycle or whatever it is that outdoor people do. I just like to mess around in my garden and in my yard and hang the clothes on the line and take my little walks and that sort of thing.
Which I am not tolerating as well as I used to.
It got up to 95 today and is supposed to be at least 99 this weekend.
And the GODDAM yellow flies are absolutely the worst this year that I've ever seen. I got bit on my ankles and feet today and the bites swelled up and itched and it's a sort of itching which drives me to just this side of madness. They are such fierce fuckers and when I slap them, they bleed my blood like mosquitoes but the difference in being bitten by the two insects are vast.
I think I probably post this picture every year.

This is what they look like. I always say they resemble B-52 bombers and I don't know if that's true but the way they fly so stealthily and land and start to suck and sting before you even know they're there does indeed remind me of warfare. They are also incredibly nimble and able to escape a human hand intent on smashing the life out of them. 
In other words, I hate them. 
There are few things in life that make me more apt to curse and cry than being very, very hot and having big knots of yellow fly bites itching me to distraction. 
And so it went today. 

This morning I noticed that another one of the eggs in Darla's little coop had a tiny hole in it with a little beak trying to break the shell to free the chick attached to the beak. I was cheered by this and checked the progress all morning and I could tell, eventually, that the chick was a dark colored one, unlike all the rest. Of course, Darla has been sitting on eggs that were laid not just by her but by her sister hens as well and the chances of getting a brown or black chick were good. I think that this egg was laid by Big Mama who is black and white but mostly black. I merely took note of this as an interesting fact but when I went back to see how things were going a little while later, I found the just-hatched baby with its down still matted and Darla was pecking the shit out of her. Or him. 
I watched in horror and then quickly picked the chick up and brought it in the house and set it in a large bowl lined with a dishtowel and covered it up with another and put it in my bathroom which is far warmer than the rest of the house because the vents into that room have been torn out by some creature. 
Probably an armadillo or possum. 
I had to go to the store and so I did and when I got back, the little one was still just huddled in the folds of the cloth, still matted from the hatching, not really moving but able to peep loudly if I touched it. 

After I put the groceries away I made it a better shelter in an ice chest with a heating pad set on warm covered with two towels and with food and water available. 
Y'all. I don't think she's going to make it. I think that she is perhaps too badly injured. She is just lying there, not even trying to get up. 
Nature can be so cruel. 

I researched this issue on the internet and it is not uncommon for a mother hen to peck (and kill) a chick who is sickly or who is a different color than the rest. I suppose that this is an evolved behavior which helps to protect the genes of the mother and to make sure that there is more food available for what she perceives to be her own offspring. 
Who knows? 
Certainly not me but it's sad. 

Meanwhile, the other five chicks are fine and fluffy and doing what chicks do and Darla is still being incredibly protective of them and still sitting for periods of time on the other eggs which have not hatched. 

Add all of this together- the heat, the yellow flies, the chick abuse- and I'm just, as I said, fairly miserable. Owen has a baseball game that I should be attending but I swear to you, I would die if I had to sit outside for two hours. 
Okay. Maybe not die. But close enough. 

I just went and checked on the little one. She is more fluffed and puffed and she has pooped. These are good signs, I think. I stuck her little beak in the water but I don't think she drank any. 
Time will tell. 
And just watch- I'll save that little bitty biddy life and it'll turn out to be a rooster. 
Still- thoughts and prayers, people, thoughts and prayers. 
Just kidding. 
But I think that if this one lives and it does turn out to be a rooster, I'm gonna name it Keith. 
And if it's a hen, I might name her Keithalina. 

Is that disrespectful? 

I don't think so. 

Hoping for a better tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 20, 2019

Short And Sort Of Sweet

Went out this morning to discover that once again, I do not know shit and one of those eggs was a good one and I had five little chicks whereas yesterday I had four. Not a great picture but I was trying to get all five babies in the shot. Anyway, I'm giving the rest of the eggs a few more days. I'd hate to murder the unborn.
(Eye roll.)

Here's the most interesting thing I saw on my walk this morning.

Now THAT'S a scarecrow. 
She'd scare me, at least. 

A little after lunch, Jessie and Vergil and the boys came out and Mr. Moon came home from work. Vergil had generously agreed to help my husband with the electricity situation for the dryer and he did. The boys liked the baby chicks. 

I asked August what we should name this one and he said, "Dixie" which is the name of one of Jessie's chickens but Dixie Chick is a great name and there's plenty of room in the world for at least two of them. So Dixie she shall be. I swear, Darla does NOT want me to pick up her babies. She pecks me aggressively. 
I don't really blame her although you'd think that by now she'd know that I am not much of a threat to her or her babies. 

After the electricity project, the men moved on to a boat-steering project. What I had thought was going to be a two-hour max situation has turned into something else entirely which is fine. I wrapped up my pig roast in banana leaves (yes, really) and aluminum foil and put it in a ceramic crock in a very slow oven and that's cooking but it's not going to be ready for a supper so I'm improvising with other leftovers to create an entirely new menu item which will serve four adults and two children. Luckily, that is my magic talent. 

