Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Any Day That Involves Dancing Is A Pretty Good Day

Big Mama did show up today although her butt, which had appeared to heal weeks ago looks pretty nasty again. Has she got a recurrence of the dreaded Gleet or is Liberace dealing in a bit of rough trade?
Oh god. Who knows?
Not me.
But she seems happy enough.
Darla sits on eggs with the persistence of a stone. I checked under her today and felt at least a half dozen eggs. The other hens are adding to her stash. I wish I understood how this works. As I said to Jessie today, "Maybe they actually think about it. Oh look, they say. Sister Mama Darla is sitting on eggs. I'll give her my eggs to sit on too." 
Of course any animal expert would tell me that that theory is full of shit. It's ALL hormones and instinct, they cannot reason, they cannot think like that in the way we think.
Well, what if they can? I'm not saying they can but is it entirely out of the realm of possibility that animals can and do at least take note of situations and adapt their behavior to take advantage of it? I seriously doubt that Eggy Tina is thinking that hey! she doesn't want to spend the necessary three weeks of her life sitting on eggs but since Darla is already doing it, she might as well let the hen hatch some chicks that look like her, too!
Oh my goodness but one can certainly go down a rabbit hole when wondering about things like this. Especially now with Google.
Check out this article on "parasitic birds."
Freaking fascinating.

Okay. That's enough of chickens and theories and so forth for one day.

I walked on Farm Road today. It's just so damn pretty.

The only problem with it is that it's all uphill from north to south and all downhill from south to north. I have discussed this before. So I park on the north side and walk uphill for the first bit and then turn around and walk downhill for the last. It works out okay. 

Jessie and the boys came out for a little while today and that was fun. I was making my bed when I heard August calling me and I went to greet him. He was holding a bunch of sunflowers for me. 
"Oh, those are so beautiful!" I said. "Thank you! Why did you buy me flowers?" 
"Because we love you," he told me.
I kissed him and cut the stems and put them in a vase. I told August that they remind me of him. That he is a sunflower with his golden hair. It's true, too. 

When Jessie came in with Levon I thanked her too. And then she thanked ME for giving birth to her. We take that sort of thing very seriously around here. I have been thinking about that all day. How thirty years ago I was in prodromal labor with her and yearning so much to just get it all over with and meet my baby. Even after thirty years it's not something I can forget. I have images of my labor with her and the birth that will stay with me until the day I die. As I do with the births of all of my babies. 
Those were were the holy days. 

There was a little hallway dancing before lunch. 

Those boys are the most enthusiastic dancers! They shake their booties and they jump up and down. Levon seems to be exceptionally gifted in dancing. 
We take dancing very seriously in this family too. 

We have our priorities straight. 

I forgot to put out the Costco salmon sampler for Easter and Jessie and I ate some of that today. We actually made a platter with the salmon and some cheese and arugula and cucumbers and onion. We felt fancy. There were crackers and different mustards. August ate leftover pizza. 

And Levon ate everything.

We read a few books. Right now August is fascinated by The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters. It's a very good book.

I swear, I really could sit and read books out loud all day long. It not only pleases the reader in me immensely, it also gives me an opportunity to use my...clears throat...dramatic skills. 
I even got to read Where's Fluffy? to Levon which was a treat. 

And then they all buckled up and left and I went and took a tiny nap because I was tired and worn out, mostly from my walk and because it's been hot and then I got up and made the "sponge" as they say on the British Baking Show for the chocolate Tres Leches cake and brought in the laundry. 

So it's been a good day. A very good day. 

And thirty years ago I was about to meet Jessie for the first time and now she's all grown up and a mama herself and how does this happen? 
I do not know. 
I really don't know shit, do I? 


But that's okay. 

Time to go make the supper. I've been cooking pinto beans all day long with the hambone from Easter. My absolute favorite if-I-were-dying-I-would-ask-for-this last meal. 

I sure am glad I'll never have to go through labor again but I sure am glad I went through it when I did. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 29, 2019

If You Eat A Butterfly, Do You Feel Like You Have Butterflies In Your Stomach?

Another one of those tilt-a-whirl days with every emotion bringing up a new wave of eye water that threatens to spill and more than enough emotions to go around.
Why, god? Why?
Am I fourteen again?
No. At least when I was fourteen I had beautiful skin.
And hair.

