Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images ar©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I used to float a lot- how 'bout you? A donkey helps.

I'm so lucky to have animals all around me as equalizers, grounders. A long time ago, a city person with a couple of dogs and very little garden, I was taught by someone I still consult with-a healer in my world, a wise sage-that for me and other intuitive types, it's important to remember we are here on this realm, now, not to be floating all around. I did a lot of floating, and can remember it clearly as a child. I especially liked to float in the bathtub, and the car when I was in the back seat. It makes sense, the rhythm of those situations are like a white light of sorts.

I would float off, it was very hard to describe to anyone, and I never did. I just told my healer [in my forties] I would repeat in my head when I was floating, "I'm here, I'm here." She taught me that was the collective me reminding myself that I am in fact here, physically, and this is my place right now, on this stage of Earth. Why would I float? We explored it and of course there are many reasons people might go into this trance like state [for lack of a better term]-to avoid the reality of the current moment, to escape the consequences of something...or to just sort of not be trained or have a skill set to stick around and be in the body. I was the latter.

There is nothing wrong with floating, I do it when I paint in many ways, although it is different. I can make myself float, but I can honestly say it doesn't happen much because I am so connected-physically- to the life I live here on the farm. My healer taught me skills to keep myself grounded-touching the earth, gardening-of course years later I would have a small farm-and touching/grooming animals helps daily. She taught me that if I am going to float, I should do something with it.

As I took a few minutes after cleanup out in the equine area to just sit with them, I remembered all my years of floating. It did make me wonder, what 'good' could I do floating? I guess if it calmed me before making art, or calmed me before having a hard discussion...I don't know, I might have to have a healing session and explore that.

But for now, I just thought you all might like to partake in Pino's morning chew. He chews very slowly and deliberately, a donkey trait, but Pino is by far the most grounded little healer of the herd. And I think he is going to visit some elders Saturday-stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mr. Mittens! You need a job!

This morning I was up early and it was crisp as an apple skin in late autumn. I actually felt cold, but loved it. We had our first minor frost so we know what is coming. It's gorgeous out though. I made the trip down to the village town hall to pay our property taxes. Ouch. More than double what we paid in Oregon...but we have more amenities here. We are doing okay, but a freelancer always is walking up a hill and once the vista is seen and appreciated they can't stop, they have to keep going, sometimes round a bend, sometimes down a small hill, or into a valley, and they just have to focus on looking upward and keeping the headlights ready for fog..because you always come out of fog.

I thought of what my mother had said about something once, that when faced with an unpleasant task, think of a bookend to it...and am sure she would have said this today,

"But if you couldn't pay it, you wouldn't have your land and farm so you can pay it and that's why you have it."

Yep, she's so North Dakotan! As am I in many ways.

And, a lesson I know, but relearn over and over-it is often the thought of having to do something that is worse than getting it done. Taxes are like that.

I came back home and before I ventured down to Brunswick to the skin doctor [I will soon look like a partial Frankenstein again...sigh....I promise not to Instagram it, I'm way to old school for that], I stopped in to visit the elder cats.

"You could help by getting some part time jobs," I told them.

The Magnificent Maurice Mittens looked up with an expression that clearly expressed his opinion of that.

When the trees just dissipate

I did this yesterday, thinking of how the trees are just dissipating before people's eyes out West. It was therapeutic to sit and just draw abstractly, without a desire to create something considered of merit or to be something with a label.

Once again, art making, like holding a donkey or working in Nature, soothed, calmed, and opened up the internal well.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The unthinkable: who would I take if I had to leave?

Benedetto at dusk
Someone shared a story about a Maremma staying behind in the horrible Sonoma fires, with a herd of goats, and they all survived. The couple that fled the fire was able to get one Maremma in the car, but the fires were so fierce they had to flee. They were so relieved to find the other dog was alive, burned, scorched foot pads, but he made it and so did the goats. They will be OK.

