Monday, April 30, 2018

Lagniappe- What A Good Neighbor

Limits Have Been Reached

Well, I finally did it. I've had a long day and have barely sat down. I walked over six miles and it felt great and I felt as if I could have just kept going on that beautiful shady road forever but knew I had to go to town and get some things done and so I stopped and came home and did some chores around here and then I did go to town and I did get things done and then I came home and got more stuff done and by five-thirty I'd hit a wall and godDAMN! if the guys next door didn't start in with the thrashing pounding beating guitar soloing turning-the-amps-up-to-eleven crap and I tried to text him but my phone won't text people out of the network from my house and so I just walked out my front door, walked over to his, and knocked. They were between songs and it still took me knocking three different times and also calling out my neighbor's name before he answered the door.
"I just can't..." I said. "I just take it anymore. I'm sorry. I've tried. But I can't."
And he looked rather pissed.
"Well, thanks for not calling the cops," he said.
Which indicates to me that he's considered the possibility of someone doing that.
"Oh, Ryan, no!" I said. "I would never call the cops unless I thought your house was in danger."
I meant it at that moment but thinking about it, there are a lot of other reasons I'd call the cops but it would just be rude as hell for that to be the first inkling he had that I might not be too happy about the noise.
He said they'd turn it down or install some sound-proofing or something and I said thanks, and apologized again and said that I hated to damp down anyone's musical spirit but really, And reminded him that we do indeed share this space.
Again he said, okay, we'll do something, thanks and then shut the door and yeah, he's mad and I know he considers me now to be the old fucking bitch who lives next door but he probably already thought of me that way ever since I chastised him for cutting down one of the most beautiful camellias I've ever seen.

Haven't heard a peep since I left so good for the old fucking bitch.

I wonder if Jefferson County even has any sound ordinances. I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't.

And so that is how it's gone today and I'm not sorry at all that I went over there. I am sorry that it took me so damn long.

Jessie and Vergil are on their way home and tomorrow is Jessie's birthday. We may be celebrating with pizza and Hank's trivia although I am not sure. I do know that I am making a birthday cake. Twenty nine years ago right now I already knew that I was in labor, although it was slow and easy at that point. The magnolias were in bloom as they are now, and I was as full of apprehension and excitement and questions about how things would go and who I was about to meet as I was of baby.
Sure turned out good, didn't it?
I had no idea that in twenty-nine years not only would that baby be all grown up but that she would have given me two wonderful grandchildren.

We never have any idea. We just don't.

Okay. Stand up for your rights. When you reach the point where you'd rather be considered an old fucking bitch than to hear one more moment of sound blasting which may be technically music but which is hell in your ears, do something about it.
Be the bitch.
As nicely as possible.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pea Pickin' And Zombieland

Tiny figlets are forming on the fig tree and every year I get so optimistic when I see them but then the critters get to them and they never get very big and my entire fig harvest is fairly embarrassing.

The sugar snap pea harvest, however, is abundant. Here's what I picked today.

Yes, there are a few aphids on those peas and no, they won't hurt a thing. I get a newsletter from the New York Times about cooking and food and in today's letter there was a recipe listed for Stir-Fried Beef and Sugar Snap Peas. 
I do believe I will make that tomorrow night but with venison. I think it will be delicious. Peas and onions from the garden, venison from the woods.

So. It's been Sunday. I did not have the blues but did not feel exceptionally brimming with joy, either. I didn't feel like doing much outside and Mr. Moon was mowing which means I can't hear my audio book as I work in the garden so I decided to stay in and do a little ironing and watch some mindless TV. I found Zombieland on some random channel and watched the whole darn thing as I smoothed shirts with heat and hissing steam. 
I have to tell you- and this is a confession- I love that movie. I think I just really love Woody Harrelson and have loved him since he first appeared on Cheers. Nobody in the world can do that goofy good-looking farm boy, aw shucks character like Woody. White Men Can't Jump is another one of my favorite movies and I should be ashamed to admit loving either of them but I'm not. 
But back to Zombieland. 
Woody's character is named Tallahassee. The movie was indeed filmed partly near here. And...BILL MURRAY PLAYS HIMSELF IN IT!
It's just a funny and absurd movie and like Shawshank Redemption (another favorite of mine), if it's on TV and I come across it, I'll watch it. Same with the Blues Brothers. 
I never claimed to have any class. 

I transitioned two more chicks to the outside coop today. The little Dixie Rainbow chicks which I'd never even heard of before we came across these at the Tractor Supply. That makes a dozen chicks outside and seven inside now. And yes, some of the teens are still getting out of the coop but they can also get back in and I still have no idea how but I'm trying just not to worry about them. Which always works so well. 

Got the big news today that Gibson has now lost both of his top teeth. Here's the picture. 

We shall now be calling him Fang. It's a good look, don't you think? 

Here's a question I have about the Bill Cosby situation- why the HELL is his wife still with him? 
This boggles my soul. 
As does the question of why Melania is still with the Porn Star Fucker but I can only imagine that she has been promised a huge amount of money to stay with him while he's in the White House. And I hope that she did not use Michael Cohen as her lawyer. 

That's all I got today. 
I had a Sunday which didn't suck and that's about as much as I can ask for the Sabbath. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Keep Those Lines Open! (Possible Trigger Warning.)

