in a van down by the river

okay it was more of a pond i GUESS

ANYWAY what with getting the van’s transmission replaced & also the part where we were watching friends’ dogs until like three minutes before we had to leave, we didn’t get to stop anywhere cool on the way to Estrella this year. So I decided we’d at least take our time coming home.

After leaving site we stopped in some Phoenix suburb or another to have breakfast at the Waffle House & make plans. Turns out we still had plenty of food for a day or two so all we had to do was figure out what we were doing — my suggestion, which Dharma liked, was ‘find somewhere quiet in the woods & do Squat All for a day or two’.

So we picked a side road, wandered down it (with EXTREME CAUTION, since turning around with the trailer is SLIGHTLY HARDER than without), & found a lovely place in a clearing for the day.

Of course we built a fire.

Yep, that's campfire. It's got pretty good rocks around it, so it looks like it's staying there, too.

I took this picture of Dharma cos I knew it would cheese her RIGHT off.

Yep, that's Dharma bending over at the waist to tend the fire. Yep, that's Dharma's butt, right in the middle of the shot.

Since there was a fire, & we had hot dogs, we did what one would expect.

A hot dog, slightly scorched.

The pond was in a pretty big clearing, which was nice; it gave us room to turn the van & trailer around with NO troubles, & also left a lot of open space for hunting treasures. I found some cracked glass pieces that hadn’t been worn down in a creek, but they were VERY thick & not at all sharp & I’d totally use em for wall pieces. They look like gemstones!

Also a bone or two, a couple pieces of a bowling ball that someone had apparently blown up?? & a bunch of copper bullet casings. Yeah, this is a spot where people go to target-shoot & drink beer. Enh; quiet enough midweek.

So we farted around, explored, burned & ate hot dogs, & generally did a whole lot of not much for the rest of the day. The stars were SPECTACULAR that night & we all slept very well. It was VERY nice.

The next day found us driving through some of the higher parts of Arizona, & eventually we hit snow. Not falling from the sky, but there was a fair amount on the ground. Since we’d only acquired Hades last summer, we had no idea if he’d ever gotten to play in snow, so when we came to a good spot to pull over, that’s what we did.

The campground was closed for the season, but there was plenty of room to pull over & it was easy enough to duck tunder the gate.

A brown & yellow sign reading 'Canyon Point Campground'; the ground around it is covered in snow.

Hades was … pretty unimpressed with the whole ‘snow’ thing.

Hades, a longhaired black cat, walks towards the camera; he's on dry pavement but next to him is a small patch of snow. His ears are stuck out sideways.

So chances are pretty good he’s experienced it before. But the boys ran around for a while, & the sun kept us warm through the high-altitude chill.

Loiosh, a shorthaired orange tabby, sniffs at the ground; he's standing in dry grass but behind him is snowy ground.

Both boys on the pavement; Loiosh is striding along, tail up, while Hades stands nearby.

Both boys, walking together, to the right of the shot.

I love how the boys walk together. I think Hades just feels more comfortable when Loiosh is close by.

ANYWAY after that we drove a lot & stopped for the BEST HAMBURGERS & then drove a lot more & then got home, the end.

Me, with a hamburger in my face. It was a really good hamburger.

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


so we went to Estrella…

…with two cats. Apparently I can’t help it.

Have a couple pre-Estrella pics first, though, because Estrella prep is a BIG part of Estrella.

We’d used the trailer when we moved, & of course then we hadn’t entirely unpacked it right away, so we had to schlep the last of the stuff out before we could start packing for Estrella. This is most of the way through the schlepping.

The interior of a cargo trailer; it's mostly empty but urgh, there's still some stuff in it.

Also Dharma decided a couple days out that the cabinets her essential oils go in had to be put up IMMEDIATELY.

A really nice wooden cabinet with a glass door, filled with a variety of small bottles & vials, hangs on a white wall; above it is a small set of blue shelves with more bottles, most of them larger.

