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

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Big news! Apifera to become a 501c!

I have been working towards this for a long time, and with the move to Maine our situation changed in certain ways that makes this big step a worthwhile endeavor.

Apifera Farm is becoming a 501c!

I have a lawyer preparing the documents, and spent time with an accountant this morning and liked him, we meet again Wednesday and I hope to hire him. There is a lot to understand and 'get right' and I feel we are on that path. Donations will be used for obvious essential-feed, hay, vet care, fencing- but will also help me with outreach programs I hope to begin such as bringing elders to Apifera for healing days with the animal and farm. The latter involves many things such as creating a safe level area for wheelchairs and people with walkers, a porta potty [the Puppet will be thrilled, I'm sure we'll be hearing from him] and a new road for easy turn about off the main road.

I have lots of ideas! But this is going to be a serious venture and will take a lot of marketing too.

Some have asked if they can donate now and get a tax write-off. That will happen on the date we officially incorporate which I think will happen within about 8 weeks.

HOWEVER, I welcome art/book/Etsy sales right now as this is all costing money to hire lawyers and accountants, but it is important work to get the foundation right. And you can donate, and I'm grateful if you do [no tax write of yet though, but there are reward levels]. Donations over $50 get a book, over $25 an Itty book.

Mission Statement:
A non-profit dedicated to bringing animals and elder/special needs people together for mutual healing and wellness. It will also provide a safe haven at its farm for elder/special needs animals [even if it is a hospice case] on a case by case basis.-

Here is my goal:

-Bringing animals and elder people together for beneficial healing and wellness

-Animals interacting with elders helps break down barriers, with a goal that the elders will share their stories. Allowing elders to share story makes them feel like someone cares to listen

-Apifera is currently visiting one specific elder residence twice monthly, developing intimate relationships over time with the seven residents. Opie the therapy goat is the regular, but Pino the donkey and other animal will be brought-it is also a goal to bring elder animals to the elder people for mutual healing

-Apifera will continue to adopt elder and special needs animals to live out their lives at the farm on a case by case basis. One of the needs in Maine is a larger donation pool, because everything here is more expensive: vet care, fencing/feed/ hay. we need a wider donation pool.

-Our goal is to also build some additional structures for more animals, but also to create an environment on the farm where elders can visit [so a need for full time satellite toilet, level foundations, sitting structure to allow wheelchairs and walkers] The garden will be incorporated into these visit areas for further beneficial healing for visitors.

-Apifera also wants to encourage elder people to share story. Animal visits promote calm in people and help break down barriers. Katherine hopes to write about these elders and get their stories out-promoting the idea that elders are as interesting and inspiring as any age

-Apifera also would like to work with special needs people-and hopefully bring special needs animals together in a beneficial healing encounter. For example, the blind pug with one eye working with blind people; the three legged crippled goat showing a child he can still be productive.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pino and Opie Smile Brigade

There were plenty of smiles yesterday at the summer event at Inn Along the Way. I think if that is all that we bring to people-a way to make them smile-well, we've done our job and succeeded at our mission.

It was a fun day of good conversations with many nice people. We both had a wonderful time and furthering conviction we are meant to be here in this place at this time in our life. While I hardly sold a thing, literally I sold one Bird Ball, it was really about getting out there and meeting people in our community {one must look at tit his way-in optimism}. People came to fly kites, view the proposed Inn and see animals- so it was all good.

Opie did great, he is a real charmer. He met babies, a dog, watched the fiddle players, met the big horses and got led around by many people. I think though I will keep his next visit shorter, 4.5 hours was a lot for him and he got a bit worn out I think. But he did just fine.

Pino...well, Pino is Pino. He got hugged, whispered to, drooled on by babies and got to venture into the barn to hear the fiddlers. {You can see a video of that at Instagram}.

I am worn out but in a very good way. I was glad to see people turn out for the Inn. The Inn Along the Way is a retirement village being built in stages on the old Chapman farm-a beautiful place with a huge, wonderful barn. There will be small homes [very modest and well done] for elders to live independently and have a 'community' feel to partake in with gardens and events. The barn will host events and there will also be hospice suites for caregivers to have respite. The Inn will become a cafe and a place for people at the community to gather, and for visitors to stop in and eat and share. The idea is to create a place that does not isolate elders as they age, but rather allows them to be in a community that feels like a real neighborhood.








Friday, June 23, 2017

Opie and Pino are ready

I'll share photos of tomorrow's event at Inn Along the Way, where Pino and Opie will be holding court to share animal heart and healing. It is the Inn's summer celebration to share their mission and goal of creating a retirement community, and Apifera will be there to support them and share our mission of bringing animal and people to together for mutual well being. I'll also have my books and products there too, of course. And Martyn.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Do not deduct from my life, she said

I finally got to have a long ride with Boone yesterday. We have not ridden together since October and in Oregon I rode all winter usually 2x a week since I had easy access to a barn and trails, and no icy winters. So it was a long time coming. I wondered if even at 19 if my noble steed might be frisky but he was just fine, and I can tell enjoyed himself. Before anything else, Boone is a trail horse.

