Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I Survive And The Pragmatic Miracle Of Birth

This is the sight that greeted me when I went into the hen house this morning to see if there were any eggs. One of Miss Dottie's two eggs has hatched and there's the little one looking as healthy and aware and darling as a baby peep should look. I checked under Dottie and there's still another egg and she's not getting off that nest yet. She's still in full broody-mode, tail spread and feathers fluffed and none of the other chickens would come through the hen house this morning to make their way outside which suggests that one of them may have gotten too close to the baby earlier and been soundly reprimanded by the new mother. Or something. Who knows? But when Mr. Moon opened the door to the coop letting them out directly without having to go through the hen house, they trouped out as usual so something happened. Darla is still sitting on her one egg but I know that she's only been on it for a few days because I threw the one that had spoiled out. I honestly did not think that any chicks would hatch because of the way the mothers have switched nests and how hot it's been but I admit freely that there is a great deal that I do not know about chickens.
Plus- life will find a way, won't it?

So. Annual doctor's appointment. Do you know that in the four years or so I've been seeing the sweet Dr. Zorn that I have not ONCE been to see him for a complaint? No illness, no infections, no anything whatsoever except for my exams.
That has nothing to do with anything but it probably is indicative of the fact that I am a fairly healthy woman who doesn't get sick very often.
But this morning I worked myself up into a right tizzy before I left to go into town. I just can't help it. I did some stern self-talking, I did a lot of deep breathing.
I caved and took half an Ativan.
I showered and washed my hair which is just about down to my waist now which is what hair WILL do if one doesn't cut it for several years. I combed it out and braided it back and put on my favorite blue dress and some blue earrings and drove to town in the growing heat.
I was the only person in the waiting room for awhile. Masks were required. I love the receptionist. She calls everyone "Sweetie." Remember when I hated that? Now I live for her endearments. Another lady came in and signed in. She, too, was called Sweetie.
She brought bags of snacks for the staff.
I am not kidding you. BAGS OF SNACKS FOR THE STAFF!
This is how beloved Dr. Zorn and his folks are.
I wished I'd brought snacks for the staff too. Dang it.
When I was called back a very young woman took my vitals. She told me she was a student nurse and she did a great job. My blood pressure was of course, high. But lower than it usually is when I get it taken in the doctor's office.
And then I waited, reading my New Yorker magazine until Dr. Z. knocked on the door and came in and he looked quite dashing in his black mask. We elbow-bumped. He's a talker and a toucher. Not a toucher in a creepy way. A toucher in a reassuring way. A toucher in a I-recognize-your-humanity way.
I asked him about his new baby. When I was there a year ago his wife was pregnant with their second child. This new one was born on New Year's Eve. Another son. He showed me pictures. I showed him the picture of MY new baby- the one above.
In exam news, my blood work was mostly quite fine. All of the major organs that blood work shows the functions of are terrific.
He did his magic trick again of getting me up on the table and doing a short exam (I was still in my dress) before I knew he I was out of my chair. How does he DO that?
He asked me some questions and we talked about chickens some. He has chickens too, and he loves them. "They're very intelligent animals," he told me quite seriously. He had a whole long story about trying to get a specific breed of hens (he lives in town and can't keep roosters) which required a trip both to the Woodville Ace Hardware and the Monticello Tractor Supply and how he ended up with only three of the breed he wanted despite being assured that they were the ones he wanted and of those, only one was a hen.
"Do you want any roosters?" he asked me.
"No thank-you," I said.
We talked a little about the coronavirus but not much. I told him that I haven't been able to hug or kiss my grandkids since March 17 and he said, "Well, I always say you have to balance risk versus quality of life," so there is that to ponder...
And he told me that I am in excellent health and he'll see me next year.
He also gave me a new patient stack of forms for Lily to fill out because she wants to become one of his patients. She suffers from the same medical-anxiety that I do and knows several of his patients who all love him.

On my way home I stopped at Costco for a few things and then, at the request of my husband, went through a car wash so the outside of my car looks pretty good while the inside of it smells like Panacea at low tide due to a small bait bucket leakage incident yesterday.
Oh well.

Then I dropped off the new patient packet to Lily and came on home and did a few chores and then laid down to take a little nap but ended up sleeping for an hour. Nothing like the sudden release of sheer panic to wear a girl out. I'm cooking some of the beautiful field peas that Mr. Moon shelled the other day. It's going to be the simplest supper. The peas, some cornbread, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. That's summer. Right there.

Because I'm a human I'm worried about the new chick not eating or drinking since she's up in the nest with her mama. I mean, chickens don't lactate. I cooked a scrambled egg and mixed it with yogurt and put it in front of Dottie and the baby who showed no interest in it but her mother ate it up like a beast. I have to trust that Dottie knows what to do.

I sure wish we humans knew what to do. I sure wish we humans were incredibly intelligent animals. I sure wish all doctors were as sweet as mine.
I sure wish we could grow fresh tomatoes all year long.

Can we chat tomorrow?
I hope so.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, June 29, 2020

I Think He Has Had A Good Birthday

There's a picture of Mr. Moon and August fishing down at Mashes Sands which is a beach on the Oclockonee Bay, about an hour from here. Jessie and Vergil have been taking their boys down there for awhile now and have found a place that is almost always deserted except for them. They asked us if we'd like to meet them there today for Boppy's birthday and we did.

Where they set up their little camp is on a tiny island created by a stream which feeds into and out of the marshland. The water between it and the land is not very deep at all and during a low tide, just a few inches deep in some places, perfect for the boys. 

Perfect for mamas, too, who can just lizard out in the water and watch the children and talk. There's a deeper part where August practiced his swimming with his daddy. 

It was so sweet. Jessie had picked up subs for us and a cake, too, because I didn't have time to make our dessert. It was a small cake, a delicious cake, a cake with a whole lot of icing. The boys especially loved the cake. 

Can you see how dark August is getting? The contrast between his butt and his back is crazy. I'd love to see a genetic study done on him because somewhere there was at least one darker-skinned ancestor. And Jessie keeps the boys covered in sun screen. 

Speaking of butts. 

