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

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Oh, Lord, these two

Mud split a toenal so I bandaged to stop slight bleeding

"What happened to your foot?" Bear wonders.

"I'll live, don't worry, little fella."

Monday, January 20, 2020

Pre-Order the new memoir "White Dog"!


A white dog appeared one day in our sheep field. In the
ten plus years we had lived at our farm, no dog or large
predator had ever breached our fences– that we were
aware of. He was very thin and worn, unkept, hungry
and intact. And, he was a Maremma, the same breed as
our livestock guardian dog that also lived on the farm
who had arrived as a pup about eight months earlier.

How he got there was, and is, a mystery, but it is a tale
laced with magic and universal forces at work.
Maremmas don’t just drop out of the sky, or do they?

I named him Benedetto which means blessed but we all
have come to know him as White Dog.

Looking into White Dog’s eyes from the first time I met
him, I knew there was a story only he could tell. I knew
he left something to come to something else, for a reason.

It is a simple truth that all who meet him come to

White Dog knows.

This intimate book is 4.25 x 6" and at 228 pages is small but stout. It is fully illustrated and also includes a section of photographs of White Dog's world. The story is told by White Dog, along with the guidance of Crow and I am the translator.

By pre-ordering, you are allowing an indie author/publisher to continue to make books. Pre-ordering basically helps pay for the traditional offset printing of the book which must be printed in larger quantities–this allows me to not go into debt and helps me continue to birth high quality off-set books into the world.

The book will be ready around May if not sooner.

Once the printing is paid for, a portion of net profit will be put into the Apifera non profit account at year's end. When you buy this book, it is not a tax deduction [Donations to Apifera Farm are tax deductible.]

There are options in the drop down menu and prices include USA shipping [International orders will have to pay at least another $25 for shipping, do not order unless you are okay with that.]

I have included options so you can simply order a book or two [larger quantities just let me know], but also the $250 and $500 levels let you send extra money to support this indie publisher to get this little book out into the world.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

New art

I was in the studio this week and have some new prints available...you might recognize The Teapot, and Captain Sparkle.

Available from the online shop.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A farewell to old Else, miscalculations and a window opens

Opie views the body. Right after, he came to my side.
Yesterday I got to the front barn and Else would not eat or take water. I always give her a bucket of water so she doesn't have to walk to water bucket....at least for the past month or so, a clear sign she was getting tired. But yesterday, I chose to lift her and move her into a more draft free corner. She cried, in a pain cry. Else never talks. It was clear what she was saying. I went to house to get pain meds, and the injection made her cry out in a distress cry, not a 'hey that hurt cry'. I tried to adjust her body for her, more terrible pain cries.

I told her I would make it right.

Watching an animal suffer is a horrible position to be in, and I was so lucky that one of my vets was very close by, and she came to put her down. She went out like a bulb. She was more than ready.

I had talked to my vet last fall about putting Else down before winter, and I had that in my head as the right thing to do. But then I started really getting good weight on her [for her, she is very thin] and she seemed to be going outside and enjoying life, even though her crippling condition was getting worse, as we knew it would when we adopted her from a state neglect case. For the past months of winter, it has been okay, she was eating, and had a good demeanor. It was about a week ago though that I could tell she had more trouble getting a position that was comfortable. And then yesterday. There was no question we needed to let go.

I am relieved for her.

I told my vet that I had perhaps done her a disservice not acting sooner, but she just didn't seem ready...vets hear this all the time, knowing it is usually the person that isn't ready. But I really didn't think it was time.

So it was a misjudgment on my part. After all the years of doing this, I guess I'm entitled to some miscalculations.

I feel badly though, because she clearly had a morning of pain. But then a big beautiful sleep, and no pain.

This morning she is still in the barn, covered in blankets, with the chickens sleeping on her-it is a process to bury an animal in winter, but we will in the next day or so. It is never a feeling of closure until they are in the ground. I had Wilbur cremated last winter because it was so impossible to bury him with the heavy snow, and I wasn't going to put him out for Nature [I am not opposed to this option, it just doesn't work well in our setting]. I felt really bad about having to take his body into the clinic, put in a freezer to wait for the next cremation pickup. That is how it works. They do the same thing with dogs. And people. I was so relieved to pick his ashes up.