The wind was consistently blowing which was perfect for an 80 degree day and heat-hating rider, and fly-hating horse. Boone is really sensitive to bugs so the wind was a pleasant addition to our ride. And we found some new paths to take thanks to a nearby property with horses that made some suggestions. I felt like we were on an adventure and I thought how far we had come since landing in Maine. I felt sturdy and confidant on the ride yesterday, mainly because I am reforming my identity here with new people and terrain, and that takes time.

I was thinking of my old friend Joanne, who died this year at age 85. She was my riding mentor and buddy and we rode right up until we left for Maine. She was the first person I thought of when I knew we were moving, and how I did not want to leave her, or our rides together. When she died I just was so sad even though she had a long life but a car accident took her in the end, a guy ran into her as she crossed a walkway at the hospital and she went into coma at some point, dying at home.

Joanne and I use to talk about aging, and how she did not like how her body was putting limitations on her, but her mind was clear. But she rode 2-3 times a week. She also talked about how others would try to put limitations on her as she aged. I saw this happen to my parents, especially my father who had many physical issues, and one by one he had to give up things like driving, smoking his pipe, walking the dog...things he loved. I had a recent conversation with a woman in her late eighties who wants to get another dog because her beloved pug died, but some think she should not because they think it would be unfair to the dog since she might not be around long. This woman said something that really stuck me: she said she did not like it when others wanted to take things away from her, to deduct things from her life.

I think this is the biggest challenge we face as we age-being deducted, being told we must conform and shrink with age, rather than to keep evolving into things we can handle physically.

I guess there are situations where an 85+ year old should not ride a horse, or buy another dog-but that is up to that person assuming they are of sound mind.
I thought of Joanne so many times on my ride, and felt she had prodded me to get back in the saddle yesterday even though it is a super busy week. I talked to her a lot. And I thought of how glad I was that she had not been forced or felt pressure to deduct riding from her life.

So to all the merging elders, and current elders, I say we must strive to add things into life, not shrink away. When we shrink back, and deduct, then it will be our time. I know at some point, the body and mind deduct on their own, but to be forced to give up things because someone deems it necessary is an unfair stance to put on an elder. Perhaps limitations mean you can't have a dog, or a horse, but perhaps there are solutions that could bring joy to the elder, an addition in their life.

That's why I want to work with the animals and elders in get togethers-it is an addition to their day, not a deduction.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Photobombed by a piglet and Earnest gets an edible fort

I was admiring the already growing pig pool, noticing that Eleanor had started her pool and then the piglets were creating another above it, almost creating a waterfall effect from upper to lower. In time, that pool will hold all nine piglets. I won't let you down and will get a picture of it as summer heats come on. If you don't have pigs, I will tell you that if you give them even drippings of water, by a faucet for example, they will make a wallow in no time. They use their strong snouts to dig the dirt. It is really fun to watch, and also makes you understand quickly the challenges of containing pigs due to those strong noses. They can also lift gates, or bend them if they are securely intact.

I was taking a photo of it and a flying bat came across my lens. They are like little bats right now, flying around the paddock at ease, stopping to sniff, then flying the other direction. When they get going all it once it's like a swarm of polk-a-dot flies.

There was great excitement in the barnyard yesterday morning, or was it Sunday? I came out to hear quite a bit of conversation,

"I don't know, maybe she planned it this way?" asked Goose.

"It's a fabulous gift, a tree fort over my water hole, and edible too," said Earnest.

I looked out to see a large limb had cracked off the nearby maple. Thankfully nobody was hurt. Unfortunately there is another larger limb that is dead, still upright and we will have to get help taking it down, sooner than later. I'm afraid it could easily pierce the barn, or take down the coop roof.

It's always something.

But for now, I imagine Earnest lying under his edible tree fort, sitting in his pig pool, nibbling on maple leaves as he cools his body in the heat.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rosie the pig continues to blossom, grumpily

I came upon Rosie this morning outside her sleeping suite visiting the grasses and  Ranunculus flowers nearby. When Rosie arrived at the old Apifera, she would roam a bit more, biting off grass blades and napping in the sun. But over time, her grumpiness grew and she preferred her own company, especially after Eleanor arrived. Even Stevie the Kissing Goat didn't seem to be able to entice her out of Old Barn, where she retreated to at one point, living for the last two years of our time there in  a private suite. Visiting chickens were allowed to roost near her, and the sounds and faces of passing sheep and donkeys on the other side of the fence did not bother her.

So each time I find her outside in her private paddock, it makes me happy.

"Rosie!" I always say.

"Rrumpf guru aaaa hrumph," she says. Sometimes she is calmed by having the backs of her ears rubbed, as she was today.