Levon has one of the cutest butts in the world. 
As you can see, there was a little fishing going on. One small redfish was caught and released and Mr. Moon wants to go back at change of tide sometime soon. The tide was slack while we were there today which I hear is the worst time for fishing. But it was fun for those who fished and I doubt anything in the world could make Glen happier than fishing with a grandchild. And I got to visit with Jessie and Vergil safely outside where the wind was blowing and seagulls were bitching at us and I got to talk with the boys, too, and watched August swim and played with Levon who was dragging a fish-float around like a dog on a leash, being happy. 
He was splashing with his mother when Vergil came up and kissed Jessie and Levon said, "I want kiss too," and Vergil gave him a sweet kiss and then Jessie gave him one too and I teared up. I love the way they love. 

All right. I need to get in there and make our supper. Mr. Moon enjoyed the pizza so much the other night that I've decided to make it again. We have the tomatoes, the basil, and the arugula and they won't last forever. I want us to eat them while they're in their glory as much as we are able and as often. 

Tomorrow is my appointment with my doctor. By this time tomorrow it will all be over. 
I am looking forward to that. 
Meanwhile, I keep reminding myself that I do love this doctor, I feel quite healthy and well except for anxiety, and chances are good that I don't have any dire diseases. 
Or so I tell myself. 
Anxiety brain is singing a different song but as we all know, some songs are nothing but annoying bullshit which become earworms and they do eventually pass. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, June 28, 2020

And The Flowers Still Bloom

I meant to post that picture last night. Those are hydrangea blossoms that Maggie handed me when she got out of the car yesterday. Lily's hydrangeas have been blooming and blooming and BLOOMING! They are the most exquisite color, to me.

I've spent most of the day making pickles. Eleven pints in all. Seven of dills and four of an experiment involving cucumbers, onions, a sweet brine and various spices. We shall see what those taste like. Every jar has sealed.

Tomorrow is Mr. Moon's birthday and I have done nothing to prepare for that nor do I have any plans. Well, I did buy the ingredients to make one of his favorite desserts. It is quite decadent with a chocolate custard layer and whipped cream with cream cheese and a pecan crust. I've talked about this before. How the recipe came out of his former mother-in-law's little self-published cookbook but I've never followed that recipe because it calls for things like Jello instant pudding and Cool Whip. To be quite honest, I have eaten and enjoyed Jello instant pudding and Cool Whip on more than one occasion but I will never make this dessert with such tacky products. Especially not for a birthday. 

Everything seems so weird today. Just so, so strange. 

Here we are, summer is well upon us, the heat presses down and the crickets sing that heat into being every day. There are chickens and this beautiful garden and we have electricity and running water and cars that we can jump into and drive places and the grocery stores have stocked shelves and life keeps going on and we have birthdays and we make special desserts and on the one hand it all seems so familiar, so ordinary, and then on the other hand, masks hang from our rear view mirrors and hand sanitizer is always with us and hospital ICU's are at capacity and George Floyd is dead and so are so many others and Trump reshared a video on Twitter with one of his supporters yelling, "White Power! White Power!" although I hear it's come down but Trump's original comment on the video was, "Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot! See you soon!"
The Villages, of course, is an "elite" retirement community in the great state of Florida where white people over the age of fifty-five move when they figure they've worked long enough and have the funds to support that decision. Here's a short and pleasant article about the place and its residents which mostly focuses on the amount of sexual shenanigans the white-haired, golf-cart-driving, fun-loving retirees are getting up to.  
I can hardly imagine a place that sounds more like a living hell to me but I take it that there are a lot of Trump supporters living there. I wonder how much they're going to be loving him when their IRA's and stock portfolios drop like a golf ball onto the rough. 
But the point of this is- we have a president who, in the middle of what might be one of the most powerful movements for the equality of black citizens ever to be seen posts a video of a an old white man shouting "White Power!"
And oh, hell. That's just the very tip of the giant steaming pile of excrement that Donald Trump has laid upon this country. 
He's so desperate right now that it's absolutely ridiculous to even try and predict what he'll come up with next. Everyone knows that there is nothing more dangerous than a wild animal which feels as if it is cornered
I have no idea if Trump actually understands how badly he's failed at the job of being president of the United States. He thought and believed with all of his heart that it was a job done with smoke and mirrors and he was smug in his belief that he was the master of those. 
All I want is to be able to spend time with my grandchildren in my grandmother house sitting on the love couch in the library, reading books with them snuggled up to me and having the serious sort of  conversations that one can only have with children. I want to be able to kiss my babies, to hug and hold on to them. I want to go to the river and dive in and I want to be able to sit under the trees and listen to the conversations happening all around me. I want my country to be rid of the evil poison which has flooded it. 
I want us to be a country where everyone does the best they can to help stop this horrible sickness, as August called it, so that we can truly be free again instead of fighting distance and mask requirements in the name of liberty. 

I want to be able to go out with my family to El Patron to celebrate my husband's birthday. 

Meanwhile, we go on. I just pulled the densest loaf of sourdough bread I've ever baked out of the oven. I am so disappointed in myself. But I will say that my pizza last night had the best crust I've ever made. Or at least it was in Mr. Moon's eyes. He loves the thin and crispy crust and oh, my dears- it was. 

I apologize for my rambles. 

Be well. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, June 27, 2020


How I love that picture. I took it while I was out picking field peas. You can't really tell but that little anole is tiny. See the bean hanging there at the top right? Such a darling little lizard.

The wind is kicking up, stirring the rest of that Saharan dust about, I guess. Wasn't quite as hazy today as it was yesterday although Mr. Moon said that when he drove into Tallahassee this morning the town was almost browned out.
I think we might be about to get some rain and that would be terrific. It's thundering as it has been every afternoon and the sky is getting darker and like I said- the wind is picking up, swishing the leaves about and making thin branches dance.

It's been so hot. Almost unbearable. Lily and the kids came over for a little afternoon visit and we all sat in the back yard in the shade after we'd sprayed ourselves and still the mosquitos swarmed us but as Mr. Moon said, they sort of just bumped into our skin and didn't actually poke their little proboscises into us for the most part. Just their presence sets me on edge though, seeing and hearing them buzz about my face.
Magnolia had to go get eggs when she first got here and she found two. I had seen one earlier when I checked but knowing she was coming over I left it for her to find. It thrills her so. Mr. Moon got home just about the same time they got here which was lovely. He said of his job at the duplex- I have done all I'm big enough to do. And sometimes more.
His daddy used to say that. And he was a big man too. Or, tall, to be more exact.

