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

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Friday, July 29, 2016

The little healer

Pino did wonderfully, again, in his therapy mission last night-to stand and let the people touch him, pet him, talk to him, and admire everything about him. Pino is a natural at this. I did feel he was a little out of sorts last night, as was I for some reason. We were both a little lost last night. I noticed he put his head into me a lot, and I talked to him many times in the night. Maybe we both needed each other for some reason. As we stood together at some point looking out at the ocean's bay, salt air thick in the humid night, I wondered if he understood where we were. Of course I've told him, but I wonder if he has a sense of loss too-after all his birthplace and parents still live in Oregon.

I'm being overly dramatic and analytical.

Anyway, we met some great people last night, of all ages from Maine and elsewhere. The best line of the night came from a four year boy, who put his hand on me and waited for me to finish a conversation I was having, and then he very politely asked,

"Is he for sale?"

His older sister chimed in with,

"He only has $3 and he's also saving for a pool."

That made the haul into town worth it. Pino made a whopping $5 in his tip bucket, and I sold...wait for it...one book. I am well aware these events are more about exposure, and long ago I made vow to never do art fairs, because as my painting mentor told me, show your work in venues that are parallel to the price range and customer. People go to outdoor art walks to browse and eat ice-cream on a hot night [several people asked where they could get ice cream], not buy $1400 paintings. So I can say I am not surprised, and I could say to myself you already told yourself this, but one can always hope they sell something or meet a collector. Maybe I did and I don't know it yet. I did get two more senior facility ideas from someone.

The little healer was tired I think. He didn't bray once, versus last month when he brayed several times. I suppose this shows he knew what the gig was all about and was comfortable. But I sensed his tiredness. This morning I went out to feed and he was braying his heart out, I guess all rested, or very ready for his hay.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pino and I are out on the town tonight!

Pino and I will be back tonight at the Wiscasset Art Walk, on Maine Street in front of the charming shop Moulinette Mercantile. I will have a small, select group of original paintings on wood, as well as my books, Misfits of Love and Donkey Dream. I'll also have Donkey Wisdom journals for sale.

We will be arriving a bit later this time and leaving earlier. The traffic noise is pretty bad-or I should say the Harley noise is pretty bad. SO when Pino gives me the nod, we will high tail it out of there. I had hoped to bring Birdie the llama to this event but I don't want her having a bad first time outing experience. I know she will be a super therapy creature though.

So stop by between 6-7 to make sure you see us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The World's Grumpiest Pig has the shock of a lifetime

The-World's-Grumpiest-But-I-Am-Fine-the-Way-I-Am-Pig had quite a startling morning. And as I had my apparatus to get it quickly on video, I did. I was beginning my morning feedings and always feed Eleanor and her gang first, followed by the new chicks, and Rosie. But Rosie often sleeps in deep, deep slumbers. Sometimes I am shouting to her to was up for breakfast.

The chicks are getting more active and have taken to sitting on her pen door, but this morning they were all huddled together, with the so far nameless rooster. I admit it, I turned on my video and waited for Rosie to wake up.

And wake up she did! The conversation was not that polite, but I already explained to the chickens that you don't mess with the pig's slumber, or her bed. She lived with chickens in Old barn in our former farm, but had more room and sometimes I'd find her bedded down with Papa Roo-sigh.

So the chicks got their first taste of grumpy pig explanations this morning.

"Humph phrumph el brrrr!!! Hrupfhhhhh!" she gnarled at them. "What in the world is going on!?"

"Excuse us, we didn't mean any trouble," said the biggest of the chicks. We just found your hut so much more open than ours. And you leave a lot of food laying around, you are a bit messy."

"ARGHrrrupolstompous!" the pig snapped.

"Oh my, gather up girls, let us go sit a bit farther to the south of the suite."

And they did. And Rosie went back to bed. No need to get up and eat when you have food all day.

Monday, July 25, 2016

An honest view of aging-it's the bones

"And yet I look at men and women my age and older, and their scalps and knuckles and spots and bulges, though various and interesting, don’t affect what I think of them. Some of these people I consider to be very beautiful, and others I don’t. For old people, beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young. It has to do with bones. It has to do with who the person is. More and more clearly it has to do with what shines through those gnarly faces and bodies." Ursula LeGuin

This really resonates with the transition I feel I am in, and will be for some years, as I go from looking somewhat fresh and 'young' to at this stage, really looking like I'm in my upper middle years, which I am. I seem to always prefer images of me with my face partially covered. My braid clumps still look ok, despite the fact my thick hair is thinning more.

I am almost embarrassed to write about some of these things. But it is an honest upheaval [at least it feels that way at times] to me. And with the upcoming Emerging Crone Workshop, it seems appropriate to talk about. One of my hopes is that the workshop will help other women in the same transition, or that women who feel they've already gone through it will help us emerging crones.

The reason I feel silly sometimes admitting it on a public space like this is...well, I'm not that bad-I mean, I don't have an illness, I am loved, I have a solid foundation of spirit and home, work I love, a mate I am best friend's with, and my body and face and 'appearance' to the outside world is 'not that bad.' Martyn assures me in his eyes I am still the woman he met. When I look at him, I still see him too, but when I look at photos, he has aged of course but in a way that doesn't bother me a t all and it's as if he gets more chiseled and more handsome to me as he ages. Could it be he sees my sagging towels and bulging middle in the same way? How could he? But, perhaps he does.

But the outward appearance of my body and face is not what gets things done, it is not what helps me create art, or help my animals or build barns. My appearance has nothing to do with how when I look out at beauty of the land - I am moved.

But it all goes back to old wounds, doesn't it-for all of us? When I was young I had a terrible body image of myself. I had red [bright orange to be exact] curly hair and I saw a fat girl in the mirror. I would look at many of my peers and see long thin legs and straight long hair which was the in thing then, and I would feel chubby. I truly believed I was chubby. But when I look back on photos, I really wasn't. How this started, I think, was when I was about eight years old, my father told me point blank I was too young to be fat. My mother immediately scolded him and reassured me I wasn't. But I felt it, I owned and continued to view myself that way well into my twenties. To stand up for my father, he had a chubby childhood and always struggled with his weight. He loved good food and was not obese by any means, but as a kid and teen he was a bit chubby, and I know that what he said to me was his stuff, not mine. But it took me into my adult years to understand that.

It was well into my late twenties when I began to settle into what I thought I looked like to the outside world. And from about 35 through my early fifties, I felt good about what I saw. I wonder if this is sort of an optimum age for many women–our bodies still have hormones and we are still very young looking. It took me so long to get to that point in my life of acceptance of my appearance, that when it all started going south I thought, so soon? I just got here.

I also hesitate to discuss this because when I hear a forty year old, or fifty year old who looks great to me discuss her wrinkles, fat, etc, I want to reach out and say...just wait. But they are going through it in their own pace. I remember turning 40 and looking great. Even 50 I felt great. Oh, a little bulge hear and there, but still jobless, still strong. Genetics is really much of it, and hormone loss. Living a healthy lifestyle, working in nature, eating right, doing yoga daily as I have done for years is not going to keep my body from sagging, or my middle from expanding. I have given up on that thought. I tossed all the ill fitting closes and bought new ones. I wondered if I was rich would I have my sagging towels and waddle tightened. I don't know. I'd rather use the money to pay the barn off.

But doing the best I can do with activity and lifestyle choices can help my bones stay stronger, and my lungs can keep giving me oxygen, and my skin might stay free of skin cancer if I keep it up.

I want to stay strong. I want to get to a point where what I see in the mirror is just like a painting, or a story line, or a blank canvas welcoming me each morning.

But what I've always sensed about aging is...it gets better, emotionally? I mean, the part of looking in the mirror. I'm not afraid to die. I actually think death will be...a release of everything. But seeing my face so visibly changed, and sag, and hair thin out, and bulging middle-it is a struggle to go through it.

So I really love what Ursula Le Guin says. And I don't think any of us should poo-poo the real angst many of us face when we see our bodies and vessel really changing in what we perceive to be unflattering, or ugly, or not what we wish for.

I am focusing on breath, and bone as I go forward. It isn't all pretty, but pretty doesn't grow muscle, experience does. When I work with the animals, it with intuition, and heart-they sense that and work with me. I doubt they even notice my neck.

Visit the workshop site to learn more about the upcoming September workshop here at Apifera-a day of doll making, communing, healing with animals and each other.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Triple Donkey Dusting Roll

On these very hot days, with flies covering at all angles, the donkeys do a lot of dusting. And I caught them in a Triple Donkey Dusting! That's a gold medal I think, don't you?

Friday, July 22, 2016

My itty love story

I have one more spread to complete for my itty love story. I am really liking the looks of it and the feel of it-reminding me of the books I gravitated to as a child. I guess I might be outdated that way but this is a book I would buy, if I may say so myself.

It is a book of loss, and love, and...acceptance of self.

At first I was thinking maybe this book is just therapy for me, that is its purpose. But I am finding people are resonating with it-after all who hasn't lost something, suddenly, that they loved? So we shall see, I am not sure of the book's fate yet.