Monday, May 31, 2021

A Busy Day

Mr. Moon and I go out together every morning to let the chickens out of the coop and take the babies out of their nursery. We stand around for awhile and laugh at Darla's frantic scratching. There is no other word to describe her frenzy. It's as if she's possessed. I think she's doing her best to uncover bugs for the babies and they search diligently in the freshly uncovered dirt. They must be getting something because they're not eating very much of their feed and yet, obviously, they are healthy and well. 
After we spend a little time with the chickens, we go on to the garden to see what may have happened there overnight. For those of you who garden, you know what I'm talking about. How many of us have returned home at night after a few days away and gone into the garden with a flashlight to check things out? 
This morning I took a picture of the squash blossom you see in the picture above and then immediately, a bee flew down its throat and so I took her picture too.

 Can you see her down there? 

Squash blossoms are so lovely. And so are bees. 

I took a walk today and again, I walked on White House Road. I did not see Philly or her human nor did I see any humans except a few driving cars. I did notice that many of the Trump signs and banners have finally been removed although as it is Memorial Day, the Stars and Stripes were flying in great abundance. 

I took a picture of a gnarled tree instead of flags, though.

That tree has probably been here since long before the United States had anywhere near fifty stars on its flag. 

When I got home, my husband was nowhere to be found. He had left the house before me to go look at a go-cart that was for sale a few miles away. "I'll be back in a few minutes," he said. And yet, after I'd been gone almost an hour he still wasn't home. 
I texted him and got no reply. 
"He's fine, he's fine, he's fine," I chanted to myself. 
And then I called him. It went straight to voice mail. I left him a message. "Where ARE you? Please let me know."

I hung the clothes on the line and cleaned the toilets as if trying to appease the gods with my domesticity, all the while knowing that he was absolutely okay and yet at the same time fearing that he'd been in a terrible accident or murdered or had had a heart attack or...something very grim. I can't help it. My mind just goes to those places. 
When he finally texted me I was so relieved. He was indeed fine. He'd decided to buy the go-cart and had come home for the trailer while I was still out on my walk and it had taken awhile to get it loaded and and so forth. 

"Why didn't you just call me?" he asked when he got home. 
"I did!" I said. "It went straight to voice mail."
"Huh. Well, I'm sorry."

My number one rule of all rules is DO NOT WORRY THE MAMA!
Of course, it takes so little to break that rule that it's understandable when it happens. 

I dragged the canning kettle out of the pantry this afternoon and went through recipes for pickled green beans and retrieved six pint jars and the lids and bands for them. I put the jars in the canning kettle along with enough water to cover them nicely, toted it to the stove, sterilized my lids and bands, got the green beans out of the refrigerator and began to trim them to be jar-size. I also made up my pickling brine and set it on the stove. 
While I was in the middle of this, Vergil came out with August and Levon as he was bringing us his leaf chipper. The boys were thrilled with the new go-cart, of course, although it's going to be a long time before that thing is in any sort of running order. Another project for the men! 
August came in and helped me with the beans and we chatted. I asked him if he liked it when I told stories about my grandparents and he said he did so I told him the story of how my grandparents met because of a garden that my grandfather wanted to start on a piece of property that my granny's father owned. I told him as much about it as I knew and ended by saying, "So see? If my granddaddy hadn't wanted a garden, he would not have met my grandmother and I never would have been born!" 
I'd actually never thought about it that way but it's the truth. Granny's father had been so impressed with the young man who made a garden on his city lot that he invited him for dinner where his daughter (the baby of a family of ten children) and that young man fell in love. 
I showed him the diamond in the ring that my husband had made for me which had been the one in Granny's engagement ring. 
I am quite certain that I get far more pleasure in the telling of these tales than the grandchildren get in hearing them. But- you never know. I remember that story from when my grandmother told it to me and that diamond in my ring is a brilliant reminder. It has a visible flaw in it- a speck of carbon that looks like a tiny seed and I can remember Granny telling me that because of that, Granddaddy had been able to afford it. That flaw is my favorite part of the stone. It's so small that you have to know it's there to see it which makes it like a secret message from the past. At least to me. 

Well. I need to go make our supper. The clothes are off the line and put away, the kitchen is somewhat tidied, the beans are out of the canner. 

I fooled around with the basic recipe. They have vinegar, of course, water, garlic, dill, salt, sugar, mustard seed, and red pepper flakes. I hope they're good. I'll have to open a jar just to see, of course. 

We should be getting cucumbers soon and I have a feeling that my new pantry is going to be filled up before the summer is over. 
I love that pantry. I love the man who built it for me. I'm so glad he's okay. 
He's more than okay. He is fine. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Slow, Sweet Sunday

Would you look at the eyelashes on that kid? I took this picture last night when we were eating supper. The chicken and dumplings were pretty good. 