Magnolia brought her Baby Alive which is now set in Espanol mode, as Owen pointed out. She wanted the little wicker baby carriage so I came in the house and got it for her and also a jug of apple juice and cups for the kids. And of course a new jar of pickled beans. We sat and chatted for awhile. Owen had wanted his hair cut so his mama did that for him. It's still quite stylish. Lily said that it hurt her heart to cut it but they were both tired of having to brush it out and braid it.

I got Maggie to pose for me although she wasn't happy about it. 

She was so hot. She'd mostly been playing some pretend thing in her mind, wandering about the yard and holding her dolly. Lily tried to convince her to smile and this is what that looked like. 

She's simply beautiful no matter what the expression on her face. 

I didn't get a picture of Gibson until they were back in the car. 

He was most happy to be out of the yard and into an air-conditioned environment. Between the bugs which adore him and the heat, he is not an outside guy in summer. But he's a sweetie and I love him so. 

So of course all of that was the highpoint of my day although I did have a good time, snapping green beans to put in ziplock bags. I got four quarts of those put into the freezer out in the garage. Such an easy task. While I snapped I watched the last episode of the latest season of "After Life" on Netflix. I know that a lot of people don't like Ricky Gervais but I do. And he seems to use many of the same actors on his shows which I admire. Loyalty. One of the characters on "After Life" is played by the same woman who plays Isobel Crawley in "Downton Abbey" which Mr. Moon and I have become slightly sucked into. She's a fine actress. 

I am sad to report that yesterday I thew out the remains of what Dottie was sitting on. I couldn't even bear to look at it too closely but it appeared to be something like a chick embryo but definitely not alive. She had gotten off the nest to go eat and I threw it away. It did not smell good. 
Today I cleaned out the nests and put down fresh straw and moved both she and Darla into clean nest boxes. Dottie has a new egg and I slipped it back under her while Darla seems to be sitting on the same two eggs which I also put back into her care. 
I would think it's just really too hot to hatch chicks in such an enclosed space but the two sisters seem undeterred. You have to give them credit for persistence if not for common sense. 
Well. They can't help it. It's all hormones, I'm sure. And I can relate to that. 

It rained about fifty drops and then stopped. It still sounds and feels and looks and smells like it's going to rain but I think it's passing south of us again. 

Hank and Rachel are and have been in the process of moving all day which is one of the most miserable things one can do. But as May pointed out- the nesting afterwards is so wonderful. I know they'll be ecstatic to lay their heads down in their new place tonight. 

And that's all the news from my microscopic piece of the world today. I'm off to make pizza now. I tried a different crust recipe and I don't know why. It doesn't seem nearly as lovely as the usual one I make. But one does try to attempt new things. 

Stay cool. Stay safe. Stay in. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, June 26, 2020

Don't We All Want To Go To Meximo City? Or Even CiCi's Pizza?

I got this picture early this morning from Vergil. He said, "These boys just got out the luggage. I asked them where they are going and August said, 'Mexico!'"
Boys after my own heart.
That triggered two very specific memories for me. One was of Owen when he was little and how he'd dig out my old college-era red Samsonite from the closet under the stairs and he'd pack a few stuffed animals and a few books in it and we would go on a trip. Mostly we went to Cici's Pizza which is a place I've still never gone in reality.
The other memory was of Jessie when she was a young'un. She'd wrap scarves around her head and say, "This is what we wear in my ancient land."
It was almost one of those eerie child things, the way she said it with such confidence and certainty.
Finally one of us asked her, "Where IS your ancient land?" and she said, "MEXIMO CITY!"
I know we forget so many things that our children do and say that, when they happen, we think, "Oh, I shall remember this always."
But some things are never forgotten and traveling with Owen to CiCi's Pizza and hearing about Jessie's Ancient Land are two of them.

This is what the sky has looked like all damn day, due to the Saharan dust storm.

A sort of sickly gray-white but when I walked, it didn't seem to bother me in any sort of way and actually prevented the sun from beating down on me full force. I passed No Man Lord's place and he and a friend were sitting under a tree, talking. They waved. When I walked past the house where the little chihuahua comes and barks at me like a guard dog for the palace, two people were getting into their car and we waved and said, "Hey!" and the man held up a little bag and said, "Do you need a mask?" 
How sweet was that? 
"No thanks!" I said. "I have one. We wear them!"
I am so lucky to have such nice neighbors. 

After I got home I procrastinated for quite awhile, knowing I needed to go to town which I eventually did. I had a prescription ready for pick-up and I had a grocery list. I thought I'd go to the pharmacy and Publix and Costco but after the pick-up and Publix I had crossed everything off my list except for Vitamin D3 and I seriously doubt that we'll be dying of lack of Vitamin D anytime soon around here. The very fact that our past bloodwork has shown a deficit of it for both Mr. Moon and me makes me suspicious as hell about the recommended daily requirements but that's neither here nor there, point being that I didn't go to Costco. 
It was somewhat of a relief in Publix to see everyone wearing a mask. Without exception. There weren't many shoppers in the store, either, so it was a fairly easy trip. Still, I was so grateful to get home and unload the car and put everything away and get supper started. I've got a venison meatloaf and a homemade green bean and mushroom casserole ready to go into the oven. Mr. Moon called me a while back though and said that he's dealing with the plumbing problem at the duplex AND he has all of his tools to pack up to bring home so who knows when supper will actually be served? 
I went out to pick the garden and despite spraying myself the mosquitos were still a sort of exquisite torture. The tomatoes, quite sadly, are just about done. The green beans seem to be slowing down. With any luck though, the cucumbers and field peas will be rolling in like crazy now. I bought another dozen canning jars today, just in case the cukes are really, really prolific. 

