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

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Paco's Poem

{As many of you know, Paco is a poet. At the old farm back West he wrote in his Bower of Love, but here he was a bit lost since he had no private writing spot. I created an area for him in The Wood and I was so happy to see he is writing again}

I hear the leaves as they lay


I stand to their right, left and front and center

But the road people rush

Their vibrations shove the air

Leaves scatter

It will take me all day to place my feet 

Right, left, front and center of them

There’s a sun beam

On a dirt patch

I’ll wait for them there

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eleanor delivers ten!

I knew when I left her last night she was ready. Eleanor is not one to lay down for belly rubs, never has been. But last night when I checked on her before calling it a night, she was laying down and didn't bother to get up. She seemed to appreciate a belly massage.

I checker her tweets and they had milk.

Well, that was a give away.

It was day 115 and she always farrows by day 116. And she had discharge. She got up and I was checking for heartbeats for fun, and she tossed her head into my leg, a clear sign she was ready for me to leave and give her the space she wanted.

I discussed the situation with her. Eleanor is stoic, calm and a very good mother. I knew she would do the job and do it well, and she did.

The weather was perfect for farrowing, unlike the night Cornelia lost all of her litter except Little due to hypothermia.

When I arrived this morning, I could not wait to open the door, and there they were, up and about, strong and healthy. There were ten of them, which is a very big litter.

"It's a basket of pigs," Martyn said as he went off to work.

There are four boys and six gilts. The more girls the better. I must say, the markings are just wonderful, lots of waddles [which really means nothing but they are fun]. I'm very happy for Eleanor that all is well, and this litter is really up and about and doing well and not even a day old.

Mother creatures are heroes. I was thinking this morning of all the animals in the wild that birth on their own, and stoically carry on to fend for their young, and keep food in their own bellies along the way. I learned way back in our first lambing seasons to give the mother space, be aware of the conditions and situation, but stay out of the way unless it is dire. I roll my eyes thinking of the first lambing, the ewes must have been talking behind my back,

"I wish she would just leave us alone, if she checks my udder one more time I will scream."

I took the afterbirth and fed it to the chickens. Our eggs will be nourished my Eleanor and the life she gave us today.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Conversation with chickens

I was minding my own business, doing chores in the front barn, and was kept company by a chicken conversation. They were in their coop while I was attending feedings, manure cleanup and water bucket cleaning. Their clucks and whirs kept me company, and amused.

"Move over," one of the Secret Sisters said.

"I was here first," another hen replied.

"Na-uh," I heard.

A series of clucks in varying degree of irritation erupted.

"Can you speed it up, my egg is killing me!" the intruder exclaimed.

"I can not rush perfection," the hen replied.

"My eggs are much larger," intruding hen said.

"Na-uh," was the response.

It went on like this for sometime, until I finally came upon them in their preferred hen laying box. You give a bunch of chickens a lovely array of nesting boxes and they prefer to squish into one.

By the time I left, they were still at it.

"Good Lord! I hope there isn't a fire today or you will be fried," said the intruder.

"How crass," said the laying hen. "Go lay somewhere else-you are disturbing by peace and it will effect the taste of my egg."

I swear I could hear the eye roll.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Pig mystery

The Pig's Prayer Flag Forest is available at the shop
There are many mysteries here on our Maine farm, many start in a story but appear before me in real life. This is the life of imagination and reality mixing. I just finished this piece and it's based on a real episode, which someday soon I must share, but for now you will have to look into this piece deeply and hear what it is about.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

M'Lady returns

I have waited patiently, full of anticipation. I will never tire her. Last year when we arrived, almost a year ago today, she was in bloom but due to the dry winter and spring last year, the other apple trees around her [there is Little Lady, Little Apple and Old Apple at the outer barn] were not as full of flower. This year we had lots of rain and they are all so beautiful.

I see her from my studio and from many of the vistas from the house. When the sea blows in dark, brooding clouds, she stands firm, her color pops out even more boldly, and in the the sunny days with deep, blue windows behind her, she sings, literally, with hummingbirds and cardinals.

She is a confidant of sorts when I sit under her to give myself shade.

I realized this weekend how much I love it here, how this location is a blessing-despite my initial mistrust of the front road, that road will also bring me what Apifera needs. I started planting the vegetable garden this year and thought when people drive by they will see my sunflowers at the barn and it will make many of them happy.

The land is old here, who walked her in 1760? It also means it has seen and felt trauma of many kinds, struggles of our first Native Americans and their struggle with the Europeans that would come and push them out, killing and judging. I was on the fence during a lot of our first year, about opening up-truly opening up-to our land. But as I plant the vegetables, as we shape the front gardens this year and give it our touch, our covenant, I can feel it now-the land is reciprocating and recognizing we are committed to her.

This is when the magic really starts.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Earnest and I wait, and I will make a covenant with the sea today

Earnest and I are awaiting the arrival of Eleanor's piglets. I thought she was due on Monday, but I looked at my farrowing calendar wrong and she is due early next week. She is huge and while I had her in her farrowing stall for days, I let her out yesterday so she could wallow. Her belly is low to the ground and I've felt the little buggers inside moving a bit. She is getting a puffy posterior and is holding her tail upright, another sign she is close.

It's very busy here, May always is on any small piece of land. And I'm behind. We got the veggie area tilled and fenced and this weekend I will plant. I always had my entire garden planted by 4/15 in Oregon, but things are different here. Today is 90 degrees! I need a wallow. I had planned to go get my seeds, but instead, I feel a strong pull from the sea. I have had some things I need to work on, as in self realization and goals, and today I decided it's so hot, too hot for me to be planting, and I just kept hearing the word "sea" in my head.

I will go to the sea and I will make my wishes known to her, and tell her I need help and strength...and focus, to make them come to the light. I have been wanting to begin my communing relationship with her, something I didn't get to take advantage of in Oregon. But I sense now is the time for this.