Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Holding On To Sanity By The Skin Of My Teeth And The Goodness Of Growing Things

 That window in the tiny hall off the kitchen is getting quite jungly. I cut a few fire spike to begin to root in bottles there. They had fallen over with the weight of themselves in the front yard and their blooms were doing no good to either hummingbirds or passersby. So- snip, snip. I have a Swedish Ivy plant that Jessie started for me that has grown leggy and I've trimmed a bit of it to root and add back to the pot to add fullness. And then there's some of that crazy philodendron that I've rooted so much of that it grows in pots everywhere and also, outside in the dirt where pieces of it have been tossed. 

You cannot kill it. 

This is the window in the bathroom off the kitchen. It has rooting and growing things as well. 

There's a polka-dotted begonia, a little succulent which I have not managed to kill yet, the most amazing tiny garden sweet potato which has been leafing in a shot glass for months, a giant begonia leaf, and another sprig of fire spike. 

Growing things soothe my heart, my soul. I need to have them all around me and thank goodness, I am able to do that. I keep wondering how on earth I would manage this time in history if I did not have this tiny piece of ground with trees and plants and a place to make a garden, a place to keep the chickens which do sustain me in ways that go far beyond the protein of their eggs. And let us not forget the sky and the birds who sing and twitter and even the squirrels which run and dart and jump from branch to branch, their toenails skittering on the tree bark. 

A few other growing things visited me today. 

They burst into the kitchen door and although August paused briefly to let me hug him, Levon went right on by, all too eager to find his favorite toys, to explore, to see what was up in Mermer's house. 

"You are five now!" I told August. "You are so big! You are getting so old!" 
He looked at me as he does, as if I am not quite to be believed, and said simply, "Yes. I am."

He showed me his multi-tool which was clipped to his belt and it is a thing of wonder with screwdrivers and pliers and a magnet and I don't even know what all. He told me that when he really learns how to use it all he can help Boppy fix the play set. I told him that there are a lot of things around here that he can help Boppy fix and that is true. 

Boppy was actually at work today. He bought a car for a customer and went into town to detail it and get it all ready for her, to get the paperwork in order, and all those things he does which are far beyond my ken. He's still not home. 
Jessie and I got to visit while we followed the boys around as they played on the tractor and on the mower and August wanted to use his grandfather's jack to jack up the lawn mower but we said no, and then he asked if he could jack up air and his mother and I said he could so he did. 

We watched a little Baby Bheem on the TV, cuddled on the couch together under a blanket because it was chilly in my house. Well, for us it was chilly. In fact, today has been so very, very beautiful. The air so clear and everything so sharply defined, the coolness such a tremendous relief. I was quite happy that the boys let me put my arms around them on the couch, and Levon squeezed my little finger as he watched the TV and we all laughed and laughed and laughed at the mischief Baby Bheem got into with his friend and a calf and the chickens and a scarecrow. It is such sweet silliness. 

We made a lunch and ate it on the back porch and there was more playing outside and then we came in to read books and I read the Lorax to them and then Duck in a Truck because that is Levon's favorite. I am happiest, I think, when I am reading out loud to my grandchildren. I miss acting. Not in a desperate way, but in a gentle way, a sweet nostalgic way, and being able to make funny voices and become the characters in the stories I am reading brings me great pleasure. Such great pleasure. And having them sitting next to me, squished up together on the love couch (as Owen calls it) makes it heaven. 

After they left I tidied up some, folded some laundry, put it away, dragged some branches to the fire pile, cut some pinecone lilies to put in a vase, snipped that fire spike to root. Now I've got a broth simmering that I'm making for a soup with ramen noodles. There are bits of carrot in it, and shallot, dried mushrooms, garlic, ginger root. It is a very, very simple dinner. There will be kale and tofu and an egg in each bowl as well as the ramen. 

And so everything is good in its simple and easy way and yet, because I watched an hour of that debate last night I have been completely un-easy, disturbed and roiled to a point of anxiety which is pervasive, free-floating, as gray and hazy, sticky and thick as generations of spider webs, untouched in years. 

I've never seen such a massive vomiting of lies and anger and petty truculence, belligerent bullying and inhuman cruelty in my life. I kept looking at Trump's face, at how ugly it is because of the way he has set his mouth and narrowed his yes all these years in a sneer of disdain. His mental problems are vast, his ability to empathize or even try pretend to any sort of decency is completely missing. 

We watched an hour of it. I don't know how. I do not know why. And then I got up, put my crocheting down, and said, "I am so tired."
And I finished cleaning up the kitchen and took a shower and went to bed and I did not sleep well. 
I see no reason to watch any more of that poisonous venom and I feel so very sorry for Joe Biden. I feel so very sorry for all of us. 

