Monday, May 16, 2022

And Here We Are Now

 I got up off my lazy weekend butt today and took a walk. It was hot and for awhile I thought that perhaps we might get some rain as the sky to the south was looking bruised while great puffy clouds like the ones in that picture were scuttling across the sky to the west. I did not run into anyone I needed to talk to, didn't see a soul at No Man Lord's. I just walked and came home. 

I took a shower and went to town for groceries because I'm not sure how this week is going to go. Tomorrow the stove repair guy is supposed to come and I have no idea when. And on Wednesday we're getting our second boosters, or, as I like to call them, the booster-boosters. I know that some people have fairly severe reactions to those so I don't want to have to go to town if I don't feel like it. 
When I got to Publix, there were about four police cars parked right in front and officers of the law were escorting a man out of the store with his wrists in cuffs. Yesterday I had watched a video on FB of a guy getting tased by police in the parking lot of another Publix and I don't know what that was about but he DID have a large axe in his hand which he refused to put down so I suspect some sort of drugs. 
I saw Lily as soon as I walked into the store and said, "So, is this get-arrested-at-Publix-week?" 
She said, "I guess so."
There had been some situation where a guy cut off another guy in traffic and supposedly the man in the state-issued bracelets had pulled a gun and followed the other guy into the Publix parking lot and THEN into the store and there was a great deal of yelling and Lily said she was quite understandably frightened. And wouldn't you know that the guy who reportedly had the gun was a white guy and the guy whom he had brandished it at while driving was a Black guy and as Lily said, at least this time the police got it right. And no gun was found but dear god, after what happened in Buffalo an incident like that cannot help but feel extremely dangerous. I cannot believe that we are now in the space and time where a lunatic can get a gun and, acting on his own racist beliefs and the filth he finds online supporting and encouraging those beliefs, travel to a place where there are likely to be people of color shopping and shoot and kill them and we just...shrug? Get enraged again? Become even more despondent, depressed, and anxious? 
I don't know. I do not know shit.
All I know is that we seem to have lost all sanity and decency as a society and I swear to you- I don't think there is any way to fix this. 
For two years we were deathly afraid of being exposed to Covid in grocery stores and now we need to consider whether or not there is a psycho killer with a gun sitting in the parking lot who could very possibly make the decision to get out of his car with that gun, enter the store, and kill everyone in his sights to register his hatred of anyone who does not fit his definition of an acceptable fellow American. 

What the hell, people? What the fucking fuck?

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Although I was lazy as a lizard today, I feel like I got something huge accomplished in that I sent in a request to book a place near Black Mountain, NC, for us to stay when we go up to visit the Weatherfords this summer. This has become a much-beloved ritual for us, to travel up to the Smoky Mountains and stay for a few days, enjoying the views and vistas, the rocky rivers, the charm of Black Mountain, and of course Vergil and Jessie and the little boys we miss so much when they leave to go join their mountain family. 
For some reason, this year I just did not stress out about finding us a place to stay. Of course there is always the FOMO- fear of missing out, not to be confused with MOFO which Mr. Moon did immediately upon me explaining what those initials mean. 
I'm pretty sure he did that to make me laugh. Which it did. 
There are hundreds of listings on VRBO for the Black Mountain area, not to mention the ones on AirBnB and the hundreds more for the Asheville area. So of course I want to make sure that I am getting the BEST place to stay for the money and I've already spent a few days clicking and scrolling, clicking and scrolling. 
Our priorities are to be somewhat near where Jessie and Vergil stay on their mountain and that the place has some privacy. I have no desire to be on top of anyone else's hideaway cabin. We need at least one king-sized bed with no footboard for my giant man, an extra room or two for when August and Levon join us for the night and bring their mom and dad along. A kitchen that I can cook in (which would be almost any kitchen) and a big table where we can all eat. Almost everything else is negotiable but this year we decided to go for it and I found us a place with all of that AND an outdoor hot tub, plenty of room, lots of windows, and a little burbling creek. 
And if that creek doesn't burble, someone's going to get an email about false advertising. 
Nah. Not really. But won't the boys have fun playing in a creek? 
I think it will be lovely. Of course you have to send in your request and payment method and then within 24 hours you're supposed to hear back as to whether or not you've been accepted. I think I have a decent profile on VRBO and if all goes well, we are good to go. 

I am excited about the prospect of this trip. We've done it enough now that I don't have a great deal of pre-trip anxiety, of fear of the unknown. Mr. Moon and I have already been reminiscing about former trips and the things that made us laugh and the things we surely want to do again and the things we surely do NOT want to do again, one of which is to stay at a Quality Inn on the way home which although there were no actual bloodstains on the walls, still managed to transmit a feeling that an episode of CSI Buttfuck, Georgia may have been filmed in it.
There was a Waffle House across from the parking lot which, although a plus, did not begin to redeem the creepiness or smell of the room. 
So we are excited and now I have to figure out a book for me to read out loud on our journey as we drive. 

I told Mr. Moon this morning that despite what my weather widget said, I thought it was going to rain because my old hips ached so much. And sure enough, later on this afternoon as we were lazing about, a sudden boom-blast of thunder hit close enough to make the window above us rattle. 
"Whoa!" we said. 
And before long, we were getting another downpour. 
It was beautiful. 

