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

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Livin' now

I've been swept up this weekend with a wonderful visit with my brother and his wife from Oregon. I am getting ready to eat fresh lobster after three days of tootleing around the mid coat showing off the beauty, visiting historical sites and learning and...eating. It feels like Sunday but it's almost Tuesday so I'm woefully out of sorts until tomorrow mid day when I can regroup.

I have no photos to show of our weekend, it was all just living in the moment and enjoying each other. So why not post a pic of Marcella and her charges, I thought.

I can tell you this: Rosie has buried herself for the first time in straw with the colder nights; Sir Tripod Goat banged his nose open perhaps on a ...pig...but he is fine; the horribly busy road in front of the farm is now quieting, finally, after the summer ground has died down; Litlle Sylvia Pettini stood up to Lillian at the food line; Earnest is very excited about pumpkin season as is Paco.

I promise to be back in full force this week. The weather is magnificent. There is much to talk about.

Friday, September 23, 2016

We go to the Common Ground Fair...and learn

For the past year anytime I talk to anyone who knew we were moving to Maine, or had moved to Maine, invariably I would hear,

"And you must go to the Common Ground Fair."

And we did. We were not disappointed. Despite the fact it was a rainy, sometimes down pouring day, we learned so much and got so much out of it-both with new knowledge, but also in an emotional sense- it was one more string we could tie to our belts to help ground us here.

Before we even got into the fair, we stopped at various forestry booths outside the gates to talk to foresters about our goals with out woods. We made good contacts, and learned some basic procedures for our next steps. We then ventured inside, and there were moments I felt like I was in Eugene, Oregon-it had a mix of 1960's hippies energy with earth conscious souls. But all around me were Maine accents, so I had to repeat,

You are here now. Take what it gives you and be grateful.

And I did. We breezed through the animal barns and I really loved the beautiful oxen. There was one goat, seen here smiling, who melted me, she reminded me so much of Iris who I had to put down before we left the old farm. It was almost like she was there though, saying hello. I scratched her throat through the pen for a long time, she was a very content soul.

But it was the fiber barn that I learned so much. I have been reading and asking questions for weeks, as a new wool sheep owner-versus hair sheep which we raised in Oregon. The volunteers were so knowledgeable. At first as I went around looking at various fiber from various sheep varieties, I would eavesdrop on the volunteers helping other people. Then I tagged along with one buyer as she took a raw fleece out on the table to examine it before buying. I asked a million questions, and each one was answered and had me asking more. Then I apologized as another woman was listening on and I had dominated the time, but she said,

"Keep asking, I'm learning too."

I met a retired gent standing by a Babydoll sheep and a Merino. I really would love a babydoll, just because and hope to find an elder to take on. Anyway, his weren't for sale. He explained to me that his wife had just died and she was the shepherd and fiber expert, but he and his daughter were taking it on. He told me he just loved those sheep. I wanted to take them both home.

I am super excited for spring sheering. And I looked at fiber of other breeds I am interested in adding into the flock.

We also had a long conversation with a man a little older than us, a woodworker, who happens to live right near us, and he knows our house and area. We talked a long time about the Maine culture. He has lived here 30 years. We found out about some great things just down the road-music nights, a use group for starters-but as we were departing, he said something like,

"If I could tell you one thing...it would be, give it time here. It takes some time. Keep working on your place and digging in the dirt. That is what builds your reputation."

We knew this, but it was important to hear it from someone who never left here once he came. We built our reputation the same way out West. Maine is a mysterious place at this point, for me, but it's like a wise person once said about any new encounter-

"Be like a dog-sniff it out, watch and listen."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Paco does a squishy poop and writes a poem

"I told you, I saw the bag," said Paco, the resident worrier. "Oh no, I feel it coming...I can't hold it in," he continued, worried.

"Paco! Not again, stand away, he is going to blow!" said Pino.

And with that, Paco had the runny poops. Happens every time the people with the bags come.

"I told you, she has the needles," Paco lamented.

"It's never as bad as you imagine, Paco, just repeat one of your poems, that will make you less worried," consoled Lucia.

"There once was doctor without shots,
Who came to me in my dream lots,
Instead of sharp tips,
She kissed my lips,
And we flew off to eat cookies."

"Not your best poem, but that's okay, Paco," said Boone. "Be a man, little chap, I'll go first."

And with that, a new vet came to give the donkeys and equines, and the llama, rabies shots. We never had to give them in Oregon, except to the dogs. I liked this vet, she is young but she answered my questions and was also understanding with me about not 'over vetting' which I won't tolerate in any vet. She also helped me with the elder Matilda-who I have been diligently applying Swat to each day, twice a day, to keep the biting flies at bay. But the flies are winning and her leg swelled up a little. So we shaved her legs and cleaned them more thoroughly and applied new treatment, and gave her antibiotics. I learned about a new topical treatment too that is very helpful.

Carrying for these creatures is a wonderful part of my life. I hope to do it until..well, I can't. I do know that here in Maine, I might have to adjust the quantity of creatures I take on. This is not a sad thing, it is a practical thing. The hay here is much less reliable, more expensive, and harder to find; there are fewer vets for sheep and goats and pigs; the climate will mean more food is required for the elders. Many people say they will help with finances, they mean well, but I can't rely on that anymore and never really did. In fact, if anyone out there thinks I ever broke even on donations in and food/vet costs out, think again. I am not complaining, but I have to be realistic, financially.

I am thinking of taking on elderly wool sheep that can't be bred and still have viable wool. It's hard for farmers to keep elder sheep, they have to separate them often from the working flock/ram, and many don't have the space for this. It is not that they don't care. I am so happy that I could take Calla and Assumpta. They are wonderful old girls and have beautiful fiber to give the world. I just like that as elders, they still have something to give.

