If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

Mobile vet has been and gone. The Goblin Boys did SO WELL, and after several tubes of squeezy paste (wet cat treats in a little tube), have more or less forgiven us. Now we wait to see what the blood work results look like and continue on toward getting the boys neutered next month. Sadly, the vet was still unable to feel Puca’s missing testicle, so we’re going to have to get an ultrasound done to find where the hell the damned thing is, and his neutering is going to be a lot more invasive than normal to get it taken care of.

Yes, I’m having a panic attack about the amount of time this little jerk is going to have to spend under anesthesia, as well as trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to afford it, along with the work my truck needs to pass inspection.

On the other hand, I’ve got the Grotesquery painting framed and listed in the shop and updated my pinned post on Twitter. I’ve been meaning to get the new pinned post done for a while, but kept putting it off. Glad to have that off the plate. Today and tomorrow are for getting the Hallows Ghost story finished and ready to be posted on October 1. It’s mostly done. Just need to do the last scene and then proofread/edit it.

First, though, time to go drop the truck off at the mechanic.

A Small Grotesquery and Helpful Kitties

The best part about autumn really is being able to cook the things I love to cook again. Last night I made a pot of sausage and kale soup for dinner, with enough left over for lunch for the next couple of days. Tonight I’m planning to bake a pear crisp, using the rest of the pears a friend gave me from her pear tree. The household cooking is generally divided by season around here, so Himself does most of the cooking in the warm months on the grill, and I do most of the cooking in the cold months, and it works pretty well. The cats do their best to help us both year-round, which is to say that Púca nearly made a successful attempt to jump into the soup kettle last night while I was stirring it.

Slowly but surely figuring out a new household pattern that lets me get some serious work done, and as a result I’ve got a new painting finished! Turns out that some of my monsters make excellent grotesques when combined with medieval illuminated manuscript techniques and stylizing. Planning to see if I can find a frame for it this afternoon so I can get it formally listed in the shop, and then get another one started later on.

I spent some time earlier in the week reconfiguring my Ko-fi membership tiers, so now monthly subscribers will have exclusive sneak peeks at whatever I’m working on that I won’t be posting elsewhere online, as well as the ever-popular cat pictures (since subscription donations go toward helping keep them fed and housed by providing a steady source of income), in addition to the discounts that the two high tiers already get. With shifting away from Patreon, it’s so much easier to manage perks, which frees up a lot of mental bandwidth to make sure I can reliably follow through on them. I’m hoping to add more as I go, but for right now, it’s a good start.

Now, though, I’m off to the store to see about a small frame for the newest Smol Monster and maybe a couple of extra to have on hand for it’s upcoming siblings.

Now Is The Time Of Endless Pots Of Soup And Tea

Autumn has arrived, and overnight the temperatures dropped and the winds began sharpening their edges, warning of the impending winter. This is my favorite time of year, when the trees change their dresses to bright reds and golds, and the smell of apples and dying leaves fills the air. It is the time of gathering root vegetables and making soup stocks, of setting the kettle back on the counter and finding where all the sweaters got put.

It’s also the time of staring down having to make plans for heating oil and nightly panic attacks about how we’re going to afford this year’s heating bill, with the oil prices still almost twice what we usually pay. This year we also have to come up with the money to get the Goblin Boys neutered by the end of next month, and this summer’s unexpected flood of vet bills already washed away the buffer we usually have set aside for winter’s expenses. Púca, in particular, is going to be very expensive, as his neutering is very probably going to involve an ultrasound to find a wayward testicle, followed by invasive surgery to extract it. All told, that’s going to run close to $3k, and we have not been able to afford get them onto an insurance plan yet. Oh, and my truck needs new tires before I can get it inspected, and I’m already overdue enough on that, that my driver’s license may get suspended, because Mass. is kind of a dick about that sort of thing.

Stressed? Me? Nah…

*hyperventilates into paper bag*

On the plus side, at least rice, soups, and stews are reasonably inexpensive to make a large quantity of and it’s the season where cooking them doesn’t make me want to die? It’s not the first time I’ve had to feed us on a shoestring budget, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Back to the studio…things to paint and stories to write…

Mad Molly Comes Hunting/Poor Lost Lamb

The other day, I woke up from a nap with a song in my head and was reminded of how I came across it and its story lying on the Road.  It was told to me by an old woman in a dead mill town one late autumn afternoon over glasses of homemade lemonade, after I asked her about the song I’d heard her singing while I stopped to stretch my legs.

* * * * *

“Hey ho, hie away home

Bread nor bones nor drippings has she none

Molly comes a-huntin’

Hie, hie away home

Poor lost lamb,

Hide away,

Hide from all the sorrow

On this dark day.”

