Sunday, February 28, 2021

Neither Genteel Nor Gentle

Last night, for no discernible reason, a curtain of sadness descended over me and I just went to bed. I read for several hours and slept and woke up in the same mood. No explanation, no changes, no nothing, everything same-same but a deep melancholy had taken hold and everything today has made me at once deeply sad and also angry. Aging and slowing down, the realization that there are things I never will do before I die, the deaths of people I've loved whom I always thought I'd see again, the news, the contemplation of the willful ignorance of certain people, the stupid book I was listening to, the springing up of invasive plants, my inability to get motivated, to try new things...
On and on and on and on and yet, at the same time, nothing at all. These thoughts weren't causing my sadness or my anger, they were simply part of it; things floating by that my brain grabbed onto to feed on as it ruminated like a great, unhappy shark, hidden in the shadows of the deep sea. 

I made the Sunday biscuits and they baked wonderfully in the new oven, the grits were perfect, completely unscorched on the extra-low burner. None of this cheered me. Mr. Moon wanted to go to town to a nursery to buy tomato plants and a few other things and asked me if I wanted to go and I just looked up from the crossword I was doing and shook my head. 

I managed to go out to the garden and plant another row of arugula, hoping to get at least a little more time with fresh greens for salad. I still have plenty of beautiful chard and spinach, lettuces and kale, but the arugula is bolting and I can't bear the thought of not having it. No harm in trying to plant more. I dug up many patches of the damn fireweed coming up by the garden gate, wearing long yellow rubber gloves. I hate that shit with a passionate heat like the burning surface of the sun. I put all of the pulled-up plants in an old potting soil bag that will go to the dump. 
And then because why not? I got out my pruners and worked in the front yard, trimming back the dead firespike, pulling random baby oak sproutlings, and then moving on to the sagos. 

That was over an hour ago. 
Now it looks like this. 

It itches like a motherfucker. Yes, yes, YES! I should have worn long sleeves. 
And I've only done half of the damn things and haven't yet started on the date palms. At least I can do those with the long loppers. 

I saw Miss Annie (one of the barred rocks) trying to kill Fancy Pants today. They were seriously going at it, jumping and flapping up into the air like two cocks in a pit fight. Fancy Pants' days may be measured around here. He has bloodied one of the gray hens' heads with his beak because he's so small that when he mounts her, he has a hard time staying balanced on her back and has to hold on. It's not unusual for roosters to cause hens to have bare places on their wings where they perch with their talons but this is cruel. I have long since lost my need for every chicken to live and roosters especially are a dime a dozen, even pretty fancy ones. We shall see what happens. I now know, though, that Annie will cut a bitch. 

Mr. Moon planted his three Cherokee Purple tomatoes and reports that the gnats and ants tormented him. We have already seen mosquitoes. The ants are coming out in force and I poured boiling water on a swarming bunch of large fire ants coming up between some steps. I have no Buddha in my soul today. These, however, are the type of ants that could literally kill a child if they covered him or her and while Buddha left his wife and son to go sit under the Bodhi tree, I feel certain that the mother of his baby had to deal with any and all of the myriad of threats that may have come her child's way with whatever resources she had. There are people who claim to be able to politely and successfully ask bothersome insects to please relocate their hives and homes but I am not one of them. 

I guess I am just Mean Ms. Moon today and that's how it is sometimes. I am quite aware that this meanness comes from pain and although I do not know the source of it (and usually, I do have a clue), I am sure that I will just ride it out and figure it out and work it out. 
Meanwhile, red ants and sagos and fireweed and fancy roosters need to watch their step. 
Let it be known and so be it. 

Love...Ms. Shark-Heart

Saturday, February 27, 2021

A Sweet And Drowsy Day

There's Liberace, a very fine rooster. Not as fine as Elvis but there will never be another Elvis. Still, Liberace watches over the ladies with unflagging devotion, is, for a rooster, a gentle lover, and tolerates Fancy Pants whereas some roosters with less self-confidence, would not. 

So all that stuff I was going to do today?
I didn't. I've been a lazy ass and I don't care. I've washed and hung the covers that I used for the plants this winter. Tablecloths with holes and mildew stains, old sheets, a few blankets. I was a bit worried that I would inadvertently wash a lizard or little frog but I shook them out before I washed them. One tree frog did jump on me when I brought them into the house yesterday and a tree frog landing on your bare arms feels exactly like you'd think it would. Rather damp and cold. That wasn't the only encounter I had yesterday with something I brought in accidentally. Last night, as we were blissfully stretched out in our clean and crisp sheets with Maurice on a pillow between us and as I turned to put the light out, something lit up my arm and before I realized what it was, I had grabbed the sheet and got another electric shock on my finger. It was a wasp that I suppose had come in from the line although it could have found its way from somewhere in the house. Bugs do get in and this time of year we frequently find wasps sluggishly making their way across a floor or up a wall. Where they come from is a mystery to us but I may bring them in with the plants. 
Who knows?
But once again- way too much nature. Just talking about those stings makes the little hairs on my arms stand up. Thankfully, I don't have an allergy to them but it's not a pleasant experience. 