I have three hens missing now. Three. Still no sign of Dearie and both Big Mama and Connie were not in the coop this morning and I haven't seen hide nor feather of them today.
I am about to give up on the chicken tending. I really am.
Darla's still on the nest, her feathers puffed and full and when she does get off to eat she sings the chick-calling song.
Oh Little Mama. That makes me cry too.
It's getting hot and I can't help but think that those eggs under her (a few of hers and a few of the other hen's) are just going to cook instead of whatever-you-call it that they're supposed to do.
Also? The Confederate jasmine has turned from a sensual delight to an assault on my senses. This always happens. They start out so blissfully perfumey and end up as a battalion of overwhelmingly strong scent molecules that you cannot avoid either in the yard or in the house.
And dammit, I planted those fuckers myself. They make my head ache.

I took a walk. I walked down the sidewalk and then down a dirt road I've never walked before but it's a nice road and I will walk it again. There is one yard that has two dogs who barked at me. One is some sort of husky/German shepherd mix and the other a pit bull.
In other words, they could and probably would kill me if they got out of the fence.
Maybe I won't walk down that road again.

I went to town. I had a firm destination in mind having to do with Jessie's birthday. I was going to get her a gift certificate at a shop that we always find fun things in and I realized, as I was driving there, that I hadn't been in that part of town in forever. When I walked into the place I felt anxious. I felt weepy (see above) and I shopped around a bit to see if they had anything I thought my girl would want worth getting her a gift certificate for.
They did not.
And the woman behind the counter kept talking to me. Asking me inane questions. I was the only person in the shop and there was no way to avoid her. I felt a definite be nice to the old lady vibe.
I ended up buying two cards and getting the hell out of there.
I went somewhere else and bought a gift certificate. A place I will not name here on the off chance that Jessie reads this. But it's a place I am sure she will find something she wants. I also took that picture at the top of the post.
And this one, too.

A fierce little green anole was trying his best to swallow a butterfly. A man saw me taking the pictures and he told me that he'd witnessed the killing. That the butterfly had just landed near the lizard and the lizard pounced. 
Farewell, lovely butterfly. Farewell. 

Then I went to Publix. Because of course I went to Publix. I bought stuff. I came home. I carried stuff in. I was exhausted. These are the days where I wonder if 
(A) I am dying, or 
(B) Merely suffering a touch of the insanity. 

Hard to tell sometimes. 

I've made coleslaw for our supper. It's not that good because I am too much of a wimp to add the amount of sugar to the dressing that would make it delicious. I'm also cooking okra and tomatoes. All I have left to do is cook the grouper and a small pot of grits. I have the good kind of grits that take forever to cook. I am thinking about a friend of ours who is very, very ill. Not the friend who lives here. He's...okay. Another friend. He lives in another city, a bit far away and I am thinking about him and his wife and to be honest, mostly her. She has been the quiet partner who has made everything possible for their life to be a sort of magical thing. I think of her now and I can't imagine how she feels, how she is coping although I know she IS coping and doing it like a goddess queen because that's who she is. We have known each other since before Jessie was even born. In fact, we both had our fourth and final babies at about the same time. I love them both. I keep thinking of them and there's nothing I can do to help. They have millions of friends and yes, the four children who adore their parents. 
If only we could shoot our love, pure and strong across the miles directly into people's hearts so that they could feel it like you feel full after a good meal that someone made for you or like you feel after you've had the sweetest time with your lover. 

I guess I'll send a card. 

Hey! I'm going to make a beautiful cake tomorrow. I hope it's beautiful. A chocolate Tres Leches cake. For Jessie. It needs to sit overnight and let all three of the milks soak into it. Won't that be something? 

I guess I'll go start the grits. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 28, 2019

You'd Think That Grocery Stores Hadn't Been Invented Sometimes

I wonder how many pictures I've posted of Maurice in the garden. Y'all may get tired of the image but I never do. I'm not sure why but it just charms me to pieces to have her stretched out in the shade of some vegetables, alternately napping and opening her eyes to check on me and then occasionally stretching and getting up and coming over to get some love. I feel much safer giving Maurice a good overall scratch when I'm wearing gloves for obvious reasons.
She and I spent some time in the garden today. Mr. Moon went fishing out on the Gulf for grouper and so I had the day to just putter about as I wished. Mostly I weeded, and raked exactly one cart full of leaves to mulch with. I am really not getting a lot done this year in the garden. But I did get a row of corn planted and another half row of arugula. I was finishing up just as Mr. Moon pulled into the yard so that was good timing. Only one grouper was caught but the friend who caught it gave us a piece for a meal which was very kind of him. We gave him a dozen eggs but of course, that's a favor to us.

And...speaking of eggs- no sign of Dearie today at all. I'm so sad about that. Dearie's been my favorite hen for quite a while now with her funny, wily, jungle ways. Darla is still sitting on a nest. She is definitely brooding. I guess I'll just let her. What can it hurt?