This sparkle-eyed sprite enjoyed them. 

They were such good boys. We're always so behind their regular schedule here. Supper's later, bath time's later, book-reading is later, and falling-asleep time is later. Which works out pretty well because then they sleep later the next morning too. Now what happens when they go home and have to re-regulate is another story but Jessie is kind enough not to fuss at us for creating havoc with her children. 

And their diets. 
Purple cows are a must, of course. Levon said, "Eating cows is hard." Probably especially if you're trying to suck the whole mess up with your straw. 
We did indeed read "The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza." They asked me for it. This too is a must. I hope someday that all of the grown-up cousins get together and laugh about that book and purple cows at Mer and Bop's old, old house when they had sleepovers. 

They slept in until almost 7:45 which they never do at home. They sleep like little bricks on those fold-out mattresses on our floor. I just kiss them and tuck them up with the softest blankets I can find and whatever stuffed animals they want and BOOM! they are out. 

After the boys were asleep, I finished "Comanche Moon", the second book in the Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae series and actually got started on "Lonesome Dove" itself, which is the original and most well-known of the books. Lord, it's been a pleasure for me. I have no idea how many times I've read "Lonesome Dove" but I know it's more than twice. I'm so looking forward to reading it again with the just-read facts of all the characters' backstories woven together in my mind. McMurtry was a genius at that. His ability to create characters and their stories and weave in the stories of other, minor characters who then become, in some instances, main characters is nothing short of a magic trick to me. There is such a richness to the continuing ribbons of lives that he reveals with deceptive ease of the development of his stories. It's like with acting- I cannot STAND catching actors act. I don't want to be watching a movie and think, "Wow! She's a great actor!" I want to be so lost in the character of whoever the actor is playing that I have forgotten that the person onscreen is an actor at all. These are the ones who make it look so simple that often they are not given the credit I think they deserve. 
Same with writers. I want the story to be so real with the dialogue so true to the characters that I forget to think about the process of how it was written. I often say that I love to start a book and realize immediately that I am in very good hands and my only job is to follow along the journey set out so skillfully before me. 
And that's what McMurtry does. 

Well. That was a segue. 
Bottom line- I just finished an eight hundred page book that kept me enthralled every second and I am so excited to be at the beginning of an even longer one with the same characters. 

Today went smooth and easy. Boppy got up with the boys although I did get a tiny bit of snuggle time with Levon. I slept a little while longer and then got up and made the biscuits and bacon and sliced the tomato and let me tell you that August had TWO AND A HALF savory biscuits and one jam biscuit. He gobbled up those tomatoes and he loved the jam. Levon had one of each. 

There was more model-putting together and more books and matching game (you could write this yourself, couldn't you?) and we went through some books and picked out a few to take to the little take-a-book/leave-a-book library down the street. I'd gotten them a kids' book there that we really like and it was our turn to make a donation, which we did. Levon had to push the babydoll stroller with the elephant in it because...well, he just had to. 

I gave them both half a graham cracker before we left and Levon gobbled his up while August did that kid thing and made his last for the entire walk. When we came in the house he proudly showed me that he still had a half inch square left. He demonstrated how he'd been eating it which was a very interesting nibble technique. 

And Levon and Jack furthered their relationship. Believe it or not, when they're both stretched out on their tummies, they're almost the same length if you count Jack's tail. Which I do. 

After their mama came to get them I took the trash to the dump and picked some more green beans. 

And...some other stuff, as it is said in "The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza." I have got to get out the canning kettle and make more dilly beans or else borrow Lily's pressure canner and just can them plain for eating in the winter. I was not happy with the beans I froze last year at all and would like to can some and see if that works out better. You have to use a pressure canner when you're putting up non-acid things or things without a lot of sugar in them like pickles and jams. I've never used a pressure canner but I have certainly used a pressure cooker my entire life. I suppose I can do it. 

Here's what the chicks look like today. 

If I never raise another peep in the house it'll be just fine with me. It is SO much easier to let the mama take care of them. And they're just so much happier. At least they seem happier. They're so stinking cute. 

And here's a picture of Maurice who is fine and who wrestled me for my yogurt this afternoon. 

That cat's favorite foods are lunch meat, Temptations, and yogurt. But not plain yogurt. It has to be the flavored kind. She won't touch things like eggs, cheese, fish, or chicken. 