Levon's magic talent is playing ball on the steps with his mother. 

I spent so many hours with Owen doing that same thing. 
August and I have read books and we've all played outside but had to come in because it is buggy and hot as hell. 

So that's the quick report. 

Oh! Here's a beetle I found in my library today. 

You know, I've seen some large beetles in my life but that one sort of astonished me. I wrapped it up in that paper towel and set it outside. The chickens came to examine it and a few actually pecked at it but it was too big for them. 

Florida. Such a great place to live. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Life Just Keeps On Happening

The forming blossom of the lace cap hydrangea. 

We spent today in domestic chores. First off, we had to go to Monticello to visit the Tractor supply to get chick starter feed. When we went out this morning to see how the hatch was coming along, we found four chicks and no activity visible going on with the other seven eggs. Last night when we shut the hen house up we looked under Darla again and there were still just the two chicks but one egg was being pecked from the inside, the process wherein the baby uses its egg tooth to make first a small round opening in the top of the egg and then to go from there to breaking the entire shell open enough for it to step out into the world of mama and fresh air and siblings. 
It is a long process and one that many of us want to help along, especially if we are watching the process take place in an incubator but that does the chick no favors. The whole of it is important to the chick's development and if a chick isn't strong enough to peck her way out, she probably won't be strong enough to survive. 
That's just the way it is. 
But here's what Darla and three of the babies looked like this morning when we ambushed her from behind the nest and Mr. Moon held out her wing so that I could get a good picture. 

I fretted about what to do while I made breakfast and we decided that we should clean up the little tractor-coop where other babies have been raised and I now recall that Dearie spent some time in there with her young'uns. 
First we went and bought the starter feed and when we got back Mr. Moon hauled the little coop out of the big coop and washed and scrubbed it down with bleach water and I raked the ground under where it had been sitting to clean up the old poop. We tugged and rolled and lifted the now pristine coop back to where it sits and I filled up the feeder and the waterer and added the vitamins and electrolytes and probiotics that I'd bought at the tractor supply, all combined in an orange powder that you mix into their water. I always wonder if it tastes like Tang. And then I carried Darla and Mr. Moon carried the babies to their new home. I was getting a little frantic by then because I knew those chicks needed to eat and so did Darla and indeed, she'd been on the perch by the nest trying to coax them out of the nest so she knew that too. 

Here they are, the precious little things. 
I also gathered up the unhatched eggs and brought them to the little coop and set them in some hay so that Darla can continue to sit on them if she wants. 

And she does seem to want to do that. 
I'll give her another day and then out those eggs go. Trust me- she'll barely notice. 
It's funny. I don't quite feel the faith in her as a mother as I did with Dearie. She doesn't seem as focused and grounded about it all as Dearie did. For one thing, when Darla was scratching in the dirt she didn't even notice that one of her babies was right there and back-kicked her into a tumble as she scratched. 
Luckily, baby chickens are incredibly sturdy. 

So that little project took up about half the day and I spent some of the rest of it dealing with things in the garden, pulling up the collards and kale which the bugs have attacked fiercely and giving some to the goats next door and then weeding that part of the garden. I also did laundry, hung it on the line. I'd do a chore outside and then come back in to drink water and cool back down. I cleaned up the hen house and discarded the shells that the chicks had broken free of and hauled the poopy hay to the garden. 
Same old, same old, same old. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Moon moved the dryer to the new laundry room and spent a lot of time dealing with electricity for the hook-up and at one point I thought we weren't going to have air conditioning tonight which I tried to take in stride but when he did get that figured out, I cheered. He's going to have to get some other parts or wires or something very mysterious to me in town tomorrow to successfully get the machine working but that's okay with me. Since the weather forecast seems to hold no rain in it for the next week or so at least, I imagine that a clothes dryer is not going to be of utmost importance. 
I got bit by two damn yellow flies today. I did manage to kill one of the fuckers. 
Jessie and Vergil are safely home with their boys. I haven't talked with Jessie but in a text she mentioned something about it all being very buggy and snaky. Glen talked to Vergil who said that quite possibly camping trips in Florida are best taken in the fall. 
Bless that North Carolina boy's heart! I know he's looking forward to getting back to the mountain where he grew up for a few months. They'll be leaving at the end of June, I think.  

It hasn't been a terrible Sunday but it hasn't been glorious, either. At least I got a few things done. I'm going to cook some grouper tonight- holy fish that it is- and I have a wild pig ham sitting in a sort of Yucatan marinade made with mojo criollo, orange and lime juice, achiote, tons of garlic and sliced red onions. I'm going to do something with that tomorrow although I am not sure what. Heat will be involved though, in one form or another. It's interesting having a husband who fishes and hunts and knows people who hunt and fish. Throw in stuff from the garden and it's never boring. I have no experience whatsoever cooking wild pig but I am interested in learning.