It did not last too long but long enough for it to cool everything off and make the air feel soft on my skin, to hopefully bring up some yummy bugs for my chickens to scratch out of the earth, to give the garden another drink of sweet water. 

Chicken story of the day: This morning when I went to let the chickens out of the hen house and throw them their scratch and fill up their feeder, Violet's little baby had failed to follow her out of the coop and was frantically trying to get to her mama through the wire. I have come to think that this is part of the mother hen educational strategy because Darla just did the same thing last week and I've seen it happen before. Generally, the mother does not get far enough away from the chicks to let this happen but perhaps, in a safe, controlled environment it can be a teachable moment to let the young'uns try to figure their way out of the coop. So Violet's baby (shall we call her/him Pansy just for fun?) was peeping and peeping and peeping and trying to squeeze her little body through the even smaller holes in the wire and because she was in a corner I was able to scoop her up, intending to take her outside, thus probably setting her training back a week or two, and Darla, who was already outside near Violet with her three lost her mind and flew up and bumped me when I got outside. It wasn't even her baby and she was in attack mode! Whoa girl, I said and gently put Pansy down next to her mother and Darla went on about her business, convinced, I'm sure, that she had saved that child's life. 
She is a good mother. 

There is a woodpecker busily searching for bugs in what sounds like a rotten tree limb. It is making a loud, hollow sound and reminds me of a New Yorker joke that I saw today that made me laugh. 

And for those of you have been wondering what old Jack looks like these days, I give you this.

The bane of Maurice's life, the big boi who sleeps wherever he wants, whenever he wants, the man with no plan, the King of the Porch. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Minding My Peas and (Barbe)Cues

That may well be some of the last of the green peas. I have enjoyed them so much this year. Sweet as candy. Delicious cooked or raw. Mr. Moon has even eaten some and he really does not like peas. But it's hard not to like these. 

Our evening with Owen was lovely. We watched the British Bake Off while we ate our chicken parm which he claimed was even better than his mama's but I doubt that. Lily is an excellent cook. The chocolate ice cream was just ridiculously good. He helped me get the ice cream maker all set up and ready to go. He is just a very fine young man. He was tired after supper and took his shower and got in his bed and I kissed him good night and that was that. 

This morning we had our pancakes and then the three of us played Yahtzee. I'm glad I got that game out the other day. I'd forgotten how fun it is. Owen won today, of course. I felt so grandparent-ish, playing a game like that with him. We met up with Lily and the other two kids after that at the Hilltop for lunch. 

There was some sort of craft fair going on down the road and there's also a motorcycle thing happening in Tallahassee and even at 1:30 the place was crowded. It's not a big place and I couldn't deal with all the people waiting for their orders so I went outside and vultured the people eating at the tables there in order to snag one for our crowd. 

It's set up oddly. On the left there, you can see the few shelves of convenience store groceries they carry but their main business is the selling of food made to order. You stand at the counter and look at the two huge chalkboards and one white board with menu items, make your choice, order, and then wait. For quite awhile, usually. You can get everything there from subs to salads to fish dinners to shrimp po'boys to barbecue to Reubens to Cubans. The side orders range from the usual cole slaws and french fries to fried okra, green beans, fried green tomatoes, potato salad, onion rings and so forth. There is also a cold case with cakes and pies. 
When you get your food, they call your name and you go collect a styrofoam box with an order ticket on it and you take that and your drink (they have excellent iced tea) up to the counter and pay and then you can either take it with you or find a seat. 
The food is not very healthy nor is it fantastic but it is food and generally good and there is a grand variety of it and it's the only place to get food between Tallahassee and Monticello. 
For now, anyway. I imagine things will be changing. 
There are always workers of every kind there along with hunters, fishermen, sheriffs in their full regalia, families who are treating themselves to a meal out, folks just driving the backroads for sightseeing, people who don't have time to cook, and, today, lots of motorcycle riders. Like the Wacissa river, like a watering hole in the Serengeti, like the DMV, it is a place where all gather peacefully. Today Patsy Cline was playing on the sound system and the man running the cash register was singing the words to "Crazy" right along with Patsy. I had a pork barbecue sandwich which was delicious and a side of coleslaw which was definitely made in-house and was actually incredibly good.

I know I've written about the Hilltop before but it's a part of the local color and it's also a part of our lives. 

Everything seems to be fine in chicken world. I saw Darla and her kids taking a dirt bath today, wallowing down into the soil of the kitchen garden and it was too cute, watching those babies sift the gritty dirt through their little wings. I saw one stand up to his full hight and I really cannot believe how much they've grown in such a short time. 

It poured rain here for a very short amount of time yesterday evening and today has been the more beautiful for it. Everything as green as it can possibly be, the birds happy, Daddy cardinals feeding their young on the feeder, and the sun still luminous and not yet a burning coal in the blue, blue sky yet. 
It'll get there but for now, it's all pretty much a joy. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 13, 2022

It's Owen's Night!


Oh, how quickly Owen is growing right now. Some of you remember him from when he was a newborn, some from when he was a bit older. He was four in this picture. 

