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.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

ANNOUNCING! A NEW book of comfort

The PRE ORDER Page is officially ready for your orders! Books should be ready to ship late June/July if not sooner. As always, the order page includes reward levels, including original art from the book.

I have an ongoing series of "comfort books" I will be producing. I'm really excited about this. These will be illustrated books with an overall goal of bringing the recipient comfort, and a smile of course. I will be producing these in smaller quantities versus lage print runs like my illustrated memoirs. When they sell out, that's it, they will not be reprinted. By making smaller print run, I will make less money in the long run, but will be able to produce these sweet offerings once or twice a year.

The book: The first in the comfort book series is called, "Little Tulip" {It Will Be Okay}. It is 6 x 9" hardcover book, 56 pages, fully illustrated, and the book will be enclosed in a beautiful 'case'. The illustrations are emotive, simple and in black ink. There are also some color pieces.

Inspiration: I was inspired to make this story come to life for several reasons. How many times in life are we faced with something-be it loss, fear, a challenge, a change-and we just want to know it will be okay? How comforting is it to hear someone we love say, "It will be okay."?

No matter how old we are, we want it to be okay. No matter what creature we are, we want it to be okay.

In the book, an elder woman wants to get another dog for company. She hears all the reasons from others why she should not get a dog at her age. Even the shelter won't let her adopt one. Meanwhile, Dorthea the dachshund has a litter of pups and the little runt yearns for a home.

It's the story of many people who age and find themselves faced with others wanting to 'detract' from them.

It's a story about the flow of life.

It's about the simple things that make a life worth living.

It's about conversing with those that are gone in a new language.

I hope you will keep it by your bedside when you need to know, "It will be okay."


Ready for pre-orders now

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Yume- we have success!

Yume a couple weeks after her meds kicked in-looking good!
A quick update on Yume, the only Japanese speaking Apiferian, oh wait, I forgot about Earnest the pig.

I'm pleased that the meds we were trying from the vet seemed, knock on my head, to have done the trick. I am glad at this point we did not have to go through a lot of trials with different meds. So, I hope Yume will continue on without flareups but if she does, we can at least know there is a drug to help.

I have collected $100 as of this morning to help offset Yume's $200+ vet bill. If you can chip in, wonderful-it helps cash flow for the 501[c][3] and is much appreciated.

And to those who have sent some help, we say,

“Doumo Arigatou” 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Opie writes a letter...companionship to the elders is the best gift

Opie wrote his first letter. I thought it would be fun to send letters to our elder friends in Wiscasset inbetween our therapy visits. And besides, Opie is practicing his penmanship...or is it pengoatship?

I didn't want to share the letter before our friends received it, but thought I'd share it now. They really got a kick out of it. I also made a puzzle for them with their photos with Opie and they liked that too. Puzzles are great for all ages, we always had a table with one going when I was growing up.Just a nice way to gather, use your eyes, brain and maybe have some chatter too.

I have no intention of buying a bunch of stuff for our friends. My mission with my elder work is simple: bring animal and nature to them, stories of the farm for cheer or conversation, and just be friends. Gifts are nice, or even essentials, but I want my main focus to be on companionship. I like bringing handmade surprises, or eggs, and the wrist warmers this fall from our sheep wool is a way to bring the farm to them. And pie...have to bake a pie. I also share eggs with residences when I can too.

Keep it simple and from the heart. Don't need to start buying 'stuff'.

I made special stamps for Opie's letters too. I might have to have him write me so I can get one in the mail.

{We do not charge the elder residences for our therapy visits. We are not taking a salary from the 501[c][3]. If you would like to make a donation we are always in need of them. It helps feed and care for the animals and allows us to continue our elder therapy work. Thank you.}

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Are you the fairy? And Yume needs some help.

Update: the fairy has announced herself! And Yume already seems to be reacting with improvement from the drugs, Stay tuned. Please donate if you can to help offset the vet bill.

We were so excited to get two big boxes recently. We had told our readers about wanting a couple of garden benches for our evolving area we are creating in the back gardens for a place where elder friends can come and sit, and mingle with the Misfits. We hope to have it ready for visits by late April.

So I put the benches on the Wish List. I requested 2. And one person came forth and said she had ordered one for us. Oh yay! But then two arrived. Oh double yay!

But I do't know who sent the second bench. Some people love to send beautiful gifts and are perfectly happy being anonymous, and that is just fine. But being a Minnesotan at heart, the idea of not thanking that person makes me squirm. Either way, I am so excited, and can't wait to have photos to share, in time, of our friends sitting in the gardens with Misifts running about.

You can still donate seat cushions too. Have to keep the guests happy and comfortable- even my bum gets sore on a bench.

I also want to tell you that Yume needs some extra help right now. I got her into my vet today [they have an urgent care doc on call most day] because she appeared with ulcer like sores on her nose and face. Yume has a chronic issue with her nose and breathing, so this might be related, and it might be other things. We are starting her on some meds for two weeks, and then we will assess. She will be getting meds by mouth twice a day.

If you are able to donate to help offset the vet bill of $280, it really helps. Thank you.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Sometimes I'm afraid...then I get up

I am not sure why, but lately I have been having feelings of fear when I wake up in the morning. Not panic or anxiety, just thoughts come into my head, like,

What if Martyn dies? What would happen if I died today?

I don't know what is underlying these thoughts. I guess it feels like the same way I felt when I took a new job in NYC in my twenties, or went off to school for the first day as a first grader. When I was younger, I didn't have the skills to work through these things as well as I do now.

I have a very good way to deal with these thoughts. I think them, mull them for a few minutes. And then I get up.

I remember when I lived alone in Minneapolis. I lived alone most of my adult life, always preferring to have my own apartment or home. I had two boyfriends in all the years I was a single woman and they were only around for a year...although both of those breakups caused me great pain. I let the first grieving go on way too long, I hung on in so many ways...including trying to maintain a friendship. I know that is how I had to deal with it at the time, but I think seven years went by before I began to really move on. By the time the second person had come into my life, and ended our time together, abruptly, and in a very secretive behind the scenes way, I did grieve it, but I remember waking up and thinking, I'm not letting this grief or this person hold me up for as long. And I didn't. The latter was also not a very honest person, so it was a different kind of feeling during the grief.

I see women my age or older lose their husbands and I wonder if I would get through it. I remember some well know scientist in an interview, forget who, but he lost his wife and best friend after 60+ years of marriage, he was now alone at about 90, and still working. When asked how he was coping, he said he had lots of good things in his life, including his work, but when his wife died

"It kind of took the fun out of everything" he said.

I can understand this. So much of my time with Martyn is spent laughing. He is really funny. We just really enjoy each other. He makes my days brighter. We spend a lot of time together. In winter, from November through March, Martyn is here on the farm working and helping take care of the snow, maintenance and all sorts of things. He is the main chef too and our meals together, breaking bread, talking about the day, our plans, visions, are all wonderful, juicy things of life together. We come up with ideas, and then bring them to life, together, each one with a separate set of skills to see it through.

When I'm with my animals, I feel whole. When I was hurt, confused or lost in my youth, or other times in my life, animals and my relationship with them and Nature, got me through. So did having my parents around, they were best friends too before I met Martyn. But touching and working with the animals keeps me grounded to Earth, the place I am meant to be now, in my evolution.

But I don't know what I would do if Martyn died before me. And I guess it's a 50/50 chance. And I don't like to think of him without me. Don't worry about something until it happens, they say. Sage advice. And I'm not worried. I am simply stating...I'm aware of this thought that pops into my head lately.

I'm not sure, like I said, why this is popping into my head these days, more so than at other times. Maybe it is just the uncertainess [for me and many, that is] of the global world and our chaotic administration. Maybe it is part of the transition into my 60's. Maybe it is because Martyn just ended his winter-at-the-farm-routine and his days are now off the farm working with the landscape crew. I am perfectly content on my own during the day, my life is busy and full. I do not spend my days mired in fear. I'm not seeking advice.

I just am acknowledging the recurrence of these thoughts. I like to think I would go on with gusto [at some point] and that the animals, and the land, farm and my art and writing are what would get me through losing my best friend.

I guess...you just do your best. And you have to determine what the best is you can do each day when you are faced with a big loss. It is your own way, not another's. Nobody has the right to tell a person they aren't getting over something fast enough. Nobody has the right to tell another person they aren't grieving well. The person that gives an opinion to grieving person telling them -even though they have not asked for advice-that they could or should have done something differently while the dead person was still alive...is cruel and narcissistically informed.

This photo was one I took yesterday of me and Calla, one of the elder flock members. I just love the look of her head, so big, almost like it is out of proportion, but it is so like her, to come to me and lean into me and we just can sit that way for many moments. I had no bad thoughts while sitting there with her, no worries...and if I had I'm sure they would have been lifted, even if temporarily.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The pig knows Japanese. "Tanjoubi omedetou, Yume"

Today is Yume's 16th birthday. Yume is one of the many elder cats we have adopted into the folds of Apifera. She was born in Japan, as a street ferel and taken in by a family who were stationed there years ago. They moved around for the job, and ended up back in the states at some point. Yume ended up in the shelter when they had to relocate again, and they could not have animals in the place they were going to. Yume is still very shy around strangers, but converses now with me, and greets me each morning. She is getting less shy when The Old Kitty Knitty Club meets.

Just like last year, I arrived in the barn this morning to hear a familiar voice.

It was Earnest talking.

"Tanjoubi omedetou, Yume" he was saying through the door.

My God, I thought, he knows Japanese?

And then he asked, "Toshi wa ikutsu ka?"

I heard a very faint, soft voice come from the cat room,

"Juu san sai."

I opened the barn door and everyone calmly returned to their stall, the cat room was quiet.

"Earnest, how did you learn to speak Japanese?" I asked.

He did not answer.

He is a pig of many mysteries.

{Feel free to pop a dime or two to our Apifera account...to help maintain and care for Yume and her friends here at the farm, a non profit.}