I will never not wonder what sort of childhood that cat had. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Clever Peeps, Clever Boys, And A Theory About A Snake

 This morning Mr. Moon and I scooped the babies out of the baby coop and let them run about the big coop with their mother. The very first thing they did was race to the run between the hen house and the coop where there were some roaches who had been disturbed by the lowering of the slide door between them. The tiny chicks knew exactly what they were doing and quick as a lick, several of them had small roaches in their peep beaks and were running about, trying to eat them without being threatened by their siblings with roach theft. Amazing what a week-old chick can do, isn't it? 
And Darla watched proudly overall. 

These two fine young men are spending the night tonight. They will be leaving soon for North Carolina and so we're storing up the fun, I guess. They are helping Boppy work on the car model they're making. I'm making a big pot of chicken and dumplings for their supper. The broth has carrots and green beans and onion and celery and garlic bubbling away. I've used the biggest pot so that we'll have plenty of room for the best part which is the dumplings, of course. 
Levon has already asked if we're going to have "those cow things" later and I assured him that we would indeed have purple cows. He's excited. 
And tomorrow's breakfast is already planned and we won't be having pancakes! August saw the tomato we had ripening on the porch and he said that he wanted biscuits with tomatoes and bacon. 
"So you want me to make biscuits?" I asked. 
"Yes. First we'll have a savory one and then one with jam."
A savory one? 
Who is this child? 
August Glinden. That's who. 
Levon asked his grandfather if he remembered that snake he killed yesterday. His grandfather allowed as how he did remember. 
I had not mentioned that last week something happened to Maurice. She began to act really strange, even for her. She got on Mr. Moon's lap and just meow-yowled and meow-yowled. She was agitated and when I tried to pick her up to take her to bed, she went ballistic, scratched me and jumped to the floor. She walked strangely, and continued to complain and was jumpy as hell. She spent most of the next day in the old baby cradle in our room where I keep folded blankets and she left a few spots of blood on one but we could not find a wound of any kind. I wondered at that time if she'd been snake bit. 
She's fine now, back to her normal self, and even had a few days where she was almost pleasant, letting us pet her and love on her without attacking us. I think it's quite possible that the rattler may have struck her a glancing nick, barely deep enough to inject venom. We'll never know but it's a theory.

All right. Levon wants me to make their beds so I need to go pull their fold-up mats out of the closet and put clean sheets on them. I wonder how old they will be before they want to sleep in the bed in the guest room instead of on the floor in our room. I do not mind them in our room at all. They sleep soundly there, and I know they feel safe, right next to Boppy and Mer. It's nice to have them there, all of us feeling cozy and close. I know how quickly this time passes. It occurred to me the other day that I now have toys and books that my grandchildren have outgrown. I really do not know quite how to feel about this. 

But that's the news from Lloyd today. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 28, 2021

An Unusual Friday

 It's been a big old day here for the Moons. First off- that's the little dark gray (and yellow) chick whose picture I couldn't post yesterday. For whatever reason I keep wanting to call all of the chicks "he" and I hope that's not the way it really is. But it will be what it will be. 
And so will they. 

So anyway, Jess and the boys came out today for a visit and the boys helped Boppy in doing some chores and then August wandered in and wanted a book and then Levon joined us and we had lunch and there were a few more books and just the general stuff. Jessie and I talked as we do, and the fellows worked on painting a model car that they want to put together as their mother helped me put the clean sheets on the bed. The afternoon drew on and Levon started showing signs of getting sleepy. They got ready to leave and we were standing outside the back porch, August already in the part of the yard past the little fence where we park the cars and Levon and Jessie still standing on the porch steps and I was on the ground below them when I saw a snake. 
"Be careful, Levon. Look Jessie- a snake." I was trying to identify it in my head but she was faster with it. 
"Daddy!" she called. "A rattlesnake!"

And indeed, it was. I'd say a juvenile Eastern diamondback, no real rattles yet but you can see where they will be. 

Mr. Moon was there in a split second. 
"Get back, Mary," he said. For some reason I felt absolutely no threat from the thing. I mean- I had no desire to grab it but I wasn't worried about being a few feet away from it. 
I took its picture. 

It was quite close to the house, close enough that we were worried that it would crawl under it and Mr. Moon went to get something to kill it with because, well, a rattlesnake under the house is just not a good idea. It's not like it would jump on us but we are in and out the doors a hundred times a day and no, we do not always look where we're walking. I mean- that's just the way it is. 
And of course- the children. 
So I stood and watched to see where it was going and Jessie and Levon watched from the steps and August came a little closer to see it. The funny thing was, the chickens were fascinated by it. They were in the backyard too, and they circled around it, just watching. 
"What are those chickens doing?" Jessie asked. 
"Same thing we are," I said. 

