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

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

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Earnest the pig wants a grilled cheese sandwich...from King Eider's

{"Tailes & Tales" is a monthly article I write for the Lincoln County News. I post the articles a couple of weeks after they appear in the paper. This was last month's.}

“I would prefer a grilled cheese sandwich, like the one you gave me a bite of last week,” Earnest the pig said as I handed him some animal crackers a follower had sent.

You see, some weeks ago, Martyn and I went to King Eider’s with a visiting friend. We rarely go out, but when we do, Eider’s is our go-to place. I’ve become hooked on the grilled cheese sandwich with cucumber, two cheeses and red peppers on rustic bread. It’s not something I eat at home and it is a wonderful twist on a simple sandwich. I pour over the menu, tempted by so many items, but lately I still go to that darn grilled cheese sandwich. Well, the last time, I had a filling soup too, so brought home a half of my sandwich. The next day, I warmed it up, ventured out to the barnyard and sat with Earnest while I enjoyed my beloved sandwich.

“Do you want a bite, Earnest?” I asked.

“It smells appealing,” the pig said, and he swallowed a morsel. I finished the half but left him another bite.

“I am sorry it’s all gone. I would have preferred my own full portion, cut diagonally,” Earnest said.

Back to the present...I handed him more animal crackers, and he ate them, but looked unsatisfied.

“Earnest, I rarely go out to eat like that, so that grilled cheese sandwich I shared with you was a special treat,” I told the pig.

“That’s very disappointing,” he said. “Surely they deliver?”

“Earnest, I don’t think they deliver, especially to pigs,” I said.

Well the next day all I could think about was that grilled cheese sandwich. I had no time to go to lunch on a whim, but whipped up a simple grilled cheese sandwich, and took it out to share with Earnest.

“The bread is not as rustic or crispy,” the pig said. “Perhaps your griddle wasn’t hot enough.”

“I don’t have a griddle, Earnest,” I said.

“There are no peppers in it, and only one rather bland cheese,” he said, but he ate it anyway, and returned to his hut.

A few days later, I was cleaning Earnest’s hut, re-fluffing his sky high straw bed to ensure his pigly comfort. And there in the corner under the straw was a local phone book, ear marked at ‘restaurants’ with a mark by King Eider’s.

I want to assure the staff of King Eider’s that Earnest the pig does not have a phone, nor can he drive.

{Neither woman nor pig were paid to write such a glowing review but I encourage my readers to go to Eider’s and order our beloved grilled cheese sandwich.}

Friday, October 18, 2019

New 120 page photo book now available!

"Healers & Misfits" is now available in either hard cover or soft cover. It is 120 pages of my photographs in a large 8 x 11" format, beautifully printed, with 220 photographs. This is such a beautiful collection, if I may say so, it just makes me feel so many things for Apifera and this life here. I hope it will bring many of you the same feeling.

When you order, it does take a couple of weeks for me to ship. But if you need a quicker turnaround I can add on extra shipping. Just let me know and i will give you estimates.

Here are some sample spreads.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I guess my pink bubble suit had a tiny leak...

I was recently contacted by someone who was having health issues, as was her husband. In fact, they were diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, and their adult son died of it two years ago. Times were difficult and getting harder both physically and financially. She left me a message but the cell phone was garbled. So I did not respond as there was no name or number or clear message. About a week later they showed up unannounced at my gate. You all know I frown on pop-ins, but even though I was already in for the afternoon, in my pj bottoms, I looked out and saw them, a couple in their 70's, and figured it might be them. When I opened the gate I was confronted by their sad story, and it is sad. Getting old is hard enough even in the best circumstances but with added medical and financial issues, it is hard. There was emotion in her voice, and the man retreated to the car-because his condition did not allow him to stand long and it was painful. I felt they were genuine people.

Now, I was in no way wanting to take on another equine. Old Matilda will need my care, Boone is turning 22 and the ponies are old too. Equines come with foot care and teeth care and handling care. But I listened to her story, told her I probably could not help her out, but would try to help somehow. You see, the horse was 28, and they were faced with possibly putting her down. They wanted an answer soon for logistic reasons. I had my event coming up, and told her I would do my best to call her in a week.

