Sunday, January 31, 2021

No Regrets Today

 Here we have Miss Alice who, being her curious self, was observing me in the camellia bed as I was picking blossoms. I just love these barred rock ladies. If you, like me, keep chickens mainly for the entertainment factor, I highly recommend this breed. Not only are they curious and mild mannered, they also sing the prettiest little songs. 

I have decided NOT to get any peeps this year. Sixteen chickens is far and away enough for me. I am curious though to see if any of my ladies go broody. Since Darla and Dottie both did last year, I would not be surprised if they did again this year. Most of the rest of the hens are from the crop of bebes I got last spring and I have no idea which of them, if any, will decide to sit on eggs. 
If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't- oh well. It's always so exciting when I have a hen sitting on eggs but it's so depressing if they don't hatch or if they do and then the babies get taken by hawks or owls. But watching the process from sitting to raising is just fascinating and I am always enchanted by the deeply protective and maternal instincts of the mothers. And if there is anything cuter than watching just-hatched chicks scratching about in imitation of their mamas, I don't know what it is. 

This dog comes close, though. 

This is Ruby and Jessie is fostering her. I think that she's falling in love with the pup but she is determined to find a good home for her. If I wanted a dog, I would want a dog who looked like Ruby. However, I do not want a dog and that's all there is to it. Dogs are too much like children and they require constant attention and care, and with my cats and chickens, there's just no way. 
But would you look at this face?

It's been a really, really peaceful day here. We've gotten some drizzles and it's been pretty warm. I've had no deep thoughts or epiphanies although I did learn that bubbling roux is most likely hotter than the burning surface of the sun. 
Eh. No harm done. 

I finished listening to this book. 

It's a sweet, gentle book written by a man who has suffered from crippling anxiety and suicidal depression in his life. I do recommend it. I started reading Haig a while back and what has always struck me about his writing is that he is so kind in his assessment of the human race. He is an empath for certain. 

Off to finish the gumbo whose roux taught me the lesson about heat. 

Be well, y'all. Remember that despite how small and unimportant your life may seem at times, you cannot know the lives you have touched and that the ripples from us all affect so much more than we think. 
And that we are pretty darn amazing just as we are. 

Thanks, Matt. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Cauliflower Crack

 Really Maurice? Do you think that stalking birds at the feeder is a good idea?

Okay. So now I'm watching her as she is staring at a male cardinal on the feeder. Since that tray is about seven feet in the air, I don't think Maurice can leap up and snatch the bird. Hope may spring eternal but cats can't spring that high. I'm glad the cat is outside getting some fresh air and possible exercise. She was on our bed from around ten o'clock last night to early afternoon when I shooed her off the bed so that I could finally make it. She's taken to settling in on Mr. Moon's pillows to claim the bed as hers before Jack gets on it. She sleeps on the pillows until she Mr. Moon comes to bed and then she moves down to sleep next to or on me where she growls and snarls every time I try to move. 

This is about as peaceful and cuddly as you might imagine. I do try to cut her some slack, thinking of how she was probably raised by a feral mother in a van down by the river (or, to be more accurate, possibly at the dump) and I do love her but the constant threat of attack and injury is somewhat daunting. But just as with all cats, what her humans think about her and her ways is simply not her concern. 

Boy, did I have an exciting day! First off, I washed my bathroom rugs because last night after my shower, wanting to be a good wife, I started my husband a bath. I turned on the water and poured some epsom salts in and suddenly realized that there was water everywhere. I didn't have my glasses on and because I'm quite blind without them, didn't notice that the shower attachment part of the tub plumbing arrangement was on partway. At this point, most of the rugs and the front of my nightgown were wet. 
I hauled all of the rugs to the washer and mopped up the water as best I could with towels and changed my nightgown and then proceeded into the Glen Den where I gave Mr. Moon a small lecture on not leaving the shower attachment on when he leaves the bath and he apologized profusely and asked me to please just let him start his baths. 
I most certainly will. 
So today I washed all the rugs and also the towels that I'd used for mopping purposes and I did the crossword and swept some rooms and cleaned all the toilets and then I cleaned the hen house. 
None of this was nearly as strenuous as it sounds. The most difficult thing I did all day was to distribute three bags of leaf mulch in the garden and that was only hard because the bags were very heavy from rain getting in to saturate the leaves and the bags were old and they tore. 
It isn't easy being me. 
I also weeded a little which in my case involves kneeling and pulling and scooting about via knee-walking. 

So I feel lazy. Hell, the man's even going to grill us some chicken for supper. 
But I am going to make the cauliflower. I am afraid to ask him if he's tired of it yet because if he says that he is, I'll feel bad when I keep making it and serving it because I am not going to stop making it. I may tire of it eventually but not yet. 

Since this is quite possibly the world's most boring blog post, I will try to make sure that you get your money's worth by sharing the recipe for the cauliflower. Again, I hope the New York Times does not sue me. Perhaps the fact that I have recommended their app (which does cost money) about fifty times will save me. 

The changes that I make are that I use one strip of bacon rather than pancetta because I don't buy pancetta. It could probably be left out entirely. I don't add the cumin seed. I did once and it did nothing for me at all and I do love cumin. And I never serve it with the parsley or mint because again, I don't keep those. However, do with it what you will. As to the type of olive I use- just regular green ones although sometimes I do a mix of those and Kalamata. 

Happy cooking, y'all!

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, January 29, 2021

Pretty Darn Cheerful

A very few of my azaleas have popped out of their candlestick buds although they, too, are still few and far between. 