It had crawled over to the fence. Can you see it? My hens seemed to have the same reaction I did- cautious fascination. Chickens are very leery of snakes but they'll eat a small one. I guess they were checking this one out to see if they thought it something that might be tasty or, on the other hand, dangerous. They settled on "dangerous" I guess, and moved away. 
Mr. Moon showed up with a shovel and an axe. And the man was wearing a pair of shorts. No shoes. No shirt. 
No way. 
"Let me at least get your shoes," I said. I did not like this scenario. The rattler was right up against the fence and there was really no way Glen could get a good angle to get it with the shovel. And snakes, like all of us, do not wish to be killed and do not gracefully accede to death but will tangle and twist and strike as well they should. 
"I'm going to get my gun," said my husband. 
I was so torn at this point. The snake was posing no immediate threat to any of us and yet, there was no way any of us were going to capture it and bag it and transfer it somewhere else far from people. There are those who are fearless about such things and have the knowledge and skills and equipment to do it. We are not those people. 
And besides that, the snake was rather beautiful. 
But. It is the most dangerous venomous snake in North America. 
In the end, the snake was shot. We all went inside but August went straight to a window that allowed him the perfect view of the killing. 
"That's the first time I've ever seen Boppy kill anything," he said.
"That's the first time I've ever seen Boppy kill anything," I said. 
After the head was virtually removed from the body we went back out to see how it still twisted its body, writhed and moved, even after death. 
None of this was taken lightly or casually. Jessie said a little prayer for the beautiful snake. I told the boys that this was a good lesson to always watch where you are walking, even in town. You never know. 
It was sort of amazing that I saw the snake at all. Their camouflage is perfect. 

I suppose this was a a visit to Mer and Bop's that the boys won't soon forget. The whole time this was happening I was thinking of one of the strongest memories of my childhood. It was in Roseland which was rife with snakes and my Granny and I were walking between her and Granddaddy's house and our house and I saw a snake which Granny didn't see. She was profoundly deaf and so it was hard to get her to understand what I was trying to tell her but she did and we both froze. My grandfather came running and said, "Don't move." We were quite close to the snake which was, again, a rattler. He ran and got a hoe and he killed it and I'll never forget that. I've always felt that maybe I saved my grandmother's life because she was just about to step on it. 
I am the least visual person you know so it is miraculous that I have now spotted two rattlers in my life, one right by my grandmother, one right by my grandson. 

As Jessie was leaving after everything had calmed down, she said, "That was such a Florida thing. Man in shorts shoots rattlesnake."
I thought about that and said that yes, yes it certainly was. 
"You're such a country woman," Jessie said to me and I had to agree. There I stood in my holey overalls, having just witnessed all of that and I was not overly upset in the least. 
"I never aimed to end up like this," I said. "I guess it was growing up in Roseland." 
And I guess it was. 
I looked around me at the chickens going about their business, the beautiful garden busting wide open with summer vegetables, the magnificent magnolia tree above me, mosquitoes tormenting my arms, and I said, "And I'm glad I did."

There is more to this day. We actually went to town and attended a very, very fancy dance recital that Magnolia June was in. We sat in an auditorium surrounded by maskless people (we wore ours) with Lily and Lauren, Gibson and Owen, Jason and his mother and uncle and aunt and were in a completely different world. Of course Maggie was onstage for about 1.5 minutes but she was lovely and did so well and the rest of the dances were danced with full hearts and a lot of grace and we enjoyed it. 

(Not Maggie but three other beautiful girls.)

I took my grandwomanbaby a bouquet of magnolias and hydrangeas, tied up in blue ribbon I got at the Bad Girls Get Saved By Jesus Thrift Store. 

She had two other bouquets and allowed herself to be posed with her mama after it was all over. 

Mr. Moon and I drove home and the auditorium where the recital had been was all the way west of Tallahassee and we are east of Tallahassee and we drove through parts of town where I haven't been in years and I was dumbstruck by the new construction, restaurants and tattoo parlors and nail salons, the way FSU has grown to the point that I do not even recognize it and I did not even begin to relax until we reached the stretch of road where pine trees and oak trees lined the highway and when we pulled into our driveway I felt overwhelmingly relieved and happy to back in my little world, even if there are mosquitoes and yellow flies and extremely poisonous snakes. These things make sense to me where things in town just absolutely do not. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Worn Flat Out

I am so tired this evening. The kind of tired where if you start the dishwasher and the "Add Rinse Aid" light comes on you sort of want to cry. Throw in an egg, dropped and broken on the kitchen floor and it's gone beyond tears to a place where one feels as if she might as well just lay down on the dirty floor beside the broken egg and let whatever happens next happen. 
But of course one does not. One does get on the floor, but only on hands and knees to scoop the viscous stuff up and then to wipe it and then to scrub it with a cloth and Fabuloso and vinegar until that part of the floor, at least, is clean. 