Here is what the banana bloom looks like today. 

I wish for all of us peace and everything that means. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

And Yet Another Birthday

Yes! Another birthday. This time it is August's. That's what he looked like when he was fresh-born, sleeping that exhausted newborn sleep after the incredibly hard work of being born and having to learn to nurse, all in one day. If you would like to read about the day his mama had him, you can go here. 

Here's what he looked like just seconds after he was born. 

That first wondering look is the most precious thing on this earth. That gaze between mother and baby as they take each other in. The wonder is infinitesimal. 

Sometimes I think about how an entire generation was born to mothers so sedated that they couldn't even hold their own heads up, much less hold their babies after they were born. I was one of those babies. Of course, we were sedated too by the drugs they gave our mothers, and that most magical of moments was stolen from us and from our mothers and I wonder if some subconscious memory of this is what fueled so many of us to want to give birth awake and aware- somehow we knew that what had happened to us and our mothers was profoundly wrong and had had a drastic impact on our relationships from then on out. Instead of a woman's most incredible effort being rewarded with the only thing worthy of that effort- her baby- she and the child were immediately separated, the newborn whisked off to the nursery, the mother to be stitched up from the ubiquitous episiotomy. 
Can you imagine giving birth gorked out of your mind, waking up hours later and having to ask someone if you'd had a boy or a girl or, hell- if you'd had a baby at all? 

Thank goodness I have no idea what that was like. 
And neither do my daughters. At least the drugs they give now in childbirth are usually epidurals and although the mother feels no pain, she is awake and aware of everything and is capable of holding her baby. 

I did not mean to go off on that tangent. I'm sorry. I am just so damn grateful to have had the birth experiences I had which were the hardest things I ever did and the most joyous too. And to be able to share the joy of my daughters' births with them and with all of our family was something I don't even have the words to describe. 

But five years ago today, August was born into his daddy's hands and to the utter delight and wonder and joy of his aunties, everyone fully awake and so very ready to meet him. 

And what a joy that boy has been. He, like all the rest of my grandchildren, is completely himself. And how we love him! 

He and Boppy have had such a sweet relationship since the beginning. 

Jessie sent this picture in a group text today and my husband told me that he cried when he saw it. 

And now the boy is five years old. He loves tools of all kinds and projects, just like his daddy and his granddaddy. He also loves pancakes and bacon and watching TV with his Boppy. He is smart as he can be and astounds us with his questions and sometimes with his answers. Today when I was at Costco I saw an employee who used to ask August how he was doing when he was just a little tiny boy and he'd always seriously reply, "Pretty good," and she would laugh and laugh. She asked me today how we all were and I told her it was August's fifth birthday and she remembered him and told me to tell him and his mama "happy birthday" from her. 

Here he was this morning wearing his first multi-tool that he got as a present. 

He's a big guy now for sure. Isn't he beautiful? 

All day my heart has been full, thinking about that precious boy and how much I love him. He's a crackie, y'all. My beloved little crackie.

It's been a good day overall. I got my shopping done, I'm boiling peanuts and guess what? 

Our little Tweety Bird laid her first egg yesterday. 
And she laid another one today. 

It's actually a bigger egg than I thought she'd lay. That bowl holds all the eggs we gathered today. Eleven of them. Each one of them as different and distinctive as my grandchildren are. 

Are you going to watch the debate tonight? I really don't want to but I'm going to try. I'd much rather just live in this sweet dream world where there are trees and chickens and little boys having birthdays but the reality is, there is so much more going on in the world and I have to pay attention to some of it. 
I guess. 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Where Does The Time Go?

I think this is one of the prettiest churches in Lloyd. And you know we do have a few. This is one is named The Greater Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church and it's down a little side road that I pass on my walk. The field there beside the church is huge and is more lawn than field, to tell the truth. It's lined with woods as you can see and the other side of the road is too, mostly, although there are some houses there including what I presume is the pastor's house and also, a very small cemetery. 
I don't usually walk down the little road. It may be a private drive. Its street sign says, "Greater Elizabeth Drive" or maybe road. I'm not sure. Anyway, today when I was on my walk and on the way home, I decided to go down the road because it was so shady and inviting and I did. The temperature in the shade had to be a good five degrees cooler than it was out on the hot sidewalk and I enjoyed my little detour and the clouds were so pretty that I had to take a picture of the way they looked over the church.

I also stopped and took a picture of a Confederate Rose blooming on a tree in the yard of my Trumpian neighbors although the branch this one was on had extended over into the yard of the church next door to me and I did not feel bad about trespassing in that little strip of lawn to get close enough for a good shot. I do not think they would begrudge me that. 