And in pandemic news, Florida broke all the records reporting almost 9,000 new cases today. And we thought that the previous record of 5,508 new cases set on Wednesday was bad. 
The governor has decreed that all bars have to stop serving alcohol. That's a start, I suppose. 

Just got a text from the man. He's on his way home. Things are in the oven. His martini glass is chilling in the freezer. 

Happy Friday, y'all. Drink responsibly. Drink at home. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Trying To Maintain Balance In A Very Unbalanced World

What a strange day.
In some regards, at least.
This morning I just could NOT pull it together. I was late getting out for my walk because I needed to download a book to listen to and I just could not find one that seemed like anything I'd want to listen to and when I did finally find one that I thought I could tolerate I discovered very quickly that I could not and returned it.
But, I got dressed for my walk and had my gum and my sweat rag and my hat and my walking stick and my phone and my earbuds and I got out to the street and some kid was walking very slowly in the direction that I walk, talking or singing or something out loud to himself VERY loudly and I didn't have a great feeling about him so I decided to drive to Whitehouse Road and walk there but since I was going to be in the car I figured I'd take the trash and so I got my keys and bagged the trash and put it in the car and dropped the garbage off and drove to Whitehouse Road only to find a truck parked where I always park my own car and a guy sitting on the tailgate of another truck and I thought, "Fuck this," because I just didn't want to talk to anyone and then I thought about walking down Farm Road because there's a place I can park there near the railroad tracks but by the time I got  there I was frustrated as hell, it was eleven o'clock, already 84 degrees and again I said, "Fuck this," and drove home.
I've got to figure out a better place to walk that has shade and isn't quite as dangerous as Whitehouse. I love Whitehouse Road but it has stretches that aren't shady and the shoulders are so narrow that if I'm not very watchful and the drivers of cars look away for a second I could be smashed up against a clay bank like a lovebug on a windshield. There really isn't very much traffic on that road but of course that adds to my becoming complacent and not being as watchful as I should be.

Blah, blah, blah.

So I came home and got out of my walking clothes and did a few chores. I picked the garden again, getting enough cucumbers that I'm just about ready to make some pickles. I thought about doing that but then Lily texted and asked if they could come over for a little visit and that sounded wonderful so I didn't get out the canning kettle or the vinegar but then she called and said that due to laundry problems and Maggie's dance class, they weren't going to have enough time and we agreed to do it another day.
I then had the choice of either snapping and freezing more of the massive amounts of green beans I have in my refrigerator OR doing some cleaning OR sewing on August and Levon's dresses.
I chose the sewing.

I finished Levon's dress and it is quite, uh, comfortable-looking.

And it has pockets. Of course. 
Then I cut out part of August's dress and I have a feeling that Levon is going to be pissed off because August's dress is going to be made of material that is so fancy and Levon's is not. 

Remember when I made Magnolia a dress out of this sparkly butterfly fabric? What the boys aren't going to realize is that Levon's dress is made out of the softest cotton jersey while August's dress, due to its sparkly sparklings is not going to be nearly as soft and comfortable. 
It's all about the appearance for kids. 
And for a great many adults. Otherwise- why would women wear bras? 
But that's another subject for another day. 

So that's been about it. I did spend a few minutes outside picking up some downed branches that were pruned by the wind and rain we've been having. As I speak the thunder is booming to the south of us again. I just checked the radar and it looks like it might just pass right below us but I was reminded that we are about to get the Saharan dust cloud which could persist into the weekend. 
Say what you will about 2020 but it's certainly served to keep us all on our toes! I mean really- Saharan dust cloud? 

I've got my supper prepped. This is what we are having. 

Green beans! I've got the shrimp peeled and in the chili marinade, the green beans snapped and ready for the pan, the garlic peeled and thinly sliced. I've picked the arugula and three different types of basils I'm going to use in the salad with some absolutely stunningly gorgeous tomatoes, and the rice and water are in a pot, ready to start cooking. 

The frogs are starting their evening concert, it's so humid out that one wonders if humans can grow mold on their bodies, and I have nothing more to say. 

Please stay safe. We need all of us. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Chili Sauce And Other Canning Stories

The last time I went to see my darling doctor GP I convinced him that seeing me in a year would be sufficient and he agreed, okay, that'll be fine, but come see me if you need anything...
And so forth...
And although I adore him, when I made an appointment for 2020 and then floated out of his office on gossamer wings I thought, "Well, I don't have to worry about that again for another year."
And of course in April I started getting anxious about going back and then May was worse and all of June I've been waking up every morming thinking, "Shit. I have a doctor's appointment."
It's next week and so I had to go get my blood drawn so that he will know all of my secret innermost numbers and quite frankly, when the whole Coronavirus thing started I actually believed that I might be able to just skip the whole process and I probably could get away with that but, oh hell. You know.
So this morning I went to the lab and had to wait about forty minutes in a waiting room where people were spaced apart but not six feet and yes, everyone was wearing a mask. You had to. We were "screened" before we were let in which meant that they asked us, as a group waiting in line to sign-in, if we had any flu-like symptoms or a fever which is basically bullshit.
I don't mind getting my blood drawn in the least and I think today's stab was the most painless I've ever had. I really did not feel the needle.

But, whoo. And phew. That's over. I am not sure why I hate the idea of my blood being used to reveal my innermost workings so much but I absolutely do. It's a big part of my medical neurotic fear. But that vial is out of my hands (arm?) now and that's that. Dr. Zorn can tell me all about it when I go see him next Tuesday.

It's raining again, softly and gently. A few thunder rumbles. The power has flickered but so far, we're hanging in there with it. I spent most of the afternoon making chili sauce, basically following another recipe in the Ball Blue Book. I added a few things to it- garlic and celery, but stuck to the recipe for the most part. I peeled and chopped my tomatoes, put chunks of onion and red peppers and jalapeno peppers, the garlic and celery in the food processor and then cooked all of that until it boiled down some with sugar and salt and spices, added vinegar and let it boil and thicken some more. This time I got three pints and the stuff tastes lovely. It's not very spicy. My jalapenos, although large and shiny don't have a lot of heat, I guess. That's all right.

All three jars have already sealed. Pop, pop, pop. 