And I don't know why I'm so tired. I didn't even take a walk. I suppose it's because I expended the other kind of energy- the kind required in a trip to town. I know I said on Monday that I hoped I had everything I needed for the rest of the week but not surprisingly I discovered that I didn't really although if the truth be known, we certainly could have survived quite well on what we have here in various freezers, cabinets, and refrigerators, not to mention garden. It's just that a new Aldi's has opened up in Tallahassee and I've never been to an Aldi's and there had been an article in the paper about it and I'm a sucker and thought I'd go see what this magical place was like. 
I knew I had to have a quarter to use a shopping cart and that the quarter would be returned when I took the shopping cart back and chained it back in its place. I knew they didn't bag groceries. I knew that their brands are limited, mostly to their own. 
I was prepared. I even had a few things that Lily wanted me to get after she had read the ads online. She'd been once before and knew what was what. 
And it was fine and I should be charmed by it because I'm constantly complaining about the multitude of brands available for everything in Publix and the prices are quite low, comparatively, and it was interesting to see what they had, to observe others, like me, walking slowly, slowly down the aisles to see what they held. 
I got what Lily needed and I got a few small tuna steaks, frozen, and cilantro and green onions and Thin Wheats (not Wheat Thins) and Havarti cheese and stuff like that. The only thing I got that was what I would consider a treat was a package of Medjool dates which I usually never buy because I could eat them all day even though they remind me so very much of candied cockroaches. 
Delicious candied cockroaches. 
I am not squeamish. 
I checked out and someone (I think the guy checking me out) smelled so strongly of weed that it permeated through my mask but he certainly didn't seem stoned. In fact, he reminded me of a drill sergeant, barking orders as I tried to follow the proper protocol. Not in a mean way, just in a no-nonsense/not very laid back way. 
So that was an experience and then I went to nearby strip mall where there's a Cuban restaurant and I ordered a sandwich to go and while they were making it I went to the little Asian market a few stores down and bought enough dill seeds and cinnamon sticks to make many, many pickles as well as curry paste, basmati rice, a red onion, and a box of halva with pistachios which is another thing I never buy because I love it too much. 
And then on to Costco where I wanted to buy my husband some shorts like the ones I bought him last week because he loves them but of course they were all out of his size, DAMMIT, and I got cucumbers and mixed nuts and toilet paper and I swear to god- I thought that the last time I bought toilet paper at Costco would be the last time I'd ever need to buy it in my life but that did not turn out to be true. 
No need to analyze that statement. 

And then I drove home, stopping at Lily's on the way to deliver her groceries and that was it. That's all I've done. Oh, yeah, I picked another gallon of green and purple beans (not hyperbole) and now my refrigerator has two gallons of green and purple beans in it, and one poor little cabbage that needed to be picked which I will use for cole slaw tonight if it's not eaten through from bugs. If it is, we can always eat green beans. 
This reminds me of a something I've been thinking about lately. I'm almost finished with the second book in the Lonesome Dove series and as I'm reading I keep wondering how in the world these Texas Rangers manage to live on the diet they eat which consists mainly of game, bacon, beans, and coffee. If they are very unlucky and are stuck in a situation where there is no game to be shot, they eat horses. I don't think they'd know a vegetable if they were slapped in the face with it and I doubt they'd eat one if they were presented with one. Fruit seems like an impossible dream. Where would they get oranges? Or even apples for that matter? Corn, yes. They do seem to get corn which mostly goes into a mush. Or tortillas. 
We are so precious, aren't we, with our many "required" servings a day of fruits and vegetables, our healthy fats, our whole grains. I suppose that the life expectancy wasn't very good then and there is that but I know that some of those men lived to a ripe old age. And I don't think that McMurtry was pulling these dietary details out of either the air or his ass because he came from a long line of ranchers in Texas and I think he based some of his characters on certain of his batchelor uncles. 
Well, one of the mysteries of life. 
And please understand that I am not contemplating a diet of game, beans, bacon, and coffee, nor am I recommending it. I just think that it's not unreasonable to go a little easy on ourselves when it comes to trying to always eat right. Our diets have become a sort of religion and when we eat what we believe we should not, we feel that we have sinned and some of us even repent and make amends by exercising more and yes, confessing our sins. Are Facebook and Instagram not filled with pictures and descriptions of the delicious, sinful food we sometimes eat? Which reminds me that although the cowboys probably did not eat many vegetables or fruits, they also did not eat much processed sugar, either, or processed anything so there is that to consider. 