And honestly, I don't have one other thing to discuss this evening. It was another perfectly beautiful day and not too hot and it's going to be cool again tonight. It is SO wonderful not to have to run the air conditioner. Having the house open this late in spring is heaven. It is supposed to get up to 90 tomorrow though.
Well, I can't complain.
Although I probably will.

Mr. Moon's taken off again, this time to go do something involving a wild sow.
NO! We are not getting a wild sow. Well, not a living one, anyway.
Okay. The less said about this the better, I suppose.


Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Lagniappe: Quote Of The Day

Pizza is just a flat casserole.

A Best Day

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held a camp today for young'uns and their adults and Mr. Moon took Gibson. There was archery and a shooting range (BB guns) and there was fishing. I think there were some other things too but Gibson really enjoyed the fishing. He caught four catfish! It was catch and release so no one's eating catfish for supper but that's not always the point of fishing, is it? And his archery and BB gun skills were awesome, I hear. I was so happy that Glen spent that time with Gibson. He's such a good grandfather.
As we all already know.

While they were out doing wildlife stuff, I stayed here and did homelife stuff. Taking trash, going to the post office, washing clothes, hanging them on the line, and then I did a little garden work. I was still in the garden when Mr. Moon and Gibson showed up and I worked a while longer. It really struck me today that my days of determining what I am going to accomplish when it comes to outdoor work are over. I can decide whatever I want before I get started but the honest truth is- I can only work for as long as I can work and then I have to stop even if I haven't gotten nearly as much done as I'd like.
And so it was today. I had great plans to get a lot done but in reality, all I did was weed the cucumbers. We have a horrible plant here called dollarweed and it propagates via seeds, rhizomes AND tubers. In other words, it's crazy hard to control. I am not sure it can actually be done.
But there's part of my garden that it just thrives in and it has almost choked out my poor struggling cucumber seedlings so I did my best to pull up what I could, trying as I went not to disturb the cucumber roots as I tugged at the dollarweed roots.
It's pretty much a futile effort but I fucking made it anyway.
I will report that the weird burning pain in my upper shin/lower knee seems to have dissipated quite a bit. I'll probably never know what that was.
After I came in I played some Battle with Gibson. He wasn't too impressed with that game. Owen loves it but each to his or her own, right? Gibson wanted to play the matching game, which we did. He won.
Of course.
And then he read a book to me. I am so impressed with his reading ability.
His mama came to pick him up with her friend Edie and Edie's son Gabe and Magnolia. They had all been to Pride Fest in Tallahassee and were dressed for the occasion. Lily said, "We saw everyone."
I'm sure they did. We have quite a few beloveds in the LGBTQ community. Here's a picture that Rachel posted on Facebook.

I see that Hank is wearing the freedom ring necklace that he's had since...forever? When he first started wearing it, it was quite a bold thing to do. I sure am a proud mama. Hank was the very first out gay kid at his high school. I know I've said this here before but I will tell you again- he was on Oprah when he was in high school for being gay...and bullied. His bullies were there too. 
Guess what? 
They're now out. They were and they are gay. 
Dear god I love living in a world where queer kids can be themselves and see a future where they can grow up and marry the person they love if they choose to do that. I have been educated about love in ways I never would have if I hadn't had a queer kid. Hank and his friends have taught me more about strength and bravery, not to mention style and tattoos than I ever would have known without that experience. Trans kids, gay kids, bi kids, great kids, strong kids, amazing kids. 
Well, men and women now. 
And I'm under no delusions that the world is a safe place for these people I love. 
Love may be love but hate is still hate and we do live in a world where ignorance fuels hatred, and where people who are "othered" are in far more danger than any of us mamas want to think about. 
But today was a day to celebrate and although I didn't go to the festival, my pride in the LGBTQ community is immense. They humble me. 

Wow. I didn't really mean to go off on that tangent but I did and I'm glad. 

In other sadder news, I haven't seen sweet Dearie all day. I have not found any trace of her and if I were being quite optimistic, I would think that perhaps she's off on a nest somewhere and that the basket of eggs she's laid was a diversion. 
Or something. 
But I don't have a good feeling about this. 
Dammit, Dearie! Why wouldn't you sleep in the hen house instead of in a tree fifty feet above it? She's not a big chicken and a hawk or an owl could take her if she was asleep. 
Well, there is always hope. 

I'm making pizza for supper. I'm pretty excited about this. I love to make pizza. I remember when I was a kid and I used to make pizza for my family from this kit.