I picked more tomatoes and beans and four more cucumbers before I started the sauce. Not quite a gallon of beans today but quite enough. Tomorrow I need to do something with all of them. 

One of the nicest things I remember from my first marriage was a night when my then-husband came in late (as usual- he was a musician) and he had with him a friend from out of town who was going to spend the night and I didn't get up when they came in but laid in bed and listened as my ex showed the guy all of the pickles I'd made. At that time I stored them all on and in a beautiful old kitchen cabinet that I still have. We had bought it from the same woman who sold us our house which we had moved to our land where we were living at the time. A Hoosier Cabinet, I think they are called. In fact, here's a picture of it. 

Yes, it's cluttered but that's what it looks like right now.
So I'm laying there in bed (it was a small house but I loved it so) listening to this conversation going on and next thing I know, the ex is popping open jars and they're doing taste-testing of my pickles. And I mean there were many dozens of jars of different types of pickles. I'd grown and pickled hundreds of cucumbers that year and as I listened I realized that he was proud of the work I'd done although I'm not sure he'd come out and said so. Of course there was also the element of look at what good homesteader hippies we are when it had all been my work but my overall memory of that night carries a sense of sweetness overall.
And I am so glad of that.
One of the good things in my life is that he and I are still friends, can still hug and make each other laugh. That we get along well with each other's spouses and overall, it's a good relationship. He and his wife have passed on kid things to Lily after their granddaughter (from another relationship) outgrew them. They are neighbors of a sort, living close enough that if Lily ever needed their help, they could be there quickly and I know they would.

I'm rambling. Pickles to the past to the present. So it goes.

I'm very tired tonight. It's raining harder now and Mr. Moon, who just got home, isn't able to out and look at his garden. That's what he loves to do when he gets home. I can remember when I had the garden that grew all the cucumbers for all those long-ago pickles, coming home from a little trip out of town, arriving at night and taking a flashlight out to the garden to see how everything was coming along. You can get pretty attached to a garden.
As a metaphor for growth and change you can't beat it and there's fresh vegetables too.

See you tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Country Girl

The green bean situation over here is getting out of hand. Every day I pick a gallon. A gallon bag of green beans. Tender, lovely, tasty green beans.
I'm not complaining. I just need to get on it with the preservation. Also of tomatoes. Time to make tomato sauce. Or more ketchup. Spaghetti sauce. Something.
And now the cucumbers are coming in. You know what I have to do with cucumbers.
Make more pickles.

This is not a bad problem to have. I'm just glad that Mr. Moon is going to be making me that pantry soon.
Well, he has to be finished with the duplex by this weekend because Hank and Rachel are moving in. Honestly, he needs a vacation. He hasn't done this much physical labor on such a constant schedule since he was barely more than a boy.

Our friend that came by on Sunday morning is about to buy a farm with his wife up in Tennessee where they live. He showed us pictures. Guess what that house has in it?
A CANNING ROOM! BE STILL MY HEART! I wonder if Mr. Moon would like to make me one of those.
Probably not.

I sure am doing a lot of yelling today. Sorry.

So here's a picture from my walk today.

The wildlife of Lloyd. They need to shear that sheep. It must be eighty thousand degrees under that wool sweater that she's wearing. Poor thing. Doesn't the cow look like she's saying, "Don't you touch my sheep!"? I like her hairdo. It's sort of fancy up there on the top. 

So yeah, I took a walk and it was horrible. I won't say more than that. 

We've been having little spates of thunder storms since last night and another one showed up in the early afternoon. It was really nice except for the fact that our power went out. I decided to just go lay down on the bed since I couldn't sew which is what I had planned to do. It was so nice and cozy. Jack came in and jumped on the bed and snuggled up as he does

between my butt and my knees and then the power came back on and although I hadn't been sleeping I was so relaxed that I felt like I couldn't get up. So I just laid there for awhile and then I did get up and did a few things and made Mr. Moon a mask. I have just enough elastic for two ear loops. I hope he likes it. Mostly I hope it works. 

It's raining again which is lovely. I did get a chance between storms to go out and pick those vegetables and gather a few eggs. So get this- Miss Darla was back in the nest box I took her out of yesterday, sitting on two different eggs that had just been laid by other hens. I sighed and took those eggs out from underneath her and put her two from the other nest where I'd moved her yesterday back under her. 
I'd say that she's not the brightest hen in the hen house but then again, Dottie is on another nest, sitting on her one egg so maybe she is. 

The mosquitoes have not abated either in their numbers or in their hunger. I had to spray Deep Woods Off on me to be able to pick the garden. I really should take a shower before my husband gets home. But hey- the insect repellent covers up the noxious sweat smell from my walk, right? 
Eau de Florida Woman. 

I feel a great need to share some pictures of Maggie that Lily sent recently. Here's one from last night when Maggie was trying to convince her mother that Pepper (the dog) needed a pillow. 

Can you stand it? Those little feetsies, that hair, that expression? She reminds me so much of her mother when she was a little girl who, when she was trying to convince me to let her do something I did not think she should do, would say, "It's all right, Mama. It's okay," in the most placating, mature voice you can imagine. 

And here's another one from today when Lily bribed her daughter to let her brush her hair out. 

And if that's not a glory hallelujah head of hair, I don't know what is. It's like Magnolia June's spirit made visible. 

I just saw on Facebook that the Leon County commissioners unanimously voted to require the wearing of face coverings while in any public space indoors, including grocery stores, churches and buses. HURRAY! Lily is thrilled. She is sick and tired of customers blatantly ignoring the well-being of other shoppers and Publix employees. Who knows how many lives will be saved by this edict? I'm proud of those commissioners. They did the right thing. 

So that's about it around here. Anything exciting happening where you are? And by exciting I mean...basically anything? Like, did you see a sheep today? 
Yeah. Like that. 

I better go start making supper. I'm pretty sure that tomatoes will be involved. 

