Saturday, January 4, 2020

A Touch Of The Crazy

I found that gorgeous camellia today and I was so pleased. I swear, it may be edging out the Pink Perfection as my favorite. It's so delicate, so seashell-like. I've tried to identify it but have not yet succeeded. I'm going to keep trying. It rained last night which makes the blossom even more beautiful with those droplets upon it. Planting all of the camellias I have planted in this yard has paid off tremendously. I can't imagine going through winter without these beauties to pick and bring in to brighten my hallway and kitchen. And they are finally, after at least fourteen years, growing quite large. They do fine in all the shade I get in my yard which is a small miracle.
And after I'm gone, I hope that subsequent owners of this house and yard will enjoy them and appreciate them just as I appreciate and enjoy the azaleas that were planted in the front yard although there are many different plants here that are the bane of my life, being invasive and impossible to get rid of.
NOT MY FAULT! I want to tell the people who live here in the future. Mary Moon did not plant those horrible things! 

Eh. It's been a day. After I discovered the camellia I found that another hen had been murdered in the night. Mr. Moon and I searched the coop to see if we could find where the predator was getting in and we did and my husband spent a good two hours replacing wire and wood and making things secure again. We thought at first that we'd lost two hens, including little Ms. Violet, my oldest hen, the banty who has survived so long with her wily, fast ways. We found feathers that could have been hers and she was not in the hen house this morning although she was last night when I shut them up.
BUT- she appeared later in the morning, running from wherever she'd been hiding, to beak and peck at the corn scratch and the little survivor even left us one of her small eggs today. I guess that the animal who took the other bird (and we did find the body outside of the coop) managed to drag her out and she escaped. She looks fine, bless her tiny little brave heart. I suspect a raccoon because they, too, are wily and smart and they have those clever hands that can pull wire and those smart brains which can make and carry out plans.
Anyway, the sight of another chicken death made me sad and I felt resigned this morning to bloody nature and the impossibility of keeping all of my chickens safe. I just couldn't shake my sadness, my despair. Some days I don't have a clue as to what I'm supposed to be doing but as I get older and older, I hate the thought of giving up and just going along as always, letting the things that I've always dreamed of doing slip away into ennui and anxiety and fear. And so I did more laundry and I scrubbed toilets and I finished cooking my beans and then I mulched the garden with bagged leaves that Mr. Moon had collected yesterday in his truck while he was in town.
I always feel a bit iffy about using someone else's labor to shortcut my own labor but really, where's the downside? Taking bags from the front of someone's yard which they have lined up and ready for the city to take to the dump is actually doing everyone a favor, including the planet. They won't be taking up space in a landfill and will enrich my soil and hold in moisture and help with weed control here. It's hit or miss as to what you'll find in these bags but today's haul was fine. Mostly leaves of various trees, a few cuttings from cypress but not too many and very, very few sticks.
Best of all- no dogshit or trash.
There wasn't enough to cover the entire garden but there was enough to fill in the spaces between the rows of what I've planted and a little more. I might actually have to get out and rake and haul our own leaves to finish the rest but that, my friends, is a lot of work.
We shall see.

And then I dug up a rose that needed more sun and I planted it in the garden by the gate. I cleaned the nests in the henhouse and put that hay with its bounty of chicken-produced fertilizer around it. Fresh chicken shit is too "hot" to use as actual fertilizer but I've never found it to be destructive if I keep it from actually touching roots or plants. It will break down with the hay.
That's my theory, at least.

And then I came in and read and napped. I just couldn't do any more than that. I don't know what's made me so sad. I'm not angry or especially worried about anything. It's just felt like a Sunday, one of those days with overreaching, nonspecific sadness.
It'll pass.

After I woke up and took a shower I felt a little better and then I got call from Jessie's phone but it was August. And Jessie. I was so happy to hear from the little guy. "How are you feeling today?" I asked him.
"Good!" he said. This, for August, is a strong declaration.
He told me that his mother had taken him to the doctor who "fixed me all up."
I told him I was so happy about that and we discussed what his medicine tastes like ("It's supposed to taste like bubblegum") and what color it is (white- I guess they've quit dyeing it that lurid color of pink) and how they picked aphids and washed the leaves on their lime tree today. He also informed me that he needs to come for a sleepover soon.
I agreed! However, I told him that it would be best to wait until we get our heater fixed.

