Monday, July 31, 2017


Four eggs I found today, three in the pump house and the newest one, the maiden egg of a young hen, was laid in the actual hen house in a nest. It's that deep rich brown one at the top there and I could not be more proud if I had laid it myself.
Thank you, babies, I want to say to all of them. Thank you. 

Sometimes I wonder why it is that such simple, prosaic things seem to be such deeply satisfying miracles to me. I was thinking about this today and it occurred to me that this may be the result of the sexual abuse I survived as a child. The effects of having been abused are myriad and uncountable in numbers. As I discovered when I went into therapy with the woman who saved my life and whatever sanity I may have, it's like an onion with an infinite number of layers, trying to get through and to the core of the ways the abuse affected me then and how all of that led to coping mechanisms and beliefs and reactions and actions and on and on and on which have made my life what it is.
The good and the bad. Both.
It is absolutely true that I am not the person I would have been had I had a decent childhood, free of fear and confusion and betrayal and mental illness. Of course none of us had a perfect childhood and there are people who have managed to not only survive but go on to become amazingly well-balanced and sane and functional human beings who suffered what all of us would agree was the most egregious and cruel and horrendous abuse as children.
And of course, many have grown up to barely function in this world and some develop such unhealthy coping mechanisms and mental illness that they cannot function in this world at all.
Like the very process of trying to get to the heart of it all, the resulting consequences are as varied and many as that other onion, although there are certainly many of us who share the same problems and yes, strengths. I remember when I started going to a sexual abuse survivors group and began to listen to others who had been through what I had been through and I realized that instead of being the unique person I thought I was, I was one of many who shared so much.
Our stories were all different and yet, all so similar.

And how does this relate to my appreciation and sense of wonder at things like a chicken laying an egg or the dirt and a seed resulting in food for my table?
I think it may be because one of the things which was stolen from me in my childhood was the trust in anything I could not see or touch or feel.
Someone who says they love you may, in fact, be the very person who is systematically and surely using those words in order to gain your trust and your silence. And with that terrifying knowledge comes an inability to believe in any person of authority along with a deep fear of those who are more powerful than you, no matter what they say.
Religious leaders for instance, who represent the Big and Ultimate Authority. And that Ultimate Authority itself.

This is true for me at least, and thus, don't even try to talk to me about a big daddy who loves me and wants me to love him and who died for me. I ain't got time for that shit. No one in the history of the universe has died and come back to say any religion is true.


Eggs and dirt and seeds and love and light and babies and art and oceans and solar systems and space are actual and real things I can see and feel with my own senses and my own heart and my own soul and we humans do need something which is spiritual and beyond us and more eternal than we are.

Well. That's what I'm thinking tonight.

I am also thinking it might be time for me to talk more about childhood sexual abuse. Not only for myself but for the many who come here who also experienced that particular sort of hell. Perhaps I need to open that closet once more and let the light touch things I have not been brave enough or tough enough or even aware enough to admit are there.

I will ponder this and let me also say that this is a safe place for anyone who wants to talk about their own experiences. Obviously.

Meanwhile, there will still be news of grandchildren and chickens, weather and other everyday wonders.
You can count on that.

Love...Ms. Moon

It's That Day

There are so many golden orb weaver spiders around my house and on my porches right now. They are coming into their maturity and some of them are huge, as are their webs but this one I found on my walk this morning, seemingly dangling by one leg from her anchor line stretched between dog fennel and beauty bush on either side of the path. An aerialist of the finest kind. A wind-dancer, a spinner of silk and beauty.

It is the day which happens every year, sometimes in July, sometimes in August. The day in which the first breeze hinting of fall blesses us. The humidity is down to somewhere around sixty percent, which for us is a dramatic difference from our regular summer days where the humidity ranges around the eighty percent mark.
Or higher.
And the sky is that clear, cerulean blue, the trees' full-summer green against it so sharp, so beautiful.

Here are the beauty berries, forming up to soon become that color of mulberries and cream which I adore so.

The seasons pass through all of their stages and it is with such pleasure that I observe and notice the changes, both infinitesimal and striking, sometimes sudden and more often, a slow and lingering process which requires foreknowledge of the things to come to actually notice. 

I feel so much better today. I took a walk and enjoyed every step. Butterflies are darting among the last summer blossoms, dragonflies flit and dart, the leaves dance in this breeze like children set free to music, choosing their own particular steps and moves, a grace, a goodness. 

We may have received this gift of weather today because of a storm in the Gulf, Tropical Storm Emily. This is often the way of it. We are solidly into hurricane season which can bring so many surprises, some good, some so very terrifying. 
Life is like that, isn't it? 

And that is North Florida today. It will be murderously hot and humid again- perhaps tomorrow- but for right now, it is lovely and all we have to do to be reminded that the season will change again is to go outside and breathe it in, to feel, to see, to hear the slower, gentler sound of the crickets, even to smell the changes although we may not even be able to consciously recognize those. Our human animal brain registers it all if we simply let it. 

No matter what is going on in this world, for this one day right here, everything feels right and good as the spiders spin, the light tilts towards autumn, the leaves appear to nod and dance, the air is gentle. 

I am paying attention with all of my heart. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Day In The (Tiny) Life

I have been a fucking DO-MESTIC goddess today.
Well, in my world. And trust me- the bar is set pretty low.
And like I said, I did not move very fast but I did keep moving.
Hen house- cleaned!
Kitchen floor- mopped! Twice! (It could use another go-over but hey- let's not lose our minds.)
Garden- green bean vines mostly pulled and given to goats and to chickens. Some weeding done. Some mulching with chicken-shit hay done. A few of these little fuckers picked:

Not many. I had forgotten how tenaciously edamame pods want to stay on the vine. Plus- too hot. Hot, hot, hot and not in a Marilyn Monroe way. 
Whatever they charge for an appetizer of steamed edamame in sushi restaurants is a bargain. 
Trust me. 
I did laundry. I cleaned and reorganized the utensil drawer. I threw away a bunch of stuff which has been living there for years for no apparent reason. BUH-BYE!
I took trash and recycle. 
I found another new-hen egg. 
And, I found this picture on the internet while I was taking a break. 

