Monday, June 7, 2021

Not A Rant, Not A Sermon, Just A Monday


 This sweet little black-eyed susan was standing all by herself on the side of the road when I took my walk today. Despite its status as a lonely thing, it cheered me with its defiant golden stance for life. 

The walk did me good even though when I got home I was as hot and red as a cayenne pepper and not hot in the good sense, either. 
I saw Pinot, sitting in the shade next to the RV which is next to the house that burned down. He called out a greeting and I returned it. He is a friendly man, that Pinot. I passed No Man Lord but he appeared to be asleep in a chair, slumped over another chair. I can't imagine he sleeps well in the shit-beat RV he lives in. There are no screens and it must stay so hot in there. Right now his yard is filled with aluminum cans. There are what appear to be thousands of them and that may be true. I imagine that someone donated them to him to sort and sell. I can't think of any other purpose they might serve and Lord knows that no one person could have drunk all of the beverages they held at one time. 

Here's a picture of a blooming elderberry I took. 


The flower is so beautiful but every part of the plant with the exception of the ripe berries are toxic to human. They grow like weeds around here. I guess they ARE considered weeds, actually. 

So I tried the peppers and cherry tomatoes today. Let me just say that although the cherry tomatoes had a nice flavor, their consistency after being processed in a water bath is not worth the trouble. I imagine I can mash them up and strain them for a salad dressing or a sauce of some sort but just eating one straight out of the jar is an unpleasant experience due to the mushy texture. 
Well, it was a fine experiment. 
The peppers are not crisp either but they are far more palatable. They will go well on sandwiches, in salads, and on pizza. 

Lily and I had talked about meeting for lunch today and we did. We went to a Mediterranean restaurant that had the cojones to open during the pandemic. I wasn't even aware of its existence but Lily had had take-out from them before. It's in a part of Tallahassee that I am quite unfamiliar with- a part that up until about a decade ago was nothing but fields and pasture and forest. Now there are housing developments and businesses including a Publix. 
The lunch was good. The little Greek salad that came with our meals was just about the best thing I've eaten in over a year that I did not cook. Such a simple thing but so good. We had falafel and chicken, hummus, rice, and dolmades. And that salad. 

After lunch I visited the Publix next door. It's always a tiny adventure to go to a different Publix. Each one is very similar to all the others and yet, different too. This one had a much richer selection of Hispanic foods and a slightly different set-up than "my" Publix which is how we all refer to the one we shop at the most which of course we all know like the backs of our hands. But they are all Publix and the employees are all friendly and my check-out lady had a beautiful sleeve of ink that I could not help but admire. She also had perfect, polished nails and wore several rings and bracelets, all of them quite dainty and lady-like. This was not some biker babe, but a woman who loves decoration. 
At least that's how she presented. 

And so I have my shopping done for the week, hopefully. I came home to find my husband still working at a project he started a few weeks ago which involves cutting back the azaleas to a startling degree and pulling many of the Chinese rice-paper plants that have taken over part of the yard. Those things are hell to pull because no matter what season you do it in, they release a pollen or a dust of some sort that chokes the human sinuses and clogs the throat and causes a cough. Miserable, in other words. I don't know how he's managed to do all of that work in this heat. I thought I deserved a medal and commendation from the queen for walking for half an hour and that was still relatively early. His efforts have revealed an entire field of crocosmia which I need to pull. The yard looks entirely different there now with the azaleas cut back and naked, the jungle tamed. 
That man knows how to work. 
The azaleas will grow back. As will the damn Chinese rice-paper plant and the crocosmia if indeed I do get around to pulling them. 

This is life and the constancy of it. Most of what we do is not of the "one and done" sort of task, whether we're talking about yard work or gardening or laundry or cooking or cleaning or changing diapers or doing sit-ups. I wonder what it must be like to have a life where one earns their bread with sculpting or painting or writing or building houses or highways. Of course after Michelangelo finished The David, he did not give his sculpting tools and blocks of granite away but went on to create more beauty with them. Still, he had that finished statue, proof of a job done, set literally in stone. Tolstoy did not go to bed for the rest of his life after he wrote War and Peace but by god, he had something quite real and palpable, not to mention thick, as a result of his efforts. Women especially, I think, have been relegated to the tasks which are of the more repetitive kind but those tasks are absolutely necessary for the living of life on earth. And men do some of them too. 
Like my husband and the azaleas. 
But I completely understand his desire to restore cars and build things, to have something of substance and value to show for his efforts. 

In the meantime, I need to go make a supper, and no matter how good it is, after it and its leftovers are eaten, it will hardly be a memory in the vast history of all of the meals I have prepared in my life. 

But that's the way it is. 

Love...Ms. Moon

35 comments:

  1. Have you ever made salsa pico de gallo or bruschetta out of your cherry tomatoes?

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    1. No. I have not. But great idea. The problem now is that I'm getting so many full-sized tomatoes too!

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  2. Is it possible to drain the cherry tomatoes and then dry them out, sun-dried tomato style? I think small pickled dried tomatoes sound like they have interesting garnish possibilities-- I'd take that over anchovies any day. Or martini olives, for that matter.

