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

©K.Dunn. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Going deep...new art

She knew if she sat still, waiting, protected by sister bramble, the moon would light the path for a heart to find her, and scoop her up and take her in. And they did. {Now available at the shop}

In the deepness of winter, when creatures reach down inside and explore their uniqueness, old paths crossed and roads yet to travel, little donkey knows when to return to his barn. There he can dream deep, and in morning he will return to his Wood. {now available at the shop}

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Hundred words for snow

It happened.

We had our first real snow, a beautiful blanket of snow, with snowflakes all day yesterday that came down in different sizes, large snowflakes, some wet looking gin the sky as they fell. I had been looking forward to the winter here in Maine since arriving. Yes, that's correct, looking forward to winter. It is by far my second favorite season right after fall, with summer being my 'carry on and endure" season.

Winter and snow are, for me, full of a deeper form of communication, not only with myself, but with nature and therefore with my creative soul which is wrapped in nature. The fallen snow covers, but it hides things and one gets to rediscover them if we pay attention. I walked from the Misfit barn to get to the pig water bucket, and tripped a bit...it was the hose we had not picked up yet. It left a faint mountain range, the hose, with the snow on it. An entire new shape was created with the snow over the hose. In Japanese there are many words to describe the different forms of snow. "Yuki" means snow, but "yuki-boshi" means the little hat shapes that form when snow covers an object.

So I admired all the yuki-boshis yesterday.

The White Dogs love the snow, Benedetto especially. He was not a fan of rain. I knew he would thrive in Maine. He lays around in it, plays in it, eats it, sleeps in it into the dark night. The sheep's thick wool coats are like yuki-boshis too. The Eskimos have over a hundred words for snow. "Jatla" means snow between your fingers and toes-we all had that too.

I sense that Maine is bringing me something I needed, that for whatever reason, I had to get here, and nowhere else, not Oregon, not any other place on the planet. I had to come to Maine for the next step of my journey. It will be about going inward more, a deep journey. I also realized I have been hesitant to fully engage here, but that changed a few weeks ago. Perhaps it was the fact six months have past and I am over the shock phase of leaving our land in Oregon. The land played a crucial role in my art and psyche there, and it shaped my stories in ways that only that land could. My image was wrapped up in a pastoral feeling there, this property is different, and it has taken me some time to come to terms with it. It is more of a village feeling here on the property, very New England, meaning the Misfit barn sits about 30 feet from the house, and the new barn we built is about 150 feet from the Misfit barn. Everything is spaced more tightly. Houses often sit on the main roads here, very common in many winter climates. Our sits slightly back, about 100 feet, but it is not a feeling of being 'way out in the wild west' like the old place in Oregon. I had to come to a sense of peace with that. The road itself has been a real hardship on me. But I have come to a new understanding about that road. Rather than see it as an annoyance, {I am very sensitive to sound but also the vibrations that sound enfolds -it is not just the sound of cars driving by, it is all that comes with it, the feelings of that driver, all the stuff that driver is carrying and transmitting, it all astounds my senses}–I am now seeing the road as an entity, a bringer of news, a conduit for something that is going to come into my life that I can't grasp yet...who knows who will drive on that road by Apifera and meet me. The old farm was one thing, this Apifera is something else, and I am ready to embrace it.

Anyone seeing the farm in the snow, yuki-boshis all around, the sounds of the creatures, the wind over and through The Wood, they would feel its magic. I have felt it too, but it was the snow that highlighted my new sense of wonderment with this place, this Apifera-not the old one. The land here is more reserved, less embracing, to the newcomer. But its been waiting for me, as the house has, to relax a bit, and fully accept my environ.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The first Healing Cat Cottage residents!

On Friday we went to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter. I had had a talk with the supervisor on the phone about my goals here, and when we arrived, it seems the employees had all heard about it and were happy to meet us. The people there were very nice, I was really impressed and am so glad I could take on some elders. We have room for more so I will be keeping a close eye on their intakes. It was hard to leave any of them behind, but they are being well cared for by staff and volunteers. People have asked what they can send me for the Healing Cat Cottage, which I really appreciate! I will be honest, the best gift is always...money. It allows me to purchase the most necessary things-litter, food, meds, and possible vet needs. Because the Cat Cottage is heated it cost about $2 a day for that. I am going to be setting up the cottage in a homey way, there will be places for people to sit, art will grace the wall and I will be painting a bird wall for the cats. Martyn is busy building perches and cubbies so the cats can hide or sit up high looking out the windows into the woods. I plan to have small reading days there so people of all ages can visit with the cats, and Misfits, drawing days...all sorts of things with one simple mission-bring animal and people together for mutual healing.

So, please meet the first residents of the Healing Cat Cottage:

Anna was loved and cared for and originally came from Virginia. She is over nine and has had most of her teeth removed due to infection. She is on a special needs diet due to her intolerance of certain foods. Anna's photo made my heart skip a beat as she reminded me of Itty Bitty, but upon meeting her I realized Anna is...her own cat. She is Anna and is very personable.At this point she is the greeter in the Cat Cottage. She loves to held and petted and shows no signs of aggression or ill-use. She is currently independent of the other two cats.

This 16 year old gentleman is so handsome and came with the name Tigger. He definitely responds to his name. His owner had to go into a home and could not take the cat–a sad story we all hear too many times and somehow the system could do better on this, couldn't they? I am always a sucker for this story, it is a dread we all have of having to go into a home, especially one without animals. So Tigger is getting lots of love right now and reassurance. He is quite independent, so far. He does respond to petting and on day three, today, we had a nice long morning rub down, which he really liked. He also has extra toes, but hates to have his feet touched, so far. He is in very good shape and also lets the very shy bob tail cat sleep near him.