As usual, I have no real tidy ending for this. I wish I did but I just don't. 
Oh well, endings are probably highly overrated. 
Unless they are something like the ending of Donald Trump's presidency in which case they would be marvelous and the very definition of a happy ending. Or at least a huge relief. 
And on that note, I wish you good sleep tonight so that your loins can be sufficiently girded tomorrow morning to start another week. 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Life In Lloyd, Part Whatever

Well, well, well.
I was just sitting here on the porch with a very noisy fan on AND the AC unit right beside me rattling and roaring away and yet I could still hear something coming from the direction of the hen house that I immediately identified and so I walked out there and yes, I was right.

That tiny little puff of hardly anything was on the ground, fallen out of the nest, I guess, and was making her MAMA COME GET ME! WHERE ARE YOU? SAVE ME! peeps which are about ten times louder than anything you could imagine coming out of a being that small. 

So. Here we go again. 
And what to do? 
Right now I can't do much because Darla's sitting on those eggs as they hatch and I can't move that process. She's already distressed because her baby fell on the ground and I picked it up and she almost attacked me but I quick, quick handed it back to her and Darla quick, quick flew back onto her eggs. One other has hatched but hasn't puffed out yet. Can you see it there, under Darla on the green egg?
But should I try to get them all into a baby coop tomorrow and thus, try to keep them safe or do I just let Darla take care of the whole situation the way Dearie did? She kept all ten of hers safe for a long time and it wasn't until she started sleeping in the tree with them instead of the nest that any of them died and then they all died except for Clara but I will admit that the rooster brothers did not die of natural causes. 

Oh Lord. 
And oh dear Kathleen! When you brought me those baby chicks and a bag of chick-starter feed all those years ago I had no idea how that simple little gift would change my life. 
But it surely has. 

Mr. Moon went fishing out on the gulf today and he came home exhausted. He wore his overalls and a long-sleeved shirt and a hat that covers everything AND he got up at four a.m. I don't know how he does it. Hell, I don't know WHY he does it. He must love fishing, I guess. 

I went down to the river this morning and met up with Lily and Jessie and all the grands. Jessie and Vergil had planned a paddling/camping trip with some friends and while Vergil had gone to leave the tent and camping gear at the camp site, Jessie and the boys stayed at the river. 

It was beautiful there today. The kids played and the mama's chatted and gave out snacks and I wish I was back there right now in that cold water. 
After awhile, Lily and her three had to leave and Vergil arrived and the kayak was loaded up and I waved them all off on their little ten-mile journey which was supposed to take about five hours. 
Those are some brave people. 

I love how they're giving August and Levon these adventuresome experiences. The boys were so excited. Levon cried when August got to get in the kayak before he did. He thought he wasn't going to get to go. 

I dunked my body in the water one more time before I left. I have a feeling we're going to be spending a lot of time at the river this summer. 

I'm going to make risotto for our supper which means I'll be standing at the stove stirring for about an hour but that's okay with me. I went to town earlier and bought fresh spinach and a bottle of cheap wine for the dish. In a minute, before I start cooking, my husband and I will go out and check the progress of the hatchlings. I still can't really believe I heard that tiny baby over the din of these rackety machines. 
I'll report in tomorrow as to how the hatching went and if all goes well, there will be pictures of baby chickens which are about the cutest things on earth. They're a pain in the damn neck but they sure are precious.  
This is the way of babies. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 17, 2019

If I Had A Hammer

I have quite a few of these caterpillars eating their way through the crinum lilies in the little bed by the kitchen porch. I am not worried about the lilies. They never bloom anyway. But what are these caterpillars? I thought that it would be so easy to ID them with the help of google but so far, not at all. Do any of y'all know?

Here's another nature picture.

This is a clerodendrum specisossimum which I dug up from the yard next door when no one was living there. It is related to the stupid shit clerodendrum bungei, aka glory flower, which has taken over my yard. I have been watching the yard next door for many years and have not seen any evidence of this version of the clerodendrum taking over so I hope I haven't done a very bad thing in introducing it here. 
I probably have. 

We shall no doubt be discussing this next year when it blooms again. 

So. Today. 

I really didn't get much done at all and mostly because I didn't feel like it. Once more I am either a little bit sick or suffering from mental illness. 
Virus or depression? 
Impending death or mostly functional insanity? 
Who knows? Not me. 

I did do one thing that brings me a great deal of pleasure. 
Ever since I've lived in this house there has been a paper shade covering the windowed door from what used to be our bedroom (and hopefully will be again soon) into my bathroom. It's had a rip in it forever which came about when the door got swung open too wide and the shade got torn on a mirror which used to sit near it. A few weeks ago Jack got trapped in there for a few hours and ripped another piece out of the bottom of the shade and I've been pissed and depressed about how it's looked. It's like- I can't keep anything nice. 
You know? 
So today I finally pulled that shade down although I couldn't get all the hardware off the door and I made a temporary curtain to replace it out of a piece of fabric I bought quite awhile back. I didn't want to cut the cloth because I'll make a real curtain out of it eventually so I just did some machine basting and tacked it up and it looks about five million times better than the ripped paper did. 