I mean who takes pictures of setup? But just as soon as we had the curtains put up, Hades had to explore.

Hades is a black longhaired cat with a somewhat scraggly tail; in this shot he's standing pretty precariously on a crossed pair of pieces of bamboo, high up in a canvas tent.

Yep, he's still up there. Dharma's standing below, looking up at him somewhat warily.

A closer shot of Hades, still standing on the bamboo, but his mouth is open & he's apparently having an Opinion About All of This.

He settled in just fine — once we got him back down, anyways — & he wound up having a good war. He’s learned to watch Loiosh when he’s not sure about something; if Loiosh isn’t worried, Hades feels he clearly doesn’t have anything to worry about, either. Being a cat, he spent a LOT of time napping.

Hades is sprawled, pretty much boneless & possibly asleep, across the lap of a white person wearing early Norse garb.

Course so did Loiosh. They’re cats.

Loiosh is a shorthaired orange tabby; here he's curled up tightly in a blue cat bed.

Dharma slept in the booth but the boys & I stayed in the van. I’m SO glad I got that cat stroller; getting them both back & forth without it would be a NIGHTMARE.

Both boys sitting in a stroller, Hades in front of Loiosh. They're in the canvas tent but they're all ready to go.

One of my favourite _other_ leashcats came by — Purcy is SO chill, he makes Loiosh look high-strung & nervous. I am AMAZED he put up with that.

Another orange cat, but Purcy's fur is lighter; he's curled up asleep in a purple cat stroller. On his back is, well, it's a howdah. With a stuffed mouse.

I actually got a picture of the booth! Well, Dharma did.

A view into the booth from the front -- it's a large canvas tent, tables along the walls holding a wide variety of soap, lip balms, & other crap I sell. In the front of the booth stands a RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE smaill child in purple & pink garb.

The small child in the above pic really belonged with _this_ booth, but we were pretty okay with her hanging out sometimes. Anyway she really likes the cats.

A wooden trailer; part of the side drops down to become a display surface, & another part lifts to form a canopy. Visible on the inside wall of the trailer are a bunch of swords.

…it’s pretty possible that I have gotten some REALLY AWESOME ideas from this trailer over the years.

This is a LOT of pics so I’m gonna do the drive home in another post.

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


Rio Grande State Park, or, who thought THIS was a good idea

So like TWO MONTHS AGO I took Loiosh & Hades down to Rio Grande State Park to wander around & then took forEVer to actually remember to post about it.

Two cats on leashes standing on a dirt trail in the woods. Loiosh is an orange tabby; his tail is up & he's looking off to the left. Hades has long black fur & a poofy tail & is sniffing at something on the edge of the trail.

So here’s a bunch of cat pictures, & Thing.

The boys are both standing in a sparse patch of reeds. Nevertheless, they've tangled their leashes with GREAT enthusiasm.

You might remember this one, & also I would like to know which of you told me THIS was a good idea, because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me. Or, two leashcats are WAY more than twice as much trouble as one.

But they had a good time wandering around & climbing on logs.

Loiosh sitting, gazing off into the distance; the ground is covered in dead leaves. He blends in pretty well.

A view into the forest, brown with winter, from Hades' point of view -- his ears & the top of his head form the bottom of the shot.

Hades walking down a fallen log toward the camera; he looks pretty determined.

Both boys on the same fallen log; this time it's Hades gazing off into the distance, while Loiosh looks to be about to jump down.

A closeup of Hades, noble in profile, with that goofy fangtooth sticking out.

The shot is taken at an angle; Loiosh, eyes determined, tail flirted, walking towards the camera, determined to get A Love.

I LOVE that picture of the boy, even though he’s blurry, cos he’s all INTENT ON MOMMA WHERE IS A LOVE

There was a bit of green, even in (what passes for) the depths of winter.

A few green leaves, furry or possibly slightly spiny, peek out of the ground.