We are moving on towards spring, even if it can still get quite cold in February, and of course, as I said before, freeze in March. By April I'll be bitching about the heat again. 

Today was a go-to-town day although I procrastinated for hours, hanging out the laundry and working on a mask I started yesterday just for the hell of it. The mask turned out beautifully as in, it looks beautiful. 

Unfortunately, it's not a good design for my particular face. Dang it! I was so careful and really paid attention to what I was doing and I love that fabric. Oh well. Life goes on. 
Anyway, I didn't leave here until after two, I think, and by the time I got home it was after four. Some people at Costco were wearing their masks improperly and some old guy at Publix was walking around with his hanging from one ear loop. What is WRONG with these people? I did make a discovery at Publix today which is that it isn't the fullness of my cart which is required for me to be able to find the secret exit portal, it is the amount of money represented in the goods I'm buying in the cart. 
I'll tell you this, though- I won't have to buy capers for months. Or brown sugar or blue cheese olives or whole wheat flour either. 

I got home, unloaded, put everything away, got my real clothes back on (sigh of relief), brought the laundry in, made up the bed with the clean sheets, gathered up the eggs, and went out to the garden to pick our salad greens. This still thrills me. 
Every. Time. 
Tonight's salad will be a mix of butter lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, and different kales along with mandarin orange segments, goat cheese, and sunflower seeds. Along with that we're going to eat some leftover chicken thighs that I made last night that are so damn good that I want to eat them at least once a week, not unlike the roasted cauliflower recipe I've been using. Both of these recipes come from the New York Times cooking app, of course, and I have to say once again that the app has changed my life. And Mr. Moon's. The chicken recipe has lots of paprika, apple vinegar, garlic...good stuff. Also tomatoes and peppers. I could see doing tofu with it, actually. I've always thought of myself as a decent cook but I know that my meal rotations had gotten pretty darn predictable and boring and that is not a real problem these days. 

So. Here's a picture of Magnolia June that Lily sent around. 

She is holding a little lizard that the cat had brought in which Lily also sent a picture of. 

Rachel ID'ed it as a male Eastern Fence Lizard. I've never seen one before in my life. They must be very shy. Anyway, of course Maggie has named it and claimed it. He has been bestowed with the fine name of Cloud Rainbow. Hank noted in a text that Maggie is Eve Erwin. 
Get it? 
Hank cracks me up. 
So does Maggie. She is a friend of all creatures, big and small, as her mama says. I think she would adopt an alligator if Lily would let her. 

Here's one last picture. 

I only have a few cabbage plants this year but isn't that a pretty one? I feel as if I should start checking under it every morning to see if someone left a baby under it overnight. 
Oh! How I would love my little cabbage baby if I should find one! 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, January 28, 2021

History, Both Ancient And Personal

Lately around here it's either been all blue or all gray skies. It's as if on the cloudy days, all of the clouds which have not shown up to dance come together in great dense flocks to cover up the entire bowl of sky and on the sunny days they rest somewhere else in the universe, gathering their strength to come and weigh us down again. 
Today was a blue sky day. Jessie brought the boys over and we went to a local state park which is not widely utilized, especially now. I've written about it before. It's the Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park and, according to this web site, contains Florida's tallest Native American ceremonial mound. 
Here is an artist's rendition of what it looked like, between 1,100 and 1,800 years ago.

Now it looks like this.

I can only imagine that fifteen hundred or so years of being exposed to Florida's weather has altered the shape and taken away some of the height of what was basically a dirt pyramid. One cannot climb the mound, of course, but there are some nice trails around it and we adults walked and the boys biked through the shadows and the light, over the cleared pathways in the winter woods. It was quite chilly but very beautiful. We came upon a little pond and whether it is really a pond or just a low spot which the rain has filled, I do not know. 

But it was ringed with live oaks so perhaps there is water there most of the time, anyway. It was a small and lovely spot, quiet and peaceful. A place of grace. 

August is a pro on his bike, riding over grass and dirt like a little speed demon and Levon is doing very, very well. He didn't fall once. He needed his mama to hold the bike and tell him to put his feet on the pedals and give him a push a few times when the going got rough but he's figuring it out. He calls his riding his "learning". He is learning to ride his bike. He actually has it down pretty darn well and it is somewhat shocking to see such a small boy propelling himself about on a two-wheeler. 

There's a nice picnic pavilion near the parking lot and we have taken picnics there before but today we came home and ate soup and sourdough from last night. I made so much soup. It was good soup, venison and vegetable and I make it somewhat like my mother used to make on cold nights although of course she used beef instead of venison.

My mother did not especially like venison. She told me once that when she was married to my father and they were living on a ranch somewhere out west (Arizona?) my father and some other cowboys would hunt deer out of season and she could remember sitting in the back of a truck with the dead deer which was covered by something so as to avoid arrest. She had a hard life with my father. He was born as the only son of a very well-off, well-known lawyer from Chattanooga, Tennessee and his wife who also came from money. He was a rich kid who supposedly fell in love with my mother in the first grade. He was smart and he was funny and he had a huge problem with alcohol and it was that part that made my mother's life a living hell. He did eventually get through law school and pass the bar but he couldn't hold down a job, even in his father and uncle's own law firm. 
I wish I knew more about my father and about the time my mother was married to him but she didn't talk much about him and I understand that. I think he broke something in her. It's quite possible that I have half-brothers and half-sisters somewhere. Maybe one of these days I'll do some research, perhaps even do one of those DNA tests, see what that turns up. Meanwhile, I just wonder and think how strange it is that half of my genetics comes from a man I barely knew who with his absence, broke something in me too. 