That time came and went. I was overwhelmed with work, and then I got a bit of a flu or something. I did not call her. But she called me. We talked again. I tried in my head and heart to separate out what was her responsibility, and what my duty was to my animals and farm. I always ask myself with a new animal: am I helping the animal or is it simply an animal acquisition. The woman had a bad experience years ago, where she rehired a horse and in a round about way, it was sold, and then sold for meat. She did not want that to happen. I assured her that would not happen here, but that I could say yes or no at this point to taking the horse. And I wanted to make sure in my mind, that maybe the horse did need to be put down.

There are worse things than putting your old horse down, one you have cared for for over 20 years. The horse had been bought when she was about 8, she was now 28. The woman felt she was being an executioner, because the only reason she was considering euthanasia was because she herself was not healthy. But the process was dragging on and it was clearly causing strife in the household.

So...I went over on Sunday to see the horse, telling her I wasn't sure I could help. I went over with open eyes, trying to investigate all the facts and feel for the real story. I'm not saying anyone was misleading me, I just had on my pink bubble suit-again, what was my responsibility if anything to this animal, and this person.

The horse was clearly old. Sometimes people tell me an animal is old but it really isn't, they just want me to take it. The horse was quite calm, and seemed to like me immediately. I mean, I felt an instant call out from her, like, "Can you help?". I found lots of tick bites and embedded ticks. The woman had been unable to tend to the horse for awhile. I helped her get the ticks out. I don't want to give too many details, but I felt I needed to adopt her. So I said I would. They had been doing the best for the horse that they could in their situation. And the horse is not thin.

We went to get her yesterday. I have more to say on this but not now, to be honest, I just need to...not feel what I felt yesterday for awhile. I just want to get to know Honey, the new addition to Apifera. After the night in a paddock where she had nose visits with equines, I let her out with Luna and Lucy and she has the equines in the other pasture to visit at the fence. The vet is coming this week. I'm betting she has Cushings judging by her coat. Her feet have been cared for but she will need updated shots and a teeth check.

She is settling in. But there is mystery to this story, I know, I just don't want to explore that here, in writing. I'm happy we can help her, and help an older couple who clearly need help. It was a good fit for our mission which also swayed me. The woman was still concerned that if something went wrong, or changed, that the horse would not be sold. I had given her a specific contract stating everything to reassure her, but she still brought it up as we were loading the horse. I was losing some patience as I'd spent a lot of time on the entire situation, and listened over and over to her story, which was truly sad. And it could be any of us, at any time.

Martyn and I were both feeling drained from the experience. There were a lot of angles to this story that have nothing to do with a horse, but instead, with life, and aging, and family, and the luck of the draw...My feeling as I sipped my wine by the fire was...I just want to be me now, at this age now, for this time now...and be old when I'm old. I felt I got washed over with someone else's age and sadness and hard times...even though I had on my pink bubble suit [it must have had a leak].

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Autumnal llamas

I have been so busy with business things and then late week felt a bug coming on so stayed inside doing office things. We managed to drive a bit today as we had to get a tractor part and saw leaves-gorgeous! But what is even more gorgeous are the dark llamas in front of fall color, don't you think?

So, there are lots of photos at the IG site. I'm just too tired to write at length!

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The old shop is closed, the new one is the place to go

I officially closed the Etsy shop. All my books, art, prints and other goodies are now for sale at the NEW SHOP. There is so much to browse through so if you have any questions, just let me know.

I also offer a payment plant for the original paintings. I need to add that option to the original painting section, but if that is of interest just let me know. I require payment in 3 monthly installments, no interest is charged. If you decide you can't finish payments for some reason, there is no refund but money can be applied to other items for up to a year.

Lots going on her creatively, so stay tuned. There will be a photo book of over 60 pages coming in time for holiday giving, and the first of the year the new White Dog memoir will be open to pre-sales. I also am offering the Goose & Llama tribute book at the shop too since so many people were asking for it again.

A portion of net sales from the shop goes to Apifera at the end of my accounting year. When you buy at the shop, your purchase IS NOT tax deductible. When you make a donation to Apifera Farm Inc, no matter where, it is fully tax deductible.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

What a day, so wonderful

Misfit Love Day 2019 was a huge success on so many levels. We had a steady turnout all day, we had many newcomers, we had a woman drive all the way from NYC just for the event, we had one of our favorite guests come again this year–David who is 102–I almost cried when I saw him coming in. He is a wonder and loves the animals, taking slow deliberate strokes when he meets an animal.