A single green leaf, shaped like a spear point, dangles from a branch; the tip of the branch holds several smaller leaves, just unfurling.

But mostly things were still asleep, waiting for spring.

A single dried thistle flower hangs from its stem; the background is a complex mosaic of dried leaves.

A dried stem of something that looks REALLY pokey. That's because it's REALLY pokey.

I wanted to go down to the river itself, but Hades was pretty nervous about all that open sky, so we stayed near the trees. I found some raccoon prints (I’m pretty sure).

Yep, pretty sure those are raccoon prints. In mud. Long toes. Or fingers? That thumbprint is looking awfully opposable...

The open sky’s a bit much for Hades but under the trees it’s just fine.

That APPALLINGLY blue New Mexico sky, stitched with traceries of winter tree branches.

In fact both of them decided to do a bit of climbing.

Loiosh. Quite a ways up a pretty big tree. Majestically silhousetted against the sky.

Hades, not nearly as far up a tree; it's apparently Majestic Gazing Day.

I found a couple of treasures but only decided to keep the second one.

Somebody else's copy of Monsters Unleashed: When Trull Attacks!!! I hope they came back for it.

A pretty cool piece of bone.

Eventually we made our way back to the van. I set up my comfy chair alongside so we could hang out a bit — I wanted give Hades the chance to learn that the van doesn’t always mean Going Somewhere Scary, but sometimes just Hanging Out.

Loiosh was happy to perch on my lap for some Loves.

Momma! I am need a Loves!

Hades, on the other hand, decided he’d had Enough.

Hades is on my lap, getting petted, but he's gazing longingly into the open door of the van.

Hades is now in the van, sprawled at his ease on top of a stack of foam padding & a sleeping bag. He's visibly pretty pleased with this.

Once he got back in the van, though, he was good. I’m pretty sure this trip helped him get used to the concept of ‘Van is Temporary House’, which made things a LOT more comfortable for him at Estrella.

…but more about that later.

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


01/30 – One Great Big Tomcat

So I know I’ve mentioned Major Tom before but hey, guess what? Our not-really-feral-any-more tomcat is learning to become not only a proper housecat, but also a leashcat!

So we knew whenever we moved we’d be bringing him along. Of course! He’s our sweet tomcat & we love him.

But when we got a place in town, yeah, we were a little worried. So we thought, well, let’s bring him along, get him snipped, & see if we can talk him into living inside.

… turns out the answer to that is ‘yes’.

Dharma found him waiting at the back door on a trip up to the old place to pick up (yet more) Stuff, & he came inside quite willingly, & was easily tricked into a (hugetastic) cat carrier. He sang the Song of his People the whole way down to the new place, but he wasn’t _mad_, just sort of freaked out.

The new place has a shed out back that we call the cottage, since it comes with a sink & toilet & gas heater & is, more or less, actually a very small house. So that’s where we put him, so he’d have a space of his own & also so we could easily clean up any, err, attempts he made to claim the place. With his butt.

Which he didn’t do. What he _did_ do was purr, give us Very Enthusiastic headbonks, & knead. Also sleep a lot & eat everything in sight.

He was SO HAPPY that we had brought him along. SO HAPPY.

(here you can imagine a montage of Major Tom learning about litterboxes, eating a LOT of treats, napping VERY extensively, learning to wear a harness, & being fairly freaked out by dry leaves)

ANYWAY we slowly got him used to the idea of a harness, & then to the idea of being in the house, & then since it was getting very cold at night we brought him inside to a room we’re not using yet, & then we finally got him FIXED, & once the testosterone had washed out of his system he stopped spraying, & now he’s a house cat.

(This was all a LOT more fraught than it sounds.)

So now he’s a housecat. Which means he’s learned that laying on carpet is WAY nicer than laying on dirt.

& then that laying on a couch is WAY nicer than laying on a carpet.