Every year when these bloom I am dumbstruck again at how frilly and fancy they are, how baby pink their color. They seem like a lovely folly of nature to me and are a variety of hibiscus, actually, not a rose at all and we do have one in our yard but this year its obvious need for trimming and pruning has made itself clear. There are a few buds on it but no flowers yet. Our yard is so lacking in sun that the branches grow up and out, blindly seeking light, and are spindly. It is definitely on the "to-do" list. I need to inform Mr. Moon of that although whenever he notices the tree, he says, "I need to cut that back," and I agree and that's as far as it goes. He also informs me at least every six months that he needs to trim the azaleas and that, too, is true, but that must be done right after they bloom because if the timing is wrong, they will skip a spring entirely and in my opinion, life is too short to miss a yearly azalea showing. 

This day has gone by like so many others since this pandemic began. I get up, I peruse blogs and the news, I let the chickens out, I eat breakfast, I take a walk- it's after noon. And then somehow the rest of the day slips on by too, and before I know it, it's time to make supper and then it's past time and once again, I'm late getting it on the table. 
And I don't seem to get anything done. I think I made the bed about two o'clock this afternoon, hoisting Jack up and off of it as I have to do every day to straighten out the sheets and retuck them and spread the quilt over everything. I got a package ready to put in the mail and that took about forty-five minutes as I taped the box together and cut brown paper bags to cover it and taped them down. It was so enjoyable, that simple task, that I wished I had another box to send somewhere. 

I've got peppers from the garden stuffed and ready to go into the oven. Two red ones, one yellow, one green, and several little banana peppers. And that's been the sum total of my day. I know there's been other stuff but hell if I can remember what. Mr. Moon, on the other hand, spent a good part of the day over at Lily's, setting fence posts with her help. She sent the group this picture when they were done. 

She wrote, "He's a strong and hard worker. He puts me to shame, I tell you what!" 

And then he came home and pulled up the rest of the field peas and now he's taking things to the dump. His motivation is still strong, even if mine is completely gone. He still wants to get things done while I think, "What's the point?" and "Who the hell cares?"
But tomorrow is when it's supposed to start getting cooler and perhaps I will be more inclined to get out and plant the garden, do some yard work. I hope so. The pandemic seems to have taken away my need to suffer in order to feel as if my life has meaning. 
I do not know if this is good or bad. It is what it is. 

Hey! My new shoes were fine on my walk today. I'm so glad. And that refund never came through so I have indeed paid for them. All is well there. 

I better go bake those peppers. They're not going to cook themselves. And make a salad. Tomorrow I believe I'll go to town for my Publix/Costco shopping. We are out of milk and tomatoes, pimentos and some other stuff that I cannot remember right now. Oh yeah. Peanut butter M&M's. 
I should be ashamed to tell you that but I am not. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, September 27, 2020



Unmasked, Deeply In Love

 Well, today is actually Lily and Vergil's birthday and the big socially-distanced, outdoors party was postponed due to a constant steady rain but Lily and Jessie decided to throw caution to the winds and get the cousins together at Jessie's house to play and eat cupcakes. 
And there were presents for all the children, even the ones who don't have birthdays this month. 
Boppy was not exactly thrilled with this idea. We've been following every rule about distancing and masks and testing and, and, and...
But I wanted to take our presents over and see Lily on her birthday and see Owen, even though it was a day late, and when we got to the house, Glen reached for his mask and I didn't. 
"Are you going to wear a mask?" he asked me. 
I simply said, "No."

And he didn't either although he didn't hug or kiss. I snuck a few of those in though. I just can't not do it. I've broken. 

It was so lovely. So sweet. When I gave Levon his present he somberly handed it back and asked if I would unwrap it for him and so we did it together. I gave him a construction machinery alphabet book and we read it. We gave August a beautifully illustrated book of classic fairy tales and a heart lamp which he had wanted. We gave Owen a Lego kit he'd asked for. 

Owen was making a sort of whistling sound and Levon was studying him with great intensity. He wants to be a big boy so very, very much and Owen is a great teacher. 

Gibson wanted the same kind of pajamas that Owen was wearing and so that's what we got him. I do not understand the significance of these pajamas. They have something to do with "Zelda." I'm pretty sure that is not in reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife so I'm clueless. He'd also gotten that sword which also had deep significance to him. Sorry he had his hood over his face. 

We gave Magnolia a Calico Critters house and some little Calico Critter mice to live in the house. This is the sort of thing that she will play with for hours and hours. Here's a beautiful picture of that girl that I took. 

I swear- she is from another century. Her beauty astounds me. 
And here is her beautiful mother, who I gave birth to thirty-five years ago today and her auntie too. 

Jessie wanted a picture of her sweet little family. 