Pizza was still a pretty exotic thing in Winter Haven in the late sixties and early seventies. I think there was one place that made it. There was certainly no delivery. And even though that box contained ingredients that were suspect and most assuredly not very traditional, I took great pride in producing pizza from it. And my brothers loved it. 

Right now I have plum tomatoes roasting in a very slow oven. 

I have dough rising for the crust. There will be SO many vegetables on our pizza tonight. I am very much looking forward to it. 

All in all, it has been a very fine day with the exception of Dearie going missing. One of those days that make me truly able to feel the amazing amount of goodness in my life. I am so in love with my husband, that good kind man who takes care of all of us, who loves his grandchildren, who still holds me tenderly in his arms. I have everything I need and a lot of things I just want. I have this old house, this yard, and people whom I love and who love me. The confederate jasmine is blooming 

and those tiny whirled pinwheels of blossoms are making the very act of breathing a hedonistic, swoony delight. The setting sun is painting my tiny world with gold and for the moment, at least, my heart is at peace. 

As I so often say, I would wish that for all of us. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 26, 2019

Not A Bad End To The Week At All

It stormed last night so hard that one huge crack of thunder shook the house, rattled the windows and of course, woke me up.
"Shit," I said out loud.
Didn't wake up August, though. That boy sleeps hard. He didn't wake up this morning until eight which is rare. I said, "Come get in bed with me and I'll tell you a story."
He's a sucker for a story. I don't even remember what I told him. It was just a ploy to get him to come and cuddle for a minute which he is not apt to do.
"Why's it always so warm in this spot?" he asked me, snuggling down.
"Because that's where I've been sleeping," I said.
We chatted for a moment, he was apprised of the fact that Boppy had gone to the gym ("Why?") and then we got up.
And the day began.
It seemed like Jessie and I wandered around all morning trying to accomplish things but not succeeding, mostly just trying to keep up with the boys and their needs. Which was perfectly fine.
A very, very sweet thing happened in that Levon brought me his little shoes, said, "Fip-fops," and "Side" which means "outside."
I put on his fip-fops and then I put mine on and we went to let the chickens out and give them their scratch.
"Aig," he said, pointing to the nest. We found one and he carried it gently all the way back to the house where he gravely handed it to his mama.
A little later I called to him and said, "Levon, come help Mer with the wash."
And he did.

He put the pillowcases in the dryer for me, making sure to stuff them all the way in, happy as a fine little boy can be to help his grandmother. 

Eventually we got ourselves together to go into town but not before August asked me if he could sing me a song. 
"Of course," I said. 
He sat on a chair in the kitchen and began to sing a song whose main lyrics were 
I love Boppy. I love Boppy. I love Boppy. He lets me watch TV with him.
There was also a little line about loving me as well because I gave him a bite of cake yesterday but he then returned to the main theme of the song. 
Three-year olds. 
God, I love 'em. 

We met up with Lily and Lauren and Maggie at a restaurant and there's an entire story here about a bloodmobile and Lily giving blood before she ate but no one in this world needs all the details about that. I will say that when August and Maggie saw each other they hugged so hard that they lifted each other off the ground. I did not get a picture of that but I did get a picture of this. 

They also got to sit in and pretend to drive an antique troop transfer vehicle which sits outside a barbecue restaurant. We did not eat at that restaurant but the man in charge of the vehicle kindly offered them the chance to sit up in the giant cab and pretend to drive. Here are a few pictures from that. 

Someone was having a moment while someone else was standing on his toes to try and be as tall as the tire.

A woman in charge.

Lauren took this one. Pretty cool with the sky behind the truck, don't you think?

And then there was lunch and then there was Costco and then I went to Publix and then I came home and tried to get all of my chores done quick-quick.
Which I mostly did. 

Okay. Check this out. 

Dang it! Darla's on the nest again. I don't know if Dearie's going to sit on the basket eggs but Darla is definitely sitting on eggs in the nest in the henhouse. I do not feel good about this. Remember when she did this a few months ago? Not one of those eggs hatched and I finally had to throw them out. That lady hen just wants to be a mama. 
What to do? Let her sit or take the eggs away from her? 
Oh Lord. 

Well, it's Friday night. A martini is being sipped. And Mr. Moon just brought me in a present from the garage. He found a lampshade at the trash depot last night and put in his truck to being home. It's a gorgeous lampshade and I have the perfect lamp to put it on. 

Little strips of bamboo over a cocoa-brown silk lining with a palm tree finial. I got that lamp years ago at the Bad Girls Get Saved By Jesus thrift store and by golly, the lampshade looks like it was made for that lamp. 