Well, that's another story, isn't it?

Meanwhile I was absolutely delighted to get to have a conversation with August and even more happy that he had wanted to call me. He is growing up so very fast.

Mr. Moon and Vergil are going to cross the bay tomorrow to Dog Island to begin preparations for rebuilding/restoring. We've decided that dammit, we own a piece of unique and irreplaceable Florida and it's ridiculous to have it sit there unused. Our partner in the house is very ill and I think we're going to buy him out and the plan is to finally fix the things that need fixing. This would include a well, a pump, replacing flooring and getting rid of the 1970's shag carpet, replacing a rotten deck and stairs up to the house, putting in a new stove and oven, and god knows what else. Oh yeah, replacing the plumbing in one of the bathrooms so that the shower and bathtub there are operable.
Not simple. Not easy. Especially on an island where the only access is by boat.
I think we're going to actually pay for some help which is unheard of for Glen who can handle almost anything from carpentry to plumbing but the truth is, neither he nor Vergil have the time to spend on it. But they're going to go out tomorrow and get a fix on the situation and begin the process.
I'm excited about that. I know I've had my problems with going to Dog Island. There's the poltergeist and the PTSD from visits past including one where it may not have been a good idea for a woman in a horrible state of anxiety to try and fix herself with a solo week-long visit there.
But we've had wonderful times on the island in that little shacky place and now, as Mr. Moon points out, we can go there together for days at a time, not just the occasional weekend, and I am longing to do just that.
Hell, maybe we'll even replace the horrible ancient couch and chairs.
It could be a project. Something to work on, to plan for, to look forward to.
Just what the old woman needs, right?
And maybe the poltergeist is ready to make peace with me.
I hope so. It's such a treasure and one that would be like nothing else on this earth that we could leave to our grandchildren.
If you want to learn more about Dog Island and our experiences there, do a search for it at the top left corner of the blog. I've written reams. And there are many, many beautiful pictures of a Florida that few get to see.

Good Lord. I've rambled enough. The white bean chili is simmering. Last night's sourdough loaf is ready to be sliced and heated. The wind comes and goes bringing more cold air. There is another episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to watch.

If you've hung in this long, you're marvelous too.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. so sorry you lost another hen but that is the way of nature. everything has to eat and what we eat is each other. I'm glad you are going to fix up the little house on Dog Island. and I remember when my grandson learned my phone number and how to use the phone and he would wake up before his parents and would call me in the mornings.

    1. It's just so sweet to know that these little people are thinking of us and want to hear our voices, tell us things. I love it.
      And yeah- even raccoons have to eat.

  2. Sorry about your hen. I think it is wonderful that August called you and wants to talk. If he wants to do that as a teenager, you'll be doubly lucky. I think your Dog island project will be well worth the work in the end. Sweet dreams!

    1. Oh, how I hope I'm still around when my grands are teens and that they'll still want to talk!
      Dog Island would be SO worth it. I know that. And if it's easier to stay there that will make it that much more worth it.

  3. PS: I love that flower and I think you and Steve Reed should plan a photo in your fish shirts!

  4. I like the camellia, and the vase it's in. My mother had a blue one of the vases. I cannot remember what she called it. The scarf the vase is on is interesting, too. Is it a scrap from one of those Mexican ponchos? It's woven in the same twill. The colors certainly complement the flower.
    As you may recall, I spent a year reading all your old blogs, before I could figure out how they even originated, and sequenced, and all that. How I loved Dog Island, excepting that awful trip you made and were rescued. It will be lovely to bring it up to snuff, so to speak.