It's definitely one of those "don't look too close" projects but still- a vast improvement and it makes me happy. I remember reading an Ann Tyler book a long time ago and I can't remember which one but there was a family in it (of course) and they were the sort of people who could not deal with fixing or replacing things but instead did ridiculous things like arrange everything in their pantry alphabetically while iron railings were rusting through and falling down and everyone would just sigh and walk past them because- WHAT COULD THEY DO? Their house was crumbling and falling apart and no one felt empowered enough to deal with any of it. Just keep alphabetizing that pantry! 
And man, I identified with that so much. 
I still do. 
Maybe more than ever. 
How I wish I was one of those people who, when they see a problem can go directly to the toolbox and get whatever they need to fix the problem and get to it! Who absolutely know their way around Lowe's. Who can saw and hammer and drill and so forth. 
Hell. I can't even paint. I'd probably be as good at painting a wall as I would be at painting the Mona Lisa. 
So just that small thing I did- ripping the paper shade down and figuring out a temporary solution until Mr. Moon deals with curtain-hanging hardware makes me feel incredibly accomplished. 

Meanwhile, I will just cook. My cabinets may not be very well organized but I can work around that. Tonight we are going to have some pork chops and also these:

Gjelina's Roasted Yams. 

Honey and red pepper and yogurt and lime juice are all involved in their preparation and it is one of my favorite recipes. I don't have any scallions but they'll be okay without. It's nice at the age of 64 for this old southern women to find a sweet potato recipe that does not involve cinnamon and brown sugar. And butter. 
Although there is nothing wrong with cinnamon and brown sugar and butter. 

Darla is still sitting on her eggs. I need to go back through my posts and see when we would reasonably expect those eggs to hatch if they aren't hard-boiled by now. 
Supposed to get really hot this weekend. Summer is here. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

You Can't Break His Heart

Here's August listening closely (literally on the edge of his seat) to one of the stories at Story Hour in Monticello today. There were only a few of us there but we carried on as if it were a crowd. He and Maggie both look to me like their arms and legs are suddenly just stretching out and they're losing all of their baby looks and becoming kids.
I mean, obviously, but still...

So we went to Story Hour and then we came back to my house and ate leftovers here because we do eat out a lot and I got to read books to my boys and mostly I just feel a bit crazy and not very functional today so I think I'd just rather briefly discuss Mick Jagger than anything else.
Have you seen the video of him dancing in a studio that's all over the internet?

Here he is along with a few words from the ABC (FAKE NEWS!) team.

I showed Jessie the video of him dancing and she said something along the lines of how usually, when you see a video on Facebook of a 75-year old man dancing it's like at a wedding and he looks like an old man dancing and you go, "Oh, that's so sweet!"
But this ain't that.
We don't even need to throw in the part about how he just had heart surgery.

Dear god.

So the Stones have rescheduled all of the concerts that had to be canceled due to the surgery and it looks to me like old Mick is going to be fine and that once again, the original Bad Boys of Rock and Roll will be hitting the road and doing what they love to do and what no one does like they do.
Here's a little lagniappe picture of my spirit totem animal.

And hey, just for the hell of it- I offer you this. 

Bless you, Mick. Dance with the devil, dance with yourself, dance with your band. Just don't stop.
Thank you.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

This Is Not Cheerful And It's Not Funny In The Least

I've got a soup of white beans and parmesan rinds and onions and fennel and garlic and celery and kale and collards simmering away on the stove right now. It's yet another NYT's recipe and I guess it'll be okay. I don't know.
Not really sure how anything can be okay right now.
These anti-women laws that some states are passing are fucking with my mind. What is wrong with us as a society that we allow these goddamned white men to pass laws that they not only do not understand but which are cruel and hateful towards women and which will surely lead to the deaths of women if the courts don't shut them down?
And how can women have allowed this to happen?
I heard a woman today on NPR saying that she's been pro-life and on the front lines of trying to end abortion for years and that this is all a great victory.
A great victory.
These people saw Trump's win in 2016 as their chance, their shot, to finally load the courts with "their" people, judges who are as ignorant and as short-sighted and as hateful as they themselves are. And it looks like their plan is working.
Almost every day I wonder how on earth so many Republicans can be so very cruel. Take the separation of families at the border situation- is there anything more despicable than that?
It goes without saying that the same people who claim to believe that a fertilized egg is a human being with rights refuse to see that once one of their precious zygotes gets born they still have rights. Rights like having health care and enough food to eat and decent child care and the right to not be ripped from the arms of their parents. And if they're female, the right to grow up and not have to worry about being forced to carry to term a baby conceived in rape or incest.
I mean, it would be great if no one had to worry about rape or incest but I seriously doubt we're going to be able to eliminate those any time soon.

What am I doing? I'm preaching to the choir.
Y'all know. Y'all know what I'm talking about.

Evil. Pure, unadulterated evil.

And hey- let's go to war again. I swear to god- I bet you any amount of money that Donald Trump will not consider his presidency a true success unless he takes us to war. You just know that's the truth of the matter. He's a bully and he's the bully with the biggest military in the world. You think he's going to let that opportunity go to waste?
Fuck no.
He is not. The man who of course never got within a continent's distance of actually having to fight in a war is probably panting with the anticipation of putting hundreds of thousands of other mothers' children in harm's way.
And mothers.
And children.