I am tired but just wanted to post these pics. It is difficult taking photos while holding a llama or a pay, and I always feel my main job is to be present so I don't have that many.

Once again, my volunteers were super, and we think we had a t least 100+ people. All ages came and the children were delighted and well behaved. We all agreed that every one who has come to our events are just nice people! And we made -I think_at least $2,000 which is the best we've done at a fundraiser.

And Harry made his debut and was super. He has a fan following now! The trailer worked perfect for it, not tress for him or me that way. Then I brought Arlo out for two walk arounds so he got a workout and di fine. It was a lot for him to take in so I gave him breaks. White Dog proved to be a favorite, and I had him in a stall but we decided next year he will have his own little 'Sit with White Dog' paddock so people can be with him. I couldn't let him be free, it could have proven chaotic. he loves the people though–I can't tell you how many people came and told me about White Dog. I brought Captain Sparkle out just to test the waters and it was a lot for him to take in, so we made it a short 15 minute visit. The goats ran free with the people as did the donkeys and people love that. People always tell me how peaceful it it.

And more importantly, people understand what we are doing and appreciate it and told me-tht means so much. I feel very optimistic as we head into next year.

David came last year and is 102 this year
Harry's debut was a hit

As usual Arlo posed like  a super model

So happy that Roscoe and Jim Bob were so loved and vice versa

And Uno! He now has a fan club and gave belly rubs all day

This is Cora, I considered keeping her-she's a redhead

Thursday, October 03, 2019

If you open a space, they will come to you, they will shift

Captain Sparkle leans into my guest
I wanted to write about this before I get swept up in the next days of the annual event [on Saturday]. Some beautiful encounters took place in the last couple days. I can say this is a daily thing here, but sometimes even I am reminded of the intuitive skills of nature and animals [and humans if we can recognize it and practice it].

Yesterday friends came to visit for the morning all the way from Oregon. It was so great to take time with them, since they knew Apifera out west from the onset, and actually delivered several Misfits to me to help out, including goats and dear sweet Hughie. But what was even more special for me was to see how some of the animals responded to the visit. I was surprised but also delighted that of all the current animals, I never thought Captain Sparkle would show such camaraderie with a guest. I've only had him out with strangers once as you know, and he did fine, but was a bit sidetracked since we were in a strange place. So when we stepped into his paddock where he lives with Arlo and The Teapot, we we all so happy to see that he almost immediately went up to my friend Lisa and leaned into her. He was so quiet and calm, and even started napping. He stood there the entire time. I felt a real shift in him in the last week or so. I think he definitely understands now that he is safe, and that I am the leader and protector against the boss pants, aka The Teapot. Captain Sparkle just swept me away on this visit, and I knew that in time, this little chap will evolve his purpose here, and get great reciprocal healing from it.

There was also an exciting–for me–shift with Harry. We went into the new barn addition to hang out with the donkeys and Harry, and we probably stood there for a half hour or more chatting. Within time, Harry started coming over to me. Harry is not scared or mean, he is still just ungrounded here, but he has begun to recognize my role here. My friend noticed he was paying close attention to me [wow, someone really listens to me].

It dawned on me that the way to put this into words...is that when we give the animals space, they can feel comfortable making their own intuitive response. If you back a horse into a corner and he doesn't trust you, it's dangerous and scary for the horse; if you give that horse space to understand the situation, he responds more calmly. 

I realized that having some people there that I was focused on, allowed Harry to feel more open to exploring...me.

It was a shift.

And then this morning a heart in throat encounter. Many of you who follow along know the beautiful story of friendship between The Goose and Birdie the llama. He was with her through it all. And you know that The Goose seems to gravitate to those in need. I do not take his skill lightly. We all know that Else is very old and crippled and fading...but this morning when I came back from the outer barn, she had brought herself outside to sun, without my help. I squatted down to take a photo as Opie stood near her. And in seconds, The Goose came over to make sure things were as they should be. He preened her some, but not a lot, circled her, and they tilted their heads together for seconds.

The Goose checks on old Else

My friend Lisa gets a surprise visit from Harry