Saturday, July 31, 2021

Betty And Wilma Hit The Shops

Lis and I had the most lovely time in Monticello today. It was mostly uneventful in the way one would imagine a leisurely stroll through antique and thrift stores to be except for one incident which occurred that was absolutely an event. 
More on that later.
We stopped in first at Wag the Dog, the thrift store for the local animal shelter. It seemed to me that things have gone up in price there but it's still a reasonable place to shop and one never, ever knows what one will come across. That fine beaver in the picture above, for instance, is part of an entire diorama involving dirt, fake plants, a long wooden platform, and an otter. It's the sort of thing that I absolutely and shamefully adore but I did not buy it. And mostly I don't regret that decision. But wouldn't the grandchildren love it? 
I think so.

After Wag we went into a new store in town (or new-ish) in an old building that someone has put a ton of work and money into. They had some very nice things in that store and the prices were not bad. Still, we bought nothing. My favorite part of that whole experience was going upstairs to see more things and wandering into some rooms that have not yet been redone. I found them eerily beautiful, even though they'd been tagged and worked over by graffiti artists when the building was standing vacant, I guess. I took a few photos. 

And then this door.

I have a feeling that it may indeed have once stood in the doorway of a local office of the State Road Department. 

I did find something at that store that I would love to own. 

I think that if we took the bouncing horse out of the library the chaise lounge would fit in beautifully. And truthfully- the grandchildren have almost all outgrown the horse. 
I'm just pondering. I showed the pictures to Mr. Moon and he did not immediately jump for joy and shout, "Hallelujah! We must buy it!" which is what I had rather hoped his reaction would be. 
Although I knew it would not.
Instead, he said, "That's nice." And proceeded to look through the mail. 
Ah well. 

By this time in our shopping we were ready for lunch so we walked over to the Rev where I have enjoyed so many lunches with Lily and Jessie and the children after our outings to the library for Toddler Story Hour. You know- those outings were absolutely some of the sweetest times of my life. Mr. Terez and Ms. Courtney, the stories, the activities, the other little children. How I miss them! 
But going to the Rev is still fun and we sat outside and even though the temperature was in the high nineties, it was breezy and quite comfortable with a ceiling fan overhead. Also the server brought us fresh glasses of delicious iced tea full of their excellent ice when our glasses were running low. So we sat and talked and laughed and looked at the traffic going by and at the County Court House which is such a beauty. 

The building is surrounded by a round-about which people usually seem to navigate without too much difficulty but suddenly, as we sat sipping our tea and waiting for our lunches, we heard a huge bang, looked up, and saw a car which had obviously just run head-on into something. We watched incredulously as the impact caused the rear of the vehicle to rise into the air and then slam down again with another bang. 
You know, it takes a minute for things like that to register. 
No. I did not run over to the scene to offer assistance. We watched as people stopped and got out of their cars and before five minutes had elapsed, the police were there and then the fire truck and ambulance. We never saw anyone get stretchered onto the ambulance and we assume that there were no mortal injuries. Before we'd finished our lunch a tow truck had come to pull the car away. 
So THAT was the incident which had been an event. As we drove by the site later we saw that the car had driven over a grass median and straight into the curb and steps leading up to the courthouse yard. We could only imagine that someone had blacked out for a moment but who knows?

We ate our delicious lunches and then we got in Lis's car and we drove around Monticello for awhile, exploring the neighborhoods. There are some absolutely beautiful old homes there. We discovered an old cemetery which I had no idea was there and we put walking around in it on our to-do list for winter. Even the thought of walking about outside today was enough to give us both the vapors. 

So did we buy anything? 
You know, it's funny. Lis and I used to be, if not magpies, then definite acquirers of things we admired. We each have different things that we fall for- Lis adores china, I am a bowl lover. And we saw some beautiful things today. But we're both at the point in our lives where we really just feel the need to get rid of things, not get more of them. We saw a few things that once upon a time we would have bought without a doubt. But today...well, we just did not. 

We did both buy one thing. 
Cotton yarn. 

Wag the Dog had a huge bin full of beautiful skeins. Organic cotton yarn, regular cotton yarn, Pima cotton yarn. Most of it still within its labeled wrapper bindings. 
I wish I'd bought more. I may well go back soon and do that. I mean- if you're going to buy things you don't really know what you'll do with, at least get the good stuff. 

As we were leaving the Rev, I told Lis, "I can't believe all we bought today was yarn," and a man and woman were passing by. The man said, "That's the best quote I've heard all day."
"Feel free to use it," I said. 
And Lis and I giggled like Betty Rubble and Wilma Flintstone and went on about our adventures. 

What a very fine day.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, July 30, 2021

A Friday

 I had the pleasure of a visit from Owen and Maggie (or Magdelina, as Owen is calling her) today while Lily took Gibson to see the doctor. The child has been having random nosebleeds and although it's probably nothing, of course we have to make sure. 