Yeah. Well. Hey.
Got that soup simmering.
Probably going to make some cornbread.

You know what? I'm not going to live forever. So why do I care? Why do I care that our planet is dying? Why do I care about any of this stuff?

There's one reason. 
My baby. Your baby. Our babies. Their babies. The ones who are already here, the ones who are just a gleam in the eyes of two people in love. 
All the babies. I want them all to have the best possible lives. Which means that they have to be wanted. Which means that their possibly potential mothers need to have the right to discern whether or not that's even possible. Which means that no one but that woman has the right to decide. Certainly not some bullshit supposed "Christian" man who doesn't even have the most basic understanding of what pregnancy and childbirth and being a mother means. 
Not in the medical sense, not in the economic sense, not in the emotional, spiritual or any other damn sense. 
Sometimes I don't even think that these people understand what it means to be human.
Sometimes it is easier for me to believe that trees and chickens are more sentient than many people. 
Always, I believe that a lot of folks have no concept of what love is. What compassion is. What respect is or what wonder is. 

I should try to work on all of that myself. I know I do. 

Meanwhile, I'm awfully tired. 

I bet our planet is too. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

From The Annals Of Aging

It's been a slightly unusual day.
First off, I had to go get my teeth cleaned and we all know how much I love going to any sort of medical appointment. I don't usually get too stressed about these every-six month appointments. Knock wood but except for one rather major problem I had with a tooth a few years ago, I am generally found to be fine in the dental department.
So why worry at all?
Also, I made the mistake of accepting a friend request from my dental hygienist (I've discussed this before) and well, let's just say that it would be best for all concerned not to discuss either politics OR religion with her and I don't. We talk about our kids and our grandkids and that's fine and sensible because she has sharp and pointy objects which she uses in my mouth.
So all went well there and then I drove over to Mr. Moon's office where he helped me sign up for Medicare.
Ooh boy.
You know what that means, don't you?
It means that in two months I'm turning sixty-five years old and that's blowing my mind. I know this is exactly the wrong attitude but it's sort of embarrassing to be sixty-five. I mean, in our culture. How in the world have I allowed myself to get this old? It almost seems that if I had tried hard enough, done the right exercises- especially yoga of course, eaten a pure and non-toxic diet with a heavy emphasis on raw foods, drunk sufficient quantities of green tea instead of vodka, meditated, used the right cosmetics, stayed out of the sun, and of course mostly HAD THE RIGHT ATTITUDE! I never would have had to suffer the indignity of turning such an advanced age. I could have stayed right there in the middle of my forties, my favorite decade, or even in my fifties which wasn't that bad either, come to think about it.
Of course, DEATH would have prevented all of this too but that's another subject and I'm not feeling especially suicidal today.
You know what I hate? I hate it when people say really stupid shit like, "Seventy is the new forty!"
No it fucking is not.
I'm not seventy yet but I can already tell you that it's going to hurt more when I am than now and everything hurts so much more now than it did when I was forty that there's no way I could confuse the two ages.
Plus, I was hot, hot, HOT at forty.
I really was.
Not as hot as this lady.

Who is eighty-three years old! I was never as beautiful as she is and I'm surely not getting any closer now. 
Go google "beautiful older women". First of all, about seventy percent of the women pictured are Helen Mirren. 
Secondly, a great many of these "older women" are like in their forties or fifties. 
So, to be considered beautiful even in our older years, we still have to be thin. 
You know why I used to be thin? 
Because I obsessed about it. My entire life. I spent way too much time dealing with diet and exercise and denying myself foods that I loved up until a few years ago at which point I just lost interest in all of that. 
I still exercise and I am active and I try to eat a pretty good diet and I think I do but I have given up my eternal vigilance in the matter and I'm paying for it by becoming someone I don't want to see in my mirror.
But guess what? 
Cheese is awesome. 

Anyway, what in the hell was I talking about? 
Oh yeah. Today. 
So it isn't that hard to sign up for Medicare. I promise. But please don't think that you can just sign up for that program and never have to worry about paying medical costs again once you get your card.
That would be folly. 
Nope. You have to get SUPPLEMENTAL insurance to cover what Medicare won't. 
Haha! Surprise! 

Anyway, I signed up so the process has been set in motion. 

And then I took myself to lunch and that was so disappointing. I won't go into it except to say that why some restaurants manage to survive for decades despite horribly mediocre food is proof that Americans really don't care what they eat. 

As you can probably tell, I am in a better place today than I was yesterday. At least I have been since I got out of the dentist's office clutching my little bag with tiny tubes of toothpaste, tiny plastic dispensers of dental floss and a new regular-sized toothbrush and especially after the half of an Ativan I had taken earlier really kicked in. 

Also? I went to Goodwill and the polyester trend seems to continue but I did get eight beautiful snowy white linen napkins which I am sure were never used. I'll use them. You can bet on that. 