He’s also learning to play, which I don’t have any pictures of cos I’m usually laughing too hard, cos he’s ADORABLE.

But he’ll still do the leash thing! & he still wants to go outside. So a week or two back I took him out to wander around while I was taking jewelry pictures.

He went back & visited his cottage again.

& then he played Mighty Jungle Hunter.

Which led pretty inevitably into rolling in dry leaves, which he LOVES doing.

…what?

& then he followed me back inside, quite happily, because as it turns out, he’s a housecat.

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Kate | View this Post | 2 Thoughts So Far - Why Not Add Yours?


The zoo! (only with no critters)

I mean yes, the zoo _has_ critters, I just didn’t take any pictures of them, because I forgot to get out my phone, & anyways it was all the aquarium & Rowan got plenty of pictures.

But then we wandered around the gardens & they were BEAUTIFUL.

They have a dragon who ACTUALLY SHOOTS SMOKE. (okay, steam.)

 

(& is also waving hi.)

We didn’t even go through this gate but I hadda get a picture, it’s SO beautiful. I’m going back WAY more often.

I think if you duck around the corner in the right spot you wind up in Fairyland.

Also there is a train. I love trains.

The wrought-iron fence (to keep the fae out of Albuquerque, I guess?) are ornate & perfect.

It was just a really lovely day.

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


This cat.

…y’all. This cat.

(Yeah, this is Hades.)

(Also starring: his tongue.)

(Also also: he put himself there.)

(This cat.)

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


leashcats r us

You are correct in your perception that this is not Loiosh.

Cos there’s Loiosh, right there.

Also, you’re right, that’s not Chocolate.

Cos this cat is way too fuzzy too be Chocolate.

That’s cos it’s Hades. We’re watching him for friends for a while, & he is the Most Mellow cat, so I thought, well, let’s see how this goes.

Turns out it’s going pretty well.

This was Hades’ first trip up into the woods. He wasn’t real sure about this stuff at first, but his buddy Loiosh thinks it’s just fine, so it must be okay.

(Seriously, every time we take him out, he watches Loiosh, & when he decides Loiosh is okay with it, well, it’s obviously okay.)

So there was a lot of climbing on rocks…

(okay, also under them)

some hunkering on rocks

also generally some farting around. Like a lot of cats, it turns out, Hades will pretty happily follow along behind when I’m walking, especially along a trail. We ran into a couple other people, who happily handed out pettings. So Hades had a fun time on his first trip into the woods.

Also I found a cool bug.

Loiosh got to pose.

& there was a rock with fossils!

& of course the traditional loot photo.

Hades had a great time, so there’ll be more of this. It’s possible — not sure yet, but it’s possible — he’ll even be at Battlemoor.

Here’s hoping.

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Posted on August 10, 2017 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


take one oldmancat, subtract teeth

Most of em, anyway. The ones that were left. All eight of em.

(okay this picture isn’t really related but he did fall asleep sitting up over his food bowl, pretty adorably)

a small black cat, sitting up but with head drooping & eyes closed, over a bowl of food

His teeth had been bothering him for, well, probably longer than I knew about, but I admit I didn’t do anything about it for a LONG time, cos I knew it’d require full anesthesia, & well. He’s NINETEEN. That’s a little terrifying.

But I finally worked up my courage (& the money, a not inconsiderable sum) & made the appointment. He went in a week & some ago for a pre-op checkup, during which the vet asked me three times if I was sure about his age. Also he climbed up on her shoulder & flopped there, quite comfortably, which made me feel a little less terrified about the whole thing.

(also not related, but warm oldmancat flopped on warm laundries, definitely adorable)

a small black cat, flopped quite comfortably in a pile of many-coloured laundry

& then Monday morning he went in for the Great Detoothing. They asked me to leave a phone number, which I did, but also I told them I was staying there until he was done, which surprised them. I’m not sure why. I mean, I was going to do anything other than worry? I might as well worry there.

