you’re going to love this one

“You’re going to love this one,” my niece announced. She’s five years old and some change, and she was showing me her art collection–pieces she’d created this year. Decorated paper plates, drawing book pages, and even larger painted pieces like these two.

The occasion for my visit was kind of a sad one. I drove six hours to drop off one of my dogs with my parents because my apartment lease only allows two pets and, as of yesterday, I had three. Sigh. So the opportunity to see my niece’s artworks provided me with temporary respite. A needed distraction. And in fairness, I loved them all.

moving to jackson, mississippi? here’s what you need to know

Thinking of or planning on relocating to Jackson, #Mississippi? It’s a nice place to call home. Warm weather, abundant trees and flowers, affordable living. Here are my suggestions on how to get acclimated:

  • Utility providers are Entergy Mississippi (electricity), Atmos Energy (gas), and the city of Jackson (water service). You can register online for Entergy and Atmos Energy. Easy peasy. For water service, head on over to the Metrocenter Mall and bring your checkbook and a copy of your lease or deed. Credit/debit cards are not accepted.
  • Trash pickup is twice a week–Tuesdays and Fridays in Belhaven.
  • When you apply for a license plate (tag, as it’s called here), you pay an ad valorem tax on the value of your vehicle. The newer your car is, the more you will pay.
  • Commute times, depending on where you work, are breezy, compared to where I’m originally from. Everything seems to be a 15-minute drive. Twenty minutes max.
  • Like to bicycle? The best trail I found was the multi-use path, 14 miles in length, in Ridgeland, which is north of Jackson by about 15 minutes.
  • If you have pets, my vote is to take them to the Animal Health Center in Madison. It’s a bit of a hike from Jackson, but the awesome staff and quality of care make it so worth it. Highly recommend.
  • As for food/dining out:
  • If you’re like me and never have lived in Jackson before, a few notes:

    • Many locally owned businesses are closed on Sundays. If buying local is your vibe, you really need to get it done on Saturdays.
    • If you buy or rent a home in Jackson, I would budget for mosquito/pest control spraying. Mosquito spraying once a month beginning in March and then through October. Pest control every three months.
    • Due to the expansive soil in Jackson, foundation/wall cracks and road potholes are the norm, so don’t panic and then drive accordingly/keep an eye on the road.
    • If you like to garden, welcome to paradise. Jackson is a great place to create year-round gardens with perennials and annuals.

    animal kingdom

    Some days–heck, weeks–are just so odd I have to wonder if there is a persistent full moon. I was painting in the kitchen this afternoon when this little guy appeared in my living room. My front door had blown open a bit, and he trotted right in. He looked at me quizzically, as if to ask, What are you doing here? I would inquire the same of him after I shooed him out.

    My front door blew open again a little later, and both my dogs scooted right out. Nickel came back with a large turkey leg in her mouth. I had to jump in my car to locate Penny.

    And then earlier this week, this extremely large hog made his or her way up to my backyard chainlink fence to say hello or to wink. Who could say, really. My neighbor has two of these plus ducks and armadillos. Living in #Belhaven is like my own animal kingdom.

    what happens when you say yes

    A really cool thing happens when you’re open to receiving invitations. When you say yes, you get a chance to spend time with those who invited you. You also might experience occasions that breathe joy into your life. Or kindness when you might need it the most.

    My friend Pat Starnes invited me to see her home in Brandon, Mississippi, and to play bingo at a local club. I said yes and had a lot of fun.

    My neighbors Walter and Phoebe invited me to Catholic mass at Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in downtown Jackson, I said yes to this too. Mass was early (8:00 a.m.) and started right on time. I couldn’t take communion, but the priest did give me a blessing, which I received with a lot of gratitude.

    gardening hits and misses

    If you live in central #Mississippi and are thinking of working on or creating a garden, I say go for it. The soil here seems conducive for all kinds of plants and flowers. Here are my hits and misses.

    The winners:

    • In the fall and winter, pansies and violas. I planted some last October that are still buzzing along.
    • In any season, liriope/lily turf/monkey grass. This might be my favorite clumping grass. When the plant matures, you can divide it and rehome the divided section just about anywhere. It’s like a BOGO plant. Buy one now, get one (free) later. Also, these grasses require little to no maintenance. It’s the plant gift that keeps on giving.

    • In the summer, impatiens, colocasia (Elephant Ears), and Boston ferns for shady areas.

    • In sunnier areas, impatiens, begonias, coleus, and crotons. Also Kimberly Queen ferns and knockout roses.

    The misses:

    • Mums. Really love how full and bushy these flowers look, but they conked out pretty quickly. I ended replacing them with pansies and violas.
    • Hydrangeas. Terribly smitten with the pink color that hydrangeas can impart with the correct acidity levels, but these annuals did not thrive in my backyard. (Perhaps because the backyard was just too shady.)

    moving is

    Moving is an intriguing, in-between kind of journey. I spent yesterday packing up my belongings and somehow my lovely, much loved home is now a property.

    A structure with painted walls, hardwood floors, appliances, lighting, and mechanical systems. Also pipes and faucets. But the feel of my now house? All the cute is packed up for a different place and hopefully brighter days–fingers and toes crossed.

    the idiosyncratic architecture of belhaven

    If real estate sparks your interest (it sure does mine), Jackson, Mississippi’s #Belhaven neighborhood is an endless trove of Southern architecture where no two houses are the same, as far as I can tell. Sidewalks start and stop, for no reason I’m able to summon. And the houses are so wonderfully different.

    There is this stately Spanish Eclectic beauty on Gillespie Street.

    Belhaven 1

    And this bungalow a little further down Gillespie.

    Belhaven 2

    This traditional home on Manship is nestled in leafy spaces.

    Belhaven 3

    And then this Neoclassival Revival property–Kennington’s Mansion on Carlisle–boasts a broad, grassy lawn.

    Belhaven 4

    If you’re thinking about calling Belhaven home, be advised that Belhaven is a historic district and subject to design guidelines, which you can access here.