Now Melissa? She hasn't changed one iota in eight years. But Owen certainly has. 

I spent all day doing a little cleaning around here. I washed the sheets on both beds and I mopped two rooms and the hallway. I did a lot of sweeping and although I did not take a walk, I've logged almost ten thousand steps anyway, just going from one end of this house to the other, out to the clothesline, the garden, the hen house, and back again. I made up the goop that will go in the ice cream freezer in just a little while. Cocoa, sugar, milk, and cream. And vanilla. I've got the chicken all ready to go into the air fryer in preparation for the chicken parmesan, pounded and coated with flour, egg, and panko. Isn't it amazing how I can compartmentalize the love of MY chickens and the chicken I buy in the store? As I always say, I am such a hypocrite and I know it. 

Our biggest boy is here, and it's a joy. He and I have already discussed family history and relationships, religion, roosters, and the fact that schools should mandate classes in the arts. He's taking guitar now at his school and loves it. 

I was looking at his beautiful face as we chatted on the back porch. He looks like his mother but he mostly looks like himself. The Moon genes are strong in him, at least when it comes to his physical being but I am sure there is some of my family in the mix. There has to be. And isn't that what our biological purpose on this planet is? To pass on our genes?

His ring size is already the same as his grandfather's and let me just tell you- that's a large ring size. As Mr. Moon shook up our martinis just now, I thanked him for letting me mix my genes with his. 
"You're welcome," he said, handing me my icy drink. We clinked and kissed and now I need to finish making our supper. 

Happy Friday, y'all.
Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 12, 2022

We Sure Do Have Some Blue Skies Around Here Right Now

I had a GOOD walk today and y'all- it about killed me. I did Lloyd Creek road again and it is so lovely and provides shade but the mile and back from it are full-on sun and although it's still not terribly hot, it's hot enough. My hair is still soaked from sweat. 

This is about a third of a mile from my house, looking back. On the right we have the house and property of the people who drive around with a big Trump banner and a big American flag flying from their pick-up truck. On the left is the dump depot and the volunteer fire department building which is a quonset hut. 
I think I was born in a quonset hut. 
No. Really. 

On my way back home I walked down Main Street to take another picture of the FDG to enrage myself even further. 

And if all this shit wasn't bad enough here's another article in the Monticello News. 

The meeting was canceled. I do not know why. This area is about a mile and a half away from us, across from where the interstate is. I knew the behemoth Amazon center that's being built in Tallahassee right off the next exit from ours was going to impact us. You cannot believe how big that thing is. 

Let's see. Where should we move? Wilma, can I come join you in Belize? 

But other than all of that, I had a nice day. Jessie called to see if they could come out for a little visit this afternoon and I said, Oh, please! It was so sweet to see those boys and their mama. 

We played Yahtzee! Jessie and August played on one team and Levon and I on another. Levon is good at rolling dice and August is getting very good at counting and adding. I hadn't played Yahtzee in years and it was fun. And then they let me read them some books which at this point is just such a gift to me. I'll never be on the big stage but by golly, I can read a kid's book out loud with the best of them. My accents make the boys laugh which is sweeter to me than all the applause on Broadway.

I saw something today in the world of chickens I'd never seen before. I didn't see how it began but I looked up to see Darla and her sister Dottie fighting! Bumping chests the way chickens do, although generally roosters. I think that perhaps Dottie had gotten too close to the babies and Darla was not having it. They made no noise, just the jumping up and bumping and then Liberace ran over and quickly intervened. He finally got inbetween them and gave Dottie a little peck and sent her on her way and it was over. Darla went back to scratching in the magnolia leaves with the triplets. 
My god, I love that rooster. 
And then a few moments later there was this: 

Dottie was pecking off dead skin (I think) from Liberace's comb. I usually think she's getting gnats off of him but I saw no gnats today. Anyway, all was forgiven and it was so sweet, the way he bowed his head to give her access to groom him. 
I just can't help but think it looks like she's kissing him. 

Well, my man just got home from town. I think I will go kiss him. And then make our supper. 
It's a good life, Fucking Dollar General or not. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Way It Is Today

Here we have a picture of Lloyd Creek where it goes under the railroad track. Now before you shake your head and wonder what in hell has polluted that creek so badly, I rush to assure you that the color comes from all of the tannins in the water from fallen leaves. 

Here's another picture upstream just a bit. 

It's sort of a pretty little creek in its own wild-Florida way. When Hank and May were very young I used to take them to cool off in it. It looked the same then. Supposedly there's a huge alligator around that area but I've never seen it. I would not be surprised though. 

I wanted a different walk today and so I headed east on Old Lloyd Road, specifically to walk on Lloyd Creek Road but that's a mile from my house so I really only walked about half a mile on Lloyd Creek but it was pretty. Hardly any traffic on that road and lots of trees to provide shade. When I had just moved in here, I injured my knee and couldn't walk for awhile so I found a crapped-out bicycle amongst our belongings and started riding that for awhile and LCR was my go-to. It spans the distance between Old Lloyd Road and Highway 27 which is a pretty good ride for someone on a crapped-out bike. It is hilly in some parts and goes past farm fields and cattle, through woods and through little communities, past paths that lead to houses deep in those woods. 