Our smart TV has recently quit being very smart and refuses to recognize the internet and by the time we think about this every evening, we are too damn tired to try and get our old brains in gear enough to do anything about it except what you always do which is to unplug every Gee Dee thing involved in the situation and plug it all back in and hope for the best.
So today, since Mr. Moon was off fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and I was putzing around doing a little of this and a little of that I decided to tackle the problem. First thing I did was to once again unplug everything and wait awhile and while I was waiting, to google a solution for the problem and I came up with this which illustrates about how it went.

I knew enough to take a damn picture of the model and serial number so that when I called the tech number after the rebooting did nothing again, I would have it at hand.
And that was about the only thing I did that went smoothly.
I got a guy named Sam (right, sure) and he spoke perfect English and although he did have an accent he was absolutely understandable, even to my old ears. So that was all good. But I swear, it was like talking to a machine. I generally try to somehow insinuate a bit of humanity into these conversations because you know damn well you're going to be on the phone with this person for at least forty-five minutes of your own personal life but I did not even try with Sam. I just followed his instructions, often feeling as if I was 98 years old and not in control of any of my faculties or cognitive abilities.
Still, we managed to go through about fifteen different steps to try and remedy the problem and none of them worked and finally Sam told me that within three business days, the technician department would be calling me to set up an appointment for a service technician to come to my house and replace parts or do whatever needed to be done.
Sigh. Okay. Whatever. My ear was really sweaty and I just wanted the whole thing to end.
But then, BUT THEN, Sam said, and I swear this is true, "So, please keep your lines open so that our technicians can call you."
My lines open?
Oh, Sam.
"I'll do my best," I told him, thinking of the fact that I can leave for three days and come back to discover that not one person has called my land line.

Anyway, that's what I did for part of the day and I also did a little garden weeding. Here is Maurice, looking to see what is in my weed pan.

There was nothing of any interest to her and so eventually, she sauntered off to hunt dragonflies or something. 

Two of the chicks got out of the coop again today but when I held the door opened for them they went back in. Let's face it- no matter what I do, those chicks are going to figure out how to get out. They can fly because they are birds. People don't really think about chickens flying but trust me- when the occasion or need arises, a chicken can fly. Not like long distances or anything although I would pay to see that. But they can fly up to roost in a tree or over a fence. 

I have a lot I want to say about the Bill Cosby conviction but I'm not sure tonight's the night. I will tell you one thing- I am having a harder time hoping that he goes to jail until he rots than I probably should be and I think it's because as a child, when I was being abused, I absolutely had to separate the stepfather I knew who was a very intelligent man who was a college (okay, Jr. College) professor and fairly well thought of man in the community and whom my mother loved, with the stepfather who was abusing me. 
He was both of those men. 
And quite honestly, I loved the one, even as the other tormented me and filled me with fear every night of many years. How to reconcile this? 
Separate them. Which required a great deal of non-logical thinking. 
And so perhaps that is why I'm having such a hard time with this Cosby thing. Logically, I want him to go to jail and have to suffer the indignities and hardships that anyone who had done such horrible and criminal things to women and then denied, denied, denied would have to suffer. 
He's Fat Albert. He's the Jello pudding guy, mugging for the camera. He's the Dad is Great! He feeds us chocolate cake! guy. He's Dr. Huxtable in the cozy funny sweater who loves his kids and wife to distraction! 
Yeah. He is both. And the logical, non-damaged part of me says, "Lock the sonofabitch up until he dies."
Hell, his actions have affected me. When all of the accusations against him were coming out I got thrown into a depression/anxiety spiral that I had to fight my way out of. 
And yet, there is still that fucked-up part of me who will forever be a little girl, wishing desperately for a daddy's love and if Bill Cosby wasn't a daddy figure to many of us, I don't know who was. 

That's enough of that. 
Here's my favorite thing I read today. It was posted on FaceBook by Hank who is down in Apalachicola, staying at the Gibson with Rachel. He said, "This morning I described myself as the vaguely disreputable eldest son of a large southern family."


I commented this back:
"I believe perhaps you should have said that you are the beloved eldest son of a large, vaguely disreputable southern family."

And in that vein I will tell you that the Confederate jasmine's scent is so strong that it's almost making me nauseous and the fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high. 
Well, at least the part about the jasmine is true. I don't know about the fish, and the cotton ain't high yet but it will be. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 27, 2018

Princess Baby And Chick Escape Artists

Well, there you go. That's it. That's all there is. Baby girl with curls kissing her mama.
What more is there?
Can I just say that if Magnolia June is the only granddaughter I ever have, she will be woman baby enough to balance out all of the boys? She is a force, a peach, a doll. She is a thinker, a singer, a cuddler and a talker. She is demanding, loving, giving, and joyful. Yellow is her favorite color. She charms everyone she meets. When we went to Japanica today, an older gent could not stop talking about how cute she was. How open. When we left the restaurant, she turned to all of the customers and raised her hand and said, "Good-bye!" as if she were royal.
She is.
She is the princess of my heart and I fucking well wish that the word "princess" had not been ruined by Disney but let's pretend that it hasn't.