The owner said they cried a lot, prayed, and felt horrible that the choice [or was it a choice?] they had to make to leave was a slow and painful death for their beloved animals.

As happy as I was to see the reunion, it just send me into a tailspin. I know in Oregon there was once a fire that had us thinking of evacuation plans. We did not have to do it, but many did, and it all was terrible to process. And with my menagerie of crippled and elder animals, it would be so difficult. At the time we had 30 sheep, we now don't breed anymore and only have five sheep, but back then, I knew I'd probably have to leave the flock and hope for the best. It's unthinkable...the idea of having to feel at midnight without warning...and to have to be forced to make life and death choices.

I'm not sure I could get through what some of these people have to get through. I tend to soak these things in, and perhaps that is why today I'm feeling rather stuck...sad, somewhat unoptimistic, doubting myself. After five minutes on social media today, I'm staying off, and am going to start getting some wood ready for paintings. In my five minutes of checking on some people I know out West, I also noticed there a lot of people thinking it wrong to go on with their business as usual while so many in so many places are suffering. I'm not sure why they think sitting on Facebook and expressing that is any better. But the piling up of so many storms and fires and other tragedies of the past couple weeks, coupled with what for me feels like an implosion of common decency for all people not just a select group...it adds up and that is what I feel, viscerally on social media of late. People are worn out and they are reacting to that tiredness in their own personal style, and some of it is pretty harsh.

I spend quality time with all my animals, some days more so, and today I just did everything extra slowly. I looked into Benedetto's eyes and told him I was so glad he was safe. I held the bunny and thought of all the wildlife, suffering. Took an extra look at our 1760 house and thought of what it be like to watch it burn.

You can be living a good life and still go to the dark. It's called empathy. I will hope for no wind and rain for California...and resolutions for so many all over in distress.

View from Rag Tree looking towards the barns

We will be pushing The Wood back from the barns in time

Friday, October 13, 2017

This is what happens when a one year old goat gets a brainstorm

I heard a lot of hammering, but figured it was the nearby neighbor in his workshop. As the day wore on...something about the sounds just seemed a bit...off.

It has come to light that Opie thought maybe he could help out and get the new barn started. He dragged Pino into it but I'm actually grateful as Pino at least wouldn't let him get Martyn's 12' pruning ladder out. Mrs. Mercey Studly was there too, helping with the nails. Nothing like a 100 year old rat assisting a one year old goat.

Update on the new barn

I got the final bid for the barn and it comes in at $20,000, but that doesn't include the exterior wood and stalls which we will put up ourselves, so probably another $3-5,000.

we are drip by drip getting the job done! Thank you to those of you who have helped. I just sent out a big mailing and if you know someone who love animals and elders, please pass on our fundraiser.

Many companies will also match your donation to certain causes, so please consider asking your company if they might do this.

My goal is to be able to pay the down payment by February which is $6,000. Because of the graciousness of The J & J Stanley Foundation, every dollar donated will be matched up to $10,000-this is so important and wonderful.

Plus, if you donate this month, you might get an original piece of art. But you must donate before 10/31. On that day, The Puppet Will Pull Two Names Out Of His Hat and two donors will get one of my originals.

You can donate to the barn fund at the GoFund site. You can also send checks [let me know they are coming, please] or by going to  the regular funding page on this blog and want it to be for the barn [and possible art] that's OK, I can add your donation to the GoFund site manually [with with your name or anonymously].

It truly takes a village-and I appreciate everyone who has followed me, my art, my farm and animal work all these past 14 years!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

When 89 year olds fall for little goats

Her name is Ginny and she is now in love with a goat. And we are in love with her and all of her 89 year old beauty. Her hands are made up of years of lifting children and feeding a family, perhaps cutting flowers or toiling in the garden. But it was the way her face lit up, exploded in smile, that I will remember-and how that made me feel, and most likely her too-for different reasons.