Here are the mulberries forming leaves and berries. I hope it's a nice crop this year. If it is, I may make some jam or at least some pies. And the kids love to just stand under the branches and pick them and eat them. They are luscious and turn your mouth purple. When I was a child in Roseland, a neighbor had a tree in his yard and didn't seem to mind if we children ate our fill of the berries. They were a huge treat to us. Candy and sweets were not nearly as available to us as they seem to be now. A lot of the families couldn't afford even the pennies it cost to buy Tootsie Rolls or jawbreakers, much less the ingredients for cookies and cakes. But there were the mulberries, the turpentine mangoes that grew randomly about, the citrus trees and guava trees. Not so bad, really. 

It's beautiful here in North Florida right now. There's no denying it. Everything is swelling and budding. I can already feel the resulting pollen in the back of my throat, a sort of burning discomfort, and soon it will be covering our cars and waterways, the ground, everything. You can't live in a place as green as we do without the pollen. People will be complaining on Facebook as they do every year. The complaints are as predictable as the pollen itself and some people truly are allergic and suffer greatly. We hope for rain to wash it all away and it is a relief when that happens. Some folks claim that eating local honey will help with the allergies but that's not true. Finding the honey made out of the nectar and pollen of the specific plants that we react to is a shot in the dark. There are probably hundreds of species contributing to the situation. 
But I do approve of local honey and why we do not keep bees, I do not know. 

I have accomplished nothing today. I haven't spoken to a soul except for my husband and our conversations have been sweet. I was going to make a gumbo out of shrimp and some leftover crab I have and am even boiling their shells for stock but then I realized that what I really want to make is a shrimp and crab salad. I had picked a huge bunch of salad greens, some for a friend of ours, and that would be the most delicious and sensible thing to make. And so I will. 

I suppose I'm letting spring be the busy thing today and I've simply laid back and contentedly let it go about its busy-ness. 

How are you? Is spring making an appearance where you are? 

I've droned on long enough. I believe I'll go see if there are any carrots worth picking in the garden. I think there are. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, February 26, 2021


It was foggy this morning when I got up but by the time I hung the second load of clothes on the line, the sun had burned it all off and was shining prettily. Not sure that we haven't just skipped spring here and are diving headfirst directly into summer.
Nah. That's not true. It didn't get over eighty here today. 

So remember that thing that Lon said about being satisfied with getting one thing accomplished in a day? Well I got two things accomplished today and I feel downright sassy about it. I finally got the hen house depooped and put fresh hay down for the girlies and their gentlemen friends and I attacked the front porch where the plants have been all grouped up against the wall so that I could cover them when we have freezes. It was a damn mess. And if we get another freeze I'm going to throw up my hands in despair and kick my own ass for rushing it. 
But it sure does feel good. 
I had to move things around and deciding which plant goes where is 95% of the battle. And none of these are small plants. I just slide them and even that isn't easy. I cut a lot of things back and did some trimming. I'd bought a farm-sized jug of Miracle Gro at the Costco a few weeks ago and I gave them all a good sprinkle with that and then I watered them. I moved my banyan tree out of the house and repotted it and got it situated. I'm not sure that some things are going to come back. A few begonias (which I have to keep up off the porch floor because the chickens love to eat them) and my ferns all look horrible. Mr. Moon moved my Norfolk Island Pine off the porch and into the yard. I'm going to plant it in the ground. I bought it when it was tiny to use as a Christmas tree and I did use it for that purpose for years but now it's too big and heavy to move around easily and I don't especially want a potted Norfolk Island Pine. If it grows, it grows, if it doesn't- oh well. I bought another tiny one last year and it's still alive. 

Here's what the porch looks like from the east end of it. 

Some of the pots that appear empty really aren't and I'm just going to wait and see if life springs forth from the dead-looking roots. 
Here's what the west end of the porch looks like with the sun lowering behind it. 

Can you see the azaleas coming out? 
I don't really have everything where I want it but some of those pots are too heavy to even drag from one end of the porch to another. Mr. Moon would move them for me but he doesn't really need to be lifting that sort of weight either. 

So I did all that, and tomorrow I might continue on with more work in the front yard, trimming and pruning and pulling weeds. The sago palms need a lot of attention. It's a literal pain to trim those because they're extremely stickery and their little needles contain a sort of toxin so that's a job that must be done carefully. It's always fun to watch their new yearly growth appear. The firespike needs trimming badly. The black sticks that were last year's beautiful leaves and blossoms have to go. And I should probably trim a little bit on the Canary Island date palms and if I do, I will surely complain here as I do every year about them and their horrible fronds made of needles even sharper and more toxic than the sagos. 

I have put my first loaf of sourdough in the new oven and I am, as I texted to a friend, inappropriately excited about this. 