Those boys are getting such long legs. Do they come from their long-legged daddy or their long-legged mama? I do not know but they have them. 

And then came the birthday cupcakes. 

And an enthusiastic if not completely on-key Happy Birthday song. 

And finally...this. 

Princess Colonel Sanders Magnolia June. 

We took our leave right after that and Gibson walked us out to the car carrying the bags I'd brought in one hand, his sword in the other. So gallant. I told him that he made me feel safe. 

Westbound traffic on the interstate was stopped for miles. There were two wrecks about a quarter of a mile apart, emergency vehicles everywhere, two ambulances heading to the hospital in Tallahassee going full speed with lights and sirens flashing, one car flipped over on its roof.
If I hadn't already felt the incredible weight of fortune already, I certainly would have felt it then. I was already thinking about how ridiculously random it was for me to meet Glen Moon and for us to fall in love and have Lily and Jessie and for those daughters to grow up and have these beautiful children that can fill a house, fill our hearts so completely. 
But here we are. 
And if all of that was random, then what do we call the fact that he and I are still in love and so acutely aware of our fortune every day? 

I don't know. 

It is still raining, coming down steadily as it has been all day. The chickens gave us ten eggs today. Thirty-five years ago right now I was holding my baby girl Lily in my arms and staring at her with wonder, her father right beside us, Hank and May already falling in love with their new sister, Jessie still an undreamed light, waiting to join us. 


Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Not Sure About What Day Of The Week It Is But I'm Sure It's Owen's Birthday

 I absolutely love the expression on this guy's face. Or gal's face. Whatever. The way that blue eye is cocked my way- "Yeah. I see ya. Back off HUMAN!" 

I took that picture when I was out picking the last of the field peas which is the only damn thing I did today which resembled labor in any way, shape, or form. And that was hardly difficult although the red ants that swarm the plants tending their herds of aphids (I guess) bit the crap out of every body part of mine they could find. They are small but they are powerful. I managed to pick a nice basketful of the peas though and so we'll get one more fresh meal out of them and now the plants need to be pulled to make room for the fall stuff. 
I will wear gloves for that chore. Little fuckers sting like hell. 

So guess what today is? OWEN'S ELEVENTH BIRTHDAY! Can you believe it? I can't. Some of you have been part of this family long enough to remember the day he was born. If you have any interest in reading the post I wrote the night of his birth, you can find it here.
Lily had a long, long labor because she was induced due to the doctors being freaked out that she was a week or so "overdue" and they claimed that the baby was getting "huge." He was certainly a big, fine boy- 9 pounds, 4 ounces- but Lily weighed over ten pounds at birth and I delivered her at home. Lily is just about six feet tall and I am 5'4" so I'm pretty sure she could have managed. 
But of course what matters is the end result and in this case, that was Owen and as Lily said today, she wouldn't change the birth for anything because it made her a mommy. She also said, "The world knew I needed a trial by fire to shape me up for my crew! LOL!" 

She's a lot more graceful about that than I would have been. 

And so eleven years ago that boy made me and my man grandparents and except for the days our own children were born, it was the best day of our marriage up to that point. Plus, I didn't have to give birth.

These pictures were actually taken the day after he was born and I distinctly remember putting on make-up to go see my new grandson. Wasn't he a little peach? 
He's still a peach but not so little. He's also still our first grandchild, always will be our first grandchild, and he's the one who gave me my grandmother name. He's the grandchild I tended the most as a baby and a little boy, the one I made up the Mr. Peep story for, the one I got out the old baby books and story books for, the one I always told, "You are my little prince," when I kissed him good-bye when he went home. He's the one I played the Rolling Stones for all the time as we played bounce-the-ball on the stairs. He's the one I got a high chair for and he's the one I got sippy cups for. 
He's the one who showed me how much more love a human heart can hold than even I, the mother of four, knew. 
Hell, he's the one on my phone screen to this very moment. 

Remember when he wore his Woody costume all the time? 

In the post I wrote the night he was born I said that I didn't know who he looked like except for himself. I think we know now exactly who he looks like. His beautiful, strong mama. Moon genes all the way. 

And in a related note, Lily sent this picture just a little while ago. 

Lily wrote, "What she does when asked to pick up the game she got out."
To which Mr. Moon replied, "You spent half your childhood thrashing on the ground. 😂"
Which is true. Lily's childhood was not an easy time for anyone, least of all herself. But I always told myself that if I could keep her alive she would grow up to be an incredibly strong and amazing woman. 
I was right. 
And Magnolia will too. 
When I said that the Moon genes are strong, I meant that in all respects. 