I keep trying to upload a picture of the little dark gray chick but Blogger isn't having it tonight. It keeps telling me that there is a problem and to try again later. 

And I will. But not tonight. I'm too tired. 

Be well, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Out Of The House And Down The Road

I decided to walk on White House today because I miss that beautiful canopied road with the ever changing varieties of wildflowers blooming. I am sad to report that there are still huge Trump banners and signs on rich people houses and I don't know whether to curse, scoff, or feel sorry for them because obviously they are delusional. 
The biggest house, the one that takes me about ten minutes to walk past due to its size, does not have a Trump sign. There was a guy sitting on a bucket in the front yard today, weeding a patch of lawn. Of course I first thought it was a gardener, but instead it was the son of the owners. He appeared to have Down's and there was a beautiful dog near by him who looked somewhat like a German Shepard. I said "Hey!" to the guy and he said "Hey!" to me and I asked if the dog was okay because as all walkers know, dogs are often protective not only of their own yards but of the road in front of it, too. 
"She's a good dog," the guy said. He told me what kind it was but I didn't hear him very well. It could have been a Belgian Malinois. I googled "dog breeds that look like German Shepards" and that breed came up first. It was a beautiful dog and the guy showed me how well trained she is by motioning for the dog to lay down and the dog immediately responded, her eyes trained on her human who asked me my name and I told him and asked him his which I can't remember either. 
The dog's name is definitely "Philly" though. "Like Philadelphia," I was told. 
When I passed them again on my return, I noticed that Philly took note of my approach and did not bark, did not threaten me in any way but went protectively to her human's side. There were more waves and I made it up the hill and down the hill to my car and came home and cooled off in front of the fan. I've been pretty useless since then, just doing the smallest things. 
I made a gumbo but I surely did not get enough flour in the roux. I realize now that in my first attempt at making gumbo I had a stellar case of beginner's luck because it hasn't come out that well since. 
Oh well. 
This will be a gumbo soup with rice and it tastes good so there is that. 

Here are some pictures of flowers I took on my walk. 

Coral bean or Red Cardinal or Cherokee Bean. The most scarlet of the scarlet. 

Sensitive Plant or Sunshine Mimosa

Carolina Wild Petunia

And here is your cute chick pic for the day. 

All of the chicks are fine and poor Darla is so in need of scratching that she's dug what could end up being a tiny pond in the tiny coop. I wish I had a better alternative to that little coop. No sight of the dog who was here yesterday and every chicken came home to roost last night. We threw out the eggs that had not hatched this morning. Seven babies is a fine number and plenty. 

One more picture. 

The first zinnia to bloom in the garden this year. May there be many more. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Country Life

I took a walk today and although I started to turn left outside my driveway and go down the sidewalk towards the county line, I changed my mind when I saw someone walking that way already, about what would be a block away if we had blocks which we do not, and I knew that I would overtake him if I walked in his direction because he was just taking a walk, not walking fast to get it over with the way I would be, and I don't like overtaking people on my walks because it's awkward, trying to alert them that you are there, behind them, and so I just turned right instead and went that way. I decided to go by the fally-down house because I have not done that in a long time and so I did. Its bones are crumbling, it is getting closer to the ground, its floors would no longer support a person trying to discover its secrets by stepping inside through one of its tilted, crooked doors. It is closing in on itself, hiding its secrets, its memories, what stories it may have to tell. Do you remember when I wrote about the fally-down house here? 

Over the years I've written more about this old place, taken its picture, charted its slow giving-in to gravity, to weather, to age, as the dirt itself is claiming it as its own, which one day it will be able to entirely do. 

Steve Reed came to visit me six years ago and he wanted to go by and see the house, to take its picture. Owen and Gibson were little boys then and they were here and we four walked down the road to see the old house. 

I took his picture as he took the house's picture. That's Owen back there, behind him. I feel certain that the entire time they were inside I was saying, "Y'all be careful now! Be careful!" 
Steve grabbed some of that wallpaper and made bookmarks for me and a few other bloggers. I cherish mine. What a very kind and thoughtful and meaningful gift. 
But that's Steve. 

In 2016 the house looked like this. 

Even through the trees and vines, you can see how much straighter it was then, how it was still holding out its arm-boards like a sentinel, for the most part, remembering, perhaps, its original intent to shelter those within. 


It's already so hot that my walk, albeit a short one, wore me out. I swear- every summer I am growing less tolerant of the heat. Same thing with the insects. I was bit again by yellow flies today, this time mostly on the arms as I hung clothes although I did manage to murder one in mid-bite, and I am not ashamed to admit that I felt a little frisson of revengeful delight. The mosquitoes are not so bad yet because we haven't had the rain necessary for them to have a big hatch but once we get a good storm, they will return, hungry and desperate for our human blood. 