On my way home, I finally met the woman who has moved in next door. She was on her porch and I called out to her. We talked for a good while and I like her. She reminds me in looks of what I used to look like when I was much younger. She loves Lloyd. She loves the train, she loves my rooster, she likes the neighbors. I told her that I hope she is as charmed by it all in five years. I mean- eighteen years after moving here I'm still charmed but Lloyd's not for everybody. She offered to walk with me sometime and I told her thank-you but that I like walking alone, which I very much do. I like to listen to my books or podcasts and I don't like to match my pace to anyone else's. When I am in my walking groove, I just want to WALK fast enough that I don't have enough breath to chit-chat. She said she understood. I feel like now that I am older I can get away with these truths and not have to feel bad about them. I am a grumpy old lady who doesn't socialize much and I deserve, at this point, to be able to just say it out loud. 

It's still rather cool here. In fact, Mr. Moon got cold last night in our bed under the open window. The weather is just delightful and we have decided to wait until next week when the temperatures go back up to the 90's to go to the Blue Spring when it will be hot enough to truly enjoy them. I am so looking forward to that. 

My across-the-street neighbor got in touch with me and we have figured out more people to call about the FDG. She actually spoke to the project manager who of course reassured her that all is being done properly to protect the land. 
She said he was very polite and listened to her concerns but of course, nothing has changed. She also discovered that the place where they're going to put the septic system is the exact place where standing water is present. This enraged me so much that by a long twisting path I ended up talking to a man named Cameron with the Jefferson County environmental health department who was also exceedingly polite. He is new in the office and at first he reassured ME that there had been at least two, maybe three inspections of the site. But he kept listening to me as I told that there was a culvert less than a hundred feet away which indicates that at least the transportation department recognized the water-flow problem and also, that a nearby resident (Abraham) who was born and raised in Lloyd and who is eighty years old, told me that there has always been water on that lot. He said that he would go see it and that if I'd like to email him pictures, that would be good. 
He also told me that he does not get final say in a project like that and thus, I am sure that even if he does go to the site himself and inspects it and deems it an unsuitable place for a septic system, it may not make a difference. 
But at least he sounded sincere. And he thanked me. 
So of course I sent pictures and who knows if anything, anything at all will come of that. 
Probably not. 

And that's what's happened in Lloyd today from my tiny perspective. Not much, in other words. But it has been beautiful and, oh, yes- I threw away Violet's other eggs. Here's a picture of her and her child out scratching. 

Not a good picture but this little one is very shy. 
I just love the way the hen-moms scratch and then step back to see what they have uncovered and if it's something to eat, they make a sort of chittering chirrup that alerts the biddies that there's another dish on the endless daily buffet. 

Darla is blurry here but you can see how the chicks rush to snap up whatever it is that she has found. 
And here they are looking about on their own. 

Every day she lets them get a little farther away from her until she calls them back. Today they were venturing perhaps a few feet away. I am constantly amazed at the instinctual knowledge of the hen when it comes to chick-rearing. It's a very slow and determined process wherein the goals are not only to keep the babies safe but to raise them to be independent of any help from her. 
It fascinates me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Do Not Read If You Have A Problem With Speculums And Their Uses

This little pair is so photogenic. I need to name that one baby child. Pansy? I think I had a Pansy before but if so, she is long gone. Gosh but I hope the chick isn't a rooster. Violet finally got off the nest this afternoon and has the baby out scratching in front of the hen house. I think it's time to throw the rest of the eggs away. I noticed just now that some hen has laid another egg in that nest alongside the ones Violet's been sitting on. Too little, too late, Missy! 
One of Darla's chicks has been named by Gibson who always names a chick "Dearie." It is tradition. In this case, it's the chick with black wing feathers coming in.

So that's the chicken news. Here's the main thing I did today.

I think all you ladies will figure it out immediately. 
I knew that my bio-identical hormones prescription was going to require a renewal from my GYN and I also knew that I was going to have to go see him as I have not graced his office or exam table in years. I mean- come on. You have to be realistic. I do get my mammograms and last year I did have that ultra sound to measure my uterine lining to make sure things were in balance but that's not a hands-on situation with a speculum in your own personal body parts. 
So I had to make an appointment which I did and today was the day. It literally took me longer to fill out all the damn paperwork than it did to get the exam. And the exam was not bad at all. This doctor is so gentle and kind and puts me at ease right away. Turns out that women over 65 aren't necessarily recommended to get anymore paps which is awesome. He told me he'd be glad to give me one if I wanted one or if he saw anything worrisome but that was a negatory on both issues. 
My "tissues" looked "good." 
Phew! What a relief! Don't we all want good looking tissues? 
I know I do. 
When he saw that Dr. Zorn was my GP he said, "He's got a new office, doesn't he? I'm gong to be seeing him soon. He's my GP too."
Turns out that Dr. Zorn isn't just popular among the young and female and old and female. Even older male fellow-doctors think he's pretty darn great. 
"He looks like a kid," my GYN told me. "But he's a whiz." 
In the end, I decided that overall, I'd rather get an internal exam from this doctor than walk four miles on a hot day. I'm not kidding about that either. This is not to say that I wasn't shaking with anxiety before I left the house. Hell, I took 3/4's of a .5 mg Ativan before I took my shower which was probably the first Ativan I've taken in months. Many months. Those pills are so old I don't even know if they're still any good but the placebo effect is real and if that's what calmed me down a little, then that's good enough for me. 