Well. That's certainly not what I started out to write about. Yet, here we are, aren't we? Somehow so much of me comes down to the absence of a father. That father. The cowboy whose best childhood friend was a Seminole boy named Moses Jumper. 
Or at least, that's what I've heard. 
And if there is one thing I am truly, truly grateful for, it's that my children have known their father. Fathers. There has been no absence in their lives which has been a dark and mysterious shadow. They've always known who their daddies are. They know they are loved by them. And that has always been so very important to me. 

Gonna get cold tonight. Gonna be chilly and clear again tomorrow. 

Talk to you later.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Watch Out For Slothy! And So Much More


Jessie sent this around the in the group text this morning. She told us that August said that Slothy did his hair in the night. Slothy, as you may recall, is a stuffed sloth and sleeps with August every night. More pictures started going around of others with bedhair, saying that Slothy had obviously visited them in the night as well. 
I am so grateful that we can communicate via these group texts. So silly sometimes and sweet at other times, or both at the same time. We pass on information and ask questions. We send pictures of particularly satisfying meals and of flowers and plants. It's a beautiful way to chat with each other while we can't meet for lunches or gatherings. 

One of the things I sent this morning was about a warning I got in an e-mail concerning dangerous thunderstorms heading our way. Before we knew it though, we were all getting possible tornado alerts. And it started pouring down rain. Hard and in buckets. 

Before the rain came it got preternaturally still and the sky was thick dark gray, almost black. Eerie. The chickens grew silent and disappeared. It rained so hard and so fast that the dirt couldn't absorb it and the cars had water up to the rims in the yard. 
And then, it all calmed down. No tornado here. I see that there was one that touched down at the airport in Tallahassee but no major damage was reported. Good. Soon the rain stopped entirely and the chickens came back out from wherever they'd been huddling and resumed their normal activities and little songs and scratched about to see what the water had brought up. 

I did a few plant things. I trimmed back some of the freeze damage on the porch plants and repotted one plant that has been growing in a ridiculously bad situation- a pot that didn't fit it and had roots bared to the elements. The plant has scale on it too, so I stuck it in a different, bigger pot, buried the roots and cut it back severely. Hopefully it will now be healthy enough to fight the scale. I need to get some Miracle Gro plant food for all of my potted plants. Some of them just look so pathetic after their winter outside, even though I did cover them. We've gotten some mighty cold temperatures for here. And knowing that we sometimes have some of our most severe freezes in March, I'm not putting all the plants back in place and bringing in their covers yet. No way. And even as I speak, I can feel the temperature moving slowly down the thermometer. Supposed to get down into the low forties tonight, low thirties tomorrow night. I am not complaining. I am loving these cooler days and nights. I am really starting to understand why older Floridians want to buy places in North Carolina or even further north to move to in summer. Just as the folks up north want to snowbird-it down here in the winter when they get older, we want to migrate to cooler temperatures during the months when the temperatures range from the high eighties to the low hundreds and the mosquitoes and deer flies and no-see-ums keep us inside in the air conditioning. I think we feel more discomfort in extreme weather as we age. At least that's what I've felt and observed. 

Fascinating, right? I should just rename this blog How It Is For Old People. 
Well, not quite yet. 

I listened to a new interview on Mormon Stories podcast today and the guest intrigued me. Her name is Amy McPhie Allebest and she has a podcast of her own called Breaking Down Patriarchy. In her introduction on her website she says this:

"On this podcast when we say "Breaking Down Patriarchy," we mean it in both senses of the word. We mean we want to "break it down" as in understand it. We want to study Patriarchy as deeply as we can so that we can see the roots of this system, and understand how things have come to be the way they are today. And we're not going to lie, we also mean we want to "break down Patriarchy" in terms of dismantling it."

The podcast is "an essential texts book club" wherein she and different readers take on books to read and then discuss. The books are, yes, about Patriarchy (a bit different from "the" Patriarchy) and feminism, and her readers are friends, scholars, her daughters. People from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. I think I'm going to give it a listen. Just hearing the interview she did today gave me some insights that sparked new awareness in me that I really should have known before. That I should have learned before. 
Well. Just a thing I'm thinking about. 

Here are today's camellia pictures. 

One of the best things I ever did was to plant all these beauties. Not only are they gorgeous, they're one of the few things in this yard that are not invasive. 
Live and learn. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Another Name Blanket

I reverted to my slothful ways today and hung about inside the house and worked on August's blanket and listened to a book and it was most pleasant. The day has been warmish but so very, very gloomy. No sight of the sun at all, not even a quick peek between clouds, just a blanket of dark gray as if the sky was one great bruise. It's just started raining, a slow drizzle of heavy drops. According to my weather widget we're going to be getting rain on and off for the next day or so and then of course it will get chillier again. 

I like August's blanket. It's quite different from the other name blankets I've made. Well, the basic design (if that word can even be used for a few rectangles) is the same but August's love of pink and of rainbows and of unicorns inspired an interesting combination of flannels. The unicorn print was leftover from a nightgown that I made Magnolia two Christmases ago and I ordered the rainbow flannel from online last November. The backing is that way-too-soft-to-be-natural fabric that is sort of weird but it's just so very, very cozy and so I used it. Now I'll do embroidering around the letters, probably just some blanket stitches and then see where that leads. I love that part of the project, the choosing of colors and stitches, the hand work that is slow but so enjoyable. 

Speaking of Magnolia, Lily sent this picture to the group today.