Yesterday Mr. Moon pulled all of the garlic and because we've never grown garlic before, we had to research how to dry and cure it. It has to go through that process for weeks in order for it to keep.

But for the meantime, my husband laid it on newspapers on the back porch next to the potatoes that we still haven't really done anything about other than cooking them when we want potatoes. 
Turns out you can dry your garlic on screens or in nets or you can braid it or tie it in bunches and hang it to dry. I was a bit disdainful of the whole braiding thing. 
"Do you know how to braid?" my husband asked. 
"Haha!" I said. It was funny because I've been braiding my own hair and our children's hair ever since me met me and long before. But braiding garlic did not sound as easy. 
Still, I decided to try it today and worked it out so that I braided three of the garlics together and when I had three of those, I braided them together, bound those braids with twine with a loop for hanging and then I hung them from hooks that we have on the back porch which I think may have once been some sort of attachments for shutters. 

We have fans trained on them and since each bunch has nine plants and I have five bunches hanging, that's about forty-five heads of garlic. Some of the heads are huge, some are smaller. Anyway, even though I use a LOT of garlic, I think we'll have some to share. 
I also picked another basket of green beans today. We've already had three meals from the ones I picked last week. 

Well. We just had a dog in the yard. No big deal unless you have chickens free-ranging. I heard the chickens squawking and could see them from where I sit and they weren't running around or anything so I just thought they were having some sort of disagreement but then there was a more frantic sound and I looked up to see the dog. I jumped up and yelled at him and he took off. Mr. Moon and I have looked but there's no sign of the dog and although we did find quite a few white feathers, Dottie, the only white hen besides Darla who is safe in the baby coop, is alive and well. I think it was the same dog I saw a few days ago in a fenced-in yard a few houses down. A new dog. I saw it stretched up against the fence and thought, "I sure hope that fence can hold that dog."
I hope the rest of my chooks are okay. 

Still only seven babies. Tomorrow the rest of the eggs are going. It's been too hot and she's not paying a bit of attention to the ones that haven't hatched. 

Lord, I'm tired. I feel like the fally-down house, ready to collapse. I hope I make it to bedtime. 

I finished listening to this book today.

I loved it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 24, 2021

We Celebrate Our Birthday Girl

What a day! Good LORD what a day! 
It was so fun. I picked up Hank at 10:45 this morning and we drove to Kool Beanz, the restaurant where Mr. Moon and I used to eat every Friday night of our lives back when we used to go out on Friday nights. I can't say for certain but I think it's the best restaurant in Tallahassee and probably for many, many miles surrounding. I should have taken a picture of the menu. Or the food, for that matter. 

Soon we all began gathering. Or at least the ones who could. Jessie showed up with these two. 

We were all delighted that super heroes joined us for the birthday luncheon. I am not sure what inspired them to don their super hero costumes but it certainly added to the festivity. 
Mr. Moon came in a separate car because I was going to go shopping with May after lunch. Lily came as soon as she got off work. And of course, Hank was with me. 

 Rachel was at work in her position as an intern at Senior Services for her MSW studies. We missed her. 

We sat outside and it was cool enough and not too humid and we all ate like kings and queens. Fishes and salads and some beef, too. It was heaven to enjoy that good food again. The boys were good and didn't fuss even though we had to wait for a long time. August drew Jessie a picture of a heart and a flower on an index card that I had in my purse with a shopping list on it. I had brought May a key lime pie but I told her that I didn't want her sharing it- it was all for her! This is an old tradition. I used to make two pies- one for her and one to share but this year, I just made the one. No one complained.

When it was time for us all to go our separate ways, May and I took off in my car to go to a nearby thrift store. Lily came in her car because she had to get home before too long to pick up the kids from school, and Michael took the pie home and then met us. We all found treasures. I got a set of three vintage pyrex bowls, the clear, ridged kind. Of course, I no more need another bowl, much less three, than I need another chicken. But how could I pass up such beauties? They are in the dishwasher as we speak. May found an old sewing box that was very cool, from the forties or fifties, I would say, and some wine glasses; Lily got some clothes and a pair of earrings that may or may not have been silver. I even found a pretty dress for our Magnolia and I got a little basket with a handle for her to gather eggs in when she's here. 
We also found this very regal and very large chair. 

Sadly, no one bought it. 
What fun to be back in a thrift store with my daughters, finding beautiful things, intriguing things, bizarre things, hideous things. Things that someone once wanted enough to buy but then either discovered that they did not really want them, could not use them, or outgrew. Or, you know- died- and their kids donated them. 