I had a wonderful time with the oldest and the youngest of that family. Maggie washed some more things and while she was at it, I told her that if she'd wash the mermaid tea set that lives in the library we could have a nice tea. She agreed happily and I even made a pot of decaffeinated chai and set out apple slices and Ritz crackers and peach preserves, milk, sugar, and tiny linen napkins and tiny little spoons, and tiny little butter knives. 
It was lovely. 
We discussed everything from how tea made its way to England, to where rice was first eaten, to memories of Owen giving me my grandmother name, to Maggie taking her first steps and we laughed and we drank tea and Maggie put peach preserves in her tea along with sugar and milk, and Mer did not care at all. Even when sugary, jammy tea got a little spilled and things got a sticky.

Before that, though, Owen showed me how to do a google image search from my phone which is so much quicker and easier than doing it on my computer. We were going all over the house image-searching interesting old things I have around here. I thanked him profusely for educating me on this aspect of my phone that I unaware of. He was very graceful about it and didn't shame me for not knowing how it worked. That boy is growing up so fast. We were talking in the kitchen about stuff and I told him that I know it's hard to imagine now but that Boppy and I used to be very good-looking people and he said something like, "No it's not. I'm looking at a good-looking lady right now," which I take to mean that he's already full of it but I loved him for saying that. And Maggie/Magnolia/Magdelina is such a sweetheart, telling me spontaneously that she loves me and thanking me for having them over. 

It's been so damn hot that we stayed in the house but that was okay. No one brought up TV once and we really did have a merry time. 
And then Lily and Gibson got back and of course they had had no idea at the doctor's office why Gibson might be having nosebleeds but they drew some blood and said that if nothing turns up, he should probably go see an ENT. Again- I think it's just a thing. Who among us did not present with odd and mysterious symptoms when we were young and then outgrew them? I know I did. 

After they left I got the laundry off the line. Even though it's so hot, it's also so humid that I had to toss a few things in the dryer to finish them. I made up the bed with the line-dried sheets and put everything away and then Lon and Lis dropped by. Lis and I had coffee and then Mr. Moon got home from running a list of errands and I've been cooking a venison roast in the new pot for hours and hours at a very low heat and I'll do something with that in a few minutes. 

Lis and I made a plan to meet in Monticello tomorrow where we're going to shop at Wag the Dog and a few fine antique and vintage shops and then have lunch. 
What an unbelievable thing it is for us to be able to get together like this. It's like a dream. We went for over a year without seeing each other at all and at least for this moment in time, we feel safe enough around each other to get together, to eat, to chat, to shop. Things may change any day now although Florida's governor refuses to admit the need for lock-downs, masks, or any of the things we know help limit the spread of covid, even as the Delta variant is affecting and infecting so many, filling up our hospitals again. In the county that all of our kids live in, the school board is refusing to institute the mask policy for kids in school, even though the American Pediatric Society and the CDC recommend it, citing "medical freedom."
Medical freedom my ass. 
Publix is re-instituting the mask policy for all employees, according to Lily but she is not sure if that will extend to customers. If it does, the roars of protest will be heard. You can trust me on that. 

As someone said on FB the other day- I am so tired of stupid. 
Me too. 

But. Again - for this moment, we feel safe together and we're going to enjoy every bit of that we can. 

And now it's time to go turn that venison roast into supper. Believe it or not, the green beans are done on the vine. I can't believe it. I imagine I'll be able to find something else to fulfill our vegetative needs. We still have a few tomatoes, one fine cucumber, some peppers, and there's a salad in there somewhere. 

We do the best with what we have, do we not? 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Birthday, Part II

 That is what my beautiful and delicious cake looked like after I'd cut it and served us all. Such a gorgeous cake. It made me feel so spoiled, as did the dinner Lis made. Well, the men grilled the snapper but Lis made the rest. 

And had set the table with such grace, hydrangeas and cotton bolls as decoration. It was all perfection, or, as I said to Jessie just now via text, "A true Williamson/Moon martini feast and fest."


I took the day slowly yesterday. Woke up from the funkiest dream of having a birthday in an alternate life as a woman who lived with her, uh, man and two children in a sleezy truck stop motel. In my dream I said, "This is the worst birthday ever!"
It was another one of those movie-dreams. I have no idea who the man was, did not recognize my children, and there were no other characters who were known to me. My favorite part of it was when I discovered that the man had hidden some vials of cocaine and I was angry because he had not sold them and we REALLY NEEDED THE MONEY!
My mind must be bored (out of its skull?) to have to come up with this insanity. 
It took me a little while to shake off the mood the dream movie had left me in and after I'd been up for a few hours, just doing this and that, I decided that what I wanted to do was to go lay eyes on my big kids and squeeze them tightly. 
So I did. 
I surprised May at work and we stood and chatted for awhile. God, it was just so good to see her. I gave her a jar of pickled peppers one of Moon Sauce, and then let her get back to work. Next I drove over to Hank and Rachel's house. Rachel was at work but I got to sit and visit with Hank and I gave HIM a jar of dill pickles and a jar of dilly beans. 
I'm the pickled foods fairy. 