But I want to bury them if I can, return them to the earth in body, feed the worms and tulips.

This morning I did my chores, and I realized how tired I was. I was moving slowly. I have actually given myself permission to move more slowly during chores, and take moments to look and feel and smell it all in. I don't make morning appointments anymore if I don't have to, I just don't want to rush. I've rushed enough. As I did chores I realized how much care taking fills a space, and when the creature or person is gone there is a big space left. I do not have one moment where I think "I wish I didn't have to care for this animal', never, but there is an initial empty space and a feeling of, "now what?" and then, life steps in...another old goat will come along or crippled one...the space Else left will be taken up by another Misfit who fails, or a new comer. A window will open.

So in a way, I guess her death is one more gift-it opens a space, and leaves behind the memory of her sweet self.

The Goose gives Else one last peck...just to make sure.

How I will remember her

Monday, January 13, 2020

The continuing thread of caring for one another

It's my mother's birthday. She died in April, 2013 at 87. I miss her, I miss her as my "go-to shore" to call...but in time, after she died, I realized her death made me more able to understand myself too, and learn and grow in ways I wasn't when she was alive. It's part of the plan. But I miss her. I thought of making her famous dense white cake with fudge frosting...or maybe spaghetti. I remember as a little kid being so excited when I knew she was making her spaghetti.

Over a year ago, a friend I'd known about 7+ years online who was a wonderful, funny, engaged-and helpful-person, died by suicide. Shocking. Sad. From that death, I got to know his mother, who to this day I communicate with online as she continues to grieve, learn, grow, and heal. It is odd how death can bring people together but it happens all the time and I'm grateful for my friend's mother. Seeing her grieve her only son makes me realize how much love my mother had for me, I knew this, but watching my friend's mother grieve makes me realize how many times my mother must have had a broken heart watching me go though hard times as I grew up.

Today my friend happened to send me this FB 'memory' in a message, something I had written on her son's page after he died. How beautiful that it was on my mother's birthday. This thought in this quote became apparent to me as I flew back from my father's funeral, in '08, and I was in the plane in the clouds, and I just felt like he was the sky, the clouds, everything. It physically felt like that.

"I have said before that when a loved one dies, the love they gave, and that I received, somehow expands. I figure that when a person is alive, they have all this love inside them, like energy, and they dole it out over time…but when the body is done, everything is released and the love expands and it explodes out free to be carried all over and merge with everything--the trees and sky, people, flowers…the air…it’s like air, the love expands and we breathe it daily." -- Katherine Dunn

Friday, January 10, 2020

Perhaps the most poignant moment ever

Yesterday I took both Bear and Opie to the elder home for their weekly visit. I wanted to try having both of them there, and I had Polly my assistant volunteer with me and it worked out really well. Opie was in his cart making rounds, and I covered another area of the home with Bear. Again I had his little wagon so when he got tuckered out he could rest.

He did great. I wondered if last week was a fluke but I was so touched by him, and his behavior. He is a bit more puppy like now with another week of living under his belt, but he was calm and focused much of the time. We let him down to walk too and what just slayed me was he would sit on command, watch for me, wait for my next move. We've been working on that in the house-he is rewarded when he is calm with praise and love, when not I ignore him. I've been teaching him tosit, off leash and I couldn't believe it when he was able to be so focused at our visit-everyone ooohed and awed, and I was very proud of him.

But the moment captured in this photo is one of the more poignant moments of my animal therapy career. This is John and last week I told you how he lit up when he met Bear, and that was the first time I'd seen him smile or be animated. He held Bear and just was so happy the entire time. His wife visits him twice a day every day. Well, when we got there yesterday people were excited to see Bear and Opie, and at some point I noticed John and his wife coming down the hall. About 15 feet from us, John saw the puppy and he stretched his arms out, smiling, until he got wheeled up to Bear.

My heart nearly broke into a million pieces.

Opie was treated to a carrot by staff

It's like she was loving him so hard it showed in her face

Se doesn't usually talk a lot

She always had lots of animals in her life