So. Happy birthday, Owen Curtis Hartmann. You're practically a grown man now and you have my heart and you always will. And as much as I am sure you cringe to hear this- you are always my little prince and you will still be when you've become a foot taller than I am. 
Which will probably happen sometime next year. 
I sure do love you. 

Love...Ms. Mermer Moon

Friday, September 25, 2020

Another Friday Night

I took this picture of Miss Robin yesterday when I was cleaning the nests in the hen house and did not post it because the light is so funky but it does show her beautiful feathers nicely. They look like a painting to me. She was waiting for the nest she wanted to lay her egg in which was occupied by another hen. There were four other nests she could have laid that egg in but no, she wanted that particular one and she was willing to wait. This is one chicken-habit I do not quite understand. I think it may have something to do with the fact that if a hen goes broody, she will sit on whatever eggs are in the nest and so they all tend to lay in the same nests as an economy measure and a way to pass on genes without doing the actual work. 
When I watered the front porch plants last week I noticed that the two big ferns beside the front door had been torn up and flattened out as roosters sometimes do to encourage the ladies to lay in their pots. There were no eggs in them but when I watered yesterday I found half a dozen in one of the pots, mostly the blue green ones that I am pretty sure Pinto is laying. Clever chickens! Although why they feel the need to hide their eggs if no one is brooding, I do not know. 
I do not know why I do half the things I do, either, so I'm not too worried about the mystery. 

Look what showed up today!

My Saucony's, all the way back from San Francisco! Of course now I have a moral dilemma. If indeed my account was refunded by the nice Saucony lady, do I call them back and tell them that they have arrived? Yes. Of course I have to. It's not their fault that the USPS sent the shoes on a month-long journey. 
The good news is that they feel fine and fit well and now I have the new shoes I need. And by the way- I do not walk in a dress. That's just what I was wearing today when I tried them on. See the weird things on my left sock? Those are two types of stickers that clung to them as I walked through some underbrush yesterday. The green ones we call "begger's lice" (which is a highly un-PC name, I suppose) and the other is called Spanish Needle. It's a plant that looks like innocent, pretty little daisies and after you brush up against it, you'll be picking those nasty little needles off your clothes forever. 

And that's your naturalist lesson for the day. 

We've got the air conditioner back on. It's so humid although it's not terribly hot. By the middle of next week though, it's supposed to get much cooler with temperatures down into the fifties at night, highs in the seventies during the day. 
I'll believe that when I see it. 
Meanwhile, thank John Gorry for AC and being able to sleep comfortably and peacefully on cool, crisp, dry sheets. 
It rained on and off all day long and we have postponed the birthday party until Sunday which is not ideal in all ways but it wouldn't have worked today because of the rain. Mr. Moon needs to build us a giant Covid shelter- a covered outdoor area where we can gather safely no matter the weather. I'll bring that up tonight after he's had a martini. 
Or maybe I won't. He spent all day in town getting things done and he's not in the best of moods. Mostly he's just exhausted and disgusted with the government and the assholes who don't wear masks or if they do, don't wear them properly. He has every right to be disgusted. 
And speaking of disgusting- Florida's governor has just proclaimed that restaurants and bars will now be opening up at full capacity despite the fact that our numbers are deplorable. 
Fucking murderer. 

I hope that this will make my husband feel better:

A luscious lemon meringue pie with graham cracker crust. 

I see that Trump is going to nominate a woman who opposes reproductive AND LGBTQ rights to the Supreme Court. 
For Satan. 
But in a more cheerful note- have you seen any of the videos of Trump and his Mrs. being booed as they stood in attendance by the casket of Ruth Bader Ginsburg? And then the crowd started chanting, "Vote him out! Vote him out!" 
It won't help a damn thing and it won't affect Trump's views on anything and will probably only make him more determined, churlish, and mulish but god, it was a beautiful sight. I'd feel sorry for his wife but I just can't. 

I have an icy martini at hand and I'll make a salad soon to go with the leftover chicken and spinach and rice I made a few nights ago. We'll watch another episode of Ratched which I do not recommend, either highly or otherwise, but it is vaguely entertaining and it is certainly eye-candy. I have wrapped up the birthday and non-birthday presents and this year I even remembered to get cards for everyone. Eventually it will be time to get in bed and there are clean sheets to look forward to as well as the book I am reading right now, The Letters of E.B. White, which I have owned for years and am finally getting around to. I am enjoying it. 

This is my life. Some of it is so weird and odder than I ever could have expected and part of it is sweeter than I ever knew life could be. Let us just say that this is not at all what I expected. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Lloyd Culture: The Deep South

 I'd like to talk about what happened yesterday with Jacob's sons. A lot of you were so kind in defending me from what you perceived as rude behavior and although I appreciate that, it's more complicated than that. 