And that's the news from Lloyd. Jessie and her boys went home after Costco as Vergil is flying in late tonight. Mr. Moon and I have spent at least half an hour telling and retelling stories of the sweet and funny things that Levon and August did and said while they were here. 
Let me sum it up- they love Boppy. 
Yet more proof of their intelligence. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Further Adventures With The Boys

The saddest thing happened today.
Jessie and I went to the Story Hour at the Monticello library which we love and IT HAD BEEN CANCELED DUE TO NO ONE SHOWING UP!
It was going to be a special one too, although we weren't aware of that. It was Pajama Story Hour. Terez wore his Seminole PJ's and I honestly think he was a little heartbroken. There was a meeting going on in the regular room where the fun happens and everything had been set up in the kid's reading room including the shake eggs and the bubble machine.
The beloved bubble machine.
We had a good time anyway, reading books and playing with stuff. And I got to talk to Terez a little bit. Turns out that when he was a child he'd go to the library every day after school and he loved it and that's why he grew up to be a librarian.
Just makes my heart happy.
Then we went to lunch, of course, where the boys played with the giant blocks.
You can tell from looking at the picture that it is not shocking that their daddy is an engineer.
Those boys have skills.
And then we went to the farmer's market and bought produce and came home where theoretically, the boys were going to take naps. In reality, although they both fell asleep on the way home they both woke up when we got here.

And mostly what August and I have done all afternoon is to read books. Many, many books. And then we played the matching game and he beat me and for those of you who do not have grandchildren let me just tell you- they ALWAYS win games.
And not because you let them. They just do.
The gods of games must love young blood. That's my theory at least.

I have sweet potatoes in the oven and a lovely meatloaf ready to go in too. I'm going to make oven "fried" okra and that is going to be our delicious supper.
Hopefully delicious.
Theoretically delicious.

There are six eggs in the basket now. I am thinking about putting a few of the Americauna eggs in there too. I'm pretty sure that those eggs are fertile because Liberace seems to have a special feeling for those two hens. Pansy and Eggy Tina. If we're going to have chicks, let's have chicks. Of course, all of this could be for naught and Dearie might not actually be broody at all. Whatever. If she doesn't start sitting on them within the next week, I'll just take them out and use them. They'll still be fresher than the eggs most people buy in the grocery store.
Trust me on that.

I see that Donald Trump is still the president of the United States.


Let us persevere.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lagniappe: "Boppy's Going To Be My Reader," He Said

And he was.

The Old House Busts With Babies Again

Magnolia Grandiflora 

The magnolias are blooming. The ones we call magnolias, anyway. There are other magnolias which bloom and which we love but we call them by the names which identify them. Ashe magnolia, Japanese magnolia, and so forth. But these, the Grandiflora, we simply call Magnolia because truly, to us they ARE magnolias. 

Vergil left this early morning for a work trip to Chicago and Jessie and the boys have come to party  stay over with us. Since Boppy wasn't home yet when they got here, August took me to the library where we proceeded to read books for over an hour. 
Nothing could have made me happier. 

And then Levon woke up from his nap and we all went outside for a little adventure and egg gathering and arugula picking. 

And tractor riding. 
Nothing could have made them happier. Except for their Boppy coming home. Which he soon did.

Levon's language skills are growing by leaps and bounds. Some of his favorite expressions and words are, "See!" "Egg!" "Do it!" "No!" and now, of course, "Boppy!" 
When their grandfather pulled up into the yard August ran to meet him and Levon, his hand wrapped firmly around my little finger, plugged across the distance chanting "Boppy! Boppy! Boppy!" 
How they love that man. 
And he loves them. 

And so supper needs to get done earlier tonight so I better get to it. It is good to have these sweethearts here. 
Life can be troublesome and hearts can get weary but little people who want books and who clutch fingers and who are very, very excited to sleep in Mer and Bop's room go a long way towards putting things in perspective and bring a sort of comfort that very little else can. And there is something so wonderful about watching daughters being wonderful mothers that can make you feel like maybe you did something right. 
And that is something I need on these days of quiet despair. 

Off to make food. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

And Don't We All Wish We Had A Basket To Hide In Now And Then?

Shhh! Chicken in a basket. Privacy, please!

There are four eggs in the basket now and today I watched as Dearie used her beak, working to pull that lid shut. And she did it! It is so ridiculous for me to wish for another hatching of chicks. What if we get all roosters again? Or mostly, anyway. Why would I want to put my hen through that long three week period of the sitting coma where she will barely eat or drink or even move off the nest? 
Oh hell. 
I don't know. 
I do know that if I don't let her nest there she'll do it somewhere else. Once a hen goes broody, that is that. 
And of course there's the fact that there is nothing quite as darling as baby chicks. 
Liberace keeps bringing other hens on to the porch and showing them the basket. As we speak, Connie is in there. 