    1. I am sure I got that vase at some thrift store. It's sweet, isn't it? That cloth underneath it is Mexican- good eye! But it's one of the cloths I buy in the grocery stores in Mexico that I believe are actually sold as mop cloths. They are thick cotton, and nubby. Almost indestructible. Machine woven, I'm sure. I use them as hand towels and also to drain things on. I have some that are probably decades old but I always buy more when I visit.
      We shall see what happens with Dog Island. If worse comes to worst, we will be able to put it on the market for a much better price if it's fixed up. But I'd really love to use it.

  5. The flower is lovely. The hen's death, sad. I'm sorry.

    Fixing up the house on dog island sounds like a beautiful place to get away to. Except, a poltergeist?

    I have a loaf of sourdough on the go. I took a picture of the starter to show you that it had recovered but forgot to send it to you.

    1. Yes. A poltergeist. It never shows itself to Mr. Moon but the kids and I have definitely seen it at work. And I say that as someone who is really NOT a believer in such things. Still...some things are just unexplainable.
      I'd love to see a picture of your starter! It's sturdy, that stuff.

  6. Rotten raccoon! I hope the repairs that were made will keep the bloody thing out of the coop.

    The camellia is beautiful! It's a bright spot in my cold and gray world.

    1. Mr. Moon pretty much rebuilt part of the coop. It should be secure for now!
      I wish everyone could have camellias in winter.

  7. Oh gosh, I'm going to have to learn all about Dog Island now. After my divorce my ex rented a beautiful 3-bedroom farmhouse up in the mountains about 30 minutes from here. When he fell in "twu wuv" (again) he buggered off with 5 days notice and left me and the kids to empty the bloody thing, which I did over a period of the 2 months he had to continue to pay the rent. He said he thought that place was haunted, but by a friendly ghost. And I don't know, but each weekend as I went over to that place I got more and more spooked when I went upstairs. I could be imagining it but that place just gave me the shivers! Gonna go and read up about Dog Island now!

    1. Well, this...entity? isn't mean just mischievous although once, somehow, a toaster oven got turned on by itself and melted a few things on top of it. That could have been dangerous. Mostly it just throws books around. And stuff like that. Turns lights on and off. But rarely. Still, quite obvious.
      I know you know that you're better off without that husband but still- the breakup of a family sucks and is hard.

    2. Oh I don't worry about the break-up. I wanted a divorce for years but he wouldn't give it to me. Marrying him was the biggest mistake of my life so I'm glad he ran off. You live and learn I suppose!

  8. When we were in Florida at Easter 2002, we visited St George's Island. And now looking at the map of Panhandle islands I can see that we were very close to Dog Island. Ian and I got sunburnt that day even though we were still in the month of March. I guess that Dog Island is very vulnerable when hurricanes sweep through. Good job that Glen has now made it his mission to get the old house fixed up.

    1. Yep. Dog Island is just a skip and a jump away from St. George where I have also spent many, many hours. I used to rent a tiny cement block apartment there in the summer a long time ago. We had so much fun! And I'm sure we got sunburned more than once. I like thinking that you've been to St. George. Dog Island is very different from St. George in that there's nothing on Dog Island except some houses. No commercial buildings AT ALL. A few rutty, sandy roads. It's always an adventure. And yes, it is quite vulnerable to not only hurricanes but also the rising tides. We have lost yards of beachfront. Or, well, bayfront.

  9. Your Dog Island place is a treasure. Your family knows that and appreciates it, so you know investing in it is wise. What a wonderful gift to yourselves and future generations. As far as anxiety and blues, I can tell you I've been on the verge of as intense of an anxiety episode as I ever get since it became clear the jackass in chief has his evil heart set on starting a war. It is taking all of my energy to not get pulled under.

    1. This fucking president (and I will not ask for pardon for my language) has caused more mental challenges for so many of us than we ever could have imagined. Yet one more way he's hurt our country. And the world, probably. Keep breathing, sweet lady.

  10. I'm sorry about the chickens. That's such a bummer. At least you solved the problem and have, indeed, protected them.

    I'm so glad you're keeping the Dog Island place. That really IS a special thing to own. I can't wait to see how you improve it.

    Love the camellia! I too often wonder how the next tenant of the place where we live will react to everything we've planted in the garden. (What we don't take with us when we move, anyway!)


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