In other baby news, I took a bowl of chopped greens and fruit out to the chicks in the coop. Not only had they all figured out how to get out of their coop-within-a-coop, but four of them were outside the COOP! I mean, outside. Peeping and scratching merrily in the leaves, little miniature chickens doing what their mamas would have taught them if they'd had mamas. Oh Lord.
I managed to get one, ONE back in the coop. Then I realized that now there were SIX chicks outside the coop. How in hell were they getting out? The coop has chicken wire which they cannot get out of buried into the ground all the way around as well as a wooden frame. The top part of the coop, about four feet up, does not have the chicken wire, but a sort of wire that I knew they could get out of but four feet up?
I finally figured out that they were probably flying up to the top of the lid of the chick box and getting out of the wire from that advantageous perch.
I tried and tried to herd them back in the coop but forget it. I finally just pulled a chair over there and guarded them. Mostly I was worried about cats. My cats never chase chickens but these babies have to be a temptation. And let's not even mention the two feral cats that hang out around here. They would have no qualms at all about snatching one of my chicks. And then there's hawks...
But they were fine and Mr. Moon got home and we opened up the door to the coop and he herded one way and I herded another and got them all back in and I lifted the lid of the chick box, hoping to make a less convenient place for them to fly up to to escape.
And then they all ate and drank like office workers at a Friday afternoon happy hour involving free tacos, as happy to be back inside as they had been to be outside.

And now I'm going to go finish making my strawberry rhubarb pie. The pastry is waiting in the refrigerator, the strawberries and rhubarb are macerating in sugar and tapioca. I was going to get this thing done way earlier but I had not taken into account that I would be spending so much time doing guard duty for teenaged chickens.


It's a good life.

Kiss like you mean it.

Happy Friday.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Stubborn Old Woman

This morning I decided to let the littles in the outside small coop explore the big coop if they wanted. I opened the wire lid of it and the two blond Buff Orpingtons immediately fluttered up to the edge and then fluttered down to the ground with a few of the jungle fowl right behind them. Here they are, eating some cornbread. I hope beyond hope that they'll get back into their little coop tonight but they probably won't and I'll be forced to chase the little buggers to catch them and put them safely in with their brethren. I'm about ready to transition some of the inside chicks to the outside and have also made the coop box ready to receive babies. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this in terms of who-goes-where, but I'll figure it out.

Another thing I did this morning was to give myself a challenge. Lord, that sounds so stupid, doesn't it? But hell, that's exactly what I did.
And I met it.
Last night I said to Mr. Moon, "If I walk seven miles tomorrow, I will have walked twenty in total for the week.
"Haha!" we both said.
And then this morning I just fucking decided to do it and I did.

I LOVE Jessie's response to this.
Did you get lost? Oh my god.

No. I did not get lost unless you count getting lost in a sort of meditative trance. I am listening to this.

I heard part of an interview on NPR with the author yesterday and today, when I went to search for a new audio book from the library, there it was. 
It's rather beautiful. 
So I put one foot in front of the other and after quite awhile, I had walked all seven miles. I did not do it very fast, but I did it fast enough. 
And once again, I did not die. I didn't feel as if I would die at all. Which is sort of amazing. 

I have written many times before about how I simply cannot walk for more than a few miles without stopping to pee. Quite frankly, I feel fortunate that I am still continent at all and it has not been easy to find places for me to hide from the road to squat and water the weeds. The road is barbwire-fenced for miles and miles. But I have found a few places and this is the magical one. 

The photo does it no justice. I can't seem to capture it properly. But it is shady and green and fern-filled and cool and it is a lovely bit of serendipity that I found it in such a mundane way. It is posted but not fenced and I take that to be as much invitation as I can rationalize. It's like stepping into another world and I promise, I tread lightly. 

I saw a pileated wood pecker today, which is not so uncommon but I also saw something that I could not positively identify although I thought it was probably a fox squirrel. I looked them up when I got home and I was right. Here's a picture of one although I did not take it. 

Trust me- that looks NOTHING like our regular squirrels and they are rare here and they are good at hiding but the one I spied was on the road and as I came around a corner and saw it, it did not dart immediately the rest of the way to the woods but seemed to observe me as I observed him. And then, he scooted up the bank and up a tree and I felt so lucky to have seen him. 

And so that's what I did today, or at least part of it and Lily finally got that tooth pulled which is wonderful because it started causing her agony again yesterday. I don't care how old my children are, it makes me so anxious when they are sick or in pain and I am so glad that her pain has been relieved.
I thought I was going to be hanging out with Magnolia tomorrow morning because that's when Lily's appointment was scheduled for before her pain became unbearable which is why I decided to walk seven miles today to make the twenty, thinking I would not be walking tomorrow. 
And I probably will NOT be walking tomorrow but I sure do need to get into the garden and get some work done there. 

I hear the little chicks peeping their roost-time song. 

