Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Warning: A Photo Of A Spider Also, Some Rather Crude Language

Well, it is indeed summer and thus, the time of year I find myself bouncing off the strong and sturdy webs of the Golden Orb Weavers when I water the porch plants. Here's a lovely lady who has taken up residence on the east end of the porch. I always wonder if the spiders choose their spots according to where their mothers lived and laid her eggs. Their birth places. There are favored areas that get webs built in them every year. I wonder how many baby spiders survive hatching? I should learn more about these talented and interesting beings I share my summers with. 

So. It's the Fourth of July. Okay. You know how I am about patriotism. I find it rather bizarre to celebrate the fact of my Americanism. Hell. I was born here. I had nothing to do with that fact. Which yes, makes me very lucky in many ways but as I always say- going to Europe when I was eighteen killed any notions that I may have had that America is the best country in the world. Or greatest. 
We do have excellent plumbing for the most part. That I will absolutely admit. 

We have a neighbor whom I would not be able to pick out of a line-up of two, who loves to shoot guns and celebrates the 4th with plenty of fireworks. He got serious about the fireworks last night. It went on for over an hour. I wonder if he shot his wad. Probably not. At one point last night I told my husband that I wished the neighbor had a dick. I feel he must be lacking in that area. This, of course, is sheer assumption on my part. Perhaps he is just truly patriotic. 

Today's been a little bumpy for me. No reason. Everything's the same as it always is. In fact, I got a beautiful surprise this morning when I stepped out of the kitchen to take the compost. 

I actually shrieked a little and then set the compost down and went over to congratulate and praise the small bush and take that picture. Oh, gardenias! They are so, so perfect. 
When we lived in Winter Haven, when I was in high school, we had a huge gardenia bush in the yard that bloomed so prolifically. Every day I would pick one blossom and take it to school with me and give it to a friend of mine. I loved this boy tremendously, although not in a boyfriend way. And yet, somehow, it was incredibly romantic. And every day, he would carry that gardenia around with him so carefully that at the end of the day, it would be as white and perfect as it had been when I gave it to him. And gardenias are the most delicate of blooms. When he signed my yearbook, he said, "Thanks for all the gardenias." 
I still love that boy in the sweetest and most innocent way and I hope with all of my heart he is alive and very well. We are not in touch. I wish we were. His name is so common that I think it would be very hard to find him. I'm not even sure where he lives. 

That was a tangent, wasn't it? 

Y'all, it is so hot. I know I keep saying that. But it is. The only thing I did outside today was to hang laundry, bring it in, and pick green beans and tomatoes. By the time I got back in the house, I was fairly drenched with sweat. And picking beans and tomatoes is hardly a strenuous activity. Nor is hanging laundry. It doesn't matter. All you have to do is go outside and the sweat will begin to roll off your body. And it's like trying to breathe through a wad of wet cotton. It's ridiculous. As Lauren Hough said about the summers in Texas (or was it DC?) in her fine book of essays that I listened to recently, it's like opening a dishwasher in mid-cycle and crawling in and shutting the door. 
And I have the option to just stay inside if I want. The people who lived in this house when it was built had no choice. They had to be outside, growing their food for the winter, hauling water from a hand-pump over a well, I guess, dealing with the animals they had to have had for meat and for transportation. I'm sure the women did the laundry outside. They probably made soap too, stirring ashes and lye and bacon grease or whatever in a big old pot over an open fire. And god knows what all else. No showers, no indoor toilet. No fans or probably even screens in the windows.

I would die in a week. 

I pressure canned the last of the green beans that I'm going to preserve this summer. Only had five pints in the canner and I guess I did not get the lid screwed on properly for one of them because this happened.

Not a big deal. We'll just eat that jar this week. I'm not sure I'll ever water bath can again. It takes a lot less time to use the pressure canner. And less water. You only put three quarts of water in the pressure canner whereas you have to cover the jars completely in the water bath canner. AND you don't have to sterilize your jars before you fill them with the pressure canner which is a whole process in itself. You just wash them, fill them with hot water and leave them to sit until it's time to fill them. I will be more careful with my lids from here on out, though.

I did other stuff today but none of it worth talking about. Just...stuff. And all day I've felt purposeless and flat. And a little teary. Normal for me and for most of us, I'm sure. Mr. Moon cleaned a whole bunch of fish (they had another good day yesterday) and then he went to a mullet-fry at a friend's of his. I was invited too but of course I didn't go. Before he left he asked if I was sure that it was okay for him to go and I laughed and said, "Of course! I'm the one with social anxiety. Not you." And he brought me home a lovely piece of fried mullet that was caught last night. 
We will certainly not die from lack of eating fish this summer. That I can tell you. 

I just listened to this. Ibrahim Ferrer is the vocalist and the song is Dos Gardenias written by Isolina Carrilo in the 1930's. 