We ventured over to a nearby elder facility, this one in the nearby village of Round Pond. The home was once a ship captain's home from the 1880's and a family lived there. At some point I was told, the family also took in old vets, and eventually it was sold and became an elder care home for six individuals. It now is the residence of six elders.

We started out on their front porch, a long regal one that provides wonderful shade. The residents all clamored out, some in wheelchairs, others with walkers. As I walked up the stairs, one of the residents, who had heard Opie was coming, was so excited, she started yelling,

"The goat is here! He's wicked cute!"

Opie was interested in his new surroundings, and did eventually calm to his normal visiting self. This is normal and he did just fine. The manager asked me if I would mind bringing him in at some point because there was a resident who was not well and could not come out on the porch.

We ventured to her room, and could hear the oxygen and as we entered. She was sitting quietly in her chair, but when she saw Opie, her smile just lit up the room. It was beautiful, I tell you, beautiful. We got closer and she immediately started holding his head and telling him,

"I love you already, I love you."

I got an interior verklempt feeling in my heart and throat. It's a bonus of this life's work.

We visited for some time, and heard a bit about her history. Ginny is originally from Massachusetts and has children and grandchildren and great grand children. She was sharp. Her body just wasn't keeping up with her mind.

She smiled the entire time.

She asked me if we could keep their home on 'our list'.

I told her we lived right down the road and we'd be back.

Her smile was sweet, her hands were beautiful, although I'm sure she would not recognize that.

{If you like the work we are doing with animals and seniors at Apifera, please consider a donation-we are a 501[c][3]}

Conversation of the grumpiest pig

I found the pig watching silently, examining the new morning from her private suite. I can only imagine what The World's Grumpiest But I'm Fine As I Am Pig thinks internally in these moments...

Hrumpf...sun, that's, well alright...but slight humidity.

Trumpf OWEEEOWHrumpf!

Too much sun really, not enough wind...FLIES!

Will sleep and hope for some clouds.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

It's Official! Pino Pie Day is returning!

And it is never to early to plan! I hope that I might see some old friends-the even will be in early October a beautiful time of year to visit midcoast Maine. I have created a page on the blog where I will add accommodations and other helpful info to travelers.

October 6, 2018 will be here before you know it!

I got stuck in the barn with The Llama and it was the best morning ever

The morning began with lots of wind and warm air but with a real feel of fall, and the smell of the ocean's cove nearby. It was beautiful. By the time I was almost done with feeding and cleanup in the outer barn, the rains began-down pours is a better way to explain them.

I love being in the barn in the rain. It takes me back to when I was little and I'd go out to my sumac fort in the cool days of autumn, sit with my poodle and just commune with Nature. There is something so comforting and 'safe' about being in the barn with the animals in inclement weather.

The animals take it all in stride. The sheep are not real lovers of rain, nor is Benedetto [although he loves snow and cold]. The llama too usually comes in when it rains, the donkeys and Boone really don't care but they were all inside munching breakfast hay.

After living in Oregon all those years, you might be wondering why I felt I couldn't run back to the house some 300 or so feet away.
I could have, but, I just didn't feel the need to get wet in a warm-but chilly-when-wet day and I had no coat on, or hat. So I sat amongst the sheep and Ben, and Birdie, with the equines right on our side in the other stall. The beautiful rain is much needed and it also meant the winds and rain kept the flies away.

I must have been out there forty minutes, in silence, having my morning equivalent of a church like experience.

Remember this moment, I thought.

I'm here, I thought, I'm getting to have this human experience, of feeling the air and smelling the rains and sea with wet wool mixed in and the smell of the horse near by.

It is moments like these that confirm I am a spirit having a human experience on this realm, and my time here must not be taken lightly.

{If you like the ten years of stories this blog has brought you, please consider a tax deductible donation to our barn fundraiser-so we can help more animals, which will mean...more stories, art and photos.}