Uncharacteristic (I think) for late October in Illinois: snow and more snow. I promised myself I’d try to find beauty even when the flowers were gone. And found this shrub coated in snow. The snowy orb conjures a cotton boll from the Delta. (At least I think it does. And one of my dear readers, Judy from Corinth, Mississippi, does too.)
I’ve been meaning to write this awhile now. Mississippi, I miss you much. Specific things? There are many.
- My wonderful neighbors Walter and Phoebe and my friends all over the state.
- Belhaven–all of it. I’ve never adored a neighborhood quite like I did Belhaven. And my house Clearance Special? I wish I could have it back.
- The kindness and hospitality of Mississippians. Was lucky to be invited to friends’ homes for Thanksgiving in 2017 and 2018, and I was welcomed and fed like family.
- Mississippi accents. I probably like the Delta accent the most, but all of the Magnolia State accents sound golden to my ears.
- Southern expressions and turns of phrase. From “I knew him when he was knee high to a grasshopper” to “I’m fixin’ to…,” it’s all good.
- The statuesque Magnolia trees. When they bloom in April, they are magic.
- All the pretty flowers. Camellias, azaleas, knock-out roses–this list is long.
- The long, hot summers that seem to stretch from April to November. Sniff.
- Fried catfish and butter beans.
- Coffee from Cups in Madison. I dream about their espresso roast coffee. Best coffee ever.
- And then the biscuits from Primo’s. (Must love biscuits.)
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.
As for food/dining out:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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.