Time to make supper. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Again And Again And Again

There's Miss Camellia, patiently waiting for a treat. I am NOT giving her one because she's had like three separate treat sessions today and come ON!
Unless I change my mind and do give her one.
Okay, okay. I just gave her a few more Publix brand Friskies. At least she doesn't peck me anymore when I ignore her. I discouraged that activity by never rewarding it with food and by waving a napkin at her. She really doesn't like a napkin being waved at her. Anything resembling an attacker from the sky is extremely threatening to a chicken which is why the little ones in their baby pen go insane when I lean over them to change their bedding or give them fresh food and water. You'd think that a few weeks of my presence meaning deliciousness would convince them to relax a little when they see me, the giant, above them. But it hasn't.
Well, the fear of a threat from above is absolutely ingrained in chickens and if it wasn't, a lot fewer would survive.

I went to town again today to say good-bye to Jessie and Vergil and their sons as they are now off on a little trip to visit Vergil's papa and his step-mama, Grandfather and Go-Go. When I got to their house, August ran out to greet me and told me to "come up here" meaning the steps, and then "come into my house." Which I did.
"I'm going on a big, big airplane!" he said. He's been on planes before but he doesn't remember. He was happy to see me and we talked about Grandfather and Go-Go and he showed me all his stuff and wanted me to read him books and when his mother tried to get him to eat his lunch he said, "I won't!" which, because I am his grandmother and not his mother, was extremely funny to me.
I'm not going to be the one who has to deal with a child whose blood sugar has crashed on an airplane.
I ate my lunch, however, and then kept the boys occupied while Jessie and Vergil got the car loaded and the kitchen cleaned up. And then I kissed them all good-bye and went to Publix AGAIN and came home and here I am. The greens and fruit have been chopped and distributed to the different chicks, the shrimp has been peeled for tonight's supper, and I am in a cheerful mood despite the fact that band practice is going on next door.
I just wish I liked the sort of music they play. But I don't. And I can't. And I never have. Rushy, pushy, percussiony rock, or something like that. No subtlety whatsoever, just testosteroney and loud.
They need to smoke more dope. That's my opinion. Add a little yin to their yang. Know what I mean?

And that's all I really have to say tonight. 

I'm just happy to be here. I hope you are too.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Love And Other Emotions

Magnolia June displaying one of her many, many diverse emotions.
That child. She feels as familiar and known to me as my own self and I guess it's because I birthed and raised her mama. Who knows? But I sure do love her. I went over to stay with her for a few hours this afternoon while Lily finally got in to see the dentist. Maggie and I drove to the bus stop and waited on her brothers and of course Gibson, who is always the first off the bus with his backpack worn on his front, ran up to me and hugged me and said (as he always does) "Mer! What are you doing here?" And then Owen, who is as cool these days as James Dean leaning on a car wearing a leather jacket and having a smoke, sauntered down the steps and took his time getting to where I was waiting.
"Oh, hey Mer," he said. "Where's Mom?"
Gibson wasn't sure I could help him with his homework.
"You have to read," he said.
"I can read," I told him. "I think I can do it."
He was doubtful but we managed.
Lily got Owen into a sleep-over camp for kids with epilepsy in June and he's very excited about that. I am too. I'm sure he's going to have the time of his life canoeing and swimming and doing arts and crafts and archery and all of that stuff but I'm mostly glad that he's going to get to hang with some other kids with epilepsy. He won't be different there. He'll just be another kid. Well, another kid at the camp for kids with epilepsy. But you know what I mean.
Here he is up in the loquat tree.

I should not have let him climb that high but I did and he came down when I told him to. 
I find myself being at once complacent about Owen's seizures and afraid for him too. He hasn't had but two small ones on Christmas when he forgot his medication for a day in a year or more and yet, witnessing the few he had before we got this med thing figured out is something I can't forget. 

The way I love all of my grandchildren is so primal and so profound and quite frankly, so unexpected that I often find myself feeling as if I don't have any idea what to do with it all. 
I will say this- whenever you remember your grandmother kissing you and hugging you when you were probably way too old to appreciate it, please forgive her. She had to kiss and hug you like that. She loved you so much that nothing in this world could have stopped her. 
Trust me. 

And speaking of profound, if you have not read Rosemarie's post today, please do it now. It is to the point, it is true, and yes, it is profound as hell and I no more know what to do with my feelings about what's going on in this country than I do with my feelings about my grandchildren. 

The Confederate Jasmine is blooming. I am sorry, but that's the only name I know it by. The scent is almost too heady to bear, even from many yards away. The sun is setting and I am exhausted. I did another long walk today, but faster. I had planned to only do a few miles but once I get out there, it's so easy just to keep going. Easy until it suddenly isn't and I still have miles to walk back. But that's okay. It's good for me and I will sleep well tonight. 

The baby chicks are all thriving. Knock wood. I gave them chopped kale and chopped honeydew melon for their treats today. They ate 'em up. 

And I would like to end tonight by saying the name of the man who took the gun from the shooter at the Waffle House in Nashville. 
James Shaw, Jr. 
He is now raising money for the survivors. 
He is a hero, no matter what he says and the fact that our president has ignored him is shameful beyond belief. 
If I was Trump's wife, I wouldn't hold his hand either. That tiny little hand, as tiny as his little tiny heart, its tiny little muscle pumping his cold, cold blood through his cold, cold veins. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 23, 2018

Walking, Reading, Shopping...etc.

I walked the miles today but I walked them relatively slowly which is fine. I still can't get over how beautiful this road is, how sparse the traffic is, how relatively few houses there are on it.