So I did that and then I picked up a few things at Costco and at Publix, feeling all relieved and shit. I had clean hair, shaved legs, and was wearing a new dress I got off ebay which I quite like. You should see the pockets on this thing! I felt like I was on a date with myself. 
But I will say that I'm fairly exhausted now. Getting so worked up will do that to you, even if there was no logical reason to it. There never is any logical reason for my panic when I have to go to a doctor and I doubt I'll ever get over that. I was thinking the other day about how I even tried going to a hypnotist for the problem but that just did not work out First of all, he was a retired MD. Secondly, he was really old and sort of creeped me out. He insisted on giving his instructions through a microphone that looked like it may have come from an RKO studio in the forties while I was less than four feet away from him which made me wonder if he was insane and also made me want to laugh in a not-entirely comfortable way. The whole situation was so anxiety-producing that it seemed extremely counter-intuitive to go back to him to get treatment for anxiety. The old dude even e-mailed me several times after I told him that no, I wasn't interested in any more sessions, advising me that he thought I would really benefit from seeing him again. 
I guess we'll never know, will we?

Anyway, I survived today and have very little planned for the rest of the week which is just the way I like it. Perhaps Mr. Moon and I should take a day to drive over to the state park that Jessie and Vergil went to on Sunday. It's called Madison Blue Spring State Park and I'm not sure if I've ever even heard of it but it sure does look heavenly.

And it's less than an hour's drive away. 
Yes. I think we should do that. 

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here's some roses.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 9, 2022

At Least I Got My Steps In


Coral Bean

Had a decent walk today. I should do a translation of my walk terms. Such as:

Better than no walk at all walk= 1 mile
Dinky walk= 2 miles
Decent walk= 3 miles
Good walk= 4 miles. 

I guess that 5 miles would be a damn good walk but I haven't done that in awhile. 

Anyway, I had a new experience. I was walking by No Man Lord's which had a lot of activity going on and there were a couple of guys that I recognize sitting in the shade and another person getting water from the spigot. Also- a dog that I thought might possibly have been one of the dogs who attacked my chicken a few months ago. So for some reason I stopped and said, "Excuse me! But is that y'all's dog?"
The person holding the bucket came walking towards me and it turned out she was a woman. She claimed the dog as hers and we then began what became about a twenty minute conversation. What an interesting woman! When she found out that I had chickens she fairly blatantly asked me for a hen. She said she has one hen and a rooster but she's trying to get some chickens started for the two guys who were sitting in the shade. I told her that no, I don't give my chickens away because they're like pets and that she should go to the Tractor Supply and pick up a few chicks. She wanted a hen that was already laying though. She was under the impression that it takes a year or more for a hen to start laying. I told her that no, it could easily happen within six months. 
Turns out she is a teacher. That's her calling. But right now she's taking some personal time. I think she's trying to get some sort of business going with the two guys sitting in the shade (who, it turns out, are related to Harvey, aka No Man Lord) like landscaping and painting and simple carpentry and mechanics. 
It was a pretty good conversation and by the time it was over I asked her her name again and it's not an easy name to say and I have no idea how to spell it so she said, "Let's think of a name you can call me that's easier."
I immediately said, "Boss," which made her laugh and she said, "Boss Lady."
Trust me. She is the boss. 

And then I resumed my walk. 

I cleaned the hen house today. Nests that have been used for brooding for three weeks require some tidying up, as you can imagine. The brooding mothers do not poop in the place where they are brooding so that's a good thing but still, fresh straw is called for. I also moved Violet down to the ground, next to where Darla nests with her babies. I set Violet's child down with her and also gave her the eggs she's been sitting on. I hope that Darla doesn't freak out. I see no signs that Violet's other eggs are going to hatch but I'll let her keep them for a day or so. One of them rolled out from underneath her and I watched as she quite skillfully and gracefully, moved it back where it belonged with her beak. 

There's a not very good picture of Mother and Child. At least in this situation, the two small families can share a feeder and a waterer although, as I have said, Darla's chicks are barely eating any of the chick feed. Their mother had them all over the yard again today. They are a busy little unit. 

Lily brought her kids over this afternoon after school for a quick visit. The children got to see the new biddies and Maggie and I played two rounds of the matching game and the boys played Wii with their granddad. Snacks were consumed. Owen is going to spend the night on Friday and so we discussed what he wants for his supper that night. Chicken parmesan. 
That can be arranged. 
Maggie found the doll she left here last time she spent the night because the dolly wanted a stay-over visit. She was glad to be taking the child home and asked me if she'd been a good girl during her stay.
"So good," I told her. "I barely knew she was here."