And the rest of the afternoon I just lazed away and Mr. Moon gave me some beautiful and much appreciated presents. A new Le Creuset pot, just the right size for two people, and a new knife which is like no other knife I've ever seen. It's Asian and could double as deadly jewelry it's so pretty. He also gave me a new knife sharpener. 
The man knows me so well. He was saying later to Lon and Lis that he felt sort of bad- like the guy who gives his wife a vacuum cleaner for her birthday- but I informed him that there was no comparison because I HATE vacuuming but love to cook and the joy of having the very best tools is a glory that I can enjoy every day of my life. 
And it is. 

And then the drive out to the country where Lon and Lis are staying and martinis and porch sitting and chatting and stirring potatoes that were slowly, slowly being browned in butter and it was just the best. We watched the evening come on and the birds flying home overhead and a hawk, darting beneath the pecan trees. 
It could not have been better.

I went to bed last night sweetly buzzed, happy, and content. 

Today I did some chores and then took Lily her van which we had here because it had needed some repair work and Mr. Moon had taken it to the guy down the road who has a shop. And then Lily drove me back here where I picked up my husband and we all met up again at the Wacissa for the swim I did not get yesterday. Mr. Moon desperately needed to get his body in that cold water. He spent the entire morning and half the afternoon helping to unload a dump truck full of dirt which turned out to be red clay which is hard as hell to shovel and he was so absolutely overheated and exhausted that I was honestly worried for him. The guy he was helping was SEVENTY-NINE YEARS OLD and has recently been in the hospital for six weeks with covid and all I can tell you is that men are insane. 

When we got to the river, there were so many people and kids running about and yelling but slowly, folks started packing up and heading home and suddenly, it was almost eerily quiet. 

And once again, the river worked its magic and I could feel my entire being cooling off and relaxing, settling into a place of contentment and comfort. Glen and Lily and I gossiped and talked in-between dips in the icy water, watching the children, enjoying it all. A little boy with blonde curls came right up to Mr. Moon and I swear I thought he was going to climb up into his lap but he just wanted to make a new friend. His mother told us that he's the youngest of four boys and that he wants to make friends everywhere. Maggie met a dog which made her happy and Gibson found friends to play with. Owen had to content himself with merely swimming about. 

Now we're home and I still feel cooler, calmer. And as if my birthday has stretched for two days which is nice. I don't know what it is about swimming in that spring-fed water but it absolutely does make me feel reborn and I know I've beat the dead horse on that particular metaphor but I really have no other words to describe the feeling. 
And if there's anything a sixty-seven year old woman needs, it's to occasionally feel reborn. 
Or as often as possible, to be truthful. No preacher, pastor, priest or pope necessary. Just the cold water that bubbles forth from the aquifer in all of its pure sweetness.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Let The Celebrations Commence!

Those of you who know me may know what this picture signifies. 

It means that LIS IS IN TOWN!!!!!

Oh my goodness. She and Lon are house and dog-sitting for Lon's sister and brother-in-law who have a home in Monticello. This is just an unbelievably delicious treat. A sort of dream come true. We've always fantasized about living next door to each other and although the house they're taking care of is not by anyone's definition next door, it is still close enough for me to have half & half in my refrigerator for Lis's coffee. I do need to point out that Lis herself bought the half & half when we...went to Publix together.

And that's all we've ever really wanted. To be able to do our shopping together, to have coffee together, and maybe go out for lunch now and then. Which we did today. Don't get me wrong- Lis and I have had many incredible adventures together. I mean, she's the one who made me go to Cuba with a group of musicians. An experience I never would have had without her and which I will never forget. And we've taken other trips together, closer to home, but which I will cherish the memories of forever and ever. But to have her close enough for a week to just hang out with is a beautiful and novel thing. 

Tomorrow is my birthday and I am not sure how many of our birthdays we've spent together but more than a few. I remember the first time she ever baked me a birthday cake. Mr. Moon and I were in St. Augustine visiting some good friends of ours who had moved there from Tallahassee and were just starting to know the folks who lived in that magical little town. And Lis and Lon were the best friends of the people we were visiting. I barely knew them at all but they were the kindest, sweetest people and I think we went to hear them play and it was my birthday and Lis made me a cake. 
It was, I think, a Mississippi mud cake with banana. Nirvana was achieved in my mouth and I kept thinking, "She's so nice!"