There's Maggie herself, observing her ant friends. That's what she calls them- her ant friends. Bear in mind that if they took a mind to, they could swarm that little girl and sting her to pieces. They're not called "fire ants" for nothing. Lily reported that she said, "I'm going to name this one Jimmy. Actually, I'm going to name them all Jimmy."
As Hank responded, "That seems efficient."
It's funny- I know that if Magnolia were in school, she would love it. She would love the social part of it so much, making friends and playing but I can't really feel too sorry that she's spending this time at home with her mother and her brothers and at her dad's, playing outside in the yard, observing the bugs and the animals, making up pretend games with her dolls and toys. Those things too are important. I noticed a long time ago that a strangely large percentage of very creative people had periods of their childhood where, because of illness or injury, they spent vast amounts of time in bed with nothing to entertain them but books and drawing and their imaginations. Not that I would wish that on any child and not that I would wish this pandemic and the isolation it's enforced on any of us, particularly children, but if there is a positive side, it may be that learning to be entertained by nature and the small things is not a bad thing at all. 
Another picture that Lily sent was of a huge feather that Maggie found and gave to her because she knows her mama collects feathers.  

She's a sweet girl, that one. She's a love. When she's not demanding to spend the night in the chicken house. And even that is pretty charming.

I've been feeling quite lucky today in so many regards. It's always a mystery to me why some days are such existentially angsty slogs and some days, when absolutely nothing has changed, I can feel such deep gratitude and contentment. Even what I would call a quiet and simple joy. 
I suppose it's best not to over-ponder but to simply appreciate those days when they come and enjoy them without reservation. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, January 25, 2021

Maiden Voyage. Hopefully Not Last Voyage

This morning Mr. Moon said that he had gotten a text from Vergil asking if he or we wanted to take the kayak out today on the Wacissa. He and the boys were going. Monday's are Jessie's day to get things done while Daddy has the kids and he likes to take them on adventures. So my husband asked if I would like to go. 
My initial reaction to anything involving me stepping out of my rut routine is NO! PLEASE NO! I immediately went into a bit of an anxious state, knowing that it would be the best time, the best thing,  and at the same time trying to convince myself that it was fine to stay at home and get things done here. Like, oh, you know- making the bed and doing the laundry. The so very important things I do every day. 
I knew that was bullshit. So what if the bed didn't get made or the laundry didn't get done? I metaphorically kicked myself in the ass and told Glen that I'd think about it which for me in this situation meant obsessing about it. I decided I would go. Then I decided I wouldn't go. Then I didn't know. 
When the Weatherford men got here and they were all working at getting our new kayak inflated and the seats on and in and so forth, I asked August and Levon if they wanted the trip to be all men or for it to be men and Mer. 
They thought about this for a moment and then, either to my delight or my disappointment, they said, "Men and Mer."
So. Okay. That was that. If they wanted me to go, I would go. 
I packed some pimento cheese sandwiches and tangerines and Doritos chips and some guava wafer cookies, water, and towels and finally the guys had everything ready. 
Off we went to the river. The water was quite high due to all the rain we've been getting and the boys ran around while Boppy and Vergil got the kayaks into the river and all set up. 

Now, at this point in the story I must remind you that Mr. Moon and I have kayaked exactly twice before. Both times in the Sebastian River while we were staying down in Roseland. Not only that but the seat situation in our new kayak was a little funky. It's what they call an angler's kayak, more set up for fishing than anything else. But we managed to get into the beautiful pea green boat and Vergil handed me my paddle and said, "Here. Y'all can work on your marriage."
It turns out that it's not our marriage that needs work, it's our paddling. And steering, specifically. We kept bearing right for whatever reason but we managed and we laughed a lot. We saw some beautiful birds and a nice little alligator sunning on a log. 

Definitely a juvenile but a small thrill to see on a warm day. I'm sure he was out warming his blood. Our presence did not seem to disturb him. He was in what is called The Blue Hole, a very, very deep part of the river that you have to go down a little separate waterway to find. 

By this time I was ready to get out of the boat and stand up for awhile and so we beached and had our picnic. 

While we were there Vergil and Mr. Moon tried to rearrange the seats in our boat to make steering easier but when we got back in the kayak after lunch, we discovered that things were now even worse and we were literally going in circles for awhile and we all laughed and laughed and laughed. It was so silly but so fun. We finally figured out that the best way to go about it was to let me paddle and Mr. Moon steer from the rear of the boat. So that's how we got home and I have to say that I felt quite butch and bad ass about the fact that I did the paddling but I am going to be sore as hell tomorrow and that's all there is to it. 

When we were almost back to the dock, an alligator who had been swimming, ducked under and caused a large splash which was a bit shocking. "Good Lord, don't let us capsize," I thought. 
We didn't. 

Oh! Here's some turtles. 

We spotted many logs with turtles lined up on them, also taking the sun. Look at the ancient foot on that big one! 

So it was a wonderful day and of course I am so very glad I went. We even found some worms that a fisherman had left and we brought them home for our gardens. I think we all had a good time. 

And I am so grateful to Vergil for asking us to go and also, for encouraging us to get the kayak to begin with. And of course, for being patient with his elderlylish in-laws, Boppy with his bad shoulder, crazy-long legs and Mer with her bad wrist and inability to sit for too a long a time in one position and inclination to announce, "I'm tired."
But not in a bitchy way! 
And for his ability to laugh along with us or possibly at us. He's such a sweetheart. 

