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

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Friday, June 24, 2016

New work..The Wood is certainly calling

I have done three pieces this week, my first here in Maine. The wood, or forest really, is a strong pull for me right now. I doubt it will go away, that pull. Of our 30 acres, about 25 is in forest, maybe less. Supposedly there are paths, more like old car
roads, in the center somewhere. I have not found them. Today I ventured out to make trails, hoping that eventually me and Boone will ride there.

I had to stop because I got too far in and Martyn had followed me. I was following the field stone property line [all the property lines are field stone walls, very common here]. I knew I could get a bit confused but I just kept feeling a voice,

Come this way, it's over here...

But I turned back when I heard Martyn who had followed me, out of worry. I will not go in alone again without my phone, and we will mark our trails. I guess it was foolish, but I hadn't planned to go that far, I was enticed to keep going.

I will tell you something. The wood itself is comforting - I do not feel any danger or evil in it, at least at this point of my relationship with Her. But I do sense something about some of the properties on the outskirts. We had a discussion with one of these people on our first week here, by chance at a local store, and it made us very uncomfortable. I won't go into it here and I think it will be okay in time. But that was not the property that spooked me today, in fact that property is way on the other end, a long ways off really. There is another place that of late has made me feel edgy-a place to avoid, and probably just ignore, but as I was in the woods, I did feel I was okay in amongst the trees as long as I didn't head close to that property.

All of these pieces are on the shop. I will have them at the Thursday 6/30 art walk unless they should sell.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Come see me and Pino at the Art Walk!

Next art walk: Thursday, June 30th, Wiscasset, Maine

I will be at the Wiscasset Art Walk every last Thursday through September. Look for this vintage cart in front of the wonderful little shop called Moulinette Mercantile owned and operated by the also wonderful Margot Sullivan [and Mulligan, her dog].

I will be there with my books and art, and Pino the donkey-Although there is talk of bringing Birdie the llama later on and maybe Cornelia the pig if I can manage.

There are lots of great eateries, galleries, the waterfront, shops, clothing stores and the town itself is so lovely, one of my favorites-pure New England charm and history everywhere you turn. And Moulinette has beautiful farm aesthetic items-dishes, napkins, clothing, linens and lots of home decor items that are unusual and charming-like the soap made of donkey milk from France-I need some of that!

Stop by and see us and support me and my donkey!

{The fabulous vintage cart shown here is owned by Moulinette Mercantile and is not for sale. She has graciously let me and Pino use it to help sell our art and books.}

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Itty bitty love story

I have been feverishly working on a little love story, an itty bitty love story of huge proportions in my heart. I hope to have it complete this coming month ad we shall see where it goes after that. For those of you that follow along, you will recognize the lead character, and you will understand why it is a love story, and perhaps you will even understand the mission I am on to complete it. Stay tuned

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Emerging Crones workshop is set for September!

So very excited to announce that the Emerging Crone workshop is now set for Saturday, September 17, 2016 here at Apifera Farm in Bremen, Maine. We will work in the current barn, with stalls of Misfits around us, sewing dolls, sharing crone wisdom, learning from one another, healing each other, guiding out stories lurking in us-or just listening.

The idea for this workshop has been long in the making, and when I had my painting workshop a summer ago at the old Apifera in Oregon, one thing we all realized was the love and story that comes out of gathering together at a table and working with our hands, and sewing is a wonderful way to do that-our foremothers knew this, of course.

Read all about it and register at the workshop blog. There is an Early Crone registration until July 15, and then you pay the regular price after that.

The emergence of the old goat lady

Sophie continues to let me know she is ready for relationship with me. When I first brought Sophie to the farm in Oregon, along with the very crippled and deformed Old Victor, she was shy and preferred to hide behind Victor, or stay out of the mix altogether. She let Victor do the bonding with people. And anyone that knew sweet Victor knew he was very good at sharing himself, especially with that amazing smile. We lost Victor last year to a natural death and he is buried in the former Apifera Pumpkin Patch of Old Souls back west. Before we left, Marcella dug up his grave and brought out some of his clean white bones, displaying them in a tiny row for me to admire. Years ago this probably would have upset me, but Marcella can not be held back, even from the fence that surrounded the cemetery-she smelled dead and went for it. There was some intrigue for me, I have to admit, to pick up his ribs and see if I could somehow put them back together.