Here's a guy that was walking, or rather, doing whatever it is that snails do to travel, even more slowly than I was.

I would have moved him to the shoulder of the road but he only had a few inches to go and I decided to let him finish his journey on his own. 
Or her own. 
I just looked it up and that is a Florida Rosy Wolf Snail which, according to this article, was responsible for "the single-most catastrophic extinction event in modern times."
Which happened in Hawaii. 
Doesn't look that dangerous, does it? 
Well, there you go. Don't go introducing non-native species into other habitats. It just never seems to go well. 
But in Florida, they are fine. 

So are these. They are specimens of the Coral Bean which are native here and feed the hummingbirds. 

And that is an Oakleaf Fleabane. It's fringy petals can be white or a sort of pinkish lavender. They too are native. 

And these are a few of the plants I saw on my walk today. 

After I got home and had my lunch and did a few things around here, I went to Tallahassee to try and find some new walking shoes. I went to Dick's first because (a) their decision to quit selling semi-automatic weapons was brave and I want to support them, and (b) their online presence claimed they carried a good line of women's Saucony running shoes. 
(b) was a lie. 
Then I went to another place. They had some Saucony's but (a) the woman working there seemed so absolutely disengaged from any sort of customer service as to render her presence an annoyance, and (b) they had only one style and I didn't like it, and (c) they did not have my size. 
Then I went to yet another place. And you know how much I love to shop. 
This place had several styles and some in my size and I ended up buying a pair that I will probably regret because I was sucked into getting them due to the comfort factor of the memory foam insoles. They are very lightweight and will probably take even less time to break down but whatever. 
And no one annoyed me at that store. Actually, no one helped me at all which was far more preferable than a sales associate who appeared to look upon me as pond scum because I did not want Nikes or New Balance shoes and then ignored me completely. 
At least the guy who worked at Dick's asked what I was currently running in. 
Again I say- Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! 
Run? Not unless there's a bear. 

And then I went to a feed store for more chick feed and I have to tell you- the employees at feed stores are just the nicest people. The guy who helped me had a great handlebar mustache and answered my questions about a few chick-related things quite honestly and did not try to oversell and before I'd even paid for the bag of food, he'd put it in the back of my car. 
Where it still is but that's another subject involving me and upper body strength which I used to have. 

To top it all off, I read an article in the New Yorker that I really enjoyed. It's entitled "Bean Freak" and it was written by Burkhard Bilger and it's about a guy named Steve Sando. Who is the bean freak. It involved not only beans and the growing and eating of them but also Mexico where Mr. Sando spends a great deal of time looking for beans that have been undiscovered by the gringo world. 
So you know I loved that. 
Plus, I already had a pot of pintos cooking on the stove and that is what we will be having for our supper. 

Chicken keeper tip of the day: If you at least partially freeze grapes before cutting them up into tiny pieces for your young chicks, it will go much easier and your knife will not have to be as sharp as a razor blade to get the job done without smushing them. 

There you go. Customer service at its best. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Let It Rain

It's been "supposed" to rain since last night and indeed the radar does show a big sweet whopper of a front moving in that should bring us some relief and oh, how I long for it. It's been gray and heavy here all day and I haven't felt like doing much at all with the very air pressing down on me binding my limbs and my head with hot, heavy, damp wool.
Or so it seems.

Lily has a bad tooth. Yesterday she bit down on a piece of gum and it cracked and probably exposed a nerve because hot pain seared through her and of course, there are no dentists available on a Saturday so she's been nursing it along and using whatever pain relief she can get and so did not feel like coming over this morning but Jessie and her two littles did. I made pancakes that were too gluey in the middle because I used one whole huge sweet potato and a banana, smashed up, but August ate three of them and I have no idea how many his Boppy ate. I also cooked bacon, of course, and some eggs with kale and peppers and tomatoes and onions and that's what I had. I have to say that the kale is surely hanging in there and I am grateful for it.

August wanted to be with his Bop, and so he was. Boppy is the rock star, the man, the fun guy, and they watched fishing shows and shows with wild turkeys and Jessie and I entertained ourselves, playing with baby chickens and with Levon who is growing so fast that he's outpacing the chicks and that's saying something.

Here he is, Jerry Lee Lewising the piano, pounding on it with all he has. Can you see his little toes, curled in concentration? 
And then Jessie went upstairs and brought down the old baby walker which every one of the grands has spent time in, going up and down the hallway in this old house. His feet just, just, just touched the ground and he was so happy. 

Wouldn't you love to be that happy? 

And we messed about and took the two barred rock chicks outside to the little pen. I do believe one of them is a rooster although I could be wrong. But its little comb is so much more pronounced than the other one's and there is also sign of a wattle coming in below. He is bigger, as well. But who knows? Jessie and I discussed what we should do if we get a bunch of roosters and we've about decided to take them to the woods where those two feral roosters who have been hanging out for months live. They are still there! Jessie saw them today when she was driving home and Mr. Moon saw them the other day when he was walking there, checking out the little pond. It could be a feral rooster ranch! What do you think? 
We learned today that chicks are not nearly as wild about chopped up sugar snap peas and bok choy as they are about grapes and kale. 
I can't wait to get them some watermelon because I think they will go insane with joy. 