(Obscure folk round to the tune of “Hey Ho Nobody Home/Ah Poor Bird”)

A long while back a trapper, a particularly bad-tempered man, lived up in the mountains with his wife, Molly, and their several children. One autumn, he got injured and was unable to leave his bed, leaving Molly to tend to him, the house, the children, and all the other things that needed doing.  The winter storms came early that year and, what with everything, the food got low too soon.  The trapper complained at her day in and day out for the house being too cold, and the soup being too thin, and how the children never stopped making noise while he was trying to sleep.

Well, one day poor Molly looked at her starving children, and at her ill-tempered husband, and made a decision.  She told her eldest to take the little ones out and see if they could find a bit more wood for the fire to warm their father’s bones, and when they were gone out of the house, she took a pillow and stopped her husband’s yelling once and for all.  When the children came back, she told them their poor father had gone to his great reward, and only the littlest ones cried.  Later, she had her eldest help her bring the body out to the old root cellar, and said that they’d bury him in the springtime.

The next morning, she told the children she was going hunting to see if she could catch a rabbit for them to eat, and she’d be back soon.  Well, old Molly, she went out and circled back out of sight of the house to that root cellar, took out a hunting knife, and brought some meat back home.  That night, the children went to bed with a bellyful of good, hot soup, and Molly breathed a sigh of relief.

The trapper hadn’t been a particularly large man, however, and the winter and being bedridden had made him thinner. It wasn’t long before the soup pot grew light on meat again, and the children’s faces grew pale.  One snowy evening, a lost stranger showed up on the doorstep, having seen the smoke from her chimney, and hoped to find a warm place to stay for the night.  Molly looked at her starving children, and at the stranger, and made another decision.

In the morning, the stranger was gone, and Molly told her children that when he’d moved on, he had left them some venison as a thank you for letting him in, and that night, the children went to bed with bellies full of good, hot soup again.

Meat doesn’t last forever, though, not with growing children in the house, and once more the soup grew thin and her children’s faces grew pale.  Molly looked at her starving children, and made another decision.

She pulled on her boots and her coat, and told the children she was going out hunting to see if she could find something for them to eat.  There were other folks living in the mountains, isolated from each other by the snow, and over that winter, more folks went missing, but Molly’s children didn’t get hungry again.

Eventually spring came, and the snow melted, and rumors went around about a wild animal or a demon hunting folks out in the mountains.  Some folks went round to all the cabins, checking on the families out on their own to see how bad things were.  When they turned up at Molly’s house, they found her fat-cheeked children and they found the root cellar and a pile of bones that didn’t come from any rabbit or deer, but they never did find Molly.  Someone found a relative to take the children in, and they all made sure that they never found out how she’d been feeding those kids all winter long.

Years after, when folks would go missing in the winter, it was said it was Molly that got them, and parents would keep their own children from wandering off into the mountains by telling them that if they strayed too far, Mad Molly would catch them to make her soup.

As far as I know, they still tell it, too.

(If you liked what you just read, please toss a few coins at your mostly friendly resident word-witch to help keep her little monsters fed!)

The Great Mothpocalypse of ’22

What with one thing and another, the studio itself has been largely closed up since the arrival of the Goblin Boys. Yeah, I’ve gone in to get things, but haven’t spent any real time in the room, nor has the door been open for more than a few minutes here and there. Ordinarily, this would be fine, except this time something went Very Wrong.

I came in the other night to start reclaiming it and trying to get it organized in such a way as to be reasonably kitten-safe, and more or less walked into a horror movie set. Moths. Everywhere. Clouds of those little dusty-beige bastards known as clothes moths. Dozens of them fluttering around, nonchalantly wandering up and down the curtains, casually hanging out by the nightlight like it was the local bar…

I like moths. Moths are neat. I DO NOT LIKE MY STUDIO LOOKING LIKE A SCENE FROM AN ALFRED HITCHCOCK FILM. Clothes moths are one of those things that I accepted years ago that I’m basically stuck with for life, and that there will always be a small number of them around. Trying to get rid of them entirely is far more work than I want to bother with over something that is more or less harmless when kept in check.

This was not remotely in check. Turns out that when the vacuum had gotten stored in the studio, it had some dust and lint in it, and the moths had decided that it was the perfect nursery. The vacuum has been relegated to the screened porch until I can deal with it, a couple of scarves got tossed, and there are baggies of yarn in the freezer. Moth traps were ordered and delivered at light speed.

The moth traps should work very nicely. I got swarmed when I tried to open and assemble it in the studio and had to go out into the kitchen to do it, instead. Trying to set them up while 10 or 15 moths fluttered around all “Heeeeey babe, lookin’ gooood…” was more than I wanted to deal with first thing in the morning. Pretty sure I saw a couple with tiny fedoras.

On the other hand, there will probably be plenty of moths for the cats to hunt for a bit until I get the problem back under control. Oisin, in particular, considers them to be a delicacy, and is going to be delighted with the buffet.