There was occasional oldmancat shouting from in back, & eventually the vet came out to tell us that he was doing fine & they’d cleaned three of his teeth & the other five were, indeed, going to have to come out. I nodded, slightly relieved.

Some time later she returned to say that the teeth were out, he was recovering fine, & he just needed to sleep it off, but the worst was over. At which point I decided it was safe to go home, & slept for four hours straight until it was time to pick him up.

…see, I hadn’t slept the night _before_, due partly to worrying, but mostly to the fact that I couldn’t feed him after 9pm, which gave him reason to shout. The whole. Night. Long.

Anyway, sleep. Followed by driving down to pick him up. Followed by climbing back into bed with him, at least once I’d removed his very stylish IV bandage.

A small black cat with a red bandage (very stylish indeed) wrapped around his foreleg. He looks less than thrilled.

They even used his signature red!

He was very happy to be home & expressed this by very deliberately flopping where he could rest various parts of him on various parts of me.

A small black cat, eyes closed, chin resting on the hand of a white person. The cat is quite vigorously asleep.

Also, there was eating. In a clearly-less-ow sort of way.

This time he's awake, & his face is firmly in the food bowl.

But mostly, there was flopping. & in fact, we really didn’t get up til the next morning.

Still vigorously asleep, this time with a forepaw stretched out, holding firmly to the hand, which likely belongs to the same white person.

I mean who’d want to get up when there’s an oldmancat wanting to hold paws?

Posted on August 3, 2017 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


shoes, & accidental crossroads offerings

so like two months back i finally got a new pair of keens

keens are, like, my FAVOURITES, they’re basically the only shoes i wear • except for sometimes flipflops around the yard & snow boots if the snow’s too deep • (yeah, if it’s only an inch or two i’m still wearing sandals, cope)

just in time, my old pair had finally fallen apart • literally, two shoes into four pieces • they lasted SO LONG though • i’d had them since 2012 & they were in fact basically the only shoes i wore for five years straight • did i mention i bought them used? • & yeah five years of being p much my only shoes

the things LAST is what i’m saying

so i’m happily running around in my pretty new PURPLE keens & everything is good • the old pair sort of tucked near the front door • kept not getting round to chucking them • i was cleaning up round the front door one day • carried them over to the trash can • couldn’t do it

i finally realized • they’d served me so well • i had to do a Thing for them

so i dug a hole & gave them an honourable burial

San-San helped, or possibly halped

i piled rocks over them to make a caern

& of course i did this all at the crossroads • ofc, that’s only appropriate • right?

this won’t result in accidentally crossroads magic, right? • right?

(it might result in accidentally crossroads magic)

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Posted on July 25, 2017 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


a day in the life (mostly cat pictures)

i’ve been working on my display stuff lately • it’s needed it • touching up & toughening up & generally a lot of painting

also in this case i wanted to make nice dividers to hold the massage oils & body sprays, cos that’ll make things better


& then layers of clearcoat until no matter what i drop it on it’ll still look awesome

anyways there was that but also, there were cats

Hades (Guest Cat in Residence) found a box

he said ‘I am stays right here, it is comfy’ & what he’s laying on is coiled-up rope, so he probably actually is

Major Tom (can’t call him feral any more!) has been sneezing a LOT so i’ve been giving him allergy meds

it’s easier getting pills into him than it is with like half the cats _in_ the house • but that doesn’t mean he was pleased with me right afterwards, either

fortunately his attention span is brief

i mean look how feral this guy is

gonna take my hand off any minute now

he _did_ growl at me for rubbing his belly • after a couple minutes anyway

then we held paws

seriously, this cat

also there was weather

or maybe not, this is New Mexico after all

(there was crackBOOOOOOOOOM later but i was done painting by then so it was fine)

(the boxes came out looking really great too)

(& Major Tom is sneezing much less today)

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Posted on July 22, 2017 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


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