I think the number of goats I'm caring for is a realistic head count-that would be seven mouths to feed and 28 feet to keep healthy. I would like some ducks, and an old goose, again. I miss them. I hope some come to me, somehow, but I have not officially sent this request out to the universe until we get through a winter. Who knows, we might all move to Spain after this. After all, all the animals are microchipped-required for international travel.

Just another piece of Apifera that is evolving...into what it needs to be and wants to be at this stage in our existence.

{Hay Fund is still open to donations. Thanks to all who have given!}

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fatherly, motherly energies...and The Other

I worry that we are a people in a process of great transition and we are forgetting what we are connected to. We are losing our frame of reference. Pelicans pass by and we hardly know who they are, we don't know their stories. Again, at what price? I think it's leading us to a place of inconsolable loneliness. That's what I mean by "An Unspoken Hunger." It's a hunger that cannot be quelled by material things. It's a hunger that cannot be quelled by the constant denial. I think that the only thing that can bring us into a place of fullness is being out in the land with other. Then we remember where the source of our power lies. 
{From an interview with 
Terry Tempest Williams}

I went for my morning walk today with Muddy, and at some point, I stopped...and just stared at the many trees in the roadside forest. I looked and looked...and realized, I did not know them, yet, any of them. And they are just waiting for me, patiently, to notice them more closely. So I did, I breathed them in, as many as I could, and walked on.

My friend who has lived on both the west and east coasts was explaining how she always thought of the Pacific Ocean as a mothering energy, and the Atlantic ocean as a Fathering energy. It came up because I was trying to verbalize how and why if felt different here, the energy. I liked what she said, it made sense to me. The coastline is rockier and the waves are different. We are a state of granite and ledge stone. There is ice and snow. The culture here harkens back to ancestral ways-patriotic type ways-that are not in the midwest or west. There is a wild renegade quality to the fisherman and many lifers here, just as there is a real renegade climate out west, but it is different, and until my friend mentioned this, I had no words to explain it. A male energy, versus female. Interesting. Just the other day this 20 something called me 'dear'...

It is something I will explore within me as the months go by.

So I am out in the land with Other, as I was in my old home. I have always resonated with her, even as a child in the city, even as a young woman in New York City. Other is my consolation during upheaval, and a sip of hot tea in calm times. I am where I should be , need to be at this time in my life. I just don't know why...such a mystery to let unfold.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The new book! Watch the teaser video!

ANNOUNCING! Here is a 'teaser' video for my new book launch. On October 4, you can see the extended video, and the Kickstarter will launch that day. I am so excited about this little story, and the animated video [thanks to Angella Kussabe]. This book is about love, acceptance, and letting each creature be true to itself. It is for all ages. We have money to raise before it go to the world. All that begins Oct. 4. Stay tuned!

[That's me playing my uke!]

Sunday, September 18, 2016

We three crones- a successful workshop

The Emerging Crone Workshop was a wonderful day for us all. We had a very intimate day, a quiet day with perfect weather, and the group was small due to some last minute emergency type cancels. At first I was bummed about that thinking the other attendees might feel let down, but I knew from experience that things usually happen for a reason, and that was the case yesterday.

Because of the small size the gathered crones were able to really share some intimate details of their lives, and it turned out, they had a shared experience of one being an adoptive mother, and another being a mother that gave her child up for adoption years ago. This shared experience allowed them to really help each other with their wisdoms in ways that never would have happened had it ben a bigger group. I felt like a conduit for them! It was really special-and we also just had wonderful conversation about family, death, aging, life....moving, changing, and finding sense of place and the importance of that.

And we sewed dolls. And laughed. One of the guests had a dream the night before about prickly throne turning to wings, so she brought rose stems and feathers for her doll. I loved that.

And as usual the backdrop of farm and Misfits was soothing and the weather could not have been better. Birdie the llama was a hit with guests, the flock was admired by the knitter in the group, and Rosie the pig was...well not that grumpy! People really love seeing the donkeys, Boone and all the other creatures in the real, after reading about them on the blog for a long time. I have to remind myself, this life is a storybook for many, including me-it's just I live within it, others get to jump on the pages from time to time and experience it.

I learned a lot too since this was the first small gathering here. I have logistics to work on, that is true of any event no matter how big. I remember that after each Pino Pie Day in Oregon I learned something to make it better the next year. That will happen here.

I also got got grounding from my guests, and it brought even closer to the realization...all is well, all is as it should be now, I am where I need to be now, all is well, all is well.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The clouds came in over White Dog

Nothing more beautiful than white creatures against a Payne's gray sky. Last night around dusk the clouds started swirling and the wind was blowing as we sat on the deck. Leaves falling and blowing, and it was so beautiful, so autumnal.

Autumn brings out a lot of emotion in people I think. It does in me. I think of all the seasons autumn encompasses an equal balance of life and death. The sounds and smells remind me of being little, running home from school knowing it would be safe and warm; it brings up memories of my family and friends now gone-which is sad, but comforting. It enlivens me creatively. It is always the most hopeful season for me too as far as work and creativity goes.

It is the time to prepare the nest, with firewood and harvests, a time to get the hay stacked and know the animals will have water and food as winter comes down hard on us.

So autumn is full of contradictions, I guess.

Bluebirds singing to a baby tree

I added this old favorite to the print section on the shop and already have sold a few in a day. Everyone, including me, always love this piece, so I decided to bring it back, and am glad I did!

I can do most any of the prints in larger sizes, so if you see one that you'd like larger, let me know and i can give you a cost.

I also added a very old cat, who has a blue face because she believes she is related to the full moon, and an old donkey.