This is all so interesting to me. I know that when hens sit on nests, they are often sitting on the eggs of other hens. Do the roosters always encourage this? 
I have no idea. 
Anyway, Connie only stayed in the basket for a few moments and then left it and she did not lay an egg. 

So that's it for chicken news. As for other news- well, I'm not coping with life real well right now. For whatever reason I'm just incredibly emotional and even typing that caused my eyes to well again. These days sometimes happen and sometimes they do last for awhile. I remind myself of that when I go to sleep at night. To try not to despair too deeply because things change and I will not feel this way forever. Meanwhile, I took a walk this morning and then pulled the spent lettuce and those beautiful bolted, flowering mustard greens. It's getting warmer again and that was all I felt like doing and so that's all I did. I gave the spent plants to the goats and chickens next door who do not get fresh greens very often. They seemed most appreciative. 

I really don't have anything else to say and can't seem to figure out a way to blunder to an ending. I suppose I'll just stop writing. That should do it. Not very gracefully, but effectively, nonetheless. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 22, 2019

Wildflowers And Roosters

This is a blooming Asclepias variegata. I know this, not because I am smart, but because I belong to a Facebook group called Florida Panhandle Wildflower Alliance and the folks who post there most frequently ARE smart. I'd never seen, or at least never noticed this particular plant until today and I immediately recognized it as one that had been posted on the wildflower group's page.
It is also known as Redwing Milkweed. Isn't it beautiful? I really, really want to get my hands on either some plants or seeds. I could try digging up this plant and bringing it home but that would be wrong, in my opinion. It's not my property and somehow digging up an established wildflower seems like a selfish thing to do. I found it right off White House road while I was walking today. The coral bean flowers are also blooming.

These, too, I would like to have in my yard. 

Another thing I saw on my walk today was the guy who bikes with a Hillary For Prison sign attached to the back of his bike. I also noticed that he had a boom box in the basket that he affixes the sign to and it was indeed booming with music. I suppose that this person not only feels the need to share his opinions but also his favorite tunes with the rest of the world.
Or at least the very few people who might possibly see and hear him on White House road. Today he looked at me and just kept pedaling. I guess he's gotten the idea that his sign does not elicit a positive response from me. 
Maybe he has problems. 
So many of us do. 

I don't know why but after my walk today my legs and hips have been unusually sore. As in, I sort of want to cry. I didn't walk that far and I certainly didn't walk that fast so I have no idea what's going on but I'm not pleased. This soreness has led to me going about my day in a very slow manner. I hung out a massive amount of laundry on the line, even double-hanging the napkins we used yesterday to make more room for everything else. The weather is so perfect for drying clothes that everything still got dry and it's all now folded and put up which feels good. It just took me forever to do anything and I've accomplished almost nothing. 

Dearie was busy, though. 

Well, she only laid one of those today. I know I've told this story, or at least I think I have, but for the past few weeks Liberace has been leading Dearie on to the back porch and DEMONSTRATING LAYING AN EGG IN THIS BASKET.
I mean, he makes it quite clear. He makes a lot of noise and he gets in the basket which is a tight fit, believe me, and sticks his head out and does a pretty darn good impression of a hen who has laid an egg, bawking and squawking. I've seen roosters do this before in different places around the yard but I've never gotten to observe the process so closely. After he gets out of the basket he dances about and makes more noise. He is a very loud rooster. 
Dearie was laying eggs in that basket earlier in the year and I kept taking them out. Then she laid that clutch of eggs in a very unprotected place in the yard and sat on them until they got stolen by some critter. So this time around I am going to just let her keep going for awhile and see if she decides to sit on these. 
The funniest thing of all is that when she goes into the basket to lay, she actually and truly pulls that basket lid up so that you can't see her. 
It seems logical to me that one of the rooster's jobs is to do the best he can to ensure the successful hatching of eggs and thus, the continuation of his DNA. Theoretically, at least. And after doing a little bit of searching online I see that I am not the only one who thinks this. Liberace simply wants his children to be safe and protected just as any good father would. 
People always ask me if a rooster is really necessary for a flock and I always say that no, not really. BUT that they do serve a purpose when it comes to protection and I think that's true. Roosters didn't evolve to have spurs and sharp beaks in order to win at cockfights. They evolved those to protect their hens from predators. And probably to keep other roosters at bay and to prevent them from adding their DNA to his flock which is why one rooster will challenge another if he should try to get too friendly with the sister-wives. It's only humans that have taken these evolved traits and turned them into a blood sport. 