It's a funky loaf and I'm not sure what I did to make it so. Each time I make sourdough, it turns out differently. I guess this one just got away from me on the rising. I'm sure that Paul Hollywood could tell me and he'd take a vicious pleasure in doing so but I would be so enchanted by those blue eyes of his that I wouldn't mind at all. 

The laundry has been folded and put away, the bed is made up with those nice line-dried sheets. I am tired but in a good way. My ribs ache a bit where I broke them but not very much. I imagine they will remind me of their presence for the rest of my life. I doubt I will ever forget that fall I took, the way I immediately knew that I'd done something rather serious to my body, the way the ribs felt...crunchy? I still don't understand how they knitted themselves back together and when they ache it's mostly that I think about- how in the world does the body heal itself from such a rude and sudden insult? 

A Friday night. My husband needs to come on into the house. He's been working on a car's brakes all day long. "I don't know why I get so tired," he told me earlier.
"Haha!" I said. "I do." 
But he needs to stop and make us martinis. It's that time again. And I will make him supper. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, February 25, 2021


 Let's see...what were my goals for today? 
Oh yeah. Figuring out who my eye doctor is and cleaning the hen house. 
Nope and nope. 
Instead, Jessie and the boys came over and we mostly played. And read some books. And ate our lunch. And Jessie and I talked and gossiped. 
Thank the lord above for the opportunity to talk and gossip to another woman. 
The boys weren't too wild although they didn't want to stop jumping on the bed in the guest room. No big deal. August and I read some books and he was generous with kisses and pats which is unusual for him. I probably got more kisses from that boy today than I usually get in six weeks. I enjoy talking to August a lot. He's a very engaged conversationalist. Today I asked him what his favorite bird was and he said "hummingbirds" because they are so fast. Also, he said, "Peregrine Falcons because they're the fastest bird of all." Swiftness is important to both August and Levon who will, at any random moment say, "Look how fast I am!" and then take off running. Levon demonstrated his abilities today and then told me that he had rocket blasters on his back and also, flames. I agreed that he did. 
Jessie told me another great story about something August said. They were at the Jr. Museum a few days ago and having a little snack on a bench when a man came right up to them, maskless, of course, and said something about what fine young men they were and that he sure hoped she was raising them to love God and Jesus. After he left, August turned to his mother and said, "I guess he's a Christian."

So all of that was fun and when they left I just didn't have enough energy to care about either the eye doctor or the hen house. I've been sluggish the past few days and I don't know why I have. I got stuff done around here that I needed to do but not much extra. I did make a very cool discovery in my front yard. 

That, my friends, is a native red buckeye. They grow around here in the woods and I bought one at a nursery some years ago and planted it by my swing porch. This one has grown up from a runner root, I think, and it is just as pretty to me as a spotted pup, as one of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' characters might have said. When I saw it I thought to myself, "That can't be." But I knew it was and I did a double-check with my PlantSnap app and sure enough, it's a beautiful little buckeye. And now that I know that it's there I can keep it semi-cleared out around it and make sure it gets enough water. It won't get much sun but they can do okay in that situation. It's mama/daddy tree hasn't bloomed or leafed yet which I find quite interesting. It will, though. It will. 

In the fauna department, as opposed to the flora, Rainbow Cloud, the lizard that Maggie caught and insisted on keeping, is a source of entertainment for Mr. Moon and me. Lily has made him a beautiful lizardarium with wood and rocks and dirt and plants that would be a

pretty thing all on its own and there are lights to be trained on it for heat. It's not always easy to find Mr. Rainbow (who is an Eastern fence lizard) in his fancy condo but eventually, we always can. 

He has a gorgeous bright blue belly which indicates his maleness. To be honest, I've never really noticed one in the wild and once again- here I am finding out about something that has lived right beside me for most of my life which I was blithely blind to. Their camo is terrific, I will say in my defense. On pine bark they are almost impossible to see. Lily also brought over his "cricket friends" as she called them, which is what he eats. Mr. Moon and I just gave him one but he didn't even seem to notice. I imagine that he'll figure it out. 

Lily and Lauren and the kids have made it to North Carolina to their cabin and I can't wait to get pictures. I hope they have a wonderful time. They need a good adventure with nothing but fun. 

I have been wearing a dress all day. A sleeveless dress. And have been barefoot. Our temperatures are creeping up into the low eighties and I expect the wisteria to start swelling any day now like my own knuckle joints. It is still coolish at night. I am going to miss these beautiful mild days. 

Life goes on and so do the seasons. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

She Shopped

I can and do assure you that this will not become a blog which is entirely centered on pictures of things cooking on my new stove. But I took that picture this morning when I set my pinto beans on the burner because, well- I could. I made Mr. Moon's favorite breakfast of egg burritos while the beans came to a low boil and then I shut them off for a little while and went about the business of laundry and hanging it out on the line and getting ready to go to town. Partway through all of that I put the beans back on, thinking I would let them simmer on the extra-low simmer burner while I was in town but by the time I checked them before I left, they were already soft. So I just turned them off. I could not believe it because I've never cooked pinto beans in less than five or six hours except in a pressure cooker and it was just a regular old package of Publix pinto beans but there you go. This whole star burner thing is not just something that looks cool. It cooks much more efficiently, the flame going to all parts of the bottom of the pan and so I am finding that I can cook at a lower temperature and yet still cook things faster. 