I live in a very mixed community. And when I say "mixed" I mean racially, divided mostly between white people and black people. But I also mean mixed in the sense that although none of us in this immediate area appear to be vastly affluent, some of us are comfortable and some are absolutely living in poverty. 
Now that line that is not entirely drawn in black and white. There are some very fine large houses with gorgeous lawns where some of my black neighbors live whereas one of the most junked-out, trashed-out, broken-down trailers in the area houses a white family. I cannot believe the trash in that yard. I mean literal trash. There are modular homes which are not junky in the least but very tidy, very well-kept, and black and white families live in them. Meanwhile, right here at the corner of Old Lloyd Road and Highway 59 where I live, there are several larger houses, some of which predate the Civil War (mine does) which were most likely built with the labor of human beings who were kept as property.
I have no doubt that the descendants of some of those people still live in this area. 

Jacob and his family live in one of the poorer-looking places that I walk past. As I said, there are several houses on the property and I can only imagine that they are hot as hell inside, even if there are window units, and that in winter they are cold. Not as bad as where No Man Lord lives which is in an old RV that has a tarp over it to keep the rain out. I imagine that everyone knows where I live. I may be of slight interest simply because I am the old white woman who walks. And have been walking here for over fifteen years. When I first moved to Lloyd, people stopped to ask if I needed a ride all the time. 
Now they know me and my habits. 
But here's the thing- I may be just an old woman who walks and whose chickens can be observed from the sidewalk and who wears tattered overalls daily and who works in the yard but I am also white and I also live in a rather large house, even if it does need spray washing and painting desperately and has paint peeling off the ceiling and mold on the walls and has a floor that tilts in the kitchen. And it doesn't matter to some people what my politics are or what my heart is like- I represent, by my color and my Prius, and my house- obvious privilege. 
And some folks just don't want to mess with that. 
And I don't blame them. 
Also? I haven't earned anyone's respect. 
Another aspect of the whole situation is the matter of privacy. I live behind a fence and a dense border of azaleas and palms and firespike. Just the fact that I have the time and leisure and also money to create this barrier between me and the world says more than you can imagine. No Man Lord's RV is on a bare piece of land. He sleeps often in a lounge chair under one of the few trees on his property just a few yards from the road. His only water source is a spigot right by the sidewalk. His "fence" is string which he's tied between posts where he sometimes hangs his drying laundry which he no doubt washed by hand. So if he is sitting in a chair reading his Bible and I walk by and say "Good morning" and he doesn't answer, I get it. Or at least I think I do. And if Jacob's sons do not care to waste the energy to say hello to me, I get that too. Their houses, the cars they work on- they're right there beside the road too.
And who knows? They might have been having a terrible day. You never know. And everything I've written here is just my own theory and are my own thoughts.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do not live in a place where everyone is essentially very similar. Some of us here may as well come from different planets and my heart tells me that I have to respect the differences even as I am vastly aware that we are all the same in many ways.  

I hope I've done an adequate job of explaining this. It's extremely difficult and often uncomfortable to discuss race and financial disparity but they are part of reality. Certainly part of my reality. It's complex and so much of it is wrong and I have no answers for how to make it better. I just try to be friendly and respectful. Always respectful. 

And of course, there is always the possibility that Jacob's sons really are rude, but I don't think so. 

Here's what I'm cooking tonight. 

Soup with leftovers. In my new dutch oven which I have used several times now with very good results. I love the size of it which is so much smaller than my other soup-making pots. It limits the amount of soup I can make which is a good thing in that I am only cooking for two. I've got a huge loaf of sourdough ready to go into the oven and that will be our supper. 

Here's a last little bit of summer's bounty that I picked yesterday. 

Some pretty peppers, a few tiny yellow cherry tomatoes and a mix of basils that went into our salad. 

And here are pictures of August and Levon, almost home from North Carolina! 

Jessie said that they are making faces like their cousin Mayda who makes some awesomely scary faces. 

And tomorrow we will see them at the socially distanced birthday party. If it doesn't rain. 

One more picture.

Yeah. That's hanging on my wall. Isn't it pretty? 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Life In The Slow Lane, Part MXI Or Something

 This may be a plant called Ozark Sundrops and it may not be. After a short bit of googling that's the very closest ID I've come to. If I could figure out a really good plant ID app for the phone, I'd even be willing to pay for it. Whatever those lemony yellow flowers are, they are blooming gloriously along Old Lloyd Road and the sulfur butterflies hovering and darting and dipping among them looked almost exactly like blossoms which had taken wing. Same color, similar size. 