It was taken at Studio 54 and honey, that's history right there. 
I sort of love Keith in his bad-teeth years. Here it would appear that he had gotten new front teeth but said fuck-it to the back ones. Can you imagine the partying that went on in those days? No. No you cannot and neither can I. 
Well, maybe you can. How would I know?
And of course dear John is dead and so is James Brown whose teeth were magnificent! 

Well, I better get in my kitchen which smells so fabulously of Fabuloso and white vinegar and make some supper. 

This is such a boring post. I am sorry. I will try to do better soon. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Mexican Mermaids, Chickens, A Film, The Google

My new header picture is a painting by the Mexican artist German Rubio. I was completely unfamiliar with him or his work but discovered him via a Google Images search for "Mexican Mermaids."
How I love the Google.
And I have fallen so in love with his work that I feel certain you will be seeing more of it here at Bless Our Hearts.

Meanwhile, it is Sunday and I slept for about eleven hours last night and I feel as if I simply have to do something today to earn my grits and grease, not to mention air and water and patch of dirt, and so I am going to try and bestir myself to get at least a few things done around here which so desperately need doing such as cleaning out the hen house and mopping the kitchen.

That's Dearie in the picture above with some of his hens. He has not gotten to maturity yet but he's getting there and seems to have perfected the rooster stare, even at his young age. 
He and the hens he sleeps with in the tree come to visit by the kitchen every morning in hopes for treats which I do supply. He calls the hens to come and eat them, thus proving his worthiness as their rooster. He does his part, I do mine. He never thanks me. 

The little chicks are fine and lovely and I saw one use its tiny wings this morning to flutter up to the frame of the cage-coop. Dottie, their mother, desperately wants to take them outside but I am not chancing that yet. I want to let them out so badly because I know they must yearn for new dirt and weeds to scratch in, fresh bugs and tender roots. But there are hawks and there are cats and as protective as Dottie is, I know that these are only a few of the things which she could not defend her babies from and I could not bear that. 
It may happen eventually but not yet. 
Again- she does her part, and I will do mine even if it means being cruel. 

And so it goes. It is Sunday. I did not make pancakes for my grandchildren. I do not have the energy and whatever it is that I end up doing today will be done slowly. You can count on that. 

Meanwhile, enjoy the artwork by Sr. Rubio. Not to be confused with that other Rubio in our government who has never done a thing I'd call enjoyable.
And...if you have nine minutes to spare today, here's an interesting little documentary that I will be thinking about for a long time. I will admit that the porcine element of the film seems to add very little to the whole thing for me but despite that, it was well-worth watching. 

Much Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Went Away, I Came Back

Well, as you can probably surmise I am home.
What a strange birthday! Not horrible. Whatever it is that I have does not cause me to writhe in pain which is a good thing in my opinion.  (TMI ALERT! ): All it does is to cause me to experience stomach cramping and then a trip to the bathroom. I am not puking. I am not feeling faint. I am still, in fact, hungry.
I was feeling better this afternoon and ate a sandwich for my lunch and did not have any ill effects for hours but then I did. And THEN I made the mistake of eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
So- a barbecue pulled chicken sandwich was okay but a peanut butter and banana sandwich, not so much.

Whatever. Fuck it. I'm not going to die.

So we came home and do you see in that picture what I found? Yes, okra and eggplant and...
One Miss Camellia egg, one Miss Violet egg, and two Miss Unknown Hen eggs! The small white ones. I am so excited. Since I have approximately forty-two white hens, I have no idea who the mama is but I sure am grateful to her. I believe that as she goes along, the eggs will get larger. Violet's will never be bigger because she's a banty, but these other hens are full-sized.

So that was awesome and a perfect birthday present for the Old Chicken Woman.

And it wasn't a bad birthday. Not at all. It was rather nice to just rest up on the bed in the Gibson Inn. The Gibson is almost like home after all this time visiting it anyway, and since I was there I didn't feel as if I should get up and go sweep the kitchen or anything. I could just rest and read and snooze and watch a little HGTV when I felt like it. And some enforced rest for Mr. Moon is always a good thing. So...

Apalachicola is still beautiful. The oyster tongers were out on the bay.

We did go to the little restaurant we usually go to for a bowl of gumbo which may not have been what the doctor ordered but it was delicious. I don't know, however, how much longer we'll still keep going there. It's run by the owners and there appear to be only three of them in the front of the house, and those three shuck all the oysters, take all the orders, deliver all the orders, prepare and deliver all of the drinks, and make up the bills and take your payment. And bus the tables. It's a very small restaurant but it's always packed and the woman part of the team who has never had a problem expressing her frustration, fatigue and general dissatisfaction with the world in general and the humans in her restaurant in particular, has started using profanity with absolute abandon in such a way that everyone can hear her, all the while addressing almost everyone by endearments.
It's just too weird and makes me feel guilty about ordering a bowl of gumbo and a glass of tea.
I don't need that in my life.
Plus, she told my husband that if I die, she will be his next wife.

Well, that's the way it is and every town has its share of characters and Apalachicola is as rich in characters as it is in oysters and some of the characters are profane and some of them are bizarre and some of them are generally drunk and some of them are eccentric and some of them are very rich and some of them are very poor and some of them are as kind and gentle as you could wish. Throw in all the tourists and you've got a perfect microcosm of life in what we so fondly call the Forgotten Coast.

All right. That's about all I feel like discussing right now. I'm cooking a little bit of supper from the garden and Mr. Moon's over at Lily and Jason's, mowing their grass because he loves to use his big old mower and besides, that way he gets to see the grandbabies.

I turned 63 and whether I did it successfully or not is yet to be seen but I'm still here and Mick just knocked Little Richard off one of the hens and no one seems too upset about it and oh, golly, I am about to have SO MANY EGGS!!!!

Thank you for all the birthday wishes and mostly, just thank you all for coming along with me on these adventures.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, July 28, 2017

Not The Best Birthday Of My Life

I seem to have picked up a stomach bug or something and have spent a goodly portion of the day in our room sleeping. 
My poor husband. 

Well, this is a birthday I won't soon forget. 


Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A fine place to be. 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Gimme Shelter

What a completely odd day.
For about eight months I have woken up every morning knowing that I should go get my blood drawn for the regular bloodwork that my doctor wanted me to get back when I first started seeing him. Just the regular work-up, you know. And I've been to see him twice since then and still hadn't done it and I have another appointment with him next Friday and I suppose my brain just finally kicked in and made me do it because this morning I woke up from a dream where I had gotten the blood drawn and felt so relieved that I got up, got dressed, let the chickens out, and drove to town.
Where I got my blood drawn.
Jesus Christ.
Now he's going to know all of my secrets, my blood secrets, and he's going to want me to go on other drugs for high cholesterol and shit like that. I just know it.
And I can't stand that thought. Mostly the secrets part. Not that I have like a hidden addiction to heroin or anything but somehow, the idea of anyone being able to access the information given up so treacherously by my very own blood makes me want to die.
This is probably related somehow to my history of sexual abuse- if there is any one thing which I can keep private and away from anyone who could harm me, it is the very essence of my physical being which is that red, salty soup of my veins.
Honestly, I would rather get five pap and pelvics than one blood test.
This makes no sense but then again, there is nothing which makes sense about the fall-out from childhood abuse if viewed from the lens of the "normal."
BUT, fuck it, I did it. I went and got vials and vials taken from my arm and even had extra blood drawn for hormone levels which I was also supposed to get done months and months ago.
And then I went and got a stupid, horrible, junky egg and cheese and bacon biscuit from the Burger King and went to Lily's and we all went to Costco. We went earlier than usual which sucked because there were NO SAMPLES!
Gibson couldn't even believe it. It is not a part of his reality for there to be no samples at Costco.
He kept insisting that there had to be samples, there simply had to be. 
There were none, not even a sample of yogurt or a protein drink or anything at all.
So we got them pizza.

And Gibson was happy. 

I came home and slept. Between the anxiety hangover and the draining of my bloodstream I just didn't have any energy. And then I got up and picked some beans from the garden and that's been it. 

I keep thinking about how, the day after the election, I said to my husband, "Well, that's the end of the world as we know it," and I meant it and I also kept saying, "We are fucked, we are so fucked," and I meant that too and every day that passes proves that I was as right as I could be and here we are, every day a new blow to the gut by this absolutely insane mad man and today it's his proclamation-by-Tweet that all transgendered people will be kicked out of the military. 
Look- I want to live in a world where there is NO military. I want those swords beaten into plowshares yesterfuckingday but that hasn't happened and by god, there are plenty of people for whom military service is their only chance at a better life and to summarily announce to thousands of people that their service is no longer acceptable in any capacity is...well, I don't have the words for what I think it is. 

Here's what Matt Bellasai said.

And he is fucking right. 

I want to cry, I want to scream, I want to beat on something until my knuckles are bloody. I want to cradle all of my transgendered loves in my arms and say, "It's going to be all right."
But you know what? I don't even know if I believe that. 

It's Mick Jagger's birthday. He is 74. 

Here he was five years ago with Lady Gaga. 

We could all use some fucking shelter.

Weird day. Weird year. Weird world.

Dance if you can. Cry if you can't.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Some Things Even The River Can't Cure

I woke up this morning and went to the hallway to turn the thermostat up and lying beneath it on the floor was a lovely rat, barely marked by death but stiff as a nail when I swept it onto the dust pan to fling into the woods.
Maurice knows that the first thing I do every morning is go adjust that thermostat and I bet she thought I'd love that rat, maybe skin it for my breakfast and give her an extra helping of Temptations to thank her for her thoughtfulness but instead, my morning angst only increased to the point where I was unsure of why I should go on, and laugh if you want but some days it doesn't take much to push me to the edge of the damn cliff.
Seeing as how there are no cliffs in Lloyd I got the broom and dustpan and did what had to be done and slung that poor thing as far towards the railroad tracks behind the hen house as I could.

Then I went to the river with Lily and her kids and thank god for the river and why I don't live on the river is pretty much a mystery to me but then again, most things are. Owen is now jumping off the rope which means he's definitely a big kid.

As always, it was an interesting assortment of people there today and I felt severely under-tattooed. We kept hearing something bellow and I am not sure if it was a gator or a big ol' bullfrog but one woman who was about to take off in her kayak assured me that it was, in fact, a bird which I do not believe for one second. Bird's larynx's are just not built like that. 
I mean, she could have been right but she looked like a Yankee and I don't think she knew what she was talking about.
"I don't think so," I said to her.
"It is," she said, with all of the self-confidence of an ornithologist. "Although there are gators here."
"No shit, Sherlock," I said, and pushed her kayak over with my old southern lady arms which are stronger than you'd think.
Not really. I did not say that or do that. 
But I wanted to. 

Anyway, here's what Miss Magnolia, aka Little Woman, aka Little Mama, aka Little Queenie looked like in her bathing costume. 

"Honey," I told her when her mama was changing her back into her clothes when we were leaving, "You have reached the apex of cuteness."
And I swear, she has. That precious little body is perfect in all regards and in all ways and I don't know why we ever put clothes on her. 

So that was great fun and I am not going to say one damn thing about the Dick Tator and his speech to the Boy Scouts nor am I going to say anything about the Republican lawmakers, no, I am not (they suck donkey dicks and I am so scared and filled with anger and some of it is righteous and some of it is merely pure, red-hot-may-they-burn-in-hell anger) and I am right back where I started this morning when I found that rat in my hallway. How can there be a rat in the hallway? What am I going to do about it? How can there be a Trump in my White House and what am I going to do about it? and so forth. 

Wish I could just sweep him up and sling/fling him into the bushes for the foxes and coyotes and ants to eat but I can't and Maurice, as much as she'd like to please me, cannot kill him. 