And now it's quiet here again and I've already partially made our supper- the creamy cashew curried squash and sweet potato soup that I love. All I have to do now is puree the vegetables and reheat it all with the coconut milk. The oven in my Thermonster has suddenly quit working for no apparent reason and so I'll be making naan on the stove to go with the soup. 
Dammit! We've got the stove guy coming out but not until next week. I can't believe this. I am VERY disappointed. The broiler works, the convection fan comes on, but the oven just won't ignite. It worked fine yesterday when I baked that pie. I am so disappointed. 
But of course, this is such a first world problem. I have my air-fryer which is also a toaster oven, a baking oven, a convection oven and an air-fryer so I'll just be baking things in smaller amounts which is not a bad thing anyway. 

I haven't answered comments today because of time constraints but I'll try to get to them. I've taken to checking my spam comment folder lately because it seems as if a lot of comments are getting sent there. I check them off as not-spam and publish them when I find them. I sometimes wonder how long blogger will continue to provide this platform. I can't see how it makes them any money at all. But it does seems as if they are letting things slip. 
You get what you pay for, I suppose. 

Here's another shot of the coral bean. 

It gladdens my heart to see it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 8, 2022

A Very Sweet Mother's Day

How cute is that this little one? 

Still only one baby and that may well be it. She/he could be an only child. But that's okay. Violet shows no signs of wanting to get off the other eggs she's sitting on so I'll leave her be for now. They have food and water in their nest so they will be okay. Eventually, I'll move her down to the ground floor where Darla and her three are. 
Those kids are growing so fast. 

I saw one of them fly up about six inches today to perch on a board. It's so crazy, watching those feathers come in, almost right before my eyes. 

So it's been a lovely Mother's Day around here today. My kids had asked me what I wanted to do for today and I said that honestly, I know they love me and they know I love them and all I really wanted was a call or a text and that is exactly what I got and it has all been so relaxing. I feel loved. And I've seen all of my children within the last week. I don't ever want my children to think that they need to prove on one specific day of the year that they love me. To hell with that! I remember the guilt-flowers I sent my mother every year and the memory makes me cringe. Not that there's anything wrong with sending flowers but when I'd ordered the ones to send to my mother, I always felt such a relief that THAT chore could be crossed off the list. Isn't that awful? My feelings about my mother are so fucking complex and possibly unnatural that I don't even try to figure them out any more. They are what they are. 
She wasn't perfect. I wasn't perfect. I think the closest to resolution of my feelings will be to say that I try not to judge her just as I try not to judge myself. 
Being a vastly imperfect person that's not really quite possible but it's not a bad place shelf on which to store it all until enlightenment strikes and I become a Bodhisattva or something. 
Let's not hold our breaths. 

I woke up to a jar of garden roses by my coffee cup along with a love note. And then my sweetheart asked me if I'd like him to transplant my favorite camellia to a place where it could get enough light and have room to breathe. 
Oh yes! I would! 
And he did that which was a LOT of work and at one point I said, "I bet you're wishing you'd just gotten me a card now, don't you?" 
"Pretty much," he said. But oh, how happy that camellia looks, planted between the two blueberry bushes right near the clothesline. 

It's a little hard to see her but she is smiling. 

I made an apple and blackberry pie just because I wanted the pleasure of handling butter and flour and filling the kitchen with deliciousness in the air. Mr. Moon went to town to buy some steaks that he's going to grill along with some corn and I've got a loaf of bread rising and will make a salad. Jessie and her family stopped by on their way home from going to a local state park with a sinkhole and a river that I didn't even know about and just stayed for a few minutes, long enough to see the new babies and for August to build a quick Lincoln Log house. I told him that it was a beautiful house and that I'd let him build me a house any day. He said, "I can only build a little house," and I said, "Well, one day you'll know how to build a real one."
He thought about that for a second and said, "I'll need some buddies to help. Especially if it's a log house."
A man with a plan. I love it. 

When Glen was at Publix he ran into Lily and her brood and they gave him the present that Lily and Maggie had made for me. It is now hanging on the kitchen porch with the lowering sun shining through it. 

I have decided today that instead of Mother's Day, we should celebrate Badass Nurturer Day. And so here's to all of the people who tend to babies and gardens, dog-and-cat kids, and chickens. To all the people who are the responsible and/or fun aunts and uncles, the unconditionally loving grandparents, and the people who nurture the art, the music, the planet. The people who work with children who make a difference in those children's lives. The people who stand up for the children whose voices have been silenced or who never have had a voice. The people who, for whatever reason, had to give up a child to adoption and in doing so, have given someone else the opportunity to be a mother. The people who have known and loved those children as their own, even as they never forgot the gift they have been given. 
And to the women who are in labor right now, this second, as we speak- I recognize and respect and honor the travail you are going through. It is like nothing else you will ever experience. And although it is often said that women do not remember the pain of childbirth, I am here to tell you that we do. And yet, somehow, we choose to experience it again sometimes, because the reward of holding a life we've created in our own arms is also something else we never forget. 