This 13 year old bob tailed calico is very shy at the moment. She came with the name Money Penny but I am searching for a new name for her because she has a very interesting past. She was born in Japan and came to her owner as a pregnant stray. Due to her job, the owner relocated and brought her cats with her to the US. Another job move to Sweden came upon them, and the cats could not come. The two cats that lived with this girl were adopted already, leaving Money penny alone and scared. When we went to the shelter, she was hiding behind cages. Upon arriving here, she immediately hid so well I could not find her-she was buried in some straw. She lets me pet her, and this morning we had a long love session together, while she hid under a blanket. I massaged her with long, slow back strokes and had her purring up a storm. I think in time she will come around. Her intake papers say she is independent and I think she will remain that way...but you never know. Time is what she needs. She is 13.

Donate $50 or more and you get an Itty Bitty & Big Etta Book [due out February 1, 2017 or choose between "Donkey Dream" and "Misfits of Love".

Add any amount below you'd like. {Email me if you want to pay in another way}.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Let the healing begin

We brought home three senior cats Friday...and a...well, you will have to wait until tomorrow to hear all about the new Misfits. We are busy, busy, busy building cat perches, lounging areas and just making everyone feel at home. I will share it all, hopefully tomorrow. This is Anna, who is just a real lover. More on her tomorrow too.

I'm just so...happy, to have these creatures here, and we have our eyes open for other senior cats in need. Stay tuned.

{If you are new here, visit the Healing Cat Cottage page to see what is going on]

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Announcing! The Healing Cat Cottage!

In 2016, Apifera relocated to mid coast Maine, with all The Misfits. The semi feral cat colony of 20+ lived a long, good life in Oregon, many living past age 12, including the founding father, Big Tony, who still resides at Apifera Maine in the house, living like a king.

Now in Maine, we are ready to help cats again. We have a large area in the main Misfit barn, complete with windows and a secure door, heat and air condition in summer {I don't even have it in my studio yet!]. Eventually in the spring/summer, the cats will have an outdoor, closed area where they can be in Nature, but with the safety of fencing [including a roof so no escapes]. They will have things to climb around and perch on. The area will also be able to care for cats that have special conditions that need to be treated.

Mutual Healing for Cat and Human:
The area is also set up so that visitors can come and sit with the cats, read to them, spend time drawing them, holding those that one to be held.

The goal at this stage is to home five cats who will live out their remaining days at Apifera. We are focusing on senior cats, and special need elders.

I have already found three cats that caught my heart. Details will be posted on blog as they develop.

The room itself is ready-it is well lit, secure from inside and out. We do need to build some more cubbies, with crates for emergencies or for cats that need safe areas to sleep at length [this is also good for acclimating cats to a new environment].

Martyn will be building many of these enclosures. I am in need of cat carriers as we only could bring one from the old farm due to limited space. If you have one to donate, let me know. They cost about $60.

If you would like to donate to the Healing Cat Cottage-for feed, meds, litter, blankets, etc....it is all appreciated. We still care for the nine Misfits which requires time, energy, love, commitment...and money.

Stay tuned as I develop visitor programs around the Misfits and the Healing Cat Cottage.

Donate $50 or more and you get an Itty Bitty & Big Etta Book [due out February 1, 2017 or choose between "Donkey Dream" and "Misfits of Love".

Add any amount below you'd like. {Email me if you want to pay in another way}.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Old One Eyed Pug II is in love with Mrs. Revere

I call the oven in our Maine house "Mrs. Revere" and I mentioned once on social media that she really was in Paul's kitchen as a child, and hence her name. Amazingly, some people asked if there were ovens then.

There should be classes teaching a witty sense of humor.

We knew all about the oven when we bought the place. We had it inspected and were told how all the former owners 'loved it'. Short on money, we figured we'd keep it since it is safe, and work with it awhile. We have no intentions of overly modernizing the 1760 house. The kitchen is tiny. I must say I miss our old kitchen, and the way we could look out big windows to the upper fields without worry of passing cars seeing us. You have to swap out certain things in any move and grab onto the good stuff. But we found some old cupboard this week and it's a cute bug of a kitchen and has all we need right now.

Mrs. Revere is amazingly reliable for baking. I have done pies and cakes in her and cookies and all were done perfectly. She has no built in thermometer so we use a store bought one. Our turkey was perfect. She only has one rack which makes it a challenge, and there is no such thing as a simmer control. She has to be hand lit. I have to say, hand lighting the stove makes me feel closer to the process of cooking-it's like starting a fire after you chop your own wood-kind of gives cooking a more visceral quality.

Another of Mrs. Revere's skills is she keeps the place warm. The house is small, about 1500 sf, with four rooms on the first floor and two fireplaces, one of which we keep going. We have a furnace too but so far it rarely comes on during the day [that will probably change]. Mrs. Revere is both chef and heater.

Hugh likes to help cook. He is very enthusiastic about any kind of meal prep-especially when there is chopping, or sizzling. He also gets to be warm by Mrs. Revere's side.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Oh Rosie!

Getting ready for bed when you are The World's Grumpiest But I Am Fine As I Am Pig is serious business. And around here, when you want to say Goodnight to The World's Grumpiest But I Am Fine As I Am Pig, one must proceed cautiously.

Nothing will keep me from wishing her sweet dreams, even her grumpiness.