More's the pity.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, July 24, 2017

Buttonholers And Birthday Plans

A few days ago I got out my handy Greist buttonholer attachment to make the buttonholes on a dress for Maggie, only to find that the gear which makes the buttonholer move was not working. It was making its regular little reassuring click noises but when it clicked, nothing was happening. I looked at it and messed with it to no avail and that evening, I gave it to Mr. Moon because it seems like it's a simple little machine and I felt certain that he could figure out why it wasn't working and fix it for me.
He took it apart and studied it and did this and did that and he could not figure out how to fix it either.
Ah-lah, I thought. And today I made buttonholes by hand which, let me just say, I know how to do in theory but they are not nearly as neat and tidy as the buttonholes made by the Greist buttonholer attachment.
So I got on eBay and looked up Greist Buttonholer and sure enough, there were a bunch for sale. I found one which is exactly the same model (by all visual accounts, at least) as the one I have now and I bought it. $16.95, free shipping, and I just got notified that it's already shipped and they upgraded me to Priority Rush and how exciting is that?
Ah, the internet is a beautiful thing sometimes.
And so very soon I will be back in the buttonhole business.

That was just about the most productive thing I've done all day to be honest. I had to wait for the Century Link guy to show up and figure out why my internet is so slow these days and of course, I was given the time frame of between 8 and 12 and he got here at 12. I can't complain. The guy is so nice and I recognized him from another time when I was having problems. He did what he could and promised to try and fix it at the "port" which is the place down by the post office where there's a bunch of stuff in a fence which I gather is where the magic really happens.

I did some weeding and gave the weeds to the baby chicks and their mama and finished the little Maggie dress except for some embroidery I'm going to do on the pocket. I also decided that I'd like to go to Apalachicola for my birthday which takes the pressure off of everyone and Mr. Moon got us a room at the Gibson Inn where we have not stayed for quite some time. We have had many, many honeymoons there in the last thirty-something years and it cheers me immensely to know that we are still capable and, indeed, excited, to have another.
That alone is something to celebrate on my sixty-third birthday.
Or any birthday, for that matter if you want to know the truth.

I am a lucky, lucky lady.

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. Isn't "buttonholer" a strange and almost pornographic word? I think so.

The Little Family

Dottie, Rose, Pearl, and Amethyst.
I think.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Saved By Curls And Kisses

I woke up this morning filled with full-on Sunday sadness and everything hurt from my feet to my feelings and I thought, "I need those babies to come and save me," so I offered a few waffles and some bacon in trade for that salvation and it worked.
As it generally does.
Maggie is in full toddler bloom and her hair this morning was so curly with the humidity. She is just the poster child for a darling baby girl and she ran about the house, playing with all of her favorite things and wanting her Boppa and kissing a picture of August on the phone and riding her horse.

When she gets on the horse she wants me to hand her the baby doll or a book. I do not know why. She carries them a few leagues through cowgirl land and then unceremoniously drops them and rides on. A little while after this, Lily and I got on the bed and snuggled with her and we played patty cake and she nursed some. She still loves her nursies and she laid down and tucked herself under her mama's wing and and we both loved on her and she reminded me so much of the way her mama used to nurse when she was a baby. 

It was a lovely few hours and the boys hugged me a lot and we fed waffles and watermelon to the new baby chicks who are WILD little things which is good because maybe that will give them a better chance to survive. And then Lily and the children left to go home and I kissed them all in the car after they were strapped in except for Gibson who said, "I already kissed you," and Maggie said, "Bye-bye! Bye-Bye!"

We got to talk to August on the phone today too, who told us that he peed in the potty again. And went paddling on the river. Well, he told us with help from his mama. I told him I wanted to kiss him and Jessie reported that he was kissing the phone. And then he wanted his Boppa. 
Oh, how I miss him! I can't wait to see him and Magnolia together again. 

So that's been my day, mostly, and there was a nap and I'm going to cook some scallops and shrimp for our supper. Last night's snapper was practically perfect and Mr. Moon stopped at the seafood market on his way home yesterday and bought us the scallops and shrimp. 

I've been listening to a Paul Theroux novel (Mother Land) and I'm not sure why I'm slogging through it. Here's a review of it by Steven King and it's a pretty damn accurate review in my opinion. The book is endless, it's mean-spirited, it's wicked and cruel and yet, it's sort of fun. Well, not fun exactly. But as I read it, I think of my own family and recognize much and then I realize that none of my brothers and I have really been in touch since our own mother died and if nothing else, it is an excellent study in how not to be the mother of grown children.
Or children of any age, for that matter. 
Or a grandmother. 
Or a human being. 

And anyway, another Sunday and I survived (at least up to this point) and Nicey and Camellia are back on the porch, doing a little personal grooming and wondering if I'll give them some cat food.

No, is the answer to that. 

Bless their optimistic hearts. 
Bless all our hearts. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mostly Chickens

Here are some of the young hens who really need to get their shit together and start laying eggs. They are, from the left, Trinky (or Tronky), Nicey, Nancy, Nora, Tronky (or Trinky), and Honey's there in the back. The other hens which have not started laying yet are Owl and Lucy. And Darla. But I've had Darla for forever and she's never laid one egg as far as I know. She is the tub-mate of Dottie who is now raising her first hatchlings. There's also Violet, my little Banty, and Camellia, both of whom do lay, and Trixie, who hasn't laid an egg in forever and ever.

I let Trixie out of the coop where I put her the other day so she could catch a break from the roosters. She hung out with Dottie and the babies for a day or two and then indicated that she would like to leave by hanging out near the door and I let her out and she did scratch around yesterday but today she's spent most of the day in the hen house in a nest. I went in and found her and scratched her head and stroked her feathers and gave her some watermelon which she ate with enthusiasm. Poor old girl. I keep thinking she's on her way out but then she rallies and proves me wrong again. This heat can't be helping her. And it's about to be molting season and all of the chickens will lose many, many feathers and grow back new ones and while that's happening, even the most regular of hens grow less productive and I'm wondering if I'm going to get any real egg volume until it cools down in the fall.

I shelled a bunch of peas that I picked today and when I finished and came out to the porch, Camellia and Nicey were both hanging out, hoping for treats. Now Camellia comes onto the porch every day, sometimes several times and I have to admit that I've been a bad, bad chicken-keeper and have been giving her a few cat food kibbles because she's such a sweetie and she was Kathleen's and she lays me eggs. Of course this only encourages her and yes, she does poop on the porch but it's not so bad to clean up. But I'd never seen Nicey on the porch and yet, here she was. Did Camellia tell her about the cat food? 
I wouldn't put it past her. 
And doesn't that hen look old enough to lay eggs to you? She has become quite a dark shade of red and with those black tail feathers, I think she is lovely. 