Oh! Do you like that magnolia in the picture up top? Isn't it gorgeous? Isn't it just magnificent? I think it is. Also, it's blooming in my very own yard. 

You know what the best thing about getting your teeth cleaned is? You don't have to feel guilty about not flossing that night. 
Well, I don't anyway. 
It's the little things, people. 
And cheese. Always cheese.
Trust me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 13, 2019


Curious yard decorations on Old Lloyd Road

On the bad days, the days that weigh five million pounds, the days that are bereft of anything resembling joy or even contentment, it seems impossible to believe that there have been good days in the past and even less possible to believe that there will be good days in the future. 
It is all just a thick wad of gray density, something to fight one's way through which necessitates a slow and deliberate plod. 
Today has been one of those and my walk reflected it. It was so muggy and I pushed myself harder than I probably should have and yet, not nearly enough. 
Or so it seems on the days when nothing one does seems right in the least. 
But so what? 

This did catch my eye. It's on my neighbor's fence and is, according to google, Gloriosa Rothschildiana. A very fancy name for a very fancy flower. I would lust after it, wanting one of my own but it's not native here and as such, would only add to the ridiculous number of invasive plants in my yard. 

But do you remember this?

The blooming Red Ring Milkweed that I saw on a different walk? Which is native?
Well, I did a probably terrible thing last week and pulled up a small piece of it and brought it home. I berated myself because I did not do a good job getting roots and had very little hope that it would survive but I stuck it in a vase with water until yesterday when I pulled it out, still very much alive, and stuck it in a pot of soil. 

I've got it right by the kitchen door so that I'll see it and be reminded to keep it watered while it hopefully roots. 
And this small thing, this plant that I pulled from its woodland spot where it was so obviously happy, brings me comfort in its merely remaining alive. 
For now. 

We got a bit more rain today on and off. It would come and pour down, stop, and the sun would come out as quickly as it had left, as if it had merely gone into another room to check its make-up and then reappeared. Good growing weather, I think. 

The baby cherry tomatoes are coming along.

The figs are swelling, still green and tight on their stems. 

These seeming promises of future fruit (and I am not here to debate whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables- quite frankly, I don't give a shit) are false promises. Between bugs and birds and heat and squirrels, the odds are not great that we will be eating any of of these things. 
I did count my chickens before they were hatched today though. Or at least Darla's eggs. 
There are eleven. 

I just took a tick off of Mr. Moon's back in almost the same location he removed one from my back a few days ago. It's a ticky spring. This makes a total of three we've found on ourselves. 

I know how lucky I am. I know that not everyone has someone to not only love but to pull ticks from unreachable places. I know that not everyone has a little tiny plot of land to grow vegetables and fruit on, to keep chickens on. I know that not everyone has children who not only survived childhood intact without a prison record but who also grew up to love each other and their parents. I know that not everyone has the privilege to get beautiful, perfect grandchildren. 
Hell, I know that not everyone has enough to eat or a place to sleep and I do! 
I know all of this and thus, having a day like today wherein everything just seems so very dark and hard makes me feel all the more guilty. 
And then I feel guilty about feeling guilty because if I beat myself up for beating myself up, what does that say about my attitude towards depression in general and in others? 
Oh well, of course I believe that everyone else's depression is far more valid than mine. 
Because I have everything. 

It's complicated. 

But yeah, overall I am aware of my good and vast fortune. 

And why do I even have to keep repeating that? 

Who knows? 

Not me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Jesus Gave Me Rain For Mother's Day

We got rain today. A good hard downpour for at least half an hour, maybe more, and there was thunder and there was lightening and I loved it. Now everything feels cooler and renewed and the white acre peas that Mr. Moon got planted in the garden today got a great watering-in. So did the second row of corn I planted. My Mother's Day present from my husband was the planting of those peas as well as a lot of weeding and mulching with leaves that he'd raked. And I appreciated that.

Just as I was planting my corn, Lily and Jason showed up with the boys and Magnolia and I was so happy to see them. It was a quick visit, but a sweet one. I got hugs from everyone and also a card and flowers and chocolate.
Pretty perfect.

I couldn't figure out anything special I wanted to do today for Mother's Day and when the rain came we just settled down in front of the TV and I made a Whirley Pop's worth of popcorn which was our lunch. We watched a few more episodes of Bloodline which we've been watching on Steve Reed's recommendation. We're enjoying it although it's one of those series where you think you know what's going on and then something happens that may or may not be a flashback and you may or may not be able to tell who's in the scene with the eerie music and murky darkness which leaves Mr. Moon and me saying, "What? What just happened? Who was that girl?"
And the other person saying, "Fuck if I know."
Also, a lot of the acting seems to be in the category of Overacting 101 but maybe that's just me.
The best thing about it in my opinion is Sam Shepard who dies in the series (not really much of a spoiler alert) and who is dead in real life but even more than that- the setting. The piece of property where most of the action takes place is on the beach in the Keys and I'd happily live there for the rest of my life.
Sissy Spacek has a major role as the matriarch of the family and I have to say that this is not her best effort. This could be more about the scripts than her acting ability. And yet, we are becoming sucked in by the show as always seems to happen.
Or, sometimes happens.