And we've gone on from there for many, many years. Of course we originally bonded when the lady of the couple we were visiting in St. Augustine still lived in Tallahassee and invited a whole bunch of people over to my house after a gig of Lon and Lis's. I had an entire houseful of people coming over and not one damn thing to offer them and Lis just came into the kitchen and together we made up an assortment of finger foods from what we now describe as catfood and crackers. 
It wasn't really but it might as well have been. 

And Lis is going to make us supper tomorrow night and bake me a cake. I gave her some snapper that Mr. Moon caught to thaw and the men are going to grill it for us. They have their own relationship and in fact, went to lunch in Monticello together today. 

So I'm a happy girl on this, the eve of my 67th birthday. I have absolutely the least interest in my birthday this year that I've ever had and that's saying a lot. I'm hoping that after Jessie gets home (next Sunday!) that the whole family can go to the river for a little swim and celebration. That would make me terrifically happy. It's not that I'm not thrilled to have completed another year of life, it's just that, well, I've had sixty-six birthdays already so what's another one? 

But we'll have a lovely evening tomorrow, I am sure, with the sweetest dearest friends anyone could have, and I have an entire week to chat and drink coffee and go on little adventures with Lis. Almost as if we were next-door neighbors. 

I am such a lucky woman. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, July 26, 2021

Time To Lounge About

 Here's my goofy cat with war wounds. She and Jack have been tearing it up lately. Don't ask me why they hate each other so much. It's probably because Maurice doesn't want to share the house or humans with another cat and I'm sure Jack feels the same. 
This is never going to end, there will never be a detente. They are who they are and this house ain't big enough for both of them. I can imagine them strapping on holstered guns and standing at either end of a dusty western street at high noon, wearing Stetsons, ready to shoot it out for who shall be the baddest ass of this old house in Lloyd.

I have a fertile imagination.

Well, I finally spent some time outside. Most of the day I was in the garden weeding. Don't ask me why I did that. Now I am exhausted and already sore. But it felt pretty good, to tell you the truth. I sweated through my clothes and when I came in and undressed for a much-needed shower, I had green beans in my pockets and felt like a real woman. 
Now who's the bad ass? 

One of the things that made those hours in the sun on my knees almost enjoyable is that I am listening to Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad. 
Holy shit, y'all. This is a good book. 
Mr. Moon and I had started watching the series on Amazon Prime but we didn't finish it and I'm not sure why. I think in way the series was too confusing. A real train? A real train under the ground? Excuse me? And the scene shifting was stressful as we tried to keep up with what was going on. But the book flows and blooms so organically and I am constantly hearing sentences and phrases that I wish to remember (but of course won't) and I am in awe of Whitehead's talent and ability to illuminate with words the many, many-headed Hydra which the owning of human beings was and is. He does not preach. He does not need to because his story has power enough. I think the only other book of his I've read is The Nickel Boys which I read after listening to an interview of him about it and which is a fictionalized version of the former Dozier School for Boys which was located quite near here and which was, in it's way, as horror-full as slavery, albeit for a much shorter time. One cannot say that one "enjoys" reading a book like The Nickel Boys because of those horrors but I wish we had a word that implies the attentive appreciation we can feel while reading a book like that without the implication of feeling any enjoyment about the subject, the situations. 
Do we? Let me know if you can think of one. 

All right. This is not a book review. This is merely a report on my experience of listening to an amazing book as I went about my day. I have no patience anymore with books that cannot capture me whether they are of the too frivolous type or the type that takes itself way too seriously in the name of literature (pronounced with a pronounced poncy English accent). 

One last note- it is Mick Jagger's 78th birthday today. Here is one of my favorite pictures of what we call The Glimmer Twins and what I call beautiful old men. 

Gold rings, on ya, Mick. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, July 25, 2021

And Today's Picture Of Food Is....

Chopped tomatoes, salted and draining for a tomato pie. It has occurred to me that I've only made one during the season which is sort of a sin (as is tomato pie in and of itself) so I've gathered up the different varieties we have and have chopped them and squished them lovingly and set them in the colander with salt. 
The juice from them is delicious, straight out of the bowl I've poured it in. 
I've made a pie crust and will soon slice onions and layer them with the tomatoes in the pastry and top those with basil and then the holy mixture of mayonnaise and cheese and bake it all until it's fit for all the holy angels and demonic devils too. We'll also be having a lovely (I hope) soup of yellow and Delicata squash. 

I've canned six pints of hot and sweet pickled banana peppers and baked a loaf of sourdough today too. And did a little weeding. And a little bit of bathroom cleaning. 

I am out of my mind. Obviously. But I am doing very few activities outside. Because...

And that's six o'clock in the evening. 