Take care, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, June 22, 2020

Another Day In The Life

I spent the day being housewifely, busy as a fat, cheerful little bumblebee, flitting from this tiny chore to another.
I took trash and cleaned out the hen house, moving Darla from one nest to another to clean the one she was in. I set her eggs- both of them- under her and she didn't seem to be the least flustered. I swear, my hens must believe in zero population growth. This is going to be the most pathetic chick hatching ever if indeed even the three eggs that are being sat on DO hatch. And we all know that there is no use counting our chicks until they ARE hatched.
Let's see. What else did I do? Made up a pot of baked beans to go into a slow oven, made up a sourdough loaf and had to play fancy with the oven and the beans to bake it as the bread requires a very hot oven. It's out now and the beans are back in. I did laundry but I did not hang it outside because the mosquitoes are so horrible but I did pick beans and tomatoes and one nice little cucumber. I sprayed myself before I did that, though. You simply cannot go outside right now if you don't. A friend of ours reported wearing long pants, long sleeves and a netted hat to work in his garden and he still got eaten up. It's bad, y'all.
I snapped some of the beans and put them in freezer bags. Those rattlesnake beans show no signs of slowing down. Mr. Moon picked a full basket yesterday and I picked another today, just as full. Prolific doesn't begin to describe them.
I don't even know what all else I did but whatever it was, it kept me pretty darn busy all day long. And that's not a bad thing.

Lily is stewing over whether or not to send the kids back to school this fall. They have three options which are (1) to go back into the classroom where safety measures will be in place, (2) keep them at home to do Leon County online school, or (3) they can do virtual school which was put in place before Covid for kids who can't attend classes. That one isn't even a part of Leon County schooling but it would probably have the advantage of being more established and thought-out.
She wants her children to be able to have a classroom education for all of the obvious reasons but not if they're going to be exposed to the virus and not if they're going to have to be reminded to wear masks and physically distance all day long. They won't even be able to really play together!
She has until July 10 to decide and no matter what she decides, she has to stick to it for one semester at least.
Sadly, a lot of parents don't have any choice. They either go back to work or they can't pay their bills.
And of course, like every part of this whole situation there are really no known definite outcomes about any of it.
Tallahassee City commission is meeting to decide whether or not to require everyone to mask in public. This would be a huge big deal and the right thing to do. The testing sites here have been so busy that traffic in some places is backed up for blocks and blocks.

It's all such a cluster-fuck and I can understand that even the top officials don't have all the information they need to advise us about making decisions but if those top officials listened to the experts on disease control and implemented what they suggest, it sure wouldn't hurt. And also, if people weren't being such asshats about it all.
Of course the Asshat In Chief spent last night encouraging people to ignore all of the experts' advice and did his racist best to ensure that the racist conspiracy theories thrive.
Kung Flu?
Oh yeah, that's really funny, King Dong. What else ya' got?
The pictures of him arriving back at the White House showed a man who was vastly disappointed in how the evening had gone and that thrills me to my bumblebee bones. I have a feeling that even though the numbers at his rally weren't what he had hoped and thought they would be, the results measured in new Covid cases is going to be horrifying.

In happy, cheerful Covid news, I have ordered five new masks from the Johnny Was website. I love their clothes so much but can't really rationalize buying them even on e-bay where the prices are still in the arm-and-a-leg range but you can buy five of their fanciest masks for forty dollars.
Until I go out and buy some more elastic or order some online, my mask-making is on hold. I suppose I should check into the online option.

And here we are. Talking about masks, masks, masks, and getting all excited about ordering pretty ones. Making bread, baking beans, freezing green beans, having to make decisions about our children's educations that we never, ever imagined that we'd be making.
Summer time and the living's...weird.

Keep on keeping on. Okay?

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, June 21, 2020

This picture was from three years ago, back in the ancient days of being able to hold and touch. I had posted it on Facebook with the words, "The day I met Glen Moon was the luckiest day of my life."
Some things may have changed since then but that thought is not one of them.
We met. We didn't fall in love.
We met again.
We flirted.
We met again. He asked me to dance. And from there...
Well. Children, grandchildren. Isn't it amazing to think that if he had not asked me to dance that night in stinky, dark old Kent's bar there wouldn't be an Owen or a Gibson, a Magnolia, August, or Levon?
Not to mention their mamas. Not to mention that Hank and May would be far different people and let's be honest- not to mention that there's no telling whatsoever where I'd be now.
If anywhere.
It wasn't until I met him and we fell in love and got married that I felt safe enough, secure enough, to dive down into the dark murk of my mind to figure a few things out, to get the help I needed to not only go on living but to thrive in so many ways. And to be, quite frankly, a better mother.

Hank and Rachel came out today to bring Mr. Moon a card and some cookies that Rachel made as well as a bag of boiled peanuts that were still hot when they got here. We had a nice talk with them and when they left with one bag of green beans and tomatoes, another of venison (which they were going to go put in the freezer of their duplex which they'll be moving into next weekend) Hank said, "Thanks for marrying Dad."
It's been my pleasure.

This morning an old friend who lives out of town dropped by for a visit and I made us all a Father's Day breakfast of eggs and Tennessee sausage and biscuits and tomatoes which we ate on the porch. It was good to catch up. Good to talk to someone from the outside world.
So it's been a busy day in some ways, even as we mostly sat.
I asked the man what he wanted for his supper and he said, "Hank Salad" so I'll be boiling some shrimp here in a moment.

Father's Days can be a bit unsettling for me but not so bad. I did have a father, of course, but what he mostly gave me were some genes, some good, some not-so, and a childhood of heartache missing him even though I know now I was far better off without him. And then I had the stepfather and we don't need to talk about that. But a few good men have shown me sweetness and constancy, Mr. Moon's father being the main one, and then there's Mr. Moon himself and I am proud that I did indeed pick a good father for my kids and despite my trust issues, over the years he has proven himself over and over again to be what a father should be.

So all-in-all, Father's Day isn't that hard for me. Add in the fact that my grandchildren have the best fathers they possibly could in Jason and Vergil and I have a whole lot to be thankful for.
And I am.