As I told Hank today, it has been a joy being his mother. A joy and a trip. And so it has. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 7, 2022

All Is Well

The biggest news today is that one of Violet's eggs has hatched. At least one. I finally had to force myself to stop bothering the little hen. She is stressed out enough as it is. But on one of my checks, I heard a peeping and sure enough, one of the babies was just about through a tiny hole in the membrane of the egg. Did you know that you can hear them peep before they hatch? Oh! What joy! And I do know that it has entirely hatched now but I have got to leave them alone. I am not sure why I'm so fascinated by Violet's eggs hatching. I mean- they're not even really her babies. Well, of course they are because she will be their mama but not biologically. I'm glad that one of Darla's chicks is Violet's bio-babe. But honestly, I think I'm attached to Violet in a different way because she's been with us so long and because she's definitely an older mother. There's just something so impressive and inspiring about such a big and strong spirit living in such a tiny bird. 
Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to take pictures of some new fluffy peeps. 

It's been a most beautiful day here in Lloyd. The high was only around 85 degrees which is a sight better than 95. That rain really cooled things off. I walked down to the post office this morning and then to FDG site and unfortunately, the rain did not wash everything away. 

There is more standing water, however. 
I have noticed that there is no building permit posted as of yet which I am pretty sure is some sort of violation. I will be calling Jefferson County Land Planning on Monday about that. Not that it will do a thing. 

Again, I waited until today, a Saturday, to wash the sheets. When I have boy-duty, there just isn't enough time. I mean, there would be if I got up earlier on Friday but let's not get crazy here, okay? And today was a perfect day to hang bed linens and all the rest of the laundry on the line. I also did some garden weeding. Despite the lower temperatures, I sweated through my clothes. Ah! If only that "sweating out the toxins" thing was true. I would be so pure. 

It's been good to have the man back. He's jumped right in and is working on dismantling the deck between the house and the old kitchen. I told him he needs his Levon to help him and he does. Levon is such a good helper. I've never met a four-year old so willing and able to do actual work. Like we all keep saying, if he had a job, he would be the happiest boy in the world. 

From where I'm sitting I can see Darla scratching and throwing up dirt in the back yard and her three little puffballs following behind to eat what she digs up. She is certainly a diligent mother! She has been scratching so persistently that there are long spaces in the yard that look like they've actually been raked. When you think about it, a chicken foot is an excellent rake in shape, form, and function. I wonder if I will ever tire of watching my chickens as they go about their lives. Today one of the hens, Pecky, I think, was standing alone in the back yard under the magnolia tree just calling and calling and calling and calling- one of those situations that always makes me think of the time Lily was here and one of the hens was doing that and Lily said, "Mom, I think your chicken is broken."
Anyway, today while this girl was making all the noise, I suddenly heard Liberace sing out to her. Just a few notes. And I swear it sounded like he was saying, "Would you please be quiet? I'm right here." 
And sure enough, she quit with the bawking. 
The chickens add another layer of life (whoa! what a great unintended pun!) to this small piece of land where there's already so much going on. Their actions amuse and sometimes amaze me, entertain me and pique my curiosity. I admire them, I really do and I am so grateful that Kathleen brought me those first chicks and that bag of starter feed, knowing that I would probably never make the jump unless she pushed me. 
I thought of Kathleen today as I knelt in the garden between rows of tomatoes, pulling weeds. My Lord, but she had a growing spirit! I'm not sure I ever met anyone in my life who was as intensely nurturing as she was despite the fact that she never had children. She nurtured her beloved dogs and cats and chickens and plants and all of her friends. And every single creature and creative endeavor and bit of flora that she put her hand to, was sure to grow in the light of her loving care. 

Well. That's a good place to end on Mother's Day Eve. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 6, 2022

Another Very Full Day

I'm home from boy pick-up and hanging-out-with, sitting on my back porch, waiting for my man to get home. He had to stop at Costco when he hit Tallahassee because he had ordered glasses and they are in. He needs them because his old glasses, which were glued together when he left town, broke into four pieces on his trip. He's had a long day today, driving through lots of rain. It poured here too. Rained so hard that I really did not like driving through it on my way home. 
I had a good time with Levon and August. The rain slowed down enough that I could get August the regular way instead of the car pick-up way but I did get caught in that line for a few minutes, making us a tiny bit later than usual which prompted August to tell me that possibly I could leave five minutes earlier next time. Last week he educated me on the fact that I needed to stay where he could see me when they called his name. I think that pick-up time causes him a tiny bit of anxiety and I get that. Be he was happy to see me and his brother and when I handed him an umbrella, he was a complete gentlemen and held it so that it covered me too. 
Before I got to their house today I did something I should have done much sooner which was to buy a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke and some Mentos. They were thrilled! We were going to have our own volcano! And we did. I made them stand a little distance away and when the Mentos hit the coke, it shot up in the air at least five feet. We cheered! They love watching the videos so much that it occurred to me that it was ridiculous not to do it ourselves. "Let's do this thing!" I told them, and we did. 
We also read some books and went downstairs to their basement where Vergil's set up some gymnastic rings or whatever they are called. 

The boys were a bit wild by that time. Levon had been so ready for a nap when we got home from picking up August that I had to carry him in the house so of course he fought it with frenetic activity. He doesn't hang from his knees but instead, twists around and around and then lets himself spin, holding on with his hands in a dizzying whirl. 
I have to say that I feel sorry for Vergil who came out of his office at five and walked immediately into childcare but he's good at that. August gave me a kiss and Levon even gave me a side hug and a kiss and those are better good-bye treats than all of the M&M's in the world. 