And I could take all of this and use it as a metaphor for what we humans have done in general with life here on earth. We take what nature has so cunningly crafted and turn it into something which ends as death and destruction and blood on our hands. 

I guess that's my Earth Day message. 
Not very optimistic, is it? 
Well, neither am I. 

We're having our first salad of the replanted arugula tonight. I AM optimistic that it is going to be delicious. I guess that's good enough for now. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 21, 2019

What A Day!

Oh my goodness. I think there were twenty of us for lunch today. Here's what it looked like after the egg hunt but before the food came out. Well, except for a few condiments. But what a beautiful day! It was truly fabulous. Blue, blue skies, fresh green leaves, no bugs, and a temperature so perfect that none of us could quit talking about it.
Lots of perfection going on here lately. 

As you can see all of the little rock stars were having fun except Maggie who was having a little rock star melt-down. The egg hunt was about to begin.
She got over whatever it was that was upsetting her and many eggs were found. She recovered nicely.

Mark took this picture. 
It was so good to have Mark here this year. I can't remember when Mark started coming over for Easter but now it's my favorite part of any holiday season. Even better than dying eggs. He's one of mine and he calls me Mom and that is one of the joys of my life.  

Rachel took that one. And here's another one that Mark took:

Mark and Rachel. We are so rich in beloveds around here. 

And guess who else came? 

Chuck-My-Brother and Kian and Riley! Riley is so grown up. She, like her brother, has a lot of good memories of being here when she was just a young thing. I told her to make herself at home and to go snoop around if she wanted to, which she did. She told me that it's just the same. She is absolutely delightful and I have invited her and her brother to come back anytime they want. I think they'll take me up on it, too. And get this- Kian's favorite teacher lives catty-cornered across the street from me and lived in this house when he was a boy. 

More pictures. 

Gibson and August. Photo by Rachel.

Jessie's deviled eggs. Mark took this one and the next one too.

The Challah. I swear, that is the most incredible, fool-proof recipe for bread ever. I did get up early enough to make it. 
Of course. 

And guess who got home just in time for lunch? 

As happy as I was to see him, I think Little Boppy may have been even happier. 

There we are, or at least most of us. 
Everyone pitched in and helped with the tables and chairs. Rachel and Hank had a potluck yesterday and brought over the bountiful leftovers from that. Cole slaw and potato salad and black bean and corn salsa and a bunch of other stuff. Pasta salad with roasted squash that Rachel made. Cupcakes, cookies, and a ten-layer red velvet cake. 
Lily brought the famous pineapple cheese casserole and a salad with every good healthy thing in the world in it including quinoa and walnuts. Jessie brought the deviled eggs and also fixin's for some sort of delicious looking drink which involved Prosecco and orange juice and vodka.
The angel biscuits were...angelic. They rose right up to heaven and floated off the baking sheets directly onto our plates. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of them. 
The copper pennies got sort of a mixed review. They were interesting and Vergil said that they should go into the regular rotation of holiday foods but I think mostly we found them so-so. But my gosh, they sure were pretty. The greens were decent. 
And Lord, I have so much cheese left.
And hard-boiled eggs.

And the ham? Well, I'm going to tell you the truth- I do not think that spiral cut hams are nearly as good as non-spiral cut hams. They just get more dried out no matter how carefully you wrap them in aluminum foil when you heat them up. Next year, I'm going to get a regular old-fashioned ham. When you only get ham once a year, you want it to be good. And honestly- how hard is it to slice a ham? 

So that's it. I don't really think I could imagine a better Easter except for the fact that May and Michael could not come due to being sick with some sort of horrible-sounding cold or flu. May called me yesterday from Publix where she was getting what they needed for a siege of sickness and I could tell from her voice that she did not feel good. 
Not at all. 
In fact, she cried a little because she was going to miss the gathering and because she was in Publix which was packed with people and she felt like hell and all she wanted was to be home and in bed. 
We all know that feeling. And we missed them like crazy. 

Easter is funny for me. Not funny ha-ha, but funny interesting. Despite its incredibly Christian connotations in our culture, it is so easy to just disregard the horror of the image of a man dying on a cross and then being stashed in a tomb and becoming alive again which is, as far as I'm concerned, the Zombie origin story, and just go straight to the celebration of the full rebirth of living things after winter. I don't need some weird myth about a god sending his only begotten son to live as a man among humans and then being tortured and killed, all in order for us to enjoy something called "eternal life" to appreciate the joy of new green leaves and flowers, a bounty of eggs, and the bright, lovely faces of children as they hunt for those eggs, dyed in jewel colors. 
These are things I can whole-heartedly celebrate. 
And today we did. 