August and Boppy spent some time in the camper van that Scott and Yolie sold to Mr. Moon. All of the kids love that thing. It doesn't have to move an inch to make them happy. It's a play house and a climbing gym both, with the added bonus of the opportunity to pretend to drive. 

Here's August, future rock climber and explorer. He can get from the seat to the loft bed all by himself and then all the way back down again. He's a strong little monkey. 

And then, because he is kind, he let me read him a book or two. He asked to hold the very old doll which sits with her sister doll on a shelf in the library and I got it down for him. He is fascinated by this doll. 

"Very, very old," he says soberly, stroking her face. "Cracks," he says, pointing to the crazing in her porcelain painted face. He is taken with her bright red lips and touches them to see if the color will come off but it does not. We call this doll Lucy after the doll in A Friend For Little Bear by Maurice Sendak. 

There is a resemblance, don't you think?

Such bliss for me, reading this beloved book to the boy holding the doll so carefully. 

And that was my Sunday and now I hear one lonely frog croaking, trying to coax the rain into coming. 

Oh! The soup was very good last night and I sent Jessie home with a lot of the leftover leftovers as well as some kale and some carrots and some peas. 
Levon chomped on some peas and a carrot which August gave him after he and Boppy washed them. Levon has not had his first official bite of food yet but he loves teething on a carrot or a pea pod. His two little front bottom teeth are all the way through the gum, sharp and miraculous, as all first teeth are before we grow up and our teeth become problems and pain and expense and worry. 

All right. Time to go cook the supper for me and the man. 

Thank you for being here. I just wanted to say that. Thank you. So very, very much. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 21, 2018

How To Make Soup. Or Not.

Well, I'm trying out my ability to make only five liters of soup. Actually, I need to make less than that so that the pot doesn't boil over. And the only reason I'm making soup is because there are so many leftover containers in the refrigerator which need to be condensed down (up?) to one large leftover container. Of soup.
As I always say- I am highly skilled at taking leftovers and making more leftovers from them.
Generally, they are tasty but I am having my doubts about tonight's soup. It's going to include everything from a leftover stalk of Bok Choy to kale to onions to chicken to green beans to spinach and rice casserole to garlic to...and this may be the deal killer...leftover vegetables au gratin. Sort of. Which I made with vegetables (duh) and leftover scalloped potatoes.
So. We shall see.
I have foccacia rising which may save the day.
Here darling. Have some focaccia for supper. 
I'll let you know how that goes.

It's been a nice day over here. Mr. Moon fixed the floor in a different outside baby chick residence box and he's been working on his bathroom. I love it. There's a phone call for him and I go to find him and yell out, "Honey! Where are you?"
"Under the house!" he says.
"He's under the house," I tell the caller as if this were the absolutely most normal thing in the world.
Which it is around here.
I did a little more invasive plant pulling and of course, chick tending. I cut up a grand amount of kale greens and grapes and the little sweeties ate them up like they were strawberry rhubarb pie with homemade vanilla ice cream on it.
(I've been craving strawberry rhubarb pie and actually, you can keep the ice cream.)
I took the trash and did a lot of sweeping. Not as much as I should have.

Okay. Do you want to see the cutest picture in the world? Here it is.

Jessie and Vergil left Levon in August's charge for one minute and when they got back, August had brought his brudder every toy he could pile in with him. Jessie often asks August to get Levon a toy if he's being fussy and it looks like the kid's been paying attention. 
Levon looks pretty happy, doesn't he? I especially like the book on his head. 
As Jessie said on Facebook which is where I stole this picture, "Well played, boys. Well played!"

Here are a few more pictures but they are not cute. 

The teeny-tiny blooms of the Thai basil. Can you see the chickens in the background? 

An actual and real blooming onion. I picked a few onions for the soup and they have already flowered and I could not bear to just toss the flowers. They are actually quite lovely.

Jessie gave me the poppies you can also see. 

 And yes. My hallways does smell a bit like onions. There are worse things for hallways to smell like. 
(Remember when I had the old, incontinent dogs?)

And last but not least, here is a picture of Crazy-Eye Mick. 

If you take the notion, click on the picture and really look at the intricate designs and colors on that fierce boy. Also, the way he is feathered. He is a fine looking rooster and he takes good care of his little flock. I am really hoping that if there are any roosters in the new batch of chicks, that it's only one but the odds of that are not good. I seriously do not want to go through the whole rooster drama again but you get what you get. 

Once again, that's about it for news from Lloyd. Tomorrow is Sunday and perhaps I'll invite all the grands out for sweet potato pancakes and bacon and eggs, depending on how I feel. 

Tonight is Pride Prom in Tallahassee and Hank is going to be the MC. He says it's because he's got a PA system but I think it's because he's famous and is fantastic in front of a crowd. 
I sure am proud of my kids. All so different and all so completely who they are. 

Here I go to deal with the soup. So far, it has not gotten out of control as to amount. I hope that's not the best thing I will be able to say about it. 

Take care, sweeties. 