I have noticed that Dottie, when I go out to feed or water her and her babies, raises up her tail feathers and spreads them out so that she looks more rooster-like. She spreads out all of her feathers, actually, and I am sure this is a protective reaction to perceived threat. She wants to look like a dangerous bad-ass to any one or any thing threatening her children. I try to take them treats every day because they can't really get much green goodness in that coop. Yesterday I took them some weeds from the garden and they scratch through the roots for whatever might be clinging to them. They also love fruit, of course, and I give them some of that daily too. Right now it's watermelon but they really do love it all. She checks out what I bring them and if she likes it, she chip, chip, chips to her babies to come and join her. The sound she makes is very much like the sound a rooster makes when he is tidbitting some found delicacies for his ladies. 

Dearie is still making himself scarce although he comes back to roost at night in the tree and has now collected almost all of the youngest hens to roost with him. He is a sly one. And a handsome one. And so far, they are doing fine in that tree. Mr. Moon says he wants to build Dearie his own home for his own flock and maybe he will. That man has a lot going on and hen houses don't just erect themselves. 

Speaking of Mr. Moon, he brought home a nice snapper and filleted it for me and I'm going to pan fry it and cook some stone-ground grits and stewed tomatoes and a little salad. He gave all the scraps of the fish to the chickens and they are happy as they can be to eat them. Very little goes to waste around here. 

I worked in the garden some today, picking and weeding and then I pulled the largest tomatoes which are neither blooming or fruiting. They are done, the cucumbers are done, the squash is all but done and some damn vine-borer seems to be killing my gourds. The edamame are slow to swell in their hairy pods, but I am watching them. The black-eyed peas and cream peas are still podding up with nice goodness and I'm still getting rattlesnake beans. I pulled a rosemary bush out of the garden today that was bigger than an end table but half of it was dead and I have another, even bigger one right beside it. I used a little of the hen house hay with poop in it to mulch that spot. The poop is too hot to plant in it right now, but by the time I plant my collards, it'll be just about right. 

We got a nice rain this afternoon, I have worked outside and in, and I have nothing whatsoever to complain about. I took a rare Ativan last night before I went to bed and I don't know whether it was that or merely the ticking across of some distant planet but I have felt mostly at peace today as I did nothing much. 

It looks, from a distance at least, as if the current administration is falling apart faster than a nice, fat pork shoulder falls apart in the crockpot and I don't think that there's enough barbecue sauce in the world to make that shit edible. 
Or credible. 

Keep the faith, babies. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, July 21, 2017

Oh, July.

I have been struggling a bit lately and I'm sure it's everything all together, you know. It's the time of year when I had my first huge anxiety episode and anniversaries are always hard whether your mind remembers or not. The body does, just as it remembers the anniversaries of the deaths of people we love.
It's about to be my birthday which is also a hard time for me. Always is. The age I'm about to be- 63- sounds relatively young when I apply it to other people but when I apply it to myself, I am astounded that I'm still alive and the time has certainly passed where I will die young and leave a beautiful corpse.
Which I suppose is a good thing but still- sixty-three? Really? And please don't tell me I'm still young or that we are only as old as we feel.
I feel fucking old and I look fucking old and I feel the way I feel so there you go.

Plus the heat. Every time I got out of my car today I felt as if my skin was simply going to sear like chicken skin on an overly hot grill and I remembered that I need to make an appointment with the dermatologist to get all of these suspicious places checked out and honestly, I think he'll probably just say, "We need to remove your entire epidermis," and besides that, if there's anything harder for me to do than calling a doctor's office to make an appointment, I'm not sure what it is.
Plus the everything. I just feel old and useless and ugly and taking up space that some precious new baby in this world would be more deserving of. Space and resources. Water and food. I ain't no Bodhisattva, y'all. I take up my share and then some.

Oh well. I guess as long as I'm still entertaining to my grandchildren and not a personal burden on my kids I'll be okay with sticking around.
I should try to eat less, though and at least remember to not run the water while I'm brushing my teeth until I actually need it to rinse.

I went to town today to get some inches chopped off of my hair. It's just been bugging me. Long and lank and doing no good for nothing (not unlike me) plus I wear it up all the time and in the summer, if I do anything outside I'm going to sweat so much that my hair is wet until I go to bed and I've frequently wondered why it doesn't mildew.
And then there's the Melissa factor.
Melissa, as you know, is our hair-lady, our friend, our light in the world. Just being in her presence is enough to make you feel better about everything, including yourself.
So I went to see Melissa and I showed her how much I wanted cut off and she said, "Oh, no. Not that much," and then she showed me why I didn't want that much cut off and I agreed and she cut off a goodly amount and now at least it won't take as long to dry. I looked at the pathetic lanks of my hair on the cutting floor and was glad to be rid of that stuff which was at least five years old.

It must not be too dramatic a change because when Gibson saw me he said, "Mer, I like your dress!"

I met Lily and Gibson and Magnolia June for lunch. Owen is at his first real sleep-over party with his friend Chase, whose birthday it's about to be. He and Chase are BFF's and love each other dearly and Lily said he was fit to burst when she dropped him off. Chase has a brother, a dog, AND a pool, plus they went to a movie. He is never going to want to go home. Never. Ever.

So I got to spend time with Gibson and Maggie and Lily and that was fun. Gibson is the cuddliest boy in the world. I asked him, "Gibson, why do you cuddle me so much?"
"Because I love you!" he said.
"I love you, too," I told him.
And Maggie just wanted to be held and to be fed beans off my fork and eat ice cream from a cup without a spoon and when we were leaving, she went up to a lady who was seated nearby and kept saying, "Hi! Hi!" and the lady ignored her but another lady saw her and said, "Adorable!"

She really is. Can you believe that tutu skirt?

That girl can carry off a look. She has style. She has grace, even with ice cream on her face.

She is precious, that Maggie girl. 

And they all are and soon there will be another to love on. Mr. Moon told me that he FaceTimed with August today who asked for MerMer, just as Maggie asked for her Boppa, and they had a good conversation with lots of thrown kisses. 
"Moah!" August is reported as having said. 
And his Boppy threw him moah kisses, of course.