Here I go to limp off to make our supper. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Eventide In Lloyd: Vespers

That is a simply horrible picture but it's getting dark and we haven't seen the sun all day anyway, I took it from the porch so you're looking through a screen, AND it's pretty far away. But it's a picture of a male cardinal (we always call them daddy cardinals) at the feeder that Mr. Moon just put up a few days ago. We haven't been feeding the birds, mostly because the chickens fly up and perch on that platform and gobble up the birdseed but Mr. Moon put extensions on the pole so now the chickens cannot easily (if at all) fly that high. It may also discourage the squirrels although squirrels are not easily discouraged. They are the quintessential examples of persistence in problem solving. There's a baffle on the pole lower down (it's about seven feet tall) but by the end of last year they'd figured out how to get past that and we've seen them dive from branches to get to the seed too. So far I've seen no squirrels even try to get on the feeder from the ground and one would have to be a sky diver to leap from any of the nearby branches. 
But the point of the picture is that it has taken a few days for the birds to rediscover the feeder and today they really started to come visit. We've seen cardinals and chickadees and one very perky small redheaded woodpecker. Mr. Moon and I ate our breakfast on the porch this morning and we were vastly entertained by the birds coming in and by the chickens who, denied access to the feeder itself, have already begun clustering around the base to peck at the seeds the birds knock off as they eat. 
"Do you suppose that the wild birds know that the chickens are birds too?" I asked. We pondered that. There's probably no way to know but as my husband pointed out, the hens and roosters do not seem to bother the birds so perhaps they do. We went on to talk about birding and life lists and then Corvids and how smart they are and I said that I sure wished that our crows could whistle-sing like the ones in Cozumel. They have the sweetest songs, as melodious as anything I've ever heard and because I was already in a rather melancholy mood this morning, the memory of those whistling songs made me even sadder. 

Still, it was nice to sit on the porch and watch our birds, both wild and domestic, to share thoughts and memories. 

I had yet another day of not doing much. This is becoming too much of a habit. We put the new pig meat in the new freezer and arranged things in a more orderly fashion out there in the garage. The older meat in one place, the venison here, the pork there, the Tennessee sausage all in its own place. The field peas and green beans I froze last year take up a great deal of space in the new freezer and I was gratified to see how much we have left of those as it will be months before we start getting fresh ones. Inspired by the organization, I came in and did the same for my inside-freezer, trying to create some order there. My "new" refrigerator is not so new anymore but I still love it. It feels so very user-friendly. I also managed to go out into the garden and do a little more weeding while Mr. Moon shoveled ashes onto the rows. A soil test we did said that we needed more lime and wood ash is a good source of that. The burn pile got torched last week and it took a few days for it all to cool down and then it rained so we felt the ashes were definitely ready to be used. I do love living in a rural area where we can garden and keep chickens whose composted poop is an excellent source of fertilizer and where we can burn our downed and trimmed branches and use their ashes to give the garden what it needs. It all seems like such a tidy and sensible arrangement. 

As the day has gone on, I have felt some lightening of my heart. I so wish that I had been born more lighthearted. I think I have always been one to carry sorrow and fear on my shoulders. My mother always told me that I was a worrier, even when I was a little girl. When I think back it seems pretty obvious that there actually was a lot to worry about in my childhood but I probably had a natural proclivity for it anyway. None of this is to say that I have not had many moments of joy in my life. I have. But I do think that my default emotions are darker than they need to be and I just wish that weren't so if for no other reason than I know that it can't be easy to live with someone like me. 

Well. That's enough philosophizing for one Sunday evening. The frogs are calling their night calls, the world outside the circle of light from my lamp here on the porch has gone black and white and gray. I hear one cardinal chipping his roost call, the chickens are no doubt settling in to their own sleeping places. Maurice is sleeping a few feet away from me on a placemat on the table where I write and I can hear her little snores. 

I hope all is well with all of you. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, January 23, 2021

In Which I Relate Absolutely Nothing Of Interest To Anyone

 Lily sent us a picture of her broccoli which is starting to head and I wondered how ours is doing because I haven't actually looked lately. It's off to the side in the garden in pots, and I was surprised to see this happening. 
Well dang! 
Nice surprise.

It got pretty busy here this morning for awhile. Mr. Moon got a call from the place where he was getting his almost two-hundred pound wild pig processed, telling him that it was all ready. He and Vergil did the small one but they let the pros handle that big pig. This meant that he needed to unbox and set up the outdoor freezer he'd bought and he had to go get the meat and he also had a duck-hunt planned so suddenly everything was moving and shaking and I made him some breakfast sandwiches and then Vergil and the boys came over to pick up Boppy to go get the pig which they did.
Things calmed down and I did a crossword or something. 
Guys- I think I'm losing about ten percent of my vocabulary a week. At this rate I'll be in the memory care unit by Christmas. I'm not joking about this. It's getting weird. Still, I struggle on with the various crosswords, being frustrated and and somewhat horrified. It's not that much fun but it has become an obsession anyway. 