Ham sandwiches for supper anyone? 
Or perhaps egg salad. 

Whatever. It doesn't matter. We're alive, we're here, and if there is anything on earth more worth celebrating than the miracle of birth and rebirth, I don't know what it is. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 20, 2019

A LOT Of Pictures

When your carrot needs to pee

Well, it has been a day. I didn't really get rolling very early because hey! I had all day! Right? No plans whatsoever other than getting things ready for tomorrow. The food prep for sure and maybe some clearing and cleaning in the kitchen, sweep the porches. That kind of thing. The king and queen aren't coming over. My kids are. And with five grandchildren, the house is going to look like five drunken rock stars decided to trash a hotel room about five minutes after they get here. 
So...I decided to go out and pick up some of the many, many branches which fell yesterday. Big branches, little branches, medium sized branches. And then I decided while doing that that I should get rid of some of the crocosmia choking the hydrangea and also, perhaps, trim up a few more palms. These things were done. And more branches were picked up and hauled to the burn pile. 
Bamboo was kicked. 

The Rubber Maid cart was employed over and over again. Before it was all over, the burn pile had grown considerably and yet, there were still many branches I had not picked up. But that was enough of that. 
On to the hen house where I needed to clean out the nest boxes. I was delighted to see Maurice peeking in to make sure I was doing it right. 

She's such a curious familiar. She follows me around the yard and watches what I do with the stealth of a Ninja. 

By the time I'd worn myself out in the yard and had lunch it was after three. 
Ooh boy. 
I picked carrots. 

That's just a few of them. Aren't they pretty?

I hosed off the topsoil and then brought them into the kitchen where I scrubbed them fiercely in lieu of peeling them and cut them up and cooked them. Then I made the magical tomato soup elixir and chopped up an onion and a green pepper. Here's what it looked like when it was all mixed up together. 

This may taste like hell but it sure is pretty. They're marinating in the refrigerator right now. 

Then on to the greens! I went back out to the garden and picked a huge bag of mustards, collards, and kale. The mustards have bolted and are in full glorious yellow-bloom. 

Time to pull them. 

I brought in the greens and put them all in the sink which I filled with water. 

After a bit of a soak, I ran each leaf under running water to get all the dirt and grit off them (mustards especially are notorious for holding on to sand) and laid them out a dozen or so at a time on the cutting board to remove the biggest, toughest stems and cut the greens into bite-sized pieces and put them into the pot. 
This is, as you may imagine, rather time-consuming. 
Here's the pot of cut-up greens. 

I poured in one of those containers of vegetable broth (I'm making these vegetarian and in fact, vegan) along with a can of chopped tomatoes. I cut up another onion and added that and then soy sauce, Braggs liquid aminos, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. And a little bit of sugar. 

Oh! And some olive oil. 
And...two beautiful pickled red peppers and some of the liquid from a jar of these:

Because that shit is delicious. I put these okras in my martinis these days and I just can't imagine anything better. 

I've now tasted the greens and they are pretty all right. I turned them off and I'll let them sit overnight in the refrigerator and do the final seasonings tomorrow. 

AND THEN! Time to make the angel biscuit dough. I decided to make up a batch of that because it, too, can sit in the refrigerator and wait until needed. I may or may not make a few loaves of Challah tomorrow. That will depend on what time I get up. 
Anyway, because I've taken pictures of everything today, here's the angel biscuit dough. 

Oh, y'all. That dough. It's so yeasty and lovely that you just desperately want to flour a surface, turn it out, give it a tiny kneading and then roll it and cut it out into trays and trays of beautiful biscuits. 
If we ate nothing tomorrow but ham and angel biscuits it would be a fine Easter. 

So that's what I did today. I did not sweep a porch, I did not get the kitchen in the sort of order I want it to be in. I did get rid of a few things in the refrigerator in order to make more room and here's a picture of happy chickens pecking away at plain yogurt that had become a color that plain yogurt should not be and some hummus which was never going to get finished. 

Chickens love moldy yogurt and hummus beyond all reason. 
Very little goes to waste with chickens around. 

I think I better get to bed early tonight. I have a lot to do tomorrow before the Easter bunny gets here to hide the eggs. AND my husband is coming home tomorrow. It feels like he's been gone for months. I kinda miss that tall guy. 
A lot. 

Love...Ms. Moon