And so there you go. Another day in the life of one old lady. I have a lovely chicken in the oven (not one of mine, thank you very much) with a tiny bit of stuffing in it. I believe I will fake-fry some okra tonight. Every day I go out and cut what is ready and I have what I believe to be two servings worth. I really want to get my hands on a big ol' bucket of the stuff and pickle it all. 
I probably could if I just set my mind to it. 

The mango/peach/cherry pie was fine. I only had a bite. Honestly, the joy for me is in the baking. Mr. Moon drove ALL THE WAY TO PUBLIX before dinner last night to buy vanilla ice cream to put on it. I was chopping vegetables for the salad when I got a phone call from him. 
"You'll never believe where I am," he said. 
Honestly, I thought he was still at the convenience store.
"Where?" I asked. 
"On the interstate," he said. "On my way to Publix to buy ice cream which is worthy of that pie."
I am not kidding you. 
He bought a vat of Haagen Dazs. 

I love that man. 

He's going fishing tomorrow and hopefully, we'll be eating snapper soon but fishing is fishing and catching is another thing all together. I am almost 63 years old and if I know one thing, that is it. 

Stay tuned. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Can She Bake A Mango Pie?

I have one in the oven and it is beautiful in its formative stage, it's raw stage.

(Just wondering- is raw cookie dough considered a "raw food"? Like if you're on a raw food diet?)

Anyway, the deal is, a lot of my mangoes and all of the peaches I had in the house were going way too soft way too fast so I cut them up and added a few frozen cherries for excitement and tartness and added sugar and cornstarch and poured the goopy concoction into that pie shell I made. 
With my own hands. 
It'll probably just end up being a mess but I've tried. 
And if it's good, well, it'll be very, very good. 
I think.

I believe I've just been tired today. I haven't done much. I blanched and froze a few vegetables and while that sounds like something, it ain't much. I hung clothes on the line. I brought them in. I picked a few beans and peas and okra. That was enough time outside for me. 
Mr. Moon came home and said, "I can't take this heat. I just can't."
I said, "Me either."
"Let's move to Canada," he said. 
"I can't take the cold, either," I said, rolling out my pie crust. 

What to do, what to do?

I have also made some bread with asiago cheese, rosemary, and black olives. Do you know how easy it is for me to cook and bake? It's like rolling over in my sleep and adjusting the pillow without waking up. That's how easy it is. 

I slept for two hours this afternoon. Deep, heavy sleep. I dreamed again but this time things were random. I was telling someone that I was not the sort of person to live in a dorm. I instructed another person on how to download audio books from her library. I was helping people pack and we were all going to leave on a journey. 
"Let's just eat the rest of that pizza," I said. "Then we won't have to put it in anything and carry it."
I was a little-miss-know-it-all in those dreams, wasn't I?
I've always been bossy. 
But I think that was good advice about the pizza. 


Summer's dog days and honestly, we may not even be there yet but I am. I just want to dig a hole under the porch in the cool, damp black earth and lay down and scratch my fleas in my sleep. 

Sleep and food seem to be the theme of today. 

Well. We all need both. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Dream Drained

I cannot adult today. I can not do it.
I woke up from a dream that was mostly good and sweet about a huge celebration in Roseland at the old elementary school I attended which is now a little museum.

The building where I learned to read and to sweep, two of the most valuable learnings of my life. 

The details uncovered from my subconscious were rather amazing and despite the fact that I kept losing track of my husband, my baby, and my two little brothers, I kept finding them again. They were selling seedlings of the tree which I spent many, many recesses walking on the roots of- yes, in real life that's what we did. We walked on the roots of a tree and talked. That tree was our favorite piece of playground equipment and the second favorite one was the cement top of the septic tank where we played jacks.
This dream celebration had food and drinks and antiques for sale. There was to be an exploration of the river by moonlight.
Children were playing in the branches of a different tree and I laid on my back and took a picture of their dangling legs and the leaves and the sky from below them. They were so happy in that tree.
I told people about Aunt Flonnie, who had been our bus driver and our cafeteria cook. I remembered working in that kitchen, sweeping out that bus. I remembered Aunt Flonnie's generous bosom, her generous soul, her black Cherokee hair, her strong, strong arms.

All of this has left me dream-drained and exhausted as if my memories had been pulled from me with delicate force and now I am as woozy as I would be after a surgery.

I am going to stay here, in Lloyd, in my own house and yard and porch with my cats and my chickens and listen to the chanting of the crickets as the heat builds and hang out my clothes and simply let myself drift back in time and at the same time, be here now, and I don't know whether to laugh or to cry but as Joni Mitchell said, sometime's it's the same thing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Things I Did Today

Woke up to the sweetest note from my husband which made me feel loved and appreciated.

Let chickens out. Fed them. Got them fresh water.

Went for a walk.
Almost died.
Did not.

On the way home I stopped at the post office where a HUGE box was waiting for me filled with mangoes from Roseland! What?!
I could barely carry it home. I opened it up and my kitchen was immediately filled with the scent of heaven.
I can't even tell you how much I love getting mangoes from Roseland. The man who rents us the perfect little guest house on the Sebastion River with the magical lion pool and where my childhood fantasies all become true sent them to me.
I love him. I simply love him.

Took a shower and groomed to the extent that they would allow me in town.
Went to town. Had lunch with Hank and Rachel and Rachel's mom. Fun and delicious. Our server was an almost preternaturally beautiful man.
So- all-around good time there.

Came home and wanted a nap but did not take one.
Instead, I ironed. Mr. Moon now has many, many ironed shirts from which to choose from. While I ironed I watched...REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY!
It was amazing.

Started cooking some of those green beans with leftover Boston butt. Turned into soup. Sort of by accident and then by design.
And now I have an appallingly large potful of it.


And that's been my day. A good day. And I took that picture up there of the blooming pinecone lily. How can it already be time for pinecone lilies? This year is going by so fast that I can't believe it.

Also, I found this in town:

I do not know what it is but it may be some sort of beetle larva. Larvae? Whatever. It is huge. I carefully scooped it up on a CD cover and set it in the dirt under trees. I probably saved the life of some horrible invasive monster bug. 