I saw Jacob on my walk today. He's the man who sits outside his house, sometimes with his wife, sometimes alone. Their house is next to a few other buildings, some of which other people appear to live in. Probably like a family compound of some sort. There are always a plethora of cars waiting to be repaired along with big parts of machinery of all sorts and other assorted...stuff.
Today Jacob's sons were out in the yard, working on a car. After Jacob and I greeted each other he nodded to the men and said, "These are my sons." 
I said hello but neither one of them seemed in the least interested in even acknowledging my presence. Since I can think of at least ten good reasons why they wouldn't want to, it didn't bother me. I'm generally surprised when anyone does acknowledge me. Jacob and his wife do, Pinot certainly does. No Man Lord does sometimes and sometimes he doesn't. 
I respect that. 

Beyond that, my day has been completely uneventful. I actually dusted and polished the piano and cleaned the keys with alcohol as my mother taught me to do so long ago. I cleaned off and polished the hallway vanity that is a de facto altar of sorts and also the low cabinet where the TV sits in the Glen Den. And that was enough cleaning for me. 

Mr. Moon, on the other hand, was busy all day long stringing fishing line between posts he mounted on the garden fence to deter the chickens from flying into the garden. He even strung bright yellow plastic strips from the lines and before he was finished, the chickens demonstrated that they were not in the least disturbed by the lines and could easily manage to slip in between them. I could hear him yelling at them as the day progressed, his voice going from faintly amused to downright NOT IN THE LEAST AMUSED! 

When he finally gave it up for the day and came inside I said to him, "All that work!" which is a family saying. Once, when Mr. Moon took Hank and May fishing on a little pond, he had the fish they'd caught on a stringer in the water tied to the boat, and somehow, they all slipped off and May, who was probably about four years old cried out, "All that work!" 
To be polite, my husband smiled when I said that but again- he was not really amused. It was a lot of work, really and truly, and all for naught at this point. 

Here are two of the bad chickens. 

Eggy Tina and Pinto. Eggy Tina was enjoying a dust bath which is something that chickens not only love to do, but need to do. It helps clean their feathers of parasites and they love wallowing down into the warm dirt, letting it sift between their feathers, and sunning themselves. As I always say, they remind me of bathing beauties, perhaps Rita Hayworth sunning herself beside the pool at the Beverly Hills hotel. 
My lovely ladies. I am so glad that my chickens have free and ample access to places where they can enjoy this necessary ritual. Their favorite places to do this are right next to dense undergrowth where they can quickly hide if danger threatens. Chickens are quite aware of the many predators which are always about, be they dogs or hawks. Roosters have different calls for ground threats and sky threats and are always watching closely for both. 

And really, there's little more to say. Some days I seem to take an unconsciously planned day off of the horrible, terrible news. I did start to watch a video online this morning of Sarah Sanders defending Trump as if it were still her job and in the middle of it I thought to myself, "Why in hell am I watching this?" 
And I clicked it off. 
I already know how it ended. 

I would rather hang my clothes on the line or feed my sourdough, thank you very much.
And so I did that. 

Be well. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Going Away, Coming Back

 The chickens were all out by the garden this afternoon and in the garden too, to be truthful, and also on the fence (there's always someone on the fence, isn't there?) and I was trying to take a picture of how adorable they were and I took about ten pictures but none of them was worth a damn. Here's one of the barred rocks (Alice?) peeping out from behind the field peas which is what they were all after. Mr. Moon is going to have to figure out a way to keep those bad birds out of the garden because we're about to plant their most favorite vegetables which are the winter greens and lettuces. But this afternoon I did not begrudge them the peas at all and I spent a few minutes listening to them talk to each other in their comforting, soothing hen-tongue which I never tire of.

So I went to town today. I mean, I WENT TO TOWN! I had two prescriptions to pick up at two different places and I went to two different nurseries for seeds and a few plants and I even went through a drive-through and bought myself a falafel gyro and sat in a parking lot and ate it, enjoying every bite. I masked, of course, as did most of the other people I saw, but not all of them even though it has been mandated in Leon County that if you're inside in a public space, you are supposed to wear a covering over your mouth and nose. 
As Mr. Moon said this morning before I left, it is surprising that there are not reports of masked people getting in altercations with unmasked fuckwads. Okay, he did not say "fuckwad" but I did. 
Anyway, here are the seeds I bought.

I have made a vow to myself that this fall I am going to space my plants out far more than I have done previously. I like to have some extra plants that I can thin for salads but as Lon has pointed out, I go a little overboard. And as I have pointed out, I CAN'T HELP IT! 
But as GOD is my witness, I'm going to do better this year. I really, truly am because Lon and everyone else is correct in that spacing the plants gives them far more of a chance to grow up. And out. 
Shall we say...bigger? 

