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

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let loose the monkeys!

It felt a bit like a traveling circus.

"Let loose the monkeys!" I declared, as I opened up two paddocks. The mixture of species is the norm around here and everyone from pig to camelid were thrilled to be set out in larger eating areas.

It's been a lot of work and effort to get the creatures resettled here. When we arrived there was no fencing to speak of, and one small barn with a chicken coop. I think we put up more fencing in three months than we did half our time in Oregon. My main concern is the The White Dogs understand their boundaries and not get out on the road, which to be honest, is a big fear I have here.

But finally, they have some room to roam and patrol. We still have a lot to do, but it was so fun seeing them all out the other day. It allows them to work again, even though Marcella takes guarding seriously no matter where she is or what her charges are. She still has a real fondness for pigs. She has been with Earnest and separate from Eleanor and the piglets, so her day of roaming with the pigs was good for her. And while llamas generally don't like canines, Birdie and The White Dogs are fine with one another.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Three legged boy wonder, we love you

Sir Tripod Goat is pretty much a loner. I don't know if this is because with his condition–which he was born with, making him only able to use three legs–if he was bullied as a kid and so he just wants to stay out of harm's way. When he first came to Apifera back in Oregon, I could hardly get a chin scratch in, but in time, he softened. I watched him for many weeks and at some point decided to bring him to the upper barn where where he could live in the hay area and have ample quiet. This allowed he and I to have quiet interactions many times day, without the interference of Head Trolls or wandering acrobatic goats...or pigs.

Since arriving in Maine, Tripod has lived in one area with Eleanor and her piglets as well as Birdie the llama. Scooby came and went, depending on his mood as did Raggedy Man and Sophie.

As we develop the pastures and paddock areas more, I am reshuffling animals so they can be out in larger areas, and this weekend I helped Tripod out to be in one of them. The little fellow can really zoom around on three legs, but he does tire so spends most of his time in repose, or lying down and eating grass.

I caught him with the deep Maine sky overhead, as if the Gods themselves sent out their cloud apprentices to look after him while I continued with chores.

I don't know how long I have with any of these creatures, so moments like these are soul reverberating.

Carry on Sir Tripod, three legged wonder boy of Apifera, we love you.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Building a life around a sense of place

This is one of the most comforting views of Apifera, the Maine Apifera. It is not as expansive as our old farm, it is not hilly with shades of ochre everywhere, and there is no coastal range [which I miss, I admit].

But at night when we sit on the porch I see Boone and the donkeys, and M'Lady Apple. It brings me peace and soothes any worries I have about income, purpose, and the repercussions of the move.

One has to find these pieces of scenery that they can turn to, and recognize their influence on the soul. I'm lucky to have this view. It is a 'smaller' view than our old place. The sky is smaller than out West. But this is what I am presented with now, and it has merit and is appreciated daily, and nightly.

You find a place that feels like it can be home, and you build a life around it, one day at a time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I gave my love a ukulele

Martyn and I never, or rarely, buy gifts for each other. His first gift to me before we were married was a perfectly intact dragonfly, which I was over the moon for-a match made in heaven said his family if she likes dead insects instead of jewelry. But with our move to Maine, one thing I wanted to bring into our lives, especially as we age, our new lessons and skills. We had talked a year ago about getting ukes, but never did. So for our anniversary, I surprised him with two ukuleles-and I am so bad at keeping surprises but I managed to pull it off.  We are trying to practice an hour each night. The first song we are learning is "Always Look on the Sunny Side of Life".

Thirteen years ago I married Martyn. It is a day that was a turning point in my life, of course, my first and only marriage. You might know the story,  I was 45 and had left Minneapolis with a broken heart and wobbly but re-emerging healthy ego,  to move to Oregon without knowing anyone except my brother. I took flight after feeling called to the West, leaving my parents behind - a hard decision- and many friends I still love and care about. I found a wonderful bungalow in a village and the I planned to live there forever, it felt that right to me. The day I was moving in, there was a knock at the door. Those of you who know me well know that I am not a fan of pop-ins, at all, even Neil Young popping in might irritate me. But that day, I remember I was thinking,

Who is coming here when there is a moving van in the driveway? Don't they know I'm crazy busy and tired and look like crap {looking back, I looked pretty good, now that I'm 13 years older I can say that.}

A man put his hand out and shook mine, and said,

"Martyn Dunn. I had to come meet you, I heard you had the same last name."

Word travels fast around here, I thought.

My slight irritation from a pop-in turned to a warm feeling, a safe feeling. I remember thinking that I was really glad he was my next door neighbor. He wasn't a hipster or arty or anything, but he had this kind face and smile-I am sure if you read this blog you have seen it and would agree with that assessment. Embarrassingly [at the time] I also remember knowing I would be with him at some point. I didn't tell anyone though. not a soul.