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    1. I suppose I could sun dry cherry tomatoes or even put them in a dehydrator. Seems like a lot of work.

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    2. Also- the pickled cherry tomatoes are way too mushy to use in a martini, dammit.

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  3. I have made wonderful elderberry flower pancakes with the elderberries that grow around here, and in Pennsylvania, and also in Ireland! You dip the whole flower clump into your pancake batter, lay it flower side down in the pan, and then snip all the stems off that are sticking up from the batter. Fun! And yummy!

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    1. But this variety is supposed to be extremely toxic except for the ripe berries. I would be scared to try that.

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    2. Yeah, much better to be safe!

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    3. I have heard of doing that with tiger lilies, but never elderberries.

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  4. But you know what? Even when you make art, it's never done. Always more touches needed, never feels finished, even when hanging in a gallery. each piece becomes a stepping stone to the next. You're always starting over at the beginning.

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    1. I know but at least there is a tangible result which will last, even if the artist does not feel as if it's ever truly completed.

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  5. What Boud said. Even when bound, a book is never finished, merely interrupted, inked, a bridge to the next necessary thing.

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    1. I meant to say I got what you meant, but I don’t think that’s what I conveyed. I’m sorry if I misunderstood. Love.

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  6. Elderberries are so easy to pick and strip and make into jelly, and finer than good.

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  7. I remember Elderberry water, delicious so i looked it up and found this
    https://www.webmd.com/diet/elderberry-health-benefits#1

    Nothing is ever finished until we die and even then things are left unfinished, right? As for being a do it once and do it well kind of person- that just does not work- "I did the dishes that one time"

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    1. Right? Although I seem to be working on that level when it comes to mopping the kitchen floor. I DID mop that floor...sometime.
      These elderberries seem to be of a virulently toxic variety. I am not risking it.

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  8. That's what I hate so much about housework, that it looks nice for a few minutes only. Which is also why I like painting so much, it looks nice much longer.

    That elderberry is beautiful, not too keen on the whole poisonous bit though. I looked up the plant and the berries are a beautiful color. Do you make jam with them?

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    1. I have never done anything with these berries. And I probably won't after reading that even all of the seeds have to be removed to prevent poisoning.
      You're right about painting.

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  9. You think making a life as a writer is ever "done"? Nope...Always another project, something needing more research or another pitch to write to sell to pay the bills which don't end until we do...

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    1. Well, that's not exactly what I meant. I did not explain myself very well.

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  10. Even accomplished artists often produce works that eventually sink out of sight. Time is the great leveler!

    In the UK people drink elderflower cordial, and here the flowers -- as well as the berries -- are consumed.

    https://www.countryfile.com/how-to/elderflower-guide-where-to-find-it-how-to-identify-and-recipe-ideas/

    I have no idea if our elderflowers are exactly the same species as those in Florida, but they look alike.

    Love the black-eyed susan. I'm always so impressed when plants just re-seed themselves and grow on their own. Like, they don't need me after all!

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    1. They do look alike but my plant app is telling me that this variety is not safe to consume. I have heard of lots of delicious, healthful things being made from elderberries, though. Of course Florida WOULD have the kind that kill you.
      I, too, love it when plants reseed. I remember that arugula I had that reseeded and stayed with me all summer long.

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  11. Like us, and the Black-Eyed Susan, nature just keeps persevering. I have marigolds that comes up year after year even though they were pulled from their original location years ago and put in a brush pile at the back of the property. Out they pop each summer. And the 60' locust tree that crashed down last year? The tipped over stump is too huge (20' in the air) to do much with, but almost all the roots sticking up in the air have bloomed with new branches and leaves, as have even some of the cut pieces of trunk. Tenacious. A good quality to survive this world.

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    1. You're right, Mary. Life just does want to keep on living, doesn't it? That cherry laurel we cut keeps sprouting out new leaves. It's an inspiration.

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  12. it's a constant battle with the wild growth of nature. I can attest to that.

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  13. I think all people have jobs they do over and over again - not just women. That is life. Maybe some can not choose what they have to do but all have things to keep at and do again and again.

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    1. As I said to e., I did not explain myself very well.

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  14. So right you are in that 99% of the *things* we do, are never only done once. You'd think we'd perfect it at some point......but no....can't do that either. That elderberry is interesting. I know there are many varieties and I have a blue elderberry. Came up as a volunteer and now 12 feet tall, but it has pale butter yellow flowers......and very dark blue *blueberry* colored berries. From what I know, only the blue and the purple berried ones are edible. Hence elderberry wine (which I will not ever make.....I leave the berries for the birds, who love them)
    Susan M

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    1. I wonder what elderberry wine would taste like?

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  15. Maybe what we do as stay at home people who care for people, homes, gardens and animals is simply more transient. Most of the beautiful meals, moments and feelings we must create and nature are never shared but for 1 or 2 people.

    Love your blog Mrs Moon. You are a light in a sometimes dark world.

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  16. ugg- we create and nuture

    Editing...

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  17. I confess to yard envy though I could never pull anything up.

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Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.