Oh well. 

What did you do today? Was it as exciting as what I did?
I doubt it.
But tell me anyway.

Love...Ms. Moon (aka, Ms. Life In The Fast Lane)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Too Rich To Eat My Own Chickens

I do not know what I'm going to do about all of these roosters. This morning was crazy. Dearie slept in the tree by the hen house with four or five hens so he was right there when all the action started this morning. I opened the door for the chickens who slept inside to exit and next think I knew, four roosters were all trying to copulate with hens at the same time and Mick was going crazy, trying to fuck and chase the other roosters off of what he considers to be his woman at the same time and feathers were flying and the hens were hysterical and I swear, Trixie almost got murdered.

Right this second, everything is fine. Joe Cocker and Little Richard are scratching companionably in the magnolia leaves and Mick is just a few feet away from them and hens are scattered about. I don't know where Dearie is. Possibly hiding in the goat pen again.
I went out to clean the hen house and Trixie was hiding in there and I finally just picked her up and put her in the coop with Dottie and the babies and she's resting in the next box in there. I know she won't hurt the babies and Dottie doesn't seem to mind her being there. Hell, they practically sat on those eggs together. The sweet old lady needs to catch a break.

Too bad I can't catch and release at least two roosters. It really would make a lot of sense to slaughter two of them and cook and eat them and I know it's only my first world wealth that allows me to find this prospect one that I can't face.
And dammit! I'm not even getting any eggs from any of the new hens yet!

Oh Lord.

Anyway, I haven't spent my entire day worrying about poultry. I did go to Lily's house and we went to the branch library and to the Indian restaurant and to Publix. I haven't had much energy at all today and frankly, don't feel as well as I did yesterday or Sunday but I had a huge bowl of overly mature green beans to deal with and so I did. I sat on the couch and shelled and snapped those beans and I think if I cook them for about four hours they will be mighty fine.

In fact, I am thinking that a meal made with those beans cooked with some nice ham and onions, along with potato salad, sliced tomatoes, and deviled eggs might be the best meal I ever ate. 
Sounds like Sunday in the south to me. 

Miss Maggie is going through the phase of wanting to do things herself. She wants to buckle her own buckle in the car seat and this morning when I tried to put her dress on her she yelled at me and said, "NO!" 
I let her try to do it herself and after about three minutes she handed me the dress back and I got her head and one arm in it and then she told me no again and took over and it did not work the way she thought it would and Owen wanted me to see his clean room so I told Maggie's mama that she could dress the woman baby. 
And she did. 
And let me say that Owen and Gibson's room is as tidy as a pin and I am very proud of them because they cleaned it themselves. 

Speaking of proud, it has been reported that August peed in his potty today after reading an instructional manual on the subject. 

He's going to be an engineer, just like his daddy. 

All right. That's the news from Lloyd on this day in the summer of 2017. 

I will add that Gibson pointed out that I have armpit hair when I was kissing him good-bye and he is right. He should check out my legs. 
Grooming. What a concept. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, July 17, 2017

Chicken Polyamory And Human Genius

Dottie wallowed out a place in the dirt which has allowed her babies to scoot out of the box when they want to. They were following her around all day and it makes me a little scared but I know she's a good mama and if a snake did manage to get in she'd call them into the little cage-coop and sit on them. And try to kill the snake. She'd make some noise and that's for sure. Like I told Mr. Moon, the only way to really keep them safe would be to lock them in a metal box and we can't do that.
Oh, chickens.
Lily got a rare few hours off this afternoon because I took care of the kids. She went to lunch with a friend and then they did a little shopping and Lily went with her friend to a hair appointment with our Melissa. The kids were good and I kept them relatively entertained and very much alive so I did my job. We all went over to visit Dearie in the goat pen next door where he's still hiding out.
"Dearie! Come back!" said Gibson, who considers himself Dearie's human. Dearie is going to be one of the most handsome roosters I've ever seen and I'd like him to come back too.
"Why won't he come back?" Gibson asked.
"Because he doesn't want Mick to kill him," I said.
"Why would Mick kill him?" he asked.
I pondered this question and how I should answer it and said, "Well, roosters like to be the only rooster."
"Why?" he asked.
"Think about it," I said. "What if another man came into your house and said to your daddy, 'I want to be your wife's other husband and your kids' other daddy.' Do you think your daddy would like that?"
He didn't even have to think about it.
"No!" he said.
"Well, that's sort of the way it is with roosters. Mick doesn't want any other husbands or daddies around. He wants to be the only one."
And that is the truth of it. And I know I should get rid of Joe Cocker and Little Richard too because they are just causing all sorts of upset in the flock and besides that, as Jessie pointed out- it's not fair to the hens who bear the literal brunt of the roosters' urges.
But dammit. No one needs any more roosters. NO ONE. And I just can't bear the thought of us eating those guys. I have developed an affection for them and I'm slightly in love with Dearie myself.

And that's enough chicken news. The rest of the day was spent dispensing snacks and sweeping up broken things and laughing with the kids. I was most gratified when Owen did a puzzle by himself and Gibson played solo-Monopoly with his own rules for a good forty-five minutes and I was able to focus on Ms. Maggie.

I tried to get her interested in the big wooden alphabet puzzle but she's way too young for that. 
I have to tell you though, that she did do something which sort of amazes me. She found the sidewalk chalk in the library and took four pieces out to the porch and this is what she did with them:

That's the wooden lattice work on the back porch screened door and she stuck the chalk into some of the holes of it. It's so precise and even color coordinated that I have to wonder if that was merely a coincidence or whether she carefully and purposefully arranged it that way. If so, she may be an artistic genius. 

(Said her grandmother.)

Well, they're all geniuses in one way or another and so are you. 
I guarantee it. 

Let's all embrace the genius within us and may our dreams channel our most creative and happy thoughts tonight. Okay? 