Love...Ms. Moon

The Book

Which August insists I like.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Usual, Plus Cashew Divination

Well, happy 4/20, y'all. I had the most interesting conversation yesterday with the lady-of-a-certain-age (which means even older than I am) who is one of the co-owners of the compounding pharmacy where I get my hormones. Her family used to own the only pharmacy/drug store in Monticello until Walgreens moved in and they just could not compete, despite customer loyalty and the fact that they'd been filling everyone in the county's prescriptions since forever and I can remember when Hank was a baby, visiting their ice cream parlor which they also ran.
Anyway, along with my bio-identical hormones, I purchased my hemp CBD which I had to ask for and is kept beneath the counter and she told me that she was not quite sure about the legality of it but that she thought they'd be putting it back on the shelf anyway. I told her that I thought that since it was made from hemp and not cannabis, it was probably legal but who knows? Things in Florida are still a bit hazy as to the laws about these things.
"Well, it's a good product!" she said. I don't know what she takes it for but another woman who works there (also an older woman) takes it for her lupus and swears by it.
"It is!" I said. "And so is the medicine they make from the cannabis!"
"I know!" she said.
And then we got into a real quick discussion about how it's just a crime that so many people are in jail because they used marijuana and now we know what an effective medication it can be for so many things.
"And I'm a good little Baptist girl!" she said. "So you know how I used to feel about it!"
And then she said, "Big pharma isn't going to let them keep selling it like they do now though. You know they won't!"
Bless her heart and I mean that in the best way possible. I know she was (and probably still is) a good Baptist girl. She always dresses nice and wears lipstick and make-up, all tastefully applied. She must be in her late seventies and she gets herself ready for work every day and goes in and probably puts in a full day in the business that her family has carved out a niche for in Tallahassee since Walgreens took all their customers.
So that's my little story about weed and change and small businesses for the day.

I had to go to town again today for a few things and I wanted to get myself a new pair of walking shoes.

Not that mine are worn out or anything. 

The place I usually buy my shoes has mysteriously disappeared and I think Lily told me that it was no longer there but I'd forgotten. I have been wearing Saucony shoes for almost forty years and they fit my narrow heel like no other brand of shoes do and not every place that sells athletic shoes carries them. So, instead of trying to figure out where else I could get some, I went into Marshall's which is in the same strip mall as where the shoe place used to be and I bought myself a new 5 liter cooking pot. I've been wanting one but all the ones I've found have been either too expensive or too cheap or mostly, nonstick and I don't do nonstick except for cooking fried eggs and omelets. But the one I got seems fairly heavy-duty and it's stainless steel and I believe it will do. Also, I like the fact that it does not carry the name of any celebrity chefs.
And I'm going to try to learn to only cook five liters of soup rather than eight and I'll let you know how that goes.

Tonight I will be making a stir fry with the vegetables you see in the top picture which I just picked. Suddenly the sugar snap peas are coming in like gangbusters. Of the carrot, Mr. Moon said, "You finally got a real carrot!"
Haha, Mr. Moon.
It is a rather lovely specimen of carrot, isn't it?

The church is swinging next door and thank you, dear sweet Jesus that the guys on the other side of me are not having band practice. I put two more chicks outside in the little pen today. That makes six out there and eleven still in the bathroom. Jessie is working on a list of names for her chicks and she asked August for help in naming them today and he suggested Lucy for the Rhode Island Red and Bunful for the Barred Rock. When his mother asked him where he got that name, he said that the cashews told him. Forget the I Ching. Go ask the cashews for guidance. Probably only works for two-year olds. Remember when Owen named one of my chickens Eggy Tina? That was awesome. I may use that one again with this batch along with the traditional Dearie and Nicey. Anyone who keeps hens should have a Dearie and a Nicey, don't you think?

So that's it for news from Moon Manor today.
I guess I better go make a martini, chop some vegetables and heat up the wok.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Babies, Babies, Babies!

We had our semi-traditional Thursday luncheon at El Patron today. It was perfect weather to sit outside and we had almost the entire deck to ourselves the whole time which is a pretty good thing in that we can get loud and the children can get, well, childish. On the whole though, we were all rather civilized today and Maggie and August played together at a vacant table, creating a game of Peek-a-Boo that cracked them up so much that we all laughed and laughed. It's so beautiful, watching these two cousins, so very different from each other, start to truly engage and communicate and have fun with each other.
Maggie wore her pupple shoes today and August wore his new sunglasses.
They are definitely the cool kids.

I didn't have a lot to say today but I surely did feel like a queen as Maggie and August took turns sitting on my lap. I love having them there, right where I can lean over and smell their still-baby heads. I sniff them and rub my cheek on their soft heads and it's a sort of ecstasy for me. 

Levon was in fine form and was passed about as babies should be. 

Oh, how he wants to get his mouth on some food. Hot sauce? Salsa? Bring it on!
Here he is with Rachel. He appears to be quite comfortable, doesn't he?

He and Rachel were clothing-coordinated today. I think there was a memo. 

And so we ate our delicious foods and various topics were discussed including how we think that Owen is starting to look like his Aunt Jessie and what we're going to do for Jessie's birthday and Lily's cruise and the Netflix series Trailer Park Boys and so on and so forth. 