I am learning.

I stopped by Hank's and Rachel's when I went to town to give them some eggs. To be truthful, I forced eggs on them. They already had eggs. I give eggs to everyone. After a short chat there, I drove to...Goodwill.

Please don't give me grief about going to Goodwill. I know they are crooks and thieves and take advantage of their workers. I am not a saint. I just wanted to go shopping and it was right down the street and so I did. 
Goodwill has not changed in a year. Smells the same, looks the same. There were hardly any people in the store. More workers than customers. I looked through the kitchen wares, the house stuff, saw one small chest that I liked but it was already sold. Then I proceeded to the dress racks and it was abysmal. Polyester, polyester, polyester, polyester.
And more polyester.
I did find one linen dress with pockets that will do for a house dress if it fits on my burgeoning body. I also found a pair of overalls that I would not wear if they were the last overalls on earth.
Well. If they were the last overalls on earth, I might wear them. They had huge red and white stripes and some sort of patch of blue with stars on it. 
Beyond hideous. And possibly even illegal or at least unconstitutional. 
I found no cashmere and nothing even close. Well, there was one sweater that claimed to have a "cashmere feel" but they lied and it was 100% acrylic. 
Still, it was something to be out in public like that, doing something so familiar. The faint drone of people talking from a distance was soothing and the man who checked me out would suddenly laugh for no apparent reason but that was not unpleasant. It was a jovial chuckle, not a horrible frightening clown laugh. I told myself that he is probably in on the cosmic joke of it all and I think that is possible. 

Then I was on to Publix and then Costco and by the time I got home it was past 4:30 which really put a crimp in my regular rut/routine. I flew about, bringing groceries in, putting things away, starting the dishwasher, bringing the beans back to a simmer, rushing out to the garden to cut greens to cook, to the line to get the clothes in, to the henhouse to get the eggs. I put the laundry away and washed and cut the greens and got them to cooking with bacon and tomatoes and onions and various vinegars and a little bit of soy sauce. 
I can get a lot done in a little time if I really want to. The joy, however, of this past year is that I have had little need to rush like that. I don't like rushing. I like taking time to check the progress of the budding mulberries, the spirea, the Japanese magnolia. It has been so warm here today that I am certain even the most reluctant of bloomers are having to reconsider their sloth. Sap is flowing and the birds are calling everything to come out and play from dawn to dark. There is no stopping it. 
And quite frankly, all of this is far more fascinating to me than thrift-store shopping. It is good to be reminded. 

So that was my big exciting day. 

I did want to report that yesterday I got a phone call from my Trumper neighbor with whom I'd had a very vocal disagreement a few weeks ago. She was calling to ask if I'd seen her cat which disappeared the other night and I had not. We spoke pleasantly. I asked her how she and her husband were feeling, if they were recovering from covid. She said that it's slow, but every day is a little better. We discussed Jack a bit, as he used to go over to her house now and then for some canned cat food and a good fur brushing. She really does love animals. And all of that was fine and I was feeling good about the conversation- we are neighbors. We very much need to be on decent terms, especially out here in Lloyd where a neighbor's help can mean so much when it's needed. 
But then she brought up Texas and blamed all of the power problems on "green energy" and turbines that had to be winterized and weren't, never acknowledging that Republican deregulation had caused these problems. It's so obvious that if there is not a Democrat to blame, then it surely must be some liberal plot like "green energy" which is the demon in the scenario to these Fox people. Their powers of rationalization are truly magnificent. I tried to talk to her a little bit about it but I didn't have the energy nor the desire. I finally gently ended it with wishing her and her husband the best and hopes that they are truly well and healthy soon. 
And I do wish that. 
And I'm glad she called. I hope her cat comes home. His name is Baby and he means a lot to her. I understand that too. 

I have my greens on the extra-low simmer in which the burner goes off and on intermittently to keep the temperature low, low, low and it is a wonder to me to see them still simmering even when the flame is off. The beans are cooking down gently to a nice gravy and I'll cook a little pot of rice and bake a cornbread in a little while. 
I'm tired. It's been a long day. I think my goals for tomorrow are simply to clean out the hen house and try to figure out what my eye doctor's name is. I desperately need a new prescription and new glasses. That doesn't sound like a big deal but for those of us with these weird medical neuroses, it is. I have promised myself that all I have to do tomorrow is to figure out who the doctor is and maybe on Friday or maybe even next week I will actually call and make an appointment. 
Baby steps. 

I'll try to catch up on some comment answering. The last two days have been a bit frenetic for me. Please be well and know that I am grateful for each one of you. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Good News In Pictures

Picture of the blue sky and tufts of Spanish Moss, hanging from its branches this morning.