Then the guys got back and while the men split up the meat and then Mr. Moon got ready to go hunt, I fed the boys some peanut butter and raisin and honey sandwiches. Recently, August got curious about the little dorm-sized refrigerator in my kitchen where I keep grains and beans and things like that. He wanted to know what was in it and I showed him and he noticed a box of golden raisins. 
"What are those?" he asked and I told him. He asked if he could try them and I said, "Of course," and he did and he liked them. So when I was making up the sandwich concoction, he asked if I could use golden raisins too and I said I could and I did. I was not surprised that he remembered. Kids remember everything and don't even try to convince yourself otherwise because they do. 
After they ate their sandwiches and generously offered me the crusts (I told them that they would know they were growing up when they started eating their crusts) we read some books. We read "The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" which is really an odd story in some ways but I do like it very much. You can tell it was written a long time ago because there's an executioner in it who is prepared to cut off Bartholomew's head with his axe and that would not pass the editor in today's world, not to mention the fact that a spanking is involved. But August adores the story and asks many questions about what certain words or phrases mean and why things happen and so forth. He's a curious little man. Reading it is a joy because there are so many voices and emotions which makes me happy. Sometimes when I get too dramatic, Levon puts his hand over my mouth. 
You cannot please everyone. He wanted a book called "The Train to Timbuktu" by Margaret Wise who wrote "Goodnight Moon" and I have to say that she should have stopped with "Goodnight Moon" although she may have written the other one first. But, we got those trains to Timbuktu, the big one and the little one, clackity, clack, clackity clack, and clickity click, clickity click
By then Vergil was ready to go and so off they went after I gave the boys their going-away treaties of six M&M's apiece and when I got back in the house I realized that I could not find my phone. I called it from the landline (which is about the best use of a landline these days) but I couldn't hear it ringing. I distinctly remembered taking it out of my pocket but I could not remember WHERE.
Could it have gone home with Vergil and the boys?
I called him, again from the landline, and yes, I think I had set it down on the seat by August when I was digging in my pocket for the M&M's. Poor Vergil had gotten almost all they way to the Tallahassee exit on I-10 and he turned around when he got off and got back on, heading east and brought it to me. 
I felt so stupid and although he was incredibly nice about it, I know he had things to do and it was completely ridiculous for him to have to make that drive twice. 

And that was about all I did today. It was spitting rain on and off, gray and dreary, damp and chilly. Not cold at all, but just that sort of wet chill that gets into your bones and I didn't feel like doing anything outside anyway. I have so much that needs doing out there and plenty that needs doing in here but I have absolutely lost my motivation. 
I don't know. I keep wondering if I'm depressed. I mean- sure- Biden's the president now and that's a huge relief but we're still stuck in this horrible pandemic which is affecting the entire world. I've been reading an article in the New Yorker about how horribly the pandemic was mishandled by Trump entitled "The Plague Year" and it's by Lawrence Wright. It's long as fucking hell but if you want to read it (and I consider it to be worthwhile but that means nothing) you can find it here. 

Trump's blundering, his ignorance and disdain and disregard of scientists and doctors, not to mention using the whole thing for what he considered his political advantage, has caused the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands of people. The man should be tried on charges related to that if nothing else. We all knew about these things but to read the timeline and details is horrifying. 

I suppose I should quit dwelling and ruminating and I know I should try to make myself do things that get me out of the house, even if it's only as far as the garden. And yes, be more regular with my walks. 

Okay. Here's something I don't think I've ever seen. 

An egg which has sort of a mottled color. And it's a bit pointy. Not sure what's happening there but I'll be interested to see if I get more like that. 

Lord, my life is small. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Day Of Processing A Week

We all know that the Pink Perfection is my favorite camellia but honestly- I am starting to lean towards this one as my favorite. Those colors of pink together with that yellow center, the delicacy of the petals- it's just too beautiful to bear. This is its first bloom of the year on my tree and it had rained before I took the picture. There are many buds and I will be picking them and bringing them in but I wanted to let this first one stay where it bloomed, magnificent and unmolested. I do not know the name of this variety and I wish I did. I've googled all sorts of combinations of "pink" and "dark pink borders" with "camellia" and nothing has looked right. 

I have taken the day off today. Meaning I haven't done much of anything at all which has been lovely. It's been drizzling, gray and damp and chilly but I haven't minded a bit. I've worked on August's quilt a little and listened to a book on my phone from the library. I washed the sheets and remade the bed- the Friday ritual. Mr. Moon did not take the day off but has been in town working on a lease. It amazes me that he's able to do things like that. He still surprises me with his abilities and knowledge, his persistence and problem-solving skills. You know how people say that this or that is "not in my wheelhouse" or "not in my lane"? There is very little that is in neither my husband's wheelhouse or lane. Need a plumbing problem solved? He can do it. Need that sound your car's making diagnosed and fixed? The Car Guy can do it. Need a new set of steps? He's got it. Need a garden built? Call Boppy. Need a lease torn apart and put back together properly? I know your man. And of course- need a car that suits your needs and will last for practically forever? Again, the Car Guy at your service. He's gotten so many sweet letters and notes from people thanking him for making what seems like such a daunting task easy and relatively pain-free. 
And there's so much more. Plus, he's so darn cute. I am a lucky woman. 

So here's something I just found out today. One of my oldest friends has a son who has become quite well known for his photography, especially of large events. He was asked by the inauguration people to do some time lapse photography of the installations at the mall and one of the pictures he took, a photo of the Capitol with the sun rising behind it, was chosen as the first photo on President Biden's Instagram on Wednesday morning. Try as I might, I have not been able to snag a copy of the photo to post here but if you google, "Joe Biden on Instagram," you can probably find it. My friend's son's name is Calder Wilson and as you can only imagine, his parents are quite proud of him. 

The gloaming has set in now and the frogs are singing their little hearts out. How can something with a throat that small make such a loud noise? I can barely see the profile of one chicken standing in the doorway of the hen house, the rest of them already tucked up on their roosts. We have been eating quite high on the hog lately and tonight I'm going to bring it down (up?) a level to what we fondly call samurai soup. A simple broth with greens from the garden, tofu, ginger, rice noodles, dumplings and a very, very fresh egg. I'm looking forward to it. 

And now the man is home and it will soon be time for him to shake up martinis- another thing he's quite good at.