Here's to the good daddies. They give their hearts, their souls, their energy, and their time to their children and nothing could be finer than that.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, June 20, 2020

At Least I Got To See My Babies Dance

Lily texted me last night about Maggie and Gibson's dance recital today. I sighed deeply. First of all, it started at nine a.m. Secondly- the pandemic.
I know that everything is opening back up but I also know that Florida has had more new cases in the past few days than we've ever had. The recital was going to be outside so that did help the situation but the heat was supposed to be fierce.
I went to sleep deciding to see how I felt about it all in the morning.
I felt about the same in the morning which is to say that the idea didn't thrill me but there was no way I could not go.
My babies.
And so I did.
I sat in the shade but people kept encroaching on my space.
Unmasked people. I'd say that at least 75% of the crowd was not masked and people just crammed up next to each other. I could not believe it. These were parents and siblings and grandparents.
But I stayed to myself as much as I could and wore my mask the whole time. And it was hot. I was fine, really, where I was in the shade, but the people who sat in the seats in front of the stage had to have been roasting.
Both kids did very well. I think back to Maggie's first dance class and how she cried and clung to her mama and refused to participate and it is amazing at how far she's come.

The youngest children's teachers got onstage to dance with them and that worked out well. One of the teachers had to hold a little girl who wept for part of the dance. My heart broke. But the teacher just carried her and danced with her in her arms and the little girl had quit crying by the end. One little boy simply walked off the stage. 

Gibson's group of four boys doing hip-hop was darling. I asked him later if he'd been nervous. He said he really was up until he got on the stage and then he was fine. Sounds like a born performer to me. 

Here's a few pictures. 

 Jason and his dancing babies.
Maggie was over it by then as you can clearly see.

Proud mama. Distracted Magnolia.

I love this picture. It's one of those rare snaps that just comes together. Maggie got tired of holding her flowers so I did it for her for awhile. 

After it was all over I went into Publix where I bought the canning jars I forgot yesterday. By the time I got home it was lunch time and after I ate I fell on the bed and slept for a few hours. I was worn out. When I got up I shelled some of my field peas, quickly realizing that I've been picking them too early which is a damn stupid rookie mistake but I managed to get a supper-sized portion out of them and they're simmering now. They'll be delicious. And most definitely tender. 

So that's what it's been like today. Dealing with the unmasked masses has taken just about everything out of me. It's so stressful even when you feel like you're dealing with it as best you can. I think that part of it is that everyone I see without a mask looks like a Trump supporter to me. That's how political this has gotten. And if not specifically a Trump supporter, then at least an ignorant human being who doesn't give a shit about his or her fellow human beings. And that's just as depressing. 

What the hell is wrong with this country? 
When did we become a nation of such non-caring, selfish, science-hating, lies-believing, racist assholes? 
I could probably go do some research in Tulsa tonight. 

Be well. I wish I could hug every one of you. Right after I hugged every one of my family members. 
But the way this is going, we're going to be in this mess for a long, long time. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, June 19, 2020

And Also

I had visitors today and it was joyful despite the fact that we were mostly good and stayed outside where mosquitoes wanted nothing more than to drain us dry of our salty, scarlet essence. We all sprayed with Full Jungle Strength Bring On The Deet bug spray and then we were relatively unmolested.
I felt like a real grandmother today because August wanted me to tell him things. First he asked me to tell him and show him something that he didn't already know about.
It took a minute and it probably wasn't anything he didn't already know about but I showed him Miss Dottie sitting on her eggs and demonstrated how she pecked me if I tried to reach under her. Then we saw a very large, messy chicken poop and even Jessie was amazed at that and I explained that when a hen goes broody and is sitting on eggs, her poop looks like that because she only poops once a day.
So there you go- I helped educate not only my grandson but my daughter.
They knew more about poop when they left than they did when they got here.
While we were eating lunch, I told August some stories about Roseland. I told him how when I was a child, children were allowed to just run everywhere by themselves and how one time a whole pack of us feral children found some buckets of tar in the woods and we made a huge mess and we all got tar on us and we WERE SO IN TROUBLE!
He liked that story so I told him about the day we found the giant swimming pool when we went through the rusted iron gates by the river and how it had had four lions, one at each corner, and how it felt like magic. And then I told him how I found that place again when I was grown up and it is now all fixed up and beautiful and Boppy and I go there to visit and we swim in that pool and the iron gates are still there. I showed him pictures of the lions spitting in the corners.
And I told him about Chester, Roseland's hermit, and how when I first saw him driving down the street on a tractor with his long, long hair and beard and with children and dogs following him I thought he was Jesus Christ come back to earth.
This excited Levon because, well- you know. A tractor. He proceeded to tell a very long story about seeing different large equipment in his street and every time I thought he was done he would say, "And also..."
Jessie told me that he does this all the time which frustrates August to no end when HE is trying to tell his mother something.
It was all so fun.

After lunch was over and Jessie and I were just chatting, I talked about my childhood some more. How it had been so very magical in some ways and so horrible in others. How I had gotten to live a life on a river and in the woods and was lucky enough to discover the ancient ruins of a lion pool, how I'd been taken more than once to a dredge island in the Indian River where mastodon fossils had literally littered the surface, right there for the picking up, but at the same time how horrible some of it had been. How I had learned what poverty really was in my school and among kids I knew. How there had been bullying and also how common and accepted corporal punishment was. How I'd seen a little boy who'd been run over by a delivery truck in my school yard. We didn't even need to discuss being abused by a stepfather or the horrible reality of living with a mother who suffered from suicidal depression. 

This is life, I guess. There is balance sometimes, if we are lucky. There is no way I could still love Roseland as much as I do now if the wildness and magic (I'm sorry to keep using that word but it's the only one that fits) hadn't buoyed me above the horrors at least some of the time. 

I surely know that my grandkids will never have to suffer the sorrows and difficulties that I knew back then and I am so grateful for that but they will also never know what it was like to be a kid who could play pretend Tarzan in her daily life, to eat wild mangoes off of trees, to walk unnoticed and free down sand roads with other kids, to know a man like Chester. 

But. There are tractors right here in Lloyd to play on and pretend. 

There are lots of people who love them. And there is wildness too. There is certainly a sense of safety and security that I never knew. 


Before Jessie got here I picked tomatoes. 