What a beautiful day. This is going to be mostly pictures because it's getting late and I have to cook supper...on the Thermomonster!

The guys did come today and Mr. Robert spent hours and hours getting everything just right. He and Mr. Morris (of Morris Propane, LLC, Monticello, Florida) were the most polite and fine gentlemen you can imagine. While they were working, I was walking around taking pictures of bees, mostly. So many bees!

Bee on camellia.

Bee on bok choy bloom.

Bee on faded azalea. 

And then, if all of this wasn't joy enough, Lily brought the kids over and there were hugs and kisses and books and wandering through the house remembering and reclaiming and finding a good place to put Cloud Rainbow and his heat light and crickets because the little lizard guy is staying with us for a few days. Lily and Lauren are taking the kids to North Carolina to stay in a cabin in the mountains for a few days. It was joyful. 
And loud. 

Ratty got some love too. 

Gibson is the most enthusiastic of huggers. 

Magnolia June was not in the mood to be photographed and so I respected her wishes. Luckily, she was in the mood to snuggle while we read books. 

So it was a very fine day and I'm so excited to go cook on that stove. 

Both Mr. Robert and Mr. Morris (of Morris Propane, LLC, Monticello, Florida) said that Thermadors are "top quality" and Mr. Morris (you know who) said that he's had a Thermador cooktop for twenty years with no problems. 

Happy sigh. 

I don't have time for the pintos tonight so we'll be having a nice meatloaf and maybe some potatoes and of course a salad because I picked a huge basketful of gorgeous greens. 

Am I just the luckiest lady in the world or what? 

Yeah. I am. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, February 22, 2021

Le Sigh

So it's been one of those days. I woke up from crazy dreams of getting lost on a campus in the most bizarre sort of ways and then it was Asheville I was lost in and then it was a campus in Asheville and the leather purses at the leather kiosk on campus were way too expensive. 


Mr. Moon had to go into town for work and I stayed home all day which I probably would have anyway, and watched the rain and felt the gray-dreariness and waited for the gas guy and he never showed up and with each hour that passed I grew a little more disappointed until I've finally settled on some emotion directly between Oh, who gives a fuck? and I WANT MY NEW STOVE!
For some reason we've gotten the scheduling all confused and out of whack due to misunderstandings or something or maybe the gas people are just not listening or maybe they're not communicating properly or maybe we're not communicating properly who knows not me. 

And so tonight's meal will be brought to you once again by the old black beast with holes in the bottom of it, warped oven racks that sometimes come crashing down and burners that often require the help of a match flame to come alive. 

Oh well. This really is a first world problem if I ever heard one and a silly one, even for that category as it's not really a problem at all, just a minor disappointment. A grown lady wants to play with her new toy. Oh, boo-hoo. Light a candle. 

I actually did some ironing today and chose to watch a movie while I smoothed the shirts with the hissing iron and the movie I watched was delicious. 

A woman named Radha Blank wrote the screenplay, directed it, starred in it and co-produced it. She is a mighty force and I want her to be my best friend. I also want the character of her agent to be my best friend, a man played by actor Peter Kim, and for the sake of decency I shall not mention the love interest (Oswin Benjamin) except to say...oh dear. 

And that movie alone made the day worth getting up for. I do highly recommend it. It's on Netflix. I suppose I should mention the fact that if profanity offends you, this might not be the movie for you but since you are reading this of your own free will, I'm guessing that profanity does not offend you. I am of the opinion that profanity is the very salt that makes life savory, the crunch that makes it satisfying. 

I see that the number of deaths from Covid has reached the horrific number of half a million. I did not foresee this happening a year ago. Not at all. I suppose that the pandemic experts did but the rest of us were so, so innocent and ignorant. 
Funny how those two things go together like a horse and a cart. Like a pea in a pod, a taco on a Tuesday, a dog and a bone, Keith Richards and a guitar, a virus and a bloodstream. 

Lily texted today that her battery died while she was waiting for a grocery pick-up and Maggie asked, "Are you out of petrol?"
Has the child been watching Brit Flics? (Sorry Jo. It had to be said.) 
Children. I love them so. 

Off to cook on a good-enough stove.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Some Sundays Are Pretty All Right

We certainly did have a very fine time with the two Weatherford boys last night and today. They were truly good boys. After supper last night, they had baths, got on their pajamas, and had their purple cows.