Mr. Moon has arrived and I like his new glasses and I'm glad to have him home. He had a great time with his old buddies. He said they all moved slow and took it easy, praising the joys of retirement. I don't think they caught many fish but that didn't seem to bother them. It was all catch-and-release so there wasn't pressure to fill a cooler or anything. 

I was so worried on my way home from town that Darla might not have had her children in a place that would protect them from all the rain. There was water standing in the road in places and the gutters were gushing and I could just imagine those babies getting caught in a tiny rivulet and washing away but no. They are fine. 

I really do need to quit worrying about them. Darla's got it all under control. I laugh every morning when I let them out because in the rush for the door, if any of the other chickens gets too close to her babies for her comfort, she completely goes into attack mode, fluffing her feathers out so that she's twice her normal size and literally brushes the offending chickens away with sweeps of her wings. Violet is still sitting patiently. I do so hope she gets at least one hatchling to make all of this work worthwhile. 

I am very, very grateful for this good rain we've had. We needed it. We are not in a drought or anything, but it has been several weeks. I should go down and see what the rain has done to the GDG project which, by the way, they had laid the foundation for as of yesterday. 

The church people next door are singing with the windows open. The sky has cleared and rain drips off the leaves. Frogs in the swamp on the other side of the railroad tracks are croaking their mighty approval of the water from the sky we had. Mr. Moon has made us martinis and he's gone out to check the garden. I think I'll go out and join him. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Bitter And Sweet

All righty! Let's begin again with the chick pic. Would you look at the little feather which has already appeared on that baby's wing? Five days old! My god. I am so amazed every time I see that happen. The peeps are still doing well, Darla is being the best mama imaginable. And not to belabor a point or to compare humans and chickens but even a hen has the inner sense to know when she has all the babies she wants at the moment and has no qualms whatsoever about abandoning those eggs she has no more interest in. And let us not forget that many hens disdain the idea of motherhood for themselves at all and generously and eagerly give their eggs over for another mom to raise. 

Here's one of my girls today, practically shoving Violet off her nest in order to get in a last minute shot at having a surrogate take over. I can just imagine her saying, "Here honey, you look like a good mom. I don't have the time or the energy for that mess."
Of course I'll take that egg away. No chance in hell it's going to hatch when the rest of Ms. V's eggs do. If indeed any do hatch. I've been checking her several times a day now and no signs of pipping yet. But honestly, it could be next week before that happens. 

I took a walk this morning. It was a dinky walk and it sucked and was torturous and hot. I rewarded myself by plucking a magnolia blossom from a tree down the road a little way. 

It is not fully open yet and as the evening draws near, it has closed up even tighter but tomorrow it will open entirely and then the stamens will fall from the center, spilling over like scattered matchsticks. Meanwhile, it is scenting my hallway with its lemon spice, its pale ivory beauty. It is absolutely the most glorious blossom I know and its life is short and deserves to be observed and even (dare I say?) worshipped while it still lives. I may take it into the bedroom with me tonight so that I won't miss a second of its scent and it will greet me when I wake. 

I had to go BACK to town today to get my permanent crown affixed. It is not a bejeweled crown, nor even a golden crown but a regular old enamel-whatever crown on a tooth. I have to tell you that there was pain involved in getting it set and I am not at all sure it's right. I know my dentist and he will MAKE it right if it is not but I'd really rather not have to go through that shit. I thought about traveling on down the road a bit after I left the dental office to go to a different, larger Goodwill but I decided that no, I just wanted to come home. 
And so I did. 

I have been lazy. Truly. And I do not care. Tomorrow will be a Levon and August pick-up day and Mr. Moon will be home so I have just enjoyed the quiet, the sweet cool solitude in my house and on my porch. I sat down at the piano again and negative thoughts began to seep into my brain like, "Jesus, Mary. You really do suck at this. You have made NO improvement in three days!" 
Ay-yi-yi and la-di-dah. 
Improvement? At the age of sixty-seven, almost sixty-eight I should focus on improving something that I was never any good at? 
No. So ridiculous. 
The real question is why I even worry about such bullshit. 
I discovered that in the back of that Second Grade John Thompson book there was a "certificate" that my teacher had filled out. Here it is. 

In 1964 I was in the fourth grade at Sebastian Elementary School. Mrs. Muller had dated the book at the beginning when I started it on July 30, 1963, two days after my 9th birthday, which means it took me over a year to get through the lessons, the songs, in that book to my teacher's satisfaction. There is no filled-out certificate at the end of Book Three. 
My life in the fourth grade changed radically as that's when my mother married my stepfather and I have some pretty big chunks of memory missing. None of the things I do remember are happy. And in the interest of historic placement, Oct. 31, 1963 was twenty-two days before the assassination of JFK. Which I do very much remember. 
Ah well. 
It is still somehow miraculously a joy to sit down and reach for those notes, most of it nothing more than muscle memory, and I wonder what these gnarly fingers looked like when I was nine years old, stretching to reach an octave. I could not have possibly imagined then what the years would do to my knuckles, my soul, my heart, my innocence, my mind, my world, the world. 

At least I still have most of my original teeth. 

Oh! Here's a blooming aloe. 

Love...Ms. Moon