Luckily, sitting on the back porch which is shadier right now, with a fan trained directly on me that is industrial-strengthed enough to use to propel a small plane, it is not unpleasant at all. I can watch the chickens and the birds at the feeder and hear the crickets sing, the hens croon. 

I was just thinking a few minutes ago how I've spent my entire life thinking that I should be doing something or I should not be doing something or that I'm wasting my time or that my priorities are perverted or at least not correct and I'm really tired of that shit. So what if I'm spending hours in the kitchen every day? This is the time of year that if you have a garden that you find yourself dealing with the fruits of the gardening labors. That's just all there is to it. And mostly I do enjoy it and I get a great deal of satisfaction preserving the vegetables and fruits that I am able to preserve, and preparing them fresh for us to eat. I mean- isn't this sort of the dream? 

And so forth. 

Fuck it. If I want to can and cook all day I will. 

They say if you can't stand the heat, to get out of the kitchen. Well, my kitchen has air conditioning and so I am fine right there between sink and stove and chopping board. 

I just went out to pick the aforementioned basil and saw this. 

I wish I'd gotten a better picture but you can grasp some of the glory of it and I do love the drooping palm fronds. There was also a very fine and fat bumblebee buzzing the beautiful phlox but she was not having her picture taken and that was that. 

And of course, here are some zinnias. I have these in the kitchen because that is where I am spending the most time these days. 

Off to do more chopping and baking and mixing and sauteing and grating. 

Livin' the dream, y'all. Livin' the dream. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, July 24, 2021

I Hear There's Oscar Buzz

I slept eleven hours straight last night which seems impossible but that's what I did. I suppose I needed it. If so, I surely got what I needed. I woke from the most Leo of Leo dreams. Of course I do not "believe" in astrology but there do seem to be traits. I was born in Leo but have been told that I have more Cancer in my chart which explains why I am so generally fulfilled with homemaking but occasionally wonder why the hell I'm not famous. And in my dream I found myself to be suddenly on the cusp of fame. I had somehow managed to be hired to be in a film and at the end, the director was revealed to be Wes Anderson and after filming was complete, he shook my hand and said something like, "Very special talent," and he shook my hand. I had been thinking (in my dream) that I'd been hired simply because I was old and funny-looking and fat, a comic figure sure to make the audience laugh but then I had realized that old, funny-looking fat women are legion and so someone must have seen something in me. 
And then other directors and notable Hollywood figures also gave me praise- all of this while I was trying to find a ride home because it was so very late at night and of course none of this makes sense and I find it very amusing but also a little sad because who doesn't crave a bit of recognition, even a spot of possible glory, or perhaps just a major career change? 

Ah lah. As one grows older, the game changes from "Never have I ever" to "Never will I ever."
Another thing to make peace with. 

Mr. Moon, as I said yesterday, had gone fishing so I had the day to myself, alone, which I do enjoy very much. I did two crosswords, I made a breakfast, I took the trash and went by the post office. I made the bed, I decided to pick the garden. 
The garden at this time of year is still producing. Some things are really just getting going well. Here that would be the okra and the field peas. I did not pick field peas but did pick peppers, tomatoes, delicata squash, green beans, a few cucumbers, okra, and one rather obscenely long Italian eggplant. 

I still have a canning kettle full of green beans which I have done nothing with. NOTHING!

Besides picking I tried to do a bit of weeding. Because of all the mulch my husband put down in the garden, the weeds have not been horrible. 
Up until this point.
The wicked, evil, invasive trumpet vine is coming up everywhere and it's all connected via roots that go deep, deep down into the dirt and which are strong, stout, and endless. Pulling them, cutting them- it really does no good. But one does have to make attempts, right? The other, less noxious weeds are growing knee-high and after about fifteen minutes of pulling I was hot and miserable, reeking of Deet and sweat. So I switched over to the picking, realizing that I could spend hours with the weeding and never get to the gathering. 

I came in the house and cooled down some and decided to deal with the rest of the peaches. I washed and cut them without peeling- I had read in several places online that you really do not have to peel them and since that is 90% of the work of anything you do with peaches, it certainly cut down on the time and effort. The preserves I made earlier were made with pectin which is not how I generally make jams and preserves. They were definitely easy and also tasted fine but it just seemed like a cheat. So I put these in the big pot with their sugar and lemon juice

and cooked them down until they seemed to be the right consistency according to the cold spoon test and the cold saucer test. And then I put them in the sterilized jars and canned them for fifteen minutes. The peels have given them a lovely rosy color and I do not think they will be bothersome. 

From about five pounds of peaches I got four pints of preserves and so now I have seven pints of them in total, although some of them are in half-pint jam jars. 

Will there ever be a time when I have more to write about than dreams and food growing and preservation? 