But back to Sophie.

After Victor died, I knew Sophie would either blossom, or fade. I've seen it over and over after a mate is lost-in both animals and people. I had only had her I think less than a year, so I thought she might just fade. I had worked hard to get weight on both of them but after such long neglect it proved to be difficult. Sophie slowly became more personable with me, and started venturing out more on her own. She has never buddied up with any of the other goats, probably to protect herself from being knocked over. She has a genetic condition that makes her hind end crippled but still gets around fine. What I found was that it was on our journey East that Sophie seemed to really step outside of her shy self. Perhaps it was the tight quarters, but she just seemed...to expand a bit. I found that Sir Tripod Goat also expanded with Birdie the llama, and this was very pleasing since he was such a loner, only really interacting with me in the past months.

But every day, Sophie seems to look to me, not just for food, but for some scratching' and a time where she can be with me in a corner, leaning her body in to me. I've had other experiences where this change in temperament can be a good-bye, Wild Iris was an example of that. But I don't sense that with Sophie. I think she just knows, for sure now, that I am an ally.

I hope she continues on for some years, but she is going on nine, which isn't horribly old, but considering her years of living without proper food management, it probably took a toll on her body.

I shall let her lean into me until her time comes.

{If you like the work I continue to do with elder Misfits, consider a subscription or donation to help.}

Friday, June 17, 2016

Finally, it's me and Boone again

I haven't worked or been on Boone since May 3rd due to the move and today I made time to drive over and pay for some arena time where Boone and the donkeys had boarded last month while we made our way to Maine. It's a full dressage arena and is pretty nice and I had the place all to myself. I hope to find a closer arena to ride in, and one a bit closer to my raggedy budget! But, it was worth it and I had to get back on him and wanted a safe environment to do our first ride in, and its the only place I know.

I could tell by his body language that Boone was really happy. That made me happy. I wasn't sure if he would be a bit full of himself but as I learned through the past year's experience, riding your horse, consistently, is the best thing you can do for him and you. All the round pen work is fine, the videos of ground basis, but you have to get in the saddle and ride and ride. It pays off after a layover to have had those hours together to get back in stride. I apologized to him too, because I haven't kept up on grooming these past weeks and his tail is wind blown and needs some work. It was so nice being all alone,but together, grooming him in silence.

Except for the fact his feet are long and I need to find a new farrier here, all was well on our ride.

But the main thing I took away from my outing with Boone, is that he was happy to be with me, and ride together. He did everything I asked of him today and when I talked to him he kept his ears in his happy-to-be-with-you position. Boone will provide me with a link to normalcy after the upheaval of the move. We are in a different state, and region and know hardly anyone, but we are still me and Boone.

And it is also another feather in my hat to get back to my normal routines. Obviously it will take time to get all we need to get done here to a point where we feel settled, but each time I do something I love, something I did consistently in my Oregon life, it makes me more rooted here, and more sea worthy on the road.

As I drove home, an idea for a book came to me. It will resonate with all ages but be in a children's book format with images and fewer words. It will be a very therapeutic one for me, and I felt really strongly it would be a good way to get back to the art table.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The house that glows

From the first time I saw our Maine house in the online photos, I felt quiet, and warm, and accepted. This house is a welcoming house, it is not boisterous. It is calmer than I am at any given time. At certain times of day, it has a glow. It has stood since 1776 and has weathered storms of both nature and man. But somehow through all that it has remained calm.

At least, that is how I resonate with her, and I know that the few people who have had the good favor to come inside have said this too. Even when we walked into her empty, she was that mother we all cherish and want and need no matter how old or bold we are.