A year later, we married, in the garden we built together at my house. There was other stuff in between there that brought us to our union [garish pitch-you can read it all in the illustrated memoir of our courtship Donkey Dream]. I have thought many times, I think if I'd met him in my twenties I might have walked on, I don't know though. I'm glad we met later in life because I was ready for kind not cool, honest not showy, authentic not excitement. But to say our life has not been exciting is the opposite of the truth. We went onto start a farm, raise 4000 lavender plants, fence an empire, raise sheep and care for old, crippled barn animals. We built a lot of stuff. We fixed a lot of fence. We cooked our own meat and vegetables and grew into our life in Oregon on the farm. The farm there and all that came with it created what we were best at-envisioning something together, expanding on it and jumping in building it. And now we are here in Maine, at 58, rebuilding another farm, another version of Apifera. I would not be doing it without him. After living as a usually content and full of life single woman, always living alone until I married, I wonder now if I would be happy again if Martyn died. A horrible thought. I don't want to think of a world without him.As one old timer said, after his wife of 60 years died, and he was still actively creating at 90, he sad, "The fun has gone out of it all, but I go on."

It's been said before by many-marry a good friend and I will second and third that. I rarely say when making introductions, "this is my husband," I tend to say, "This is Martyn," because that is who he is to me-Martyn.

He makes me laugh. Laughter is more important than anything. Commitment on top of that and an understanding that I am me and he has to be him makes a perfect pair. I never had it before, and I can't imagine ever having it with anyone else.

I don't believe in luck. I think we were brought together, after we both had other relationships to be part of and learn from. I wasn't ready for marriage even in my late thirties, I can say that clearly to you. I'm so blessed no-one married me!  I've learned so much about myself through my marriage-relationship are teachers-and I know he has learned a lot too and in many ways I've seen him blossom through our time together. I know I have added to his world, and vice versa.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The most misfitedly best book sale to date!

People, it's August, we are all hot, and dreary and drippy from humidity. So I am having my once a year Book SALE through August to cheer myself up, and cheer you up if needed. You can read about each book here.

"These will be the best prices of any book sale...ever," said the pig.

"Remarkably true," said Wilbur the Acrobatic Goat as he flew through the air to land on the apple tree.

For either "Misfits of Love" or "Donkey Dream"
The sale price is $15 per book plus $7 shipping. Two books can fit in a $7 shipping pack.

The price for one book is normally $22 plus shipping.

If you want more than two books, please let me know and I will send you an electronic email which would include the accurate shipping of more than two books [each book would still cot $15]

Donkey Wisdom Journals
Sale price is $8 per journal plus $7 shipping. Two journals can fit in a $7 mail pack.
Normal price is $15 plus $7 shipping.

There is an option in the scroll menu to buy 1 Misfit and 1 Donkey book.

Again if you want more than two of anything, let me know and i can send an electronic invoice for accurate shipping cost [the journal price remains $8 each]


Sale Prices

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The grumpiest walk is a success, albeit grumpy

{Follow along in sequence as Rosie takes her grumpy walk to her new bedroom suite. The last clip just fills my heart.}

"Rosie, it is the big day! You get to leave this grumpy little stall and move out to the new barn where you will have your own single suite just like you prefer!" I said with as much enthusiasm as any mother about to put her most pessimistic child on the school bus.

"Hrupff errata grr," was her response, as usual.

"No more little chickens pecking at your dry skin, dear Rosie!" And there will be a breeze there, and a sand dusting area," I said

I grabbed a piece of small plywood so I could use it as my pig shield to guide Her Grumpiness on her way, a 300 foot walk from the old barn to the new one [this is a common and easy way to guide a pig that needs it].

Much growling and hrumpfs ensued, and I only filmed what I could because grumpy pig walks take determination and focus.

I did wonder what nearby neighbors heard, and we were laughing at how they will really wonder when I trim her toes which are sadly much too long-but doing Rosie's nails is really a challenge, even my vets gave up [and doing it once with one vet cost $175!]. So no toe trimming for a few days so Her highness can settle.

Once in her suite, I really sensed a new Rosie. I really did. A glimpse of the Rosie I knew back when Stevie the Kissing Goat was with her. It made me miss him. I am going to hang a photo of him in Rosie's stall not only for her, but for me too. What a magnificent friend he was to her those months, and then, she just sort of decided to go solo. I'll move her Rosie's Birdhouse out with her too so she has the things that make it Rosieish.

This morning when I went to see her for her breakfast, she really was happier than she had been in the other suite. Now I will not go as far to say she wasn't grumpy, but a breeze came over both of us and she put her nose up to smell it. This made me so happy, that she has a turnout all of her own again, but still has animal sounds all around her. She hasn't ventured outside, she pretty much sleeps all day. Carrying around all that grump takes energy. Today I sang to her again, and she stood still listening. It was if she was thinking,

I remember that song, you sang it when I first came to live with you. That seems of another time.

Friday, August 12, 2016

In the heat, find a seat

It has been hot and humid.

If you know me, you know my opinion on this situation.

Oregon had the dry, hotter than hot summers and the land there just soaked it up and I felt like a dried leaf. Here, I feel like a wet towel without a mind. August, the month I always enjoy seeing go by, been that way since I was a child. So, I won't write much today, who needs to hear me whine. I had planned to escort The World's Grumpiest But I Am Fine As I Am Pig to her new suite, a 300 foot walk. The thought of it in this humidity made me...grumpy...so hope to do that tomorrow.

Instead, I am finding a seat, just as the animals do when its hot. Hopefully we will get that rain promised for tomorrow. We have had some nice storms.