I can add that Dottie is now only sitting on three eggs. One of the original five cracked, whether she did it herself or not, I do not know, and one of them I found on the floor of the hen house, covered in what looked like, well, mucus, which makes me think that a snake tried to ingest it and either failed or else spat it out for whatever reason. I think it is way too hot for the other three to survive into peep-hood and this is what happened last year with her eggs. I ended up throwing them all out when the Estimated Date of Confinement (or end of confinement in a hen's case) had well and truly passed. The number of eggs I've been getting has decreased with summer's heat. This is normal, not unexpected, and a sort of relief. 

My husband will be home soon. I am sure that he is completely exhausted, sunburned, and a bit cranky. He called me and told me that only one fish was caught all day. 
Bless his heart. 

Bless all our hearts. Summer in North Florida is a test of our strength, our abilities to withstand the heat and the insects, a time to give great thanks to John Gorrie and his inventions which led to air conditioning. A time to dream of rivers, to visit rivers, to try and let go of the expectations we may set for ourselves concerning gardens and yards, exercise and any outdoor accomplishments, to accept that which cannot be changed with as sweet a temperament as can be maintained. 
And sleep. Plenty of sleep. 
I've got that part down pat, obviously. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Friday, July 23, 2021

Pictures Of Children With Food

 That was Maggie yesterday, sitting on the back steps and feeding bread to the chickens which she loves to do. She is a friend of all animals from dogs to caterpillars. Even Maurice seems to recognize this and will actually approach her which I've never seen her do with any other child. Maggie is wary of Maurice though, having been scratched by her before. In fact, she gave the cat the name "Scratch." 

It is pouring rain right now. I mean, the water is falling from the sky in endless buckets, the back yard is now a shallow pond. Or at least part of it is. I don't know how the dirt is absorbing all this water and I fear that at some point it will stop. Mr. Moon finally got the mowing done today before the flood. 

It's so green and pretty. There is a lot of dollar weed in that "grass" but still, it is green, and the grass is starting to fill in. There will never be grass in my front yard. Too much shade. Every time I look at it, I think of ladies in Africa who sweep their sandy dirt yards every day. I should probably do that too. 

We're having some cracking huge thunder and lighting along with the rain. It's cooled off at least ten degrees since it began falling. 
I am grateful. It has been god awful hot here lately. I know it's been even hotter in other places though, and I'm not really complaining. This is the way it is. 

We had such a good time with Magnolia. She was a fine guest, helpful and jolly. She loves to wash the wooden Buddha that I have on the back porch, as many of you know, and yesterday after that task was complete, she searched for other things to wash.
There are plenty. 
Here she is washing some paper mache Mexican dollies that hang on a wall. 

I do realize that paper mache is probably not meant to be washed in water but it all turned out well. I told her that she was so very good at washing things. 
"I know," she replied with no false modesty. And she is. 
She is such a beautiful child. 

She helped set the table and she helped me make the hamburger buns. She wanted a rolling pin to shape hers with and so I gave her one. Why not? It came out great. She was agreeable in all regards and she and I had some good chats. She bowled me over when she told me that when she'd gone back to school this year in Mrs. Paul's class, that she had been a "bit nervous." 
But she assured me that everything had gone well. I think she is very excited to start kindergarten. She plans on learning to read and she assures me that she can already write her name very well. And this, too, is true. 

After supper last night and the requisite Purple Cow (she chose that over peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream) she took her bath and we continued our chatting there and then after she was bathed and in her pajamas and ready for bed we read a few books but then she wanted to talk some more and so we did. I find these talks with my grandchildren to be the most important and interesting things I can do with them. They will show me their hearts in unexpected ways and words. Anyone who thinks that a four or five year old does not have much to say that is serious or well thought out has not been paying attention. 
Finally, she told me that she was tired and she got in her little bed beside our bed and cuddled under the softest blanket we own and fell asleep immediately. She slept soundly all night long. We had talked about cuddling when she woke up and we did indeed do that. She got in bed and snuggled and then she went back to sleep and I dozed some myself as Mr. Moon slept beside us and Jack curled at our feet. 

She had planned out breakfast before bed. Eggs, bacon, and toast with jam. 
And that is what we had. 

Is she not absolutely gorgeous? 

She had also planned that after breakfast, we would play the matching game. With Boppy, too. And so we did that. I think it was Boppy's first time playing that particular game. Maggie whipped our asses. She was thrilled. We were too.

And then we packed up and she and I drove to town to meet Lily and the brothers at a kitchen supply store where I was shopping for my birthday present. They didn't have exactly what I was looking for but I did buy a popsicle maker for Maggie and the boys. After that, we all decided to go to Japanica! because we haven't been in well over a year. The place was almost empty because it was well after two. 
What memories! No babies to pass around the table today, no toddlers who needed high chairs. Just big kids eating sushi and miso soup and salad with ginger dressing and other tasty things. Owen got a Bento Box lunch today- his first time- which is what I always get. He got chicken, I got tofu. 