After we said our southern good-byes (which requires at least ten minutes in the parking lot hugging and kissing and exchanging last-minute messages), I went to Goodwill which I have not done in forever. It wasn't very exciting but I did get a pair of overalls and also bought a dress/tunic which I'm not sure anyone I know can actually wear but it was so beautiful, made of silk velvet that I couldn't leave it there. So I didn't. 
On to Publix where I got to see Lily again and then home. 
Mr. Moon's been resting with his foot up for most of the day which again, I insisted he do. He tried to tell me about all the things he HAD to do and I pointed out that if he ends up in the hospital he's not going to get anything done for awhile. 
He got good news today in that the Credit Union he wanted to be affiliated with called him and said, "Your office is ready!" 
He's so excited to be back with that Credit Union attitude which is all about helping its customers. And they seem to be excited to have him as part of their team. 

And so it's been a good day although when I got home I wanted nothing more in the world than to go lay down on my bed and rest. I did take a walk this morning, although not a very long one, and I was just so tired. But chickens needed tending and some chores needed doing and so I managed to stay upright and get things done. 
Speaking of chickens, here's a few pictures from this evening. 

A little Rhode Island Red.

One of the Barred Rock babies.

A Dixie Rainbow Chick. I think. 

Yeah, we need to start naming these babies. 

Okay. Did I provide enough cuteness?
I hope so. 
It's the service I provide. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Thanks, Granddaddy! Sort Of.

Every time I take a cloth out of my pocket to wipe the sweat off my face and fold it up and put it back into my pocket, I feel as if I am channeling my grandfather. How many times did I watch him do the same as he worked outside in the Roseland summer heat? As he sawed palm fronds away from their tree, as he turned the compost, as he dug holes to plant things in down on his river lot, as he chopped wood and stacked wood, as he started the trash fire in the burn barrel, as he trimmed and as he sawed and as he hammered and as he went about the incredibly busy life he led in his retirement.

Perhaps this is where I get my seemingly unending need to always be doing something. Something physical. Something outside, mostly. Something that at the end of the day has my bones wracked, my joints sore. I am almost certain I got my need to suffer and feel guilty from him. I can't tell you the recipe that was used to feed me these useless emotions but it probably involved horehound candy, sulfur water, overdone roast beef, and quite honestly, a great deal of respect.
Oh, my granddaddy. I wish I'd known him more as an adult but I certainly did know him well as a child. Or as well as a child can know a god-like figure in her life whose rules were never disobeyed, whose proclamations were taken as seriously as the words Moses brought down from the mountain, engraved in stone.
Don't ever get crumbs in the butter.
Don't finish his sentences for him.
Don't ever lie to him. Ever. It won't go well if you do.
Never, EVER borrow anything from his shop without asking.
Always make your bed.
Always clean or polish wood WITH the grain.
A place for every thing and every thing in its place.
Follow directions! They are given for a reason!
And my favorite- Spread your honey on your toast with your fork and then you can lick the fork.

I am thinking of him right now because I have wiped the sweat from my brow over and over in the last few hours. It has finally felt like summer here today, although not the broiling summer of July or August, but still- enough to get an inkling of what it's going to feel like.
It was cool enough when I walked this morning but I still sweated enough to soak my hair through. If horses sweat and men perspire and women glow, I am a horse.

After my walk, Jessie and the boys came out to see the chicks and hang out and that was a sweet time. We had lunch and August was not much interested in it, but did dart in once in awhile for a bite.

And Levon was a happy boy, sitting on his Mer's lap. 

He wants to grab everything within reach and most of what's not in reach too. It is impossible to read August a book while holding Levon because he WANTS THAT BOOK and he wants it badly.

We cleaned out the baby chick pen and we took the two Buff Orpingtons out to live with the Jungle Fowl because they are getting huge and appear to have enough feathers to weather the cool nights. We gave the outside birds more food and fresh water and the Buffs seemed to take the change in residence right in stride.
There are charts which tell you how old your chicks need to be to withstand specific temperatures and at what ages they can go outside but as with almost all of the chicken information I've gotten, it would seem that it's all pretty arbitrary and that chickens are mostly hardy and not very fussy and, like newborns, are far more sturdy than they appear.

And then I read August some books including one that I really have to throw away because I hate it and when he asked for it, I said, "I don't like that book, August. Let's not read it."
"You like it," he told me with grave authority.
"No, I do not like it."
"You like it," he said again, opening up the book.
He, too, has figured out that he is the boss of me. Everything on this planet is the boss of me.
How did this happen?
I do not know.

I do know, however, that my kitchen and laundry "room" and the little bathroom off the kitchen are now clean and feel like silk on my feet and smell of Fabuloso and vinegar. Would this be so exciting if I mopped those floors more than once a season?
I think not.

I just know that I'm exhausted again and have almost suffered enough to assuage my sense of guilt for a few hours and that I'm going to go make a rice and spinach casserole.
And that I need a shower in the very worst sort of way.
And also, that my grandfather did not keep chickens in Roseland but that he did keep them on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee when my mother was growing up. She used to tell me stories of having to collect eggs from hens who did not want them taken.
I wish I could talk to Granddaddy about his chickens. What kind he kept, what he fed them, if he felt any sort of affection for them or if they were just little machines that laid eggs for the family.
I wish I could talk to him about a lot of things, one of them being why in the world he liked horehound candy. Was that part of HIS need to suffer?
Oh well.

Carry on.

Love...Ms. Moon