I'm going to try spinach again although I never do very well with that. Also bok choy. And I'm going to try celery for the first time. I'm also going to see what happens when I plant cilantro in the fall. It bolts so damn fast when I plant it in the spring but maybe it'll have more of a chance in the late garden. 

That journey took me basically all day long and while I was gone, Mr. Moon accomplished this:

He ran a line from the garage to the hen house, trenched it up, laid pipe in it and hooked it up to a spigot. This will make filling up the chicken waterers so much easier. I appreciate this tremendously. I am sure that the chickens will too. Funny how when I was thirteen or fourteen and dreaming of what it would be like to fall in love and thinking of the things I thought a romantic man would be like, plumbing never really entered the picture. But I will say that I learned quickly and by the age of twenty-five, a man who could and would be able to make water more available to where I needed it had moved a lot closer up to the top of the list. 

Going to town and venturing into places that were neither Costco nor Publix was actually good for me, I think. It was probably beneficial just to get out of my yard, out of Lloyd, and into places where there are humans if only to make me appreciate my house and home even more. I feel more cheerful tonight although I didn't really talk to anyone beyond Hey, how're you today? and Thank you very much. 
Even the most dedicated of introverts are still human beings and as such, we need a reminder that we (and our partners, if applicable) are not the only people on earth. That we can still go out into the world and make decisions about purchases, to wander around in a nursery, enjoying the sight and smells of plants and trees and dirt, to order and pay for and eat something that we ourselves have not cooked. And then to drive home and pull into the place where we feel most comfortable, most safe, and most content. 
And where the man who can build and plumb and garden and love waits. 

I think I better go make him some supper. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, September 21, 2020

Ram On

 I had no excuse whatsoever not to take a walk this morning. It was cool and clear and although it was 11:30 by the time I hit the sidewalk, it was still fine outside. I don't think I broke a sweat until the 1.5 mile point which sure wouldn't have happened two weeks ago. The old house above is a few houses down from mine and I wonder about its history. It seemed some months ago as if someone was going to fix it up. A new fence appeared and No Trespassing signs went up and I saw a truck there sometimes but there's been no sign of any progress recently. That curtain in the upstairs window has been there, tied just like that ever since I've lived in Lloyd. 

Down at the ranch a mile and a half from my house I saw some lovely huge cows, laying in the shade and when I got to the gate I saw this guy. 

What a fine black ram! But I instantly realized that it was not a real ram but some sort of ram statue. I like him, though. His horns and whimsy appeal to me. 
Oh, Lloyd!

The rest of the day has basically been shite except for talking to Jessie on the phone. We're trying to figure out a safe way to have a party for all of the September birthday people. Was it last year when we had the HUGE party with the giant bouncy castle and about fifty people over at Lily's? I think it was. 'Twas like a dream, right? 
Starting with Owen's birthday on Saturday, we have Lily, Vergil, and August's birthdays before the end of the month. Billy and Shayla's birthdays are in there too. 
This year though we're going to have to keep things a bit more low-key. Jessie and Vergil will be back on Thursday and I think we're going to have the party at their house. The presents I've ordered from Amazon are piling up here in my hallway. So Jessie and I were discussing the arrangements for a safe gathering. They're having a really nice time up in North Carolina and I'm so very, very glad they've had the opportunity to go visit. 

After I talked to Jessie I called the Saucony customer service number because after three weeks my shoes still haven't gotten here and the tracking history has been telling me that they were in transit back to the sender. They made it as close as Jacksonville before they started a journey across the country to San Fransisco. The woman I got on the phone was very nice but completely mystified. They are based in Kentucky, not California, so why the shoes were being sent there made no sense at all. She conferred with someone and told me that they had no idea what was going on (there was an actual "bless your heart" in there) and that they could either refund my money or else give me a discount if I wanted to wait for the shoes to try and make their way back to Lloyd where my feet await them. 
"I have no idea when that could happen," she said. 
I chose the refund and immediately went to order another pair because dammit, I NEED new shoes and I filled out all the information and promptly got a message saying, "Would you like to be notified when this item is back in stock?"

Fuck. Me. 

And this is a prime example of a first world problem and it's not that big a deal. I can order a different style and meanwhile, although worn and shitbeat, my old shoes still have laces and a sole so who cares? Not like I'm training for a marathon. 
It was just one more thing on the list of crap that's making me feel like life is meaningless, impersonal, and that the universe just does not care. 

A long, long time ago I posted this picture of R. Crumb's Mr. Natural. 

Mr. Natural has been my philosophic touchstone for many years. Our beliefs align. 
When I went to find that image by googling it, I also found this one. 

And guess what the source was? 

You can find it here. 

Where you can also find this timely reminder.

I believe this just about sums it up. 

Thanks, Mr. Natural! 
You're a wise old guy. 

Love...Ms. Moon