A very simple day for me and I'm glad of that. I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Jessie texted us this morning that she had overheard Levon telling August that they should come out here to visit and leave Mommy at home. This reminded us all of when August said that he wanted us to adopt him and we imagined him driving to Lloyd in a tiny car all by himself. Now we can envision both he and Levon in that tiny car, both wearing driving caps, eyes straight ahead on the road, determined to get to Mer and Bop's where, if Mommy's not around, TV is endless and so are treats. 

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Kickin' Ass, Old Folks Style

I did not take one picture today so here's a picture I took yesterday of Magnolia June who was telling me that she was NOT leaving and since she could not sleep in the house because of the virus, she would be sleeping in the hen house with the chickens. In fact, she said she wanted to be a chicken and that was that. 
Sweet baby. 
Lily brought the kids over yesterday afternoon after I saw the Bidens enter the White House after their parade. It was good to see my boys and my little girl and my big girl and everyone had a piece of cake because I'd made one that morning, before the inauguration began. August helped me.

It was a prune cake, a very moist spice cake with a caramel glaze that I make traditionally for mamas who have just had babies. It's a recipe I remember from my childhood when my mother made one for my grandfather's birthday. 

So between cake baking and all the crying and whooping and cheering and clapping and sweet visits and regular chores (although I never did make the bed yesterday- the horror!) I was exhausted last night but I slept so well, imagining Joe and Jill (I hope I'm not being disrespectful with all these first names) lying in their bed in their room at the White House, their new residence, their new HOME and did you see the footage last night of Joe holding a grand baby and dancing to Demi Lovato as she performed as part of the inaugural entertainment? 
Oh my heart. 
When I went to my compounding pharmacy today to pick up hormones, the lady who works there who is, well, older than me if that tells you anything, asked me if I'd seen Joe dancing with that baby. I see this lady once a month when I go to pick up my prescription and she's a hoot. She wears carefully applied make-up and beautiful clothes and her hair is always perfect. We've talked about a lot of things and I think her attitudes have changed in the last several years. We were talking about CBD once, and also cannabis and she said, "They're good medicine and I was raised a good little Baptist girl!" She loved the inauguration and before you know it, we were talking shit about Trump and she told me that until recently she had no idea what Biden's life had been like but she's learned a lot and she really thinks he's a good man. I told her I agreed with her on that, for sure. 
I'll tell you one thing I know and that is to never make assumptions about old Southern women. They'll kick your ass and blow your mind. 
And their eyeliner will still look good. 

So yes, I had to go to town today and now I really am exhausted. I had two prescriptions to pick up and Mr. Moon needed a ride to shuttle a car and I went to Costco and Publix, of course. Costco was fast and easy but then I went to Publix where I had about ten things on a list to get and ended up with a car filled with groceries because I still seem to be in hoarder/stasher mode. 
I mean, not really. I don't have fifty pound bags of rice and beans around. It's more like I just want to make sure that I don't run out of anything necessitating an extra trip to town. Like...stewed tomatoes? Jasmine rice? Goat cheese? Sweet potatoes? 
Are these even necessities? No. They are not. We could live for a month on what we have here, easily. But if we had to, wouldn't we need more flour?
Yes! Yes we would. 
Or so it seems to me. When I'm in Publix at least. Walking through that door is like entering a portal to another universe where there is no way to escape without filling up my cart. 
I need to get a grip on this problem. But honestly, my refrigerator and freezer and cabinets are not overfull. Okay. Maybe the freezer is. And yeah, there are two freezers in the garage but that's just venison and pork and...frozen green beans and field peas.
Yes. I have a problem. OKAY!

I finally made it home where of course everything had to be hauled in and put away and then I had to take the trash and get the clothes off the line and why I even hung them out is a mystery because they were still damp when I brought them in. So. Into the drier they went for a little while. They're ready to come out and be folded and of course dinner needs making. I hope I make it through to bed time. 

I haven't paid much attention to the news today beyond having a vague knowledge that Biden is kicking ass and taking names, rockin' and rollin' and undoing as much of the damage that Trumpty Dumpty did as possible. 
I saw via Rachel on FB that the White House online "contact us" section asks for your pronouns now. Such a small and yet huge thing. I read a few weeks ago that some woman disguised as a reporter, asked Biden how many genders there are to which he replied, "At least three. Don't play games with me, kid."
That "kid" charmed my heart. He's so old-fashioned and yet, so very, very forward-thinking at the same time. I sort of wished yesterday that he would put those sunglasses on because he looks like the coolest granddad in the world in them. 

All right. I've gone on enough. 
Oh! I asked a woman very politely to pull her face mask up to cover her mouth and nose in the check-out line at Publix today. I felt sort of like a Karen but then I thought, "Oh hell. I'm an old Southern Woman. I can get away with this shit now." 
I suppose I better start wearing eyeliner. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Best Day In Forever

 When Jessie brought the boys over this morning, August was beside himself with excitement. He handed me a red envelope and told me to open it which I did. Inside was a sheet of yellow paper that he had written "Joe Biden" on. He figured out the spelling mostly himself with help from Mama, and Levon was happy to share in the excitement. 

Lord, what a day. 
I don't know about you but when Joe finished his oath and I knew that Trump was well and truly no longer the president, the tears that had been flowing since I heard the Marine band start up well before the ceremony began, burst forth in full. I felt such a physical rush of relief and joy flood my body that it's hard to describe. I had cried when I saw Kamala and when she took her oath, I cried when I saw the Obamas, I cried when Jill and Joe walked down those steps. But that second when the power transferred was a different feeling entirely and all of us in our living room, Glen, Jessie, August, Levon, and I all clapped like crazy and cheered and it was as if a heavy curtain of darkness and fear had been lifted and the light was able to pour in. 