The one thing that I did keep thinking about today as a Mother's Day activity was going out to get a great seafood dinner. I think I had something in mind like this:

That is from a Red Lobster commercial and although Red Lobster is absolutely not the best place to go eat seafood, especially here in Florida so near the coast, they have the best ads in the world. Their food stylists are genius. 
Once again, however, the idea of going out to eat on Mother's Day is so disturbing on so many levels that I couldn't bring myself to do it. Mr. Moon suggested that we go to Ouzt's for boiled shrimp which almost made me cry because that was so far from what I had in mind but I love him for the offer. Ouzt's is a place on a river near the coast and its clientele is at least do I put this?...people who would go to Ouzt's for Mother's Day. 
Bikers love the place. I'll just say that and leave it there. I'm not saying that I haven't had some good times at Ouzt's. I have. But those days may be over. 

I think that Jessie and Lily are having fun on their child-free hotel room get-away. 

This is a picture that they sent us. They look pretty happy to me. I just hope they use ALL the towels. And washcloths. And toiletries. 

And I'm pretty happy too. I've gotten the sweetest texts and calls from my babies and they absolutely make me feel celebrated and cherished every day of the year which is far more important than anything that could happen on one Sunday in May. 

I'm going to go finish making our supper which does not have one bit of seafood in it but that's okay. There will be more seafood available for me to eat at a later, saner date. 
Just probably not at the Red Lobster. 
Although...did you LOOK at that picture? 

Much love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Let's All Just Drink Bloody Mary's And Lay By The Pool

Today was a very big day. August and Levon both got their first real, professional haircuts by our beloved Melissa. August actually asked for this to happen. I think that he got to thinking about how pretty Melissa is and also, about that drawer where she keeps lollypops and that led to a boy wanting a haircut. August does love candy and he also loves the pretty women. This is just how it is. All of my grandsons gaze at Melissa as if she were a work of art that they can hardly believe they have the good fortune to be in the same room with. 
As well they should. 

We trooped into the familiar room where the magic happens and where the candy is stored and where the box of toys is kept. August went first. First he and Melissa did the "well, what do you think you want?" part of the appointment. August mainly wanted her to use the little trimmer. He loves that thing. Melissa said that all of the kids love it. Beyond that, August wasn't sure except that he wanted it shorter. 

Oh, look at those curls! It seemed sort of a sin to cut them but it's just hair. 

So curls got cut and the trimmer was used. 
Levon watched very closely, as he does. 

Then it was his turn. He sat on Mama's lap and Melissa gave him a lollypop. He sat as still as could be. 

She didn't cut much of his hair. Just enough to get him familiar with the process. Melissa knows what she's doing. 

And guess what? I didn't even get a picture of both of the boys after they were shorn. Or trimmed. I was too busy taking note of August's deep pleasure in eating his first ring pop. Levon gave me bites of his candy. 
"Ta-too," he said if I forgot to tell him thank-you. 

Jessie wanted to buy a few things at the make-up store and so we drove over there after the hair cuts and I sat in the car with the children (Levon had fallen asleep) and read books to August while she got a moment's peace to find what she needed. And she did. 
And then, glory of glories! We went to El Patron where Melissa met us and the boys spent the entire lunch flirting and vying for her attention. And doing a little running around. And eating some food. 
It was so nice. 

I will tell you that today has been another "what's the point?" day. Even with grandboys' first haircuts. Even with Mexican lunch with them and their mama and Melissa. This may or may not have something to do with Mother's Day. 
Just throw the word "mother" out there and I tend to go into a crazy state. 
Other ugly beasts have raised their prickly heads recently and sometimes I just get so tired of it all. Why in the world is it that something that happened over fifty years ago still has such a deep grip on my heart, my throat, my mind, my gut? 
I've given up trying to figure that out. I just know it does. 
One does get exhausted, though. At least I do. 

But this is fun- yesterday when I was with Jessie and Lily at the river, we were talking about Mother's Day and what they wanted to do for it and when they both got quite honest, what they really wanted was a break. A little time away from being a mother. 
Now anyone who has ever had and raised children understands this. I myself have had some wonderful Mother's Days spent away from my children. Flowers and brunches are fine but Lord GOD Almighty, give Mamas a little space and time to remember who they were before they became mothers. 
So I don't recall who suggested it first yesterday when we were talking but what started out as sort of a joke ended up being a plan. 
The girls have decided that what they really want is to spend the night in a nice hotel with a pool where they can drink wine, watch whatever they want on TV and get some real, true deep and uninterrupted sleep.
Sister-Mother-Friends on mini vacation! I encouraged that plan with all of my heart. 
"Do it!" I told them. "Just do it!" 
And it's going to happen. 
Their daddy, who knows how hard it can be for mommies, is paying for them a very nice room and I hope that this becomes a tradition. Those sweet girls have even asked me to join them which I appreciate with all of my heart but I want them to have the whole time, the whole space, the whole BEDS to themselves. As a mother, I am definitely on inactive duty these days and I get a good night's sleep every night and besides- they may need to talk about things they wouldn't talk about if their mother was around. 