Big Love...Ms. Moon

Asheville- As Cool As It Is Charming

It occurs to me that Jessie and Vergil heading up to Asheville in the summers has enriched Mr. Moon's and my life immensely. I never would have known the joys of that particular mountainous hip spot if they hadn't. I mean- let's face it- I am mostly overly content to stay in my own little safe place in Lloyd, venturing out mostly to go to Tallahassee to the library, the grocery store, to have lunch with my family, and to do things with my kids and grandkids. I am not the adventuresome type and when I do leave home on trips, it's mostly to the same places. Mexico, Roseland. And then there was that trip to Cuba but I never would have done that if Lis hadn't kicked my ass into it and I am so glad she did.

But Asheville.

It's such an interesting place. It is a place which is filled with natural beauty. The surrounding areas with their hills and mountains, their rivers and vistas- gorgeous. And because Vergil grew up there, we are blessed with the ability to go places and see things that many visitors do not. The view from his mother's house alone stuns me. It's cinematic in scope, it's stunning and dramatic and as alien to me, a flatlander my entire life, as being on Mars would be.
And it's good for me to go up there and experience that. Although I feel at home on the little island of Cozumel in a way I can't explain and will never quite feel at home on a mountain, it is a fine thing to be reminded that the view from a mountain top is as mind-expanding and soul-enriching as the view over a sea of blue-green translucence.

And then there's that other part of Asheville that I love- the hipness. The sense and feeling that it is a place where self-expression is cherished, where music and art and food and friendliness and breweries and amazing restaurants and bookstores and the love of the outdoors all come together in a very cool way. I joke that when I go to Asheville in summers, I come away knowing what the next hip thing will be.
Last year, it was bone broth!
I gleaned that one from the fancy uber-hip natural foods grocery store across the street from where we stayed last year at a beautiful AirBnB place near where Jessie and Vergil were staying then. I loved going to that place to observe the awesome hairstyles, the fantastic clothing styles, the way the mamas and daddies carried their babies and wore them on their bodies and walked with such obvious fitness and pure rude health that they radiated pure white light.

This year they are living with two friends of theirs who live in West Asheville, which is the new up and coming area of the city. I don't think we went downtown once this trip and it was, in fact, a different scene. The house where the Weatherfords are living is pretty much a typical Asheville house, filled with flowers in the front yard and there's a steep back yard with hens in a run down at the flat part of the property.

Real estate prices are going through the roof, even in the tiniest neighborhoods where the houses range from dilapidated shacks to charming jewels of lovingly restored cottages as well as fairly tasteful new houses. It's sort of a mishmash and the AirBnB we stayed in, although only about a mile and a half away from them, was in a real, true, All-American suburban neighborhood. 
It was a bit shocking to me when we followed Siri's directions to it and drove down the driveway of a brick and wood house at the end of a cul-de-sac. 
It was an interesting place to stay, I have to admit. 
I am not going to name the listing and I am going to say right up front that it was extremely clean and the owners were exceptionally responsive to any and all needs we might have but it was, well...different. 
Here's a picture of Mr. Moon reading to August on the bed the day we arrived.

It was a basement apartment, remodeled and tricked out for the AirBnB trade. The ceilings were a bit low for my husband who felt closed in but of course that didn't bother me. The toilet in the bathroom was placed immediately in front of and facing the bathroom door. Honestly, that was the only place it could have been situated due to the space. But it was odd. The bed was in what I would have considered the living room- the room you walked into first while there was a futon that made out into a bed in another room which had an actual door for privacy. know. Suburban, basement, odd placement of things. 

But the backyard, as I have said, was beyond all expectations and if you're like me and enjoy sitting outside and listening to the birds wake up in the morning or sing themselves to sleep at night, it was perfect. And peaceful. You would never know you were a few blocks away from one of Asheville's most heavily traveled roads and that was wonderful. 

But oh, my goodness. When I was flipping through the notebook of house rules and instructions I found this:

Can you click on it and read it? Because it's about the funniest thing I've ever read. And oh my god, we all joked about that for the entire week we were there. 

And as Vergil commented, "Some things are really just best left unsaid."
And I will say they had plenty of towels and also, we didn't see any bugs at all so no need to go and measure out a three-inch strip of tape.

But isn't that the good thing about traveling away from home? Encountering new things, funny things, inspiring things, absurd things, things that make you think and open your mind and laugh and ponder and wonder at?

Here's another thing I'm wondering about- WHY ARE WE BEING SO LEFT BEHIND IN THE PUBLIX GAME?
We went to a brand new Publix outside of Asheville and it was stunning. We stopped in to get some sandwiches to take up to the mountain and it was like being in a Publix but maybe in a parallel universe.

August loved it.

Aromatherapy products at PUBLIX???

It was awesome and Publix is having to push its game because North Carolina has a chain of grocery stores that are wonderful. Ingles. Some of them have a Starbucks in the stores. Which is so cool for people who like Starbucks. And the people around Asheville expect a lot more from their grocery stores, I suppose, since they have such a wide range of options from wonderful tail-gate Farmer's Markets to those fancy natural foods places where styles and trends are set and noted.

I love the town. It's hip, it's cool, it's beautiful, it's southern. Here's the side-dish menu for a restaurant we had breakfast in twice.

Sauteed kale OR collard greens with ham?
A choice of lamb gravy or herb gravy?
Sweet potato hush puppies?

Oh yeah. 
Plus, they brought August a basket of toys every time we went there and the food was awesome. 

And you know I loved their name. 

I feel comfortable in Asheville. Hell, I wear my overalls and a tank top while I'm there and mostly not even a bra. Part of that is figuring that no one knows me anyway and part of it is that I'm old and don't care and part of it is that Asheville just seems like a place where it's cool to be your own comfortable self. 

One of the best things I heard there was when we were in a very cool new brewery one late afternoon. Kids were running around and people were standing in line to get their awesome in-house brewed drafts and we ran into some friends of Jessie and Vergil's. Jessie was giving August a snack and offered some to the friends for their little girl and the dad said, "Nah, that's okay. We ordered from the food truck and have a few banh's comin'. 
It was a Vietnamese food truck and business was rocking. 

I will admit here and now that I've never eaten a banh in my life but if I wanted to, I could have eaten one that night. 
And then we went to a Rasta place and it was delicious.

That's Asheville. 
And as much as it breaks my heart when those people head up north every summer, I have come to love that they do because it means we get to spend time there too. 

It's a beautiful thing for all of us. 

Love...Ms. Moon