Today I put up some art. It pleased me and I realized it also made me feel more sturdy on my feet. I had planned to do some art today, but I am a nester, and I need to prep my nest, not only for the animals, but for my husband, and me. I like the house so much that I wasn't really rushing to decorate, or unpack boxes. I plan to paint the front room - not seen here- as it is a New England red on the wood work, that I like, but I don't like red next to green. I want my greens, my olive tones, all around me. It will be cool in summer and warm in winter. Since I plan to paint that front room, I haven't completely unpacked the book boxes, and I got lazy thinking I'd wait to hang art until the painting is done. This is the first house I've lived in where I didn't feel like I had to repaint everything. The buff walls are dirty and worn, and should be painted in time I guess, but I kind of like them that way.

The bottom photo is the view from our bed, an intimate glimpse, I know, but it is so pleasing to me. I have trees out both windows and you can hear the wind and birds. The small room seen at the top photo is a sweet center room of the house, with a small dining table. We found an old table for $45 yesterday and when we got home we gathered the four old chairs we had brought with us-chairs that came from Martyn's childhood and his mother had purchased from antique stores. Martyn came to me later and said he had had a moment with the dining room, because

"...it was like the chairs had been waiting all these years to live here."

We sit in the front room at night and can look into this room, and the fire. I truly love it.

As I put up the art today and brought out old favorite items, I felt really calm, and quiet...and...I felt just like me. I am feeling like me.

I shall paint soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

That damn patience thing...and the llama smiles

Our barn set up is very different than the old Apifera. There are things I like about it much better-like having everyone congregated to greet me. And there are things I miss about the old layout-but that will change because we are building another barn which will create more space in other fields too and make the current paddocks less crowded. Right now The White Dogs can't run and it kills me, but they seem pretty happy and are guarding their Misfits.

I think I wrote recently patience is a virtue but one I often lack but as I 'mature' I find I'm getting more patient....usually...kind of...depending on the day and weather conditions. I am excited to be able to have the current Misfits out in the bigger paddock by the current barn-the one you see the donkeys in the photo below- because right now the Misfits are in two really big stalls with turn out. I hope to add some fill in low spots so they can have a mound to climb on. They like mounds.

Fear not-they are just fine and have ample roaming room. But I want them to be able to have more space and grass and some climbing mounds like they had before.

The plan is that once the new barn is built-hopefully by late summer-the donkeys and Boone will have stalls there with turnouts to the fields we are busy fencing. Then, the current barn will be more of a Misfit barn. I will have my workshops in the current barn and it provides perfect access to the animals. The new barn will store hay and equipment and will sit out in the field with its own road. During events, I envision that road becoming the entrance to Apifera.

It's beginning to be drawn in my head-and of course it will evolve as thing gets done and I can see it all.

As usual we are putting lots of time and savings into the farm. I underestimated the fencing we'd need, but its okay, we'll figure it out. The good news is it is very flat. The bad news is there are some marshy spots we hope to work on over time.

I'm also rethinking who we are as a farm. I miss my sheep. And the relationship of being on a small farm connected to both life, and death, and the cycle of birth to death, is significant to me and I would like to continue that. Mobile harvest units are non existent here. I have been talking to a lot of farmers about it. I made a vow not to haul my animals anywhere if we chose to raise a small amount of meat. I am sticking to that right now.

I still envision my life here to be about healing through story, art, workshops-but always connected to animals and Nature. I am excited to get in the thick of all that. But....patience. Damn patience.

So, the barn site will be prepped next week I think. We were disappointed we couldn't hire this great barn company, run by women I might add, who build post and beam barns. We just couldn't afford it so are doing a pole building, but will skin it in old wood so it will tie into the farm here. Martyn and I will be putting up the siding and all interior work, and helping with site prep. The roof will be done by a roofer. And we will have to put in a road there, no small cost. It will all be worth it when I see people driving up to have pie with me and Pino some day.

Want to help? Buy art at the shop or at Sundance. I am the sole income earner right now, perhaps through the year. I appreciate everyone who buys my books and art! Thank you!

Apifera is evolving yet again.