Then there was tooth-brushing and book-reading. Levon kept telling me that he was tired and I kept telling him that he could just get in his bed but no, he wanted to hear the stories although with each one he would say, "I hope this isn't too long. I am very sleepy." 
And as soon as we finished the last book, he slid off my bed and got on his bed, pulled up the comforter and was asleep before the little wind-up lamb who plays "You Are My Sunshine" had wound down. August was asleep almost as quickly. I do not think either boy was awake when I kissed them good-night.
And get this- they had to flip a coin to see which one of them would get to sleep on Boppy's side of the bed. Poor August lost and his little fold-out mat had to be placed on my side. 
You know, I really am chopped liver when it comes to their love. I know they love me but it's Boppy they adore. And somehow, that just makes me smile. 
Not a peep was heard out of them until around 7:30 when Levon appeared, awake and happy, standing beside his grandfather. We invited him into the bed and he and I did some cuddling and giggling and he even gave me some kisses which was a beautiful way to wake up. Boppy went back to sleep for a few minutes and then woke up for real and said, "Come on, boy. Let's let Mer sleep some more," and they got up and indeed I did sleep some more. I have no idea when August woke up. I was hoping to get a few snuggles with him, too, but I'm sure he took one look at the bed, realized his grandfather and Levon were already up and raced to the Glen Den to watch some TV. 
When I got up I made pancakes wondering if this would be the last time I'd make pancakes on the old stove. I made what I thought would be a plentiful amount and every one got eaten. I ate two and August ate six and a half. Levon ate four. They are pancake-eating machines. 

The rest of the morning and early afternoon was all about books and some bike riding and Levon and Boppy in the garden planting the peas and the rest of the potatoes. Also tidying up and putting all of the My Little Ponies back into the suitcase in which they'd arrived. August likes to set them around the perimeter of the head of his bed like little guardian pony angels. I sewed a button on a little stuffed dog that he brought for me to do that to and then Levon wanted me to sew some buttons on a little cuddle dog that he'd brought, which I did, and I also stitched up a place where he was coming apart. It's so satisfying to do these little things for the boys. I am not sure why, but it is. 
Another thing that happened was that Levon wanted me to draw a picture of a front end loader. Of course. I can't draw a stick figure dog so I looked up "front end loader" on Google to get something I could try and copy and got this image:

Oh my dear Lord. He did not quit talking about getting one of these for the entire remainder of his visit. It's only three hundred dollars. I tried to explain to Levon that it cost too much money and that no, he was not going to get one, and he said, "But that boy has one!"
Try to explain advertising and child models to a three-year old. Just try. 
He told his mama and daddy about it when they got here to pick them up and his mama told him that it was too expensive but she'd keep her eye out for a used one. I told him that I'd look at the dump. All this served to do was to inspire him to remind us every forty-five seconds that Mama was going to keep her eye out and I was going to look at the dump. 
Bless his beautiful, front-end loader heart. 

While Jessie and Vergil were here, a major/minor project was completed. The Camaro is now off the trailer and safely in the garage! This required a lot of figuring and planning and a little doing. It was quite exciting. I love watching Vergil and Mr. Moon work together. Their brains think alike in many ways and I can see the mind-meld as they communicate in unfinished three word phrases. Not only were the boys vastly interested, the chickens were too. The boys had to stay in the back of the truck for safety but the chickens got to roam about as they pleased. 

No cables snapped, the car did not fall off the trailer, and no chickens were harmed in the unloading of the car. 

And so today has been a good day of accomplishment and merriment, pancakes and stuffed animal ornamentation and surgery. Oh! And both Mr. Moon and I received patented rain storm massages. 

Mr. Moon also discovered that having August walk on his back is amazing. I shall try to convince the child to take a stroll on my back at some point. 

When they left, the boys got M&M's and August even wanted a kiss. This is huge. 
A good Sunday. And tomorrow, hopefully, we shall welcome the gas guy into our house and all will go well and I will cook our supper on the Thermonster as one of you thought the brand name said. 
I HOPE it's a monster. That I can tame and sooth into doing my will with my wiles and talents. Haha! 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Party Time At Mer and Bop's

 Last night we had an excellent martini-time chat with Lon and Lis, catching up on stuff, discussing world events, solving world problems, philosophizing and so forth. At one point, Lon said, "Can I ask y'all a question?" 
"Of course," we said. 
"Have your expectations about what you can accomplish each day changed since the pandemic?"
Oh. God. Yes. 
We agreed that if we get one thing accomplished we feel as if it's been a successful day.

See that sock up there? That was my accomplishment today. I darned a hole in it. I've had a darning egg for many years but never actually used it and had to watch a YouTube video on how to darn and I didn't have actual darning thread (I used cotton embroidery thread) and that sock is so thick and wooly that it was like trying to mend a hole in a sheep, but I enjoyed it. 

Mr. Moon got some potatoes planted and I did a little weeding. He also did some car business. Right now he's doing this.

The boyos are spending the night and just got dropped off. They are thrilled. Jessie got Levon a folding mat bed just like August's and he's excited. They'll both be sleeping in Mer and Bop's room and it will be a cozy night. I hope Levon sleeps past five. Jessie has called a moratorium on the no-gluten/no-dairy thing so we can have pancakes in the morning. Hurray! 

And now I better get in there and make spaghetti. On my old stove. No gas guy today. I suppose this is good because I've now had time to go through the owner's manual. The model we got is so simple that there's really not that much to know. Here are the only two display lights on the whole thing. 