I stopped at Publix on my way home and bought what is hopefully all the stuff I need for the rest of this week. Mr. Moon had gone out to check on the bebes to find that two of them were on the ground in the hen house with Darla frantically fussing over them so when I got the groceries put away, we transferred the family to the little chick coop. Still only seven. We are going to give the rest of the eggs a few more days. Darla appears to be insanely happy to be able to scratch dirt again. She was going at it so intently that she was knocking her babies over. Good thing they're so tough. 

And that is what May's forty-third birthday was like from my perspective. Practically perfect. Like May herself. That woman is a glory and a goodness and a goddess. A joy and, well- a super hero who doesn't bother to wear a costume. She is the kind of person who is always kind, incredibly intelligent, and probably the best writer in the family. She's been journaling since she could hold a pencil. She's as sweet as anyone you'll ever meet and at the same time, has the wickedest sense of humor you'll ever encounter. She's a defender of those who need defending, a supporter of those who need supporting. She's a giving soul, a tender soul, and one of the strongest souls I've ever known. 
There is a pureness and a light about her that is hard to describe. 
And she would punch anyone in the face who threatened one of her beloveds. 

She's my May. 
I sure do love her. 
Happy birthday, dear daughter! It is one of the biggest honors of my life to be your mama. 

And hell, while we're at it, happy birthday to Bob Dylan too on this, his eightieth birthday. Obviously the very best people are born on May 24th. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Chick Report, Plus More

As of about 10:30 this morning there were seven baby chicks. I think. Poor Darla gets frantic if we lift her up to see what's going on underneath her, and believe it or not, babies can not only hide under her wings, she can hold them so tightly that they do not fall out when you lift her up. Although sometimes they do fall out but they are so light it doesn't hurt them and they just bounce up on their little feet and continue on with their new lives. 

This little one is so curious that he poked his head out and then crawled out from under mama's feathers and came over to inspect us. They aren't old enough to be scared yet. I would say that this one's dad is Liberace but as you can see from the picture above, I think that Fancy Pants may have sired at least one. It's so funny to think that in all actuality, all of the hens could be new mothers as there was such an assortment of eggs in that nest. But Darla is the only one doing the work and the rest of the ladies are just going about their business like royalty of old who had their babies and put them in the arms of the wet nurses and nannies. 
Or something like that, anyway. 
We haven't been back out in a few hours to see if there are any more but we'll be checking again here in a few minutes. I'm taking them some of the oat bran cereal with hardboiled eggs in case they're peckish (another term we use derived from chicken tending?) and I'll take Darla some more cantaloupe and cat food. Chickens adore cat food and it's got lots of protein in it. Of course she may eat all the baby food but...whatever. Mr. Moon did go to the Tractor Supply and buy some chick starter and I think that tomorrow we'll move the whole circus to the little peep coop including any eggs that haven't hatched and I'll put their food and water in there. After a few more days we'll have to throw out the eggs that don't hatch and I always hate that. I mean- hell, I can barely thin my garden. You can only imagine how hard it is for me to throw out eggs that haven't hatched but reality must be faced. 

Jessie brought the boys out to see the babies this morning and I had just finished making our breakfast. Mr. Moon wanted to eat his first tomato with biscuits, as I thought he might. 

Look at that beauty!
So I made biscuits and cooked some of his Tennessee sausage and scrambled up some of our eggs and potatoes and banana peppers (which are also starting to come in) and two green onions. He took a picture and it looked like this. 

The boys and Jessie got tomato and biscuit sandwiches. They'd had their pancakes already at home but that was HOURS before. I love having grandkids that'll gobble up biscuit/tomato sandwiches. With Duke's mayonnaise, of course. 

It's been a fine day, we've moved slow and easy. We just went back out to check on the mama and babies and bring them some food. Still only seven chicks and that may be it. Darla has a veritable buffet now of regular chicken feed, fruit and cat food, and the cereal and eggs. She was eating when we left and look who else was inspecting the offerings. 

Little cuties. Just because they don't HAVE to eat for 48 hours doesn't mean they won't. 

The garden is so beautiful right now. We did a quick inspection there, too. We pulled one of the garlic plants to see how that's coming along. 

I'd say they're ready to pick. 
Even the roses are going crazy. 

Such a generous abundance of life. 
And forty-three years ago, I was in labor with May. Tomorrow is her birthday. Of course, I was in kindergarten when I had her. How else to explain the math of her age and mine? 
I remember that day and night and day like it was yesterday. Truly. 
And tomorrow we're meeting up for lunch. 

Abundance and sweetness. Love and glory. 
We are the lucky ones. 

Love...Ms. Moon