So that makes me happy. 

Mr. Moon is out in the garden even though it is after seven. He's been working outside so hard all day long. I am going to make him a good supper although it won't be as good as last night's. I made a sort of bastardized version of Salade Nicoise which looked like this:

It was quite possibly the best salad I ever tasted. The arugula, greens beans, carrots and eggs were grown or laid right here and it was amazing.
Sometimes I do hit it out of the ball park. Sometimes I do get it right. 
For example- when I married that man. 

Happy Mother's Day to all of us who are mothers and to all of us who have nurtured. 
Sex and gender are no determiner of that nor is fertility or age. There are plenty of people who have nurtured students, patients, clients, the arts, artists, friends, co-workers, spouses, partners, dogs, cats, wild birds, gardens, parents, nieces and nephews, the planet, and/or whatever they have encountered which needed nurturing, tending, and loving. I dedicate Mother's Day to all of them. To all of us. 
Go do something nice for yourself. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 10, 2019

Grandchildren And The River

Now that is a happy boy. He has a shovel, a truck, and a dinosaur. He also has a nice beach worth of sand to dig in and water to splash in. He has a big brother to wrestle with and play with and to watch intently and learn from. His Auga.

He has a mommy and daddy who are there for him every moment of the day and night and he has mommy-milk if he needs it and he is needing it less and less all the time. 
Which is great!
And so sad, too. 
He has cousins who adore him and aunts and uncles who do too. He has THREE sets of grandparents and he has Florida with its rivers and oceans and he has North Carolina mountains. 
Yep. That little boy has it all and I am just loving watching him grow. He may be the last grandchild. I don't know. One never knows about these things but he might be. Lily did tell August today to tell his daddy that he wants a baby sister. Lily loves babies. So do we all. And dammit, they just don't stay babies long enough. 
He can say Lily now. He calls her Ye-Ye which is what his mama used to call her when she was his age. He is learning all sorts of words and he can mimic almost any word. He has a good mouth for speech.

He can certainly tell you what he wants. He is getting to be as golden as his brother and I am as mystified by those boys' toast-colored skin as I am by August's curls. And as enchanted. 

When we were getting ready to leave the river today Maggie wanted to help Levon with his shoes. He let her. She had some difficulty, even with August supervising the operation and I asked if she wanted a little help. She said she did and as I put the flip-flops on his tiny boy feet, Maggie kept saying, "Don't worry, Levon. MerMer is helping."

My heart, my heart, my heart. 

We had such a good time at the river. They've made some changes at the Wacissa. They've paved the parking lot and they've built a swell new dock.

I don't really like change very much. I try not to be one of those old fogies who resists all change. I mean, that's ridiculous. Some change is for the good and that's all there is to it. But I do not like the paved parking lot. Seems to me that that's only going to encourage more people to visit what used to be an almost secret little perfection of a swimming place at the very end of a road that very few people drive down. But isn't that selfish? And hell yes, I can be one of those cranky old folks who sit around and say things like, "I remember when no one but three rednecks, two hippies and an alligator used to come here!" 
Because I really can remember that. 
But so what? That ain't the way it is now and I do love a dock. Always have. A wooden pathway connected to land but over the water, almost magical in its ability to span two states of being. 
Here's a picture of Magnolia June from the dock. 

That girl. She just charms me to pieces. 

She is the boss of us all. She's learning to recognize letters and she can figure things out that I can't. 
Here she is with August on the new dock. 

Those two are a force of fierceness. They are cousins united in age and in curls. They share genes and lunches of chicken and french fries which they both love along with plenty of ketchup for dipping. They get in trouble together and get out of trouble together. They know they are loved. 

We mostly had the river to ourselves. There were a few guys who were fishing when we first got there but who moved on to the rope swings. They were neither too loud nor profane and they paid us as little attention as we paid them. Things will change when school ends but for today, it was almost perfect. Cool enough not to bake and yet, warm enough to make submerging in the cold river water a not ridiculous prospect. 

We drove to the Hilltop for our lunch. This was my suggestion. Lord, I do love the Hilltop with its menu of 157 items. At least. We all got delicious foods that frankly, were not good for us at all and I am sure that several fryers were employed in the making of them. It was wonderful. 
While we waited for our order to come up, fun was had on the long church pew where people patiently sit while their food is being prepared. 

So much silliness. 
Silliness is the best. 

Summer is coming on and as proof I present the fact that I have already found two ticks on my body that had to be removed as well as getting some chiggers. Mr. Moon is developing a case of poison ivy, no doubt from all of the raking in the front yard he did yesterday. Why do any of us live here? 
I guess because of rivers and beaches and giant oak trees and cafes in the middle of nowhere that offer everything from fried fish dinners to Reuben sandwiches to black bean burgers to red velvet cake. 
And maybe because we're insane. 
I will leave you with this. 

Work hard. Play hard. Sleep hard. Don't forget to read. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon