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

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Friday, April 24, 2015

They are here!

The Puppet and I are celebrating the arrival of the new Donkey Wisdom journals! The Puppet has also forgiven me for not being in the actual journal and still hopes he can write his own memoir some day.

The journal looks so great and I especially love the rounded corners! Simple pleasures. This will make a wonderful gift for a donkey lover; some one who likes to keep a journal or lists will appreciate that each spread has a donkey wisdom to help you better your day.

For a short time longer the pre sale page will be online so you can still get those introductory prices, but that will change in a week.

Thank you to everyone who pre ordered! I am so grateful and even though I wasn't able to pay for the entire printing up front, I would still do it all over again. It's hard to know why this one didn't pre sell enough to pay for the printing [both of my books did]. I think self publishing has many risks but I just know when people see this journal, they will love it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Snap shot moments

The great and powerful Itty Bitty Etta-what is she thinking, you wonder.

How did I become Queen so young?

And if you look carefully in the bottom photo, you will see one the recent arrivals.

Last chance to adopt a donkey painting!

This is the last chance to possibly take home an original painting valued at $950 when you pre-order the new Donkey Wisdom journal at the $64 or higher level. The journals arrive tomorrow [hoof stomps!] and I'll be shipping all pre-orders out in next few weeks. The pre-order page will come down soon and regular prices will be in effect. So pre-order soon!

I will be picking the adopter of the art piece this weekend.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day trash service brought to you by Boone

I got a late night email yesterday,

Wanna pick up trash tomorrow on Earth Day?

It was a friend about 2 miles up the road who had partnered with me before to walk and collect county road trash. How could I turn the offer down, and it was a perfect opportunity to get Boone out on garbage duty, something he does well.

We met, with another friend; I rode Boone and it actually came in handy-we could act as scouts and see trash they might miss on the ground. As their garbage bags grew full, we tied them on Boone. We walked on one of the busier country roads at the end of our 2+ hour outing-we know the road well and it can be dangerous with its curves, and the occasional I'm-never-going-to-die-driver going like a bullet around corners. We were careful and had a system of safety. Most people were courteous, including one of the county public works trucks who slowed way down and smiled big at us-I'm sure seeing anyone picking up trash makes his shift.

It was another beautiful day, a time to remember how far I've come with Boone, or how far we came together. I never would have ridden him on this rode when I first got him, let alone put garbage bags on him, although he would have probably tolerate the latter as he has always been stoic. He would have been okay, but I wasn't ready. It's not a road I choose to ride on much, but now I can and feel confidant about it. When my friends were picking up trash, he stood politely as garbage bags were tied onto his saddle. He didn't flinch at zooming cars or banging bottles and cans on his side or back.

Boone is a stoic fellow. But I ride him consistently, and not just for 15 minutes. I read some one's blog recently who had a miserable ride on her horse, a horse she rarely rides and then gets upset with when she gets on him and he–in her words–acts like a jerk, actually I think she used another word I won't use here. All sorts of people gave their two cents on her situation. I didn't feel sorry for her, nor did I offer input since I don't know her from Adam and she didn't ask for it. But if she asked me how I got here with Boone, I'd tell her,

I rode him, a lot. And I took some lessons for a year-to improve me, to be a better leader.

Most rewarding thing I ever did and so glad I had a mentor who guided me that way. My farrier too once said to me, after Boone and I got through our initial year or so of misbehaving-

"Number one thing to do with your horse-ride him. You can do all the ground work in the world, go to fancy clinics, read books, but you have to get on and ride him, and not for 15 minutes but hours. Consistently."

Agreed. And it all makes riding around with bags on your back full of garbage much more doable-and fun! No drama!

Thanks, Boone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Do you know what you look like?

I did this painting last week. It was almost too sweet even for me, but I decided to leave it as is and many seem to like it. I do like it, it's just that I wanted the shepherdess to look older, like...me.

I tried to add jowls, sagging neck, some wrinkles, and it all looked bizarre. So I decided maybe this is what I feel like, this face on this woman, the face I had not too many years ago. I was looking at some photos of me from five years ago and had this calm epiphany

"Wow, I've aged."

I used to always look younger than my years, I thought. Now i think I just look my age. I'm okay with the aging part because I like who I am and who I've evolve into, and I plan to keep expanding each day, an ongoing metamorphosis since birth. I like women in their late forties and older-they've discarded some of the crap that bagged them down in their youth.

But there is this odd thing that happens when you do start to change physically, for me it was about 55 when things really started shifting. My skin has aged, although I'm blessed with Irish looking skin and have worn hats and sunscreen my entire life [thanks to good training by my redheaded mother], and I don't smoke. The odd thing is that I can't really tell what I look like right now. It's a stage, I know it. I suppose it is like what happens in your teens, and then your early twenties where you start coming into your own more. I remember in college tromping along, feeling unworthy in the looks department, and one day I just sort of realized,

Oh, that's what I look like! I'm okay.

In my forties I went through another slight shift, but it was not as drastic as what happens in the mid fifties.

I hope to maybe do some self portraits, for my own purposes in the next year, but maybe I'll drop that idea. I have so many other projects I want time for-like my puppets and dolls I want to spend more time on this summer, new books, clay, my photography-I might lose interest in what I 'feel' I look like and just grow into a comfort zone of it. My face does not represent what my soul is doing, but it is an expression of it in some ways. It's the skin, the covering that allows me to be a soul here on a planet walking in a body, a vessel. If nobody had ever seen me, they would react to my art and writing because of what my soul put into it-it would have nothing to do with my face. While beauty in the commercial world does sell, I do believe that a person's actions and heart are what shine through the skin, and that is what people respond too-even though they can also be attracted to physical beauty. it is the action of the soul extended out into the world, that can move people to do good deeds, inspire art and good will to earth, people and all creatures.

What do you all feel as you are adding years on and looking in mirror? Do you see the face you know is yours, or did you get a bit ungrounded by it? Did it seem like a phase for you, just like the awkwardness of being a teen?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

White dog selfies, hair cuts and cancelations

The casting call was abruptly cancelled because I inadvertently had scheduled Moose and Goose to be on clean-up crew in the chicken garden where I need to plant my sunflowers. The Head Troll was remarkably polite about it, since it is rather hot today, and she keeps changing the script. I was relieved too, I had so much to do this weekend with the vegetable garden getting tilled and planted and....Misfit haircuts.

Firstly, I took some selfies with The White Dogs. So trendy of me, yet so...what's the word-annoying! I decided why not become part of the narcissistic selfie generation of small farm-artist-writers who take pictures of themselves over and over...and over. The Head Trolls said I need a wand thingy to make better selfies but I said absolutely not, it is bad enough we are taking selfies let alone buying land fill accessories to improve them. I do wish Martyn were into photography because I'd love some real photos of me on the farm, especially as we grow older. So these will have to do. Not easy getting 2 big white heads in there...maybe I do need a wand thingy. The President has one I think.

I spent most of the afternoon shearing [for lack of a better word] dear Sophie. A sheep friend out east explained how the wool will rise and then it is easier to slip the scissor under the matted part of wool. This proved to be true. Part of her body was pretty easy. We went swimmingly along and then I reached an area that felt like I'd never get it done. But we did it. I had bought a pair of real sheers but found them annoying 50% of the time so switched to my art scissors. There go my art scissors. But they worked. I will have to educate myself better on shears. I was pleased I only nipped her once, and was pleased to see not too many lice, even though she is treated regularly with all that wool how can you not have some. The one thing I almost blew it on was I forgot she had two waddles! Fortunately for her I was going deliberately slow so no harm was done. She was so happy to have her waddles cleaned off and scratched. They were crusty and itchy. Sophie did really well, I was proud of her. She was very patient considering how long it took. She and Victor both have birth defects that make them crippled in their rears, but Sophie is not as bad off as Poor Victor. She was able to stand the entire time, Victor won't be able to and the small amount of trimming I've done on him, he hated it. So I'll rest for a week and do him next.

I'm going to use some of the wool for my puppets and dolls I'll be working on for the upcoming show.

It was a beautiful weekend, full of farmy things-vegetable planting, trimming some feet, cleaning field water buckets, mending fences and now...time for a shower and some wine in the garden. The lilacs are at their peek, the bees and Buzzies are here [hummers] and the garden is showing rose buds and all sorts of delights. It is a beautiful time, before bug and gnats come-but they are on the way.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Casting call for Misfits

You know the routine. Scurry of feet, two raps at my studio door, scurry of feet leaving, a note is left.

This should be interesting, if not exhausting. I most likely won't be able to report back until after the weekend. I guess I should feel pleased I was invited to try out. If you don't know what is going on, the barnyard is having their own Misfit Summer Stock. I guess The Head troll was inspired by some old Gene Kelly movie, or was it Judy garland?

No matter what, it is bound to be....challenging. I mean, have you ever worked in a cast of short statured pigs and crippled kissing goats? But as I said once before, this is an experience that will engage me and entertain, and allow me to expand.

Stay tuned. Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Garden party of chicken underpants

It is a spring tradition. We till up the vegetable garden [after the pigs and goats have cleaned up what they can] and then we let the chickens in as we lay down new 'black gold'–manure, compost, and stall cleanings that have aged for years-looking just like the deepest black dirt you can find.

I swear the chickens prepare for this day.

"Are your underpants clean?" Alice Waters says to everyone. She sports her light buff colored pants, perfect for spring.

"I will not be bending over," said Jane. "Mine are tarnished."

"I shall be going too," said Franklin, the youngest rooster of the farm, now developing fine hackle feathers. "My hackles will look stunning with your spring underpants."

"Just stay away from me and my underpants, Franklin, I belong to Papa Roo's clan," said Chicken Named Dog.

"Suit yourself," said Franklin.

While they clawed and strutted, I worked on de-chick-a-fying the vegetable garden. Last year for the first time in 10 years, the chickens ruined our tomatoes by pecking at them, then leaving them to rot. Martyn was on the war path. He threatened to have 24/7chicken lock down all summer. To compromise, I convinced him an addition to the chicken hut area would let them stay there during peak tomato season and still have some grass and dirt, and that I would also add yet another span of chicken wire and barriers to the vegetable area to keep them out. I don't clip wings and don't intend to, so any little ledge allows them a new way to get through the pasture fence. I spent an hour or so working this weekend to make a Fort Knox of Vegetable Gardens, only to notice a chicken at my feet when I was done.


They had easily gone under one of the gates. So I will add a board there.

In the meantime, they are happily parading in clean underpants, except Jane. But that too shall pass.