He is growing up so fast. They all are. 

And then I had to run and get a little Costco and Publix shopping done, race home, and put it all away, get the sheets in the dryer. 
It is Friday, after all. 
I can't believe that it was a week ago that we were packing things up on Black Mountain to come home. This week has gone by like a wink. We've been so very, very busy trying to catch up here. Every moment has felt a bit frantic with the need to do and get done. Even this morning was like that, trying to get breakfast made and chickens tended and laundry done and playing with Maggie. 

Mr. Moon is going fishing tomorrow and I think I might just kick back a little. We shall see. I need to do something with the rest of the peaches. And the green beans need picking and, and, and...

So here we are. Another week almost past, more days ticked off the timeline, more jars of food in the pantry, more meals cooked and eaten in a world that is changing so swiftly that none of us can fully catch our breaths, I think. All the more reason to slow down, to listen to children as they talk about the things on their radar, the things in their hearts, to listen to all the ones we love in that way. 

I finished the last book in the Lonesome Dove series a few nights ago and I feel bereft. I bought a copy of Roughing It in North Carolina and although I have read it before, I am thinking it will make a good transition back to books which do not have Texas Rangers and the people they know as main characters. Approximately the same era is being written about and some of the same landscapes. And one can really never go wrong with Mark Twain. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Never Stop, Never Stop, Never Stop

The Magnificent Magnolia is here for a sleep-over. She is not wearing that jacket now but actually was when I took the picture. Her mother had begged her not to wear it (I mean, it's like 95 degrees here) but she insisted. After being here a few minutes though, when her mom suggested that perhaps she could leave the jacket here for August or Levon because really, it's a little too small for her, she immediately took it off and gave it to me to give to them.
That girl is sweet. 

And because she's here, I have to keep this short. It's time for me to start concentrating on our supper and I still haven't quite finished cleaning up from the cobbler I just made. 

And I made that after my day's pickling and preserving effort which yielded three and a half pints of peach preserves and seven pints of dill pickles. I feel quite satisfied with all of that. 

So all of that is good and there were no boil-overs today and I've used up almost all of the peaches. Lily and I tasted the pickled peaches and I have to say that they may be the best thing I will preserve this year. If I ever do peaches again, I'm concentrating my efforts on them. 

Here's a picture I took last night of the okra and tomatoes I was cooking. 

I took the picture because it was just so dang pretty. 

And here's a picture I took of the babies where they were roosting in the hen house last night.

But all of this (except for Maggie's visit) pales in comparison to this. 

My heart is dancing. The old boys are going to start it up again. I bet they're chomping at the bit to get back on the road with their spouses, their partners, their kids, their kids' spouses and partners, their grandkids, hell- their GREAT grandkids. 
In Mick's case at least. 
I probably won't even go see them but I am completely happy knowing that they are all fit enough to be insured to go on tour. 
Ooh boy. 

Gotta go make supper now. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A Day In Short Paragraphs And Small Jars

Started out this morning with such joy and high hopes. I was going to get so much done! My cucumbers and onions and peppers had been in the refrigerator all night with salt and a weighted plate on them and all I had to do was drain them, rinse them, drain again, wash canning jars, sterilize canning jars and lids, make the magical pickling concoction with vinegar and water and sugar and spices, pack the jars with all of that, and put them in a water bath! 

Easy peasy! 

And it sort of was. Honestly. 

I made six pints of pickles. Not bad. 

Clean up the kitchen to begin afresh.

Then on to the peaches which I tried to do the blanch-and-peel thing on but they were really not ripe enough for that to work so I ended up knife-peeling and pitting four pounds of peaches, then making the syrup (and it is a syrup- one cup of vinegar, one cup of water, four cups of sugar), then boiling the peaches in the syrup with spices. Again- jars and lids and bands were sterilized.
Now. Let me tell you what happens when you let syrup boil over on the stove. 
You don't want to know. You can imagine. Stove top and some of the floor covered with a nice candy coating. So there was a bit of clean-up involved there and while I was at it, why not scrub the oven door and window clean? Right? 

Peaches all finally in their jars and in the water bath and they came out looking pretty. 
All three pints. 

Oh well. So what you see above represents my day. 

I had thought I'd make peach preserves and/or some dill pickles today but that didn't happen. I'm going to give the peaches another day or so to try the preserves. And I want to make a cobbler in there somewhere. 

Food. Food, food, food. 

Now it's time to make supper. I've already got some pretty little field peas simmering and I'm going to make some okra and tomatoes and a small cornbread and cook a little fish. 
Literally- it's a small fish. I don't even know what it is. It came from the Gulf of Mexico. My husband caught it and cleaned it. It'll be great.

It's raining. The frogs are singing. 