That's what my kitchen island looks like. 
When she was here we picked beans but not all of them. I sent her home with those beans and some pickled ones, too. And some tomatoes. 
After they left I went out and picked the rest of the beans and a few more tomatoes and two cucumbers which are already peeled and sliced and in a bowl with sweet soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to go with our tuna steaks tonight. I made a lemon cheesecake pie with no recipe so it might suck but there are berries cut up and sugared, ready to go on top of it. 
I hung so much laundry that I had to double hang some napkins and pillow cases but it's all taken down, folded up and put away and the bed has clean sheets. 

A good day. Levon got naked, August got stories, we all got some of each other. I kissed their toes before they left and Jessie reports that they both took a nap when they got home so all is well. 
My husband is home, we are sipping martinis. It's Friday night. 

Be well. Be safe. 
And also...

Happy Friday, 
Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Pandemic Ponderings

There's little Miss Tweety who is still not as big as a crow. She really isn't. And with a lack of comb or wattle she really does not look like a chicken to me. While the other hens her age are at least 3/4 size now and looking less like teens and more like adults every day, she stays in this sort of peep/hen limbo, a tiny thing I worry about because she'd be such an easy mouthful for a hawk or an owl. Or hell, a large blue jay.
I wonder what her eggs will look like. As Mr. Moon said today, he can't wait to enjoy a half dozen of them scrambled.

I had a nightmare early this morning about shopping at a Winn Dixie late at night. I had a crowd with me and the store was packed, physical distancing completely ignored, and the shelves were almost bare. I couldn't find a darn thing I needed but managed to pull together some frozen foods and a few other things that I thought I could make into a meal for all of these people with me but when it came time to pay I could not find my debit card, I couldn't find a pen to write a check with, and when I reached into my wallet for the cash I thought was there all I could find was a wad of lettuce.
Yes. Lettuce.
Now whether this was simply an anxiety dream about the shopping I was going to do today or it had even more implications about the food we grow being worth more than dollar bills, I do not know. But there it was.
I procrastinated around here for a few hours before I got myself together to go into town. I hit Costco first which is never too bad but I really want to know why it is that things which look reasonably sized in Costco look like giant food when you get it home. Some things I just know aren't worth buying there like massive bags of tortilla chips because they'll go bad before we eat them all. But today I guess I just wasn't thinking and when I got home I could barely fit everything in the refrigerator when combined with what I got at Publix. A container of portobello mushrooms I bought at Costco seemed not too overly large until I pulled it out in my own kitchen at which point I realized that I better be making a lot of dishes with mushrooms in them.
And I will.
Still- it's a strange thing but I find it to be true, this deceptive lens which seems to slip over my eyes as soon as I step into the store.

At Publix I got about one of everything.
Okay not really.
But I did get a lot. Still no bread flour but plenty of all purpose which is good. I was hungry when I was shopping which is never a good thing. I bought three different types of berries, deciding that I'd make a lemony cheesecake and top it with berries and that's a fine thought but will I? I guess I'm committed now. At Costco I bought a double pack (each rather huge) of eggplant parmesan fresh ravioli (organic!) and so tonight we're going to be eating some of those with a bastardized chicken cacciatore. It's simmering now, the sauce made of tomatoes (of course!) and mushrooms (there you go) and shallots and olives and capers and spinach. And the very last squash we picked, cut up into tiny pieces. It should be fit to eat. And there will be leftovers galore. As I always say, in my last lifetime I was a cook at a lumberjack camp and even when I was cooking for six or more I always made too much. Now that I'm cooking for two it's pretty ridiculous.

When I got everything put away this afternoon after my shopping I could only go lay down and take a nap. I had plans to finish Levon's dress and at least start one for August but forget it. I just did not have any energy left. I do feel guilty about that. My husband is working so hard that it's ridiculous. Besides working at the duplex today he had to go fix a leak at our rental plaza. So he was on a roof in the sun and then laying flooring in the duplex. He keeps saying, "I'm so tired," and I know he is. I don't know how he does it. I truly do not. I do know, however, that when that little home is ready for Hank and Rachel to move in he is going to feel so pleased to have created a pretty, fresh, clean space for them. Oh! I forgot! He sent me a picture of a puddle of water in the front yard where obviously there was a leak in a pipe going into the house. So I doubt that he ever got to the flooring today but took off his roofing hat and put on his plumbing hat. It's six-thirty and he's still not home.
I wonder if he'll have the energy to chew his supper.

In a nice bit of synchronicity last night, after I finished up my post I started listening to a podcast of the day's Fresh Air and Terry was interviewing a disease control expert and professor from Minnesota. He absolutely talked about some of the things I had been wondering about. He admitted that scientists just do not know exactly why the virus spreads so quickly in some places and not in others. But he did say that being outdoors or any place where there is a constant air flow seems to truly cut down on transmission. Also that getting the virus from surfaces is not that big a threat. He does not worry about wiping down packages or groceries at all. And that food does not seem to be a transmitter. Another thing he said was that people who attend Trump's Tulsa rally should not only have to sign a release about not suing Trump but also stating that if they do become infected from the event they will not seek medical care in order not to strain the health care system or infect health care workers although he knew that was not legal and will never happen. But at the very end, Terry asked him how the coronavirus has affected his life and he said that he has five beautiful grandchildren and that he has not seen them in person since March 10. That his children do not want to expose him as he is over sixty-five and have been keeping them away.
I could tell that this was as painful for him as me not being able to hug and kiss my grandchildren has been for me.

So I still don't know what the risks are but I do sort of have an answer from an authority.
And from an article on CNN:

Florida reported 3,207 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday -- the largest single-day count in the state since the pandemic, according to the state health department. Florida's total reported cases climbed to nearly 86,000, according to data.
The Sunshine State has "all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission," and risks being the "worst it has ever been," according to projections from a model by scientists at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.
So there you go. While our president is busily spending his days trying to block the publication of John Bolton and Mary Trump's books, the country is speeding down the fast lane to more and more illnesses and deaths. 
But hey! According to him he's made Juneteenth very famous. 
Sorry for the messed up font and spacing but that's what happens sometimes after I cut and paste. 
Here's a picture from a FB memory of three years ago that I posted today. 

Who would ever have imagined then that there would come a day when looking back at the way we could hug and hold each other could move us to tears?
My sweetheart's home. 
Love...Ms. Moon