I feel better now. The Buena Vista Social Club is one of my favorite albums of all time. We used to listen to it on Dog Island, usually after sunset while I was making our supper and so very often, Glen would put his arms around me and steer me away from the stove to dance with me to a song. What a gorgeous, smokey, magical piece of art Ry Cooder midwifed. It is more than a record album. It is an enchantment that carries me to a distant time and a distant place where it is as hot as it is here and where gardenias bloom beside a Caribbean blue sea and beautiful women sip dark rum and always have gardenias in their hair. Their eyes say everything and their message is understood. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. It is normal, I think, to have the feelings you describe when we reach a certain age. Hormones (or lack thereof), and life just all tumble on top of us and sometimes it's just all a bit much.

  2. oh my. A beautiful spider, a magnificent gardenia.......and a blown off lid of canned beans! AND BV Social club link too? Too much for one day! I am not a 4th July *person*..in all ways you speak of, so avoiding all activities thereof....but we can still hear the highway traffic and fireworks from here (2 miles from the beach).....and I'm just thankful, in a still grieving way.....that our dog is not here this year to endure the horrible *noise anxiety* of said activities. That is one small blessing......sniff, sniff. Was always so difficult for him, and us. Sigh........... would rather think of the heady scent of your gardenia instead- thank you for that
    Susan M

  3. I cast my mind back to my forties childhood, and my grandmother and mother canning the summer away, bandanas soaked with sweat tied around their foreheads. Every window in the house was open, though appropriate shades and drapes were drawn. A big fan roared in the window over the kitchen sink. We survived until about 1998 when we needed a new furnace and I added air conditioning. Mom had passed the year before.

  4. Wow! That is quite the spider! I agree with you on the 4th. What's not to love about the Buena Vista Social Club, I have that CD, one of my favorites.

  5. Ry Cooder is a national treasure! Wonderful artwork of a movie. I'm glad you're interested in the spiders. They're great mothers as well as weavers and spinners.

  6. I love your spider. She is elegant and stylish and will have many babies, all talented in spider ways. It is warm today, not hot really, just right- a raccoon passed out on the deck where she is safe from the booms, The neighbor dog passed out on the cool tile of the entry way, with her green toy. Life is good but could do without the damned fireworks, every year i moan about it.

  7. You might be right about the plumbing over here. When my ex's niece was over in May she loved it of course, but once came running over to grab her husband to come look at (and photograph) what we call "the Turkish toilet", which are fine for men but for women, not so much! I'm glad you had a lovely 4th but I tend to agree with you about your neighbour. We say the same here, but only "big car, small d""k" - especially the ones that have to rev their engines at a stop light!

  8. What a beautiful spider! I think spiders know their nesting place. I once had a group of newly hatched spiderlings in my greenhuouse in an impractical spot. I moved every single teeny-tiny spiderling (lots! according to wikipedia Cross spiders have 300-800 in one hatching). Next day they were back at that impractical spot, We repeated for a couple of times, then I gave up. They disappeared soon after.

  9. Beautiful gardenia. I sometimes think back to the past and wonder how on earth people managed back then. Even my own mother did our washing in a tub with a scrubbing board in the back yard with a second tub for rinsing, until we got our first washing machine when I was about six. I myself had to hand wring and rinse baby clothes, nappies and other things when my first twintub washing machine, a secondhand one, wouldn't spin the clothes, only the wash cycle worked. Hubby's uniforms went to the dry cleaner. I was so glad to get a new machine when baby #2 arrived. I could NEVER go back to those days.

  10. Sounds like you are busy enough on such a hot day, Mary. If I do one or two things, I'll think DONE for the day and I sit with my book to read or play solitaire on the computer. I've gotten so lazy when I have nothing special to do...

  11. the first time we looked at this place, it had been empty for at least a year. it was June and there were golden orb weavers all over the place. we bought the place and they vamoosed. every other year or two I'll see one maybe. my poor gardenia is still struggling, the leave yellow green. nothing I do greens them up. last night there were only a few fireworks set off around here instead of the usual three or four displays going on around us. I'm glad they took the burn ban and the hot dry dry dry ground into consideration.

  12. It is amazing to think about what Floridians experienced a hundred years ago. My great-grandparents, living in Avon Park way back in 1910 -- what must THAT have been like? Hot, that's for sure.

    We used to have gardenias outside our house in Pasco County, until the big freeze of '84 wiped them all out.

    Don't I sound like an old-timer?

  13. I skipped the photo of the spider, they give me the willies, although in real life I leave them be, as long as they're outside. I wonder how pioneers managed here in the cold. How many babies died of hypothermia? How many women went mad after a winter cooped up with children and babies in a tiny sod hut?

  14. This post was an adventure. The paragraph about your neighbor with the fireworks almost made me choke when I had to laugh heartily but was not expecting to. I had some neighbors blowing their wads too and it was annoying as hell.


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