Also note the toggle switch to turn the oven light on. 
I do still need to figure out the difference between "roast" and "bake." 

I suppose that eventually I will. 

Y'all be cozy tonight too. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, February 19, 2021

Well, the stove is still sitting in the hallway, taped and packaged and sealed. By the time Mr. Moon called the gas guy to tell him that we were ready, it was too late to schedule us for today. I do not know if he works on Saturdays so it may still be a few more days at least. 


It's okay. It's all fine. It's better than fine. We finally got that damn range hood figured out and installed. That took eons. And the sucker is heavy. Mr. Moon had to cut a little piece of metal to go in it, carve out some of the cabinet it butted up against, tape down wires, and a lot of other stuff. We finally figured out how to fit it in but then it had to be held there so that he could attach it with screws. I suggested calling our neighbor to see if he'd lend us his arms but my husband figured out a way to prop the back of it up with a board and I could hold up the front so that he could get the screws in. 
Success! Finally! And then he hooked up all the electric stuff- the lights and the fan, and we are good to go. The only hitch now is that there is a little dent in the front where one of us (not me, thank god) must have banged it but it is easily covered up with a Frida magnet which I probably would have put up there anyway. 
Unlike my old range hood, this one's fan actually has sucking power. There are three speeds, all of which could probably pull my hair out of its barrette. One can use either one light or two and with both of them, I could perform surgery underneath if I knew how to perform surgery.
Which I do not. 
Anyway, the kitchen is back in order, the old stove is in its nook so that I don't have to cook supper tonight in the middle of the kitchen like I did last night and I am grateful for it all. I'm even grateful for the experience of helping my husband install that range hood. It was frustrating and difficult but we did it together and I tried to be a good helper. We never lost patience with each other, we laughed a lot. 
And we did it. And of course, mostly he did it and once again I am amazed at his knowledge and skills when it comes to things like carpentry and electrical stuff. 
He's a gem. 

Steve Reed asked me to post a picture of the little religious icon I found under the stove when we pulled it out and here it is.

I don't even have the words to express how sad I find it that Catholics refer to their goddess as she who was "conceived without sin." As if love-making is sin. 
Ah well. I'm not here to discuss religion tonight but here's a post where I wrote about the subject eleven years ago. 

It's martinis and clean sheets night, y'all. At least here in Lloyd. 

Happy Friday.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Is That A Beautiful Stove Or What?

The stove is in the house! 
Okay. So it's in the hallway. It is only feet away from the kitchen! Feet, I tell you! The range hood has been delivered and Mr. Moon is working on that and the backsplash now. He ordered a piece of stainless steel to go behind the stove and despite careful instructions as to the dimensions, it was cut wrong and he had to get another done and go to town to pick that up. Nothing goes perfectly in these situations and everything takes longer than it should. And that is just the way it is. My house feels topsy turvy with boxes and packing material spilling out all the way to the dining room and my kitchen certainly is but I'm almost certain that eventually, it will all be back to normal or rather, a new normal with that beautiful new stove. 

Mr. Moon had to pull the old stove out of its nook to work on the backsplash and hood. I wasn't completely horrified to see what was there. 

I sort of love that old linoleum. Anyway, I cleaned it all up and in my efforts found a few pieces of cat food, two vitamins, a bead, an M&M, two seashells, a piece of bacon, and one dead roach. Also a religious icon that I do not remember getting. No mice shit. No rat shit. So, not bad. Not bad at all. I cleaned the wall with Kaboom! which is probably incredibly toxic but it works like magic. The wall looks brand new at this point with hardly any effort. I cleaned the floor with Fabuloso and vinegar, of course, and all will be ready for the new cooking beast. As Mr. Moon pulled out the old stove he said, "I just can't figure out how that Thermador can weight six hundred pounds while this one only weighs fifty."
It may be made of lead and bricks. I don't know. 
Tomorrow looks to be ignition day. A guy from the gas company is coming by to convert the stove from propane to natural gas and he'll hook it all up and make sure everything's running. 
Should I soak my pintos tonight? 

Last night when I took my shower I vowed to try and do something about the mildew on the floor in there and so I tackled that today. Speaking of magic potents, I have found nothing that works on mildew quite like toilet bowl gel cleaner with bleach. I've mentioned this before. So I applied that stuff to the mildew and let it sit for about an hour and then scrubbed. It's not exactly perfectly white nor will ever be but it sure does look better. If you try this at home, you may want to wear gloves, which I did not, because now my hands reek of bleach. They sure are clean though!

Raining, raining, raining. This morning, before it started up again, the air was so wet that every window of my house was made opaque due to condensation from the house being cooler than it was outside. And actually, even the walls of the house are still damp. Just the way it is. 

I'm sure that we've all seen Ted Cruz on his way to and from Cancun. Haha! What a shithead. How to make friends and influence people. Leave everyone in your state behind with no power or water or food on the grocery shelves and quite literally freezing to death to just take a teeny-tiny little jaunt down to the Mexican Caribbean. Why not? I love how he's saying now that he just went down to be a "good dad" to make sure his family got there safely and now he's on his way home. 
As if the fact that since your daughter can't attend school due to the historically horrific weather, you and your wife decided to take her and some friends down to where it's warm and sunny while you're telling people to stay off the roads and stay home and "hug your children" isn't going to make people hate you even more than you already do. 

I do not think he's making good choices. 

Mr. Moon says he should be finished with his project around midnight. 
Every few minutes he calls me to come in and hold something. He's got a bad shoulder and I've got a bad wrist but by golly, we're going to get this done! 

Check in tomorrow to see how we're coming along with it all. 
If you want to. Only if you want to. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Adventures In Grand Childrening

The young men arrived this morning ready for adventure and excitement and possible TV watching and their grandmother made them pose with a chicken on their heads. I know someone gave me that funny, flat little hen but I can't remember who. She always sat on the range hood and when Mr. Moon took it out last Sunday, I removed her and threw her in the wash for a good cleaning. 
She needed it as would anything that sits that close to a stove top for a long time. 
And let me assure you that although Levon looks a bit sad in that picture, he was just holding very...very... still so that the chicken would stay perched. 

I made oatmeal for everyone with raisins and apples. The boys had already had a breakfast or two but they happily ate a bowl of the gluey goop. 
I can't stand oatmeal. I used to love it and I think I ate way too much of it over the years and now I would just rather not. Thank you, though. I do manage to get a bowl down every now and then but today was not one of those days. And please don't tell me to try the Scotch long-cooking oats or to add this or that to the oatmeal to make it more, uh, edible, because I've tried everything. 
Trust me. 

There was a lot of fun to be had this morning. Mostly with Boppy. Some TV watching. Then out to the yard where the sky was blue and the air was crispy, to pick up sticks. August operated the grabber and Levon pulled the cart. They make an excellent team. Mr. Moon and I helped without the aid of a grabber and we got a nice cartful to put on the burn pile. Then it was time to get out the metal detector. Or, as Levon called it, the metal protector. 
Either way it had to be put together. 

How I love all their hands, their grandfather's so big and theirs still so small but so capable. Levon's hands are pudgy little boy hands and August's hands are, and have been since he was born, slender and rather elegant. One of the things I respect most about these guys is how they listen and follow directions. When it came time to put the batteries in, Mr. Moon showed them how to do it and instead of yelling, "Let me, let me! I know how!" August watched quietly and carefully and when Boppy said, "Okay, you do this one," he was able to do it perfectly. And Levon is so patient with the process. He knows that his time will come. 
They didn't find anything today while detecting but that was okay. They had a good time. They came in and I gave the boys some bowls of soy yogurt with strawberries cut up in it which they loved, and I cooked their dairy-free, gluten-free pizza and they got to watch more TV while they ate it. While the pizza was cooking, we read a few books. 
And then it was time to go. Mr. Moon had traded cars with Jessie so that she could run her errands in my car and he could take the boys into town in her car so that there was no moving of the car seats which is a real challenge and chore. 

It was so quiet after they left and I finally made myself go back out and pull up the rest of that probably-turmeric. It was even harder this time because it was all around the bananas, choking them. And this was a bigger clump of it but I finished it up. 

Doesn't look very impressive, does it? But the cart is filled with prunings of the plants and that black yard bag is filled with roots. So I got that part done and it won't be long before the bananas come back and I'll be planting whatever it is that I plant in that little space. I'm not sure yet what that will be. My next yard chore is definitely to get the potatoes and peas into the ground. It is time. I just need to consult with Farmer Moon to get his thoughts on where and how to plant. He has his theories and I have mine...
It's all a learning process, even after all these years. 

The misery and deaths caused by the winter storms and power outages have not abated and I cannot possibly imagine what it's like to be quite literally powerless in that situation. When I lived in Denver I constantly wondered what people would do in the frigid cold if all the power went out. I looked around at the lack of trees and thought, "There isn't even any wood to burn."
It's horrifying and more storms to come. 
Meanwhile here in North Florida, the temperatures are mild. We are probably going to start getting more rain tonight through tomorrow but that's nothing. More water in the aquifer. 

I have been informed by my husband that no, tomorrow is NOT the day the stove will be hooked up. It's merely the day the stove is going to be moved into the house. I am not sure where it's going to be stashed but we'll figure it out. The actual installation requires a backsplash made of stainless steel, the range hood, and the conversion of the system from one sort of gas to another. This must all be coordinated like a rocket launch and it ain't happening tomorrow. 
Oh well. Life will certainly go on. Pinto beans and cornbread will be eaten eventually. 

Today August declared that his grandfather should be called "Humongous." This amused me to no end. I am just grateful that he did not say the same to me. 
I sure do love those boys. And their grandfather, Mr. Humongous. 

Stay warm, people. Stay warm, stay safe, stay sane. 

Love...Ms. Moon