My legs are tired. 

I had to rearrange the pantry today to try and fit more jars of food in. I guess that the seemingly small amounts of food I'm canning on a day-to-day basis do add up. Lily's having the same problem. We're both insane. 

On another note, we woke up this morning with both Jack and Maurice in the bed with us. Both cats in the same bed. I thought perhaps it was the end times. 
If it comes to pass that one day I do wake up and it is the end times, I'll at least have a full pantry. 

Rock on.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Blast Off!

When we were in North Carolina I stole those pups from a plant that was in a pot nestled in the poison ivy in a little seating area outside the kitchen. Plus one more. I brought them home in a plastic bag and got them into temporary housing today. They are commonly called Hens and Chicks as each plant produces smaller versions of itself which nestle up under and beside the mother plant. 

I plan on sharing them with the kids. I am usually loathe to even take cuttings from other people's plants although I have been known to do it. But somehow in this case, it felt okay to do. It was almost as if the pot was abandoned there by the little fence so I helped myself. I left many, many more. 
Turns out that North Carolina has plenty of poison ivy, and it has invaded the yard where we stayed. When I sent my review to the Airbnb, the review for the owner, not for the public, I said something like, "There seems to be quite a bit of poison ivy growing in the sitting area by the kitchen which should perhaps be attended to as it could be a problem for someone unaware of what it is."
That was diplomatic, don't you think? 

Today's mission was to FIND CANNING JARS! As we all know, everyone in the world is putting up food for the apocalypse or something with all of the fervor and enthusiasm with which we all made sourdough bread and hoarded toilet paper. 
I, having been a canner most of my life, feel as much resentment about these Johnny-come-lately's in the world of food preservation as I did about the people who suddenly decided to make bread and bought up all the damn flour in the world. 
I am not an especially nice person and that is just one example. 

I went to the Ace Hardware in Tallahassee after calling the Monticello Tractor Supply who had none, and found 1/2 pint and quart jars. I bought some of both. Then I decided to fuck all of my morals and ethics and go by Walmart where I scored. I got three dozen wide-mouth pint jars, which I like best because it's easier to arrange more beans or cucumbers in them before I pour the brine or syrup in. This brought me a great deal of satisfaction, I have to admit. 
While I was doing that, Mr. Moon was back out in the mosquitoes between rain showers, picking the rest of the garden. There is now an entire canning kettle full of beans for me to do something with. Many of them, in my opinion, are too mature to make good dilly beans or even to just cook and eat but Mr. Moon disagrees. I cooked some last night and he thought they were great. 


When I got home from shopping I fully intended to make some bread and butter pickles OR pickled peaches OR peach preserves but I wanted to make tonight's gumbo first to use some of the okra and also because we love it. I haven't made bread and butter pickles in a long time and did not remember that the cucumbers, onions, and peppers have to sit in the refrigerator with pickling salt overnight. Pickled peaches seemed to be quite a project also, and preserves take quite a while to make. So I made my gumbo and then as it simmered, I cut up the vegetables for the pickles and salted them all down, put a weighted plate on top of them and set them in the refrigerator. I'll make the pickles and can them tomorrow and I'll also, hopefully, do something with the peaches which are getting riper by the second. 
The only thing I've ever done with peaches in my entire life is to make cobblers with them, slice them to go on cereal or in yogurt, and put them in smoothies. So this shall be interesting. 

Mr. Moon is now sitting in his chair, watching movies and shelling field peas. Luckily, those are very easy to preserve by blanching and freezing. They taste as good to me when they come out of the freezer as the fresh ones do. And that is very good. 

So Jeff Bezos spent how much money getting himself shot into space today? And Richard Branson did the same last week. 
Hoo boy. 
Say what you will about Bill Gates. At least he's spent his money (or some of it at least) doing things that benefit humanity rather than riding penis rockets into the sky.

Okay. Tell the truth and shame the devil. That was Bezo's penis rocket. Branson did his trip via a plane with a carrier plane. I do not quite understand how this works and yet, it did. 

Listen- I have always supported the idea of NASA and space exploration because it has intrigued me since I watched from my school yard in Roseland, Florida as Alan Shephard's spacecraft was launched in 1961. That felt monumental. As did the walk on the moon. The books of Robert Heinlein fed my imagination and the books of Ray Bradbury inspired my imagination.
But this just seems like two billionaire's wet dreams. 
They're in competition now to see how many people will sign up for a seat on a very short ride to experience zero gravity for three minutes. And according to what I've read, a whole lot of people have already signed up for that privilege. 

Well, whatever. I guess it's their money and they can do with it what they want. They can further destroy the environment of their only home planet but they're going to have to return (very quickly) to deal, as all of us do, with the reality of that destruction. 

And hey- I went to Walmart today so who am I to judge?

Love...Ms. Moon