Rosie has also been found lying on the fence line that is shared on the other side by Earnest and the goats. I find him lying there too and it's heartening to see she seems to finally understand,

This is a pig, I am a pig. 

I would love to let Earnest in with her, but I just think it could be a disaster. He has tusks, number one, and he is much heavier and stronger than Rosie who has a weak hind end. If Earnest decided, as he probably would, that love making was needed, I'm afraid he could hurt her already weak hind end. So their get-togethers are like those of prison inmates, meeting at a designated dividing fence where they can touch noses. I can not imagine the pig squeals she would emit if their relationship was consummated. Fortunately, she was spayed before we adopted her, so should Earnest someday make a valiant effort to be with his grumpy cougar girlfriend, there would not be little grumpy Rosies in three months.

Martyn and I have laughed at this thought-Rosie with children. Would she eat them? We imagined them running around like gremlins, complete with horns.

There is only one Rosie and there will never be another one....perhaps this is good. But I've become very fond her royal highness, she and I have learned each other's languages and I am enjoying her new 'tender' side that emerge here from time to time.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Opie the therapy goat has new elders to love

Opie and I made are way into Wiscasset today for our first visit with the residents of Wiscasset Green, a beautiful old house that now is permanent residence for seven elders.

Let me say right off, Opie is a natural healer. He has the Pino gene.

He strutted in there in his I'm a big boy now way and greeted everyone. We sat out in the home's lovely patio and started to get to know our new friends. We really had a wonderful visit and are so looking forward to getting to know the residents on a more personal level. Already, after a one hour visit, I feel inspired and refocused on making my life here in Maine about bringing animal and people-especially elders-together for mutual healing and sharing of story.

Even in one hour, the personalities of the residents began to emerge. I wonder what their life stories are? I hope to work on that over time, and share their stories. So many people look at elders as...being at the end of the line, finished with doing new things, or uninteresting. I see elders as a unique vessel of knowledge and experience, a child that continued on and led a long life, a human on a journey-with so many stories. Imagine if Abe Lincoln had lived to be 90 and was sitting on a park bench and nobody stopped to talk to him-what a waste! Why do we listen to the young, marvel at the child in the room talking, or the thirty something with a brilliant new novel, but we as a society in the whole aren't excited to sit and listen to our elders?

Well, Opie was excited. He does not choose who to share himself with based on their age, looks or physical limitations [just ask Sir Tripod Goat]. I am really excited to begin this new relationship. I plan to visit twice a month on Thursdays. We are also hoping to have a farm visit in the near future.

Opie's presence immediately brought out smiles. We all had something in common, despite our age differences-we all were inspired to touch and pet Opie. That led us to talking, about lots of things. There were a couple of really shy people there, or, maybe shy is not the right term-I need to interact more over the coming visits to get to know each person.

We also talked about bringing Pino and other Apiferians which was met with excitement. As we said our goodbyes, one of the residents made me promise we'd come back. And we will. Over and over. This is a covenant I have made internally with them. I learned way back when I used to take my old blind pug to visit with Rose, a resident of an assisted living facility, that I really thrive when I can have a smaller group to interact with, and it made it special to get to know Rose one on one. Just as Wednesdays became a light for Rose knowing the pug was coming, I hope that the residents of Wiscasset Green will wake up and think,

Oh good, it's Opie Day!

Warning: this is an ongoing fluid project for me and Opie and the other Apiferians. Stay tuned on this new adventure of our animal therapy.

This is Joe, he was so sweet and Opie rested on his shoulder
"You are so cunning'" she told Opie.

He gave and received kisses

This resident was very reserved but hopefully we will get to know her heart.

Saying goodbye to a chicken, hello to the lupine

I lost one of the hens last night. She was only a year or so and one day ago she took to laying about, not eating. I suspected a bound egg, from her appearance and behavior. I tried the usual olive oil drip and lubricating the vent, and I made her a scrambled egg-yes, I give scrambled eggs to my hens on certain occasions for protein, they love it. Ad no, I do not think it is canabalistic.

So last night I decided to put her back in the coop with the girls. She wasn't horribly weak and was walking a little, I thought she might work through it. But I could feel crunches when I gently massaged her sides.

She was gone this morning. The hens had been busy scratching for bugs and had partially covered her body. I became very brave and tried to do an autopsy of sorts, curious if I would find egg shells. But it got messy, and I buried her.

I hate losing chickens. But as an old farmer told me years ago,

"Chickens just...die sometime."

Or another,

"If you want chickens, you will lose chickens."

 I had named her Gracie because she was the only Sexlink of the Buff Orpingtons flock, The Secret Sisters. Gracie was much more personal than the flock of Buffs. My old Buffs were so friendly, this group, stand offish and a bit flighty for Buffs. So I was sad to say goodbye to Gracie.

To juxtapose the death of a friend who gave us beautiful food-the world's most perfect food,eggs-I enjoyed the Lupine on the drive. One must always look for a juxtaposition to a sad event to survive the human condition.