Indeed, the sun was shining so brightly here and it got so warm that I opened up the hallway doors and let the good, clean air wash in and wash through, and it felt exactly right. 

I swear- if I'd had flags and bunting, I would have hung them all in red, white, and blue glory. 

The inauguration went well and everyone seemed happy and I even loved Lady GaGa who gave the Star Spangled Banner her own special gold. Even Garth Brooks in those tight, tight jeans with the ironed-in creases down the legs and his uncontrollable delight in being able to acknowledge everyone he could, made me smile. 

And then Amanda Gorman whose words were so powerful, whose hands were like doves, dancing to them. 

In her face I saw her foremothers and forefathers, upon whose backs this country was built. I saw the faces of young people, sitting at a Woolworth's lunch counter, stoic in the face of hatred, wanting nothing more than the right to order and eat a tuna salad sandwich, an ice cream sundae. I saw Ruby Bridges being escorted to school by US Federal marshals, necessary because the thought of a small Black child being able to attend the same school as white kids brought the threat of violence upon her tiny petticoated self. Ruby was born two months after me. We are virtually the same age. I remember. 
I remember.
And while today was a day of such hope and such light and such joy, there were guards and the military and police everywhere having to protect not only Ms. Gorman but all of the people who were there to celebrate the inauguration of a man who has the audacity to speak against racism and white nationalism. And that fact wreaks my soul. But. 
Once again, I feel as if we are headed in the right direction and although there is more healing and repairing to be done than I can even imagine, we can at least make those first steps now. 

Joe's speech was great, in my opinion, and my favorite part was when he quoted Abraham Lincoln who, when signing the Emancipation Proclamation said, "My whole soul is in it." 
"My whole soul is in it," repeated President Biden, referring then to himself. 

That's really all I needed to hear. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


 This morning I decided to walk on White House Road again because it's just so beautiful. When I walk there I see birds and amazing trees and moss-covered banks of clay lining the road. The trees ask my eyes to lift up and they do and I see sky and the Spanish moss hanging from the trees which arch overhead as if reaching out to each other. 
It is a glory with its puddles of light amidst the shadows of the oaks. 

Of course, there are also the houses with the flags, the banners, the signs. Trump! they proclaim and at this point it's just so silly. 
We've beat that dead horse to a pulp though, haven't we?
Haven't I?

This time tomorrow Joe Biden will be our president. In the space of five hours, crews will enter the White House, move out every last trace of Donald, Melania, and Barron Trump, deep clean the place, and set the Biden's furniture in place, unpack their bags and put their things where they belong. They will fill the refrigerators with Biden food. 
I think about this a lot- how incredible it is that there are people who are tasked with the job of erasing one family's presence and replacing it with another family's, making it a home for them while the departing family travels to wherever it is they are moving and that very night, every one sleeps in their different places, surrounded by their own things but in such different circumstances. 

Our homes represent so much more than just shelter, don't they? 

"Home is Where The Heart Is," I embroidered on a sampler once. Our homes reflect us in every way. They provide shelter, yes, but they also provide the comfort and security that can only come when we settle into them, we make them our own, whether our homes are cabins or mansions or mud huts or ranch-style houses in suburban neighborhoods. Trailers or tents or tenements can be homes. So can tepees and high-rise apartments and cottages and even caves. 
Those of us who are luckiest have homes that we love, that we cherish and that when we come back to when we have been away, cause our hearts to be at peace. 
There's no place like home. 

And tomorrow, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden will begin the process of settling into a house that they have been very familiar with for many years. That perhaps Joe has yearned to live in throughout his years of service to the American people. 
I hope they are happy there. It is nice to think of their dogs figuring out the arrangements of where they are to sleep and to eat. It is lovely to think of the Biden grandchildren playing in their grandma and grandpa's new house. 
My god. It is just such a relief to imagine these people making their home in that house instead of the people who are sleeping there for the last time tonight before they fly off to a fitting place for them- a "living space" in a resort. 
Although who knows how long they'll stay there? It's illegal for them to actually call it their residence due to zoning and so forth but hell- when did that ever stop DJT from doing something?

You know what else I keep thinking about? Barron Trump. There is something very disturbing there. And I am not criticizing him. I am in no way attacking or making fun of him. But the few times we've even seen footage or images of him at the White House have revealed less than if we had only seen a cardboard cut-out of a boy. The images I've seen would disturb me if they were images of a boy who lived across the street. I feel deeply sorry for him in so many ways, not least of which is that Donald Trump is his father. I wish him peace and I wish him happiness and I wish him some sort of normalcy in his life although I sincerely doubt that is even vaguely possible. 

Anyway, I'll be watching the inauguration. Will you be? I am so excited to see and hear our new Inaugural Poet, a twenty-two year old woman named Amanda Gorman. 

I still remember Maya Angelou reading her poem "On The Pulse of Morning" at Bill Clinton's inauguration and my tears flowing as that majestic queen of a woman spoke her words. 

All right. I have written all of this as if I did not have fears and worries about the happenings tomorrow. I want it to be beautiful and a pure celebration of goodness and hope, despite the limitations put on it by the pandemic. I want everyone to be safe. I want democracy and peace to prevail. 

May it be so.

See you tomorrow. It'll be the same world, but not the same. I honestly think that it will be a better world. That our eyes will be lifted up. That our souls will be soothed. 

Love...Ms. Moon